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Intelligent Design- Is It Scientific


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#1 John Paul

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 07:06 AM

This is a thread in which the current posted debate on ID - Is it scientific?- can be discussed. If requested I will clarify anything in my opening post (at least attempt to).

The point will be to either just expose the weaknesses in one or both arguments or strenghten/ refute the argument for the design inference.

All comments welcome.


Intelligent Design- Is it Scientific?

#2 Joshua

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 10:55 AM

Hi John Paul.

I think you have summed it up perfectly with the definition of science; however I do believe that the argument is broken down into two groups.

Scientific merits of ID
Scientific status of ID

The merits are plain and simple. ID is science because it pushes us to newer boundaries and beyond what we know. Above all, ID can be studied by means of observing the physical world. Anyone who argues otherwise is just not worth the effort.

The scientific status is of concern. To be fair ID requires an abundance of scientific research and documented experimentations if it is to succeed as an alternate theory. At the moment there isn’t quite enough and too many ID guns are pointing towards the Evolution camp when they should be pointing towards the future.

Over all I believe ID is still its infancy and has incredible potential as science, but proponents of ID seriously need to start working on testable hypothesis and ignore the flukist camp. ;)

#3 chance

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 02:29 PM

<snip>, but proponents of ID seriously need to start working on testable hypothesis and ignore the flukist camp.

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I agree with this statement 100%, it’s no good shooting of salvoes at evolution without some ammunition to replace a downed theory ;) , ID must begin to (should have long ago) do real science on it’s own and let the chips fall where they may. ID, will like all science stand or fall on it’s product.

#4 John Paul

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 04:37 AM

Thanks Joshua & Chance,


Irreducible complexity and complex specified information (CSI) are testable hypotheses.


IDists do scientific research. The Privileged Planet (one example) is based on scientific research. IC & CSI are based on scientific research.

To be fair what documented experimentations support the premise that (for example) land animals can evolve into cetaceans?

Some ID "guns" are pointing at the ToE because phase 1 is to teach the controversy. In order to reach the controversy you have to make sure there is a consensus that one exists.

#5 chance

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 01:58 PM

Thanks Joshua & Chance,
Irreducible complexity and complex specified information (CSI) are testable hypotheses.

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Is there an example, and what method is used to determine complexity, for instance is there a cut off in something: simple, medium, moderately, hugely complex, can the CSI draw a line and say ‘this’ is designed and ‘this’ is not?


IDists do scientific research. The Privileged Planet (one example) is based on scientific research. IC & CSI are based on scientific research.

View Post

The privileged planet is a movie, research into ID should be supportive of the ID position i.e. of an intelligent designer listing the scientific evidence for that position. Although I have not seen the movie, I have read the critiques which proclaim to tout the same old creationist arguments of, “it’s too improbable/complex for such and such, thus it must be designed”. That argument, is not supportive of ID but a challenge for evolution, which is not the same thing at all. What is meant by research into ID is positive for the stated position, a way to examine and test the idea, or positive evidence for, and the ability to predict. (e.g. if I dig here what am I likely to find).

To be fair what documented experimentations support the premise that (for example) land animals can evolve into cetaceans?

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Evidence for evolution, or old earth/universe has been discussed in various topics in this forum, but as an example one could look at this http://www.talkorigi...n-research.html (whales are included) and could be discussed in a separate topic.

Some ID "guns" are pointing at the ToE because phase 1 is to teach the controversy. In order to reach the controversy you have to make sure there is a consensus that one exists.

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I see no reason why both cannot be conducted simultaneously, it would certainly bolster ID if one could argue like this: “The eye is too complex to have evolved <show math>, ID has discovered new evidence that demonstrates that a intelligent designer is responsible <show evidence>.

#6 John Paul

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 05:56 AM

chance:
The privileged planet is a movie, research into ID should be supportive of the ID position i.e. of an intelligent designer listing the scientific evidence for that position.


The Privileged Planet was first and foremost a book. A book put together from scientific research. The book lists the scientific research.

Judging something by reading critiques is the evo way. Why read the original when you can count on skewed criticisms? I have yet to read one critique in which the author of the critique knew what he/ she was talking about.

How to determine complexity and specification have been presented. It is a better thought out position than the anti-ID position. Just what is the criteria for determining unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes can account for all we observe?
Evidence for evolution is NOT evidence for the "blind watchmaker". ID and theistic evolution are OK with common descent. Creationists accept speciation even though it is an ambiguous entity at best.

The math has been provided. All evos can do is to say the following:

"Somehow or other by adjusting these figures we will come out all right. We are comforted by the fact that evolution has occurred." Ernst Mayr.

The bottom line is we still don't know whether or not ANY mutation- selection process can lead to the range of change required. IOW we don't have the evidence needed.

#7 Joshua

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 09:59 AM

I think you raise an interesting point here JP. I too have found the works of ID critiques (Mark Perakh as an example) and am some what dubious of their critisims simply because the author has little or no understanding of the ID concept and the mechanisms involved. ID is heavily based on mathematics which I consider to be the universal language. It is a simple case of understanding the mathematics prior to making any criticism because as we all know, in the case of Math; you are dealing with the truth.

2+2 will always equal 4 no matter which part the cosmos you live in. ;)

#8 Joshua

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 10:12 AM

Is there an example, and what method is used to determine complexity, for instance is there a cut off in something: simple, medium, moderately, hugely complex, can the CSI draw a line and say ‘this’ is designed and ‘this’ is not?


This is something I was thinking about. Surely CSI can be tested by taking an IC system and removing a component ? Failure in function would prove the CSI hypothesis correct ?

Also John Paul, I take it you would recommend the Privileged Planet in both Reading and Video formats ? I have the intention of buying them but would like some direct criticism from someone who has understood the book ?

Thanks ;)

#9 John Paul

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 10:37 AM

The book version explains all of the data whereas the video is an over-view of that data.

For example the video really doesn't discuss the information storage system that is the planet Earth. The book does- it discusses the ice cores, sediments, etc. in chapter 2 "At Home on a Data Recorder"

The book is fully referenced and includes "A Skeptics Rejoinder". It also encompasses much more than the video

the video has several different scientists speaking on the evidence and gives you a "quick look" into the evidence and subsequent inference.

I have both- the video is out on loan. The video wets your appetite which can only really be satisfied by the book or years of research.

IC can be tested by removing a component and testing for functionality. CSI and IC are not the same. SC and CSI are pretty much interchangeable.

CSI- No Free Lunch Chapter 3 "Specified Complexity as Information", puts a 500 bit limit- IOW "specified information of gretaer than 500 bits cannot reasonably be attributed to chance." Wm. Dembski pg. 161

Think of CSI in terms of hardware and software coming together in one location and time to provide a function:

NFL pg 141
CSI- The coincidence of conceptual & physical information where the conceptual information is both identifiable independently of the physical information and also complex.

#10 Joshua

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 11:01 AM

Thanks JP.

#11 John Paul

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 12:19 PM

Second thoughts on IC and CSI relationships:

It could be that the amount of CSI can be determined by the depth of the IC in question.

For example the 5-part mousetrap used by Dr. Behe to illustrate IC vs. a 40 protein bacterial flagellum. As Dr.Behe says if a 40 protein flagellum can arise via unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes, there wouldn't be any reason to infer a 5 part unit is the result of ID. However it doesn't work the other way around.

#12 chance

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 02:01 PM

The Privileged Planet was first and foremost a book. A book put together from scientific research. The book lists the scientific research.


Well it is the research that I am interested in, else I might as well claim evolution is proved via “Walking with Dinosaurs”!

Judging something by reading critiques is the evo way. Why read the original when you can count on skewed criticisms? I have yet to read one critique in which the author of the critique knew what he/ she was talking about.


Perhaps you did not understand the science? Or it was a poor critique.

How to determine complexity and specification have been presented.


I’ve seen the rhetoric, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I suggest pick your best example and lets get to it. Lest see if ID can prove what it claims. (pre-emptive reply – bet there is nothing more than a “it’s too improbable argument”)


It is a better thought out position than the anti-ID position. Just what is the criteria for determining unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes can account for all we observe?


You total misunderstand what science is, without evidence one way or another any situation is in limbo. Evolution has many topics on this forum, yet I can’t remember a positive argument supporting ID to discuss.



Evidence for evolution is NOT evidence for the "blind watchmaker". ID and theistic evolution are OK with common descent. Creationists accept speciation even though it is an ambiguous entity at best.


I suspect it is grudgingly acknowledged because “micro-evolution” can be observed, pretty hard to deny what is so readily observed. However, I was under the impression that creationist draw the line at speciation (macro-evolution).

The math has been provided.


I dispute this claim. If it is proven, why has it not displaced mainstream thinking in this area? Perhaps you only mean proven to the satisfaction of ID proponents, yes?

All evos can do is to say the following:

"Somehow or other by adjusting these figures we will come out all right. We are comforted by the fact that evolution has occurred." Ernst Mayr.

The bottom line is we still don't know whether or not ANY mutation- selection process can lead to the range of change required. IOW we don't have the evidence needed.


You have stated this before, yet the reason for making this statement appears to be one of desperation so as to discount the evidence contrary to you position. The only way to resolve such, is to get to the specifics of a claim to see if your requirements are fair.

#13 chance

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 02:07 PM

<snip>. ID is heavily based on mathematics which I consider to be the universal language. It is a simple case of understanding the mathematics prior to making any criticism because as we all know, in the case of Math; you are dealing with the truth.

2+2 will always equal 4 no matter which part the cosmos you live in. ;)

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I just love math discussion, especially probability. Are you claiming an understanding of the ID mathematics used in it’s ‘proof’? If so we could start a topic on such to discuss the merits of whatever you consider constitutes a positive for ID.

#14 John Paul

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 02:16 PM

I will ask this again:

Just what is the criteria for determining unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes can account for all we observe?

The positive case for ID being scientific has been made in the debate essay I linked to. It is based on the criteria presented in the essay. And again that criteria appears to better represented than the criteria for inferring the anti-ID position as evidenced by the avoidance of the question.

One more time- evidence for common descent is NOT evidence for the blind-watchmaker. Both micro & macro are useless concepts as macro- being speciation, isn't being debated- even though a species is still an ambiguous concept.

About the math- why do you think that Mayr said what he did?

Now if you or anyone else has ANY evidence to show what I claim is wrong-
The bottom line is we still don't know whether or not ANY mutation- selection process can lead to the range of change required. IOW we don't have the evidence needed.

now would be a good time to present it. All I have seen to date is speculation based on the assumption. IOW the "evidence" is not exclusive to the anti-ID position.

#15 chance

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 02:18 PM

chance> Is there an example, and what method is used to determine complexity, for instance is there a cut off in something: simple, medium, moderately, hugely complex, can the CSI draw a line and say ‘this’ is designed and ‘this’ is not?

Joshua> This is something I was thinking about. Surely CSI can be tested by taking an IC system and removing a component ? Failure in function would prove the CSI hypothesis correct ?


There are two parts to this:

a. Can the ‘science’ of CSI determine what is designed and what is not? (and by definition there must be some cut-off point, in a gradual system of complexity, e.g. the various forms of eye).

b. The test of removing a part does not test question one, what you are doing here is testing the ‘redundancy’ of a system. Function is not a goal in evolutionary science, this is an artificial argument from the creationist perspective. E.g. legs are for walking, but I can also play football with them, were legs designed with football in mind? A bit of philosophical digression there.

#16 chance

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 02:25 PM

Second thoughts on IC and CSI relationships:

It could be that the amount of CSI can be determined by the depth of the IC in question.

For example the 5-part mousetrap used by Dr. Behe to illustrate IC vs. a 40 protein bacterial flagellum. As Dr.Behe says if a 40 protein flagellum can arise via unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes, there wouldn't be any reason to infer a 5 part unit is the result of ID. However it doesn't work the other way around.


If I understand you correctly, you are saying that:

If the Flagellum is a result of evolution, then the mousetrap is also the result of evolution because 5 is less than 40. But, if CSI can prove the mousetrap is designed, then by default the flagellum is also designed because 40 is larger than 5. is this correct?

#17 chance

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 02:49 PM

The positive case for ID being scientific has been made in the debate essay I linked to. It is based on the criteria presented in the essay. And again that criteria appears to better represented than the criteria for inferring the anti-ID position as evidenced by the avoidance of the question.


I was under the impression that that link is a formal debate between yourself and skeptic-err-guy. I think it would be improper for me to but in. But to comment on your statement – I would be happy to discuss any specific topic, preferably one that you consider a positive for the ID position (you have made quite a long list) but if we tackle them one at a time I believe there will be greater clarity.

One more time- evidence for common descent is NOT evidence for the blind-watchmaker. Both micro & macro are useless concepts as macro- being speciation, isn't being debated- even though a species is still an ambiguous concept.


Common decent is a position take by understanding the theory of evolution. The blind watchmaker is a phrase opposing Paley’s ideat that design can be inferred by complexity.

About the math- why do you think that Mayr said what he did?


I do not know.

Now if you or anyone else has ANY evidence to show what I claim is wrong-
The bottom line is we still don't know whether or not ANY mutation- selection process can lead to the range of change required. IOW we don't have the evidence needed.


Now see, this is a typical switching tactic (because I suspect you only have ‘teach the controversy’ type arguments) – I am specifically requesting a topic to discuss a positive for ID, (there are after all many topics on this forum challenging evolution that you can join). So, lets take an example and see if you can defend your position for a change. Remember that the title of this topic is ID is it scientific?, well is it? Make a claim and defend it, present the math for scrutiny, what does it infer, what does it predict, is it repeatable? You have to make the claim not I.

#18 Joshua

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 03:24 PM

I just love math discussion, especially probability.  Are you claiming an understanding of the ID mathematics used in it’s ‘proof’? If so we could start a topic on such to discuss the merits of whatever you consider constitutes a positive for ID.

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Math looks at DNA

Math looks at DNA II

Evolution Theory destroyed by math

Rationailty Vs. Randomness



The mathematics demonstrates the improbabilities involved with the idea of flukism and concludes them as ludicrous and beyond computability. You see the models in the links above are based on the concept of small accumulative changes. In other words, the theory of evolution was put to the test based on data acquired through 150 yrs of research. Back then a cell was just a small dot of carbon, but today it’s a complex piece of biological kit. A whole new perspective.

Personally the mathematics suggests that constants and functions are required for the development and sustenance of life. Logic dictates that a mathematical explanation is far superior to ‘it just happened’.

In this respect, yes, mathematical proof is a positive for ID.

#19 John Paul

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 03:55 PM

OK I started THIS thread to discuss the debate- including the posts made in it. Skeptic-err-guy posted and by his words it looks like he is finished. IOW there wouldn't be any "butting in".

My position is defended in my essay.

Again I will re-quote Dr. Behe:

In fact, my argument for intelligent design is open to direct experimental rebuttal. Here is a thought experiment that makes the point clear. In Darwin’s Black Box (Behe 1996) I claimed that the bacterial flagellum was irreducibly complex and so required deliberate intelligent design. The flip side of this claim is that the flagellum can’t be produced by natural selection acting on random mutation, or any other unintelligent process. To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure (for mobility, say), grow it for ten thousand generations, and see if a flagellum--or any equally complex system--was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.

How about Professor Coyne’s concern that, if one system were shown to be the result of natural selection, proponents of ID could just claim that some other system was designed? I think the objection has little force. If natural selection were shown to be capable of producing a system of a certain degree of complexity, then the assumption would be that it could produce any other system of an equal or lesser degree of complexity. If Coyne demonstrated that the flagellum (which requires approximately forty gene products) could be produced by selection, I would be rather foolish to then assert that the blood clotting system (which consists of about twenty proteins) required intelligent design.”


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Posted 14 September 2005 - 04:03 PM

Now, Now. let's not get huffed up over nothing. If someone is hijacking the thread, just politely ask them to start another thread.




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