Defining a Scientific Theory of Intelligent Design

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Sean Pitman

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Oct 30, 2003, 1:52:54 PM10/30/03
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lfl...@ij.net (Lenny Flank) wrote in message news:<238b53a4.03102...@posting.google.com>...

> What, again, did you say the scientific theory of intelligent design
> was? How, again, did you say we can test it using the scientific
> method?


I have answered this question so many times already, but here it is
yet again:

I propose that it is in fact possible to test the hypothesis of
intelligent design, in a falsifiable manner, when it is suggested as
an explanation for a given phenomenon. It happens all the time in
science. Forensic science and the scientific search for
extraterrestrial intelligence are examples that are both based on the
idea that the workings of intelligence, not just human intelligence,
can be detected in a rational scientific way.

For example, let's say that I walk by a house with a broken window in
the morning and then when I walk by that house again in the afternoon
I notice that the window is fixed. What is the most rational
assumption I can make to explain how the window got fixed?
Intuitively we all know by experience that the only rational
assumption once can make is to implore the workings of an intelligent
mind - most likely a human mind in this case. But why is this?
Imagine now that I walk by this same house the next day and I see that
the fixed window is broken again. Is it as easy to assume a mindful
process this time as a cause for the broken window? No, it isn't.
But why isn't an automatic assumption of deliberate, intelligent cause
an automatic default as it was when we saw the broken window get
fixed? Because, we all know by experience that mindless processes are
actually quite capably of breaking a window. In fact, it happens
fairly often.

Strangely enough, while mindless processes can break windows fairly
easily, they never fix them - ever. Of course, intelligent processes
can do both. The window could have been broken either by a mindless
or deliberately designed process. So, it is harder to know the cause
of a broken window that it is to know the cause of a fixed window.
This is *not* because we know that humans are capable of fixing
windows. This is not enough. Humans are also capable of breaking
windows and yet we do not automatically assume an intelligent cause
just because we know that a human is in fact capable of such an act.
No, we must have more knowledge than this before we can adequately
assume and intelligent cause for a given phenomenon. We must also
have an understanding of the potential and limits of what mindless
processes can do.

If I find an amorphous rock in lying on the ground, I might quickly
assume that a mindless process formed this amorphous rock. However,
it is also possible for a human or some other intelligence to have
made this amorphous rock since humans are in fact capable of making
and have in fact made amorphous rocks before. Again, a mindful
process can never be absolutely ruled out when we view a natural
mindless phenomenon. However, a mindless process can be absolutely
ruled out, beyond any reasonable doubt, when we see certain phenomena
that go beyond what mindless processes have ever done or will ever do
- even given a practical eternity of time.

So, when one understands the potential and limits of mindless
processes in this universe to at least some degree of predictable
value, one can reasonably hypothesis an intelligent process when one
recognizes that a given phenomenon has gone beyond what mindless
processes are capable of.

The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of structure
or function that go beyond what all known mindless processes are
capable of? If they do, then an intelligent cause is the only
reasonable option to consider. However, if a mindless process can be
found that explains what we see in living things with a fair degree of
predictive value, an intelligent cause cannot be adequately proposed
in a scientifically significant manner.

Obviously, I believe that no mindless process can explain much of what
we see in living things. Therefore, the only rational option I have
left is to assume an intelligent origin for living things. But how,
exactly, is my position testable in falsifiable way? The answer is
very simple actually. If someone can show a mindless process creating
the functional mechanisms that exist in various life forms, my
position will be falsified. Of course, you will come back and say
that there are many structures and functions in living things that can
and have been evolved with mindless processes in laboratory in real
time. Of course, I would agree with you. Ah ha! My position has
obviously been falsified - hasn't it? Not so fast.

There are many aspects of designed objects and systems that can also
be achieved by mindless process and yet the object or system as a
whole cannot be produced by any mindless process. For example,
mindless processes can produce glass, but they cannot fix a glass
window. Mindless processes can produce facets on a diamond, but they
cannot make the symmetry of a cut diamond. Likewise, mindless
processes have been known to produce certain amino acids and other
building blocks that are used to make living things. But this does
not necessarily mean that mindless processes are therefore equally
capable of putting these building blocks together to form the higher
and higher levels of complexity found in living things.

Obviously mindless processes, such as random mutation and natural
selection, can give rise to many new structures and even novel
beneficial functions in living things. But, what is especially
interesting about these mindless creations is that they are all found
at the lowest levels of functional complexity - as compared to the
levels of functional complexity actually found in all living things.
Absolutely none of the higher levels of functional complexity found in
living things have been shown to evolve via mindless processes alone -
period. This observation is repeatably testable and carries a very
high predictive value. The limits and relative time required to
mindlessly evolve beyond a particular level of functional complexity
can be fairly accurately determined with extraordinary predictive
value. So where, exactly, would I propose placing these limits?

Before I discuss my own theorized limits to what evolution can do, I
would like to ask what falsifiable prediction that evolutionists make
concerning the genetic mechanism of evolution? The mechanism of
random mutation and natural selection is supposed to be the driving
force behind the evolution of every novel function at all levels of
functional complexity that we see in living things. What testable
prediction supports such a mechanism as the driving force for
evolution? Can you or anyone else that you know of make a falsifiable
prediction that proposes what, exactly, such a mechanism can create in
the future and when, if ever, such a creation may be expected to be
realized? No one has seemed able to put themselves out on the line in
regards to such a falsifiable prediction. In answer to this challenge
I have received many historically assumed correlations, but no
futuristic prediction concerning the mechanism of evolution. It seems
to me then that evolutionists like to chide IDists and creationists
about moving their goalposts, while evolutionists themselves have no
goalposts to begin with. Your theory concerning the very mechanism of
evolution is simply not testable in a falsifiable way, or at least I
have yet to hear of any such falsifiable position. On the other hand,
my position is very prone to falsification with the use of real time
experiments.

Consider that very simple functions, such as de novo antibiotic
resistance and other such functions, that are based on the
interference with or destruction of a pre-established function or
interaction, can be evolved by just about any life form in short order
and with a relatively small population. However, not all life forms
or even large colonies of certain life forms can evolve certain
functions that are based only on relatively short single proteins.
They just don't seem to have what it takes to evolve such functions
given what they have. Experimental biologists, such as Barry Hall,
have described such unfortunate life forms as having, "limited
evolutionary potential". However, there are certain other fairly rare
life forms that have evolved various single protein functions - almost
always with the use of one or two point mutations to a pre-existing
genetic sequence (perhaps as high as 2 to 6 neutral point mutations
for the chloroquine resistance function in the malaria parasite).

Already we are starting to see the limits of what mindless processes
can do as we climb up just a short distance on the ladder of
functional complexity. What is really interesting, however, is that
beyond the level of single protein functions, or series of single
protein functions, to the level of multi-protein functions, there
simply are no examples of evolution at all - period. Of course, I
will be asked what I mean by a multi-protein function since many
evolutionists in this forum seem to get confused over what a
multi-protein function is. So, I will define it again here. A
multi-protein function is a where multiple proteins are require to
work together at the same time in a specific orientation with the
other protein parts. Examples of such levels of multi-protein
functional complexity can be found in bacterial motility systems and
the like.

But why do mindless processes stall out so quickly as we climb the
ladder of interactive functional complexity? I propose that neutral
gaps are the problem. As we climb up the ladder of complexity, the
junk sequences expand at an exponential rate as compared to beneficial
sequences at the same level. What happens is that the ratio of
beneficial sequences in sequence space, as compared to the total
number of potential sequences, becomes so miniscule that a gulf
develops between these potentially beneficial genetic sequences. This
gulf quickly grows so wide that mindless processes simply cannot find
their way through all the junk sequences in a reasonable amount of
time. The reason that natural selection cannot save the day here is
that natural selection can only select between different sequences in
sequence space that are also different in function. As it turns out,
the gulf between beneficial functions is filled with many different
non-functional sequences. Nature is simply powerless to tell the
difference between these different non-functional sequences since they
all have the same non-functional function. All that is left for
mindless evolutionary processes to do then it to walk blindly and
randomly through these sequences in the hopes of stumbling, by sheer
luck, upon the very rare beneficial sequence that can be recognized by
nature. At higher levels of functional complexity, the rarity of
beneficial sequences in the all the junk sequences becomes so great
that the random walk required would simply take a practical eternity
before success would be realized - even for a very large steady state
population of individuals.

For example, consider that the total sequence space of proteins 10aa
in length is 10,240,000,000,000 - just over 10 trillion potential 10aa
proteins. The question now is, "How many of these 10 trillion
potential proteins would be beneficial to a given organism?"
Certainly not all of them, but perhaps a fairly large ratio would be
beneficial. Let's say that the ratio is 1 in a million beneficial vs.
junk sequences. If this were the case, an average colony of 10
billion bacteria would quickly evolve a large number of bacteria to
cover the distance between what they started with (as a clonal
population) and at least one and then quickly all of the beneficial
sequences in this sequence space (one million junk sequences per
beneficial sequence). With 10 billion bacteria undergoing random walk
and a chance of success in only 1 million random walk steps, success
would be realized for this colony in just a handful of generations on
average. But, what happens when the level of functional complexity
requires more than 10aa? What happens for levels of functions that
require, say, 100aa? The total sequence space now is 10e130 potential
proteins. The question now is, "What is the ratio of beneficial vs.
non-beneficial sequences?" Is it still 1 in a million? Some have
suggested that the total number of beneficial sequences at such a
level of complexity, for a particular life form, would be less than
10e100. If true, this creates a ratio of less than 1 in 10e30 (1 in
one million trillion trillion). This is a lot less than the ratio of
1 in a million that we had for the 10aa level of function. And, it
only seems to get worse. At the level of 500aa, the sequence space
grows exponentially to over 10e650 while the total number of
beneficial sequences still seems to hover at less than 10e100. The
ratio of beneficial vs. non-beneficial is now truly miniscule. The
average random walk to success, even for a large population to have
even one individual achieve success, is quite difficult and relatively
rare in real life experiments. Note also that this is a very low
level of complexity when compared to the much higher levels of
complexity found in all living things. When we start talking
multi-protein functions, where several thousand amino acids are
required, the neutral ocean of non-beneficial sequences becomes truly
enormous (practically infinite) and evolution just can't get across to
any new beneficial function in any life form or population - even in
zillions of years of time.

And yet, we do have such multi-protein functions and even far higher
levels of functional complexity in all living things. How are these
very high levels of functional complexity to be explained if all known
mindless processes stall out on the lowest rungs of the ladder?

Sean
www.naturalselection.0catch.com

Daniel T.

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Oct 30, 2003, 2:49:27 PM10/30/03
to
seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote:

> If I find an amorphous rock in lying on the ground, I might quickly
> assume that a mindless process formed this amorphous rock. However,
> it is also possible for a human or some other intelligence to have
> made this amorphous rock since humans are in fact capable of making
> and have in fact made amorphous rocks before. Again, a mindful
> process can never be absolutely ruled out when we view a natural
> mindless phenomenon. However, a mindless process can be absolutely
> ruled out, beyond any reasonable doubt, when we see certain phenomena
> that go beyond what mindless processes have ever done or will ever do
> - even given a practical eternity of time.
>
> So, when one understands the potential and limits of mindless
> processes in this universe to at least some degree of predictable
> value, one can reasonably hypothesis an intelligent process when one
> recognizes that a given phenomenon has gone beyond what mindless
> processes are capable of.
>
> The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of structure
> or function that go beyond what all known mindless processes are
> capable of? If they do, then an intelligent cause is the only
> reasonable option to consider. However, if a mindless process can be
> found that explains what we see in living things with a fair degree of
> predictive value, an intelligent cause cannot be adequately proposed
> in a scientifically significant manner.

Argument from ignorance. Because we don't know how a mindless process
can do it, it must have been a mindful process.

Surely you must know all the times in the past when man looked as some
process and thought the above only to later find a mindless process that
explains things. How does rain fall from the sky? The water can't float
up because of gravity, so an intelligent being must be carrying the
water up to the heavens...

Harlequin

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 3:16:15 PM10/30/03
to
seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote in
news:80d0c26f.03103...@posting.google.com:

[snip]


> For example, let's say that I walk by a house with a broken window in
> the morning and then when I walk by that house again in the afternoon
> I notice that the window is fixed. What is the most rational
> assumption I can make to explain how the window got fixed?
> Intuitively we all know by experience that the only rational
> assumption once can make is to implore the workings of an intelligent
> mind - most likely a human mind in this case. But why is this?
> Imagine now that I walk by this same house the next day and I see that
> the fixed window is broken again. Is it as easy to assume a mindful
> process this time as a cause for the broken window? No, it isn't.
> But why isn't an automatic assumption of deliberate, intelligent cause
> an automatic default as it was when we saw the broken window get
> fixed? Because, we all know by experience that mindless processes are
> actually quite capably of breaking a window. In fact, it happens
> fairly often.

And your conclusions have nothing to do with the fact that you
are quite familiar with the fact that windows are manufactured
and that they have no self-fixing mechanism?

> Strangely enough, while mindless processes can break windows fairly
> easily, they never fix them - ever. Of course, intelligent processes
> can do both.

You are setting up a fallacy. Just because only man fixes man-made
object does not imply that only God can create natural ones.

>The window could have been broken either by a mindless
> or deliberately designed process. So, it is harder to know the cause
> of a broken window that it is to know the cause of a fixed window.
> This is *not* because we know that humans are capable of fixing
> windows. This is not enough. Humans are also capable of breaking
> windows and yet we do not automatically assume an intelligent cause
> just because we know that a human is in fact capable of such an act.
> No, we must have more knowledge than this before we can adequately
> assume and intelligent cause for a given phenomenon. We must also
> have an understanding of the potential and limits of what mindless
> processes can do.
>
> If I find an amorphous rock in lying on the ground, I might quickly
> assume that a mindless process formed this amorphous rock. However,
> it is also possible for a human or some other intelligence to have
> made this amorphous rock since humans are in fact capable of making
> and have in fact made amorphous rocks before. Again, a mindful
> process can never be absolutely ruled out when we view a natural
> mindless phenomenon. However, a mindless process can be absolutely
> ruled out, beyond any reasonable doubt, when we see certain phenomena
> that go beyond what mindless processes have ever done or will ever do
> - even given a practical eternity of time.

This is taken from Paley. Hume destroyed it philophically and
it died scientifically with Darwin.

There is some significant differences between large living objects
and large non-living ones. You need to be considering only
objects with some sort of reproduction.


> So, when one understands the potential and limits of mindless
> processes in this universe to at least some degree of predictable
> value, one can reasonably hypothesis an intelligent process when one
> recognizes that a given phenomenon has gone beyond what mindless
> processes are capable of.
>
> The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of structure
> or function that go beyond what all known mindless processes are
> capable of? If they do, then an intelligent cause is the only
> reasonable option to consider. However, if a mindless process can be
> found that explains what we see in living things with a fair degree of
> predictive value, an intelligent cause cannot be adequately proposed
> in a scientifically significant manner.
>
> Obviously, I believe that no mindless process can explain much of what
> we see in living things. Therefore, the only rational option I have
> left is to assume an intelligent origin for living things. But how,
> exactly, is my position testable in falsifiable way? The answer is
> very simple actually. If someone can show a mindless process creating
> the functional mechanisms that exist in various life forms, my
> position will be falsified. Of course, you will come back and say
> that there are many structures and functions in living things that can
> and have been evolved with mindless processes in laboratory in real
> time. Of course, I would agree with you. Ah ha! My position has
> obviously been falsified - hasn't it? Not so fast.

Not so fast is right. Your have rationalizations that will "explain"
away anything. Your side said it could never happen. When it
went to the lab it was discovered it happens relatively easily.

One can always find bull [omitted] "explanations" for anything.

> There are many aspects of designed objects and systems that can also
> be achieved by mindless process and yet the object or system as a
> whole cannot be produced by any mindless process. For example,
> mindless processes can produce glass, but they cannot fix a glass
> window.

True. But if I ever see one lump of glass mate with another lump of
glass and then see the formation of baby lumps of glass then all
bets are off.

> Mindless processes can produce facets on a diamond, but they
> cannot make the symmetry of a cut diamond.

I will not buy that. Don't assume what you are trying to prove.

> Likewise, mindless
> processes have been known to produce certain amino acids and other
> building blocks that are used to make living things. But this does
> not necessarily mean that mindless processes are therefore equally
> capable of putting these building blocks together to form the higher
> and higher levels of complexity found in living things.

But it does not mean that they can't either. And you seem to
be dealing with cardboard versions of both evolution and abiogenesis.

> Obviously mindless processes, such as random mutation and natural
> selection, can give rise to many new structures and even novel
> beneficial functions in living things.

And yet that is the very thing which you say would falisfy you view!

> But, what is especially
> interesting about these mindless creations is that they are all found
> at the lowest levels of functional complexity - as compared to the
> levels of functional complexity actually found in all living things.
> Absolutely none of the higher levels of functional complexity found in
> living things have been shown to evolve via mindless processes alone -
> period.

Not that it would make a difference to you. If they were observed to
happen you would have yet another BS and move the goalpost yet again.

And why are you expecting a process that all likelyhood occured
over an entire planet over millions of years to be fully reproduced
in the lab in a few years?


> This observation is repeatably testable and carries a very
> high predictive value. The limits and relative time required to
> mindlessly evolve beyond a particular level of functional complexity
> can be fairly accurately determined with extraordinary predictive
> value. So where, exactly, would I propose placing these limits?
>
> Before I discuss my own theorized limits to what evolution can do, I
> would like to ask what falsifiable prediction that evolutionists make
> concerning the genetic mechanism of evolution? The mechanism of
> random mutation and natural selection is supposed to be the driving
> force behind the evolution of every novel function at all levels of
> functional complexity that we see in living things. What testable
> prediction supports such a mechanism as the driving force for
> evolution?

This is confusing more than one question. Two of the many questions
you are trying make into one are:

1) Did life evolved from intial common population?
2) How did it evolve?


There are many ways to falsify common descent. There have been
mentioned to you _many_ times.


> Can you or anyone else that you know of make a falsifiable
> prediction that proposes what, exactly, such a mechanism can create in
> the future and when, if ever, such a creation may be expected to be
> realized?

This is disingenuous on the order of saying that we don't know
anything about how society works because we can't predict who
will be president in 2018 or even what party he will be
or even if he will be conservative or liberal. Why don't we
know about the presidency in 2018? It is because there are
far too many possible outcomes to make any one outcome likely
enough to predict. With evolution the number possiblities is
far greater.

Indeed that you asked the question in this way shows that
you don't know the first thing about evolution.

But one can make very definate prediction of what we will
find in organism if they are the result of historical
processes. Those prediction have come true.

> No one has seemed able to put themselves out on the line in
> regards to such a falsifiable prediction. In answer to this challenge
> I have received many historically assumed correlations, but no
> futuristic prediction concerning the mechanism of evolution. It seems
> to me then that evolutionists like to chide IDists and creationists
> about moving their goalposts, while evolutionists themselves have no
> goalposts to begin with.

Our many goalposts can be found at:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/


> Your theory concerning the very mechanism of
> evolution is simply not testable in a falsifiable way, or at least I
> have yet to hear of any such falsifiable position. On the other hand,
> my position is very prone to falsification with the use of real time
> experiments.
>
> Consider that very simple functions, such as de novo antibiotic
> resistance and other such functions, that are based on the
> interference with or destruction of a pre-established function or
> interaction, can be evolved by just about any life form in short order
> and with a relatively small population. However, not all life forms
> or even large colonies of certain life forms can evolve certain
> functions that are based only on relatively short single proteins.
> They just don't seem to have what it takes to evolve such functions
> given what they have. Experimental biologists, such as Barry Hall,
> have described such unfortunate life forms as having, "limited
> evolutionary potential". However, there are certain other fairly rare
> life forms that have evolved various single protein functions - almost
> always with the use of one or two point mutations to a pre-existing
> genetic sequence (perhaps as high as 2 to 6 neutral point mutations
> for the chloroquine resistance function in the malaria parasite).

Evolution uses what is present already. Duh..


[snip]


> For example, consider that the total sequence space of proteins 10aa
> in length is 10,240,000,000,000 - just over 10 trillion potential 10aa
> proteins. The question now is, "How many of these 10 trillion
> potential proteins would be beneficial to a given organism?"
> Certainly not all of them, but perhaps a fairly large ratio would be
> beneficial. Let's say that the ratio is 1 in a million beneficial vs.
> junk sequences.

Justify this estimate. Any why are you labeling any particular
sequence as "benefical" or "junk"? Whether or not it is
beneficial or not depends on the enviroment including the physical
enviroment, biological enviroment, and the other sequences present
in the organism.

There are so many unjustified assumptions here that one does not
know where to begin. You are assuming that everything had to
evolve at once. If that is not assumed you entire argument
falls apart. And there is more. We still have the problem
that you have not justified any of your figures. You also seem
to be assuming that any particular protein or protein complex
is necessary for life.


> And yet, we do have such multi-protein functions and even far higher
> levels of functional complexity in all living things. How are these
> very high levels of functional complexity to be explained if all known
> mindless processes stall out on the lowest rungs of the ladder?


All living things. Why are you assuming that what all living things
living in the here and now have is what the first living things must
have had?

--
Anti-spam: replace "usenet" with "harlequin2"

"...Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all
told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to
his or her opinion. Well, that's horsepuckey, of course. We are not
entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our _informed_ opinions.
Without research, without background, without understanding, it's
nothing. It's just bibble-babble...."
- Harlan Ellison

Sean Pitman

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Oct 30, 2003, 5:30:24 PM10/30/03
to
"Daniel T." <postm...@earthlink.net> wrote in message news:<postmaster-E5777...@news06.west.earthlink.net>...
> seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote:

> > The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of structure
> > or function that go beyond what all known mindless processes are
> > capable of? If they do, then an intelligent cause is the only
> > reasonable option to consider. However, if a mindless process can be
> > found that explains what we see in living things with a fair degree of
> > predictive value, an intelligent cause cannot be adequately proposed
> > in a scientifically significant manner.
>
> Argument from ignorance. Because we don't know how a mindless process
> can do it, it must have been a mindful process.
>
> Surely you must know all the times in the past when man looked as some
> process and thought the above only to later find a mindless process that
> explains things. How does rain fall from the sky? The water can't float
> up because of gravity, so an intelligent being must be carrying the
> water up to the heavens...

Then I suppose that SETI scientists are just wasting their time? If
they find evidence of intelligent life outside of our planet, how will
they know that some unknown mindless process is not responsible? It
all boils down to the weight of evidence that you have available and
understand right now. Mindless processes just don't do certain things
that can be produced with the help of intelligent minds.

If you were to go to the planet Zorg and find a space ship there or
some strange writing on perfectly symmetrical rectangular granite
tablets, would you even stop to think that maybe these phenomena were
the result of some unknown mindless process? If not, why not? No
doubt you would automatically assume design in such a situation, as
anyone would, because you know that mindless processes simply do not
create such objects or functional space ships. You know the limits of
mindless processes as well as the potential of mindful processes. And
you must know something of both processes before you can adequately
detect the intelligence behind a given phenomenon.

This is not an argument from ignorance at all. It is an argument
based on the weight of evidence of something not being able to happen
in one way while it can happen in another way. For example, I predict
that cows will never be able to jump over my house because I know the
potential and limits of cow jumping. If cows ever do jump over my
house, then my theory about the limits of cow jumping will be
disproved. However, until then, my beliefs about the limits of cow
jumping are not based on ignorance, but upon the statistical limits of
what cows have been able to do so far. The same is true for
evolutionary processes. Mindless processes simply haven't been able
to do very much beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity.
Like jumping cows, evolution can jump a little bit up the ladder of
functional complexity, but certainly not more than a few inches up -
relatively speaking . . .

Sean
www.naturalselection.0catch.com

zoe_althrop

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Oct 30, 2003, 5:54:50 PM10/30/03
to
On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 18:52:54 +0000 (UTC),
seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote:

snip>

>I have answered this question so many times already, but here it is
>yet again:

hark the ancient wisdom: "They have ears but do not hear." And "They
put their fingers in their ears to stubbornly keep from hearing."

That is why you have to keep answering the question so many times,
Sean. But your words are not entirely wasted. There are those --
like me -- who will learn from you.

Thanks for giving a perfectly reasonable, SCIENTIFIC, foundation for
an origins perspective that is based on intelligence.

--

zoe

----
zoe

zoe_althrop

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Oct 30, 2003, 6:09:28 PM10/30/03
to
On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 20:16:15 +0000 (UTC), Harlequin <use...@cox.net>
wrote:

snip>

>And your conclusions have nothing to do with the fact that you
>are quite familiar with the fact that windows are manufactured
>and that they have no self-fixing mechanism?

conclusions are always based on what is already known. What do you
want Sean to do, Harlequin, make up stories out of whole cloth? I
think you should stand out of the way with your vain rebuttals and
allow the lurkers to think for themselves.

Sean's post is excellent, but I don't expect you to see it. You're
too dedicated to winning at any cost. In the long run, you will be
the loser.

And, guess what, I refuse to nominate Sean's post for POTM because it
would find itself in poor company, if so chosen. His posts are so
many cuts above the kind of material found in the mindlessly voted
POTM nominations, that it would only demean his work to be found in
such a milieu. Pity.

snip useless rebuttals>

----
zoe

Christopher Denney

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 6:07:35 PM10/30/03
to

> "Daniel T." <postm...@earthlink.net> wrote in message


> news:<postmaster-E5777...@news06.west.earthlink.net>...
>> seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote:
>
>> > The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of
>> > structure or function that go beyond what all known mindless
>> > processes are capable of? If they do, then an intelligent cause is
>> > the only reasonable option to consider. However, if a mindless
>> > process can be found that explains what we see in living things
>> > with a fair degree of predictive value, an intelligent cause cannot
>> > be adequately proposed in a scientifically significant manner.
>>
>> Argument from ignorance. Because we don't know how a mindless process
>> can do it, it must have been a mindful process.
>>
>> Surely you must know all the times in the past when man looked as
>> some process and thought the above only to later find a mindless
>> process that explains things. How does rain fall from the sky? The
>> water can't float up because of gravity, so an intelligent being must
>> be carrying the water up to the heavens...
>
> Then I suppose that SETI scientists are just wasting their time? If
> they find evidence of intelligent life outside of our planet, how will
> they know that some unknown mindless process is not responsible? It
> all boils down to the weight of evidence that you have available and
> understand right now. Mindless processes just don't do certain things
> that can be produced with the help of intelligent minds.

What SETI spends most of it's time doing is listening to radio signals
from all over the sky and looking for patterns that don't seem natural,
so far everything they've found, has been natural.

> If you were to go to the planet Zorg and find a space ship there or
> some strange writing on perfectly symmetrical rectangular granite
> tablets, would you even stop to think that maybe these phenomena were
> the result of some unknown mindless process? If not, why not? No
> doubt you would automatically assume design in such a situation, as
> anyone would, because you know that mindless processes simply do not
> create such objects or functional space ships. You know the limits of
> mindless processes as well as the potential of mindful processes. And
> you must know something of both processes before you can adequately
> detect the intelligence behind a given phenomenon.

Things that look like stuff humans can make is what people usually assume
is man-made. And, in fact, people frequently falsly identify things that
are natural as man made. People's brains are hard-wired to look for
familiar patterens. The fanatic will frequently find that a random
pattern (say a spilled coke) forms the profile of their favorite
deity/rock star, they also think that it's significant for some reason.

Why do you think that (if discovered) an alien artifact would look like
anything humans would design? An alien's brain would [probably]have a
different set of patterns it would look for, that amorphous blob of rock
in orbit around Mars might be an encyclopoedia from Betelgeuse.

> This is not an argument from ignorance at all. It is an argument
> based on the weight of evidence of something not being able to happen
> in one way while it can happen in another way. For example, I predict
> that cows will never be able to jump over my house because I know the
> potential and limits of cow jumping. If cows ever do jump over my
> house, then my theory about the limits of cow jumping will be
> disproved. However, until then, my beliefs about the limits of cow
> jumping are not based on ignorance, but upon the statistical limits of
> what cows have been able to do so far. The same is true for
> evolutionary processes. Mindless processes simply haven't been able
> to do very much beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity.
> Like jumping cows, evolution can jump a little bit up the ladder of
> functional complexity, but certainly not more than a few inches up -
> relatively speaking . . .
>
> Sean
> www.naturalselection.0catch.com
>
>

--
-- Cd -- Christopher Denney
--
The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any
use to oneself. -Oscar Wilde

Joe W Larson

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 6:11:49 PM10/30/03
to
"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:<80d0c26f.03103...@posting.google.com>...

> lfl...@ij.net (Lenny Flank) wrote in message
news:<238b53a4.03102...@posting.google.com>...
...

Sean,

I haven't had time to digest your massive post, I like the level of depth
you've aimed for.

However, I'd like to comment on the logic you and many others are using
regarding proving if something can come about through mindless processes or
not.

Lets say you come from a planet where life is silicon based instead of
carbon based. For this and other geological reasons, diamonds where unknown
on your planet until your species achieved technology capable of making
diamonds in a lab. Quickly they become mass produced and diamonds become a
well known object. Everyone knows that diamonds are produced via technology
in labs by intelligent creatures.

Then you get in a spaceship and visit another solar system. You find a
planet where there are diamonds galore, especially burried deep in rock.
They are lumpy and not well cut but they are definately diamonds. However,
there are no intelligent lifeforms to be found on the planet, perhaps no
life at all, and no archeological evidence of previous civilizations.

Should you assume that some intelligent lifeform visited, sprinkled diamonds
throughout the planet, and left? If someone proposed a process which,
though not directly observable because it takes millions of years, could
produce these diamonds, should you discount that?

Maybe so, but what if you find many many more planets with diamonds but no
other evidence to point towards intelligence, for which the same process can
account for thier formation?


> Obviously mindless processes, such as random mutation and natural
> selection, can give rise to many new structures and even novel
> beneficial functions in living things. But, what is especially
> interesting about these mindless creations is that they are all found
> at the lowest levels of functional complexity - as compared to the
> levels of functional complexity actually found in all living things.
> Absolutely none of the higher levels of functional complexity found in
> living things have been shown to evolve via mindless processes alone -
> period.

But this is precisely what is in despute. Scientists proposed that mindless
processes DO account for the higher level of functional complexity. What do
you think limits the same processes that achieve lower levels of complexity
from compounding into higher levels of complexity?

There is far more to my line of argument than I have time to clearly
express. I'm sure others will assist in rebuttal.

Thanks,

joe w larson
http://www.soundclick.com/joewlarson


Ron Okimoto

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 6:18:36 PM10/30/03
to

Sean Pitman wrote:

> "Daniel T." <postm...@earthlink.net> wrote in message news:<postmaster-E5777...@news06.west.earthlink.net>...
> > seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote:
>

> > > The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of structure
> > > or function that go beyond what all known mindless processes are
> > > capable of? If they do, then an intelligent cause is the only
> > > reasonable option to consider. However, if a mindless process can be
> > > found that explains what we see in living things with a fair degree of
> > > predictive value, an intelligent cause cannot be adequately proposed
> > > in a scientifically significant manner.
> >
> > Argument from ignorance. Because we don't know how a mindless process
> > can do it, it must have been a mindful process.
> >
> > Surely you must know all the times in the past when man looked as some
> > process and thought the above only to later find a mindless process that
> > explains things. How does rain fall from the sky? The water can't float
> > up because of gravity, so an intelligent being must be carrying the
> > water up to the heavens...
>

> Then I suppose that SETI scientists are just wasting their time? If
> they find evidence of intelligent life outside of our planet, how will
> they know that some unknown mindless process is not responsible? It
> all boils down to the weight of evidence that you have available and
> understand right now. Mindless processes just don't do certain things
> that can be produced with the help of intelligent minds.

Demonstrate that ID is like SETI. Once SETI does detect a signal the real work will begin to determine if the signal can be due
to natural processes or not. SETI has some idea of what it is looking for. ID doesn't have a clue. The best that ID has done
in biology would be equivalent to the SETI guys claiming that two pulsars in close proximity sending a regular signal were
placed there by some intelligent agent because that is the only example of the phenomena in the known universe. No one would
believe them, and no one believes the ID guys either. You have to be able to back up your assertions in science. ID never has.

>
>
> If you were to go to the planet Zorg and find a space ship there or
> some strange writing on perfectly symmetrical rectangular granite
> tablets, would you even stop to think that maybe these phenomena were
> the result of some unknown mindless process? If not, why not? No
> doubt you would automatically assume design in such a situation, as
> anyone would, because you know that mindless processes simply do not
> create such objects or functional space ships. You know the limits of
> mindless processes as well as the potential of mindful processes. And
> you must know something of both processes before you can adequately
> detect the intelligence behind a given phenomenon.
>

> This is not an argument from ignorance at all. It is an argument
> based on the weight of evidence of something not being able to happen
> in one way while it can happen in another way. For example, I predict
> that cows will never be able to jump over my house because I know the
> potential and limits of cow jumping. If cows ever do jump over my
> house, then my theory about the limits of cow jumping will be
> disproved. However, until then, my beliefs about the limits of cow
> jumping are not based on ignorance, but upon the statistical limits of
> what cows have been able to do so far. The same is true for
> evolutionary processes. Mindless processes simply haven't been able
> to do very much beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity.
> Like jumping cows, evolution can jump a little bit up the ladder of
> functional complexity, but certainly not more than a few inches up -
> relatively speaking . . .
>
> Sean
> www.naturalselection.0catch.com

If you cut off the leg of a salamander and came back 4 weeks later and found that the salamander had grown back the leg would
you think that your designer had fixed the leg? If you had two salamanders in the tank and came back and you had a lot of
babies would you claim that your designer created them? Your problem is that lifeforms reproduce themselves and they do it
imperfectly so that they have to evolve no matter what. You have been told what is wrong with your broken window analogy, but
you just keep using it. Windows never fix themselves or make new copies of themselves. Lifeforms are not windows.

Not only that, but nothing is broken. The lifeform survives and reproduces some mutations happen and make it possible for the
organism to take advantage of another carbon source and the lifeform takes advantage of the new change. It was perfectly happy
without the new change, it just might be a little happier with it. Evolution is rarely a do or die situation. It is simply
differential reproduction. The organisms without the new mutations could live and survive or they wouldn't have survived to
reproduce. You have to demonstrate that your ignorance of biology is less than your ignorance of what a cow could do before you
can use that cow analogy.

Ron Okimoto


Jon Fleming

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 6:33:46 PM10/30/03
to
On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 23:09:28 +0000 (UTC), muz...@aol.com (zoe_althrop)
wrote:

Yup, rebuttals are useless when directed to you ... your brain is
encased in concrete.

Bobby D. Bryant

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 6:45:04 PM10/30/03
to
On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 18:52:54 +0000, Sean Pitman wrote:

> The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of structure or
> function that go beyond what all known mindless processes are capable
> of?

Congratulations! You just snuck your desired conclusion into your
assumptions!

Condolences! You got caught!


> If they do, then an intelligent cause is the only reasonable option to
> consider. However, if a mindless process can be found that explains
> what we see in living things with a fair degree of predictive value, an
> intelligent cause cannot be adequately proposed in a scientifically
> significant manner.

Well, we *do* have mindless processes as explanations for almost
everything we know about biology, so you've just destroyed you own
argument.

--
Bobby Bryant
Austin, Texas

Sean Pitman

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 6:51:26 PM10/30/03
to
David Jensen <da...@dajensen-family.com> wrote in message news:<2bp2qv890p872ald0...@4ax.com>...

> I've read through the whole thing and no scientific theory of
> intelligent design of organisms is provided here. You _promised_.

I presented a hypothesis with a testable prediction that can be
falsified. By definition, that is a scientific theory.

> >It is possible to test the hypothesis of intelligent design as the
> >origin of any phenomenon in a falsifiable manner.
>
> But you need a hypothesis first.

If you really did read through the whole post before you made this
comment you would know that I did propose a hypothesis. The
observation is the phenomenon of various living organisms. The
hypothesis is that these organisms express levels of functional
complexity of many different kinds that go beyond what any known
mindless process is capable of producing. The falsifiable prediction
is that no mindless process will be able to induce a new function to
develop in any living creature that requires multiple proteins working
together at the same time in a specific orientation (as is found in
all bacterial motility systems and other such multi-protein
functions).

This is most certainly a scientific hypothesis. It is just as
scientific as suggesting that it is impossible for a cow to jump over
my house. It makes a prediction that is experimentally falsifiable in
real time. It is not a test of historical correlation either. It can
be absolutely disproved without question as soon as the first
multi-protein system evolves (like the first cow jumping over my
house).

You evolutionists don't have anything equivalent to this. You have no
predictions that would absolute disprove evolution beyond your
historical correlations. You have no prediction that says, "evolution
will or will not do this or that in the future", which can be tested
in a falsifiable manner. You guys are just too smart to take such a
risk. Evolution is simply too holy of a theory to subject it to an
actual testable prediction with potential falsification.

> >It happens all the
> >time in science. Forensic science and the scientific search for
> >extraterrestrial intelligence are examples that are both based on the
> >idea that the workings of intelligence, not just human intelligence,
> >can be detected in a rational scientific way.
>

> Yes.
>
> <broken window>


>
> >If I find an amorphous rock in lying on the ground, I might quickly
> >assume that a mindless process formed this amorphous rock. However,
> >it is also possible for a human or some other intelligence to have
> >made this amorphous rock since humans are in fact capable of making
> >and have in fact made amorphous rocks before. Again, a mindful
> >process can never be absolutely ruled out when we view a natural
> >mindless phenomenon. However, a mindless process can be absolutely
> >ruled out, beyond any reasonable doubt, when we see certain phenomena
> >that go beyond what mindless processes have ever done or will ever do
> >- even given a practical eternity of time.
>

> But, as you note, no need to automatically invoke an intelligent agent
> is required, since almost all amorphous rocks arise without any
> intelligent agent being involved.

You just don't seem to get the point here. We cannot assume
intelligent design when we find an amorphous rock, but we can when we
find a cut diamond or a Volvo or a fixed window. Do you understand
the differences here? Why is it possible to assume intelligent
activity in one case, but not the other when both phenomena could have
involved an intelligent process? Because, while both processes could
have involved intelligent activity, both processes *could not* have
been produced without intelligent input. It is the limited nature of
mindless processes that makes it possible to detect intelligent
activity behind certain phenomena. Not all phenomena give enough
evidence for an intelligent cause, but many phenomena aren't even
close to anything that mindless processes can do to even wonder about
a mindless cause. The only rational option in such cases, such as a
fixed window, is clearly a mindful cause.

> >So, when one understands the potential and limits of mindless
> >processes in this universe to at least some degree of predictable
> >value, one can reasonably hypothesis an intelligent process when one
> >recognizes that a given phenomenon has gone beyond what mindless
> >processes are capable of.
>

> Only after you know what the limits are of these 'mindless processes'.

Exactly - you seem to understand the point, but you don't want to
grasp the implications.

> >The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of structure
> >or function that go beyond what all known mindless processes are
> >capable of? If they do, then an intelligent cause is the only
> >reasonable option to consider. However, if a mindless process can be
> >found that explains what we see in living things with a fair degree of
> >predictive value, an intelligent cause cannot be adequately proposed
> >in a scientifically significant manner.
> >
> >Obviously, I believe that no mindless process can explain much of what
> >we see in living things.
>

> Your beliefs are not relevant. Nothing in them is related to science. It
> appears that you have managed to dress up 'God of the Gaps' in New Age
> clothing. The evidence does not support your belief.

That, my friend, is your belief. We all have our beliefs and we all
happen to think that the evidence is most clearly in our own favor.
You are no exception. If you think a particular hypothesis or theory
is true, then that is your "belief". The scientific method is all
about figuring out what is most reasonable to believe. Oh, and by the
way, I'm not a "New Ager" at all. In fact, I think the New Age
Movement is completely insane. This is all about science and the
scientific method for me. The God of the Gaps argument just so
happens to be quite an excellent theory with excellent predictive
value and falsification potential.

> >Therefore, the only rational option I have
> >left is to assume an intelligent origin for living things.
>

> Why? You haven't demonstrated that your belief is rational, so drawing
> conclusions from your belief cannot be more rational that the belief you
> hold.

Actually I have demonstrated that it is quite rational in that it
makes falsifiable predictions that carry a very high predictive value,
which I discuss below if you really had read this whole post before
you made this comment. I can and have showed have it becomes more and
more difficult, in an exponential fashion, to evolve novel functions
as one moves up the ladder of functional complexity. This is not just
based on a fanciful notion or a paper theory, but on actual
experimental demonstration. Beyond the level of single protein
functions or simple series of single protein cascading functions, the
power of evolution simply stalls out. There are no examples of any
multi-protein function evolving where all the protein parts work
together at the same time in a specified orientation with each other.
Now isn't that just most interesting?

> >But how,
> >exactly, is my position testable in falsifiable way? The answer is
> >very simple actually. If someone can show a mindless process creating
> >the functional mechanisms that exist in various life forms, my
> >position will be falsified.
>

> So your God of the Gaps belief is true for you until it is proven false.
> That's clear enough for me to understand, and recognize that this
> discussion has nothing to do with science any more.

Then you don't understand how science works. The value of a
scientific hypothesis is based, not on a belief that it is absolutely
true, but upon the predictive value of the hypothesis. The longer my
hypothesis stands as a repeatably testable limit to the powers of
evolution, the more predictive value it builds up and the more
reliable it becomes as a scientific position. Until this position is
proven false, it will continue to build in predictive value and
therefore, scientific believability. It is much like my jumping cows
hypothesis. The longer cows fail to be able to jump higher than white
men, the more predictive value I gain in theorizing that cows will
never be able to jump over my house.

This is all I have time for right now. Maybe more later . . .

Sean
www.naturalselection.0catch.com

C. Thompson

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 7:00:44 PM10/30/03
to

If I traveled across space and found a spaceship not of human design, I
would assume it was a tool made by someone else. If I find a flint axe, I
assume it was made by someone else. Spaceships and stone axes are in one
category.

If I travel to the planet Zorg and find an organism there, however, and it
has something analogous to chromosomes, and that organism (which I will call
a Zyxoid) has chromosome analogs that are similar to those I find in the
Mrblok, then I will probably think the Zyxoid is related somehow to the
Mrblok. There will probably be other compelling evidence, like homologous
structures or identical vestiges of obsolete structures.

Where in all that is any sort of evidence that there was interference by a
supernatural being? Or even yet another natural being?

Chris


Harlequin

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 7:16:00 PM10/30/03
to
muz...@aol.com (zoe_althrop) wrote in news:3fa1981e.270706004@news-
server.cfl.rr.com:

> On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 20:16:15 +0000 (UTC), Harlequin <use...@cox.net>
> wrote:
>
> snip>
>
>>And your conclusions have nothing to do with the fact that you
>>are quite familiar with the fact that windows are manufactured
>>and that they have no self-fixing mechanism?
>
> conclusions are always based on what is already known. What do you
> want Sean to do, Harlequin, make up stories out of whole cloth? I
> think you should stand out of the way with your vain rebuttals and
> allow the lurkers to think for themselves.

Actually this story is Sean making up a story out of whole cloth,
he just does not realize it.

I will make my point a bit stronger: The reason why we conclude
the windows was repaired by an intelligent agent is _only_ based
on what we know about windows and utterly nothing about some
argument about intellgent design.


> Sean's post is excellent, but I don't expect you to see it. You're
> too dedicated to winning at any cost.

I do like to win, but not at any cost. I regularily do critize
the arguments of fellow evolutionists no matter how useful it
might seem. But a more fundamental reply would be:
Pot calls Kettle black.

Zoe, hardly a post of yours goes by without you asking us to utterly
and totally ignoring everyday observation. You give us loads of
reasons why isochrons state set with an age other than zero and
simply and willfully ignore that observations from the field that
newly formed rocks do have an isochron date of zero. One could
go right down the line giving example after example of you
ignoring reality.

But then again why would anyone expect to change your mind? How
long did it take you convince you that one could not divide by
zero. This is something that children are expected to understand
with only brief explaination that is about the simpliest thing
in the world to explain. Arguments about geology, biology, and
astronomy require a great deal of knowledge that you are unwilling
to learn. I will repeat my recomendation to you that you
take time off from online discussion and use it to learn
basic math, basic chemistry, basic physics, basic biology,
and basic geology. Then learn in detail what evolutionary biologists
actually believe. Until you do this you don't have a right
to pontificate on the subject whatsoever.


> In the long run, you will be
> the loser.

I would prefer to be honorably a loser in the long run than to be
a loser a century and half before I was even born because I was
too stuborn or too lazy to bother to learn anything.


> And, guess what, I refuse to nominate Sean's post for POTM because it
> would find itself in poor company, if so chosen. His posts are so
> many cuts above the kind of material found in the mindlessly voted
> POTM nominations, that it would only demean his work to be found in
> such a milieu. Pity.
>
> snip useless rebuttals>

Well one might as well snip everything you have ever written. I
don't even recall you being correct about anything.

Zoe the _only_ reason why you thing that Sean's post is excellent
is that he supports your YEC point of view. (And yes Zoe, you
are a YEC--anyone who thinks life was created less then ten thousand
years ago is by defintion.)

Have you ever read my .sig? It is from a man who did not graduate
college since he got kicked out of it as a Freshman for punching
a windbag of a professor. I disagree with him on many issues,
but not on the basic issue that one should learn about a subject
before pontificating on it and that you don't need some
fancy degree to learn about things (though admittely it helps
alot).

zoe_althrop

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 8:03:04 PM10/30/03
to
On Fri, 31 Oct 2003 00:16:00 +0000 (UTC), Harlequin <use...@cox.net>
wrote:

snip>

>I will make my point a bit stronger: The reason why we conclude


>the windows was repaired by an intelligent agent is _only_ based
>on what we know about windows and utterly nothing about some
>argument about intellgent design.

intelligent design is recognized by what we know of intelligent
design. Repaired windows carry certain hallmarks of intelligent
design that can be applied to other areas not yet pinned down as
intelligent design.

snip>

>Zoe the _only_ reason why you thing that Sean's post is excellent
>is that he supports your YEC point of view. (And yes Zoe, you
>are a YEC--anyone who thinks life was created less then ten thousand
>years ago is by defintion.)

"young life creationist" carries an acronym of YLC. How do you get
YEC out of that -- unless you're simply reaching for what you think is
an insult? Won't work since I do not consider being called a YEC an
insult.

snip>

>"...Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all
>told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to
>his or her opinion. Well, that's horsepuckey, of course. We are not
>entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our _informed_ opinions.
>Without research, without background, without understanding, it's
>nothing. It's just bibble-babble...."

and poor Harlan Ellison seems to think that he knows the standard for
an informed opinion. Unfortunately, HIS opinion is just
bibble-babble...

....beware of who you follow.

----
zoe

Chris Wiswell

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 8:59:38 PM10/30/03
to
"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.03103...@posting.google.com...
> lfl...@ij.net (Lenny Flank) wrote in message
news:<238b53a4.03102...@posting.google.com>...
>
> > What, again, did you say the scientific theory of intelligent design
> > was? How, again, did you say we can test it using the scientific
> > method?
>
>
> I have answered this question so many times already, but here it is
> yet again:
>
> I propose that it is in fact possible to test the hypothesis of
> intelligent design, in a falsifiable manner, when it is suggested as
> an explanation for a given phenomenon. It happens all the time in
> science. Forensic science and the scientific search for
> extraterrestrial intelligence are examples that are both based on the
> idea that the workings of intelligence, not just human intelligence,
> can be detected in a rational scientific way.
>
<snip broken window>

>
> Strangely enough, while mindless processes can break windows fairly
> easily, they never fix them - ever. Of course, intelligent processes
> can do both. The window could have been broken either by a mindless
> or deliberately designed process.

Disagree about unintelligent processes being able to fix a window. If the
purpose of a window is to let people outside a building see in, and the
window is fogged up or overgrown with mold, it is broken. At that point, it
could be fixed by a stray baseball. An unintelligent, random process
(sandlot baseball) could fix a broken window without realizing it.

"Fixed," like "designed," is a property of a thing insofar as someone
attributes a goal or purpose to it. Must be running along, but I would be
very interested in reading some more of the science here (I don't have a
scientific background, but I like the discussion)


Chris Wiswell
--
remove breakfast meat to reply


Harlequin

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 9:26:46 PM10/30/03
to
muz...@aol.com (zoe_althrop) wrote in news:3fa1af36.276618456@news-
server.cfl.rr.com:

> On Fri, 31 Oct 2003 00:16:00 +0000 (UTC), Harlequin <use...@cox.net>
> wrote:
>
> snip>
>
>>I will make my point a bit stronger: The reason why we conclude
>>the windows was repaired by an intelligent agent is _only_ based
>>on what we know about windows and utterly nothing about some
>>argument about intellgent design.
>
> intelligent design is recognized by what we know of intelligent
> design. Repaired windows carry certain hallmarks of intelligent
> design that can be applied to other areas not yet pinned down as
> intelligent design.

Like what? Be specific.

> snip>
>
>>Zoe the _only_ reason why you thing that Sean's post is excellent
>>is that he supports your YEC point of view. (And yes Zoe, you
>>are a YEC--anyone who thinks life was created less then ten thousand
>>years ago is by defintion.)
>
> "young life creationist" carries an acronym of YLC. How do you get
> YEC out of that -- unless you're simply reaching for what you think is
> an insult? Won't work since I do not consider being called a YEC an
> insult.

You are being stupid again. I was not insulting you. I was merely
stateing that the _fact_ that you are a YEC.

> snip>
>
>>"...Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all
>>told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to
>>his or her opinion. Well, that's horsepuckey, of course. We are not
>>entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our _informed_ opinions.
>>Without research, without background, without understanding, it's
>>nothing. It's just bibble-babble...."
>
> and poor Harlan Ellison seems to think that he knows the standard for
> an informed opinion. Unfortunately, HIS opinion is just
> bibble-babble...

Actually he does not. Maybe you should learn something about Mr.
Ellison before critizing him. He thinks that before one starts to
pontificate a subject that one should attempt to learn something
about it.

You are pontificating on math, chemistry, physics, geology,
biology, instrumental analysis, and countless others and yet
in each case you have not made even token cases to educate
yourself on any of these subjects. And at the very least
you should address what is actually observed and let what
is observed take precidence over what is theorized. Your
posts _always_ give your own strange ideas precidence over
observation.


> ....beware of who you follow.

I don't follow Mr. Ellison. As I said, I do have a lot of disagreements
with him. He is a very opinionated man, but a damn good author. And
when I disagree with him it is never because I think he has not
attempted to find about what he is pontificating about. He is
a man who refused to appear on TV to comment on something on grounds
that he was not informed enough on what he was being asked to
discuss for his opinions to carry any weight. And this is from
a man who is not shy about putting his opinions in other peoples
faces. A bit refreshing actually: do the work first and then pontificate...

So to use an analogy that I know he will approve of: when are
you going to get off the world wide teat long enough to lean
the basics of math, chemistry, physics, geology, biology,
etc. that you need to know in order to understand the subjects
which you wish to pontificate on? This means you are going to
have to read some books and lots of them. A bit of traveling
and visiting museums would not hurt either.

I know what I am asking you will take a lot of time and effort.
But it _you_ who choose to debate these issues.

If you want to argue about science on the Internet then it
is you moral responsiblity to lean about science just as
if you want to discuss auto mechanics on the Internet then
it would be your moral responsiblity to learn about cars.

--
Anti-spam: replace "usenet" with "harlequin2"

"...Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all

told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to
his or her opinion. Well, that's horsepuckey, of course. We are not
entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our _informed_ opinions.
Without research, without background, without understanding, it's
nothing. It's just bibble-babble...."

- Harlan Ellison

Lenny Flank

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 10:04:29 PM10/30/03
to
muz...@aol.com (zoe_althrop) wrote in message news:<3fa1981e....@news-server.cfl.rr.com>...

> On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 20:16:15 +0000 (UTC), Harlequin <use...@cox.net>
> wrote:
>
> snip>
>
> >And your conclusions have nothing to do with the fact that you
> >are quite familiar with the fact that windows are manufactured
> >and that they have no self-fixing mechanism?
>
> conclusions are always based on what is already known. What do you
> want Sean to do, Harlequin, make up stories out of whole cloth?


I expect him to give us a scientific theory of intelligent design and
then apply the scientific method to it.

But he won't. He can't. There isn't any. <shrug>

Neither can YOU, Zoe.


===============================================
Lenny Flank
"There are no loose threads in the web of life"

Creation "Science" Debunked:
http://www.geocities.com/lflank

DebunkCreation Email list:
http://www.groups.yahoo/group/DebunkCreation

Boikat

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 10:15:22 PM10/30/03
to

"zoe_althrop" <muz...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:3fa1af36....@news-server.cfl.rr.com...

> On Fri, 31 Oct 2003 00:16:00 +0000 (UTC), Harlequin <use...@cox.net>
> wrote:
>
> snip>
>
> >I will make my point a bit stronger: The reason why we conclude
> >the windows was repaired by an intelligent agent is _only_ based
> >on what we know about windows and utterly nothing about some
> >argument about intellgent design.
>
> intelligent design is recognized by what we know of intelligent
> design. Repaired windows carry certain hallmarks of intelligent
> design that can be applied to other areas not yet pinned down as
> intelligent design.

Then how do you know the "not yet pinned down" subject is "intelligently
designed"? Sounds like "God/Alien of the gaps.based upon incredulity"

<snip>

Boikat

Bobby D. Bryant

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 10:24:42 PM10/30/03
to
On Fri, 31 Oct 2003 01:03:04 +0000, zoe_althrop wrote:

> On Fri, 31 Oct 2003 00:16:00 +0000 (UTC), Harlequin <use...@cox.net>
> wrote:
>
> snip>
>
>> I will make my point a bit stronger: The reason why we conclude the
>> windows was repaired by an intelligent agent is _only_ based on what we
>> know about windows and utterly nothing about some argument about
>> intellgent design.
>
> intelligent design is recognized by what we know of intelligent design.
> Repaired windows carry certain hallmarks of intelligent design that can
> be applied to other areas not yet pinned down as intelligent design.

So what exactly are those hallmarks, and are they subject to either false
positives or false negatives?

I.e., can you take this past the handwavy stage?

Dan Luke

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 10:49:15 PM10/30/03
to
"zoe_althrop" wrote:
> What do you want Sean to do, Harlequin, make up stories out of
> whole cloth? I think you should stand out of the way with your
> vain rebuttals and allow the lurkers to think for themselves.

Your solicitude is comforting, but this lurker recognized Sean's
"stories" as the same tired, old arguments from ignorance and
incredulity. Harlequin's rebuttal wasn't a factor in that easy
conclusion.

> Sean's post is excellent,

Sean's post is a load of twaddle.
--
Dan


Dan Luke

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 10:54:34 PM10/30/03
to
"zoe_althrop" wrote:
>"They put their fingers in their ears to stubbornly keep
> from hearing."

This from the most obstinately stone-deaf poster in T.O.
--
Dan


Steven J.

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 11:37:16 PM10/30/03
to

"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.03103...@posting.google.com...
> lfl...@ij.net (Lenny Flank) wrote in message
news:<238b53a4.03102...@posting.google.com>...
>
> > What, again, did you say the scientific theory of intelligent design
> > was? How, again, did you say we can test it using the scientific
> > method?
>
>
> I have answered this question so many times already, but here it is
> yet again:
>
My answer also lacks the virtue of originality (even within this thread),
but here *it* is yet again:

>
> I propose that it is in fact possible to test the hypothesis of
> intelligent design, in a falsifiable manner, when it is suggested as
> an explanation for a given phenomenon. It happens all the time in
> science. Forensic science and the scientific search for
> extraterrestrial intelligence are examples that are both based on the
> idea that the workings of intelligence, not just human intelligence,
> can be detected in a rational scientific way.
>
Yes, but both forensic science and SETI assume that intelligence agency can
be recognized by the similarity between its effects, and those of known
intelligent designers. Forensic science does not work simply by noting that
given effects are unlikely, or not known to be possible at all, by unguided
mechanisms, but rather by noting that methods available to human beings, and
wielded for human motives, will produce these effects. SETI assumes that
extraterrestrial intelligences will share the technological capabilities and
scientific assumptions of humans who wish to communicate across interstellar
distances -- and look for the sort of signals humans would send to other
stars.

It is relevant, given this, that life does not look like something humans
would design, even if they had the ability to design it. Human artifacts
don't fall into neat nested hierarchies. Humans cross-copy innovations into
many unrelated designs, rather than limiting all improvements to one design
to modifications of features in previous designs. Humans, if they know how
to design a component to perform a task, don't make do with rudimentary
components: e.g. downgraded (vestigial) forms of something designed for a
different purpose, or clearly imperfect versions of some design which
already exists elsewhere in completed form (e.g. the gliding membranes of
flying squirrels compared to the wings of bats).


>
> For example, let's say that I walk by a house with a broken window in
> the morning and then when I walk by that house again in the afternoon
> I notice that the window is fixed. What is the most rational
> assumption I can make to explain how the window got fixed?
> Intuitively we all know by experience that the only rational
> assumption once can make is to implore the workings of an intelligent
> mind - most likely a human mind in this case. But why is this?
>

This is because we are familiar with glaziers -- a specific class of
intelligent agent that fixes or replaces windows for a living. It's exactly
on a par with observing puddles on the ground, and inferring rain: we're
familiar with a cause that produces that effect. There's no need to
speculate about unknown possible causes, since there is a *known* cause that
can produce the effect. If we become familiar with another cause that
produces the same effect, then we can start to wonder whether our first
inference was correct.


>
> Imagine now that I walk by this same house the next day and I see that
> the fixed window is broken again. Is it as easy to assume a mindful
> process this time as a cause for the broken window? No, it isn't.
> But why isn't an automatic assumption of deliberate, intelligent cause
> an automatic default as it was when we saw the broken window get
> fixed? Because, we all know by experience that mindless processes are
> actually quite capably of breaking a window. In fact, it happens
> fairly often.
>
> Strangely enough, while mindless processes can break windows fairly
> easily, they never fix them - ever. Of course, intelligent processes
> can do both. The window could have been broken either by a mindless
> or deliberately designed process. So, it is harder to know the cause
> of a broken window that it is to know the cause of a fixed window.
> This is *not* because we know that humans are capable of fixing
> windows. This is not enough. Humans are also capable of breaking
> windows and yet we do not automatically assume an intelligent cause
> just because we know that a human is in fact capable of such an act.
> No, we must have more knowledge than this before we can adequately
> assume and intelligent cause for a given phenomenon. We must also
> have an understanding of the potential and limits of what mindless
> processes can do.
>

But we do *not* know that mindless processes cannot fix windows. We know we
have never observed them to do so -- but I submit that that is *not* the
ground on which we conclude that only intelligent agents fix windows. For
that, we need a separate observation: that humans *do* fix windows. If we'd
never seen any mechanism or agent repair a window (or mirror, glass table,
etc.) I submit that we might be at an utter loss to explain a fixed window.
It does no good to blithely invoke "the potential and limits of what
mindless processes can do," since we hardly have an exhaustive knowledge of
all the mindless processes in nature. We don't *know* the limits of what
mindless processes can do -- and we've been surprised before by what they
can do (who'd have believed compasses, who'd never heard of lodestones?).


>
> If I find an amorphous rock in lying on the ground, I might quickly
> assume that a mindless process formed this amorphous rock. However,
> it is also possible for a human or some other intelligence to have
> made this amorphous rock since humans are in fact capable of making
> and have in fact made amorphous rocks before. Again, a mindful
> process can never be absolutely ruled out when we view a natural
> mindless phenomenon. However, a mindless process can be absolutely
> ruled out, beyond any reasonable doubt, when we see certain phenomena
> that go beyond what mindless processes have ever done or will ever do
> - even given a practical eternity of time.
>

Given that you haven't *had* a practical eternity of time -- given that the
entire human race with its accumulated observations hasn't had an eternity
of time, or that wide a subset of the universe to examine -- it might be a
bit premature to issue ex cathedra pronouncements on what goes beyond what
mindless processes have ever done. Indeed, if you want to get picky, we've
never seen *any* process or agent create a living organism out of the dust
of the ground, or form a new species except by modifying a known one. We've
never seen new genes originate, except by mutations of older genes. Shall
we therefore conclude that we can rule out, beyond a reasonable doubt, that
intelligent processes can create living things _de novo_?


>
> So, when one understands the potential and limits of mindless
> processes in this universe to at least some degree of predictable
> value, one can reasonably hypothesis an intelligent process when one
> recognizes that a given phenomenon has gone beyond what mindless
> processes are capable of.
>

To hypothesize an intelligent process is to make some testable (i.e.
falsifiable) statement about it. If you wish to posit an intelligent
designer as the cause of any feature of life, what observations would
falsify that hypothesis? For that matter, what observations would confirm
it? It seems to me that a "hypothesis" about an intelligent designer must
say something testable about the motives, methods, and design preferences of
the Designer. Of course, it seems to me that if one can do that, one
doesn't need to issue declarations about what mindless processes are capable
of (which, given the present incomplete state of scientific knowledge, we
just don't know). We simply need to show that a given phenomenon has
features that reflect the motives, methods, and design values of the
hypothesized designer.


>
> The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of structure
> or function that go beyond what all known mindless processes are
> capable of? If they do, then an intelligent cause is the only
> reasonable option to consider. However, if a mindless process can be
> found that explains what we see in living things with a fair degree of
> predictive value, an intelligent cause cannot be adequately proposed
> in a scientifically significant manner.
>

I notice (did you not notice it yourself?) that you don't require that
anyone show that the intelligent cause be shown to be capable of producing
the given structure or function, or that the intelligent causes explain them
"with a fair degree of predictive value." You are using "intelligent cause"
as a pure _virtus dormitiva_, a set of words waved like a magic wand and
treated like an "explanation" when it's really just "unknown cause" under a
new name.

Again, I think you have it precisely backwards. If an intelligent cause can
be shown capable of producing an effect, and can explain that effect with "a
fair degree of predictive value," it can be "adequately proposed" as an
explanation even if unintelligent causes have equal explanatory power. Of
course, then you would have to find some further tests to discriminate
between them -- but having to choose between alternate explanations is
hardly a novel situation in science. Any medical examiner must be familiar
with cases where he has to wonder if the dent in the deceased's skull was
made by falling debris or a swung club. But if there is no way to test the
"intelligent cause hypothesis" except ruling out *every possible known and
unknown mindless cause (and all their combinations) in the universe," then,
again, proposing "intelligent design" tells you nothing except that you
don't know the cause, and don't wish to admit ignorance.


>
> Obviously, I believe that no mindless process can explain much of what
> we see in living things. Therefore, the only rational option I have
> left is to assume an intelligent origin for living things. But how,
> exactly, is my position testable in falsifiable way? The answer is
> very simple actually. If someone can show a mindless process creating
> the functional mechanisms that exist in various life forms, my
> position will be falsified. Of course, you will come back and say
> that there are many structures and functions in living things that can
> and have been evolved with mindless processes in laboratory in real
> time. Of course, I would agree with you. Ah ha! My position has
> obviously been falsified - hasn't it? Not so fast.
>

*shrug* I maintain that complex structures in living things are actually
caused by the actions of Berthold Rays emanating from space. Granted, I
have no actual evidence that Berthold Rays exist, nor any particular notion
of their nature or *how* the create the structures of living things, but
given that we have not seen *either* mindless processes other than Berthold
Rays create the functional mechanisms of life, nor seen any intelligent
designer do so, that clearly Berthold Rays are the only reasonable
hypothesis. The only way to falsify the Berthold Ray Hypothesis would be to
either demonstrate some other mindless process creating life, or showing an
intelligent agent "poofing" life into existence.

Actually, your suggestion that if mindless processes could create the
functional structures of life, it would falsify intelligent design, is
precisely on a par with saying that, if I can show that hailstorms, or
winds, can break windows, I can falsify the hypothesis that a given window
was broken by an intelligent agent. Conversely, the failure to demonstrate
any particular unintelligent agent is responsible is not going to
demonstrate that your neighbor's kid is the culprit -- you need actual
evidence against him, specifically.


>
> There are many aspects of designed objects and systems that can also
> be achieved by mindless process and yet the object or system as a
> whole cannot be produced by any mindless process. For example,
> mindless processes can produce glass, but they cannot fix a glass
> window. Mindless processes can produce facets on a diamond, but they
> cannot make the symmetry of a cut diamond. Likewise, mindless
> processes have been known to produce certain amino acids and other
> building blocks that are used to make living things. But this does
> not necessarily mean that mindless processes are therefore equally
> capable of putting these building blocks together to form the higher
> and higher levels of complexity found in living things.
>

Mindless processes *can* create the symmetry of salt crystals. And I note
(and congratulate you on your honesty) that you don't actually declare that
we know that mindless process can't organize the building blocks of life
into actual life.


>
> Obviously mindless processes, such as random mutation and natural
> selection, can give rise to many new structures and even novel
> beneficial functions in living things. But, what is especially
> interesting about these mindless creations is that they are all found
> at the lowest levels of functional complexity - as compared to the
> levels of functional complexity actually found in all living things.
> Absolutely none of the higher levels of functional complexity found in
> living things have been shown to evolve via mindless processes alone -
> period. This observation is repeatably testable and carries a very
> high predictive value. The limits and relative time required to
> mindlessly evolve beyond a particular level of functional complexity
> can be fairly accurately determined with extraordinary predictive
> value. So where, exactly, would I propose placing these limits?
>

In other words, if you've observed people walking and running, but never
observed them for more than a few seconds, you'll naturally assume that
humans cannot walk or run for even one mile, much less twenty. We've never
observed an eye, or a wing, evolve in the lab, before the grant money ran
out. While irreducibly complex biochemical systems have evolved in the lab,
they are very simple systems; no one has ever shown that these same
processes, carried out for millions of years (i.e. millions of years longer
than anyone's actually watched), could produce more complex processes. This
seems to me to fall rather short of a demonstration that observed processes
of mutation and natural selection *cannot* produce such changes, given
enough time.


>
> Before I discuss my own theorized limits to what evolution can do, I
> would like to ask what falsifiable prediction that evolutionists make
> concerning the genetic mechanism of evolution? The mechanism of
> random mutation and natural selection is supposed to be the driving
> force behind the evolution of every novel function at all levels of
> functional complexity that we see in living things. What testable
> prediction supports such a mechanism as the driving force for
> evolution? Can you or anyone else that you know of make a falsifiable
> prediction that proposes what, exactly, such a mechanism can create in
> the future and when, if ever, such a creation may be expected to be
> realized? No one has seemed able to put themselves out on the line in
> regards to such a falsifiable prediction. In answer to this challenge
> I have received many historically assumed correlations, but no
> futuristic prediction concerning the mechanism of evolution. It seems
> to me then that evolutionists like to chide IDists and creationists
> about moving their goalposts, while evolutionists themselves have no
> goalposts to begin with. Your theory concerning the very mechanism of
> evolution is simply not testable in a falsifiable way, or at least I
> have yet to hear of any such falsifiable position. On the other hand,
> my position is very prone to falsification with the use of real time
> experiments.
>

You seem to misunderstand the use of "prediction" in regards to testing
theories. Now, I would suppose it ought to be possible to predict, in some
cases, what sorts of structures might evolve by mutation and natural
selection, but I suppose that in the foreseeable future they would be very
simple structures in a limited number of cases. Besides, surely the
question is not, what will natural selection produce in the future, but
could it produce, in the past, what we see around us today? The mechanisms
of the modern synthesis could be falsified if the construction of any actual
structure could be shown to require a type of mutation that could not occur
(e.g. if gene duplications did not occur, any evolutionary sequence that
required an increase in the number of genes would be impossible for known
mechanisms). If all mutations in fact were harmful, that would falsify the
mechanism. If genetic variations did not correlate with reproductive
success, that would falsify the mechanism.


>
> Consider that very simple functions, such as de novo antibiotic
> resistance and other such functions, that are based on the
> interference with or destruction of a pre-established function or
> interaction, can be evolved by just about any life form in short order
> and with a relatively small population. However, not all life forms
> or even large colonies of certain life forms can evolve certain
> functions that are based only on relatively short single proteins.
> They just don't seem to have what it takes to evolve such functions
> given what they have. Experimental biologists, such as Barry Hall,
> have described such unfortunate life forms as having, "limited
> evolutionary potential". However, there are certain other fairly rare
> life forms that have evolved various single protein functions - almost
> always with the use of one or two point mutations to a pre-existing
> genetic sequence (perhaps as high as 2 to 6 neutral point mutations
> for the chloroquine resistance function in the malaria parasite).
>

All life forms have limited evolutionary potential. Given the biochemical
and morphological structures with which one starts, and the constraints of
any plausible environment, there are evolutionary directions one simply
can't take. That does not imply that progress in all directions is equally
constrained.


>
> Already we are starting to see the limits of what mindless processes
> can do as we climb up just a short distance on the ladder of
> functional complexity. What is really interesting, however, is that
> beyond the level of single protein functions, or series of single
> protein functions, to the level of multi-protein functions, there
> simply are no examples of evolution at all - period. Of course, I
> will be asked what I mean by a multi-protein function since many
> evolutionists in this forum seem to get confused over what a
> multi-protein function is. So, I will define it again here. A
> multi-protein function is a where multiple proteins are require to
> work together at the same time in a specific orientation with the
> other protein parts. Examples of such levels of multi-protein
> functional complexity can be found in bacterial motility systems and
> the like.
>

Again, you seem to be assuming that if something can't be shown to evolve
before the grant money runs out, ther is some intrinsic barrier to it
evolving at all, no matter how much time is available.

I *think* what you're saying here is that natural selection can't select a
mutation on the grounds that, while it's useless here and now, when some
other mutation (to the same or a different gene) is added to it, the
combination will be useful. This is correct, as I understand it. Is it
relevant? Are there any actual biochemical systems for which you can
demonstrate that something like this would have to happen?

You seem to be working under a model by which living organisms construct new
proteins _de novo_, by randomly stringing together amino acids to construct
new proteins (if that's *not* the model you're suggesting, then I can't
figure out what you *are* suggesting). This is not, of course, a
"Darwinian" model at all; once life actually gets started, virtually all new
proteins originate as modifications of older proteins (actually, the only
alternative that springs to mind is frame-shift mutations; that some of
these have been beneficial, or at least harmless, suggests that the ratio of
useful proteins to useless ones may be larger than you suspect).

For what it's worth, proteins tend to have some sections that are chemically
active, in which modifications tend to have significant effect on their
function, and other sections (like the handle of a tool) that can vary much
more with slight effects on function. Note, also, that many genes and
proteins are recognizably similar in humans and bacteria. It isn't a matter
of "randomly walking" across huge stretches of genetic space. The genes
simply don't seem to have changed that much.


>
> And yet, we do have such multi-protein functions and even far higher
> levels of functional complexity in all living things. How are these
> very high levels of functional complexity to be explained if all known
> mindless processes stall out on the lowest rungs of the ladder?
>

You have not demonstrated that they do.
>
> Sean
> www.naturalselection.0catch.com
>
-- Steven J.


Lane Lewis

unread,
Oct 30, 2003, 11:56:04 PM10/30/03
to

"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.03103...@posting.google.com...
<snip>
> Sean
> www.naturalselection.0catch.com


Fixing a window is not an unnatural act just as a bird fixing its nest
is not unnatural. We are animals and we do things like that. Nature makes us
that way not something metaphysical (remember William of Ockham). If your
premise rest on the idea that fixing a window is unnatural then you need to
scrap it.

When you substitute the term "mindless processes" for the correct term
of natural processes you come off as spouting "mindless" creationist
propaganda and not worthy of scientific debate as the correct terminology is
essential in any discussion. Try substituting "mindless processes" with
"natural processes" and see if your post reads the same.

Seti is not looking for an "Intelligent designer" and never was, it is
in fact looking for natural processes that form in nature just like us. It
never has or had the intention of looking for something metaphysical and
probably wouldn't be able to detect it with the equipment that it has. No
one at this point has ever devised a device that is known to detect the
metaphysical.

Now if you want to form a scientific theory of ID find some evidence of
something that is formed by an IDer, not something that you have no idea how
it was formed. Then and only then will you have a scientific theory.

Lane

Dana Tweedy

unread,
Oct 31, 2003, 12:27:49 AM10/31/03
to

"zoe_althrop" <muz...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:3fa1958c....@news-server.cfl.rr.com...

> On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 18:52:54 +0000 (UTC),
> seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote:
>
> snip>
>
> >I have answered this question so many times already, but here it is
> >yet again:
>
> hark the ancient wisdom: "They have ears but do not hear." And "They
> put their fingers in their ears to stubbornly keep from hearing."

Was anyone else's Irony Meter slagged by this comment from Zoe?


DJT


us...@example.com

unread,
Oct 31, 2003, 1:00:09 AM10/31/03
to
seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote:

>lfl...@ij.net (Lenny Flank) wrote in message news:<238b53a4.03102...@posting.google.com>...
>
>> What, again, did you say the scientific theory of intelligent design
>> was? How, again, did you say we can test it using the scientific
>> method?
>
>
>I have answered this question so many times already, but here it is
>yet again:

<snip>

That sure was a long way of saying "I can't believe it's not butter!"

Bobby D. Bryant

unread,
Oct 31, 2003, 1:22:28 AM10/31/03
to
On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 23:18:36 +0000, Ron Okimoto wrote:

>> Then I suppose that SETI scientists are just wasting their time? If
>> they find evidence of intelligent life outside of our planet, how will
>> they know that some unknown mindless process is not responsible? It
>> all boils down to the weight of evidence that you have available and
>> understand right now. Mindless processes just don't do certain things
>> that can be produced with the help of intelligent minds.
>
> Demonstrate that ID is like SETI. Once SETI does detect a signal the
> real work will begin to determine if the signal can be due to natural
> processes or not. SETI has some idea of what it is looking for. ID
> doesn't have a clue. The best that ID has done in biology would be
> equivalent to the SETI guys claiming that two pulsars in close proximity
> sending a regular signal were placed there by some intelligent agent
> because that is the only example of the phenomena in the known universe.
> No one would believe them, and no one believes the ID guys either. You
> have to be able to back up your assertions in science. ID never has.

As usual, evolution deniers have SETI exactly backwards. The SETI program
assumes that *if* aliens exist and *if* they have a technology somewhat
like ours and *if* they use it somewhat like we do, *then* we should be
able to detect it. IDologists take familiar phenomena that are *nothing*
like what we make and conclude that some agent of completely unknown or
unbounded capabilities caused the phenomena, and pretend that they are
simply doing what the SETI researchers are doing.

And of course, they only do it for evolution denial. Even IDologists
aren't foolish enough to try to get any *useful* research out of such
silly malanalogies.


> If you cut off the leg of a salamander and came back 4 weeks later and
> found that the salamander had grown back the leg would you think that
> your designer had fixed the leg?

LoL.

us...@example.com

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Oct 31, 2003, 1:35:38 AM10/31/03
to
seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote:

>David Jensen <da...@dajensen-family.com> wrote in message news:<2bp2qv890p872ald0...@4ax.com>...

>> But you need a hypothesis first.

>hypothesis is that these organisms express levels of functional


>complexity of many different kinds that go beyond what any known
>mindless process is capable of producing.

Well, that's your null hypothesis, and it has been soundly and
thoroughly rejected for a long time now. Indeed, what functional
complexity can't be adequately explained as the product of mindless
processes? Don't forget that scientists already spent centuries trying
to fit a creator into their observations. In the end, it just didn't
work.

>This is most certainly a scientific hypothesis. It is just as
>scientific as suggesting that it is impossible for a cow to jump over
>my house. It makes a prediction that is experimentally falsifiable in
>real time. It is not a test of historical correlation either. It can
>be absolutely disproved without question as soon as the first
>multi-protein system evolves

Of course, evolution could be disproved without question as soon as your
Intelligent Designer stood up and testified as to his whereabouts on the
morning of October 28, 4004 BC.

>You just don't seem to get the point here. We cannot assume
>intelligent design when we find an amorphous rock, but we can when we
>find a cut diamond or a Volvo or a fixed window. Do you understand
>the differences here? Why is it possible to assume intelligent
>activity in one case, but not the other when both phenomena could have
>involved an intelligent process?

Because WE ALREADY KNOW that the cut diamond, the Volvo, and the window
are manmade. If we didn't, we might guess right, and we might guess
wrong. There is no reliable test for design when faced with unknown
objects.

>have involved intelligent activity, both processes *could not* have
>been produced without intelligent input. It is the limited nature of
>mindless processes that makes it possible to detect intelligent
>activity behind certain phenomena. Not all phenomena give enough
>evidence for an intelligent cause, but many phenomena aren't even
>close to anything that mindless processes can do to even wonder about
>a mindless cause. The only rational option in such cases, such as a
>fixed window, is clearly a mindful cause.

Speaking of fixed windows, people who have never seen glass don't
recognize it as manufactured.

Chris Ho-Stuart

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Oct 31, 2003, 2:27:53 AM10/31/03
to

Frankly, I think you've been hoodwinked. Sean has pulled a fast
one on you. It was probably not deliberate; just silly and naive.

I am inclined to agree that random processes will not fix a
window. That is because windows are nothing like organisms.

We observe living things grow. They have parents. They have
lineages. They spontaneouly mutate and pass on the changes
to children. The changes can be adaptive; they can *fix* an
organism to be better suited to its environment. This all goes
on, before our eyes, right now. As well, the geological signs
are unambigous that life has existed continuously on Earth
for hundreds of millions of years; billions, in fact. It is
seen to have existed in many forms that vary from era to era
but retain clear relationships with each other.

None of this is even remotely like any designed artifact.

The window analogy is ridulous. The comparison with designed
artificats is unjustified, but far more of a problem is the
total failure to even *attempt* to represent in these
ridiulous analogies the remarkable distinguising characteristics
of living things.

The window analogy is used to try and suggest that there should
be some default presumption (in the absence of other evidence)
that there was an abrupt slice across living lineages, with
the intervention of a supernatural God (coyly hidden behind
the transparent term "intelligent designer"). On the other
hand, evolutionarty models based on the phenomena we see here
and now and rejected on the basis of an impossibly precise
predictions (how come we never see any of these clowns using
the same techniques to refute meteorology?) which are more
than a little stawmen in any case.

Even if we knew *nothing* of genes and mutations and selections,
the simple fact of the uniquely distinguishing characteristics
of living things... growth, birth, reproduction, lineage,
change, deep deep time, etc... means that the default
presumption should be that living things form by something
related to their growth.

Chris

H,R.Gruemm

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Oct 31, 2003, 3:44:27 AM10/31/03
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seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote in message news:<80d0c26f.03103...@posting.google.com>...

> David Jensen <da...@dajensen-family.com> wrote in message news:<2bp2qv890p872ald0...@4ax.com>...
>
> > I've read through the whole thing and no scientific theory of
> > intelligent design of organisms is provided here. You _promised_.
>
> I presented a hypothesis with a testable prediction that can be
> falsified. By definition, that is a scientific theory.
>
> > >It is possible to test the hypothesis of intelligent design as the
> > >origin of any phenomenon in a falsifiable manner.
> >
> > But you need a hypothesis first.
>
> If you really did read through the whole post before you made this
> comment you would know that I did propose a hypothesis. The
> observation is the phenomenon of various living organisms. The
> hypothesis is that these organisms express levels of functional
> complexity of many different kinds that go beyond what any known
> mindless process is capable of producing. The falsifiable prediction
> is that no mindless process will be able to induce a new function to
> develop in any living creature that requires multiple proteins working
> together at the same time in a specific orientation (as is found in
> all bacterial motility systems and other such multi-protein
> functions).

And how would you actually test this hypothesis, except by looking
through all mindless processes (you'll need a list of those) and
waiting 4 billion years ?

> This is most certainly a scientific hypothesis. It is just as
> scientific as suggesting that it is impossible for a cow to jump over
> my house. It makes a prediction that is experimentally falsifiable in
> real time.

Unless you know *all* mindless processes and their results in *all*
conditions and in all time frames, it is not.

It is not a test of historical correlation either. It can
> be absolutely disproved without question as soon as the first
> multi-protein system evolves (like the first cow jumping over my
> house).

How long are you willing to wait ?


> You evolutionists don't have anything equivalent to this. You have no
> predictions that would absolute disprove evolution beyond your
> historical correlations. You have no prediction that says, "evolution
> will or will not do this or that in the future", which can be tested
> in a falsifiable manner. You guys are just too smart to take such a
> risk. Evolution is simply too holy of a theory to subject it to an
> actual testable prediction with potential falsification.

Ridiculous.
Prediction: we will never see a mammal with an avian beak and insect
eyes.

Prediction: if we classify species according to some yet unsequenced
genes, essentially the same nested hierarchy will appear.

Come on. You are assuming your conclusion: that mindless processes are
limited. From what we actually observe, we should rather conclude that
intelligent processes are limited. We have never observed that an
intelligent process has produced a volcano, a supernova or a living
cell. Thus if we can draw any scientific conclusion from evidence at
all, it would be that in our universe life is *too complex* to be
produced by intelligent processes.

<snip rest>

Regards,
HRG.

David Jensen

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Oct 31, 2003, 8:27:52 AM10/31/03
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In talk.origins, "tre...@sirius.com.no.more" <us...@example.com> wrote in
<oou3qvo2aa2j8nkru...@news.supernews.com>:
...

>Speaking of fixed windows, people who have never seen glass don't
>recognize it as manufactured.

Not all glass is manufactured, is it?

Lane Lewis

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Oct 31, 2003, 9:06:57 AM10/31/03
to

"zoe_althrop" <muz...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:3fa1958c....@news-server.cfl.rr.com...
> On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 18:52:54 +0000 (UTC),
> seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote:
>
> snip>
>
> >I have answered this question so many times already, but here it is
> >yet again:
>
> hark the ancient wisdom: "They have ears but do not hear." And "They
> put their fingers in their ears to stubbornly keep from hearing."
>
> That is why you have to keep answering the question so many times,
> Sean. But your words are not entirely wasted. There are those --
> like me -- who will learn from you.
>
> Thanks for giving a perfectly reasonable, SCIENTIFIC, foundation for
> an origins perspective that is based on intelligence.
>
> --
>
> zoe
snip

Our ears are just fine, were just waiting for the evidence, not Sean's
idea on why there must be an ID. Without any scientific evidence his post
remains nothing more than a sermon that we all heard before.

What would constitute scientific evidence? Something made by an ID not
something he thinks was made by an ID. We know that there is a natural world
and that life could have formed from that natural world. We have no evidence
of anything else and until there is evidence of something else there just
can be no scientific theory of creation or an ID.

Lane


AR

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Oct 31, 2003, 12:46:45 PM10/31/03
to

Sean Pitman wrote:

> lfl...@ij.net (Lenny Flank) wrote in message news:<238b53a4.03102...@posting.google.com>...
>
> > What, again, did you say the scientific theory of intelligent design
> > was? How, again, did you say we can test it using the scientific
> > method?
>

> I have answered this question so many times already, but here it is
> yet again:
>

> I propose that it is in fact possible to test the hypothesis of
> intelligent design, in a falsifiable manner, when it is suggested as

> an explanation for a given phenomenon. It happens all the time in


> science. Forensic science and the scientific search for
> extraterrestrial intelligence are examples that are both based on the
> idea that the workings of intelligence, not just human intelligence,
> can be detected in a rational scientific way.
>

> For example, let's say that I walk by a house with a broken window in
> the morning and then when I walk by that house again in the afternoon
> I notice that the window is fixed. What is the most rational
> assumption I can make to explain how the window got fixed?
> Intuitively we all know by experience that the only rational
> assumption once can make is to implore the workings of an intelligent
> mind - most likely a human mind in this case. But why is this?

You're fudging a little on the answer you give to the "why"? The situation
you define has not been defined accurately. What you really have is this:
As far as we know only humans make windows. If I find a window
somewhere then I know that a human has made it. You then go on
to try to argue that:

> So, when one understands the potential and limits of mindless
> processes in this universe to at least some degree of predictable
> value, one can reasonably hypothesis an intelligent process when one
> recognizes that a given phenomenon has gone beyond what mindless
> processes are capable of.

This is an intersting perspective, but not legitimate. Nevertheless
let's go with it. We see the simple things that creatures on Earth
can make (glass, cars, holes in the ground, weeds piled together
to make nests, etc.). We know that no creature on Earth has
made something as complex, large, or powerful as our Sun, our
solar system, the Earth, comets, bacteria, birds, mamals etc. Thus,
according to your "logic", mind-based processes seem to be able
to make simple puny things, and the most impressive things in our
"universe" are made by mindless processes. Thus, if we wonder
whether something was made by a creature on Earth or a mindless
process, we simply need to ask ourselves, is it really impressive,
or not so impressive. If "really impressive" then it was made by
a mindless process.

> The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of structure
> or function that go beyond what all known mindless processes are
> capable of? If they do, then an intelligent cause is the only
> reasonable option to consider.

Quite the contrary. Living things go far beyond!! anything that an
intelligent creature has created, yet we know of objects (the Sun
etc.) that mindlessness has created, which go far beyond what
any intelligence has ever created.

> However, if a mindless process can be
> found that explains what we see in living things with a fair degree of
> predictive value, an intelligent cause cannot be adequately proposed
> in a scientifically significant manner.

Your own twisted thinking must conclude that a mindless process
created life.

> Obviously, I believe that no mindless process can explain much of what
> we see in living things.

Now you're contradicting your own weird arguments. Tell me of something
a creature on Earth has created that is even on the same order of
magnitude as the Sun, the Earth, a bacteria, a bird . . . . No, you've
laid out an argument for mindless creation of the most impressive things
that we know of.

> Sean
> www.naturalselection.0catch.com

Elf M. Sternberg

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Oct 31, 2003, 12:53:36 PM10/31/03
to
seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) writes:

>> Surely you must know all the times in the past when man looked as some
>> process and thought the above only to later find a mindless process that
>> explains things. How does rain fall from the sky? The water can't float
>> up because of gravity, so an intelligent being must be carrying the
>> water up to the heavens...

> Then I suppose that SETI scientists are just wasting their time? If


> they find evidence of intelligent life outside of our planet, how will
> they know that some unknown mindless process is not responsible? It
> all boils down to the weight of evidence that you have available and
> understand right now. Mindless processes just don't do certain things
> that can be produced with the help of intelligent minds.

Arguably, SETI scientists are just wasting their time. Their
assumptions are manifold, but the two most outstanding are that a
sentient species "out there" is using the technology available between
1945 and 1995-- analog, unencrypted, uncompressed-- and that the species
actually *wants* to be found. In the very near future, the Earth itself
is going to "go dark" as we move into an entirely digital era where
compression effectively renders all communication "encrypted" and
indistinguishable from noise. Compression by itself is perfect
encryption if a third party has no access to even a basic common
referent dictionary with which to begin analysis.

SETI's success will be strictly defined by analogy: does this
signal look like _something human beings will do_? That's the only real
pointer to success, and it points out the flaws in "Intelligent design";
the only thing intelligent design theory could possibly detect is
something that seems analogous to what human beings would do.

This means that the designer, if it exists, can only be detected
if and only if it is as limited in capacity as a human being.

It also points out how poor ID's results are from the start.
Human beings have now begun to imitate the biological processes found in
nature, after we have understand them-- but they were not "obvious" and
were not the sort of thing the human mind had come up with up until that
point. By analogy-- they were not the sorts of things human beings
would do until human beings saw something else doing them.

Elf

--
Elf M. Sternberg, Proud to be an Extinctionist
http://www.drizzle.com/~elf/

With the advance of biogenetics, it is not so much that we are losing
our dignity and freedom but that we realise we never had them in the
first place. - Slavoj Zizek

Frank Reichenbacher

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Oct 31, 2003, 1:10:22 PM10/31/03
to
That was really funny Sean. You should repost this every month or so. It
really helped me get through the day.

Frank


Ron Okimoto

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Oct 31, 2003, 1:39:25 PM10/31/03
to

"Bobby D. Bryant" wrote:

> On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 23:18:36 +0000, Ron Okimoto wrote:
>

> >> Then I suppose that SETI scientists are just wasting their time? If
> >> they find evidence of intelligent life outside of our planet, how will
> >> they know that some unknown mindless process is not responsible? It
> >> all boils down to the weight of evidence that you have available and
> >> understand right now. Mindless processes just don't do certain things
> >> that can be produced with the help of intelligent minds.
> >

Thanks for fixing the line lengths.

Ron Okimoto


Sean Pitman

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Oct 31, 2003, 2:19:48 PM10/31/03
to
"Joe W Larson" <joeSPAMN...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<vq36mgn...@corp.supernews.com>...

> Sean,
>
> I haven't had time to digest your massive post, I like the level of depth
> you've aimed for.

Thanks – and take your time. It's a lot to digest for someone
unfamiliar with my previous posts . . .

> However, I'd like to comment on the logic you and many others are using
> regarding proving if something can come about through mindless processes or
> not.
>
> Lets say you come from a planet where life is silicon based instead of
> carbon based. For this and other geological reasons, diamonds where unknown
> on your planet until your species achieved technology capable of making
> diamonds in a lab. Quickly they become mass produced and diamonds become a
> well known object. Everyone knows that diamonds are produced via technology
> in labs by intelligent creatures.
> Then you get in a spaceship and visit another solar system. You find a
> planet where there are diamonds galore, especially burried deep in rock.
> They are lumpy and not well cut but they are definately diamonds. However,
> there are no intelligent lifeforms to be found on the planet, perhaps no
> life at all, and no archeological evidence of previous civilizations.
> Should you assume that some intelligent lifeform visited, sprinkled diamonds
> throughout the planet, and left? If someone proposed a process which,
> though not directly observable because it takes millions of years, could
> produce these diamonds, should you discount that?
> Maybe so, but what if you find many many more planets with diamonds but no
> other evidence to point towards intelligence, for which the same process can
> account for thier formation?

Just because you find an element or a particular kind of "rock" that
has never been found before does not mean that it is evidence of
design over some mindless process. We discover new elements all the
time and even novel compounds, metals, and other elements in alien
meteorites. I would not attribute these findings to the direct
workings of intelligence at all. However, if after becoming more
familiar with a particular compound I found that the shape of this
compound was such as is beyond what all known mindless processes
produce for this compound, then that would be direct evidence of
intelligent manipulation.

For example, carbon can take on many symmetrical crystalline shapes
through the action of many different mindless processes. However a
cut diamond has a symmetry that goes beyond what all known or even
theorized mindless processes are capable of producing for carbon.
Therefore I can predict, with an extraordinary degree of accuracy,
when a diamond set before me required intelligent manipulation. Even
under the rigors of a double blinded test, I would do extremely well
in my predictions here. I can't do this for all diamonds since a
rough diamond look can be designed, but if I were confident that
intelligence was involved, my prediction would be extremely accurate.
I can also do the same thing for other elements and compounds. For
example, I can tell when wax was manipulated via intelligent design or
at least via some pre-existent coded information system (such as a
honey bee), vs. a non-living mindless process. No known or even
theorized mindless process makes honey combs or any other such
symmetrical geometric structure.

Now, I'm sure I will hear the argument that bees are "natural" as well
as "mindless" and therefore the creations of honeybees should be
viewed on the same level as any other mindless natural process. This,
of course, is a ridiculous position. Honeybees have access to
pre-programmed information which goes far beyond what any other
non-living mindless process has access to. For example, if I were to
make a robot that could create marvelous works of art and put together
other wonderful structures, would these creations be the result of the
mindless creativity of the robot or the result of my intelligent mind
acting through the information that I placed in the robot? Obviously,
there is a difference between the creative abilities of non-living
mindless processes, which do not have access to pre-established
information systems beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity,
and all living things which do have access to such pre-established
information systems.

Clearly, it is not a problem to detect the workings of an intelligent
mind when structures and functional systems surpass what a non-living,
mindless nature is able to produce.

> > Obviously mindless processes, such as random mutation and natural
> > selection, can give rise to many new structures and even novel
> > beneficial functions in living things. But, what is especially
> > interesting about these mindless creations is that they are all found
> > at the lowest levels of functional complexity - as compared to the
> > levels of functional complexity actually found in all living things.
> > Absolutely none of the higher levels of functional complexity found in
> > living things have been shown to evolve via mindless processes alone -
> > period.
>

> But this is precisely what is in despute. Scientists proposed that mindless
> processes DO account for the higher level of functional complexity. What do
> you think limits the same processes that achieve lower levels of complexity
> from compounding into higher levels of complexity?

If you would read my original post in its entirety, you would find out
exactly what the limiting factor is and where this limiting factor
comes into play on the ladder of increasing functional complexity.
Exponentially expanding neutral gaps in functional genetic sequences
are the limiting factor. These gaps expand as one climbs up the
ladder of functional complexity due to the fact that the ratio of
beneficial sequences decreases exponentially as a fraction of the
total number of potential sequences at higher and higher levels of
functional complexity. I described this problem in much more detail
already in the original post to this thread. Please, read it again.
If you still have questions it might also be helpful to read the
following link to an exchange on this topic between Ian Musgrave and
myself:

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=80d0c26f.0310170730.19273e40%40posting.google.com&rnum=1

> There is far more to my line of argument than I have time to clearly
> express. I'm sure others will assist in rebuttal.

I'm sure others will try to assist you, but most likely they will not
come up with anything substantial.

> Thanks,
>
> joe w larson
> http://www.soundclick.com/joewlarson

Thank you. Your comments were most interesting and helpful.

Sean
www.naturalselection.0catch.com

John Stockwell

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Oct 31, 2003, 2:28:45 PM10/31/03
to
>Sean Pittman wrote:

>>lfl...@ij.net (Lenny Flank) wrote in message news:<238b53a4.03102...@posting.google.com>...
>
>> What, again, did you say the scientific theory of intelligent design
>> was? How, again, did you say we can test it using the scientific
>> method?
>
>
>I have answered this question so many times already, but here it is
>yet again:
>
>I propose that it is in fact possible to test the hypothesis of
>intelligent design, in a falsifiable manner, when it is suggested as
>an explanation for a given phenomenon. It happens all the time in
>science. Forensic science and the scientific search for
>extraterrestrial intelligence are examples that are both based on the
>idea that the workings of intelligence, not just human intelligence,
>can be detected in a rational scientific way.
>
>For example, let's say that I walk by a house with a broken window in
>the morning and then when I walk by that house again in the afternoon
>I notice that the window is fixed. What is the most rational
>assumption I can make to explain how the window got fixed?

Yes. That is a scientific discussion of a problem of "window repair" based
entirely on the known processes of window placement and replacement.

What creationists and others in the ID community are doing is the equivalent
of seeing the repaired window and claiming that *God* fixed it.

For example, as a physician you may recognize that there are still
mysterious processes in biological systems. Do you invoke God or
chemistry for the mechanism of the operation of those processes?


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.

howard hershey

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Oct 31, 2003, 2:38:28 PM10/31/03
to

Sean Pitman wrote:

> David Jensen <da...@dajensen-family.com> wrote in message news:<2bp2qv890p872ald0...@4ax.com>...
>
>
>>I've read through the whole thing and no scientific theory of
>>intelligent design of organisms is provided here. You _promised_.
>
>
> I presented a hypothesis with a testable prediction that can be
> falsified. By definition, that is a scientific theory.
>
>
>>>It is possible to test the hypothesis of intelligent design as the
>>>origin of any phenomenon in a falsifiable manner.
>>
>>But you need a hypothesis first.
>
>
> If you really did read through the whole post before you made this
> comment you would know that I did propose a hypothesis. The
> observation is the phenomenon of various living organisms. The
> hypothesis is that these organisms express levels of functional
> complexity of many different kinds that go beyond what any known
> mindless process is capable of producing. The falsifiable prediction
> is that no mindless process will be able to induce a new function to
> develop in any living creature that requires multiple proteins working
> together at the same time in a specific orientation (as is found in
> all bacterial motility systems and other such multi-protein
> functions).
>

> This is most certainly a scientific hypothesis.

No it isn't. It is operationally useless and untestable as stated.
What, for example, constitutes a "new" function? And you need more than
a single example (and you especially need examples of *recent* "new"
functions, since they would be more likely to have more available
evidence). Is a wing that is now used solely for swimming in water a
"new" function for an old structure? If you look at proteins, does the
heterotetrameric hemoglobin represent a "new" function or a modification
of an "old" function that, in other organisms, uses a homotetrameric
hemoglobin? Is a homotetrameric hemoglobin that binds a heme performing
a "new" function relative to a tetrameric myoglobin that binds heme?
Does the necessary evolution of "multiple proteins working together at
the same time in a specific orientation" found in going from a
homotetramer to a now requisite heterotetramer outweigh the fact that
both act as O2 carrying molecules (along with myoglobin, of course).
Why aren't enzyme cascades examples of "new" functions? What is "the"
one and only function of hemoglobin and which aspects of this one and
only "function" requires a molecule that is composed of either one or
two different proteins. My reason for looking at hemoglobin is because
part of your claim is that it is impossible to generate more complex
systems, in terms of numbers of proteins involved, if doing so requires
that the proteins interact with each other.

But even more, what you need to do is find specific testable examples of
a "new" function that arose in such a way and time that one can actually
test where the constituent proteins of that function could have come
from. One does not need to replicate a process in "real time" to *test*
the feasibility of its proposed mechanism. The evolutionary mechanism
proposes that any "new" function involves descent with modification with
utility (but not necessarily current utility) present at most if not
each step(s). That implies that the proteins that make up a "new"
function are most often derived from "old" proteins (sometimes via the
production of a chimeric protein, as well as simple duplication). There
is no reason why an "independently and intelligently" designed "new"
function should be consistently or often derived from "old" proteins,
but, then, there is no reason why they couldn't be (one of the reasons
why such "intelligent design" arguments are untestable -- they make no
useful predictions based on their proposed mechanism, which, put simply,
is nothing but magic which produces whatever one sees -- an unspecified
intelligent something does something unspecified at some unspecified
time in some unspecifed organism that somehow produces what we currently
see). [I have yet to see any IDeologist specify when and where and in
what organism, much less how, the 'bacterial flagella' was introduced.
Perhaps you would like to be the first?]

If evolution (historical process) is the case, one would expect to
frequently find duplicates in genomes and have an observable (or several
observable) mechanisms that produce such duplicates. Now that we have
the entire genome of several organisms, we can actually test this. In
C. elegans, for example, in 43 different isolates from the wild and
using a stringent definition for *recent* duplication (no more than 10%
sequence difference from the other copy), about 300 different duplicates
were found (some were complete duplicates, but a significant number were
chimeric duplicates, and there is evidence that, when a duplicate is
retained for selective reasons it is often a chimeric or "novel"
proteins that are retained.

One would expect that *recently* evolved "new" functions (and these
should be the types of "new" functions that you should concentrate on,
so a long an unbiased list of examples of what you consider to be
*recent* "new" functions would be the first step in any analysis to
compare alternative explanations) should, if evolution were true, show
clear and traceable evidence of the origin of the proteins in "new"
functions from proteins that existed and are/were used, perhaps for
different "functions", in other closely related organisms. In contast,
"new" functions of *recent* ancestry should have much more evidence that
would allow us to discriminate against or for alternative explanations.

In contrast, in "new" functions that have very ancient evolutionary
roots, there might, as a matter of the disguising nature of all
historical process, be fewer proteins in the "new" function whose source
can be accurately traced. This type of "absence of evidence" is not
"evidence of absence" precisely because we know that evidence of history
tends to disappear with increasing time since the event (we know a lot
more about the Iraq invasion of today than the Iraq invasion of
Alexander the Great and almost nothing about pre-historic battles in Iraq.

Since the evolutionary mechanism requires a step-wise process with
utility at each step, we might well expect that there be reasonable
hints as to utility of intermediate states. For example, if the
ontogeny of self-assembly of the modern bacterial flagella involves that
each intermediate step in such self-assembly be a step which requires
the function of "protein transport" outside the inner cell membrane, it
is not a giant leap to think that such steps might be involved in the
step-wise phylogenetic assembly of such a system. [And that some forms
of bacterial motility involve the transport of materials outside the
cell without the need for a rotating flagella at all.] Certainly there
is no _a priori_ reason to think that the entire system of the bacterial
flagella needed to be assembled in modern form in one swell foop. If,
of course, one could actually specify when and where "the" modern
bacterial flagella first appeared and had evidence that it actually
occurred in one swell foop (or at least with great rapidity) or that
there is no possible utility *for any function* of any possible
intermediates you might be able to make the case that you can rule out a
step-wise evolutionary process. But you don't and you can't. All you
do is posit that *if* there were such a large gap of utter uselessness
that had to be crossed, then evolution could not accomplish it. I
agree. But *positing* it and presenting evidence to support that
position are two entirely different things.

> It is just as
> scientific as suggesting that it is impossible for a cow to jump over
> my house. It makes a prediction that is experimentally falsifiable in

> real time. It is not a test of historical correlation either. It can


> be absolutely disproved without question as soon as the first
> multi-protein system evolves (like the first cow jumping over my
> house).

A two-step process can initially produce a strain of bacteria resistant
to an antibiotic, but with a slower growth rate when that antibiotic is
absent. Subsequent modifying mutations that change other elements in
the interacting system can produce bacteria that now *require* the
presence of antibiotic for normal growth. This is presumably due to
changes in an interacting system. But here the "new" function involves
modifying an existing system to a "new" function?


>
> You evolutionists don't have anything equivalent to this. You have no
> predictions that would absolute disprove evolution beyond your
> historical correlations.

All we need to do is show that the *available historical evidence* is
consistent with mechanisms which we can independently show exist in
nature and with the expectations of evolution, and that evolution be a
falsifiable theory (it is). You have to demonstrate that a "theory"
that is nothing more than "If I don't know (or don't want to know) how
feature x appeared, I can posit that an intelligent something did
something at some unspecified time by some unknown mechanism to produce
feature x."

> You have no prediction that says, "evolution
> will or will not do this or that in the future", which can be tested
> in a falsifiable manner.

Sure I do. Evolution will not produce "new" functions out of thin air
or random sequences, but will do so via modification of pre-existing
functions and sequences. Evolution will not generate multiple
independent changes all at once or in very short time frames. Any
evolutionary pathway will likely be step-wise process through
intermediate steps that will largely be either selectively neutral (but
not selectively useless, which is selectively unfavorable) or
selectively favorable. It will not often (if ever) procede via
generation of function from random sequences.

But I certainly agree that evolution is not teleological in nature.

> You guys are just too smart to take such a
> risk. Evolution is simply too holy of a theory to subject it to an
> actual testable prediction with potential falsification.

If all "new" functions appeared without any evidence of being due to
modification of ancestral proteins or any possible stepwise pathway of
phylogeny. It is worth noting that the self-assembly of the proteins in
complex protein (or protein/RNA) structures like the bacterial flagella
(or ribosome or bacteriophage head proteins) does not occur 'randomly'.
Rather, they typically self-assemble in a self-ordered step-wise
process to form potentially functionally useful sub-parts, which then
interact with other subparts to form the final structure. None of this
self-assembly involves the intervention of any outside agent. Much of
it can be replicated in test tubes.

>>>It happens all the
>>>time in science. Forensic science and the scientific search for
>>>extraterrestrial intelligence are examples that are both based on the
>>>idea that the workings of intelligence, not just human intelligence,
>>>can be detected in a rational scientific way.
>>

>>Yes.
>>
>><broken window>
>>
>>>If I find an amorphous rock in lying on the ground, I might quickly
>>>assume that a mindless process formed this amorphous rock. However,
>>>it is also possible for a human or some other intelligence to have
>>>made this amorphous rock since humans are in fact capable of making
>>>and have in fact made amorphous rocks before. Again, a mindful
>>>process can never be absolutely ruled out when we view a natural
>>>mindless phenomenon. However, a mindless process can be absolutely
>>>ruled out, beyond any reasonable doubt, when we see certain phenomena
>>>that go beyond what mindless processes have ever done or will ever do
>>>- even given a practical eternity of time.
>>
>>But, as you note, no need to automatically invoke an intelligent agent
>>is required, since almost all amorphous rocks arise without any
>>intelligent agent being involved.
>
>
> You just don't seem to get the point here. We cannot assume
> intelligent design when we find an amorphous rock, but we can when we
> find a cut diamond or a Volvo or a fixed window. Do you understand
> the differences here?

I have knowledge that Volvos and windows do not imperfectly
self-reproduce like living organisms do, but instead require manufacture
or replacement by, specifically, an imperfectly replicating human. If,
instead, windows and Volvos were known to imperfectly self-reproduce,
then I would not automatically ascribe the appearance of a newly fixed
window or a new Volvo to manufacture by any outside intelligent agent.
Would you? I would instead ascribe the appearance of the new window or
Volvo to self-reproduction of the entity in question.

> Why is it possible to assume intelligent
> activity in one case, but not the other when both phenomena could have
> involved an intelligent process? Because, while both processes could
> have involved intelligent activity, both processes *could not* have
> been produced without intelligent input. It is the limited nature of
> mindless processes that makes it possible to detect intelligent

> activity behind certain phenomena. Not all phenomena give enough
> evidence for an intelligent cause, but many phenomena aren't even
> close to anything that mindless processes can do to even wonder about
> a mindless cause. The only rational option in such cases, such as a
> fixed window, is clearly a mindful cause.
>
>

>>>So, when one understands the potential and limits of mindless
>>>processes in this universe to at least some degree of predictable
>>>value, one can reasonably hypothesis an intelligent process when one
>>>recognizes that a given phenomenon has gone beyond what mindless
>>>processes are capable of.
>>

>>Only after you know what the limits are of these 'mindless processes'.
>
>
> Exactly - you seem to understand the point, but you don't want to
> grasp the implications.

The problem of the three-body event is solved (in chemistry) by two
two-body events. The problem of a "mindless" process of n complexity is
solved by positing a process of n steps, each within the capabilities of
"mindless" process and each having indepedent utility. Complexity alone
is not evidence against "mindless" process. Only complexity that either
is known to require too short a time for n steps to occur or complexity
that *requires* by direct knowledge that all n steps *have to*
independently occur at the same time before utility can do that. Merely
positing that a feature of n complexity is beyond what you think
"mindless" process capable of (using your level of ignorance as
evidence) or positing that *if* it required all n steps at once to have
any utility that generating the final structure would be impossible is
effectively saying that you have no evidence at all.


>
>
>>>The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of structure
>>>or function that go beyond what all known mindless processes are
>>>capable of? If they do, then an intelligent cause is the only

>>>reasonable option to consider. However, if a mindless process can be


>>>found that explains what we see in living things with a fair degree of
>>>predictive value, an intelligent cause cannot be adequately proposed
>>>in a scientifically significant manner.
>>>

>>>Obviously, I believe that no mindless process can explain much of what
>>>we see in living things.
>>

>>Your beliefs are not relevant. Nothing in them is related to science. It
>>appears that you have managed to dress up 'God of the Gaps' in New Age
>>clothing. The evidence does not support your belief.
>
>
> That, my friend, is your belief. We all have our beliefs and we all
> happen to think that the evidence is most clearly in our own favor.
> You are no exception. If you think a particular hypothesis or theory
> is true, then that is your "belief". The scientific method is all
> about figuring out what is most reasonable to believe. Oh, and by the
> way, I'm not a "New Ager" at all. In fact, I think the New Age
> Movement is completely insane. This is all about science and the
> scientific method for me. The God of the Gaps argument just so
> happens to be quite an excellent theory with excellent predictive
> value and falsification potential.

Well, at least you are honest about the fact that you are using nothing
but a "God of the Gaps" argument. But your description of the argument
as being an "excellent theory with excellent predictive value and
falsification potential" is entirely dependent upon your personal level
of ignorance or willingness to ignore evidence rather than evidence itself.

>>>Therefore, the only rational option I have
>>>left is to assume an intelligent origin for living things.
>>

>>Why? You haven't demonstrated that your belief is rational, so drawing
>>conclusions from your belief cannot be more rational that the belief you
>>hold.
>
>
> Actually I have demonstrated that it is quite rational in that it
> makes falsifiable predictions that carry a very high predictive value,
> which I discuss below if you really had read this whole post before
> you made this comment. I can and have showed have it becomes more and
> more difficult, in an exponential fashion, to evolve novel functions
> as one moves up the ladder of functional complexity. This is not just
> based on a fanciful notion or a paper theory, but on actual
> experimental demonstration. Beyond the level of single protein
> functions or simple series of single protein cascading functions, the
> power of evolution simply stalls out. There are no examples of any
> multi-protein function evolving where all the protein parts work
> together at the same time in a specified orientation with each other.
> Now isn't that just most interesting?


>
>
>>>But how,
>>>exactly, is my position testable in falsifiable way? The answer is
>>>very simple actually. If someone can show a mindless process creating
>>>the functional mechanisms that exist in various life forms, my
>>>position will be falsified.
>>

>>So your God of the Gaps belief is true for you until it is proven false.
>>That's clear enough for me to understand, and recognize that this
>>discussion has nothing to do with science any more.
>
>
> Then you don't understand how science works. The value of a
> scientific hypothesis is based, not on a belief that it is absolutely
> true, but upon the predictive value of the hypothesis. The longer my
> hypothesis stands as a repeatably testable limit to the powers of
> evolution, the more predictive value it builds up and the more
> reliable it becomes as a scientific position.

So the longer you remain ignorant the longer you can maintain your God
of the Gaps explanation and the more you can ascribe to it?

> Until this position is
> proven false, it will continue to build in predictive value and
> therefore, scientific believability. It is much like my jumping cows
> hypothesis. The longer cows fail to be able to jump higher than white
> men, the more predictive value I gain in theorizing that cows will
> never be able to jump over my house.

Actually unless you have no specific reason to believe that cows can't
jump higher than white men, your failure to observe them jumping at all
(much less over houses) tells you precisely nothing of any utility about
their potential to jump over houses.

OTOH, if you understand that a certain amount of force is required to
move something the weight of a cow into the air the appropriate distance
to jump over your house in the gravitational field that your house
exists in and you were then to measure (or find evidence for) the
average capacity plus or minus a variance of cow leg muscles to deliver
that force, you would indeed have real scientific evidence that cows are
highly unlikely to ever jump higher than a white man (much less your house).

Until then, you would only have your belief based on your failure to see
cows jump that high and anecdotal hearsay evidence that no one else has
either.
>
> This is all I have time for right now. Maybe more later . . .
>
> Sean
> www.naturalselection.0catch.com
>

R. Dunno

unread,
Oct 31, 2003, 3:48:04 PM10/31/03
to
Chris Ho-Stuart <host...@fit.qut.edu.au> wrote:
>
> The window analogy is ridulous. The comparison with designed
> artificats is unjustified, but far more of a problem is the
> total failure to even *attempt* to represent in these
> ridiulous analogies the remarkable distinguising characteristics
> of living things.

But at that point you have engaged the pattern recognition neurons
in your audience, so you're halfway there. Next, you explain that
the differences are because the design of life is vastly superior
to human designed artifacts, and quietly abandon the previous plea.

Clearly a manipulation, but if you can't support a position with data,
whaddaya do?

Joe W Larson

unread,
Oct 31, 2003, 4:27:20 PM10/31/03
to
"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.03103...@posting.google.com...
> Thanks - and take your time. It's a lot to digest for someone

> unfamiliar with my previous posts . . .

I had a chance to re-read it and some of your other posts last night.

> Just because you find an element or a particular kind of "rock" that
> has never been found before does not mean that it is evidence of

> design over some mindless process....

Sorry, you've entirely missed the point I was trying to make. This was an
anology only. I should have been clearer.

> Now, I'm sure I will hear the argument that bees are "natural" as well
> as "mindless" and therefore the creations of honeybees should be
> viewed on the same level as any other mindless natural process. This,
> of course, is a ridiculous position. Honeybees have access to
> pre-programmed information which goes far beyond what any other
> non-living mindless process has access to.

This is purely an assumption of yours. I say the "pre-programming" has
happened via differential reproduction a la evolution. You say it must have
been designed. Nothing has been proven or disproven in these assertions.
However, evolution has an in depth description of how such "pre-programming"
evolved, it is far from "ridiculous". All you have is an assertion that "it
can't be done naturally so it must be designed by intelligence".

> Clearly, it is not a problem to detect the workings of an intelligent
> mind when structures and functional systems surpass what a non-living,
> mindless nature is able to produce.

Evolution _IS_ the proposed mindless process that can generate such
"structures and functional systems". There may be no other such natural
process besides differential reproduction that can produce such systems
naturally. Since evolution in the wild (you have, as far as I can tell,
discounted any approach involving computer simulation or anything else where
an intelligent mind played a roll in organizing the expiriment) happens
mostly over hundreds of thousands of years, I'm not sure there is any
evidence you would accept.

> If you would read my original post in its entirety, you would find out
> exactly what the limiting factor is and where this limiting factor
> comes into play on the ladder of increasing functional complexity.
> Exponentially expanding neutral gaps in functional genetic sequences
> are the limiting factor. These gaps expand as one climbs up the
> ladder of functional complexity due to the fact that the ratio of
> beneficial sequences decreases exponentially as a fraction of the
> total number of potential sequences at higher and higher levels of
> functional complexity.

I have seen no proof of your assertion of the existance of "Exponentially
expanding neutral gaps" in any of your threads, just the assertion. You
elaborate, give figures, all come back to an assumption on your part.

Chris Merli

unread,
Oct 31, 2003, 4:31:29 PM10/31/03
to

"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.03103...@posting.google.com...
> lfl...@ij.net (Lenny Flank) wrote in message
news:<238b53a4.03102...@posting.google.com>...
>
> > What, again, did you say the scientific theory of intelligent design
> > was? How, again, did you say we can test it using the scientific
> > method?
>
Generally I have found your posts well written and always wanted to respond.
So here I will finally take my shot.

>
> I have answered this question so many times already, but here it is
> yet again:
>
> I propose that it is in fact possible to test the hypothesis of
> intelligent design, in a falsifiable manner, when it is suggested as
> an explanation for a given phenomenon. It happens all the time in

> science. Forensic science and the scientific search for
> extraterrestrial intelligence are examples that are both based on the
> idea that the workings of intelligence, not just human intelligence,
> can be detected in a rational scientific way.
>
> For example, let's say that I walk by a house with a broken window in
> the morning and then when I walk by that house again in the afternoon
> I notice that the window is fixed. What is the most rational
> assumption I can make to explain how the window got fixed?
> Intuitively we all know by experience that the only rational
> assumption once can make is to implore the workings of an intelligent
> mind - most likely a human mind in this case. But why is this?
> Imagine now that I walk by this same house the next day and I see that
> the fixed window is broken again. Is it as easy to assume a mindful
> process this time as a cause for the broken window? No, it isn't.
> But why isn't an automatic assumption of deliberate, intelligent cause
> an automatic default as it was when we saw the broken window get
> fixed? Because, we all know by experience that mindless processes are
> actually quite capably of breaking a window. In fact, it happens
> fairly often.
>
> Strangely enough, while mindless processes can break windows fairly
> easily, they never fix them - ever. Of course, intelligent processes
> can do both. The window could have been broken either by a mindless
> or deliberately designed process. So, it is harder to know the cause
> of a broken window that it is to know the cause of a fixed window.
> This is *not* because we know that humans are capable of fixing
> windows. This is not enough. Humans are also capable of breaking
> windows and yet we do not automatically assume an intelligent cause
> just because we know that a human is in fact capable of such an act.
> No, we must have more knowledge than this before we can adequately
> assume and intelligent cause for a given phenomenon. We must also
> have an understanding of the potential and limits of what mindless
> processes can do.
>
> If I find an amorphous rock in lying on the ground, I might quickly
> assume that a mindless process formed this amorphous rock. However,
> it is also possible for a human or some other intelligence to have
> made this amorphous rock since humans are in fact capable of making
> and have in fact made amorphous rocks before. Again, a mindful
> process can never be absolutely ruled out when we view a natural
> mindless phenomenon. However, a mindless process can be absolutely
> ruled out, beyond any reasonable doubt, when we see certain phenomena
> that go beyond what mindless processes have ever done or will ever do
> - even given a practical eternity of time.
>
> So, when one understands the potential and limits of mindless
> processes in this universe to at least some degree of predictable
> value, one can reasonably hypothesis an intelligent process when one
> recognizes that a given phenomenon has gone beyond what mindless
> processes are capable of.
>
> The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of structure
> or function that go beyond what all known mindless processes are
> capable of? If they do, then an intelligent cause is the only
> reasonable option to consider. However, if a mindless process can be
> found that explains what we see in living things with a fair degree of
> predictive value, an intelligent cause cannot be adequately proposed
> in a scientifically significant manner.

Unfortunately I believe you have made two mistakes in logic here. First
your proposal can not be falsified. For example if you select a particular
multi-protein function that you claim can not be created by "mindless
forces" and somone then discovers a precise mechanism for creating it does
that falsify your proposal? Obviously it does not. In order to falsify
your claim we would need to prove that every system now known or that can be
known in the future must have such an explanation. The task is simply
impossible. The second mistake is that you are claiming that it is possible
to understand the mind of a yet undiscovered intellegence simply because you
understand a well known intellegence. This is like stating that you
understand all engines because you know how a lawn mower works.
Imagine that you have landed on a strange planet. You pick up an odd
crystaline structure. The structure is amazingly complex and it made up of
many different elements. Based on this discovery it would be impossible to
determine if it was designed or not. If on the other hand I told you there
were many such crystals and no life forms on the planet you may assume it
was a natural phnomena. However even if the planet had an advanced lifeform
you still could not say if the crystal was intellegently designed because
you do not have experiance with the life forms to know what something
manufactured by them would look like.

>
> Obviously, I believe that no mindless process can explain much of what

> we see in living things. Therefore, the only rational option I have
> left is to assume an intelligent origin for living things. But how,


> exactly, is my position testable in falsifiable way? The answer is
> very simple actually. If someone can show a mindless process creating
> the functional mechanisms that exist in various life forms, my

> position will be falsified. Of course, you will come back and say
> that there are many structures and functions in living things that can
> and have been evolved with mindless processes in laboratory in real
> time. Of course, I would agree with you. Ah ha! My position has
> obviously been falsified - hasn't it? Not so fast.

This is at the heart of one of your errors. I agree that this test has not
falsified your claim and in fact no single test can.


>
> There are many aspects of designed objects and systems that can also
> be achieved by mindless process and yet the object or system as a
> whole cannot be produced by any mindless process. For example,
> mindless processes can produce glass, but they cannot fix a glass
> window. Mindless processes can produce facets on a diamond, but they
> cannot make the symmetry of a cut diamond. Likewise, mindless
> processes have been known to produce certain amino acids and other
> building blocks that are used to make living things. But this does
> not necessarily mean that mindless processes are therefore equally
> capable of putting these building blocks together to form the higher
> and higher levels of complexity found in living things.
>

> Obviously mindless processes, such as random mutation and natural
> selection, can give rise to many new structures and even novel
> beneficial functions in living things. But, what is especially
> interesting about these mindless creations is that they are all found
> at the lowest levels of functional complexity - as compared to the
> levels of functional complexity actually found in all living things.
> Absolutely none of the higher levels of functional complexity found in
> living things have been shown to evolve via mindless processes alone -

> period. This observation is repeatably testable and carries a very
> high predictive value. The limits and relative time required to
> mindlessly evolve beyond a particular level of functional complexity
> can be fairly accurately determined with extraordinary predictive
> value. So where, exactly, would I propose placing these limits?
>

> Before I discuss my own theorized limits to what evolution can do, I
> would like to ask what falsifiable prediction that evolutionists make
> concerning the genetic mechanism of evolution? The mechanism of
> random mutation and natural selection is supposed to be the driving
> force behind the evolution of every novel function at all levels of
> functional complexity that we see in living things. What testable
> prediction supports such a mechanism as the driving force for
> evolution? Can you or anyone else that you know of make a falsifiable
> prediction that proposes what, exactly, such a mechanism can create in
> the future and when, if ever, such a creation may be expected to be
> realized? No one has seemed able to put themselves out on the line in
> regards to such a falsifiable prediction. In answer to this challenge
> I have received many historically assumed correlations, but no
> futuristic prediction concerning the mechanism of evolution. It seems
> to me then that evolutionists like to chide IDists and creationists
> about moving their goalposts, while evolutionists themselves have no
> goalposts to begin with. Your theory concerning the very mechanism of
> evolution is simply not testable in a falsifiable way, or at least I
> have yet to hear of any such falsifiable position. On the other hand,
> my position is very prone to falsification with the use of real time
> experiments.

Evolution would be falsified if any species native to earth could be found
that has absolutely no similarity to any other species on the planet.
Evolution would be falsified if any organism was born that had no
significant genetic relationship to its parents. (a dog having kittens)
Natural selection would be falsified if any independent trait (not linked to
a another trait) that was clearly detrimental to an orgaism, developed and
expanded in a population to the point of replacing the previous allele.

Perhaps at another time I will deal with the neutral gap arguement.

>
> Consider that very simple functions, such as de novo antibiotic
> resistance and other such functions, that are based on the
> interference with or destruction of a pre-established function or
> interaction, can be evolved by just about any life form in short order
> and with a relatively small population. However, not all life forms
> or even large colonies of certain life forms can evolve certain
> functions that are based only on relatively short single proteins.
> They just don't seem to have what it takes to evolve such functions
> given what they have. Experimental biologists, such as Barry Hall,
> have described such unfortunate life forms as having, "limited
> evolutionary potential". However, there are certain other fairly rare
> life forms that have evolved various single protein functions - almost
> always with the use of one or two point mutations to a pre-existing
> genetic sequence (perhaps as high as 2 to 6 neutral point mutations
> for the chloroquine resistance function in the malaria parasite).
>

> Already we are starting to see the limits of what mindless processes
> can do as we climb up just a short distance on the ladder of
> functional complexity. What is really interesting, however, is that
> beyond the level of single protein functions, or series of single
> protein functions, to the level of multi-protein functions, there
> simply are no examples of evolution at all - period. Of course, I
> will be asked what I mean by a multi-protein function since many
> evolutionists in this forum seem to get confused over what a
> multi-protein function is. So, I will define it again here. A
> multi-protein function is a where multiple proteins are require to
> work together at the same time in a specific orientation with the
> other protein parts. Examples of such levels of multi-protein
> functional complexity can be found in bacterial motility systems and
> the like.
>

>


> And yet, we do have such multi-protein functions and even far higher
> levels of functional complexity in all living things. How are these
> very high levels of functional complexity to be explained if all known
> mindless processes stall out on the lowest rungs of the ladder?
>

> Sean
> www.naturalselection.0catch.com
>

Sean Pitman

unread,
Oct 31, 2003, 7:04:10 PM10/31/03
to
"Steven J." <sjt195...@nts.link.net.INVALID> wrote in message news:<vq3pooq...@corp.supernews.com>...

> > I propose that it is in fact possible to test the hypothesis of
> > intelligent design, in a falsifiable manner, when it is suggested as
> > an explanation for a given phenomenon. It happens all the time in
> > science. Forensic science and the scientific search for
> > extraterrestrial intelligence are examples that are both based on the
> > idea that the workings of intelligence, not just human intelligence,
> > can be detected in a rational scientific way.
> >
> Yes, but both forensic science and SETI assume that intelligence agency can
> be recognized by the similarity between its effects, and those of known
> intelligent designers.

This is not enough to adequately support the hypothesis of intelligent
design in forensic science or SETI. It is not enough to recognize a
similarity between a particular "effect" and another effect of known
intelligent origin. That is why I used the amorphous rock
illustration and broken window illustrations. When I see an amorphous
rock I cannot automatically assume design just because I have seen
intelligent humans make amorphous looking rocks. After all, mindless
processes can also make amorphous looking rocks. In order to support
the idea of intelligent design, even for human intelligence, one must
also have an idea of the limits of what mindless processes can do.

> Forensic science does not work simply by noting that
> given effects are unlikely, or not known to be possible at all, by unguided
> mechanisms, but rather by noting that methods available to human beings, and
> wielded for human motives, will produce these effects.

You are wrong. Forensic science does indeed work by noting that
certain effects are highly unlikely to be the result of a mindless
process while at the same time the same or at least similar effects
are produced via intelligent, deliberate means. You must know both
things though. You must know the limits of mindless processes as well
as the potential of mindful processes. A simple knowledge of the
potential of human creativity is just not enough. I know I'm starting
to sound like a broken record here, but you and many others in this
forum simply don't seem to be getting this rather obvious point.

> SETI assumes that
> extraterrestrial intelligences will share the technological capabilities and
> scientific assumptions of humans who wish to communicate across interstellar
> distances -- and look for the sort of signals humans would send to other
> stars.

This is also not enough. SETI scientists must also have some idea
about the limits of structure and pattern of what mindless processes
are capable of producing. The sort of signals humans would send or
any other intelligent being would send, must be substantially
different from anything a mindless processes would send out into space
if such intelligences would hope to be recognized as "intelligent" vs.
"mindless".

> It is relevant, given this, that life does not look like something humans
> would design, even if they had the ability to design it.

You've got to be kidding here. Even the simplest life form is far
beyond anything that humans have ever designed in both beauty and
level of functional complexity. And yet, human creations are the only
thing comparable to the levels of complexity found in living things.
Certainly the creations of other animals are not nearly as comparable.
What then makes it so logical to think that any other mindless
process would be so much more creative than humans have ever been or
likely will be? Evolutionists like to talk about all the supposed
"design flaws" found in living things, but I would suggest to you that
a bit more humbleness is in order until you can make something as good
or better yourself. I mean really, what level of arrogance is it for
someone to even think to critique, much less disparage, the work of
someone or even something that goes so far beyond what they themselves
can even get close to creating? This is like a six-year-old kid
telling a great architect that his building plan has too many design
flaws. Then, if and when you ever did become able to make something
as good or better than what we see in living things, this wouldn't
remove the evidence that they were in fact designed. Just because you
can make something better than someone else does not mean that the
creation of the other person does not give evidence of design. A
soapbox car built by a child might not be anyone's idea of perfection,
but it still gives clear evidence of deliberate intelligent design in
that it goes far beyond what any mindless process can do.

The fact is that human language and human designed coded systems of
function work very much the same way if not identical to the way coded
systems in living things work. In fact, humans have been able to make
functional designer genes that do in fact work in living things. No
mindless process has ever gone beyond the lowest levels of the
functional complexity that we find in living things. At least humans
have gone a little farther, relatively speaking, than any known
mindless process has. I mean really, don't sell yourself short!

> Human artifacts
> don't fall into neat nested hierarchies.

Actually, they do. . . very much so. Conservation of design and
variations on a theme are big parts of human design.

> Humans cross-copy innovations into
> many unrelated designs, rather than limiting all improvements to one design
> to modifications of features in previous designs. Humans, if they know how
> to design a component to perform a task, don't make do with rudimentary
> components: e.g. downgraded (vestigial) forms of something designed for a
> different purpose, or clearly imperfect versions of some design which
> already exists elsewhere in completed form (e.g. the gliding membranes of
> flying squirrels compared to the wings of bats).

LOL - I'm sorry, but the sheer arrogance and blindness of this
statement just blows my mind! Again, human designers do all kinds of
things like this. Human designers do use less than perfect parts and
different takes on the same theme depending upon the job they are
doing and the expense that they wish to entail in their creations.
Also, it is often not ideal to have an extremely highly efficient part
or process to do a given aspect of a given job. Again, it simply
amazes me that you think you could or would do a better job if you had
created life. Just amazing! Well my friend, have at it. Show us
what you can do.

> > For example, let's say that I walk by a house with a broken window in
> > the morning and then when I walk by that house again in the afternoon
> > I notice that the window is fixed. What is the most rational
> > assumption I can make to explain how the window got fixed?
> > Intuitively we all know by experience that the only rational
> > assumption once can make is to implore the workings of an intelligent
> > mind - most likely a human mind in this case. But why is this?
> >
> This is because we are familiar with glaziers -- a specific class of
> intelligent agent that fixes or replaces windows for a living.

Again, this is the same old lame argument always used by
evolutionists. The reason why this argument doesn't hold water is
because being familiar with the fact that humans fix windows is not
enough to assume intelligent cause behind a fixed window. The reason
why we can assume intelligence in such a situation is only because we
know that mindless processes never fix windows. If they did, even on
rare occasions, we could not be so certain that an intelligent process
fixed any particular window even though we had seen a human do it
before. Again, this is why I used the amorphous rock illustration.

> It's exactly
> on a par with observing puddles on the ground, and inferring rain: we're
> familiar with a cause that produces that effect. There's no need to
> speculate about unknown possible causes, since there is a *known* cause that
> can produce the effect. If we become familiar with another cause that
> produces the same effect, then we can start to wonder whether our first
> inference was correct.

Humans can also produce the "rain effect". Therefore, we cannot as
automatically assume a mindless cause for the rain as we can assume a
mindful cause for the fixed window. Intelligence can be detected, but
only if the limits of non-intelligent causes are also known to at
least some degree of certainty. To that degree of certainty, an
intelligent cause can be rationally supported.

> > Imagine now that I walk by this same house the next day and I see that
> > the fixed window is broken again. Is it as easy to assume a mindful
> > process this time as a cause for the broken window? No, it isn't.
> > But why isn't an automatic assumption of deliberate, intelligent cause
> > an automatic default as it was when we saw the broken window get
> > fixed? Because, we all know by experience that mindless processes are
> > actually quite capably of breaking a window. In fact, it happens
> > fairly often.
> >
> > Strangely enough, while mindless processes can break windows fairly
> > easily, they never fix them - ever. Of course, intelligent processes
> > can do both. The window could have been broken either by a mindless
> > or deliberately designed process. So, it is harder to know the cause
> > of a broken window that it is to know the cause of a fixed window.
> > This is *not* because we know that humans are capable of fixing
> > windows. This is not enough. Humans are also capable of breaking
> > windows and yet we do not automatically assume an intelligent cause
> > just because we know that a human is in fact capable of such an act.
> > No, we must have more knowledge than this before we can adequately
> > assume and intelligent cause for a given phenomenon. We must also
> > have an understanding of the potential and limits of what mindless
> > processes can do.
>
> But we do *not* know that mindless processes cannot fix windows.

Ok - just like we do not know for certain that cows cannot jump over
the moon. Come on now. When you evolutionists get ridiculous, you
really go overboard don't you? Science is all about predictive value,
not absolute knowledge. What you need to ask is, "Which theory
carries the highest predictive value as an answer to this phenomenon -
intelligent design or mindless process?"

> We know we
> have never observed them to do so -- but I submit that that is *not* the
> ground on which we conclude that only intelligent agents fix windows. For
> that, we need a separate observation: that humans *do* fix windows. If we'd
> never seen any mechanism or agent repair a window (or mirror, glass table,
> etc.) I submit that we might be at an utter loss to explain a fixed window.

Again, you are really really reaching here. Understanding the nature
of glass, even if you had never seen any window or glass repaired
before in your life, you would still assume a deliberate cause if you
saw that a broken window was no longer broken. Also, I suggest to you
the idea that even if somehow you really were confused here thinking
that maybe glass can repair itself, the understanding that humans can
repair glass is not enough. You must also know that glass cannot
repair itself and put itself back in the window of a house before you
could assume a mindful cause. The knowledge that, "humans can do it",
by itself, is not enough. Please, this really isn't as hard to
understand as you are trying to make it.

> It does no good to blithely invoke "the potential and limits of what
> mindless processes can do," since we hardly have an exhaustive knowledge of
> all the mindless processes in nature. We don't *know* the limits of what
> mindless processes can do -- and we've been surprised before by what they
> can do (who'd have believed compasses, who'd never heard of lodestones?).

One man suggests that a cow jumped over his two-story house. Another
man suggests that this is ludicrous - that the first man must have had
too much to drink last night. If listening to this conversation, you
would no doubt tell the second man that his doubts are ill founded
since he does not *know* all the potential and limits of what cows
might be able to do. After all, we have been surprised and proved
wrong about other things that we said were impossible - right?
Perhaps then, we shouldn't make any such predictions about jumping
cows, cut diamonds, fixed windows, space ships, evolution, or anything
else that we've never seen any mindless natural process producing
because someday mindless nature might actually do it. Please! Are
you going to freeze up in your ability to make predictions just
because you might be proved wrong someday? No. You go with the best
evidence you have right now. What is the best predictive value I have
about cows right now?

> > If I find an amorphous rock in lying on the ground, I might quickly
> > assume that a mindless process formed this amorphous rock. However,
> > it is also possible for a human or some other intelligence to have
> > made this amorphous rock since humans are in fact capable of making
> > and have in fact made amorphous rocks before. Again, a mindful
> > process can never be absolutely ruled out when we view a natural
> > mindless phenomenon. However, a mindless process can be absolutely
> > ruled out, beyond any reasonable doubt, when we see certain phenomena
> > that go beyond what mindless processes have ever done or will ever do
> > - even given a practical eternity of time.
> >
> Given that you haven't *had* a practical eternity of time -- given that the
> entire human race with its accumulated observations hasn't had an eternity
> of time, or that wide a subset of the universe to examine -- it might be a
> bit premature to issue ex cathedra pronouncements on what goes beyond what
> mindless processes have ever done.

Oh really? Well then, what is your best prediction on how long it
would take for mindless process to fix a broken window or for a cow to
jump over my house? Certainly nothing is known or can be said in
absolute terms, but we can get some things can be said with an
extraordinary degree of predictive value. That is the best one can
do. What is the best predictive value? Based on current evidence,
how long, on average, do I think I will have to wait before a
particular event takes place? This is what Las Vegas is all about.
Some events require forever, on average, to occur. As such, we can
say fairly confidently that such events are "impossible" even given
eternity - although it is true that we will never know for absolute
certainty until will get to the end of eternity. I suppose that you
can always take comfort in the idea that someday a mindless process
might actually evolve something beyond the lowest levels of functional
complexity - but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

> Indeed, if you want to get picky, we've
> never seen *any* process or agent create a living organism out of the dust
> of the ground, or form a new species except by modifying a known one. We've
> never seen new genes originate, except by mutations of older genes.

Actually, you are wrong here. We have seen completely new genes
evolve de novo via mindless processes. Humans have also created
entirely new genes with novel functions that actually work in various
living things. The interesting thing here is, the mindless creations
of novel genes have never gone beyond the lowest levels of functional
complexity. However, I dare say that human designer genes will one
day give rise to a multi-protein function - perhaps of the level of
complexity of bacterial motility or greater. I can say this because
humans have in fact created various functional structures and machines
that at least compare with such levels of complexity as flagellar
motility found in living things. Mindless processes, on the other
hand, haven't even come close.

> Shall
> we therefore conclude that we can rule out, beyond a reasonable doubt, that
> intelligent processes can create living things _de novo_?

No. But, we can pretty much rule out the idea that mindless processes
can give rise to many of the higher levels of function that we find in
living things since to known mindless process has ever come close -
while at least some human designs are at least somewhat comparable
(though on a lower level of sophistication).

> > So, when one understands the potential and limits of mindless
> > processes in this universe to at least some degree of predictable
> > value, one can reasonably hypothesis an intelligent process when one
> > recognizes that a given phenomenon has gone beyond what mindless
> > processes are capable of.
> >
> To hypothesize an intelligent process is to make some testable (i.e.
> falsifiable) statement about it. If you wish to posit an intelligent
> designer as the cause of any feature of life, what observations would
> falsify that hypothesis?

The observation of a mindless process producing something equivalent .
. .

> For that matter, what observations would confirm
> it?

The observation that no mindless process has ever come close . . .

> It seems to me that a "hypothesis" about an intelligent designer must
> say something testable about the motives, methods, and design preferences of
> the Designer.

This is ridiculous. I might not know the motives, methods, or design
preferences of Picasso, but I can still tell that a Picasso painting
was intelligently designed without knowing anything about Picasso.
The same can be said for an alien sending signals from outer space.
SETI scientists need not know much of anything about the motives of
this alien intelligence in order to detect the existence of
intelligence.

> Of course, it seems to me that if one can do that, one
> doesn't need to issue declarations about what mindless processes are capable
> of (which, given the present incomplete state of scientific knowledge, we
> just don't know). We simply need to show that a given phenomenon has
> features that reflect the motives, methods, and design values of the
> hypothesized designer.

BS - How are you going to determine the motives of someone who made an
amorphous rock? What about a murder who kills for no apparent reason
and yet leaves clear evidence of deliberate design in the murder
victim and his/her surroundings?

> > The question now is, do living things exhibit qualities of structure
> > or function that go beyond what all known mindless processes are
> > capable of? If they do, then an intelligent cause is the only
> > reasonable option to consider. However, if a mindless process can be
> > found that explains what we see in living things with a fair degree of
> > predictive value, an intelligent cause cannot be adequately proposed
> > in a scientifically significant manner.
> >
> I notice (did you not notice it yourself?) that you don't require that
> anyone show that the intelligent cause be shown to be capable of producing
> the given structure or function, or that the intelligent causes explain them
> "with a fair degree of predictive value." You are using "intelligent cause"
> as a pure _virtus dormitiva_, a set of words waved like a magic wand and
> treated like an "explanation" when it's really just "unknown cause" under a
> new name.
>
> Again, I think you have it precisely backwards. If an intelligent cause can
> be shown capable of producing an effect, and can explain that effect with "a
> fair degree of predictive value," it can be "adequately proposed" as an
> explanation even if unintelligent causes have equal explanatory power.

If I go out into the desert and I pick up an amorphous rock at random,
are you telling me that just because I have seen humans make similar
amorphous rocks that I can "adequately propose" intelligent design as
an explanation? - even when mindless processes have more than equal
explanatory power in such a situation?! You have got to be out of
your mind with desperation here!

In any case, you miss the point. An intelligent cause certainly
cannot be as easily ruled out in such a situation as a mindless cause
can be ruled out as an explanation for something like a fixed window,
or anything else that mindless processes have never even come close to
producing.

> Of
> course, then you would have to find some further tests to discriminate
> between them -- but having to choose between alternate explanations is
> hardly a novel situation in science.

And you are trying to make it far more difficult that it really is for
science.

> Any medical examiner must be familiar
> with cases where he has to wonder if the dent in the deceased's skull was
> made by falling debris or a swung club. But if there is no way to test the
> "intelligent cause hypothesis" except ruling out *every possible known and
> unknown mindless cause (and all their combinations) in the universe," then,
> again, proposing "intelligent design" tells you nothing except that you
> don't know the cause, and don't wish to admit ignorance.

Actually, I do autopsies myself on a regular basis and have to
determine deliberate vs. accidental or other mindless causes all the
time in similar cases. What happens is that if a deliberate cause is
not reasonably clear then it is not or at least should not proposed in
the autopsy report. However, some findings at autopsy are clearly
deliberately designed since they cannot be confused with any known
mindless or accidental process. For example, the coroner told me of a
case the other day were the heart of the victim had been cut sharply
into four equal pieces. This is clear evidence of design. There is
no reasonable doubt here since no known natural process can do this.
If a natural process was known that could do anything even close to
this, then a mindful cause could not be presented as convincingly.
Hopefully you understand this by now, but I think I can predict, with
extraordinary accuracy, that you will not "get it", but maybe others
will . . .

Well, that is all I have time for right now. Thanks for trying, but
you seem to be trying way to hard to be convincing.

Sean
www.naturalselection.0catch.com

Sean Pitman

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Oct 31, 2003, 7:14:52 PM10/31/03