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Is Mathematics A Positive For Id ?


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#1 Joshua

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 02:36 AM

This thread is an extension to JPs thread and it follows from an interesting discussion with chance and I. I would like to continue the discussion here and beginning with a response to chance’s post.

The following is a comment from chance in This thread

As a counter example to the links you provided, see if this is the same as me arguing thusly – “ID is false because of the improbability of a designer having enough intelligence and imagination to construct life, then giving a whole bunch of math showing just how complex life is and how smart a designer would have to be invent it, etc, etc ………”. It not a valid argument is it?

The following were the links which I provided.

Math looks at DNA

Math looks at DNA II

Evolution Theory destroyed by math

Rationailty Vs. Randomness


The improbability of a designer ? This is an interesting comment from chance. Many scientists’ theists/atheists – ID/Evolution and so on believe that life exists in our universe other than planet Earth. What leads them to this belief ?

The probability that life exists in other parts of the universe is incredibly high. So high in fact that believers accept the theory of Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life (devoid of ANY evidence) that research programs have been instigated (SETI). Why ? Based on what ?

The answer : Mathematical probability.

Using the identical mechanics of probability, mathematics clearly highlight the improbability of life resulting from a series of chance events. But why in this case, are the results dismissed / ignored when they are determined through the very mechanics of probability that suggest ETI is a probable find ?

It is evident that the principles of mathematics are applied with bias. Therefore I would like to ask chance, why do you (and scientists) accept the possibility of ETI based on mathematical probability yet deny the improbability (based on the same mechanics of probability) of life arising from a series of flukes ?

#2 chance

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 01:51 PM

chance > As a counter example to the links you provided, see if this is the same as me arguing thusly – “ID is false because of the improbability of a designer having enough intelligence and imagination to construct life, then giving a whole bunch of math showing just how complex life is and how smart a designer would have to be invent it, etc, etc ………”. It not a valid argument is it?

It is evident that the principles of mathematics are applied with bias. Therefore I would like to ask chance, why do you (and scientists) accept the possibility of ETI based on mathematical probability yet deny the improbability (based on the same mechanics of probability) of life arising from a series of flukes ?

I’ll answer via paragraph, below.

The following were the links which I provided.

Math looks at DNA

Math looks at DNA II

Evolution Theory destroyed by math

Rationailty Vs. Randomness


The improbability of a designer ? This is an interesting comment from chance. Many scientists’ theists/atheists – ID/Evolution and so on believe that life exists in our universe other than planet Earth. What leads them to this belief ?


That ‘belief’, (and I use the word loosely) is only based on what is currently known about life and the universe, and some very large numbers. IMO if you asked a scientist to state if there was life in other parts of the universe you would get the following answer: “Don’t know, but, statistically there is a good possibility”. Other scientist may not be so optimistic depending on how they prefer to interpret the statistics. The fortunes of this 'belief' also waxes and wains as more about the universe is discovered (extra solar planets for example). So lets be exact with this, life in other parts of the universe is only a statistical possibility, not a belief that it is so.

The probability that life exists in other parts of the universe is incredibly high. So high in fact that believers accept the theory of Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life (devoid of ANY evidence) that research programs have been instigated (SETI). Why ? Based on what ?

The answer : Mathematical probability.


Some astronomers have agued successfully that SETI is a worthwhile endeavour, the results will provide some answers either way: Discovery of ETI will be rather exciting, non discovery will tell us something about our local region of space (i.e. it lonely). It should be pointed out that there is no presumption that life/intelligence MUST be there for the finding, only that it’s a statistical possibility.

Using the identical mechanics of probability, mathematics clearly highlight the improbability of life resulting from a series of chance events. But why in this case, are the results dismissed / ignored when they are determined through the very mechanics of probability that suggest ETI is a probable find ?


There are a couple of reasons why this is so:

First it the inference that “If life resulting from chance is just too improbable then by default it must be designed”. There is no science that supports the second premise, thus you can’t infer a designer. Thus you are left with a statistical calculation much like SETI, which if one is honest, must change when new data becomes available, but no matter what the starting data there will always be a small result positive for life arriving by chance. If the bias is changed with the math, that figure can also change (just like SETI, Drake formula). So it is wrong to claim, “it must be designed”.

The second is that much of the math is retro-engineered i.e. ‘If current life is as complex as <insert math showing complexity>, the odds of all these attributes coming together by chance are too high’. Assume you must start at some arbitrary point e.g. a single cell (sometimes quoted) or Virus, when neither side know what first life is, nor how it started, nor under what conditions, so the point is moot.

#3 Joshua

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 05:10 PM

I’ll answer via paragraph, below.
That ‘belief’, (and I use the word loosely) is only based on what is currently known about life and the universe, and some very large numbers.  IMO if you asked a scientist to state if there was life in other parts of the universe you would get the following answer: “Don’t know, but, statistically there is a good possibility”.  Other scientist may not be so optimistic depending on how they prefer to interpret the statistics.  The fortunes of this 'belief' also waxes and wains as more about the universe is discovered (extra solar planets for example).  So lets be exact with this, life in other parts of the universe is only a statistical possibility, not a belief that it is so.


That wasn’t the point. On what basis is SETI research conducted ? Evidence ? What evidence ? It’s based on mathematical probability. Also, SETI is a belief. If it weren’t, then there would be no research.

Some astronomers have agued successfully that SETI is a worthwhile endeavour, the results will provide some answers either way: Discovery of ETI will be rather exciting, non discovery will tell us something about our local region of space (i.e. it lonely).  It should be pointed out that there is no presumption that life/intelligence MUST be there for the finding, only that it’s a statistical possibility.


Again, based on mathematical probability.


First it the inference that “If life resulting from chance is just too improbable then by default it must be designed”.  There is no science that supports the second premise, thus you can’t infer a designer.


Anthropic principle and multiple universes. What science supports a multiple universe ? And how can any research take place when the equations of General Relativity guarantee that we will never discover another universe since the Space-Time manifold of universe A will never overlap the space-time manifold of universe B.

Thus you are left with a statistical calculation much like SETI, which if one is honest, must change when new data becomes available, but no matter what the starting data there will always be a small result positive for life arriving by chance.  If the bias is changed with the math, that figure can also change (just like SETI, Drake formula).  So it is wrong to claim, “it must be designed”.


Not sure what your point is here but the bias I refer to is the double standard. Mathematical calculations induce research into ETI yet the same mechanics of probability question unintelligent / arbitrary causation and the results are ignored.

The second is that much of the math is retro-engineered i.e. ‘If current life is as complex as <insert math showing complexity>, the odds of all these attributes coming together by chance are too high’.  Assume you must start at some arbitrary point e.g. a single cell (sometimes quoted) or Virus, when neither side know what first life is, nor how it started, nor under what conditions, so the point is moot.


Again not sure what your point is here chance ?

The mathematics and fine tuning of the universe infer intelligence of some kind which ultimately is a positive for ID.

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 07:42 PM

First it the inference that “If life resulting from chance is just too improbable then by default it must be designed”.  There is no science that supports the second premise, thus you can’t infer a designer. 


Its not a matter of science, its a matter of applying common sense to statistics.

Common sense argues for a design. Faith and hope rest on chance.....

Terry

#5 John Paul

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 08:21 AM

chance:
"If life resulting from chance is just too improbable then by default it must be designed”.


I would say it is more like:

"If life resulting from chance & natural law is just too improbable and there isn't any evidence to support that it could and it meets the criteria for intentional/ intelligent design then we can infer it was designed”.

Science is not about absolute proof. It is about making a reasonable inference based on our current knowledge.

And based on our current knowledge the design inference appears to be better than winning the cosmic lottery inference...

(added via edit:)

chance:
The fortunes of this 'belief' also waxes and wains as more about the universe is discovered (extra solar planets for example).


It should be noted the the Drake equation mentioned by chance has been updated twice since its inception- the first update was by Ward & Brownlee in The Rare Earth and then that was updated in The Privileged Planet. Both updates were "caused" or due to scientific research.

#6 chance

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 02:03 PM

That wasn’t the point. On what basis is SETI research conducted ? Evidence ? What evidence ? It’s based on mathematical probability. Also, SETI is a belief. If it weren’t, then there would be no research.


IMO SETI is conducted to find evidence, or not, and as you say is based on the probability (high or low) that ETI might be in close proximity (in time and space) to ourselves. Depends what you mean by belief, certainly not the same belief as a religious person might have in god, it more like plain old curiosity to me. E.g. the math shows (drake formula) that ETI might exist, lets listen and see what turns up. There’s nothing to loose and everything to gain.


(chance @ Sep 15 2005, 01:51 PM)
Some astronomers have agued successfully that SETI is a worthwhile endeavour, the results will provide some answers either way: Discovery of ETI will be rather exciting, non discovery will tell us something about our local region of space (i.e. it lonely).  It should be pointed out that there is no presumption that life/intelligence MUST be there for the finding, only that it’s a statistical possibility.



Again, based on mathematical probability.


Agreed, basically the Drake formula.



(chance @ Sep 15 2005, 01:51 PM)
First it the inference that “If life resulting from chance is just too improbable then by default it must be designed”.  There is no science that supports the second premise, thus you can’t infer a designer.


Anthropic principle and multiple universes. What science supports a multiple universe ? And how can any research take place when the equations of General Relativity guarantee that we will never discover another universe since the Space-Time manifold of universe A will never overlap the space-time manifold of universe B.


I think you will find that these ideas have not reached the status of scientific theory, and are at best, mathematic solutions (hypothesis). There is no statements like, “The big bang is impossible <show math>, thus string theory is the default correct model <no math provided>..

(chance @ Sep 15 2005, 01:51 PM)
Thus you are left with a statistical calculation much like SETI, which if one is honest, must change when new data becomes available, but no matter what the starting data there will always be a small result positive for life arriving by chance.  If the bias is changed with the math, that figure can also change (just like SETI, Drake formula).  So it is wrong to claim, “it must be designed”.


Not sure what your point is here but the bias I refer to is the double standard. Mathematical calculations induce research into ETI yet the same mechanics of probability question unintelligent / arbitrary causation and the results are ignored.


I should have been more clear, bias (mathematical) as I used the term, is the weighting given to any of the parameters, not bias as in, prejudice to an opposing idea.


(chance @ Sep 15 2005, 01:51 PM)
The second is that much of the math is retro-engineered i.e. ‘If current life is as complex as <insert math showing complexity>, the odds of all these attributes coming together by chance are too high’.  Assume you must start at some arbitrary point e.g. a single cell (sometimes quoted) or Virus, when neither side know what first life is, nor how it started, nor under what conditions, so the point is moot.

Again not sure what your point is here chance ?

The mathematics and fine tuning of the universe infer intelligence of some kind which ultimately is a positive for ID.


The “mathematics and fine tuning of the universe” start from the finished position, they count up the number of attributes that give that position, then state how seemingly impossible it is for those conditions to arise to give that result. E.g. the commonly used the eye is too complex, or the sun moon relationship are a couple of arguments that come to mind. It’s called post hoc reasoning http://www.nizkor.or...s/post-hoc.html . In it’s simplest form of rebuttal it the same thing as admiring a puddle of water because the volume of water exactly fits the depression in the ground.

That’s why I have been at pains to find a positive for ID:
Is the sum of the ID arsenal, purely an attack on the status quo?
Is there no original research that finds an intelligent designer as the cause?
Can ID stand alone (assume evolution has not been discovered)?

#7 chance

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 02:13 PM

Its not a matter of science, its a matter of applying common sense to statistics.

Common sense argues for a design.  Faith and hope rest on chance.....

Terry

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What common scenes are you referring too, because ‘common sense’ can be very unreliable especially if one starts from the wrong premise. Science is the way for testing common sense, it sorts the wheat from the chafe. E.g. Alchemy was based on premise that metals could be turned to gold, or in medicine, that diseases were caused by miasma.

#8 chance

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 02:27 PM

I would say it is more like:

"If life resulting from chance & natural law is just too improbable and there isn't any evidence to support that it could and it meets the criteria for intentional/ intelligent design then we can infer it was designed”.


Essentially the same, but equally wrong IMO.
First - that’s a big IF. There is no evidence nor experiment showing why life can’t form by chance (only arguments from incredulity).
Second - there is no evidence supporting design, only improbability arguments.

The arguments that ID put forward are currently under debate, and mainstream science reject the arguments, until that hurdle is crossed, and that there is some positive evidence for ID, one cannot claim the default position of a designer.


Science is not about absolute proof. It is about making a reasonable inference based on our current knowledge.

And based on our current knowledge the design inference appears to be better than winning the cosmic lottery inference...


How about showing some supportive science that backs up the ‘design inference’ claim.


chance:
The fortunes of this 'belief' also waxes and wains as more about the universe is discovered (extra solar planets for example).


It should be noted the the Drake equation mentioned by chance has been updated twice since its inception- the first update was by Ward & Brownlee in The Rare Earth and then that was updated in The Privileged Planet. Both updates were "caused" or due to scientific research.


Not in dispute. As soon as the drake formula was posted people began to question “is that all the parameters”. My position is that it’s good enough to make the point, and demonstrate the principle, and that the reference is easily found.

#9 Joshua

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 05:55 AM

IMO SETI is conducted to find evidence, or not, and as you say is based on the probability (high or low) that ETI might be in close proximity (in time and space) to ourselves.  Depends what you mean by belief, certainly not the same belief as a religious person might have in god, it more like plain old curiosity to me.  E.g. the math shows (drake formula) that ETI might exist, lets listen and see what turns up.  There’s nothing to loose and everything to gain.


There it is ! That's the bias I am talking about.

No Evidence yet research is conducted. Based on what premise chance ? Mathematical probability. The exact mechanics suggest that life cannot arise through a series of flukes yet you are comfortable with the belief that there is nothing to loose but everything to gain. What are we to lose if we conduct research into ID ?

Chance, it really is simple.

Do you accept the mathematical probability for ETI ultimately leading to research. Answer = Yes.

Do you accept the mathematical probability for life to have arisen by a series of flukes ? Answer = No.

Sorry mate - But all I see is bias applied in accordance to belief.

#10 chance

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 02:12 PM

There it is ! That's the bias I am talking about.

No Evidence yet research is conducted. Based on what premise chance ? Mathematical probability. The exact mechanics suggest that life cannot arise through a series of flukes yet you are comfortable with the belief that there is nothing to loose but everything to gain. What are we to lose if we conduct research into ID ?


You seem to have missed the point entirely. I.e.

SETI - There is a mathematical possibility that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, and it may be possible to detect their communications. Lets see if there is any evidence. Note there is no conclusion that ETI MUST exist. It remains just that, a mathematical possibility. Unless ETI is detected of course ;)

ID – The conclusion is already inferred, i.e. that life is too complex or fine tuning of the universe exists, because <insert reason>, and that an intelligent designer is responsible. This claim goes beyond a mathematical possibility and presents a default solution, with no positive evidence.

I agree with your last sentiment however, ID must do research, I implore it.



Chance, it really is simple.

Do you accept the mathematical probability for ETI ultimately leading to research. Answer = Yes.


Agreed.

Do you accept the mathematical probability for life to have arisen by a series of flukes ? Answer = No.


I disagree, there is no reason to make this claim in the negative. Why could not life have arisen accidentally? Is there some fundamental property of the universe that prevents it?

Sorry mate - But all I see is bias applied in accordance to belief.

It’s not bias, look at the question and what is proposed and the conclusions. SETI and ID are philosophic different.

#11 John Paul

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 05:12 AM

chance:
ID – The conclusion is already inferred, i.e. that life is too complex or fine tuning of the universe exists, because <insert reason>, and that an intelligent designer is responsible. This claim goes beyond a mathematical possibility and presents a default solution, with no positive evidence.


That is wrong. With ID the inference was reached by considering the data. IOW the design inference is based on the evidence. Continuing to deny that fact just further exposes your ignorance of ID.

Again I will ask you- What books/ articles about ID, written by IDists, have you read?

BTW ID is not a "default" position. It is a position borne from the evidence. IOW if we didn't observe CSI or IC there wouldn't be a design inference.

However it should be noted that IF there is a "default" position it would be naturalism. How elde can anyone infer that life and the universe are the result of unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes, when there isn't any evidence that such a process can account for either?

#12 chance

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 01:47 PM

That is wrong. With ID the inference was reached by considering the data. IOW the design inference is based on the evidence. Continuing to deny that fact just further exposes your ignorance of ID.

If you believe you have a case, this forum is designed to explore any point you care to make.

Again I will ask you- What books/ articles about ID, written by IDists, have you read?

Answered in a different discussion. basicaly,some Behe (and others) and websites like the discovery institute, all have articals.

BTW ID is not a "default" position. It is a position borne from the evidence. IOW if we didn't observe CSI or IC there wouldn't be a design inference.

A position you have repeatedly stated, but this topic is about the math, i.e. a positive for ID, do you have a comment about that topic?

However it should be noted that IF there is a "default" position it would be naturalism. How elde can anyone infer that life and the universe are the result of unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes, when there isn't any evidence that such a process can account for either?

Science investigates the natural world, QED. To change the scope of science one would need some positive and consistent evidence for an alternate explanation. Changing the scope of what science investigates should be for some other discussion.

#13 John Paul

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 02:44 PM

QUOTE(John Paul @ Sep 20 2005, 10:12 PM)
That is wrong. With ID the inference was reached by considering the data. IOW the design inference is based on the evidence. Continuing to deny that fact just further exposes your ignorance of ID.


chance:
If you believe you have a case, this forum is designed to explore any point you care to make.


Been there, done that

QUOTE
Again I will ask you- What books/ articles about ID, written by IDists, have you read?

chance:
Answered in a different discussion. basicaly,some Behe (and others) and websites like the discovery institute, all have articals.


IOW you basically have little background and understanding of ID. Thanks, it shows.

chance:
Science investigates the natural world, QED. To change the scope of science one would need some positive and consistent evidence for an alternate explanation. Changing the scope of what science investigates should be for some other discussion.


Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Apparently not. What IDists are investigating resides in the natural world. Also what is obvious is that natural processes can't account for the origin of that natural world.

#14 chance

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 07:00 PM

chance: If you believe you have a case, this forum is designed to explore any point you care to make.

Been there, done that


Not. Your link points to the formal debate, which includes a rather comprehensive list of what you consider qualifies ID as science, the topic of that debate is “is <the list, ID science>. There are two points to discuss here.

A. Is ID science (the formal debate), and
B. The merits of any given point in your list, preferably in a separate topic so the specifics of any claim can be analysed. I think you will agree that such a comprehensive list cannot be discussed in one thread, yes?


JP> Again I will ask you- What books/ articles about ID, written by IDists, have you read?

Chance > Answered in a different discussion. basicaly,some Behe (and others) and websites like the discovery institute, all have articals.

JP> IOW you basically have little background and understanding of ID. Thanks, it shows.


Well, a challenge like that can only be met on head on. Your superior knowledge in ID can only hold you in good stead, and therefore you should be able to defend, explain and produce material with ease. But enough of this posturing, do you have a comment relevant to this topic before we/I move on?


chance:
Science investigates the natural world, QED. To change the scope of science one would need some positive and consistent evidence for an alternate explanation. Changing the scope of what science investigates should be for some other discussion.

Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Apparently not. What IDists are investigating resides in the natural world. Also what is obvious is that natural processes can't account for the origin of that natural world.


Rather than attempt to put me down, why not just answer a question directly I put the position correctly WRT naturalism and where science stands and how ID either has to conform to science standards or invent a new methodology (ID can’t be both). Again this is getting off topic, I suggest this diversion be placed in “is ID scientific?”.

#15 Joshua

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 10:57 AM

Chance, with all due respect you are losing the question - why do you (and scientists) accept the possibility of ETI based on mathematical probability yet deny the improbability (based on the same mechanics of probability) of life arising from a series of flukes ?

Do you not think that the mathematics is correct ?

#16 chance

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 02:21 PM

Fair question, I will answer the points one at a time and see if we can find some consensus.


Chance, with all due respect you are losing the question - why do you (and scientists) accept the possibility of ETI based on mathematical probability


reasoning – I’ll repeat my former quote of: SETI - There is a mathematical possibility that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, and it may be possible to detect their communications. The important point is that there is no expectation of forming a conclusion or theory on the non detection of ETI. Basically ETI is inferred as a possible result of the evolutionary process as we currently understand it. The mathematics of that probability can give results (even if restricted to our own milky way galaxy) between single digits to millions. SETI is attempting to narrow down that rather large variance.




chance> yet deny the improbability (based on the same mechanics of probability) of life arising from a series of flukes ?




Reasoning - It is based on our current understanding of evolutionary processes and current understanding of cosmological processes of planetary formation. It works something like this, life evolves over time, working backwards through the fossil record we come to point where life is very simple. Between that point and the point where life could exist in a cooling world is where abiogenesis occurred (very long period of time, by the way) . As the details and the process are unknown, life could be fluke or it could be inevitable, there is no way one can state “If not X, then, Y”.


Do you not think that the mathematics is correct ?


No, because the mathematical philosophy used by ID is post hoc reasoning, one can use it in other scenarios, like:
What are the odds of me being born,
What are the odds of me winning the lottery, or
If I throw a golf ball over my shoulder what are the odds it will land at point X.

This post hoc reasoning fails to consider that:

Some one will be born,
Some one will win the lottery,
The ball will land somewhere.

All these will have a probability of one (i.e. inevitable).

The only conclusion one can honestly make is, “if not X, then, not X”.


You asked if I think the mathematics is correct, what should be asked IMO, is, “Is the philosophy of the application of the mathematics’ sound?”




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