Is Human Design Truly Intelligent?

  • Thread starter Psi 5
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In summary: The eye is filled with a gel sac that shrinks quite a bit by age 50. This shrinkage sometimes results in torn retina's that, until recent times, caused blindness. Not a big deal because the average life span then was about 50 years so it went pretty much unnoticed. If an omipotent designer had designed the eye you would think it would take into account the fact that we would eventually have a much longer lifespan than 50 years. Especially if he was the Christian God who designed earlier humans to live hundreds of years like Moses and his buddies.What about designing us with skin full of holes (pores) that are perfectly designed to harbor bacteria and cause many people much grief?Then there are inadequate muscles and tend
  • #141
wave said:
Then why would you blame physicalists and scientists for not accepting your evidence? You accuse them of not considering the nonphysical, yet you take no responsibility to persuade them. Are they suppose to take your word for it? . . . That may be clear to you, but from the scientists' point of view it's your word against theirs.

What if the shoe were on the other foot, and the standard for knowing in this world was union? Every once in awhile throughout the centuries, somebody practices empiricism and makes a great observation. The union experts say if we can experience it in union, then we'll accept it, if not then your claim is full of crap. So they study it through union and find nothing.

What's wrong with that? Are they justified in studying empirical claims with union?


wave said:
If my scenario is possible, then we're back to the original question. If not, then it's your word against theirs and no one can convince anyone of anything except (possibly) to themselves.

This idea of "convincing" is an externalizing standard, it is not the standard of internal development. The physicalist "word" on this matter is stated from experiential ingorance of the subject. Amongst the inexperienced who make ignorant claims, it is correct to say one opinion is as good as another.


wave said:
So the experiences you gain from union have no implications on the physical world, besides inner contentment and happiness and wisdom?

If you think this physical world isn't being affected by unhappy, discontent people, then you must live a pretty sheltered life.


wave said:
I just want to know what difference it would make, if we change Evolution to the way you want it to be.

I am not changing evolution, I am trying to prevent physicalists from promoting their physicalist agenda which manifests as claims they've all but accounted for evolution when they really haven't.

And when I say they haven't looked at the evidence, to a great extent I mean they haven't taken the time to develop their inner self to know if there is something more than just the mechanics they are so obsessed with.
 
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  • #142
Les Sleeth said:
I thoroughly explained what the term “serious practioners” means a couple of posts ago. Geez, do you think it is worth any effort to actually read and absorb someone else’s point of view? I challenge you to show me and the world where I fail to make sense.
I see nothing in your response that has anything to do with what I said. "I said that ID is fine as religion but it is not science". Please explain how your response makes any sense.
And off topic? Isn’t that you trying to use your mentor muscle to gain an advantage? Show me where I am off topic please and I will apologize and repent.
Your entire post was completely off topic. You went off on a separate subject, nothing to do with ID.
You know, I wasn’t trying to insult you with the “uninformed opinion” comment, I was hoping you might see there is more to the spiritual side than you imagine.
That's EXACTLY the issue here. ID was created to be presented as science. Of course we all know that's a joke, as it does not meet scientific standards. The people pushing ID are very careful publicly to avoid any ties to religion so that they can get this taught in schools.
My comments about your opinion being uniformed stemmed from this:
There is evidence, you just haven’t looked at it. I have posted extensively what the best evidence is, have you checked it out?
You mean your posts backing ID? Yes, I read your posts.
Isn’t it so that you think anything to do with a creator is nonsense, and so you just drop your opinion on us so confident you are correct you don’t need to make your case?
No, actually I'm agnostic. But do you understand the purpose of ID? It's is religion being purposefully disguised as science. That is what I am talking about, that ID is not science.
?? Where do you see me advocating teaching “a god or alien beings, something without any tangible proof”?
I never said that.
Plus, are you familiar with what’s missing in the theory? Why do you think it’s fine to jump to the conclusion science can explain it all before it actually can?
Again, I did not say that. Go back and read my post.
No, you are just dumping your personal opinion on us.
Same as you. It's also not just my opinion, but the opinion of most of the scientific community.
You may hate religion, but that doesn’t give you the right to molest anyone who disagrees with your hate object.
Les, what on Earth are you raving about?

Here is validation of what I said in my post, ID is not valid science. Sorry it's from wiki, but at work my time is limited.

Defining Intelligent Design as science

Intelligent design proponents often claim that their position is not only scientific, but that it is even more scientific than evolution. This presents a demarcation problem, which in the philosophy of science, is about how and where to draw the lines around science. For a theory to qualify as scientific it must be:

-Consistent (internally and externally)
-Parsimonious (sparing in proposed entities or explanations, see Occam's Razor)
-Useful (describes and explains observed phenomena)
-Empirically testable & falsifiable (see Falsifiability)
-Based upon controlled, repeated experiments
-Correctable & dynamic (changes are made as new data is discovered)
-Progressive (achieves all that previous theories have and more)
-Tentative (admits that it might not be correct rather than asserting certainty)

For any theory, hypothesis or conjecture to be considered scientific, it must meet at least most, but ideally all, of the above criteria. The fewer which are matched, the less scientific it is; and if it meets only a couple or none at all, then it cannot be treated as scientific in any meaningful sense of the word.
Typical objections to defining Intelligent Design as science are:

Intelligent design lacks consistency.[21]
Intelligent design is not falsifiable.[22]
Intelligent design violates the principle of parsimony.[23]
Intelligent design is not empirically testable.[24]
Intelligent design is not correctable, dynamic, tentative or progressive.[25]

In light of its adherence to the standards of the scientific method,
Intelligent Design can not be said to follow the scientific method.
There is no way to test its conjectures, and the underlying assumptions of Intelligent Design are not open to change.

Intelligent design critics further point out that intelligent design does not meet the criteria for scientific evidence used by United States federal courts and most state courts as set forth in a decision by the United States Supreme Court. In its 1993 Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals opinion, the United States Supreme Court articulated a set of criteria for the admissibility of scientific expert testimony, in effect developing their own demarcation criteria. The four Daubert criteria are:

The theoretical underpinnings of the methods must yield testable predictions by means of which the theory could be falsified.

The methods should preferably be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

There should be a known rate of error that can be used in evaluating the results.

The methods should be generally accepted within the relevant scientific community.

Intelligent design also fails to meet the legal definition of science on each of the four criteria.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_Design
 
  • #143
Evo said:
I see nothing in your response that has anything to do with what I said. "I said that ID is fine as religion but it is not science". Please explain how your response makes any sense.
Your entire post was completely off topic. You went off on a separate subject, nothing to do with ID.

First of all, the name of this thread wasn't "Is the Religious theory of Intelligent Design Science." It was, "Are we Intelligently Designed." Then if you read PSI 5's opening post, he also doesn't frame his point in terms of the ID movement. He makes a point of logic that if have been designed intelligently, then why are there so many problems. He does throw in some typical religious assumptions about God being a perfect being, but nowhere does he say this is to be a discussion about the Christian ID movement.

But even if that was what he meant to talk about, it wasn't me who split this thread into two ways of looking the opening title "are we intelligently designed." The discussion spread out early on to include if some sort of creationary universal consciousness might be involved in evolution. Christian ID in the strictest sense tries to find ways to justify Biblical accounts. But to ask the question if intelligence might be involved in how creation has developed is another perspective which some of us find interesting.

If you review both the opeing post and all the subsequent posts, you will see that, in fact, it hasn't been about Christian ID much at all! So when you say . . .

"That's EXACTLY the issue here. ID was created to be presented as science. Of course we all know that's a joke, as it does not meet scientific standards. The people pushing ID are very careful publicly to avoid any ties to religion so that they can get this taught in schools"

. . . I am sorry to inform you that it is you who is trying turn this thread into what you want to rant and rave about.


Evo said:
You mean your posts backing ID? Yes, I read your posts.

LOL! If you read my posts, then why do you think I back ID?


Evo said:
But do you understand the purpose of ID? It's is religion being purposefully disguised as science. That is what I am talking about, that ID is not science.

I understand the purpose of SOME Christian IDers is as you say. But that isn't what this thread has been about.

On the other hand, I accuse scientism devotees of exaggerating how much evidence they do have, and then based on that exaggeration claiming they have the right to teach our children that all aspects of life forms and consciousness "most likely" developed through natural selection and genetic variation alone (as well as that life "most likely" developed via abiogenesis). I have challenged that, and if that challenge to physicalist theory happens to agree with Christian IDers, then it is mere coincidence.

Since you claim to have read my posts, then you should have seen where I said all I want science books to say is what has actually been observed, and to leave the speculations about "most likely" out of it until they have actual proof. Their speculations are (physicalist) ontologizing in areas where there are other claimants to creation's ontology (and true, the other claimants haven't proven their case either). So I don't think ID should be taught as science, I want the scientific exaggerations to stop.
 
  • #144
You're right Les, I should have been more specific in my post. I apologize for creating confusion. My post wasn't addressing anything you posted either, it was mostly aimed at the misunderstanding by some in this thread of how ID is meant to be interpreted - it specifically steers away from mentioning god or religion, they propose it as science.

I do differ in opinion from you on teaching evolution. It is the best theory we currently have based on what we know. I don't see why the theory of evolution should be singled out to not be taught as such, when science is full of theories. I'm not aware of anyone teaching this as final and conclusive. Until something like ID can furnish something scientific, it should not be considered as such.

I also disagree with those that say that ID should be allowed to be considered as an alternative "theory" to evolution. ID is not a scientifically recognized theory and it proposes no new hypotheses of it's own, according to the National Academy of Sciences.
 
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  • #145
jimmysnyder said:
The one on my back does.

Your friend is not operating within the spirit of the ID movement, then. The claim that macroevolution never occurred is a Creationist claim. The reason ID has been so insidious is that is does not postulate such obviously false hypotheses that woud contradict all of our geological evidence. They use some of the same 'evidence' to back their claims: lack of transitional fossils, inability to prove any abiogenetic hypothesis, the irreducibility of certain organs and organelles. However, ID does not go as far as Creationism; they will not claim that the age of the Earth is off by several billion years, or that every species that exists today was created whole. While I'm not certain that any prominent ID advocate has ever made any positive claim as to what he think happened, the implication I've read in the publications/articles I'm familiar with was "sure, we agree that evolution occured, but look at X, Y, and Z. Biology can explain everything else, but not X, Y, and Z." The tacit conclusion being that God is responsible for X, Y, and Z. Oftentimes, these variables are replaced with such things as speciation events (the common statement "I believe in microevolution, but not macroevolution"), or, for those smart enough to realize that speciation events have been observed to occur, just the Cambrian explosion (all other speciation events can be explained naturalistically, but God was responsible for the Cambrian explosion).

Another obvious one is the claim that the transitional forms we see in the fossil record are not enough to personally convince me, therefore natural evolution is not enough. Well, when the typical ID advocate makes that claim, or even when the typical creationist makes that claim, what is he actually claiming? A scientific hypothesis cannot be formulated negatively, so what are some possible alternatives if Darwinistic evolution is to be rejected? The punctuated equilibrium hypothesis perhaps? Saltationism? Catastrophism? Of course, these are all naturalistic hypotheses, even if they are non-Darwinian.

Presumably an ID or Creationism advocate wants to formulate a non-naturalistic hypothesis. Perhaps the hypothesis is that every time a species goes extinct, God replaces it with a closely related, but non-transitional, new species that he created from scratch. Or perhaps it's that every time a speciation event occurs (or just when the Cambrian explosion occured), it occurs because God pushed the mutations and/or environment in a certain direction. This would simply be a form of the punctuated equilibrium or possibly the saltationist hypothesis, only aided by divine intervention. Unfortunately, we cannot know, because the only opponents of naturalistic evolution willing to formulate a positive hypothesis are the biblical literalists. Given the glaring ridiculousness of the hydroplate theory they've given us, I suppose I cannot blame their ilk for not making the same mistake.

Perhaps you can ask your friend, if he calls himself an ID advocate. If no transition from one species to another has ever occured, then what did? Where once we had something resembling a horse, and now we have whales, what exactly happened? Personally, I can only see these possibilities:

1) Naturalistic evolution (can be Darwinist, punc-eek, whatever).

2) Non-naturalistic evolution; that is, sure, they evolved, but only because God was directing the process.

3) God separately created fifty or so different species every hundred thousand years or so and, at about the same time, the old species died off.

4) God created all of them at the same time and we are simply being fooled by our tests that insists they are of different ages.

5) The fossil record is completely fabricated and only modern whales have ever existed.

Just ask your friend to pick a number, or if he can think of something that I haven't, go ahead and add that in.
 
  • #146
Evo said:
ID was created to be presented as science. Of course we all know that's a joke

Okay, time for me to get sucked into this thread. I've looked into this and there doesn't seem to be any good reason why ID is not a legitimate scientific theory--at least the form of ID often presented against orthodox evolution and abiogenesis (modern ID = the belief that artificial intervention is necessary for the creation of life on Earth; confer Dembski’s explanatory filter).


It's [ID] is religion being purposefully disguised as science. That is what I am talking about, that ID is not science.

Please tell me what is so religious about the idea that life on Earth was artificially created.


Defining Intelligent Design as science
Intelligent design proponents often claim that their position is not only scientific, but that it is even more scientific than evolution. This presents a demarcation problem, which in the philosophy of science, is about how and where to draw the lines around science. For a theory to qualify as scientific it must be:
-Consistent (internally and externally)
-Parsimonious (sparing in proposed entities or explanations, see Occam's Razor)
-Useful (describes and explains observed phenomena)
-Empirically testable & falsifiable (see Falsifiability)
-Based upon controlled, repeated experiments
-Correctable & dynamic (changes are made as new data is discovered)
-Progressive (achieves all that previous theories have and more)
-Tentative (admits that it might not be correct rather than asserting certainty)

This list is fraught with pitfalls.

Matters of testability are not often as simple as lists above tend to assume. Theories are not always "falsifiable" in the strict sense of the word because of something called the Duhem-Quine problem. Predictions are not generated out of a vacuum, but more typically out of a background system of theories and assumptions that are not rigorously proven. To “disprove” the idea that the Earth was moving, some people noted that birds did not get thrown off into the sky whenever they let go of a tree branch. That data is no longer accepted as empirical evidence that the Earth is not moving because we have adopted a different background system of physics that allows us to make different predictions. Additionally, there are some beliefs that can rationally be accepted as true though they are not falsifiable, e.g. "there exists or will exist a black hole in the universe" could possibly be "proven" true, even be empirically confirmed and accepted among scientists--but cannot be falsified even in principle.

Tentativity (as well as making changes, i.e. the "correctable and dynamic" criterion) is associated with adherents, not the theory. Some adherents of evolution and abiogenesis are quite tenacious and hold onto theories far more firmly than they ought to (just as some creationists do) but that says something about the adherent--not the theory. One can hold any theory and do inappropriate things.

Virtually any theory is “useful” in the sense that it explains at least some data, so this criterion is not very “useful.” Progressive is not a shared feature, since virtually any theory has some anomalies that might not have existed with previous (albeit obsolete) theories (early heliocentric theory is an example).

Parsimonious might not be as sound as some people think. The idea that nature prefers the simple over the complex (e.g. among empirically identical theories) is a philosophical position, and one that not everyone thinks is true. Plus, it can get a little fuzzy whether or not an entity is "unnecessary" (more later I suspect when we get into the ID dispute).


For any theory, hypothesis or conjecture to be considered scientific, it must meet at least most, but ideally all, of the above criteria. The fewer which are matched, the less scientific it is; and if it meets only a couple or none at all, then it cannot be treated as scientific in any meaningful sense of the word.
Typical objections to defining Intelligent Design as science are:
Intelligent design lacks consistency.[21]

I'm sure that these bracketed numbers are references, but I'd like to hear some explanation here. Whatever its faults may be, the belief that life was artificially created is clearly not self-contradictory, for instance.


Intelligent design is not falsifiable.[22]

This is not true with at least some versions. Suppose we use the theory "artificial intervention is necessary" (again, confer Dembski's Explanatory filter) against abiogenesis. To disprove ID here, simply conduct an experiment showing a means how life could be created via undirected chemical reactions. ID is pretty much destroyed then.

Let's contrast this with abiogenesis. It's pretty tough to conceive an experiment that would falsify it. Any chemical problems that show up (and there have been a few) and one could say “Well, there's a way to overcome the problem and we just haven't discovered it yet.” Abiogenesis is essentially non-falsifiable, and yet it is a legitimate scientific theory.


Intelligent design violates the principle of parsimony.[23]

If the entity (the designer) is unnecessary, then yes (at least, it prevents the theory from being a “good” scientific theory). But this is question begging. "Artificial intervention is not necessary because it is not necessary." If we had an experiment showing this (see above) then we'd have some basis for claiming this. But we do not, and known naturalistic means are often lacking (particularly in abiogenesis).


Intelligent design is not empirically testable.[24]

Untrue. It does make empirically testable predictions. If artificial intervention is necessary, we should never find a way (within reason) for undirected chemical reactions could have done the job. So far, that prediction has come true. And if it is falsified, so is ID.

That is not the only prediction ID makes. If ID is necessary, we would expect multiple barriers for naturalistic formation (because ID is allegedly necessary, and e.g. abiogenesis supposedly is unable to do the job).


Intelligent design is not correctable, dynamic, tentative or progressive.[25]

Most of these are characteristics of the adherents, not about the theory. ID is progressive in the sense that makes testable and confirmed empirical predictions that other theories don't (e.g. it predicts the problems of abiogenesis).

It is interesting to note that the criterion of changeability has also been applied to creationists, and yet creationists have often changed their views to meet the evidence e.g. virtually all creationists no longer adhere to the fixity of species (believing that the biological limits are elsewhere). And it is similarly not true that ID has never changed or has never come up with anything new in the past few centuries (e.g. the explanatory filter, though it has been implicitly followed among other fields earlier; and Behe’s analysis of blood clotting).


Intelligent design critics further point out that intelligent design does not meet the criteria for scientific evidence used by United States federal courts and most state courts as set forth in a decision by the United States Supreme Court.

Courts and the U.S. Constitution are hardly authoritative on matters like the philosophy of science--and their rulings pose their own set of problems. For instance,


In its 1993 Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals opinion, the United States Supreme Court articulated a set of criteria for the admissibility of scientific expert testimony, in effect developing their own demarcation criteria. The four Daubert criteria are:
The theoretical underpinnings of the methods must yield testable predictions by means of which the theory could be falsified.

Falsifiability is a good example here. ID actually meets this criterion, whereas abiogenesis doesn't. I find it ironic how many evolutionists stress "falsifiability" though apparently blissfully unaware that it would rule out abiogenesis.


The methods should preferably be published in a peer-reviewed journal...The methods should be generally accepted within the relevant scientific community.

If these kinds of criteria (appealing to the majority) are valid, then the old objectivity aim of science is in serious jeopardy. A collection of humans--not empirical nature--is the final arbitrator of science. For instance, if some selective natural disaster results in the bulk of scientists being ID adherents or creationists, then by such definitions ID would become science. Isn't it likelier that more objective standards for "science" exist here?

Additionally, if appealing to the majority of scientists is a valid criterion, then the early teachers of evolution were not the praiseworthy leaders of change. They were breaching their responsibilities as teachers. Even if ID were to gain some majority foothold (supposing there is no significant change in empirical evidence) wouldn't you still oppose it?


Edit: I forgot to identity who I was responding to.
 
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  • #147
Tisthammerw said:
...
Please tell me what is so religious about the idea that life on Earth was artificially created.
...

Nothing in that statement by itself. Nothing if you always say it like that.

But could we infer from the fact that you regularly attend a fundamentalist church that doesn't believe in aliens, that you once tried to get creationism taught in schools and failed, that you are in fact trying to again get creationism taught in schools under a different guise and that the intelligent designer you really mean without mentioning is God? (the you is not you personally)
 
  • #148
Psi 5 said:
Tisthammerw said:
Please tell me what is so religious about the idea that life on Earth was artificially created.

Nothing in that statement by itself. Nothing if you always say it like that.

But could we infer from the fact that you regularly attend a fundamentalist church that doesn't believe in aliens, that you once tried to get creationism taught in schools and failed, that you are in fact trying to again get creationism taught in schools under a different guise and that the intelligent designer you really mean without mentioning is God? (the you is not you personally)


And therein lies the problem; such criticisms attack not the theory but rather the people who hold it. You might feel a great zeal in showing that the adherents of intelligent design theory are religious, but there is nothing religious about the theory itself. Newton's stated motives in forming his theories were to promote belief in God, but that doesn't make Newtonian mechanics religious because the content of those theories are not religious.
 
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  • #149
Evo said:
I do differ in opinion from you on teaching evolution. It is the best theory we currently have based on what we know. I don't see why the theory of evolution should be singled out to not be taught as such, when science is full of theories.

We agree about ID not being taught as science, and I think we mostly agree that evolution should be taught in science classes as a scientific theory.

Here's the ONLY thing I disagree about. It is the framing of evolution in textbooks and in media programs as though it is just a matter of time before we find all the evidence that we've come about through natural selection and genetic variation alone. I never see any scientists write or speak anyway except in that manner.

Actually, I wouldn?t mind TV specials devoted to Darwinist beliefs if they prefaced the program with the admission that this what some scientists believe.

But in textbooks, that is something different. There I would prefer the presentation to be what has been found. And then if Darwinist theory is presented, it is again prefaced with ?what some scientists believe.?

In this way people can clearly distinguish between what is known and what is speculation. Right now Darwinist believers have it all mushed together and, I believe, quite purposely.

BTW, thank you for the magnanimous effort in your last post to understand.
 
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  • #150
Psi 5 said:
That said, can anyone think of a scenerio where it would make more sense to create us imperfect when we could just as easily have been created perfect? The only one that comes to my mind is that the premise that we are here to better ourselves and make ourselves worthy for heaven is false. That we are here for Gods amusement.

That's the reason that comes to my mind as well. The idea of a designer is buttressed by conjecture answering "whys?" If we are going to, for the sake of this discussion, allow for a hypothetical where a designer is responsible for creation (as we've been doing) why is it beyond the realm of possibility that the designer would have a reason beyond our comprehension.

No matter what attributes you give a designer (i.e. logical, illogical, perfect, humorous, etc.) it's certainly a possibility that the designers motives for why we are imperfect are obscured or beyond us at this point. It just seems a little presumptuous to think that because we can't see the reasoning or logic (if you prefer) that it isn't there.

Also, I'm not really sure that a designer should be considered logical per se. Christian ID makes no claim of a logical God. Why should our generic brand? That's mostly just side commentary. My main point is just that the idea of a designer lends to the notion that he would be able to make a decision based on reasoning (if not logic). Why should we presume to have a monopoly on all the reasons to create a universe like this?
 
  • #151
Evo said:
Ok, we need to stop here because #1 There is no evidence of a "designer". That is merely something that has been thrown out to be considered, without anything to substantiate it, I might add.

I also disagree with those that say that ID should be allowed to be considered as an alternative "theory" to evolution.

Well, that's what were doing here. We aren't talking about it's scientific merits, whether it should be taught over evolution, or what academy doesn't approve.

You're kind of a downer, Evo. By your antiseptic definition of "theory" there could never be much fun conversation at all.

Where you tell me to "stop" is where this conversation began. You're absolutely right, there is no evidence of a designer. What ID has done is fill the gaps where science has failed to produce evidence to the contrary.

If you're the hardcore scientist (which you aren't) and I'm the lonely philosopher (which I'm not), I'm not going to stop thinking about the nature of a possible designer until you prove to me that I can't anymore.
 
  • #152
vanesch said:
A remark: "intelligent design" depends of what is "intelligent". Certain algorithms have "intelligent behaviour" in the sense that they can solve problems for which the explicit solution has not been coded (the programmer didn't know the solution to the problem). As such, one can say that "intelligence" is an emerging property of the algorithm.
These are the kinds of algorithms that are studied by Artificial Intelligence. Rule-based expert systems are such examples, neural networks are such examples, and random search optimising algorithms are such examples. Particular cases of this last version are *genetic algorithms*.
If one can call genetic algorithms "intelligent" (because indeed, they succeed in solving problems of which the author didn't know how to do so), then in a certain way, Natural Selection IS an intelligent algorithm. As such, you can classify Natural Selection as a version of "intelligent design" :smile:
An example of an "intelligent" algorithm is the Integrate function of Mathematica. Contrary to the D operator, which applies simply differentiation rules which have been explicitly coded into Mathematica, Integrate works differently. It does a "random search" in function structures, applies the D operator and finds out if it comes close to the integrand ; then goes tweaking again to the trial function, until it finds a function such that when you apply D to it, it is identical to the integrand (or until something indicates it that it is drifting away from a possible solution in which case it gives up).
The people who programmed this DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO PERFORM CERTAIN INTEGRALS, but Integrate succeeded in doing so. The best proof is that they found errors in certain standard integration tables. Look at the Wolfram site for an explanation.

Are you implying that perhaps the governing or creating force could be along the lines of an intelligent algorithm? If so, I think this is a fascinating concept for a designer. The Fibonacci sequence comes to mind in how it’s very precise in predicting bud formations on plants. I know that’s not what you are talking about, just interesting.

Anyway, I wonder if there are algorithmic tables that can define their own rules. Are you aware of algorithms that can morph (as in change their own operating parameters)? I know that some chaos principles and fractals have this characteristic.
 
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  • #153
Conehead said:
Are you implying that perhaps the governing or creating force could be along the lines of an intelligent algorithm?

No, what I was trying to say is that, depending on your definition of intelligence (mine is: problem solving ability), you could claim that "life is intelligently designed" (because our design DOES solve problems), but that this doesn't imply any "governing or creating force". It is just that the mechanism of NS can be seen as an "intelligent algorithm" (there's a steered random search (steered, because no total-from-scratch DNA is generated, but DNA which worked with small modifications), which is mutation, and there is an optimising cost function, which is survival probability of descendents). These kinds of algorithms are known to result in "problem solving skills" (= intelligence).

Of course, that's something totally different as what ID proponents imply: that the intelligence must come from a "creator". It can simply be an emergent property of a natural mechanism which implements an algorithm. That's what I wanted to say, a bit tongue-in-cheek.
 
  • #154
vanesch said:
No, what I was trying to say is that, depending on your definition of intelligence (mine is: problem solving ability), you could claim that "life is intelligently designed" (because our design DOES solve problems), but that this doesn't imply any "governing or creating force". It is just that the mechanism of NS can be seen as an "intelligent algorithm" (there's a steered random search (steered, because no total-from-scratch DNA is generated, but DNA which worked with small modifications), which is mutation, and there is an optimising cost function, which is survival probability of descendents). These kinds of algorithms are known to result in "problem solving skills" (= intelligence).
Of course, that's something totally different as what ID proponents imply: that the intelligence must come from a "creator". It can simply be an emergent property of a natural mechanism which implements an algorithm. That's what I wanted to say, a bit tongue-in-cheek.

I think there might actually be something to what you say. In terms of looking at any living finished product, and judging it by how effectively it is organized to take advantage of natural resources, as well as to produce consciousness, there is nothing mundane about the organization behind living functions.

But for some, that is exactly what raises the red flag. Let's narrow the "some" to people who neither are committed to a theistic explanation or a physicalistic one. This type of neutral thinker might look at the fact that in the Darwinist model, when all is said and done, it is mechanics and physical potentials alone have produced such "intelligent design."

Yet looking at mechanics and physical potentials that aren't part of life, we never ever see them organizing themselves the way they do in life. To me, until Darwinist evolutionists can demonstrate the "intelligent" self-organizing potential of mechanics and physicalness, the theory will never hold water. Where/what is that INTELLIGENT organizing potential?
 
  • #155
vanesch said:
Of course, that's something totally different as what ID proponents imply: that the intelligence must come from a "creator". It can simply be an emergent property of a natural mechanism which implements an algorithm. That's what I wanted to say, a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Actually, I've found little in the way of a unifying trait common among IDists (through straw-polling other professionals) beyond traditional creationists, that is. Some sort of adaptable algorithm or functionary of probabilities would compliment the other theories as well as anything else, in my estimation. Hawkins discusses "rolling the dice" frequently in his bits on alternate histories. But all of those rolls take place inside a self-contained universe.

If the universe is not self-contained, as ID proposes at it's root, why couldn't dice rolling take place before hand? If alternate histories seems too convenient inside the physical universe, why not consider them outside. Perhaps the universe is a product of a designer's probability. Or the designer is nothing more than a probability.

I'm floundering here (as you can see), though I like the concept.
 
  • #156
Les Sleeth said:
wave said:
Then why would you blame physicalists and scientists for not accepting your evidence? You accuse them of not considering the nonphysical, yet you take no responsibility to persuade them. Are they suppose to take your word for it?

What if the shoe were on the other foot, and the standard for knowing in this world was union? Every once in awhile throughout the centuries, somebody practices empiricism and makes a great observation. The union experts say if we can experience it in union, then we'll accept it, if not then your claim is full of crap. So they study it through union and find nothing.

That is not the issue. I am questioning the basis of your complaint assuming everyone accepts union. You accuse scientists of not accepting the possibility that there is something nonphysical involved in evolution. However, mainstream science does not rule out that possibility although it is rarely explicit. Secondly, you have not offered anything beyond speculations, as to what that "something" may be - let alone persuade us of it. We don't have a single claim regarding Evolution to which we can investigate with union. You even admitted that you can't and won't convince us. Therefore I do not see any justification for your complaint.


Les Sleeth said:
Are they justified in studying empirical claims with union?

I honestly don't know. Is union restricted to the nonphysical? For instance, can you gain knowledge related to physics with union?


Les Sleeth said:
This idea of "convincing" is an externalizing standard, it is not the standard of internal development. The physicalist "word" on this matter is stated from experiential ingorance of the subject. Amongst the inexperienced who make ignorant claims, it is correct to say one opinion is as good as another.

Then aren't you guilty of your own charge? Who made you the keeper of "humanity's epistemological keys"? Why are your claims any better than those of "inexperienced" practitioners? Similarly, can you dismiss other nonphysicalists such as psychics and mediums without being a hypocrite?


Les Sleeth said:
wave said:
So the experiences you gain from union have no implications on the physical world, besides inner contentment and happiness and wisdom? It's not my intension to diminish those wonderful things.

If you think this physical world isn't being affected by unhappy, discontent people, then you must live a pretty sheltered life.

That's a gross misrepresentation. Nowhere did I imply inner contentment, happiness and wisdom doesn't affect the physical world. I was merely looking for implications on scientific theories - and you have yet to offer any.


Les Sleeth said:
I am not changing evolution, I am trying to prevent physicalists from promoting their physicalist agenda which manifests as claims they've all but accounted for evolution when they really haven't.

That is clearly false. The literature demonstrates continual research and intensive debate over unproven mechanisms such as group selection.


Les Sleeth said:
And when I say they haven't looked at the evidence, to a great extent I mean they haven't taken the time to develop their inner self to know if there is something more than just the mechanics they are so obsessed with.

It wouldn't affect Evolution either way. No one can dismiss the possibility that there is something more. However, there is no sensible way to utilize that kind of knowledge in our theories. You can't rationally reject an unfalsifiable claim, so all it takes are two such contradicting claims to wreak havoc. Conversely, you can't rationally accept a claim because they can only rely on words to convince others (including fellow nonphysicalists) that their experiences are valid. The same problems exist under both physicalist and nonphysicalist paradigms. Your complaints will not be taken seriously by scientists, until you have a reasonable solution for those issues.
 
  • #157
wave said:
You accuse scientists of not accepting the possibility that there is something nonphysical involved in evolution. However, mainstream science does not rule out that possibility although it is rarely explicit.

Not "ruling out" maybe how scientism devotees posture themselves for the public but, for instance, Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick better represent what most scientists really think.

Mainstream science rules out any and all that isn't physical because they only investigate using a method which only yields physical info. That is the fact of the matter, but you refuse to acknowledge it.


wave said:
Secondly, you have not offered anything beyond speculations, as to what that "something" may be - let alone persuade us of it.

You say I offer speculation, but what do you think much of evolution theory is? All you can prove is that life forms evolved in stages over time, and that natural selection-genetic variation can produce superficial changes. What you cannot prove is what caused the sorts of genetic variation to occur, and then be chosen, which led to complex organs and organ systems. In these areas you stick your physicalist natural selection-genetic variation theory in every gap you have. And all gaps where it can't be stuck, you have another physicalistic speculation waiting, some of which make little sense.

For example, Dr. Howard Glicksman has been writing about often-stated problem that many life processes require the prior development of supportive functions that have no reason to develop unless the end process is being aimed at. He poses his objections in about 20 areas of evolution (and he’s still writing), from neurons and the eye to fluid balance and gender development:
http://www.arn.org/eyw.htm

Towards the end of his article on how Vitamin D could have evolved http://www.arn.org/docs/glicksman/eyw_031104.htm he asks:

“Which function did the liver cell develop first: the ability to start the activation of Vitamin D or to produce the Vitamin D transport protein? What good would it be for the liver to be able to start the activation process of Vitamin D if it hadn’t first produced the Vitamin D transport protein so that the Vitamin D could come to the liver in the first place? And what good would it be if the Vitamin D transport protein was able to transport Vitamin D, but the liver couldn’t start the activation process? And when did the kidney develop its ability to apply the final activating step without which Vitamin D activity in the body would be so reduced that intestinal absorption of calcium would be seriously hampered to the point of certain death? When did the intestinal cells develop a receptor that was specific for activated Vitamin D? Before or after Vitamin D could be activated? If before, what usefulness would they have for the body without activated Vitamin D? And if after, then how did activated Vitamin D exert its effect on the intestinal cell?

These are some of the questions that require answers to validate the theory of macroevolution when we contemplate bones of any age. I’m sure that many of you can come up with even more. Some of my critics have commented that macroevolution does not preclude an organism having had produced biologically useless molecules . . . remember, medical science has proven that without Vitamin D activity in the body, the body as we know it would not exist. But macroevolution claims a step by step development over time. Here is a perfect opportunity to apply known data about a biological system and what is known to make it fail with a theory that purports to explain how this same said biological system came into being.”


The answer a physicalist might offer, “macroevolution does not preclude an organism having had produced biologically useless molecules” is glossing over the seriousness of the problem. It’s the same way physicalists gloss over explaining how sufficient genetic variation could have occurred at the rate necessary to account for the degree of organ development AND the high level of their functionality during the Cambrian explosion. It’s the same way physicalists gloss over the fact that chemistry doesn’t exhibit the self-organizing quality needed for abiogenesis to occur.


wave said:
We don't have a single claim regarding Evolution to which we can investigate with union. You even admitted that you can't and won't convince us. Therefore I do not see any justification for your complaint.

What makes you think you can investigate every damn thing with science? Your “therefore” doesn’t follow from anything I have said, so you can't see any justification because you aren't listening. What I have been saying is:

PHYSICALISTS ARE PROMOTING PHYSICALIST ONTOLOGY TO THE PUBLIC IN THE GUISE OF OBJECTIVE FACTS ABOUT EVOLUTION.

What they are doing is ONTOLOGIZING. How? They have a physicalist filter in place, they exaggerate the importance of the evidence they have, they gloss over areas of physiclistic theory that don't make sense, and they refuse to look at other epistemologies which might indicate there is more to know than just physicalness. Having sealed their minds tight against all avenues of knowing and thought except physicalness they, for example, convince the supreme court to let them teach physicalist ontology to our children.

Why not keep one’s mouth shut about what one doesn't know instead of saying some physical cause is "most likely" for unproven areas? The typical answer is, to restart the circle of physicalist filter, exaggerate, gloss over, refuse to look at other epistemologies . . . and then proclaim, "we've found nothing more likely than physical answers,” and/or “I do not see any justification for your complaint.”


wave said:
Les Sleeth said:
This idea of "convincing" is an externalizing standard, it is not the standard of internal development. The physicalist "word" on this matter is stated from experiential ignorance of the subject. Amongst the inexperienced who make ignorant claims, it is correct to say one opinion is as good as another.
Then aren't you guilty of your own charge? Who made you the keeper of "humanity's epistemological keys"? Why are your claims any better than those of "inexperienced" practitioners? Similarly, can you dismiss other nonphysicalists such as psychics and mediums without being a hypocrite?

Scientism devotees like to pretend they've got the epistemological keys because it is they who want to subject everything to scientific scrutiny and dismiss all that fails their tests. Where do you see me demanding physical factors be studied spiritually? Two realms, two different epistemologies. It’s only when one tries to take over the other that problems arise. It used to be the spiritual side who arrogated, now it’s the science side.

My point was that there have been others who’ve developed their consciousness in ways that has led to knowing something that can't be known through empiricism. In ignorance of that method, scientists "dismiss" the inner practitioner's claims of "something more." When told that to study the claims they have to master the inner methods themselves, they decline to do that and again demand the inner practitioner submit to scientific investigations.

This inner realization is not only a lot older than science, it has inspired the majority of people on this planet. Isn't it arrogant for scientism devotees to think what the Buddha or Jesus achieved consciously should reveal itself in the lab? The inner practitioner would tell you that to know if there is "something more" you have to look inside yourself.

Maybe you aren’t following the polls, but about 90% of the world’s population doesn’t think science has all the answers. What you do see is a great respect for what science actually has accomplished, but also growing resistance by people of faith in the theoretical areas where science is making exaggerated claims. In respect to this latter issue, I think scientists better shape up because they are going to lose credibility. Not everybody who is objecting is some blind-faith, uninformed, undereducated dunce; some pretty smart people are starting to challenge scientism’s exaggerated claims.


wave said:
It wouldn't affect Evolution either way. No one can dismiss the possibility that there is something more. However, there is no sensible way to utilize that kind of knowledge in our theories.

Yes, but you don't get to automatically stick something physical where all the missing pieces are either. You can for yourself, but it's textbooks and public specials that are the issue. I don't know why you can't see the complaint. No one is saying you have to suggest God may be in the gaps. Just leave the gaps (i.e., at least those most under contention) vacant from speculations when you are telling the public what is "most likely."


wave said:
Conversely, you can't rationally accept a claim because they can only rely on words to convince others (including fellow nonphysicalists) that their experiences are valid. The same problems exist under both physicalist and nonphysicalist paradigms. Your complaints will not be taken seriously by scientists, until you have a reasonable solution for those issues.

For someone so smart you sure do miss the point. Who is asking you accept a claim? My reason for pointing to union was to indicate there is other expertise on this planet. The scientist doesn't have to accept any metaphysical claims to be more broadly educated about another method of knowing, or to learn to respect what can’t be achieved through science but which may have bearing on how creation came about nonetheless.
 
  • #158
Les Sleeth said:
I don't know why you can't see the complaint. No one is saying you have to suggest God may be in the gaps. Just leave the gaps (i.e., at least those most under contention) vacant from speculations when you are telling the public what is "most likely."

Evolution is something of a sacred cow, to the extent that nearly any attack will be declared “religious”--at least in the public schools.

Biblical creationism? Banned from biology classes and rightly so, because it is religious.

Intelligent design (artificial intervention was necessary for the creation of life on Earth) - not religious, but has been declared as such by its opponents.

Scientific evidence against evolution - also not religious, but I've seen opponents declare it so even in this case (when one proposed it be introduced in the classroom).

Some things evolution does not (yet?) adequately explain - I bet would probably be declared religious too.

Has the "religious" decree gone too far? Of course. But I doubt one would have much luck overcoming this error (at least at this point in time).
 
  • #159
Vanesch said:
No, what I was trying to say is that, depending on your definition of intelligence (mine is: problem solving ability), you could claim that "life is intelligently designed" (because our design DOES solve problems), but that this doesn't imply any "governing or creating force".
When I first heard about ID I thought that it was simply about a driving factor behind evolution. Simply "something" that made things happen the way they did that was consistant and seemingly intelligent. The only scientific essay that I have read by a scientist who supports ID, or at least it's investigation, referred to "law like processes" which shaped evolution. Something like the "law like processes" that shape general physics. He mentioned no god or creator or even "intelligence" (how ever one wishes to define it) in his entire paper.
I've tried discussing this before, the idea of intelligent design without god or there simply being some sort of physical laws which made evolution occur the way it did aside from "natural selection". The debate always winds up with either the knee jerk "ID isn't science, it's creationism in desguise!" or people wind up asking "Well then why is it called Intelligent Design if there isn't an intelligent creator behind it?". No one ever seems to want to discuss the idea itself, just what they think it is or what they think is wrong with the name.
That one paper is the only really scientific one I have been able to find regarding ID, and maybe there's a reason for that, but it makes me wonder if the real scientists behind this idea are just catching flack because of the people who use it to further their theological agenda.




By the way, haven't seen you in PWA much. Congrats on the Super Mentor promotion.
 
  • #160
It seems like this principle of a 'driving force' behind evolution is simply the reification of a mathematical algorithm capable of describing the behavior of the evolving system. We can write differential equations that model the relationship between the size of predator and prey populations in a mountain habitat, but that doesn't mean that there actually is anything akin to a differential equation that exists 'in the world' and operates as an organizing principle dictating the behavior of these animals. We're simply combining multiple simpler functions that can give us the size of a population given the availability of food and land and what have you. Even these simpler functions do not have any real existence in the world; they are simply a means by which we quantify the fact that if there is less food available on a given plot of land, that plot of land will support less individuals. The only thing about this that is 'real' are the individuals themselves and the food and land.
 
  • #161
Conehead said:
Well, that's what were doing here. We aren't talking about it's scientific merits, whether it should be taught over evolution, or what academy doesn't approve.

You're kind of a downer, Evo. By your antiseptic definition of "theory" there could never be much fun conversation at all.

Where you tell me to "stop" is where this conversation began. You're absolutely right, there is no evidence of a designer. What ID has done is fill the gaps where science has failed to produce evidence to the contrary.

If you're the hardcore scientist (which you aren't) and I'm the lonely philosopher (which I'm not), I'm not going to stop thinking about the nature of a possible designer until you prove to me that I can't anymore.
Sorry if I'm a downer, at first I thought this was a serious discussion, but I guess you guys are having fun discussing it on a different level, so have at it. :-p Sorry to intrude.

Besides, we already killed ID in GD. :biggrin:
 
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  • #162
loseyourname said:
It seems like this principle of a 'driving force' behind evolution is simply the reification of a mathematical algorithm capable of describing the behavior of the evolving system. We can write differential equations that model the relationship between the size of predator and prey populations in a mountain habitat, but that doesn't mean that there actually is anything akin to a differential equation that exists 'in the world' and operates as an organizing principle dictating the behavior of these animals. We're simply combining multiple simpler functions that can give us the size of a population given the availability of food and land and what have you. Even these simpler functions do not have any real existence in the world; they are simply a means by which we quantify the fact that if there is less food available on a given plot of land, that plot of land will support less individuals. The only thing about this that is 'real' are the individuals themselves and the food and land.
I'm certainly aware of the problem in confusing the map with the territory. I wouldn't suggest chucking natural selection as a model out the window but if it seems there are instances where it fails to predict reality it would seem it perhaps still needs something more. Perhaps there are variables that we are unaware of currently.
Abiogenesis isn't really covered by natural selection. People usually complain that it isn't supposed to cover it and they don't have anything to do with one another. It would seem to me though that what ever processes occur in abiogenesis would have effect still on evolution even after life has began. If this is true and the processes described by natural selection truly can not explain abiogenesis then it would seem there are still variables going unnoticed.
 
  • #163
I emailed Dr. Glicksman asking him to join the debate. He declined saying philosophy isn't his thing, but did offer a couple of interesting comments:

". . . there are hundreds of irreducibly complex systems in the human body that each require at least 3 components. A sensor to detect a vital parameter, like Ca++, O2, CO2, osmolarity, BP etc, a cell that can respond to the changes in this parameter by sending out a message (nervous message, hormone etc), and a target cell that often has a specific receptor (insulin, parathormone etc.) to respond to the message that effects a change required for life. These parameters must stay within very narrow ranges for life or we die.

This is the basis for the pathophysiology of disease, dysfunction and death and the practice of medicine. Not only is the body able to do all 3 of these things but it also must inherently know what the levels of these parameters must be! By the way, each of these 3 components are genetically based, so one must immediately wonder how they could come about one step at a time . . ."
 
  • #164
TheStatutoryApe said:
Abiogenesis isn't really covered by natural selection. People usually complain that it isn't supposed to cover it and they don't have anything to do with one another. It would seem to me though that what ever processes occur in abiogenesis would have effect still on evolution even after life has began. If this is true and the processes described by natural selection truly can not explain abiogenesis then it would seem there are still variables going unnoticed.

I see it similarly. Whatever caused abiogenesis is the driving force of evolution too. Some sort of organizing force which keeps "seeking" higher orders of functionality.
 
  • #165
Les Sleeth said:
Not only is the body able to do all 3 of these things but it also must inherently know what the levels of these parameters must be! By the way, each of these 3 components are genetically based, so one must immediately wonder how they could come about one step at a time . . ."
Ok, I lied, I'm back.

This is the basic problem when you try to "reverse engineer" something that isn't understood. It can be as simple as "that's the combination, that by accident, worked", which is why the other versions, if there were any, aren't still in existence. It doesn't imply anything.

We don't know the answers, may never know the answers. I would have a problem with anyone saying that we know all the answers, but at the same time, we can't think that because we don't have all the answers we should just stop searching and proclaim that it was all pre-fabricated by some "being". If it was, there would no longer be a point to searching.
 
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  • #166
Evo said:
Ok, I lied, I'm back.
This is the basic problem when you try to "reverse engineer" something that isn't understood. It can be as simple as "that's the combination, that by accident, worked", which is why the other versions, if there were any, aren't still in existence. It doesn't imply anything.

It does imply something when so many "accidents" are required to result in functionality, yet accidents normally result in mahem.

Try reverse engineering one of my pizzas and see how many "accidents" there were on the way to that airy, light, crunchy crust. It is guided every step of the way by consciousness, and if it weren't you'd have a pasty blob at best.

I say, it is only because people so want to believe accidents plus physicalness can achieve high levels of organization that they ignore what they actually know about accidents and physicalness from having observed their chaotic, usually-destructive ways every day of their lives.
 
  • #167
I would also be wary of these claims of Dr. Glicksman. Not to say he is necessarily incorrect (I don't personally know), but given the debunking of Behe's irreducible complexity examples, there may very well be examples in the biological sciences of reduced forms of these systems he is citing that do function.

The positive thing about irreducible complexity, however, is that it is a scientific claim in that it is falsifiable. If the hypothesis is simply "X is composed of A, B, and C and cannot function without all three parts" and we find out that, in fact, there exists some system Y that is composed of A and B, but not C, that nonetheless still serves some function, then the hypothesis would be falsified. I would actually think that these proposed "irreducible" systems might make for a fruitful area of investigation for molecular biologists (they usually seem to be molecular systems).
 
  • #168
Evo said:
Besides, we already killed ID in GD. :biggrin:

Please see post #146 of this thread.
 
  • #169
loseyourname said:
I would also be wary of these claims of Dr. Glicksman. Not to say he is necessarily incorrect (I don't personally know), but given the debunking of Behe's irreducible complexity examples, there may very well be examples in the biological sciences of reduced forms of these systems he is citing that do function.

I'd be cautious about declaring that Behe’s claims (when it comes to whether a biochemical system is irreducibly complex) have been debunked. At least some of these “debunkings” are a result of misunderstanding. See an excerpt from this web article for instance:

Professor Doolittle argued that new laboratory work showed two components of the blood clotting cascade could be eliminated ("knocked-out") from mice and the mice got along fine without them. However, Doolittle misread the laboratory work: the double knock-out mice have severe problems and have no functioning blood clotting system.

It's seems implausible to me that Behe, a competent Ph.D. biochemist, could get something so basically wrong regarding which parts are necessary for a biochemical system to function. (Read the rest of the web article, it contains some good comments regarding other criticisms.)


The positive thing about irreducible complexity, however, is that it is a scientific claim in that it is falsifiable. If the hypothesis is simply "X is composed of A, B, and C and cannot function without all three parts" and we find out that, in fact, there exists some system Y that is composed of A and B, but not C, that nonetheless still serves some function, then the hypothesis would be falsified. I would actually think that these proposed "irreducible" systems might make for a fruitful area of investigation for molecular biologists (they usually seem to be molecular systems).

I agree, with some modification. System Y would only be a counterexample if it serves the same function as system X (if you keep in mind what Behe means by irreducibly complex). Irreducible complexity doesn’t make evolution of that system logically impossible, but it does present a significant obstacle. If all the parts are needed of a complex system to function, one would have to show some evolutionary advantage for each part added, and that advantage can’t be “making the biochemical system [e.g. blood clotting] better” because by definition all the parts are needed to serve the given function. One could get around irreducible complexity by saying that each part added served a different evolutionary advantage for the creature. Behe claims that with horrendously intricate irreducibly complex biochemical systems, that sort of thing is not plausible (especially since that sort of rigorous explanation has never been done). Time will tell whether Behe is correct regarding if we’ll eventually find a way to overcome the problem via the mutation-selection mechanism.
 
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  • #170
I'm going to have to get back to you on the specific debunking of Behe's claims that I'm thinking of, as I am pretty certain that they cannot be found on the web. If I can track them down, I'll post them here.
 
  • #171
loseyourname said:
I would also be wary of these claims of Dr. Glicksman. Not to say he is necessarily incorrect (I don't personally know), but given the debunking of Behe's irreducible complexity examples, there may very well be examples in the biological sciences of reduced forms of these systems he is citing that do function.

I agree that IC can be logically discredited. From my own perspective, it has to be questionable if for no other reason than I believe all life did develop step-by-step. But I think IC is relevant in another way when we toss in that pesky Cambrian explosion. I’ll be quoting from the following article which I offer as an objective assessment:

http://www.angelfire.com/tn/tifni/misc/cambrianexplosion.html

“Half a billion years ago, during this "evolutionary big bang," life evolved at rates of over twenty times the Precambrian rate. From approximately 535 million years ago to 520 million years ago, nearly all the animal phyla in existence today (and many that are no longer with us), save the Bryozoa, first appeared in the fossil record. While this does not necessarily entail that all animal phyla came into existence during the Cambrian explosion – some scientists believe that the "explosion" was a change in climate that produced conditions favorable for the fossilization of preexisting phyla – the evidence for a period of astounding diversification of life is overwhelming. The animals that made their abrupt appearance during the Cambrian explosion are ancestors of virtually all the creatures that swim, fly, and crawl today.

Until recently, scientists believed that phyla evolved over a ridiculously short period of 75 million years. In 1993, a group of researchers from M.I.T. and Harvard did some zircon dating in Siberia, then took the Cambrian period, chopped it in half, and stomped down the evolutionary boom to the first 5 to 10 million years. ‘We now know how fast fast is,’ grinned Samuel Bowring of M.I.T. in an interview with Time magazine. ‘And what I like to ask my biologist friends is, How fast can evolution get before they start feeling uncomfortable?’


In order for all but one of Earth’s phyla to have evolved in that period of time, the rate of genetic variation had to have been off the scale compared to what we see now. Since much of the biochemical “pre-adaptive” evolution Dr. Glicksman points to had have occurred then too (to produce gender, eyes, metabolism, neurons and brains, bones . . . ) what we have is something far more than the occasional providential pre-adaptive accident. The success rate of supposedly “accidental” genetic variation would have to be astonishingly efficacious (compared to what’s observed today) in both producing pre-adaptive chemistry and new organs. What might account for that sort of success rate? The article continues:

“The possible causes of the Cambrian explosion are as numerous and whimsical as the animals it created. Predation is a popular explanation. The appearance of multicellular grazers prompted the appearance of multicellular predators. Initial signs of predation appear just before the Cambrian period. The appearance of hard, protective shells in the late Precambrian may indicate the incipience of a biological arms race. Another popular explanation is the ‘empty barrel’ hypothesis, which compares Cambrian creatures to settlers and the biosphere of the time to the American West.

Paleobotanist Douglas Erwin of the Smithsonian Institution points to homeotic homeobox genes as the Precambrian triggers of the Cambrian explosion. These genes, also called Hox genes, control embryonic development. Primitive multicellular organisms such as jellyfish have 3 Hox genes. Now scientists believe that around 550 million years ago, some worm-like creature expanded its Hox cluster to six genes. ‘Boom!’ shouted Jablonski in his interview with Time. ‘Life crossed some sort of critical threshold.’

Researchers at Caltech and the University of Puerto Rico revealed a literally earth-shattering possibility in 1997. The Cambrian explosion might have been detonated by a rollover performed by the crust and mantle of the Earth. Such acrobatics, prompted by a phenomenon known as true polar wander, involved continental drift ten times the normal rate (i.e. 30 centimeters per year, a blatant violation of the "plate tectonic speed limit"5). The dramatic shift, which took place over a mere 15 million years, coincided with the Cambrian explosion.

Continental flip-flop began with the breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia at the North Pole at a time when Gondwanaland stretched from the South Pole to the equator. Because a spinning sphere is most stable when most of its mass lies at the equator, the Earth was thrown off balance by its extensive polar mass. The entire crust and mantle slid over the core, 90 degrees, to return the continents to the equator.

Such a tumultuous change in climate and ocean circulation swiftly fragmented large-scale ecosystems to create smaller, more isolated populations. These populations branched in an eruption of riotous divergent evolution. Groups of species, isolated from each other, evolved rapidly into different species in a process known as speciation and adaptive radiation. Radiation allowed organisms to inhabit new niches and increase diversity, a process that mysteriously left little evidence of transitional forms in its wake. No new phyla, besides the Bryozoans, have emerged since the Cambrian explosion. Scientists speculate that extensive adaptive radiation filled all available niches, leaving no room for additional phyla. Neither has such gargantuan genetic variation occurred since that period. Possibly, once life became as complex as it did in the Cambrian explosion, organisms could no longer risk major changes in physiology. Even miniscule variations in the genetic code could prove fatal, just as one erroneous gene coding for an enzyme might render a creature unable to survive."


Yes, but how can any of those suggestions explain the Cambrian’s genetic variation? They might help explain speciation, but none of it accounts for the enormous level of genetic variation needed to produce such numbers of new organs and the associated biochemistry (which must include pre-adaptive development), or sufficiently different “selecting” conditions than the world as a whole offers today, or the time to achieve the selection by way of “incremental changes” so often sited as the way to explain the complex functionality that impresses so many human observers of life. But most importantly, what’s stopping genetic variation from being what it once was, whether any of the variation is selected or not? There is no doubt that the robustness and effectiveness of genetic variation today is nothing like it was during the Cambrian period.

And right here is where those of us open to some sort of organizing force or universal consciousness may see possibilities. If, for instance, the genetics of Cambrian life forms were being manipulated purposely to produce great variety, then we’d need neither so large an amount of genetic variation as dumb evolution requires, nor as much time for change to occur.

While Biblical creationism may not make much sense, the idea that intelligence has been involved in evolution can answer some of the mysteries just as well or better than any physicalist theory currently offers. And it certainly proposes no more speculation than those trying to justify the Darwinian belief system.

The article concludes by at least acknowledging (refreshing to hear from an apparent physicalist) the problem all theories have explaining evolution:

“The Cambrian Explosion leaves us humans, 500 million years later, with the most puzzling of questions. The Cambrian rocks of the geologic column contain a proliferation of complex life; however, no trace of predecessors to such complex and sometimes offbeat organisms is to be found in Precambrian rocks. For example, the evolution of vertebrate fish from invertebrate animals, which wore exoskeletons and left no traces of turning their exoskeletons inside out to produce vertebrae, remains a gaping hole in the evolutionary timeline. Thus the Cambrian explosion raises questions about Darwin’s grand theory of evolution.

Creationists exploit the Cambrian explosion as evidence that the Biblical record of creation is true. Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures.’ So appeared the abundant fish and marine life that appeared during the Cambrian explosion. These ‘stationary or slow-moving’ creatures were the first to be overwhelmed by the mud and silt of the Deluge, and they were fossilized to be discovered half a billion years later.

The existence of such a plethora of conflicting hypotheses, all of which are viable, some of which seem fantastic, may instill a sense of doubt in the reader as to whether any of them correctly explain the mystery of the Cambrian explosion. In my opinion, a propitious combination of true polar wander, predation, and an increase in the number of Hox genes provides the most satisfactory and comprehensive explanation. I tend to doubt the creationism hypothesis not because of a prodigious lack of faith, but rather because the creationists seem to embrace it too heartily and ignore the conspicuous incongruities between Genesis and current ‘scientific’ beliefs. However, the true polar wander hypothesis is relatively new and has been challenged in Science, where it was first published. The unstoppable advance of science may eventually reach a firm conclusion as to what triggered the Cambrian explosion. For now we must continue to wonder about and wonder at this remarkable and baffling proliferation of life.”
 
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  • #172
loseyourname said:
I'm going to have to get back to you on the specific debunking of Behe's claims that I'm thinking of, as I am pretty certain that they cannot be found on the web. If I can track them down, I'll post them here.

Well, I've read exceptions to IC, such as the development of hemoglobin, and that is why I said Behe's concept can be logically discredited. But it doesn't mean that all of life could actually have evolved relying on so many pre-adaptive developments advance life forms would have required. So I think "debunk" is too strong of a word to use. I might have said that there are logical answers for allowing at least some types of pre-adaptive evolution to occur, which renders IC less than an ironclad principle.
 
  • #173
Evo said:
Sorry if I'm a downer, at first I thought this was a serious discussion, but I guess you guys are having fun discussing it on a different level, so have at it. :-p Sorry to intrude.
Besides, we already killed ID in GD. :biggrin:


Shoot. No worries. It's tough having all these geniuses crammed into one small chat room.

I hope you properly sedated ID first. :biggrin:
 
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  • #174
Les Sleeth said:
Paleobotanist Douglas Erwin of the Smithsonian Institution points to homeotic homeobox genes as the Precambrian triggers of the Cambrian explosion. These genes, also called Hox genes, control embryonic development. Primitive multicellular organisms such as jellyfish have 3 Hox genes. Now scientists believe that around 550 million years ago, some worm-like creature expanded its Hox cluster to six genes. ‘Boom!’ shouted Jablonski in his interview with Time. ‘Life crossed some sort of critical threshold.’

Not that my personal opinion carries much weight, but this is the explanation that I personally hitch my wagon to (of course, I'm not an evolutionary researcher, so that frankly makes no difference).

The key to remember here is that the development of phyla did not necessarily require any more genetic variation than exists today. It simply required variation in certain genetic loci that had noticeable morphological consequences. For instance, one variation on the hox genes could result in six limbs and another in four. One results in a spinal cord and another doesn't. The vast differences from phylum to phylum seen today most likely evolved to fit these new body types, rather than the other way around.

Another fact about the Cambrian explosion that I would point out is that the rocky outcroppings in Cambria created a perfect environment for the preservation of fossils. It isn't necessarily the case that all of these animal phyla actually came into existence that suddenly. It is also possible that the conditions in Cambria were what came about suddenly and that is the reason we see a huge explosion in the number of fossils found then.

All of this being said, I am really only adding to the possibilities you have already cited and not trying to say I actually have any answers. The explosion is certainly a phenomenon that cries out for explanation, but it isn't really something that makes me think that there was any kind of intelligence dictating the way in which mutations were taking place at that time. Heck, maybe there was some kind of astonomic phenomena or a disruption in the Earth's magnetic field that greatly increased the level of mutagenic cosmic rays reaching the surface and that caused variation to explode. Whatever happened was likely to have been a happy and unlikely coincidence, but let's face it, happy and unlikely coincidences have to happen at some point somewhere.
 
  • #175
Les Sleeth said:
Well, I've read exceptions to IC, such as the development of hemoglobin, and that is why I said Behe's concept can be logically discredited.

It should be pointed out that Behe doesn’t claim that all biochemical systems are irreducibly complex, just that some (e.g. the blood clotting cascade) are.

Lest anyone misunderstand (and I’m not saying you’re claiming otherwise Les Sleeth), hemoglobin is related to blood clotting obviously (in that hemoglobin is found in blood) but even finding a rigorously developed way to evolve hemoglobin doesn’t solve the cascade problem, since more is needed for it to work.
 

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