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Same Evidence, Different Interpretations


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#21 Guest_Calipithecus_*

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 12:49 PM

As Dr. Behe wrote:
ID is testable and falsifiable.

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Your acceptance of testability as a qualifying rule for inclusion as empirical science seems like real progress.

reality demonstrates that people can twist the evidence to fit their reality.

What I would consider twisting of evidence would be: fabrication of artifacts, falsification of experimental data, misreporting of observations -- that sort of thing. Again, you are addressing logical interpretation rather than empirical evidence, and you still seem to be having trouble making the distinction. The premise on which I started this thread is that there are alternative systems of logic, and aspects of each which may be subject to dispute, and that examining those is worthwhile.


Though I find this claim by Behe to be laughably false:
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"The fact that critical reviewers advance scientific arguments against ID (whether successfully or not) shows that intelligent design is indeed falsifiable."
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(What, it's falsifiable if somebody thinks it is?)


I agree with him where he says:
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"One can’t say both that ID is unfalsifiable (or untestable) and that there is evidence against it."
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Once the goalposts quit flickering, it is clear that ID could be falsified -- empirically -- if it rested on empirical evidence. This, however, it can never do, since its most central premise -- the influence of supernatural causes -- cannot by definition be tested empirically. Therefore, it must (and does) rest entirely on the strength of its logical arguments. Since those so far consist of little beyond attempts to logically defeat a competing theory, it hardly rises above the level of a philosophical parlour trick; interesting on first glance perhaps, but trivial once you know the secret.


There is no getting around the fact that despite a possible many possibilities one and only one cause is responsible for that which is being questioned/ investigated.

I wouldn't try to get around that. In fact, it bears some resemblance to postulates I presented above as axiomatic.

#22 John Paul

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 05:23 PM

Cal:
Your acceptance of testability as a qualifying rule for inclusion as empirical science seems like real progress.


Real progress will come when you, as an evolutionist, start to substantiate the claims made by evolutionists pertaining to common descent and the alleged history of life. However I doubt we will ever reach that point.

QUOTE
reality demonstrates that people can twist the evidence to fit their reality.

Cal:
What I would consider twisting of evidence would be: fabrication of artifacts, falsification of experimental data, misreporting of observations -- that sort of thing.


What I would consider twisting of evidence is starting out with with a preconceived conclusion that requires a priori rejection of a more plausible explanation.


Cal:
Though I find this claim by Behe to be laughably false:
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"The fact that critical reviewers advance scientific arguments against ID (whether successfully or not) shows that intelligent design is indeed falsifiable."
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(What, it's falsifiable if somebody thinks it is?)


I find your response to be laughably sophmoric. It is falsifiable because 1) People have found a way to falsify it and 2) People are trying to falsify it.

Just how does one falsify the notion that life arose from non-life via unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes? (my prediction is this question will not receive a response)

Cal:
I agree with him where he says:
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"One can’t say both that ID is unfalsifiable (or untestable) and that there is evidence against it."
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Once the goalposts quit flickering, it is clear that ID could be falsified -- empirically -- if it rested on empirical evidence.


How would you know whether or not the goalposts are flickering? I have yet to read anything posted by you that would indicate you have any more than an ID education based on the writings of ID critics and anti-IDists.

Cal:
This, however, it can never do, since its most central premise -- the influence of supernatural causes -- cannot by definition be tested empirically.


ID doesn't say anything about the supernatural. ID relies on the supernatural as much as naturalism does. ID is based upon observation and is subject to scientific investigation. The book The Privileged Planet makes that obviouly clear.

Cal:
Therefore, it must (and does) rest entirely on the strength of its logical arguments.


Reality refutes that statement. IOW it is nothing but a bald assertion. It appears to be borne out of ID ignorance and an anti-ID agenda.

Cal:
Since those so far consist of little beyond attempts to logically defeat a competing theory, it hardly rises above the level of a philosophical parlour trick; interesting on first glance perhaps, but trivial once you know the secret.


How would you know what ID consists of? What ID literature written by IDists, have you read?

The bottom line continues to be that IF evolutionists could substantiate their claims ID would never have started. Don't blame IDists for the utter failure materialistic naturalism has afforded biology.

#23 Guest_92g_*

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 06:49 PM

I agree up to this point. The alternative to naturalism, supernaturalism, is a logical possibility.


Ok, if its a logical possibility, then its a mistake to rule them out completely.

Supernatural explanations are not rejected because they aren't liked.  Refer to my opening post for an example of willingness on the part of scientists to entertain explanations they didn't like.  Supernatural explanations are rejected because their validity is untestable.


If anything is untestable, in the sense of observational science, evolution is. So if we are to reject something as a scientific because its untestable, then evolution should be the 1st to go.


Scientific investigation is a set of procedures: it relies on careful observation, accurate measurement, and meticulous recording.  Supernatural forces, if they exist, cannot (by definition) be observed, measured, or recorded. 


If anything cannot be observed, measured, or recorded, its what the fossil record means. Its totally subjective.

In the case of origins science, we can make judgements of what we se in nature, and then form opinions on what they mean. Evo's think the fossil record demonstrates onething, and creationists think another. There is no way to prove one right or wrong.

Where I think your totally wrong here is with the Information concept. The information found in living things has only one reasonable origin, an intelligent being. Sticking to random chance as the origin of information is the absurdity that Lewontin is talking about, because its rediculous, and everything that is known about information says it cannot happen.

We have no way of evaluating any one of the infinite number of supernatural explanations that might be offered, whether they posit gods, angels, leprechauns, or invisible pink unicorns.


Well, that may be true, but stating ""evolution did it", or "evolution doesn't care", is just as much a god of the gaps as any other thing you object to.

No creationist will ever tell you that science can prove who God is, only that we can look at scientific evidence and see how it fits with the Bible, negates evolution, and demonstrates the necessity for some God to exist to make sense out of how the universe functions.

At that point, it a person can see those arguments, its up to him or her to express positive volition toward God, and then God will reveal the truth to them so they can repent and be saved.

When Lewontin says:

"we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes"

he is pointing directly to one of the axioms of science I mentioned above. The mistake the creationist (in particular, the 'creation scientist') makes is failing to understand that material causes and supernatural causes are mutually exclusive.


Materialism is a non-sufficient paradigmn for understanding the universe. It may be the only way to understand how chemisty works, or physics, but not life, since life is based on an information processing system, and that can never be reduced to matter, never......

An adherence to "material causes" is willful ignorance.

If you decide to rely on supernatural explanations, you not only don't need natural ones, but you  forfeit your right to invoke them; you have willingly aquired a 'supernatural Midas touch'.



Its not a matter of relying on certain explanation, but what explanation fits the data best. If the universe is better explained by an intelligent designer, than random chance, then its only logical to look to see if that person has anything to say.

I believe that person is the Lord Jesus Christ. I also believe that scientific data can be correctly interpreted to fit with his Word, and that its falsifies evolution.

If you decide to rely on natural explanations, you can't use supernatural ones, even though you may be forced to accept that supernatural causes are logically possible.


Supernatural causes are not only logically possible, they are also logically necessary.

Terry

#24 John Paul

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 07:06 PM

Cal:
Once the goalposts quit flickering, it is clear that ID could be falsified -- empirically -- if it rested on empirical evidence.


But, I say, but you started this thread under the premise it was the same evidence, different interpretations.

Are we to conclude that the ToE, flickering goalposts and all, could be falsified--empirically--if it rested on empirical evidence? ;)

I take it this is why you have avoided the evidence thread... :rolleyes:

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 11:28 PM

[ID] is falsifiable because 1) People have found a way to falsify it

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What way was that again?

Just how does one falsify the notion that life arose from non-life via unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes? (my prediction is this question will not receive a response)

Your choice of words (as well as the parenthetical statement you followed with) suggests that your intent was to frame the question broadly enough and vaguely enough as to render it unanswerable, presumably earning you some kind of points; whether or not you succeeded you will have to judge for yourself, but I would like to encourage you once again to consider how consistent this sort of debating tactic is with this board's stated commitment to "honest, civil dialogue", and to give some thought to what those points are really worth.

The theory to which you mischaracterizingly refer rests (traditionally) on five essential tenets. Destroying any one of these would go a long way toward invalidating the entire theory. Falsifying common descent, for example, could easily and definitively be accomplished by a single well-documented fossil in the wrong layer of strata.

I have yet to read anything posted by you that would indicate you have any more than an ID education based on the writings of ID critics and anti-IDists.

You really don't want to do this "I'm better read than you are" thing with me, JP, and I won't do it with you. I couldn't find a trace of the actual theory in Intelligent Design theory in Darwin's Black Box, and if Behe withheld it there, then I don't know where else to look. You are free to point me to anything you consider to be the definitive text on the subject, or present what you consider to be the salient points so that we might discuss them; but I wonder if anyone here besides you sees value in your continued attempts at mudslinging.

I know you were quite taken with the Privileged Planet. Please straighen me out if you find Gonzalez's central premise to be something other than: the laws of physics seem precisely "fine-tuned" for the existence of complex life", and help me to see how this is more than an argument from incredulity. Feel free to refer back to the earlier discussion about meta-rules and the Universe-Creating Machine, and to answer the question you left hanging there. (I would be especially grateful if, instead of your usual cut-and-paste job, you responded with whatever of your own ideas you can manage to muster -- but if you simply must cut-and-paste, I would suggest that for the sake of clarity you consider trying to avoid multiple levels of quoted statements).


ID doesn't say anything about the supernatural.

I find that a most remarkable statement. It's not that I entirely disagree; ID in fact seems to go to great pains to avoid mentioning what must surely be considered its most central tenet (both its first axiom and its final conclusion). Maybe that's why the actual theory is so hard to find. But perhaps I am mistaken. Explain to me how there could be intelligent design without an intelligent designer (or, alternatively, how such a designer could be considered anything but supernatural).


The bottom line continues to be that IF evolutionists could substantiate their claims ID would never have started.

Increased Truth Value Through Repetitive Assertion. Why don't you just put it in your sig?

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 11:30 PM

If anything is untestable, in the sense of observational science, evolution is.

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What's so hard to test?

Evolution isn't really a very complicated idea. Its premises can be encapsulated into a single sentence: "gradual change through differential rates of reproductive success between imperfectly replicating organisms". Do organisms produce perfect copies of themselves? Do similar organisms all produce the same numbers of offspring? Do new forms leap fully-formed into the world?

If anything cannot be observed, measured, or recorded, its what the fossil record means. Its totally subjective.

This from a guy who is willing to accept 'information' as 'the third fundamental universal quantity'.

Materialism is a non-sufficient paradigmn for understanding the universe.

I don't disagree. But it's the best we've got.

It may be the only way to understand how chemisty works, or physics, but not life, since life is based on an information processing system, and that can never be reduced to matter, never......

Just itchin' for another information thread, ain'tcha? I'm in. Start 'er up.

Its not a matter of relying on certain explanation, but what explanation fits the data best.

So you agree with JP that the relationship between evidence and interpretiation is one-directional?
Are all valid logical constructs derived only from observation? Can there be no possible value in attempting to evaluate the soundness of such a construct by examining it for internal inconsistencies? Did you catch my Holodeck Universe theory earlier? In precisely what way is the Creation model a better fit?


Supernatural causes are not only logically possible, they are also logically necessary.

In philosophical discussions, I believe it's customary to follow a statement like that with some kind of supporting argument.

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 04:59 AM

Evolution isn't really a very complicated idea. Its premises can be encapsulated into a single sentence: "gradual change through differential rates of reproductive success between imperfectly replicating organisms".  Do organisms produce perfect copies of themselves? Do similar organisms all produce the same numbers of offspring? Do new forms leap fully-formed into the world?


As I said in the thread "Has time ran out" if evolution is to be at all testable in the sense of observational science, then it fails. So as one famouts PAC has said recently, its time to "Move On".

I don't disagree. But it's the best we've got.


Who decides what best is? Atheists....... :rolleyes:

Just itchin' for another information thread, ain'tcha? I'm in. Start 'er up.


I'm not itching for another thread, but the concept of Information clearly demonstrates that you are willing to work from a position of ignorance, just to hold on to something that excludes ideas/results you don't like.

I believe it's customary to follow a statement like that with some kind of supporting argument.


If you define natural causes as only materialistic, then the cause of information must be supernatural.

Terry

#28 John Paul

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 06:13 AM

Cal:
Once the goalposts quit flickering, it is clear that ID could be falsified -- empirically -- if it rested on empirical evidence.



But, I say, but you started this thread under the premise it was the same evidence, different interpretations.

Are we to conclude that the ToE, flickering goalposts and all, could be falsified--empirically--if it rested on empirical evidence?

I take it this is why you have avoided the evidence thread...


About ID:

ID is about the detection and understanding of the design. The design resides in this physical world. Period. IF ID was about the designer you may have a point about ID & the supernatural.

Why not just substantiate the claims made by evolutionists? Ya see gradual change through differential rates of reproductive success between imperfectly replicating organisms", has never been observed or tested to see if the range of morphological or phenotypic can be accounted for by that mechanism.

As for reading about a theory- what text contains the theory of evolution? It can't be anything written by Darwin as his "theory" has been replaced.

#29 John Paul

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 07:38 AM

QUOTE(John Paul @ Aug 12 2005, 05:23 PM)
[ID] is falsifiable because 1) People have found a way to falsify it

Cal:
What way was that again?


In biology the same way it has always been- to demonstrate that unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes can account for the irreducible complexity and complex specified information that is observed in life and life itself.


Just so this is understood- ID is concerned less with the designer than the ToE is with the origins of life. You can't have evolution without life and if life didn't arise from non-life via unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes there would be no reason to infer its subsequent diversity arose solely by those processes.

The bottom line with ID is that is about the detection and understanding of the design. That is the only way, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, to reasonably infer anything about the designer.

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 07:41 AM

One simple question for Cal:

Is SETI a scientific endeavor, or a philosophical one?

Terry

#31 Guest_Calipithecus_*

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 08:43 AM

you started this thread under the premise it was the same evidence, different interpretations.

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In order to comparatively evaluate competing interpretations, it is vitally important that they be tested against the same set of empirical evidence. This shouldn't be a problem, as we have (I think) agreed that one -- and only one -- set of empirical evidence exists. Therefore, when we ask: "what is the evidence that supports this interpretation?" we are not asking the theorist to dip into his personal stash of proprietary evidence; it goes without saying that the evidence must be available to all who wish to examine it before the process of interpretation can even begin (we can't discuss possible causes of gravity if one person's observation is that apples fall up, and the other's is that they fall down).


ID is about the detection and understanding of the design.

Ditto evolution.

The design resides in this physical world.

Agreed.

IF ID was about the designer you may have a point about ID & the supernatural.

So, ID posits a designer, but doesn't have anything to say about him.

Evolutionary theory, by contrast, posits a 'designer' (though one of a very different sort: mutation/selection), and devotes itself to exhaustive investigation of both the details and the implications. Where any aspect of that investigation remains incomplete, IDists can be heard howling. I don't understand how this is not a double standard.

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 09:10 AM

Is SETI a scientific endeavor, or a philosophical one?

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I'm not sure that is such a simple question, but it certainly is an interesting one.

The best way I can think of to answer is that while such an endeavor may be conducted scientifically, its inspiration relies on some assumptions which are subject to dispute by philosophers (as well as biologists, btw). Its successful completion would have significant import for both scientists and philosophers, but, as is so often the case, the continued failure to produce positive results is considerably less conclusive.

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 10:17 AM

The best way I can think of to answer is that while such an endeavor may be conducted scientifically, its inspiration relies on some assumptions which are subject to dispute by philosophers (as well as biologists, btw).


Very well then......

If we can look for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe by deduction from observed physical phenomenon, then we can do the same thing here on earth by looking for signs of intelligent life based on what we see in nature. There is essentially no difference.

That's the irony about SETI, all you have to do is look at the genetic code, and we've already found what SETI is in principal looking for.

Terry

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 11:44 AM

If we can look for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe by deduction from observed physical phenomenon, then we can do the same thing here on earth by looking for signs of intelligent life based on what we see in nature.  There is essentially no difference.

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The basis for the SETI search is the following process:

1) By observation: intelligent life exists on earth.
2) By inference: intelligence was a likely (or even inevitable) outcome of evolution of life on Earth.
3) By induction: wherever life exists, intelligence is among its natural end products.
4) Prediction: intelligent life forms will develop technology.
5) Test: look for signs of those technologies.

The basis for the Intelligent Design movement is the following process:

1) By observation: intelligent life exists on earth.
2) By inference: life can only be the product of intelligent design.
3) By political pressure, pseudoscience, or any other means necessary: sell it.

#35 Guest_92g_*

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 11:54 AM

5) Test: look for signs of those technologies.

In principal, the signs for those technologies exists in the genetic code. Its based on the assumtion that certain types of electromagnetic signals, if they contain information, are not possibly formed by random processes.

Gee, that sounds familiar...... :rolleyes:

In the end, its boils down to different interpretations of the same data.

Terry

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 10:59 PM

In principal, the signs for those technologies exists in the genetic code.  Its based on the assumtion that certain types of electromagnetic signals, if they contain information, are not possibly formed by random processes.

Gee, that sounds familiar....

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Yes, it sounds a lot like the same trivially flawed mischaracterization of evolution as a 'random process' so frequently heard by those who are either misinformed themselves or whose intent is to misinform others.

In the end, its boils down to different interpretations of the same data.

Gee, that sounds familiar too.

#37 John Paul

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 04:40 AM

QUOTE
ID is about the detection and understanding of the design.

Cal:
Ditto evolution.


Not according to scientists:

Dr. Crick wrote that biologists must constantly remind themselves that what they see was not designed but evolved.


QUOTE
The design resides in this physical world.

Cal:
Agreed.


Then it can be scientifically studied.


QUOTE
IF ID was about the designer you may have a point about ID & the supernatural.

Cal:
So, ID posits a designer, but doesn't have anything to say about him.


No. ID is about the detection and understanding of the design. As I said the ONLY way to infer anything about the designer in the absence of direct observation or designer input is by studying the design. That is the way it is done in the real world.

Cal:
Evolutionary theory, by contrast, posits a 'designer' (though one of a very different sort: mutation/selection), and devotes itself to exhaustive investigation of both the details and the implications.


That posited mechanism has never been shown to "design" anything from scratch. I doubt it has been shown to design anything.

Cal:
Where any aspect of that investigation remains incomplete, IDists can be heard howling.


Incomplete? LoL! Hpw about non-existent?

Cal:
I don't understand how this is not a double standard.


Seeing that there isn't any biological or genetic evidence to support common descent starting from some unknown population(s) of single-celled organisms one has to wonder how the ToE has gained acceptance.

#38 John Paul

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 04:48 AM

Cal:
Yes, it sounds a lot like the same trivially flawed mischaracterization of evolution as a 'random process' so frequently heard by those who are either misinformed themselves or whose intent is to misinform others.



"The major tenets of the evolutionary synthesis, then, were that populations contain genetic variation that arises by random (ie. not adaptively directed) mutation and recombination; that populations evolve by changes in gene frequency brought about by random genetic drift, gene flow, and especially natural selection; that most adaptive genetic variants have individually slight phenotypic effects so that phenotypic changes are gradual (although some alleles with discrete effects may be advantageous, as in certain color polymorphisms); that diversification comes about by speciation, which normally entails the gradual evolution of reproductive isolation among populations; and that these processes, continued for sufficiently long, give rise to changes of such great magnitude as to warrant the designation of higher taxonomic levels (genera, families, and so forth)."
- Futuyma, D.J. in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates, 1986; p.12

So we have random processes culled by a blind, purpose-less process. Neither, together or separate has been shown to do anything close to what evolutionists would have us believe they did.

Still I would love to read about the theory of evolution. I asked for the literature it can be found in but you didn't answer that question. Why is that?


Cal:
The basis for the Intelligent Design movement is the following process:


How would you know?

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 03:07 PM

Dr. Crick wrote that biologists must constantly remind themselves that what they see was not designed but evolved.

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The reason such a reminder is necessary is that the our language is filthy with teleological implications. A lack of graceful alternatives forces the biologist to the use of terms which, in the vernacular, often include assumptions he does not necessarily accept. Insisting that his use of those terms constitutes acceptance of the underlying assumptions is a tactic that might be employed by the sort of disingenuous person who, unable to counter the biologist's arguments directly, resorts to misconstruing his position with the intent to make it easier to attack.

This could, of course, also result from an honest misunderstanding of which assumptions the biologist accepts, and which ones he rejects. I started this thread because I believe that better clarification of the axioms which serve as the basis for our divergent interpretations, as well as the logical methods used in developing them, would help us avoid these misunderstandings. You seem reluctant to discuss this openly.


ID is about the detection and understanding of the design. As I said the ONLY way to infer anything about the designer in the absence of direct observation or designer input is by studying the design.

So you continue to deny that among the most important inferences ID makes is the existence of the designer? I'm sorry, I just find that very difficult to accept. It seems to me that by the simplest of Aristotelian logic, the statement:

"X is the product of Y"

contains the statement:

"Y either exists, or once existed".

If you accept the premise, the conclusion is forced (unless you care to take me up on my earlier offer to describe whatever alternate system of logic you are using).


Still I would love to read about the theory of evolution. I asked for the literature it can be found in but you didn't answer that question. Why is that?

Because I found it trivial, argumentative, and insincere -- an assessment that is confirmed by the obvious ease with which you found at least one source on your own.

The theory of evolution is simple and concise. It can be expressed in a single sentence, and understood by a child. By comparison, ID is an exercise in bafflegab like this heaping helping of word salad:

----------------------
"Information is a complexity-theoretic notion. Indeed, as a purely formal object, the information measure described here is a complexity measure (cf. Dembski, 1998, ch. 4). Complexity measures arise whenever we assign numbers to degrees of complication. A set of possibilities will often admit varying degrees of complication, ranging from extremely simple to extremely complicated. Complexity measures assign non-negative numbers to these possibilities so that 0 corresponds to the most simple and to the most complicated. For instance, computational complexity is always measured in terms of either time (i.e., number of computational steps) or space (i.e., size of memory, usually measured in bits or bytes) or some combination of the two. The more difficult a computational problem, the more time and space are required to run the algorithm that solves the problem. For information measures, degree of complication is measured in bits. Given an event A of probability P(A), I(A) = -log2P(A) measures the number of bits associated with the probability P(A). We therefore speak of the "complexity of information" and say that the complexity of information increases as I(A) increases (or, correspondingly, as P(A) decreases). We also speak of "simple" and "complex" information according to whether I(A) signifies few or many bits of information. This notion of complexity is important to biology since not just the origin of information stands in question, but the origin of complex information."
----------------------
I question whether the average self-described proponent of ID is really willing to invest much time in wading through that sort of muck, and the abstruse nature of the material as well as its sheer volume suggests that it is crafted at least in part with this in mind. Anyone willing to wrestle with the details will find the mistakes made by Dembski, Gitt, et al soon enough, but those of us who have at least a nodding aquaintance with the work of genuine information theorists such as Shannon, Chaitin and Kolmogorov find them both numerous and glaring (the primary objection being the logically unjustifiable criteria used in selecting arguments from classical information theory and algorithmic information theory).

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 06:14 PM

The reason such a reminder is necessary is that the our language is filthy with teleological implications. A lack of graceful alternatives forces the biologist to the use of terms which, in the vernacular, often include assumptions he does not necessarily accept. Insisting that his use of those terms constitutes acceptance of the underlying assumptions is a tactic that might be employed by the sort of disingenuous person who, unable to counter the biologist's arguments directly, resorts to misconstruing his position with the intent to make it easier to attack.


It could just as easily be that the teleological implications are evident for themselves, and that the language naturally fits.

Terry




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