Viruses Disprove Intelligent Design.

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ProgrammingGodJordan's picture
I am atheistic.

NOTE: The facing details are written in layman language.

I am atheistic.

However, without belief/faith or certainty, I can consider/observe probabilities.

This is the problem with humans. We tend to bound our thought cycles in supposed beliefs. Although atheism is the lack of belief, many atheists tend to make claims ie 'God doesn't exist'

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(1) We are creating more and more advanced simulations of our own cosmos. Example: 'illustris'

http://www.illustris-project.org/

As time passes, our own simulations of our cosmos gets better and better. I have not encountered (upon searching) any law of physics which stipulates that the creation of universes with life is impossible.

And don't be frightened by the word 'SIMULATION'. The planet's strongest artificial intelligence, 'ALPHA GO', uses simulations of 'go games'.

...but using simulations had not prevented it from DESTROYING world champion Lee Sedol.

It is then likely that a universe like ours is perhaps 'CREATABLE', particularly by intelligence (us).

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(2) We are creating more and more advanced artificial intelligence

As time passes, our brain based artificial intelligence (neural nets etc) EXCEED humans in more and more cognitive tasks.

Our brain runs at roughly 10^16 to 10^18 synaptic operations per second.

NOW, there are models that run 10^14 synaptic operations per second, that are small (approaching human-brain size) and efficient.

By 2020, it is likely that we will successfully make models that achieve brain capacity and efficiency.

It is then likely that intelligence like ours is perhaps 'CREATABLE', particularly by intelligence (us).

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POST SCRIPTUM.

I discuss in more detail, the problem with 'beliefs' here (using science):

http://www.atheistrepublic.com/forums/debate-room/new-cult-non-beliefism...

..and also as an atheist, i discuss the likelihood of gods here (using science):

http://www.atheistrepublic.com/forums/debate-room/scientific-evidence-go...

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi Green Snake

Hi Green Snake

The first thing to ask is whether design is obvious in nature or not? I think it is extremely obvious. I infer design when I see an accumulation of primitive parts in a specified arrangement in order to produce a specific function. If this is the case, I attribute design to it… I would naturally assume that an intelligent planning has gone into it.

Even a simple mechanism like the bicycle has design in it that calls for an intellect of a high order. The most basic unit of life is the living cell… as compared to a cycle, a living cell is so much more complex with many networks of functional systems… all collaborating in a highly ordered division of labor fulfilling highly specified tasks in order to achieve the ultimate objective of survival of the organism.

To not see this design that is so large writ all over nature… and to pick on the minor glitches is disingenuous first off. It’s like saying that because the lights at a particular seat in a Boeing aircraft isn’t working, the entire plane must have been built without engineers.

Yes, I can see where you are coming from. If God is the designer, there shouldn’t be any flaws. Agreed. But the existence of these so-called flaws doesn’t at all undermine the design theory. At best you can say that God has made mistakes in his design.

But are there flaws in the design? I think it would be good to have some epistemological humility. We humans with our super powerful intelligence are still grappling to fathom many of the designs in nature. Our flying machines still are no match to a house fly in its maneuverability… try swatting a fly with your hands and you will know how they maneuver through the air to stay clear of your hands. In spite of having this prototype design… we are not even able to mimic the design… that’s just a tiny miniscule example… and if you ponder more, the superior designs in nature will never cease to awe you.

Keeping that in mind, and the knowledge that we are still uncovering many secrets of nature… it would be reasonable to show a little more humility and think that perhaps in future we will come to uncover some of the greater wisdom behind these seeming flaws in the design.

Many organs that were believed to be vestigial… have found to be having use that we were not aware of. Moreover, when you think of design in nature… it would be foolhardy to look at a design in isolation, because we know that nature functions as one large interacting system with everything connected to everything else. In such a system, the seeming flaw in an isolated part of it might have a role to play in the larger scheme of things, which might be hard to decipher unless we can get a glimpse of the whole picture. For example, death could be seen as a flaw in the design, because it’s the ultimate failure of the biological machine. However, when you look at the ecology as a whole, death of organisms have a very important role to play in the overall balance of nature.

Greensnake's picture
Hi valiya:

Hi valiya:

[[The first thing to ask is whether design is obvious in nature or not? I think it is extremely obvious. - valiya]]

The thing that is obvious is the complex arrangement of parts for some function in many objects such as plants or watches. What is not obvious is that such an arrangement entails a designer. Your conclusion is probably based on the fact that every complex object whose origin is obvious is manmade, and you extend that conclusion to plants and animals. The analogy, however, fails. The first set of objects (such as cars, watches and computers) not only have complexity but also consist of parts made of refined materials and precise geometric shapes. The analogy, therefore, only applies to objects having complexity and parts made of refined materials with precise geometric shapes. Therefore, the "watch argument" doesn't work on plants and animals.

Evolution is a fact of biology, and natural selection is quite capable of generating complex "design." The principle is used in industry. Plants and animals also contain a lot of clumsy, inefficient, make-do "design" that would embarrass any intelligent designer! That's the hallmark of evolution as I pointed out in another post. Another hallmark of evolution is that life is full of genetic "throwbacks" and vestigial organs that plainly point to evolution rather than an intelligent engineer.

[[The most basic unit of life is the living cell… as compared to a cycle, a living cell is so much more complex with many networks of functional systems… all collaborating in a highly ordered division of labor fulfilling highly specified tasks in order to achieve the ultimate objective of survival of the organism. - valiya]]

Again, your argument fails because your analogy requires the cell to have parts of refined material and of precise, geometric shapes. Your analogy doesn't work on cells.

[[But are there flaws in the design? I think it would be good to have some epistemological humility. We humans with our super powerful intelligence are still grappling to fathom many of the designs in nature. - valiya]]

The errors I speak of are so gross, so ugly, and so obvious that they make an "intelligent designer" look stupid! Moreover, we often have good, evolutionary explanations for the cause of such ugliness. It's not a huge mystery! It is simply perverse to pretend that, somehow, it is really intelligent design after all. If something looks like a cat, meows like a cat, walks like a cat, hunts like a cat, and purrs like a cat, then maybe we should call it a cat! This talk of epistemological humility is in the wrong ballpark!

[[Keeping that in mind, and the knowledge that we are still uncovering many secrets of nature… it would be reasonable to show a little more humility and think that perhaps in future we will come to uncover some of the greater wisdom behind these seeming flaws in the design. - valiya]]

If an animal doesn't look like a cat, doesn't walk like a cat, doesn't meow like a cat, and has two legs, then holding out for the possibility that it will yet prove to be a cat is wishful thinking and poor reasoning.

[[Many organs that were believed to be vestigial… have found to be having use that we were not aware of. Moreover, when you think of design in nature… it would be foolhardy to look at a design in isolation, because we know that nature functions as one large interacting system with everything connected to everything else. - valiya]]

Evolution is perfectly capable of modifying an obsolete organ for another purpose, so you can't rule out a vestigial organ simply because it has a new role. Perhaps you might explain why some whales carry degenerate traces of hind legs, why some snakes also have degenerate traces of hind legs. Tell us why one lung in a snake is shriveled up and useless. Why do some birds have wings that are incapable of flight? Why do some fish in caves have skin over their eyes--or degenerate eyes--which makes them useless? We could go through hundreds of examples of "design" that no intelligent designer would ever create.

If we know the role that some organ plays, such as an eye or a wing, or the niche that a plant or animal occupies, then spotting design flaws does not require understanding the whole ecosystem. If you want to estimate the contribution an animal or plant makes to an ecosystem then you need to know a lot about that ecosystem.

I hope that answers your questions.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi Green Snake

Hi Green Snake

You said: “The thing that is obvious is the complex arrangement of parts for some function in many objects such as plants or watches.”

That’s a very important point you have admitted.

You said: “The first set of objects (such as cars, watches and computers) not only have complexity but also consist of parts made of refined materials and precise geometric shapes. The analogy, therefore, only applies to objects having complexity and parts made of refined materials with precise geometric shapes. Therefore, the "watch argument" doesn't work on plants and animals.”

Do you infer design only if there is precise geometric shape? What do you make of a piece of poetry? Do you see geometric shapes there? What about those bean-bag sofas? What about a parachute? What about a computer code?

The fact is, the only way we infer design is by making an analysis of specified complexity… irrespective of the shape or consistency of the components. This is how we live in our real world. Even a simple thing like say a newspaper rolled into a ball and placed under a rocky leg of a chair… you would impute design to it, not because it has any specific shape, but because it has been arranged in a specific manner to serve a function.

However, our mind keeps forming categories to help us in grasping the world around us easily. This is what helps us differentiate between an electronic appliance vs wooden furniture, a building vs a ship and so on… similarly we also differentiate between natural vs artificial… In the examples you cited of watch and plants… the differentiation we are making is only between artificial vs natural.

If we see a pile of bricks lying haphazardly, we will immediately know it’s artificial, but we will not impute any design to it. Similarly, when we see the grains of sand on a beach, we will know it’s part of nature, but we will not impute any design to it.

What I am driving at is that design inference is independent of the ‘natural vs artificial’ category. The only distinction we make between a plant and watch is whether its ‘natural or artificial’. But we cannot dispute the design in them.

Even Dawkins admits that nature gives the ‘appearance’ of design. He clearly does not mean that nature looks like it has been built by humans or that it seems to be made out of precise geometric shapes. He is referring to specified complexity.

You said: “Evolution is a fact of biology, and natural selection is quite capable of generating complex "design."

How is evolution a fact? As far as I know, none of the proofs for evolution really hold out. Can you tell me what you think to be the strongest proof for evolution?

You said: “That's the hallmark of evolution as I pointed out in another post.”

I think I have sent you an answer on that post as well… I think you didn’t have a look.

You said: “Another hallmark of evolution is that life is full of genetic "throwbacks" and vestigial organs that plainly point to evolution rather than an intelligent engineer.”

If by evolution, you are referring to similarities between species… I can agree. But if you mean freak accidents that helped an ameba turn into a whale over millions of years… then you better bring your proofs.

You said: “Again, your argument fails because your analogy requires the cell to have parts of refined material and of precise, geometric shapes. Your analogy doesn't work on cells.”

Answered above.

You said: “Moreover, we often have good, evolutionary explanations for the cause of such ugliness. It's not a huge mystery! It is simply perverse to pretend that, somehow, it is really intelligent design after all.”

The defect in a light bulb on the tail of the Boeing should not blind you to the excellence of the design in the rest of the aircraft. The defects you are pointing out do not rule out an intelligent design… you can only say that the designer, whoever it is, has botched up in that particular part.

But before you call it a defect, you have got to realize that we are still on the way to uncovering the mysteries of nature. For example, the mutation that gives bacteria anti-biotic resistance is actually a design factored into the organism to help it overcome certain survival challenges. (I will give you my proofs for it if you want). When it undergoes this mutation, the bacteria synthesizes very low quality protein compared to the quality when under normal condition. This is a compromise the organism makes for the sake of survivability. And this trait sometimes continues even after the anti-biotic threat is taken off. Therefore, on the surface level, when we do not fully appreciate the reasons for the change, we might think the protein synthesis design of the bacteria is a bad one, with flaws… however, there could be a greater design behind the flaw, as in this case… but in the case of the other larger organism, perhaps we are yet to uncover the full story. This is why I invoke epistemological humility.

You said: “Evolution is perfectly capable of modifying an obsolete organ for another purpose, so you can't rule out a vestigial organ simply because it has a new role.”

But before that… explain evolution to me.. and give your strongest proofs for it.

Greensnake's picture
Hi valiya:

Hi valiya:

[[Do you infer design only if there is precise geometric shape? What do you make of a piece of poetry? Do you see geometric shapes there? What about those bean-bag sofas? What about a parachute? What about a computer code? - valiya]]

I was thinking along the lines of Paley's original "watch argument" where mechanical devices are the focus. You brought up a good point, but the argument can be extended to take in bean-bag sofas or parachutes as well. However, looking at it from the point of pure logic, there is really only one, basic reason for concluding that anything has an intelligent origin. It must be out of place in nature. Nature doesn't dabble in plastics or bean-bag sofas. It doesn't do poetry. It doesn't do the kind of coding used in computers. As already noted, it doesn't use refined materials (like steel or aluminum) with geometric shapes (like the gears in a clock).

Valiya, here is the big question for you: How does one conclude that plants and animals are out of place in nature? Nature seems perfectly capable of producing them. Complexity is not the issue since we know that a blob of pure aluminum (very little design) must have an intelligent origin.

[[The fact is, the only way we infer design is by making an analysis of specified complexity… irrespective of the shape or consistency of the components. - valiya]]

By that yardstick, evolution creates design! But this "intelligent designer" doesn't have a mind, doesn't plan anything, and often creates stupid, make-do design.

[[If we see a pile of bricks lying haphazardly, we will immediately know it’s artificial, but we will not impute any design to it. Similarly, when we see the grains of sand on a beach, we will know it’s part of nature, but we will not impute any design to it.
What I am driving at is that design inference is independent of the ‘natural vs artificial’ category. The only distinction we make between a plant and watch is whether its ‘natural or artificial’. But we cannot dispute the design in them. - valiya]]

Valiya, you are illegally using the loaded word "design" here. What we cannot dispute, and atheists need not dispute, is that the parts of many objects can work together to serve various perceived ends. That, by itself, is not sufficient reason to conclude that an intelligent designer constructed it. It has to be out of place in nature! If something is not out of place in nature, then you have no logical means for assigning an intelligent creator. Maybe it has an intelligent creator; maybe it doesn't. You just can't know.

[[Even Dawkins admits that nature gives the ‘appearance’ of design. He clearly does not mean that nature looks like it has been built by humans or that it seems to be made out of precise geometric shapes. He is referring to specified complexity. - valiya]]

Perhaps you should read Richard Dawkins' book "The Blind Watchmaker." He does a pretty good job at showing how "specified complexity" can arise without an intelligent designer.

[[How is evolution a fact? As far as I know, none of the proofs for evolution really hold out. Can you tell me what you think to be the strongest proof for evolution? - valiya]]

Valiya, I assume that you are not familiar with the science of biology in which evolution plays a central, organizing role. Since a university textbook might be too advanced for you (and too expensive!), let me suggest a recent book that was written specifically for lay readers. A number of outstanding authors have contributed to this anthology, so you will also get different perspectives. "Evolution: The First Four Billion Years" (edited by Michael Ruse and Joseph Travis, with a forward by Edward O. Wilson). It's a long book, but if you really want to know why evolution is a fact of biology then you need to read it.

If you look at any of the leading scientific journals, where real science is reported, you will not find a debate over the fact of evolution. You may find debates over the role that some mechanism plays, over the details of which branch of the evolutionary tree goes where, over the interpretation of some fossil, but never over the fact of evolution.

Walk "professor's row" in the biology department of any respected university and talk to the professors (when they are not busy). You will quickly find that biological evolution is taken as a fact of life (pun intended!). That life has evolved is a religious controversy for some; it's not a scientific controversy despite the propaganda you may have read.

The number one prediction of evolution is that life can easily be arranged in a kind of nested pattern, a pattern that may be expressed as the "evolutionary tree." This is not the kind of arrangement we would expect of an intelligent designer working from scratch! This pattern is exhibited in the fossil record, in comparative studies of DNA (and certain other molecules such as cytochrome c), and by classical anatomy supported by cladistics. Not only do we get the evolutionary pattern but we get the SAME pattern (minor differences being expected due to the complexity and statistical nature of the analysis). There are no decent explanations other than evolution that can unite these disparate sources of independent data. They all bear the mark of change over time.

Evolution explains nicely why our eyes are wired ass-backwards while those of an octopus are wired correctly. It explains the mountain of vestigial organs as well as the genetic throwbacks. It explains the inefficiency and awkwardness of many "designs" found in life. The weird arrangement of one of the nerves in a giraffe is something that you definitely don't want to attribute to an intelligent designer! Evolution, however, provides a natural explanation.

[[You said: “Moreover, we often have good, evolutionary explanations for the cause of such ugliness. It's not a huge mystery! It is simply perverse to pretend that, somehow, it is really intelligent design after all.”

The defect in a light bulb on the tail of the Boeing should not blind you to the excellence of the design in the rest of the aircraft. The defects you are pointing out do not rule out an intelligent design… - valiya]]

Valiya, we're not talking about random defects in a good design. We are talking about design that is obviously defective to start with, such as our eyes being wired ass-backwards. The point is made even stronger when evolution gives the natural explanation. You are clinging to a dead horse! An "Intelligent Designer" of the highest order doesn't do stupid, inefficient, make-do design on any part or system. Evolution can "create" marvelous "design," but it is riddled with stupidities, inefficiencies, historical junk, and make-do adaptations. Those are the key observations that mark the difference between intelligent design and evolution. Put aside your denial, observe the actual data, and draw the appropriate conclusion--evolution.

[[But before you call it a defect, you have got to realize that we are still on the way to uncovering the mysteries of nature. For example, the mutation that gives bacteria anti-biotic resistance is actually a design factored into the organism to help it overcome certain survival challenges. - valiya]]

Please see my discussion about recognizing a cat. I think you have slipped into denial mode. You can't admit that there are serious defects in life's "design" and you are holding out for some shocking discovery that will make everything right. Objective reasoning means drawing the obvious conclusion, not in being 100% certain.

Some beneficial mutations in bacteria are merely random changes in key proteins that are targeted by a drug. If a molecule of medicine can't find the specific molecules in a bacterium that it is designed to disable, because they underwent a slight mutation, then that mutation confers resistance. It's not necessarily a case of "built-in design."

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi Greensnake:

Hi Greensnake:

You said: “However, looking at it from the point of pure logic, there is really only one, basic reason for concluding that anything has an intelligent origin. It must be out of place in nature.”

I think I had explained this in my last post. Nature vs artificial is a categorization that is different from ‘design vs random’… Is everything that is outside nature designed? What about a pile of bricks lying haphazardly on the ground. Not natural…. but NOT designed as well.

You said: “Nature doesn't dabble in plastics or bean-bag sofas. It doesn't do poetry….”
That’s right… and that’s why we differentiate between nature vs artificial… we also make similar differentiations such as ‘movable vs immovable’ ‘art vs science’ and so on… but ‘design vs random’ is another category that’s independent of ‘nature vs artificial’

You said: “Complexity is not the issue since we know that a blob of pure aluminum (very little design) must have an intelligent origin.”

Let’s be clear about what I am positing here. I am saying that specified complexity can only arise out of intelligence. But that does not mean that all simple things are by default random. Simple things like the aluminum can be random or designed… We would have to invoke other methods to verify it. If you saw some letters on a shredded piece of paper… like say “R NOT T”… this could be random or designed… we never know. However if we found the other bits of that paper and put them all together and we could read “TO BE OR NOT TO BE” then immediately all considerations for randomness are thrown out of the window. The specified complexity in that sentence nails down ‘DESIGN’.

You said: “By that yardstick, evolution creates design!”

What I mean by design is “a planned construction of an entity using primitive parts to achieve a certain goal.” There is plan involved here which is achieved only through intelligence. If you say evolution creates design… that’s a sort of a contradiction. You are attributing the faculty of intelligence to evolution. That’s why Dawkins was careful in his choice of words when he said ‘an appearance of design’ … not real design. To simply say ‘design’ is to concede the involvement of intelligence.

You said: “What we cannot dispute, and atheists need not dispute, is that the parts of many objects can work together to serve various perceived ends.”

That’s design… and that happens only through intelligence.

You said: “If something is not out of place in nature, then you have no logical means for assigning an intelligent creator.”

This is begging the question fallacy. Here we are discussing whether nature shows signs of intelligent design or not. And then you bring in the ill-founded caveat that for something to be ‘intelligently designed’ it has to be out of place with nature… by this caveat there is no way I can prove that nature’s design is from intelligence. Here is an analogy… it’s like you are challenging me to prove that there is furniture that is NOT made of wood… and I bring you examples of furniture made of metal… but then you deny that proof saying that only those things made of wood can be classified as furniture. With that caveat, there is no way I can prove my case.

You said: “Maybe it has an intelligent creator; maybe it doesn't. You just can't know.”

No. The intelligence behind nature cannot be ruled out unless you go against all conventions that you apply in your everyday life. What you cannot ascertain is whether that intelligence is God… may be it is God, may be not

You said: “Perhaps you should read Richard Dawkins' book "The Blind Watchmaker." He does a pretty good job at showing how "specified complexity" can arise without an intelligent designer.”

I have read that book, and one thing I cannot help appreciate is Dawkins’ imaginative powers. The arguments entirely rest upon imagination with very little proof to back his claims. If you remember how he explains ‘missing links’ in fossils using a theory close to cladogenesis is a case in point. If interested, we can delve deeper into that subject. Not By Chance by Lee Spetner does a pretty good job of dismantling Dawkins’ arguments. If you have not read it, I recommend it for you.

You said: "Evolution: The First Four Billion Years" (edited by Michael Ruse and Joseph Travis, with a forward by Edward O. Wilson).”

Thanks for suggesting that book. I will try to get a copy. I am sure amazon must have it.

You said: “If you look at any of the leading scientific journals, where real science is reported, you will not find a debate over the fact of evolution.”

Let me try to expose the hypocrisy of these scientific journals. If Intelligent Design theory is really not worth publishing in any of these journals, then they should not entertain publishing anything about it. However, they spend pages and pages to critique the theory. Which means they think it’s worth critiquing. If that is their position, they should allow ID apologists like Michael Behe to publish their viewpoints also in their magazines… that would only make it fair. But, that is a big NO NO in these magazines. That’s plain hypocrisy. If they think a theory has enough meat to deserves pages of critique… then the proponents of the theory should be allowed to express their views… otherwise it gets one sided. The evolution theory is an ideology.

You said: “The number one prediction of evolution is that life can easily be arranged in a kind of nested pattern, a pattern that may be expressed as the "evolutionary tree."

The fact is… evolution theory is a script that can be adjusted to suit any evidence that comes up… and evolutionists can get away with the script because there is no way you can show the proof for something that happened millions of years is as many years… what do you do when you see Cambrian Explosion… easy! just amend the script and make it PET. What do you do when you see the Laetoli human footprints that predates modern humans… easy! Just say that there were monkeys walking around with human feet!

A mapping of lifeforms from the primitive to the complex says nothing about the mechanism that produced it… it only shows a timeline. I can do the same thing with automobiles… I can make a tree of automobiles and beautifully delineate a graph of primitive to complex over time. Does it say anything about how it emerged?

Let me be very clear… when I am asking proof for evolution, what I am looking for is the proof for the mechanism. The two engines of evolution are random mutation and natural selection. These two processes together have to produce higher complexity… addition of information in the DNA… it is evidence for this that I would like to see.

You said: “Evolution explains nicely why our eyes are wired ass-backwards while those of an octopus are wired correctly.”

Evolution theory tries to show how a particular organ is adapted to a particular surrounding. Polar Bears live in cold climates and hence have thick fur. But to me… that is the strongest sign of design. That indicates planning. There is a desired goal… (in the case of the polar bear, protection from cold)… and there is a complex information code (DNA) that produces that goal. If you want me to believe that this kind of a specified complexity arose by random forces… I want to see hard evidence. Not loose evidence that can be interpreted any which way, depending on where you come from. Is there any evidence of origination of new information codes through mutation and natural selection?

Also, the evidence that some parts are not well suited to their surrounding will not pass as evidence for evolution (the mechanism)… all that it shows is that the design is weak. A faulty/weak design is not evidence for “randomness”. So many airplane accidents have happened due to faulty designs… but that doesn’t show that these airplanes were not designed.

You said: “Valiya, we're not talking about random defects in a good design. We are talking about design that is obviously defective to start with, such as our eyes being wired ass-backwards.”

Ask any biologist or evolutionist worth his salt whether nature has more examples of designs that are perfect or examples of faulty ones! They will tell you the marvels of design in nature are overwhelming. If the human eye has ass-backwards wiring…. what about the lens, the fluid, the iris, the retina so on and so forth… that produce images that rivals the latest digital cameras. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you look at the whole human body, is there any artificially designed machine that can even hold a candle to it? You want to overlook all of these, for one miniscule tiny, fault… and dismiss design? That’s a leap of faith.

NOTE: I do not agree that the wiring in the eye and all those other things you stated are faults… I am just saying that even if for the sake of argument, I were to concede these are faults, that wouldn’t be good enough to dismiss design that’s so large writ all over nature.

You said: “Evolution can "create" marvelous "design," but it is riddled with stupidities, inefficiencies, historical junk, and make-do adaptations.”

Explain how evolution creates marvelous “design”? I want evidence for the mechanism. The stupidities and inefficiencies – in my view – have to be seen with a little bit of epistemological humility… many things believed to be vestigial have proven to be having some use… like our appendix.

You said: “I think you have slipped into denial mode. You can't admit that there are serious defects in life's "design" and you are holding out for some shocking discovery that will make everything right.”

My logic goes like this. Since the specified complexity in nature (by your own admission) is something we just can’t deny… it points to an intelligent agent. When we are talking “design” we are talking design that is far, far, far superior to any design that human intelligence has ever produced. It’s design of the highest order. Having recognized that… I think it’s only logical to concede that the few so called ‘errors’ or ‘mistakes’ could be due to our limitations in understanding them. I am not waiting for a shocking discovery that will make everything right… I am looking at all the millions of shocking discoveries that we have already made… and I am saying that to dismiss them all at one stroke because we found some “supposed” irrelevancies is foolhardy.

You said: “Some beneficial mutations in bacteria are merely random changes in key proteins that are targeted by a drug. If a molecule of medicine can't find the specific molecules in a bacterium that it is designed to disable, because they underwent a slight mutation, then that mutation confers resistance. It's not necessarily a case of "built-in design."

Let me explain why I think that mutation is actually in-built. According to evolution, a mutation is a random event… it’s actually an accident in the DNA copying process. When a bacteria is subjected to an antibiotic environment… within a span of a few generations, the organism develops resistance. Now, for resistance to develop a very specific kind of accident has to take place. In in this case, it’s a mutation in the protein-synthesizing gene of the DNA, which is a particular location on the strand.

Bacteria as a species, we know is extremely stable… which is why they have lived without undergoing change for a long time. There are bacteria that have not changed in the last 100 years, which is equal to probably 10 million years in human timescale. For such a stable species to suddenly undergo mutation under a certain environment, shows that the environment had actually triggered that mutation.

Secondly, for the mutation to occur in a specific location on the DNA, time and time again… belies randomness. Every time a bacteria undergoes resistance, it means the same accident has occurred again and again. Accidents don’t occur in that fashion.

Lastly, and more importantly, even if I were to concede that this mutation is purely random and not designed, it is not a proof for evolution. Because as I told you, I have to see random mutation and natural selection giving rise to increase in complexity. In the case of antibiotic resistance, what is actually happening is a loss of complexity. The protein synthesizing gene loses specificity, which makes the antibiotic less effective in locking the gene. It more like a lock losing some of the precise pattern making the key ineffective.

Greensnake's picture
Hi valiya:

Hi valiya:

[[I think I had explained this in my last post. Nature vs artificial is a categorization that is different from ‘design vs random’… Is everything that is outside nature designed? What about a pile of bricks lying haphazardly on the ground. Not natural…. but NOT designed as well. - valiya]]

As I understand it, the point of your argument was to show that plants and animals ultimately have an intelligent origin rather than a natural origin. You can't do that until you have shown that they are outside of nature. Using the loaded word "design" simply begs the question. Complex things might not have intelligent origins; simple things might have intelligent origins.

Aren't you assuming that nature can't do complex organization, a dubious assumption to begin with, an assumption now refuted by evolution! Where is your argument showing that plants and animals are out of place in nature? That's the only question that needs to be asked--and answered! If they are not out of place then natural processes can't be ruled out.

[[Let’s be clear about what I am positing here. I am saying that specified complexity can only arise out of intelligence. But that does not mean that all simple things are by default random. - valiya]]

I think that we have found the error at the core of your argument! You are simply assuming that the complexity in plants and animals is "specified complexity" that requires intelligence. Sorry, but you have to prove that point. You can't just assume it. Begin with a clear definition of "specified complexity," then show that plants and animals really have it. Then conclude by arguing (not assuming) that specified complexity requires an intelligent origin. Can you do that for me?

[[What I mean by design is “a planned construction of an entity using primitive parts to achieve a certain goal.” There is plan involved here which is achieved only through intelligence. - valiya]]

Valiya, you must show that there IS a plan behind the complex arrangement of parts supporting some function. You can't just assume it by calling it "design!" There is no logical requirement that a complex arrangement of parts supporting some function must have an intelligent origin. Isn't that the whole crux of the matter?

[[You said: “If something is not out of place in nature, then you have no logical means for assigning an intelligent creator.”
This is begging the question fallacy. Here we are discussing whether nature shows signs of intelligent design or not. And then you bring in the ill-founded caveat that for something to be ‘intelligently designed’ it has to be out of place with nature… by this caveat there is no way I can prove that nature’s design is from intelligence. - valiya]]

How do we determine if nature shows signs of intelligent design? Any analogy to human design is fatally flawed since the only way we have of recognizing human design is to show that it is out of place in nature. If watches formed in beach sand, finding a watch there would be no guarantee that it had a designer no matter how complex it was. The whole point of invoking the human analogy was to claim that complexity in nature, where numerous parts support systems that support functions, is analogous to the complexity of human manufacture and, therefore, requires a designer. My point is that the human analogy is not valid and that you must find another argument.

If you are arguing that your god's handiwork cannot be distinguished from what the natural processes can accomplish, then the claim that there is a god behind it comes down to pure speculation without any possible benefit of evidence. What is offered without evidence may be rejected without evidence!

If you are arguing that there is something about nature, itself, that requires an intelligent origin, then you have to prove your point--not assume it by using the loaded word "design." Given that evolution is an excellent, well tested explanation for the diversity of life and its complex "designs," and that we can trace the "design" of the present universe from the Big Bang (very little "design") using the laws of nature, I'd say that you have a very difficult task which I do not envy!

If you are arguing, on the basis of watches and other manmade things, that plants and animals have "design," then my present argument stands. That analogy requires showing that such objects must be outside of nature.

So, which road are you taking here?

[[You said: “Perhaps you should read Richard Dawkins' book "The Blind Watchmaker." He does a pretty good job at showing how "specified complexity" can arise without an intelligent designer.”
I have read that book, and one thing I cannot help appreciate is Dawkins’ imaginative powers. The arguments entirely rest upon imagination with very little proof to back his claims. - valiya]]

The point of particular interest is his demonstration (via a computer program) of how easily and naturally complex patterns can arise from the principles of natural selection. The results surprised even Dawkins. Perhaps, you should re-read that part.

[[You said: “If you look at any of the leading scientific journals, where real science is reported, you will not find a debate over the fact of evolution.”
Let me try to expose the hypocrisy of these scientific journals. If Intelligent Design theory is really not worth publishing in any of these journals, then they should not entertain publishing anything about it. However, they spend pages and pages to critique the theory. Which means they think it’s worth critiquing. If that is their position, they should allow ID apologists like Michael Behe to publish their viewpoints also in their magazines… that would only make it fair. But, that is a big NO NO in these magazines. - valiya]]

Having actually looked at copies of "Nature" and "Science" over the years, two of the world's leading scientific journals, I don't ever recall seeing pages and pages devoted to critiquing ID "theory." Where are you getting this? It's not out of the question that a scientific journal, in a slow month, might briefly comment on ID in its "news" section. Critiquing something does not give it credibility! (I once spent some time critiquing the flat-earth idea, but that hardly confers credibility.)

Michael Behe can't get his ID "theory" published in reputable scientific journals because it's garbage. They do have standards. Refutations at length can be found on the Internet. We could even debate his ideas if you wanted to start another thread after we are done with this one. He is not invited to publish his ID "theory" for the same reason that young-earth creationists are not invited to publish their "flood geology." It's intelligent management to uphold quality, not hypocrisy.

[[You said: “The number one prediction of evolution is that life can easily be arranged in a kind of nested pattern, a pattern that may be expressed as the "evolutionary tree."
The fact is… evolution theory is a script that can be adjusted to suit any evidence that comes up… I can do the same thing with automobiles… I can make a tree of automobiles and beautifully delineate a graph of primitive to complex over time. Does it say anything about how it emerged? - valiya]]

Automobiles don't breed and pass on their "genes." If a newer model shares parts with an older model, say metric-style nuts and bolts, it is because there is a very clear need in terms of economy and engineering. New major features often pop up from scratch. This is not the case with plants and animals. They share whole sets of parallel, non-essential details that fit the nested pattern of evolution. Ask yourself why whales, mice, elephants, bats, and tigers all share mammalian traits? Do you think, for a moment, that the arrangement of bones in a rat, a bat, and a whale had to be similar to do their job? Their requirements are so different that such a thought is ludicrous. Mammalian traits came from an early mammalian ancestor and in the course of evolution were modified in various ways to support the needs of whales, mice, and men.

[[Let me be very clear… when I am asking proof for evolution, what I am looking for is the proof for the mechanism. The two engines of evolution are random mutation and natural selection. These two processes together have to produce higher complexity… addition of information in the DNA… it is evidence for this that I would like to see. - valiya]]

Did you know, valiya, that the principles behind natural selection are used to design something so complex that an efficient design is now beyond unaided human ability? You need look no further than the CPU chip(s) in your computer! The principles of natural selection do work wonderfully well and, from a purely theoretical point of view, there is no reason to think they wouldn't work just as well in nature, which has a few billion years to play around with.

How do you explain the fact that the fossil record, DNA, cytochrome c (and certain other large molecules), and the "designs" of modern animals all carry information that supports the "evolutionary tree?" Perhaps you should take some time to think about what is being said here and not gloss over it. Outside of the descent of life with modification, i. e., evolution, can you think of any rational explanation that can even begin to explain why such diverse sources would carry information for the same evolutionary tree? Call this proof #1 for evolution.

[[You said: “Evolution explains nicely why our eyes are wired ass-backwards while those of an octopus are wired correctly.”
Evolution theory tries to show how a particular organ is adapted to a particular surrounding. Polar Bears live in cold climates and hence have thick fur. But to me… that is the strongest sign of design. That indicates planning. There is a desired goal… (in the case of the polar bear, protection from cold)… and there is a complex information code (DNA) that produces that goal. - valiya]]

Are you saying that the desired goal of the Great Designer was to wire our eyes ass-backwards? Do you really want to go there? Truth is in the details, valiya. If you were to look carefully at the details of life, even of polar bears, you would find numerous clues for evolution.

The marvels of nature are, indeed, overwhelming. I certainly agree with you! But that does not logically imply an intelligent designer. It is the details, such as vestigial organs, genetic throwbacks, clumsy make-do construction, and even stupid "design" that separates evolutionary design from intelligent design. Those details, found everywhere in plants and animals, are another proof of evolution. Call that proof #2.

[[NOTE: I do not agree that the wiring in the eye and all those other things you stated are faults… I am just saying that even if for the sake of argument, I were to concede these are faults, that wouldn’t be good enough to dismiss design that’s so large writ all over nature.
You said: “Evolution can "create" marvelous "design," but it is riddled with stupidities, inefficiencies, historical junk, and make-do adaptations.”

Explain how evolution creates marvelous “design”? I want evidence for the mechanism. - valiya]]

I don't have the time, valiya, to teach a course on evolution. "Evolution: The First Four Billion Years" should give you an excellent background if you stick with it and have an open mind. I have given you the synopsis for two good proofs of evolution. That will have to do for now.

If putting the "wiring" in front of the retina, which requires a hole in the retina to bring in that "wiring," is not a blunder then I don't know what is! We are not overlooking some subtle need here; the octopus (where eyes followed a different evolutionary path) has it right. I think that you are trying way too hard not to see the problems! The fact that the human eye also has wonderful features (but not as good as an eagle's eye) does not excuse any errors of "design." Evolution can create marvelous "design" and stupid "design" side by side, but an Intelligent Designer cannot blunder here and there. That's how we tell the difference.

Valiya, your discussion of mutations is too far off our topic to justify much comment. Let me just say that many mutations, especially point mutations, are random and that different mutations can confer resistance to the same drug. Other mutations, such as frame mutations, are related to errors in DNA operations. Either way there is no case for an intelligent designer. By the way, bacteria have undergone a lot of change over time. DNA analysis has sketched out some of the evolutionary pathways that they have taken.

Greensnake's picture
valiya:

valiya:

A key statement by you needs a second look:

[[You said: “If something is not out of place in nature, then you have no logical means for assigning an intelligent creator.”

This is begging the question fallacy. Here we are discussing whether nature shows signs of intelligent design or not. And then you bring in the ill-founded caveat that for something to be ‘intelligently designed’ it has to be out of place with nature… by this caveat there is no way I can prove that nature’s design is from intelligence. - valiya]]

Technically, you are correct, but that is due to poor wording on my part rather than a fundamental flaw in the argument. Here is the reworded form of my argument:

In order to establish intelligent design, you must show that an object cannot be produced by the blind forces of nature. If you can't show that then the object may or may not have an intelligent origin. You have no way of knowing. When it comes to watches and cars, it is a no-brainer to show that their refined materials and geometric shapes, and especially their arrangement, are beyond the blind forces of nature. Similarily, it's easy to show that the structure of bean-bag sofas are beyond what the blind forces of nature can produce. However, when we look at plants and animals in the wild it is by no means obvious that their "design" is beyond what the raw, blind forces of nature can produce. Think of evolution, for example. So, the watch analogy fails. What is a no-brainer for watches is not a no-brainer for plants and animals.

Note that this argument no longer begs the question since, in principle, one might conceivably show that plants and animals cannot arise from the blind forces of nature. Of course, you could argue that God set up nature so that its blind forces could evolve life, but what are you going to use for evidence? Why would God dabble with a clumsy process rather than a direct creation? You would be reduced to theological speculation.

In order to make your case you absolutely must show that plants and animals are beyond the blind forces of nature. You have not done that. Instead, you rely (consciously or unconsciously) on a broken analogy that works splendidly for human productions but fails to carry over to natural "design." You can't just point to the fact that an object's parts work together to support some function because that makes use of the failed watch analogy. (The watch analogy argues that every object with a complex of parts working together, whose origin we know about, requires a designer. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that plants and animals--which have even more complex parts that work together--must have a really intelligent designer. But, as we have seen, it's not the complexity that tells us that an object must have a designer, so the analogy fails.)

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi Green Snake

Hi Green Snake
This post contains my answers for both your posts.
You said: “In order to establish intelligent design, you must show that an object cannot be produced by blind forces of nature. If you can't show that then the object may or may not have an intelligent origin. You have no way of knowing. When it comes to watches and cars, it is a no-brainer to show that their refined materials and geometric shapes are beyond the blind forces of nature. Similarily, it's easy to show that the structure of bean-bag sofas are beyond what the blind forces of nature can produce. However, when we look at plants and animals in the wild it is by no means obvious that their "design" is beyond what the raw, blind forces of nature can produce. Think of evolution, for example. So, the watch analogy fails. What is a no-brainer for watches is not a no-brainer for plants and animals.”

You are just being clever here. You have reworded the same fallacy of ‘begging the question’. Look at your statement: “However, when we look at plants and animals in the wild it is by no means obvious that their "design" is beyond what the raw, blind forces of nature can produce”… Look how you have just assumed what needs to be proven. Our entire bone of contention is whether the specified complexity (SC) in nature is designed or not… and instead of bringing proofs for it, you are assuming it in your favor. To me it is OBVIOUS that the design in nature is NOT random and blind. That’s the reason we are having this discussion.

We are at a point where design in nature is OBVIOUS to me and NOT so OBVIOUS to you. What do you do? We have to therefore define design/specified complexity, and test the definition against known factors such (cars, watches). If it works, then we will have to see if the unknown factor (nature) fits the definition. If it does, then it can be inferred that nature is designed.

You said: “In order to make your case you absolutely must show that plants and animals are beyond the blind forces of nature.”

My method to prove if something is beyond the blind forces of nature is through the inference of specified complexity. If you think that’s not an appropriate method, bring your method?

Replies to your first post

You said: “Complex things might not have intelligent origins; simple things might have intelligent origins.”

I strongly disagree with the first statement. Complex things (by that I mean Specified Complexity) can never come about without intelligence. If I have to accept otherwise, then you will have to show me an example. My challenge is that you can never experience specified complexity arise randomly anywhere in the universe… be it artificial, be it natural. If there is proof, please present it.

You said: “Aren't you assuming that nature can't do complex organization, a dubious assumption to begin with, an assumption now refuted by evolution!”

Once again you are begging the question here… because you and I disagree over ‘evolution’ and you can’t present what is being contested as a proof. If you think evolution can produce specified complexity, show me an example of it.

You said: “Begin with a clear definition of "specified complexity," then show that plants and animals really have it. Then conclude by arguing (not assuming) that specified complexity requires an intelligent origin. Can you do that for me?”

I thought that is what I have been doing from the beginning. Here it is once again for you.

Definition of Specified Complexity: Any placement of primitive parts in a specified arrangement in order to produce a function.

Do plants and animals have specified complexity: Yes. Take for example our digestive system. The primitive parts are – mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum. They are arranged in a highly specified arrangement – if the rectum comes where the mouth is or vice versa, the whole system would not function. Does it produce a function – obviously, otherwise we wouldn’t be having the energy to hold this discussion.

Now to your last question – does Specified Complexity require an intelligent agent? Any specified complexity whose origin we know has an intelligent agent. In the case of nature, what is in dispute is its origin. Therefore, if you say that nature doesn’t require an intelligent agent, then you have to show me how that specified complexity arose through random process.

You said: “There is no logical requirement that a complex arrangement of parts supporting some function must have an intelligent origin. Isn't that the whole crux of the matter?”

There is a logical requirement for intelligence in specified complexity. Take for example, Shakespeare’s sonnet. It consists of many parts (letters) arranged very specifically (words, sentences and paragraphs.) Only if the process of arrangement is driven by a result-oriented planning (intelligence), this effect can be produced. If the letters were going to be arranged randomly it would be a tall order even to get one word right… leave alone an entire sonnet.

You said: “The point of particular interest is his demonstration (via a computer program) of how easily and naturally complex patterns can arise from the principles of natural selection.”

Yes, I remember the ‘METHINKS I AM A WEASEL’ experiment mentioned in that book. But by Dawkins’ own admission that experiment doesn’t appropriately represent selection pressures in the real world. Dawkins was making the selection with a clear-cut end goal (planning/intelligence). That’s not the case with nature.

You said: “Automobiles don't breed and pass on their "genes." If a newer model shares parts with an older model, say metric-style nuts and bolts, it is because there is a very clear need in terms of economy and engineering.”

You presented the simple-to-complex tree of life as an evidence for evolution. It need not be so is my claim, because I can do the same with automobiles. But you are muddling in the same mistake of confusing ‘man-made vs natural’ with ‘design vs random’… both are two independent analysis.

You said: “New major features often pop up from scratch. This is not the case with plants and animals.”

There are countless examples of new features popping up from the scratch in nature… but evolutionists have a way of getting around this problem. They call it the ‘missing links’ which they hope will surface someday. But some evolutionists gave up on that hope and re-scripted the theory and came up with a creative explanation for why new traits pop up suddenly… it’s called punctuated equilibrium theory.

I am skipping some of the points which I thought were not really central to our discussion to not make it too long. If there is anything important I have overlooked, let me know.

Nyarlathotep's picture
valiya s sajjad - We have to

valiya s sajjad - We have to therefore define design/specified complexity, and test the definition against known factors such (cars, watches).

This is exactly what you have refused to do for over a year two years. How many times have I asked you what the dimensions/units of specified complexity are, and you refused to answer?

Greensnake's picture
Hi valiya:

Hi valiya:

[[You have reworded the same fallacy of ‘begging the question’. --valiya]]

Valijya, you are a bit careless in accusing me of begging the question in my re-worded statement. "Begging the question" is the error of using part or all of the conclusion in order to reach the conclusion. I have not done that. I did point out, rightly, that intelligent design is not at all obvious for plants and animals as it is for watches or similar manufactured items.

The burden of proof is on your shoulders, valiya! All I'm saying is that I don't believe that the construction of plants and animals reflect an intelligent designer, so convince me! Unless the construction of plants and animals is truly analogous to manufactured items, your whole argument fails. It's your job to complete your argument, and that means showing that the blind forces of nature CANNOT produce plants and animals. Whether it's "obvious" to your mind or not is totally irrelevant! You need to prove your point. Until you've done that, you don't have an argument from analogy. As I said, the burden of proof is on your shoulders. It's not my job to prove you wrong or else accept your argument!!

Along the way you are going to have to get rid of biological evolution, one of the best tested theories in all of science! It accounts beautifully for complex "design." Indeed, the principles of natural selection are used in industry as an aid to effect incredibly complex designs. I touched on that earlier but it seems to have slipped your attention. I hope that you now understand why I said that your point is "not obvious."

I think that Nyarlathotep has pointed out that "specified complexity" is listed as a pseudoscience. Behe's ideas on this matter, on which you seem to place a great deal of faith, are refuted in numerous places on the Internet. If specified complexity is your argument, then you are going to have to successfully defend Behe before you can even get started.

[[Replies to your first post
You said: “Complex things might not have intelligent origins; simple things might have intelligent origins.”
I strongly disagree with the first statement. Complex things (by that I mean Specified Complexity) can never come about without intelligence. If I have to accept otherwise, then you will have to show me an example. -valiya]

Since evolution is accepted as a fact of biology, a reasonable example would be those weeds growing near your home. On a more abstract level, I could point to Dawkin's computer program (in his book "The Blind Watchmaker") that showed how natural selection could achieve unexpected, complex results from a few, primitive rules. Indeed, I wrote a computer program (much cruder than the one done by Dawkins) that, all by itself, created some remarkable designs using primitive rules. Since Dawkins was totally surprise by the "design" that arose from his primitive simulation of natural selection, he obviously could not have designed the program for that end. Thus, the complex patterns were not intelligently designed even though Dawkins wrote the program.

[[You said: “Aren't you assuming that nature can't do complex organization, a dubious assumption to begin with, an assumption now refuted by evolution!”
Once again you are begging the question here… because you and I disagree over ‘evolution’ and you can’t present what is being contested as a proof. If you think evolution can produce specified complexity, show me an example of it. --valiya]]

No, valiya, I am not begging the question as pointed out above. The burden of proof is on your shoulders. You are advancing the argument--you supply the proof. You must show that plants and animals are beyond what the blind forces of nature can accomplish.

Our disagreement over evolution is not equally weighted. Aside from an ever-present handful of fringe nuts, the sciences of biology, paleontology, and genetics are solidly agreed on the fact of evolution. Your holding out is akin to a flat-earther holding out on the round-earth theory. As chimp3 noted, the Iron Age is past along with any serious, scientific objection to the fact of evolution (descent with modification). That's why I called your assumption "dubious."

You said: “Begin with a clear definition of "specified complexity," then show that plants and animals really have it. Then conclude by arguing (not assuming) that specified complexity requires an intelligent origin. Can you do that for me?”

[[Definition of Specified Complexity: Any placement of primitive parts in a specified arrangement in order to produce a function. - valiya]

Well, that's a start. You should probably unpack "specified arrangement." Do the atoms in a salt crystal have a specified arrangement? How about a lovely snowflake? Maybe not enough function. How about a school of small fish that swim together in a tight ball? The resulting function might be defense. How do we identify a "function?" Are we talking about a goal or do we have some rules for deciding what the function is? Might there be several functions? Do the orderly spacing of some desert plants show specified arrangement? That orderly spacing might be necessary for survival. Must a function be attached to an intelligent being, or can it result from mindless processes? You see, there are a lot of little details that have to be addressed before we can really get a grip on your specified complexity.

[[Do plants and animals have specified complexity: - valiya]]

I think we can agree that there is a marvelous and complex arrangement of parts in plants and animals that are useful for various, compex functions. You can't simply declare that this is specified complexity without begging the question, since you define "specified complexity" as requiring an intelligent designer. You have to show, by painfully careful reasoning, part by part, detail by detail, that specified complexity applies. If you succeed in doing that much, then you have already proven that the plant or animal is beyond the blind forces of nature! You might as well skip the intermediate steps and go with my program.

[[Now to your last question – does Specified Complexity require an intelligent agent? Any specified complexity whose origin we know has an intelligent agent. In the case of nature, what is in dispute is its origin. Therefore, if you say that nature doesn’t require an intelligent agent, then you have to show me how that specified complexity arose through random process. --valiya]]

Do we know that something has an intelligent agent because of what you call "specified complexity" or do we know that something has an intelligent agent because the object obviously cannot be produced by the blind forces of nature? Clearly, if watches formed in beach sand then specified complexity would be an unreliable rule. However, the second rule still applies, and it is the true yardstick because it comes out of pure logic and can't be gainsaid. The first rule actually begs the question in that we can't actually explain why it should be used on plants without assuming what we must ultimately prove--the analogy. We have faith in it because of human manufacture, but how do we extend that rule to plants without begging the question?

Therefore, we must use the second yardstick on plants and animals. The conclusion is no longer obvious because, whether you like it or not, evolution is accepted by science as a fact of life. Not only do we have an alternate possibility in evolution, but it is viewed as a scientific fact!

I rejected your automobile version of the "evolutionary tree" because it does not faithfully replicate the most important aspect of that arrangement. Two species can always (on the evolutionary "tree") be traced back to a common ancestor. Two different automobiles do not always trace back to the same manufacturer. One might be made in Sweden and another in Japan. Your automobile analogy fails as a model for the "evolutionary tree."

[[You said: “New major features often pop up from scratch. This is not the case with plants and animals.”
There are countless examples of new features popping up from the scratch in nature… but evolutionists have a way of getting around this problem. They call it the ‘missing links’ which they hope will surface someday. -valiya]]

Valiya, I'm afraid you missed my point altogether. (You should not be suggesting that evolutionists are engaged in circling their wagons about a dogma. That would be dishonest.) I'm talking about what you might expect to see if you could go back in time and travel along one of the branches of the evolutionary tree. You would see more or less gradual changes--not complex, new features suddenly popping into existence. Car manufacturers use a lot of previous engineering in their new models, to be sure, but totally new features are always popping up. That's another reason why your automobile analogy fails.

Thank you for your continued interest.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi Green Snake:

Hi Green Snake:

You said: “Begging the question" is the error of using part or all of the conclusion in order to reach the conclusion. I have not done that.”

Yes… and I think you have done that. Here is how you are doing it, perhaps unwittingly. You are trying to conclude that ‘nature’ is not designed. Therefore, you have to prove it using proofs external to that claim. But you said: “However, when we look at plants and animals in the wild it is by no means obvious that their "design" is beyond what the raw, blind forces of nature can produce.” You have assumed what you are supposed to conclude.

You said: “I did point out, rightly, that intelligent design is not at all obvious for plants and animals as it is for watches or similar manufactured items.”

When you are saying “it’s not at all obvious” are you not making an assumption of what needs to be proven? The reason why we are holding a discussion is because you and I don’t agree over ‘design’ in nature. You may be right… but in the context of our discussion you have to prove it before you conclude that it’s ‘not obvious.’

You said: “The burden of proof is on your shoulders, valiya! All I'm saying is that I don't believe that the construction of plants and animals reflect an intelligent designer, so convince me!”

My way of proving that nature is intelligently designed is as follows… as I have reiterated so many times already. Supposing you and I differ over whether a particular object is made of wood or not, with me saying it is made of wood and you saying that it is not so obvious. Then this is what I would do to prove my point:
I would bring a definition of wood
I apply that definition on various things in the world
But that definition fits only things made of wood to the exclusion of everything else
And if the object in question also fits that definition, then it can be concluded that it is made of wood.
This is how I have proven my case using Specified Complexity. If you want to prove your case, you bring your definition of what you think is intelligent design (without excluding nature, because that would be begging the question). And then let’s apply it on nature.

You said: “Unless the construction of plants and animals is truly analogous to manufactured items, your whole argument fails.”

Analogous in what sense… I have already shown they are analogous in their specified complexity.

You said: “It's your job to complete your argument, and that means showing that the blind forces of nature CANNOT produce plants and animals.”

In fact I have gone one step ahead… I have shown that blind forces (whether it’s natural or artificial) cannot give rise to specified complexity at all. All the specified complexity, whose origins we know of, are intelligently designed. Therefore it is you who have to show me that ‘nature’ (which you agree has specified complexity) can arise from blind forces. I know you are presenting evolution as your case… but then you have to answer my questions regarding it.

You said: “Along the way you are going to have to get rid of biological evolution, one of the best tested theories in all of science! It accounts beautifully for complex "design."

Once again you are dabbling in assumptions. Instead of making emphatic statements, you should furnish me with the proof that I have asked for. Can you show me any example of specified complexity arising in nature through the two blind forces of ‘mutation and natural selection’? If you agree there is no such example, then we can move onto your other side-track proofs such as common descent and so on.

You said: “Indeed, the principles of natural selection are used in industry as an aid to effect incredibly complex designs.”

I repeat: “Mutation + natural selection”… not just ‘natural selection’ after an intelligent design has been created.

You said: “I think that Nyarlathotep has pointed out that "specified complexity" is listed as a pseudoscience.”

I think it would be better if we focus on our arguments instead of throwing quotes without due reasoning… you agreed there is specified complexity in nature, didn’t you?

You said: “Since evolution is accepted as a fact of biology, a reasonable example would be those weeds growing near your home.”

You may have your own reasons to believe ‘evolution’ is a fact. But the reason we are holding this discussion here is because I don’t buy that. IN our context, statements like “it’s a fact” are merely, sorry for repeating it, begging the question.

You said: “On a more abstract level, I could point to Dawkin's computer program (in his book "The Blind Watchmaker") that showed how natural selection could achieve unexpected, complex results from a few, primitive rules.”

I had explained why I think the program doesn’t represent natural selection at all… because Dawkins was clearly choosing dysfunctional intermediates to arrive at his end goal. This happened because he was making intelligent choices… but nature is blind and mindless.

You said: “You are advancing the argument--you supply the proof. You must show that plants and animals are beyond what the blind forces of nature can accomplish.’

As explained before, I have proven beyond that… specified complexity (be it plants, animals, watches) cannot arise from blind forces (whether natural or artificial)… If you think it can arise from blind forces, you just have to give an example of it… from nature or from the artificial world. Show me a micro-level mutation that adds genetic information.

You said: “Our disagreement over evolution is not equally weighted. Aside from an ever-present handful of fringe nuts, the sciences of biology, paleontology, and genetics are solidly agreed on the fact of evolution.”

We know there is a big debate going on about evolution… and there are highly qualified people on both sides… and I support the camp against evolution… it wouldn’t take long for me to throw up names of highly qualified people in the field who don’t agree with evolution… does that prove anything to you. So, calling names don’t help much. Let’s stick to our argument.

You said: “Do the atoms in a salt crystal have a specified arrangement? How about a lovely snowflake? Maybe not enough function. How about a school of small fish that swim together in a tight ball? The resulting function might be defense.”

You have got the whole idea wrong. For example, in the case of salt and snowflake the repeating patters of atoms are complex… but not specified… replace any part of it with any other part, and it would still perform fine.

You said: “How do we identify a "function?" Are we talking about a goal or do we have some rules for deciding what the function is?”

It’s not very different from the way you inferred function in a watch, or how you said ‘snowflake’ may not have enough function.

You said: “Must a function be attached to an intelligent being, or can it result from mindless processes?”

Functions may arise out of random processes… I could use a rock to sit on… it functions like a chair, although it’s random. But functions through specified complexity, cannot arise randomly. I have not seen it happen anywhere… unless you have any experience to the contrary.

You said: “I think we can agree that there is a marvelous and complex arrangement of parts in plants and animals that are useful for various, compex functions.”

You have sort of answered your own question on how you infer functions. How did you do it in this instance, I do it the same way.

You said: “You can't simply declare that this is specified complexity without begging the question, since you define "specified complexity" as requiring an intelligent designer.”

Please be clear about what I am saying. I am not putting a condition out of the blue that ‘specified complexity requires an intelligent designer’. I infer it from every day experience. If I stated that vehicles need petrol to run on… and every vehicle we see runs on petrol… my statement is valid until you can show me a vehicle that runs on water. Whereas, if you say vehicles may also run without petrol (which is your position if you understand the analogy)… there is no need for me to accept your statement until you show an example to the contrary.

You said: “You have to show, by painfully careful reasoning, part by part, detail by detail, that specified complexity applies.”

That’s what you have to do. I have defined ‘specified complexity’… shown from every known example in the world that it arises only through intelligence… and then went to prove that nature has specified complexity… inference: nature has intelligent design. Whereas, you agree that nature has ‘specified complexity’ but have failed to show any example of it (from nature or otherwise) arising through random forces. Now it is up to you to show me that. The burden of proof is now on you.

You said: “Do we know that something has an intelligent agent because of what you call "specified complexity" or do we know that something has an intelligent agent because the object obviously cannot be produced by the blind forces of nature?”

Let me repeat for a thousandth time… ‘design vs random’ is independent of ‘nature vs artificial’. Let me give you some examples, and you tell me why you would impute intelligence to it?

If you saw an inkblot on a piece of paper… would you attribute intelligence to it? No. It could have been spilled even by a 2-year old child without any application of intelligence. But you also know that ink blot is not from nature? Therefore something can be artificial (outside of nature) and yet not have an intelligent design.

And similarly imagine you saw the genetically cloned sheep Dolly, which is the result of human intelligence. And if you applied your logic of ‘nature vs artificial’ you would conclude that the goat is not ‘intelligently designed.’ But that would be wrong. That’s why I am saying that your yardstick to assess ‘intelligence’ is misplaced.

You said: “Clearly, if watches formed in beach sand then specified complexity would be an unreliable rule.”

Only if you bring in the ill-founded caveat that anything natural is not designed. Which as I showed earlier is begging the question.

You said: “I rejected your automobile version of the "evolutionary tree" because it does not faithfully replicate the most important aspect of that arrangement. Two species can always (on the evolutionary "tree") be traced back to a common ancestor.”

I can trace back Benz engine and BMW engine to Otto’s prototype, common ancestor. It’s so easy to do that with any design by humans, because most of our inventions is an improvement on an earlier model.

You said: “Two different automobiles do not always trace back to the same manufacturer. One might be made in Sweden and another in Japan.”

Here you are grossly off the mark. I am not arguing that all automobiles can be traced back to the same manufacturer… rather I am only saying that all models can be traced back to a common preceding model (design).

You said: “I'm talking about what you might expect to see if you could go back in time and travel along one of the branches of the evolutionary tree. You would see more or less gradual changes--not complex, new features suddenly popping into existence.”

You find exactly that… the missing links are not simplistic as you make it look. A whole new branch of school in evolution came about because of this… Stephen jay gould came up with ‘PET’ because he found the fossil evidences (of sudden traits popping up without a predecessor) too hard to explain.

Greensnake's picture
Hi valiya:

Hi valiya:

[[You said: “I did point out, rightly, that intelligent design is not at all obvious for plants and animals as it is for watches or similar manufactured items.”
When you are saying “it’s not at all obvious” are you not making an assumption of what needs to be proven? --valiya]]

Saying that intelligent design in plants is not at all obvious is not the same as saying that plants don't have intelligent design. No, valiya, I did not beg the question. I made the straightforward observation that it was not obvious (and hence needed proof). Every educated person understands that manufactured devices have an intelligent origin, but a large number of those very same people don't agree that plants have an intelligent origin. An intelligent origin for plants CANNOT be obvious if a large number of educated people disagree!! Simple definition. You are clinging way too hard to a dead horse! Perhaps you mistakenly equated "not obvious" with "impossible." Is that what happened?

I showed that specified complexity is not a proper yardstick for the watch argument, because it ultimately begs the question. The true yardstick, arising from basic logic, consists of showing that the object cannot be produced by the blind forces of nature. That is the true test of an intelligent design. Until you show that you have no argument.

[[Analogous in what sense… I have already shown they {the complexity of manufactured devices and the complexity of plants} are analogous in their specified complexity. --valiya]]

They must be analogous in the sense of requiring an intelligent designer, the very point that is not obvious! You are just begging the question here. With evolution as the obvious alternative, how can you possibly say that the complexity of plants and animals is analogous to manufactured devices? That would imply that it is not obvious that manufactured devices can't evolve from nature, which would be absurd. Obviously, the analogy is not that good!

[[You said: “It's your job to complete your argument, and that means showing that the blind forces of nature CANNOT produce plants and animals.”
In fact I have gone one step ahead… I have shown that blind forces (whether it’s natural or artificial) cannot give rise to specified complexity at all. --valiya]]

Isn't the real question whether plants and animals HAVE "specified complexity?" Nyarlathotep asked you some time ago how one measures "specified complexity." If it is a well defined, scientific quantity then it should have units. What are those units? I don't see any units and that suggests that "specified complexity" is a rather fuzzy concept that might mean a lot of things.

[[…you agreed there is specified complexity in nature, didn’t you? --valiya]]

Valiya, you are confused! Since you defined "specified complexity" as requiring an intelligent designer, I would not have agreed to that. I said that the need for an intelligent designer for plants and animals was not at all obvious. From that you may deduce that I hold that specified complexity for plants and animals is not at all obvious.

[[You said: “Along the way you are going to have to get rid of biological evolution, one of the best tested theories in all of science! It accounts beautifully for complex "design."
Once again you are dabbling in assumptions. Instead of making emphatic statements, you should furnish me with the proof that I have asked for. --valiya]]

Valiya, your confusion about the nature of evolution, and therefore about what must be proved, has led you to propose meaningless tests. Short of having lots of time to humor you, it would be pointless for me to go there. If you are not willing to challenge the number one proof of evolution, then I can't take your denial of evolution seriously.

Proof #1: How is it possible to extract the same "evolutionary tree" out of such diverse, independent sources as the fossil record, DNA, cytochrome c, and cladistics? The descent of life over time, with inherited modifications, is the only demonstrable way known to unite these diverse areas. Do you intend to mount a serious challenge or not? (Keep in mind that in such diagrams the vertical distance represents the passing of time whereas the horizontal direction shows the degree of relatedness.)

Argument #1 against an Intelligent Designer: An intelligent designer of the highest order would not be dabbling in clumsy, stupid, make-do design freighted with historic junk such as vestigial organs, genetic throwbacks, junk DNA, and analogous organs modified differently. Never mind that there may be a lot of "ingenuity" in the "design." You still have to explain the numerous points of stupidity. Are you saying that your god had brain farts when designing life or, perhaps, a malicious nature? You need to think about the consequences of what you are claiming. The "stupidity" problem is a big problem if you want a truly intelligent designer. You can't just sweep it under the rug.

[[You may have your own reasons to believe ‘evolution’ is a fact. But the reason we are holding this discussion here is because I don’t buy that. IN our context, statements like “it’s a fact” are merely, sorry for repeating it, begging the question. --valiya]]

Valiya, are you proposing a debate minus THE key fact because you object to it? A novel idea! Sorry, I'll have to pass. Since evolution is central to distinguishing between the complexity of plants and the complexity of manmade machines, leaving it out begs the question.

Evolution is a fact in the most meaningful sense of that word, a fact that doesn't require your approval. At the very least you have to remove that elephant from the room before you can find space for your "specified complexity" in plants and animals. It's simple logic! Why are you struggling with it?

I disagree with your assessment of Dawkin's computer program, which was presented in "The Blind Watchmaker" to show the power of natural selection. Dawkins was surprised by the results, so obviously he didn't design the program to achieve those results. He had a much more modest goal, but natural selection took over and demonstrated its stuff!

[[Show me a micro-level mutation that adds genetic information. --valiya]]

It is well known that copies of genes sometimes get posted in other places on the chromosomes, and those copies can be modified by mutations to produce new genetic information. Since such genes are not doing anything important to start with, evolution has the luxury of playing around with them. New genetic information is not a problem for evolution! Once again you see problems because you are out of your depth.

[[We know there is a big debate going on about evolution… and there are highly qualified people on both sides… and I support the camp against evolution… it wouldn’t take long for me to throw up names of highly qualified people in the field who don’t agree with evolution… does that prove anything to you. --valiya]]

Sorry valiya, I can't let you get away with that! The debate you are talking about is a religious debate carried on in popular books and media. If you bother to check the leading, refereed scientific journals, where real science is reported, you are not going to see any debate over the fact of evolution! You may see a debate over the details of which branch goes where in the "evolutionary tree," or how a certain fossil should be interpreted, but never over the fact of evolution.

That some of the religiously motivated debaters have PhDs does not change anything. Ask yourself why these people can't get published in serious, refereed scientific journals. (They can get published if they stick to serious science.) There are hundreds or even thousands of scientific journals, so don't tell me that they are all private clubs designed to keep out those poor creationists! A lot of controversial, unorthodox stuff gets published, even in the leading journals. (Remember the flap over cold fusion?) But it has to have some credibility. They don't publish flat-earth articles or young-earth articles. They don't publish religious theories about how species originated.

The scientific debate has been over since about the time of Darwin, if you overlook a minor burp from the geneticists circa the 1920s. Take the trouble to actually look at a dozen recent issues of "Nature" or "Science," two of the world's leading scientific journals. You don't have to understand the details to see that there is no debate over the fact of evolution. That's why it is taught in the biology departments of all the major universities (with some exceptions in Islamic countries where it is regarded as a crime).

[[Please be clear about what I am saying. I am not putting a condition out of the blue that ‘specified complexity requires an intelligent designer’. I infer it from every day experience. --valiya]]

You stated earlier, very categorically, that "specified design" always requires an intelligent designer. Are you backing off from that statement? In any case, where is your everyday experience that shows that evolution could not be responsible for the "design" of plants? As I pointed out, an intelligent designer is not obvious. If specified complexity requires a designer, as you emphatically stated earlier, then you most certainly have not proven that plants and animals have specified complexity. If specified complexity simply means that complex parts work together in support of various processes, there being no presumption of a designer, then I would say that plants and animals have that type of complexity. You can't sneak in a designer by a tricky use of words!

[[You said: “You have to show, by painfully careful reasoning, part by part, detail by detail, that specified complexity applies.”
That’s what you have to do. I have defined ‘specified complexity’… shown from every known example in the world that it arises only through intelligence… --valiya]]

Me?? Don't you understand the rules of reasoning? You are the one making the claim that plants and animals have a designer. If by "specified complexity" you mean an intelligent designer, then you have to prove that plants in fact have specified complexity rather than evolutionary complexity. If not, then you have not made your case even if you show that plants have specified complexity. The burden of proof is yours. You must rule out evolutionary complexity. Moreover, I have demonstrated that the true rule for knowing that manufactured devices have a designer is the fact that they can't be produced by blind nature.

[[And similarly imagine you saw the genetically cloned sheep Dolly, which is the result of human intelligence. And if you applied your logic of ‘nature vs artificial’ you would conclude that the goat is not ‘intelligently designed.’ But that would be wrong. That’s why I am saying that your yardstick to assess ‘intelligence’ is misplaced. --valiya]]

Wrong! My yardstick (coming out of pure logic) says that in order to know that something has an intelligent designer we must rule out the blind forces of nature. Nowhere does it say that something that can be accounted for by nature cannot be manufactured!! You need to read my material more carefully.

[[You said: “Clearly, if watches formed in beach sand then specified complexity would be an unreliable rule.”
Only if you bring in the ill-founded caveat that anything natural is not designed. Which as I showed earlier is begging the question. --valiya]]

I never said that anything natural is not designed. My little hypothetical example shows that complexity is not the real reason we know that something MUST have a designer. You could say that complexity beyond the ability of nature speaks of design, but that doesn't cover blobs of pure aluminum. But, if you make that rule more general by saying that anything beyond the blind forces of nature must have intelligent design, then you have my rule!

[[You said: “I rejected your automobile version of the "evolutionary tree" because it does not faithfully replicate the most important aspect of that arrangement. Two species can always (on the evolutionary "tree") be traced back to a common ancestor.”
I can trace back Benz engine and BMW engine to Otto’s prototype, common ancestor. It’s so easy to do that with any design by humans, because most of our inventions is an improvement on an earlier model. --valiya]]

A clever try, valiya, but engines are not "common ancestors" of any two cars! It has to be a whole car. Now, show me the car from which the Toyota and Volkswagen lines diverged. Did that car "ancestor" originate in Germany or in Japan? Some similarity in basic engineering design would be expected since cars do the same thing and may even draw their parts from the same manufacturer--and, unlike genes, ideas are quickly copied by diverse manufacturers. So, where did this "common ancestor" to the Toyota and Volkswagen lines first appear? The analogy breaks down because there is no "common ancestor."

[[You said: “I'm talking about what you might expect to see if you could go back in time and travel along one of the branches of the evolutionary tree. You would see more or less gradual changes--not complex, new features suddenly popping into existence.”
You find exactly that… the missing links are not simplistic as you make it look. A whole new branch of school in evolution came about because of this… Stephen jay gould came up with ‘PET’ because he found the fossil evidences (of sudden traits popping up without a predecessor) too hard to explain. --valiya]]

You are confusing what one might reasonably see if one were actually there with the fossil record where radiating species or genera often leave gaps spanning many thousands or even a few million years for any number of good reasons. Punctuated equilibrium is accepted by most biologists to this day, but there are documented cases of gradual evolution. It's not an either/or situation.

Maybe we should concentrate on the number one proof for evolution and the number one argument against intelligent design. Those are the core issues. If you can't discredit evolution, now accepted everywhere good science is done, then you have no way to rule out evolutionary complexity for plants and animals. You can't show that weeds need an intelligent designer. Actually, you can tell the difference between your specified complexity and evolutionary complexity. The latter is loaded with clumsy, make-do design embedded with historical junk. That's also the number one argument against an intelligent designer.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi Green Snake

Hi Green Snake
You said: “Saying that intelligent design in plants is not at all obvious is not the same as saying that plants don't have intelligent design.”

Agreed. I mistook the claim to mean that ‘specified complexity’ is not obvious. But you are right ‘intelligent design’ is not obvious. But specified complexity is very obvious… no disagreement there, I hope.

You said: “With evolution as the obvious alternative, how can you possibly say that the complexity of plants and animals is analogous to manufactured devices?”

We are holding this discussion because we don’t agree over evolution – so you can’t simply say it is the obvious alternative. I am saying that plants and watches are analogous in their specified complexity. Don’t you agree with me there?

Let me break it down for you… so we can take this discussion further.

The point of contention between us is about the origin of specified complexity (SC) in nature. You say it is random and I say it is intelligence.

Therefore, I have to present my proof that will lead us to conclude that SC in nature is designed.

You have to present your proof that will lead us to conclude that SC in nature is random.

I am bringing you examples of SC (whose origins we are not in dispute) and have shown that without exception they have risen from intelligence. Thus I conclude that SC in nature must also be intelligently designed.

If you can show me an example of anything with SC (whose origins we are not in dispute) to be from random forces, then my argument will be squashed.

And I guess you have brought a proof – you said “It is well known that copies of genes sometimes get posted in other places on the chromosomes, and those copies can be modified by mutations to produce new genetic information”… Kindly give me more details of it, if what you are saying is true, then yes, you will have proven that SC can arise randomly. This is all you needed to have given at the very outset… instead of digressing into indirect proofs like common descent and so on which can be interpreted in many ways.

I think now our discussion is making progress. And that’s at the heart of our discussion. But let me just address some of the other points you have raised as a side note… even if you don’t engage these points in your next post it’s fine.

You said: “Nyarlathotep asked you some time ago how one measures "specified complexity." If it is a well defined, scientific quantity then it should have units.”

This is actually a red-herring that Nyarl has been throwing around for some time now. Just ask him to provide the math for the specified complexity in machines. Ask him how he would measure the specified complexity between cycles and airplanes, after all no one disputes that there is specified complexity in them. Once he even did that, but the formulation did not incorporate SC. If you go by his math, you would have to agree that cancer is an example of evolution. Why, even you agree there is SC in plants and watches. Can you tell me based on what math you arrived at that conclusion.

You said: “Proof #1: How is it possible to extract the same "evolutionary tree" out of such diverse, independent sources as the fossil record, DNA, cytochrome c, and cladistics?”

Even if I were to wink at the many problems in these trees, where evolutionists choose favorable parameters to construct the tree, and overlook other parameters that would upset the diagram… it still does not prove much in our discussion. A construction of simple to complex design… doesn’t overrule design. That’s my basic point.

You said: “An intelligent designer of the highest order would not be dabbling in clumsy, stupid, make-do design freighted with historic junk such as vestigial organs…”

This is a strawman… you can bring this up only if I was arguing for God. I have not said that yet. I am just saying that CS is a definite sign of intelligence. But intelligent design can have errors. Only God’s design can’t have errors.

Nyarlathotep's picture
valiya s sajjad - Just ask

valiya s sajjad - Just ask him to provide the math for the specified complexity in machines.

I can't, because you won't tell us the dimensions of specified complexity. It is such a simple question, but you refuse to answer.

Once you tell us, all these bold statements you have made about it will probably be testable. Something you seem to be avoiding at all costs.

Greensnake's picture
Hi valiya:

Hi valiya:

[[You said: “Saying that intelligent design in plants is not at all obvious is not the same as saying that plants don't have intelligent design.”
Agreed. I mistook the claim to mean that ‘specified complexity’ is not obvious. But you are right ‘intelligent design’ is not obvious. But specified complexity is very obvious… no disagreement there, I hope. --valiya]]

If you are willing to drop your claim that specified complexity always requires an intelligent designer, then we are in agreement. Otherwise, intelligent design would be obvious in plants and animals--in contradiction to what you just said above. Since specified complexity in plants does not guarantee an intelligent designer, contrary to the case for manufactured devices, it necessarily follows that specified complexity cannot be the yardstick for assigning an intelligent designer. The true yardstick, derived from pure logic, requires showing that the object cannot be produced by the blind forces of nature. That, then, is your task when it comes to plants and animals.

[[You said: “With evolution as the obvious alternative, how can you possibly say that the complexity of plants and animals is analogous to manufactured devices?”
We are holding this discussion because we don’t agree over evolution – so you can’t simply say it is the obvious alternative. I am saying that plants and watches are analogous in their specified complexity. Don’t you agree with me there? --valiya]]

Valiya, my impression is that our original disagreement was over intelligent design as a good reason for believing in God. So, you can't object to my bringing in the fact of evolution. Indeed, I gave you the number one proof for evolution, so I have done much more than just claim that it is obvious. Your whole point is to show that plants and animals must have intelligent design, something that you absolutely cannot do as long as evolution offers a solid, alternative explanation of that design.

I would rather say that plants and animals have evolutionary complexity because the complexity of a watch or an airplane is not quite analogous to the complexity of a plant or animal. But they are similar in many ways. Perhaps we could say that evolutionary complexity is a subset of specified complexity, now that you have agreed (by inference) that specified complexity does not necessarily require a designer.

[[Let me break it down for you… so we can take this discussion further.
The point of contention between us is about the origin of specified complexity (SC) in nature. You say it is random and I say it is intelligence.
Therefore, I have to present my proof that will lead us to conclude that SC in nature is designed.
You have to present your proof that will lead us to conclude that SC in nature is random.--valiya]]

Valiya, I appreciate your laying out the details of your argument. You have no idea how many idiots I have run into who generate nothing more than clouds of confused, incoherent babble filled with disconnected, half-stated thoughts--usually cycled endlessly!

A minor objection: I am saying that the seeming design in wild plants and animals is due to evolution; I'm not saying that evolution is purely random. Moving on, you show a confusion about the reasoning process. As you correctly noted, you have to present your proof that specified complexity in nature requires an intelligent designer. A necessary step is that you have to eliminate all other reasonable explanations, and evolution is a very reasonable explanation. If there are solid alternatives available, you have no proof, no compelling argument.

On the other hand, if I failed to provide any arguments at all, that would not in any way decide the issue. (I might be incompetent to debate the issue!) You still have to prove your case. That means that the burden of proof is on your shoulders, valiya. If you want to convince us that plants and animals have intelligent design, then you really do have to show that the blind forces of nature--including evolution--cannot account for that complexity.

[[I am bringing you examples of SC (whose origins we are not in dispute) and have shown that without exception they have risen from intelligence. Thus I conclude that SC in nature must also be intelligently designed. --valiya]]

This is the key error. Technically, your argument here is based on the error of hasty generalization. But the real problem is that the rule you are using to determine that an airplane has intelligent design is faulty.

Suppose that Joe had a pile of 12,000 plastic disks, each with a number on it. He happened to notice a pattern and, sure enough, it turns out that 917 of those numbers are 23 digits long and have the digital sequence of 1, 2, 3, somewhere in their first 15 digits and the digital sequence of 3, 1, 4 somewhere in the remaining 8 digits. Joe then discovered that every last one of those 917 numbers can be divided by 11 with nothing left over! Not one exception!

The next day Joe notices that his friend Jack also has a large pile of plastic disks with numbers on them. Out of curiosity Joe inspects those numbers and makes a startling discovery. 712 of Jack's numbers are also 23 digits long, have the sequence 1, 2, 3 in their first 15 digits, and have the sequence 3, 1, 4 in their remaining 8 digits. Knowing from his own experience that the pattern unfailingly yields numbers that are exactly divisible by 11, Joe concluded that those analogous numbers in Jack's pile must also be divisible by 11.

The rule, of course, is wrong even though every one of those 917 numbers in Joe's pile "confirmed" it. Numbers having that pattern might not be evenly divisible by 11. Similarly, you accepted the rule of specified complexity because it always works in every example you know about. It's ingrained in your subconscious and, therefore, seems natural and obvious. But your reasoning is, nevertheless, wrong. If the analogy isn't tight enough, the argument can fail dramatically! At this point we should note that there are some important differences between the specified complexity of manufactured items and natural objects. Cars and watches are made of refined materials like steel or aluminum, or they may have plastic parts, and the geometry of those parts are usually very different than found in nature. It may not be obvious to you, but these are some of the differences that caused your rule to fail.

The real rule, which brooks no argument since it arises from pure logic, is that an object must be beyond what the blind forces of nature can construct. The geometric shapes of watch gears, the brass they are made of, plastics, silicon rubber, the glass windshield of a car, and even the gasoline that fuels it are easily shown to be beyond nature's raw abilities. But when it comes to grass and trees, and cows, it's no longer obvious (as you admitted) that they have an intelligent designer. Their construction might well be within nature's blind powers. Unlike watches, no one has ever seen anyone design a grass plant or a bovine.

Nor can an intelligent designer be assigned by your rule of specific complexity, because the analogy is logically unsound and can fail despite the fact that it works for every object whose origin is known by actual observation. That the analogy is unsound is strongly suggested by the important, systematic differences between the specified complexity of manufactured items and of natural items. That the analogy does fail is also strongly implied by evolution, which is accepted as a scientific fact. But even without evolution your argument would be logically unsound.

Additional discussion that does not require a reply:

[[And I guess you have brought a proof – you said “It is well known that copies of genes sometimes get posted in other places on the chromosomes, and those copies can be modified by mutations to produce new genetic information”… Kindly give me more details of it, if what you are saying is true, then yes, you will have proven that SC can arise randomly. --valiya]]

"Most genetic variability comes from gene mutations. Such mutations change only one or a few nucleotides in a gene and, thus, alter only a single protein. Chromosomal mutations, which can change the number of chromosomes or the number or arrangement of genes on a chromosome, can affect a large number of proteins at once. [Affected genes--affected protein manufacture] Most chromosomal mutations are lethal or extremely damaging in animals, though less so in plants. But chromosomal rearrangements can, on occasion, benefit the organism. For example, the duplication of a chromosome segment, if harmless, can be passed on. In time, mutations in the new copy of the gene can allow it to take on new functions. As a result, the species has more genes than it did formerly." (page 350 of the university-level, biology textbook "Asking About Life, Second Edition" -- Allan J. Tobin (University of California, Los Angeles) and Jennie Dusheck (University of California, Santa Cruz).

In particular, valiya, you might be interested in knowing that plants sometimes double their genes in one generation! (That's the main reason why tomatoes have a lot more genes that we do!) The resulting plant is usually more robust but it can no longer interbreed with its former kind. Thus, we have an instant species created by nature! More relevant to our discussion is the fact that the second set of genes can suffer mutations without disabling the plant, which may ultimately lead to new genes doing new tasks--an increase in genetic information. Look up "polyploidy" in plants. Also look up "jumping genes."

[[You said: “Nyarlathotep asked you some time ago how one measures "specified complexity." If it is a well defined, scientific quantity then it should have units.”
This is actually a red-herring that Nyarl has been throwing around for some time now. Just ask him to provide the math for the specified complexity in machines. - valiya]]

I think that was Nyarlathotep's point, that this quantity is poorly defined. Something is there that we all see, but it is rather fuzzy in subtle ways. It's not clear to me, for example, that the specified complexity of a plant is the same thing as the specified complexity of an airplane. Supplying firm units would be a way to tighten the definition up, but that would have to be your job since you are bringing in the concept of specified complexity.

[[Even if I were to wink at the many problems in these trees, where evolutionists choose favorable parameters to construct the tree, and overlook other parameters that would upset the diagram… it still does not prove much in our discussion. A construction of simple to complex design… doesn’t overrule design. That’s my basic point. -valiya]]

Valiya, I think that if you gave specific examples (perhaps in another thread on the proofs of evolution being that our plate is full here) of these "problems" we would find that they are minor potatoes. The "evolutionary tree" diagram does more than move from simple origins to a diversity that often shows great complexity. (The creationist "Grass" diagram would do that as well!) The "tree" diagram shows that any two species have a common ancestor, which is central to evolution. And, the "tree" diagram is solidly supported by the totally independent sources that I have listed.

[[You said: “An intelligent designer of the highest order would not be dabbling in clumsy, stupid, make-do design freighted with historic junk such as vestigial organs…”
This is a strawman… you can bring this up only if I was arguing for God. I have not said that yet. I am just saying that CS is a definite sign of intelligence. But intelligent design can have errors. Only God’s design can’t have errors. --valiya]]

For the reasons above, I showed that specified complexity is not a valid yardstick. Moreover, with evolution as the generally accepted explanation, the case for any intelligence is thrown into doubt. In principle, an intelligent being might have designed plants and animals with the awkward, evolutionary errors they exhibit. But with evolution around, there is no way to guarantee an intelligent designer.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi valiya:

Hi valiya:

You said: “If you are willing to drop your claim that specified complexity always requires an intelligent designer, then we are in agreement.”

I am saying that all our observations in the universe have shown SC to arise exclusively from intelligent design (ID). Do you have any example that shows the contrary?

You said: “Since specified complexity in plants does not guarantee an intelligent designer, contrary to the case for manufactured devices, it necessarily follows that specified complexity cannot be the yardstick for assigning an intelligent designer.”

Wait! You are just making an assumption and rushing into conclusions. We still have not sorted out our difference over SC, whether it can arise randomly or only through ID. I have shown with numerous examples that SC arises from ID. And there is not a single exception to this rule. Therefore if you want to make a case for random generation of SC… the burden of proof is now on you.

You said: “The true yardstick, derived from pure logic, requires showing that the object cannot be produced by the blind forces of nature. That, then, is your task when it comes to plants and animals.”

You cannot prove the negative. I can’t prove that ‘plants and animals’ are NOT from random forces of nature. As long as you can’t prove they ARE from random forces, I am good to go. Can you prove there is NO god? The absence of proof for god is your proof, isn’t it?

I have proven that there is SC in plants and animals. And I have shown that all known SC have exclusively come from ID. Therefore, nature is from ID. This is my logic.

You said: “Indeed, I gave you the number one proof for evolution, so I have done much more than just claim that it is obvious”

If you are referring to your proof of ‘common descent’… sorry. I have already shown to you that it only shows a simple-to-complex arrangement of design… it does NOT show the mechanism of how SC arises through random forces. If you are referring to your latest example of the gene duplication… I will come to it soon.

You said: “I would rather say that plants and animals have evolutionary complexity because the complexity of a watch or an airplane is not quite analogous to the complexity of a plant or animal. But they are similar in many ways.”

In what ways do you think they are similar… can you elaborate the similarity?

You said: “Perhaps we could say that evolutionary complexity is a subset of specified complexity, now that you have agreed (by inference) that specified complexity does not necessarily require a designer.

I have not agreed SC does not necessarily require a designer. I agreed to your statement that ID need not be obvious in nature. But I came around it saying that SC is obvious in nature, and all SC is from ID… therefore nature is from ID.

You said: “A necessary step is that you have to eliminate all other reasonable explanations, and evolution is a very reasonable explanation. If there are solid alternatives available, you have no proof, no compelling argument.”

Yes, you have to give me a solid alternative… which I am still waiting for. The proof should show SC arising out of random forces. Not a lineup of SC from simple to complex.

You said: “On the other hand, if I failed to provide any arguments at all, that would not in any way decide the issue. (I might be incompetent to debate the issue!) You still have to prove your case.”

If you want me to prove the negative… it’s impossible logically. (Nobody has to prove there is NO god, right?) But if you want me to prove the positive (that nature is from ID), then I have done it through SC. All SC is from ID. Nature has SC. Therefore nature is from ID.

You said: “If you want to convince us that plants and animals have intelligent design, then you really do have to show that the blind forces of nature--including evolution--cannot account for that complexity.”

Watch the word ‘CANNOT” there! You want me to prove the negative…

You said: “Suppose that Joe had a pile of 12,000 plastic disks…”

This example you cited does not adequately represent the problem at our hand. Joe is making an assumption of something he so easily could have verified. We can consider the number patterns to be SC and the ‘divisibility by 11’ to be the function of that SC.

Joe sees a likeness in the patterns between the two piles of disks… he sees function in one… and assumes the second should also have the same function. But, the truth is that the second pattern had no function at all. In other words, the second pattern is not SC.

Now let’s come to my analysis of SC between watches and plants. I see patterns in both. And I also see function in both. I am not making any assumption of function… the function is verified. Therefore, I conclude that both have SC. SC is known to arise exclusively from ID… therefore both are ID.

You said: “Cars and watches are made of refined materials like steel or aluminum, or they may have plastic parts, and the geometry of those parts are usually very different than found in nature. It may not be obvious to you, but these are some of the differences that caused your rule to fail.”

You are repeating an argument which I think I have already answered. Can you tell between a GM fruit and a normal fruit? Even though both don’t have metallic parts or geometric shapes… one is intelligently engineered and the other is from nature. And I can also show examples of artificial things not intelligently designed. Your standard of materials and shapes is only helpful in analyzing if something is from the natural world or artificial world… and it is NOT helpful to analyze if something is intelligently design or from random forces.

You said: “For example, the duplication of a chromosome segment, if harmless, can be passed on. In time, mutations in the new copy of the gene can allow it to take on new functions.”

First off, duplication of chromosome does not explain SC arising through random forces. The SC generated through duplication is not new information… it is copy of existing information. So then you have to show me an example of a mutation in the copied gene that generates SC. If you think, it’s easy… this is what a study published in Nature says:

"Gene duplication and loss is a powerful source of functional innovation. However, the general principles that govern this process are still largely unknown." (Ilan Wapinski, Avi Pfeffer, Nir Friedman & Aviv Regev, "Natural history and evolutionary principles of gene duplication in fungi," Nature, Vol. 449:54-61 (September 6, 2007).)

The fact of the matter is that, evolutionists analyze the genes of various organisms and depending on the closeness of the genes between them, they invoke gene duplication followed by random mutation. The question is how the copied gene evolved through mutation, preserving dysfunctional intermediaries at every stage? Everything boils down to the same old questions.

Nyarlathotep's picture
valiya s sajjad - This

valiya s sajjad - This example you cited does not adequately represent the problem at our hand. Joe is making an assumption of something he so easily could have verified. We can consider the number patterns to be SC and the ‘divisibility by 11’ to be the function of that SC.

So close to providing a definition of specific complexity. Why don't you just finish the job?

Greensnake's picture
Hi valiya:

Hi valiya:

It seems that your need to believe in ID (your reason for God-belief) is so psychologically ingrained that, in places, you rationalize away basic principles of reasoning! You have also repeated arguments without addressing previous rebuttals. Your endless and irrelevant digressions make it difficult to focus on key issues. Thus, you create a lot of smoke and sow a lot of confusion in your attempt to deny a rather simple argument against your watchmaker-based analogy for ID. I can't drag you to the truth if you don't want to go there, but I will give you examples of my complaints.

[[I am saying that all our observations in the universe have shown SC to arise exclusively from intelligent design (ID). Do you have any example that shows the contrary? --valiya]]

I assume that you mean ID is implied by SC. If so, where are your observations showing that the specified complexity of dandelions have intelligent design? Have you discovered a factory that turns raw materials into dandelions? Dandelion ID is your conclusion, valiya, not an observed fact! Your observations only pertain to manufactured devices. It's by a faulty analogy that you carry ID over to plants and animals.

You have all but ignored my example involving plastic disks with numbers showing that no great weight can be attached to the fact that every manufactured device has an intelligent designer. (See my discussion of analogy.) How can we have a serious discussion if you obscure the key points with numerous irrelevant digressions?

[[You said: “The true yardstick, derived from pure logic, requires showing that the object cannot be produced by the blind forces of nature. That, then, is your task when it comes to plants and animals.”

You cannot prove the negative. I can’t prove that ‘plants and animals’ are NOT from random forces of nature. --valiya]]

What part of basic logic don't you understand? If you can prove that plants have intelligent design (prove "not-A"), then you have eliminated the case for blind, natural forces (disproved "A"). If we assume that plants and animals are either the result of intelligent design or the result of the blind forces of nature, then the possibilities are "~A" and "A". If you can't eliminate "A" (blind forces), then you certainly can't prove "~A" (ID)! Proof of "~A" entails the elimination of the case for "A". It's not an impossible task unless you are admitting that proving ID is an impossible task!

How can we have an intelligent discussion if you don't understand basic logic?

[[I have proven that there is SC in plants and animals. And I have shown that all known SC have exclusively come from ID. Therefore, nature is from ID. This is my logic. --valiya]]

Since you have never carefully defined specified complexity, it's not clear that plants and animals actually have it. However, we can agree that plants and animals are so arranged in their parts as to give the appearance of intricate design.

The fact that all known cases of SC (for manufactured devices) admits ID doesn't mean diddly-squat! I gave you an abstract example using numbers on plastic disks that showed how easily an analogy can fail if it is loose or poorly conceived. Your rule of SC worked fine for millions of manufactured devices, but it does not guarantee a tight analogy which is the main criteria for a good analogy. Unfortunately, you just ignored the whole point of my example by diving into your usual smoke cloud of irrelevant diversions. Valiya, find a good book on logic and study it! We need some common ground if we are going to have a serious discussion.

[[You said: “Indeed, I gave you the number one proof for evolution, so I have done much more than just claim that it is obvious”

If you are referring to your proof of ‘common descent’… sorry. I have already shown to you that it only shows a simple-to-complex arrangement of design… it does NOT show the mechanism of how SC arises through random forces. --valiya]]

Not sure what I'm referring to? I identified it as the number ONE proof just so you would not get it mixed up with anything else! Obviously, I'm talking about the "evolutionary tree" diagram as derived from several wholly independent sources, a proof that I mentioned several times.

Once again you have totally ignored a previous rebuttal/clarification. I made it clear that the simple-to-complex arrangement of that diagram was not the issue. I even gave an example of the creationist "Grass" version to clarify my point! I guess you weren't paying attention. The main point of the diagram is that its arrangement implies that any two species have a common ancestor, and that all species are related by common descent. How can we have a serious discussion if you just recycle your arguments while ignoring my rebuttals?

Your last statement about not showing the mechanism is a good example of your numerous, time-wasting, irrelevant diversions into dead-end alleyways. If evolution is established by way of proof #1, then it follows that SC has arisen in plants through natural forces! The specific mechanism is irrelevant! Descent with modification is the only known scientific explanation for getting the "evolutionary tree" from the several diverse sources I mentioned.

[[You said: “A necessary step is that you have to eliminate all other reasonable explanations, and evolution is a very reasonable explanation. If there are solid alternatives available, you have no proof, no compelling argument.”

Yes, you have to give me a solid alternative… which I am still waiting for. The proof should show SC arising out of random forces. Not a lineup of SC from simple to complex. --valiya]]

Since evolution is a fact of science, I think it at least qualifies as a significant alternative for the purposes of our discussion! To ignore that is to ignore reality. If you are going to play that game you will have to "debate" someone else.

Your confusion about "random forces" is yet another meaningless diversion into a dead alleyway, topped off with a demand for a meaningless proof! Haven't you heard? Evolution is not just about random forces. A desert, for example, supplies a very specific environment that guides evolution in a non-random manner based on non-random natural principles.

Again, making a compelling argument for evolution (proof #1) makes it clear that SC can arise from the blind forces of nature. Proof #1 is all about irrefutable evidence for common descent; it doesn't revolve around simple to complex. You simply don't know your subject and that leads to endless confusion. I explained that point to you but you were, once again, not listening.

[[You said: “On the other hand, if I failed to provide any arguments at all, that would not in any way decide the issue. (I might be incompetent to debate the issue!) You still have to prove your case.”

If you want me to prove the negative… it’s impossible logically. …--valiya]]

What part of "the burden of proof" don't you understand? You are the one claiming that plants and animals have intelligent design, so you are obligated to provide the proof. Elementary! If you still don't get it then there is not much point in continuing!

Valiya, you're just sowing your usual confusion here! Nobody's asking you to undertake an impossible proof! All I ask is what any scientist would consider mandatory, namely that any significant alternatives be eliminated (beyond a reasonable doubt) before an hypothesis can be considered credible. That's pretty basic. You have to eliminate evolution since it's the obvious alternative. You can't discredit evolution by ignoring its strongest proof and demanding a totally irrelevant proof from me!

I suggest that you go on the Internet and study up on "proving the negative." There are at least four different concepts and you need to distinguish between them.

[[You said: “If you want to convince us that plants and animals have intelligent design, then you really do have to show that the blind forces of nature--including evolution--cannot account for that complexity.”

Watch the word ‘CANNOT” there! You want me to prove the negative…--valiya]]

"Proving the negative" is impossible only if the positive claim cannot be tested, meaning that it is unfalsifiable. The general concept of God, for example, is unfalsifiable. The burden of proof is always on the believer. Bertrand Russell's teapot, orbiting the sun in the outer solar system, is effectively unfalsifiable, so the burden of proof is on Mr. Russell. We are not obligated to send a spaceship out there to hunt for it in a vast void where an exhaustive search is not feasible.

With the laws of nature to work with, the claim that nature can produce apparent design is not unfalsifiable (is testable). In the case of manufactured devices, the test is almost trivial. Nature doesn't produce manufactured devices, pure aluminum blobs, beanbag sofas, etc. That nature might do complex plants and animals is less obvious, but there is no theoretical reason why that claim should be unfalsifiable. That is particularly true for the claim of evolution, which is a falsifiable, scientific concept that has passed numerous tests. Therefore, "proving the negative" here is not a valid excuse. You really do have the burden of proof for eliminating the main alternative to your claim that plants and animals have intelligent design.

Valiya, you have been throwing around the phrase "proving the negative" without understanding what it really means! That's so typical of creationists. Time to hit those logic books!

[[You said: “Suppose that Joe had a pile of 12,000 plastic disks…”
This example you cited does not adequately represent the problem at our hand. Joe is making an assumption … --valiya]]

Valiya, you're just blowing smoke here! The story nicely illustrates the logical problem of putting too much stock in the fact that all manufactured items show intelligent design. That fact (in lieu of a tight analogy) does nothing to increase the strength of your analogy. The start of all analogies, good and bad, begins with a firm correspondence. That the unfailing correspondence works for other objects (where it can't be tested) is the claim made by arguments from analogy. Therefore, specified complexity can't be a legitimate rule that applies to plants and animals. It's carried over to plants and animals by analogy (subject to the usual weaknesses of that type of argument) not attached by a firm rule.

[[You said: “For example, the duplication of a chromosome segment, if harmless, can be passed on. In time, mutations in the new copy of the gene can allow it to take on new functions.” {Actually, that's what the biology textbook said.}

First off, duplication of chromosome does not explain SC arising through random forces. The SC generated through duplication is not new information… it is copy of existing information. So then you have to show me an example of a mutation in the copied gene that generates SC. --valiya]]

You're sowing confusion, again, valiya, by demanding yet another irrelevant proof! The minute a copied gene collects mutations, we have new genetic information. That was your original challenge, wasn't it? In time favorable mutations can occur that allow the gene to take on a new use.

[[If you think, it’s easy… this is what a study published in Nature says:
"Gene duplication and loss is a powerful source of functional innovation. However, the general principles that govern this process are still largely unknown." (Ilan Wapinski, Avi Pfeffer, Nir Friedman & Aviv Regev, "Natural history and evolutionary principles of gene duplication in fungi," Nature, Vol. 449:54-61 (September 6, 2007).) --valiya]]

I am delighted that you actually came up with a quote from one of the leading scientific journals. Unfortunately, your quote contradicts your claim!! Thank you for the service! Perhaps, you overlooked the words "Gene duplication…is a powerful source of functional innovation [SC to you]."

Equally humorous is that you don't understand what the authors are saying. They are NOT saying that gene duplication is rare or undocumented. They are saying that the details of the process of gene duplication are largely unknown. However, we are interested in the fact of gene duplication, not the process! The process is irrelevant to our discussion.

Valiya, I think you need to go back and re-read my last post more carefully, not with an eye to denying everything on the spot. For your benefit, I'm ending this post with highlights of my last post and a look at the structure of argument by analogy.

++++++++++++ Argument by Analogy ++++++++++++

Your ID argument is a version of Paley's old watchmaker analogy. As any logician can tell you, analogies are not logically sound. However, if the analogy is tight then it may actually be a reasonable argument.

Consider two, abstract sets that will serve as theoretical, symbolic models for your analogy: N = {a, b, c, d, e, j, n, z?} and M = {a, b, c, d, e, r, z}. The first set (N) consists of all plants and animals. The second set (M) consists of all manufactured devices. Each property listed is shared by virtually all members of that set. The properties "a, b, c, d, e" are those that define specified complexity (the appearance of design). Note that plants and animals as well as manufactured devices have specified complexity. Property "j" stands for clumsy, make-do "design" elements and property "n" stands for carbon-based, cellular "design." Property "r" stands for a "design" rich in refined materials and geometric shapes not found in nature. Property "z" stands for ID. But does property "z" also belong in set (N)? That's the question, so I'll put a "?" by property "z" in set (N).

Your argument from analogy begins by noting that every object in set (M) has property "z". That is, every manufactured device (set M)--objects with specified complexity that are largely made of refined materials with unnatural shapes--also has an intelligent designer. Properties "a, b, c, d, e" are rather remarkable and obvious, and no one can help but notice that the objects in both sets (M) and (N) have this extensive set of properties. Since objects in set (M) are observed to ALWAYS have property "z" it is easy to leap to the false conclusion that any objects with properties "a, b, c, d, e" (specified complexity) must also have property "z" (Intelligent Design). Since specified complexity is shared by sets (M) and (N), the argument by analogy concludes that set (N) also has property "z" (Intelligent Design).

The conclusion doesn't actually follow logically since analogies are not sound arguments, but it may seem reasonable since objects in sets (M) and (N) are so much alike with respect to complex parts working together. Note, however, that this analogy is loose in that no object in set (N) has property "r" and no object in set (M) has property "n." Moreover, property "j" is shared by only a few objects in set (M) so it is not listed as a universal property there. However, property "j" is virtually universal in set (N).

Had set (N) lacked properties "j" and "n," and possessed property "r", then the analogy would be very tight and the conclusion that set (N) also had property "z" (Intelligent Design) would be highly credible though not logically airtight. That corresponds to the case of astronauts discovering a planet littered with strange machines. Alien construction (Intelligent Design) would be the presumed origin.

Note that evolution, accepted by science as the explanation for the origins of objects in set (N), nicely fits in with properties "j" and "n" but does not fit in with property "r."

Notice that the specified complexity rule for identifying intelligent design is only confirmed for set (M) where it has actually been tested. Its use in set (N) is only by analogy, having never been tested there, and a dangerously loose analogy at that! My example with numbered, plastic disks showed how easily an argument can collapse if the analogy is loose or poorly chosen. It doesn't matter if the analogy has a perfect record within set (M). That perfect record is what defines the analogy, so it cannot be used as evidence to strengthen the analogy. The strength of an analogy is in its tightness.

If not specified complexity as the rule, then what? Pure logic dictates that we use the rule of showing that the blind forces of nature cannot account for plants and animals. If you can't disprove "A" then you can't prove "not-A." ("A" means that the blind forces of nature can produce plants and animals; "not-A" means ID is responsible. If we have a true dichotomy, and if you can't rule out "A" (blind forces), then you can't prove "not-A" (ID). Conversely, if you can prove "not-A" then you have shown that it is possible to disprove "A." This is not a case of having to prove an impossible negative, as discussed above. Getting to your conclusion entails proving the negative!

Since evolution is widely accepted as the means whereby the blind forces of nature produced plants and animals, it is therefore your task to refute it. At the very least, that means understanding and challenging its number one proof and prediction, that of the "evolutionary tree." If you cannot eliminate "A" then you cannot prove "not-A." Pure logic!

So, that's where we left off valiya. You have yet to prove that evolution can't do the job by successfully challenging its number one proof and prediction. Are you still good to go? Try not to create more smoke and pointless digressions, and check your logic.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi Green Snake

Hi Green Snake

I thought you had abandoned this discussion. Thanks for coming back.

You said: “Have you discovered a factory that turns raw materials into dandelions? Dandelion ID is your conclusion, valiya, not an observed fact!”

What makes you think that by ID I am referring to things made in factory? What I mean by ID is a planned arrangement of parts with an end-purpose in sight. When you see the word ‘WEASEL’, W would not be followed by E and that in turn would not be followed by A… and so on… unless an intelligent choice was made at every step with a purpose in sight. That’s all I mean by ID. It could arise in a factory… and it could arise in ways that we have no way of knowing how. We may not know how pyramids were built… but we know for sure there was intelligent planning involved.

You said: “If we assume that plants and animals are either the result of intelligent design or the result of the blind forces of nature, then the possibilities are "~A" and "A". If you can't eliminate "A" (blind forces), then you certainly can't prove "~A" (ID)!”

Why should I waste my time in trying to eliminate a proposition that has not been proven? You may claim that it is the ‘fact’ of science and stuff like that… but if I agree with those contentions, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, right? As long as you don’t prove your claim, I don’t have to disprove it. I just have to focus on proving my claim.

You said: Proof of "~A" entails the elimination of the case for "A". It's not an impossible task unless you are admitting that proving ID is an impossible task!

Even if it’s possible (I will show in a bit why it’s impossible)… it’s a wasteful exercise to try to disprove what is not proven. You don’t have to prove that fire is NOT cold, in order to prove that fire is hot.

You said: “I made it clear that the simple-to-complex arrangement of that diagram was not the issue. I even gave an example of the creationist "Grass" version to clarify my point! I guess you weren't paying attention. The main point of the diagram is that its arrangement implies that any two species have a common ancestor, and that all species are related by common descent.”

Whether it’s common descent or simple-to-complex arrangement, it doesn’t indicate a random/undirected generation of SC. That’s an assumption you make from the tree.

You said: “If evolution is established by way of proof #1, then it follows that SC has arisen in plants through natural forces!”

Sorry… it’s only your assumption. Are you claiming that new genetic complexity arising through mutation is an observed fact? Then give me an example.

You said: “Descent with modification is the only known scientific explanation for getting the "evolutionary tree" from the several diverse sources I mentioned.”

You are again and again missing the crux of my argument. Even if I accept your claim of descent with modification… I want to see how that modification was generated? Unless you can show me that a random mutation followed by an undirected selection creates the modification, our fundamental contention will remain unresolved, namely “can blind forces give rise to SC or not?

You said: “Since evolution is a fact of science, I think it at least qualifies as a significant alternative for the purposes of our discussion!”

For a hundredth time… please don’t expect me to buy your claim of evolution being a fact. I don’t understand your logic here. You are engaging me in this discussion precisely because I don’t accept evolution as a fact… and then to insist that I must accept it as the common ground for our discussion is highly illogical. Are you not begging the question here?

You said: “Evolution is not just about random forces. A desert, for example, supplies a very specific environment that guides evolution in a non-random manner based on non-random natural principles.”

I am not specifying every word because I thought you understand where I am coming from. I know that ‘natural selection’ is not random. But it is directionless. It’s blind (reason why Dawkins named his book blind watchmaker). Therefore, in the context of my arguments, it’s still not good to give rise to SC. Because SC occurs only when there is planning with a purpose in sight (not blind).

You said: “Again, making a compelling argument for evolution (proof #1) makes it clear that SC can arise from the blind forces of nature. Proof #1 is all about irrefutable evidence for common descent; it doesn't revolve around simple to complex.”

I think you are not listening to me. Whether it’s common descent or simple-to-complex… the mechanism for how complexity arose is an assumption you have to make from that tree. I am asking you if you have any evidence of that mechanism. Because that’s at the heart of our discussion. Can random mutation and blind selection give rise to SC?

You said: “What part of "the burden of proof" don't you understand? You are the one claiming that plants and animals have intelligent design, so you are obligated to provide the proof.”

I never said that I don’t have to prove that plants and animals have ID. I was just saying that I DON’T have to prove that plants and animals CANNOT be created from blind forces. As long as there if no proof for random generation of SC, I don’t have to disprove it.

You said: “All I ask is what any scientist would consider mandatory, namely that any significant alternatives be eliminated (beyond a reasonable doubt) before a hypothesis can be considered credible. That's pretty basic.”

The problem is that you are losing focus of my basic argument. If you had shown me an organism that gains a new piece of genetic information through mutation, then yes… I would have to disprove it, before I can invoke ID. But you bring me proof of common descent and phylogentic trees. Do you want me to disprove that? There is no reason for me to disprove that, because that doesn’t say anything about random/blind generation of SC.

You said: "Proving the negative" is impossible only if the positive claim cannot be tested, meaning that it is unfalsifiable.”

That’s exactly why I think the negative you want me to prove is impossible. My argument is that the mechanism of evolution (mutation/selection) is an assumption derived from evolution tree. I am only interested in the mechanism, not the overall story of evolution. May be the first life forms were primitive, and more complex forms came from them. I have no problem with that (in the context of this discussion). But what was the mechanism that drover this change? If you say ‘mutation/selection’, then I must see proof of that, not an assumption. Now, you want me to disprove this assumption. Assumptions can’t be disproven.

You said: “Bertrand Russell's teapot, orbiting the sun in the outer solar system, is effectively unfalsifiable, so the burden of proof is on Mr. Russell. We are not obligated to send a spaceship out there to hunt for it in a vast void where an exhaustive search is not feasible.”

Yes… and you want me to disprove an effect (mutation/selection) to witness which I will have to live over millions of years. Do you say your teapot (evolution) can be witnessed right here, right now? Please show it to me.

You said: “With the laws of nature to work with, the claim that nature can produce apparent design is not unfalsifiable (is testable).”

Laws of nature? You have two things at hand, one is random and the other is blind… and you want to dress it up as law? I can only test the tree of life… but never the engine that created it.

You said: “In the case of manufactured devices, the test is almost trivial. Nature doesn't produce manufactured devices, pure aluminum blobs, beanbag sofas, etc.”

You had accused me at another place in this post of digressing from your main arguments and not engaging your questions adequately. But I am sorry to say, you are guilty of it here. I have time and again tried to show you that nature vs artificial is different from designed vs random. I gave examples of “GM fruits” etc. and you have not answered them. You are mixing up the nature vs artificial inference with design vs random. In effect you are just repeating your old caveat that for something to be ID it has to be produced outside of nature… which is begging the question, because then there is no way I can prove there is ID in nature.

You said: “The start of all analogies, good and bad, begins with a firm correspondence. That the unfailing correspondence works for other objects (where it can't be tested) is the claim made by arguments from analogy.”

Agreed.

You said: “Therefore, specified complexity can't be a legitimate rule that applies to plants and animals. It's carried over to plants and animals by analogy (subject to the usual weaknesses of that type of argument) not attached by a firm rule.”

You haven’t shown me the “weakness” in my analogy yet. You are trying to weaken it by highlighting the inference of nature vs artificial and passing it off as inference of design vs random.

You said: “The minute a copied gene collects mutations, we have new genetic information. That was your original challenge, wasn't it?

Goodness me! Any mutation is information for you? I am not looking for shannon’s information, and I think you know it well. Does every mutation lead to new information that gives rise to new function? If mutation doesn’t produce SC it’s not new information.

You said: “In time favorable mutations can occur that allow the gene to take on a new use.”

I am looking for an example of that. Can you show me any example which I can study?

You said: “Unfortunately, your quote contradicts your claim!! Thank you for the service! Perhaps, you overlooked the words "Gene duplication…is a powerful source of functional innovation [SC to you]."

No, you are mistaken. In fact this sentence underlines the concern I have been raising all along. The first sentence says ‘Gene duplication is a source of functional innovation’… I am not surprised to see that in a magazine that supports evolution. But my main concern is the mechanism. Is it a random mutation, followed by a blind selection that causes the functional innovation? The second sentence gives the answer: “However, the general principles that govern the process are still largely unknown.” This is what I have been saying all along. You don’t know the mechanism, but you invoke mutation and selection. That’s why I say that it lacks proof.

You said: “They are saying that the details of the process of gene duplication are largely unknown. However, we are interested in the fact of gene duplication, not the process! The process is irrelevant to our discussion.”

Wrong again. The process is what is most relevant to our discussion. Suppose gene duplication occurs due to some specific instructions that are already coded, the argument of randomness gets fully defeated. Moreover, we are not just interested in the mechanism of gene duplication, but also that of the subsequent mutations in the copied genes that gives rise to new traits. And there is nothing on that yet.

You said: “Consider two, abstract sets that will serve as theoretical, symbolic models for your analogy: N = {a, b, c, d, e, j, n, z?} and M = {a, b, c, d, e, r, z}….”

There is a whole lot of logical errors in your arguments here. I can create two sets with ID in them with similar kinds of variance in their property types as you showed.

Let’s consider two sets. M = (a, b, c, d, e, j, n, z) and W = (a, b, c, d, e, r, z)
M includes the musical scores written by a student of music
W includes watches made by a professional watchmaker.
a,b,c,d,e denote the SC which is common to both M and W
j in set M denotes the clumsy mistakes in the score (obviously so because he is a student)
n in set M denotes the materials he uses to write music (ink & paper)
r in set W denotes the materials used in watches.
z is ID (there is another logical flaw in including Z in the sets, which I shall explain below)

It’s easy to note how the two sets M and W, though contain the same kinds of differences as your sets N and M, can still be from ID. This shows that the differences you are highlighting are not effective in inferring ID.

The fundamental mistake you are doing is that you are trying to compare properties that are not relevant to ID, and when you find them NOT matching, you conclude that ID can’t be inferred in the set in question.

Supposing you are studying two sets of races of people. You know the race of one set. You see properties such as – hair type, skin color, eye shape, occupation, location & religion. In order to identify race, you should only consider such properties that are relevant to race. IF the hair type, eye shape and skin color match, you can confirm they belong to the same race, even if their occupations, locations and religions differ.

Going back to your sets, the fact that j exists in set N, is not relevant to the inference of ID. Like in the example of the music student and watchmaker, it just shows that one is better at what he is doing and the other is clumsy… but both are nevertheless creating SC using ID.

Secondly, the fact that n exists in set N is also irrelevant to ID. (By the way n can also exist in M. take for example, a trap made of creepers by tribal people or a cloned sheep). I have shown it in my example as paper used in Set M and metal used in Set W. The materials have no bearing on ID.

Lastly, you don’t include the factor (z) that is to be inferred as a property to be compared. You just take one set which is known to have z, and take the other set whose z is to be inferred. Compare the relevant properties between them. And if those properties match 100%, then ID can be inferred, even if other properties don’t match.

You said: “Pure logic dictates that we use the rule of showing that the blind forces of nature cannot account for plants and animals.”

What we do using SC and ID inference is exactly that. We overrule random/blind forces. And now, if you make a claim that’s so counter intuitive, the proof of the burden is on you.

You said: “If you can't disprove "A" then you can't prove "not-A."

There is no need to disprove A. It is the first commonsensical judgement you make when you see nature (that it can’t be from random forces). It is not for nothing that atheism is so heavily hinged on evolution. Until an argument explaining the random/blind emergence of life came, the default assumption was an intelligent creation.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi Green Snake

Hi Green Snake

I think I need to explain something, which I missed out in my last post

You said: “I assume that you mean ID is implied by SC. If so, where are your observations showing that the specified complexity of dandelions have intelligent design?”

When Newton came up with his theory of gravity, he called it ‘action’ at a distance. He was invoking ‘force’ without being able to explain what was causing the force to exist between objects. When objects are attracted towards each other, it indicates ‘force’ … that is a logical inference.

Similarly, when you SC, it is a logical inference that it is from intelligence. However, the source of that intelligence (like Newton’s force) is not known.

Greensnake's picture
Hi Valiya:

Hi Valiya:

If you wish to press the case for the intelligent design of plants and animals then you must refute biological evolution, my point in recent posts. Address the "evolutionary tree," evolution's number one prediction and proof! Continuing to pretend that evolution is not even a significant alternative is child-like given its central role in biology. Whoever heard of a proof that ignores significant alternatives? You certainly have a novelty! Please note that I have no obligation to chase an endless stream of confused distortions of my arguments, basic science, and essential logic.

For example:

[[You said: “If we assume that plants and animals are either the result of intelligent design or the result of the blind forces of nature, then the possibilities are "~A" and "A". If you can't eliminate "A" (blind forces), then you certainly can't prove "~A" (ID)!”

Why should I waste my time in trying to eliminate a proposition that has not been proven? You may claim that it is the ‘fact’ of science and stuff like that… but if I agree with those contentions, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, right? --valiya]]

Yes, valiya, evolution is a fact of science. But no one says you have to agree with me to have this discussion! Pure logic does, however, dictate that you eliminate any significant alternatives. That's pretty basic. Pretending that evolution is not even a significant alternative means that a rational debate with you is impossible.

Here's another example of muddying the waters with a pointless diversion:

[[You don’t have to prove that fire is NOT cold, in order to prove that fire is hot. --valiya]]

If you prove that a fire is hot, then you HAVE PROVEN that it is not cold at the same time! Basic logic, right? However you do it, "not cold" must be established. (Your watchmaker argument proves nothing since analogies are not logically sound to begin with and yours is not even a tight analogy, which is probably why philosophers rejected it years ago.)

Here's a classic misdirection based on muddying the waters with a pointless diversion:

[[You said: “Descent with modification is the only known scientific explanation for getting the "evolutionary tree" from the several diverse sources I mentioned.”

You are again and again missing the crux of my argument. Even if I accept your claim of descent with modification… I want to see how that modification was generated? Unless you can show me that a random mutation followed by an undirected selection creates the modification, our fundamental contention will remain unresolved, namely “can blind forces give rise to SC or not?" -- valiya.]]

Dear valiya, if you accept descent with modification then you have accepted evolution! If you think that God is behind evolution, then by all means tell us that you are a theistic evolutionist. Otherwise, make peace with the idea that the blind forces of nature are at work in evolution.

Since natural selection is directed by the environment, it is quite impossible for me to give an example of undirected selection. You seem confused about the role of randomness in evolution. Later, you confuse matters further by re-defining SC so that it clearly exhibits planning with a purpose. In that case, you have to prove that plants have SC, which is no longer a matter of simple observation as it was under your previous definition. Nothing like switching definitions in the middle of the stream to add more confusion and misdirection!

You are stuck in the moss of a tree, valiya, and aren't seeing the forest! Once it is clear that life is connected and has diverged from a primitive ancestor, the very thing that the "evolutionary tree" proves beyond a reasonable doubt, then it's pretty obvious that there has been a lot of modification! Believe it or not, going from trilobites to tigers does entail some modification! If you want to see how modifications are generated, hit the textbooks. I'm not teaching a course on evolution here. Sorry, the "evolutionary tree" is a fact of life and is here to stay. It is your job to show that you have a better explanation for it. Let me repeat that. It's your job to show that you have a better explanation for it. If you can't discredit evolution, then your argument for design fails. If your argument for design fails, then your argument for God (based on that argument) fails. There! I've laid it all out for you.

More misdirection (regarding your quote from "Nature"):

[[No, you are mistaken. In fact this sentence underlines the concern I have been raising all along. The first sentence says ‘Gene duplication is a source of functional innovation’… I am not surprised to see that in a magazine that supports evolution. But my main concern is the mechanism. … --valiya]]

You quoted "Nature" to tap into its esteemed authority, but now you question its authority!! That's rich! You provided a quote that solidly supports my position and now you must change the subject. How unfortunate!

[[The second sentence gives the answer: “However, the general principles that govern the process are still largely unknown.” This is what I have been saying all along. You don’t know the mechanism, but you invoke mutation and selection. That’s why I say that it lacks proof. --valiya]]

More misdirection! Such mutations happen, but that is not proof enough for you! Do you really think that an observed fact "lacks proof" because we don't know its mechanism? Would you explain that priceless piece of reasoning for us! I'll stand on what the authors of a university textbook on biology have said. If a standard textbook isn't good enough for you, then you will have to do your own research.

[[Wrong again. The process is what is most relevant to our discussion. Suppose gene duplication occurs due to some specific instructions that are already coded, the argument of randomness gets fully defeated. -valiya]]

Talk about moving the goal posts! The discussion was about new genetic information, remember? Some genes do get duplicated, providing raw material for mutations that in time can lead to new gene function as the textbook noted. That means new, genetic information. What part of "new genetic information" don't you understand? Your attempt to muddy the waters by speculating on whether gene duplication is a random process or not doesn't change the outcome one bit. Genes do get duplicated, okay? Extra genes that are not needed can and do collect mutations. Got that? In time, some of them can take on new functions. Viola! New genes and new genetic information! Either you are incredibly dense, due to a combination of denial and subject ignorance, or else you are functioning as a troll.

Here is a final, classic example of blowing smoke and confusion!

[[You said: “Consider two, abstract sets that will serve as theoretical, symbolic models for your analogy: N = {a, b, c, d, e, j, n, z?} and M = {a, b, c, d, e, r, z}….”

There is a whole lot of logical errors in your arguments here. I can create two sets with ID in them with similar kinds of variance in their property types as you showed.
Let’s consider two sets. M = (a, b, c, d, e, j, n, z) and W = (a, b, c, d, e, r, z)
M includes the musical scores written by a student of music
W includes watches made by a professional watchmaker. … --valiya]]

Valiya, here is the symbolic definition of a literal analogy:

"A" has properties P(1), P(2), … P(n)…and P(x)
"B" has properties P(1), P(2), … P(n)…
-----------------------------------------------------------
Therefore, "B" has the property P(x)

As you can see, my example follows the standard form except for a few details added to match your design analogy which is rather loose. Unless you have a strange bone to pick with the guy who wrote that logic book, there is nothing wrong with my use of those two sets to define your analogy. Okay?

In your zeal to prove me wrong, valiya, you made a terrible mistake! Both of the sets in your example are filled with objects that are obviously designed. The whole point of your analogy is to establish design in my set (N) by showing that nearly all the properties of set (M) carry over to set (N). Your conclusion, then, is that property "z" also carries over. Do you see that reasoning in the above, formal example? That's a case of a tight analogy. I added the properties of "j," "n," and "r" to reflect the looseness of your analogy. Note that tight analogies may be useful, but they are not airtight. Loose analogies are worthless. Since your replication of my symbolic criticism of your analogy is totally inappropriate, there is no need for me to address your model further.

Valiya, your refusal to buckle down and seriously tackle the number one proof of evolution misdirects our discussion into useless channels. I am constantly correcting your diversions and distortions of my arguments, of basic science, and even of basic logic. Imagine yourself debating a flat-earther who claims that the moon landings are all faked. How would you respond to that flat-earther? Would you generate countless pages explaining why the Apollo program was genuine? Would you research the details for determining whether a photo is faked? Would you spend lots of time refuting a dozen silly claims that supposedly prove that those photos were faked? Are you required to track down the various companies that participated in the Apollo program and prove that they were not government facades? Would you track down the relatives of those astronauts to prove that they were real people with real families? If so, would you then have to prove that they are not part of some conspiracy? Would you re-examine a certain lake, cited as evidence, to see if its surface was truly flat as claimed by flat-earthers? Would you diligently answer the endless other diversions and distortions a flat-earther can come up with? Most likely you would say "Good-bye" and move on to a more productive use of your time.

Good-bye valiya!

(P.S. If you decide to seriously challenge the "evolutionary tree" then start a new thread. I might just drop by.)

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi Green Snake:

Hi Green Snake:

You said: “Address the "evolutionary tree," evolution's number one prediction and proof! Continuing to pretend that evolution is not even a significant alternative is child-like given its central role in biology.”

By this you are saying “stop debating because the ‘evolution tree’ is the final word.” Then why did you humor my arguments so far. You could have simply shut me up at the very beginning. I do accept ‘evolution’ as a significant alternative and that’s the reason I am here debating with you. But if you say that I must accept the so-called proofs you bring without questioning because it is the significant alternative… I am sorry, that goes against the spirit of debate.

You said: “Whoever heard of a proof that ignores significant alternatives? You certainly have a novelty!”

You accuse me of ‘smoke screens’ while yourself engaging in it so vehemently. I have not been glossing over any of your proofs. I have been delving deep into your arguments and presenting my case in detail. How can you say that I ignored the significant alternative?

My argument is that SC can arise only from ID.

You challenged it by bringing the ‘evolution tree’ proof.

I told you that ‘evolution tree’ is fine – you may be able to show me that primitive body plans predate modern body plans – you may show that two parallel body plans have close resemblance to a common prototype preceding them. Agreed. But how can you infer ‘random mutation’ and ‘natural selection’ from it?

What if there was a genetic code that instructed the organism at every level in the tree to branch off and develop into a new species. On what basis are you invoking ‘random/blind’ effects of nature? That’s my fundamental question.

I may be asking this question out of ignorance. All you have to do is provide an example from the natural world where this effect (mutation/selection) is taking place. But you bring examples of ‘gene duplication’ whose mechanism according to the evolutionists themselves is ‘largely unknown’. That leaves my question still unanswered. Do you agree that you don’t have an example of the ‘evolution’ effect to show me, and that it’s assumed to be so from indirect evidence? If that’s your stance, please spell it out, and let’s take the discussion forward.

You said: “If you prove that a fire is hot, then you HAVE PROVEN that it is not cold at the same time! Basic logic, right? However you do it, "not cold" must be established.”

The logic is so simple that I thought a simple example with two ‘mutually exclusive’ properties would suffice. But here is another one that explains it better. If I am trying to prove water boils at 100 degrees, and you said that water boils at 95 degrees… then there is really no need for me to prove you wrong. I just have to prove water boils at 100 degrees, and as long as you don’t prove your case, I don’t have to disprove it. It’s so elementary. I don’t have to DISPROVE anything that is NOT PROVEN.

You said: “Dear valiya, if you accept descent with modification then you have accepted evolution!”

You could say this, if you had jumped into this discussion just now. But I have explained my position so clearly, and you can’t pretend you don’t know my argument. What do I mean by “even if I accept descent with modification…?” I mean that there could be evidence of close similarities between species in a graded fashion… but I NEVER accepted the mechanism presented for it namely ‘mutation/selection’.

You said: “Since natural selection is directed by the environment, it is quite impossible for me to give an example of undirected selection.”

You could have said this at the beginning, instead of throwing indirect proofs open to many interpretations. But please note, the reason why you can’t provide a particular proof is not proof of its existence.

You said: “Later, you confuse matters further by re-defining SC so that it clearly exhibits planning with a purpose.”

Why are you confusing yourself? I have laid out my basic argument.
SC means an arrangement of parts in a specific pattern to produce a function.
This arises only if the construction is done using a plan with a purpose. That’s what we call ID.
This is the connection between ‘planning/purpose’ and SC. I have made it amply clear in so many different places.

You said: “In that case, you have to prove that plants have SC, which is no longer a matter of simple observation as it was under your previous definition.”

It is simple observation that plants have SC = many parts + specified arrangement
Another simple observation is that SC arises from ID
Therefore, plants arise from ID.

You said: “If you want to see how modifications are generated, hit the textbooks. I'm not teaching a course on evolution here.”

The text books are no different from what you are saying. They give examples of common descent. And then leap to conclude that therefore the changes must have occurred through random/undirected processes. But never have I seen an example of this process given anywhere.

You said: “Sorry, the "evolutionary tree" is a fact of life and is here to stay. It is your job to show that you have a better explanation for it.”

Let’s say for the sake of argument that I don’t have a better explanation for the origin of life than evolution. Does that mean I have to accept evolution? We accept or reject ideas based on their individual merits. If there was no alternative to Lamarckism, I still wouldn’t accept it, because it makes no sense. Period. You are indulging in novelty here.

You said: “If you can't discredit evolution, then your argument for design fails.”

Why use words like ‘discredit’… be more specific. I think you mean ‘disprove’, right? I don’t have to disprove an idea that has not been proven. It’s as simple as that.

You said: “You quoted "Nature" to tap into its esteemed authority, but now you question its authority!!”

You don’t seem to appreciate some of the fundamental logics in a debate. If I can find a favorable point from an authority that my opponent respects, I would use it, not because I agree with everything that the authority says, but just to show to my opponent that even his authorities agree with me on a particular point of contention. That would settle the dust on at least that one point, wouldn’t it?

You said: “That's rich! You provided a quote that solidly supports my position and now you must change the subject. How unfortunate!”

The first part of the quote seems to support your position, but the very next one utterly squashes it. “Gene duplication produces innovative functions… but we DON’T KNOW its mechanism (meaning we don’t know how the innovative functions are produced, which includes random/blind processes.)” Of what good is that statement to support your case for random/blind generation of genetic novelties?

You said: “Do you really think that an observed fact "lacks proof" because we don't know its mechanism? Would you explain that priceless piece of reasoning for us!”

It’s not priceless if you only you apply 2 cents worth of commonsense. If I told you that gravity is caused because of invisible ropes between objects, and you ask for proof, and I showed you how everything falls to the ground… would you accept that as proof for the rope theory? Yes, it is an observed fact that things fall to the ground… but that’s not proof for the mechanism I posit (ropes). You will want a separate proof for the mechanism of gravity to accept that, wouldn’t you?

You said: “The discussion was about new genetic information, remember? Some genes do get duplicated, providing raw material for mutations that in time can lead to new gene function as the textbook noted. Genes do get duplicated, okay? Extra genes that are not needed can and do collect mutations. Got that?””

The statement in Nature magazine expressed agnosticism about the process in general that creates ‘innovative function’. Not just the first bit ‘of gene duplication’. But even if I were to concede that point, the magazine would have to show me an example of a duplicated gene undergoing mutation and creating new function, instead of lumping down a huge assumption.

We have organisms that reproduce at extremely fast rates enabling us to witness hundreds of generations within a short span of time. There were drosophilia experiments conducted. Were you able to see this process of novel functions appearing as a result of random mutation in any of them, either through gene duplication or otherwise? That’s my moot question. If you can’t show that example, then obviously the argument that mutation produced these new functions is an assumption. It’s not proven.

Let me bring to your attention something. In fact I have been asking this question to so many others in this forum. People tried to produce proofs. Some said E coli, and some said Nylonase. But when I scrutinized those proofs they simply had no legs to stand on. In the case of Nylonase, the very team of scientists who first said that it was created through a frame-shift mutation, revoked their claim by saying that the mechanism is not known. (they found the lack of stop codons in the protein chain too hard to explain through random mutation). What I am saying is that the more you scrutinize the mechanisms behind these so called ‘random mutation’ generating new information, it is found to be NOT the case. There are more complex mechanisms behind it. That’s why I insist on the mechanism.

You said: “Valiya, here is the symbolic definition of a literal analogy:
"A" has properties P(1), P(2), … P(n)…and P(x)
"B" has properties P(1), P(2), … P(n)…
-----------------------------------------------------------
Therefore, "B" has the property P(x)

You are misrepresenting my logic here. Your sets would be right if I had simply made observations of similar properties without first proving the basic premise. I proved that P(1) P(2)… P(n) = P(x) in all the sets that we know of without exception. And then I analyze the set which has to be determined, and finding the same properties, conclude it should be P(x).

You said: In your zeal to prove me wrong, valiya, you made a terrible mistake! Both of the sets in your example are filled with objects that are obviously designed.”

You have totally missed my point. My intention is to show to you that the properties you considered to disqualify nature from ID, are present even in those sets that are known to have ID. This proves that those properties are not useful to infer ID.

If you say that nature can’t be ID because it contains errors, then you would have to say that even the spaceship Challenger (that exploded) is not from ID because it had an error. This shows that the property of ‘error’ is irrelevant in inferring design. In order to prove this, I had to take sets that are ‘obviously designed’. Hope you get my point.

You said: “I added the properties of "j," "n," and "r" to reflect the looseness of your analogy.”

The properties of j, n and r are not related to ID, therefore, they don’t make any difference in the ID inference I derive from my analogy. You have just thrown them in to make my analogy appear loose. I also gave you the example of race inference. When hair-type, skin color and eye shape match, that’s good enough to infer race, even if they speak different languages or follow different religions. My analogy is extremely tight. An ID candidate could slip out of it, but never will a non-ID candidate slip in. If it’s there in the set, it has to be ID.

You said: “Imagine yourself debating a flat-earther who claims that the moon landings are all faked. How would you respond to that flat-earther?....”

If the only proof you had to show that the earth was round was an assumption based on indirect evidence that could be interpreted 100 different ways… then I would not blame the flat-earther for not taking your word.

You said: “(P.S. If you decide to seriously challenge the "evolutionary tree" then start a new thread. I might just drop by.)”

I will start a new thread, but what exactly would we be discussing there? The mechanism or just the tree?

Greensnake's picture
valiya:

valiya:

I see that you are still engaged in your usual misdirection, pointless diversions, and misinterpretation of my material, probably because the subject is over your head and you are in denial mode. Here is a typical example:

[[If you say that nature can’t be ID because it contains errors, then you would have to say that even the spaceship Challenger (that exploded) is not from ID because it had an error. This shows that the property of ‘error’ is irrelevant in inferring design. In order to prove this, I had to take sets that are ‘obviously designed’. Hope you get my point. --valiya]]

We begin with a distortion of my message. My point is that no intelligent designer (smart enough to design plants and animals) would make the kinds of clumsy mistakes that we see everywhere in plants and animals. I never said that all ID is free of errors!

Then comes the false analogy. The error that doomed Challenger was well withing the expectations of human oversight. The silliness found in plant and animal designs are so obvious that a newly graduated engineer would not make them.

Your first conclusion is irrelevant because of the above errors.

Finally, there is no point at all to your misrepresentation of my logical model of your analogy. You simply botched it, and no amount of smoke and mirrors can change that. The argument form is invalid to begin with, and your loose version of it is hopeless.

All of this in just one, short paragraph! Multiply that by 100 and we get your last post! Perhaps in you own mind this pointless stream of rationalization and misrepresentation counts for truth. You are not alone. The flat-earther has his rationalizations too, and in his mind they are proof that he is right. When you can get you ideas published in a refereed, scientific journal then we will sit up and take notice. Meanwhile, even an informal discussion with you is impossible since you never actually come to grips with the issues. It's all appearances. In fact, you are busy misrepresenting and distorting my every point, which diverts the discussion into blind alleys. I have seen this kind of thing before, usually at a lower level of intelligence.

If you start a thread on the evolutionary "tree" make it clear to us that you understand what it is, and show us that you understand how that "tree" comes out of DNA and Cytochrome c data. That will serve as a foundation for your criticism. A simple summary (a page or two) of the general principles should not be too difficult if you understand the subject at all.

Yes, it is "Good-bye." However, if you start a thread on the "evolutionary tree" and demonstrate a knowledge of the subject, then it may be worth my time to join in.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi Green Snake

Hi Green Snake

This is no different from so many other discussions I have had where people simply degenerate to the level of name calling and sweeping generalizations of ‘smoke screens’ and ‘diversions’ and so on. But I will take it point by point and provide my answers, which is something you have increasingly seemed to be moving away from.

You said: “We begin with a distortion of my message. My point is that no intelligent designer (smart enough to design plants and animals) would make the kinds of clumsy mistakes that we see everywhere in plants and animals. I never said that all ID is free of errors!”

Even if I were to concede that there are clumsy mistakes (which I don’t, but I will NOT get into it here), it would only show that the ID agent has been clumsy… it cannot overrule ID agency itself. If I were arguing for God, you would have a very valid point. But I am only arguing for signs of ID, and errors are not good enough to overrule it as can be shown with so many ID models in our everyday life. You are attacking a strawman by assuming that I am invoking God when I say ID. Yes, that is my faith, but in this discussion I am not invoking god at all. So don’t bring this caveat that ID agent cannot make mistakes. If you want you may accept this simple logic or continue in your ‘smoke screens’… I am sorry to say so. I don’t usually get personal in my discussions. But in this discussion, given the amount of flak you have thrown at me, I think I am justified in breaking that principle a bit.

You said: “Then comes the false analogy. The error that doomed Challenger was well withing the expectations of human oversight. The silliness found in plant and animal designs are so obvious that a newly graduated engineer would not make them.”

This is another fallacy that I have pointed out so many times but you have simply ducked it without even attempting to answer. You are confusing the line between nature vs artificial for the line between design vs random. Look at your argument ‘Challenger was well within the expectations of human oversight’… This is a judgement of the ID agent, not ID itself. If an ID has errors, it is only a reflection of the level of expertise of its agent. But it does not in any way affect ID inference. If a fresh engineering graduate designs a flight it will have far more errors than if NASA does it. Would you then say that the engineering student’s design is not ID? If you still don’t get it… I am sorry. The irony is, after refusing to see this simple logic you accuse me of ‘smoke screens.’

Just ask yourself how you would differentiate between ‘natural vs artificial’ and ‘design vs random’ and you will realize your mistake, the same old fallacy of begging the question.

You said: “Finally, there is no point at all to your misrepresentation of my logical model of your analogy.”

Your analogy actually carries over all the flawed logic of the points above. I have spelt it out with examples and clear explanations. You are simply refusing to see it.

Greensnake's picture
Good-bye valiya.

Good-bye valiya.

...'s picture
Something just came to mind

Something just came to mind today. So I'm focusing on the first paragraph, the eye.

I understand your argument, but I'm not sure I understand your logic. So help me understand.

1. Firstly, I don't recall being taught that mankind was supposed to be the height of creation. Animals run faster, fly higher, swim longer than us. Even if we focus on sight. Animals can see further, see in less light, and even see colors our eyes cannot, etc. I think this is an assumption you need to explain before you compare our anatomy to other animals. If we aren't supposed to be the best, then your argument won't make sense.

2. Following from the first point, if you are unable to prove we were meant to be the epitome of design, you should then compare the designs in nature to technology. Why? Because your example seems to imply God created man and not the octopus. You can't say God is a bad designer, and then prove that by showing us how good His octopus design was. Does that make sense? It's like saying JK Rowling is a bad author, by comparing her second book to her first. If either of her books are good, then she is a good author. So to prove she is a bad author, you need to compare her work to another author like Jane Austen. So I think you need to compare anatomy to technology. Because technology is something we can be sure mankind built, not God.

Greensnake's picture
John 61X Breezy:

John 61X Breezy:

The point of comparing human eyes to that of the octopus is to make it clear that it is not some subtle need that forces the intelligent designer to wire our eyes ass-backwards. If he/she/it could do it right with the octopus, then whence the clumsy design of our eyes?

Your point about man not necessarily being the epitome of of design is well taken, but it still seems rather odd that God would do a sloppy job, an inferior job in many respects, on his greatest creation. Supposedly the whole universe was created for man's benefit, but God could not see fit to give man superior eyes, or legs, or smell, etc.

Ask yourself how an all-powerful, omniscient God could possibly botch the design of human (mammalian in general) eyes. Odd, that he should botch it for all the mammals--as though the "design" were actually inherited from an early mammalian ancestor! I'm not arguing that God is incompetent when he designed human eyes and, then, suddenly finds the ability to do it right for the octopus. An all-powerful, omniscient god just doesn't make mistakes, period! Such blunders are a sign of a malicious god or maybe an incompetent god, or maybe just evolution, I'd bet on evolution since we know the general source and pathway for the evolution of mammalian and octopus eyes.

...'s picture
I apologize if you’ve talked

I apologize if you’ve talked about this with Valiya (too much to read).

1. My first issue is with the world clumsy. In my opinion, a clumsy or bad design is one that doesn’t do what it was intended to do. So a pen that doesn’t write. A gun without a trigger. A car with square tires. Intention is the key word. Were we intended to see as birds? Were birds intended to see as octopuses? We obviously can’t know what God’s intentions were, but let’s just say yes, our eyes do what they were intended to do.

2. If something does what it was intended to do, we can ask if it does so efficiently. Efficiency is subjective too: Could it use less space? Could the design use less energy? If this is so, then you may have a point, our eyes could be more efficient. But the question is, should it? Is efficiency the sole requirement of good design? Well, the most space efficient iPhone might be a 1cm rectangle, but who would buy that? The most energy efficient car is the one that uses no energy, but since perpetual motion isn’t possible, a car that uses no energy is one that does no work, and a car that doesn’t work is useless. So efficiency, no matter how its defined must be balanced with practicality and usefulness. So should the eye be more efficient? Let’s just say maybe.

3. The next question is “can” it, and at what cost? I’ve had to learn a lot about the human eye in psychology, but unfortunately not octopuses, so I had to google about them lol. The first thing I learned just to clarify is that all vertebrates have eyes like us, not mammals exclusively. So in theory, birds, snakes, frogs, fish, all have this blind spot. Anyway..

Biological features have a problem that our technology does not. We can design state of the art machines, with fancy features in the right places, but biological machines don't fall into place like that, they need to grow outward from a single cell. Our retinas are actually part of the brain. So when you look into someone’s eyes, you really are looking into their soul lol. As the brain is developing in the womb, two extensions begin to emerge and form a cup. This will eventually become the retina and optic nerve. The fact that the eye merges from the brain is the reason why our retinas are inverted. So knowing this I went to go look how octopuses go about it, and it turns out to be different. They’re eyes form from the surface of the body, inwards towards the brain, which makes their retinas faces the opposite way. But it also makes them not have a cornea, which leaves their eyes exposed to seawater. I also read that their eyes can’t focus the way ours can, but I’m not sure if that’s due to the way they grow, or for other reasons.

So what’s my point? There are costs to every benefit. You gain one thing, but may lose another. It’s not as simple as saying flip the retina around. The way you accomplish that might make you lose something else. Perhaps octopuses don’t need corneas underwater. And perhaps we do, since our corneas keep a layer of fluid between our lens and the outside world.

4. A counterargument. As far as I can tell, the only downside to an inverted retina is the blind spot. How significant is this? Not very. Your blind spot isn’t an issue for two reasons, first because your other eye covers that part of the visual field, and secondly, because your brain is a masterpiece of a computer, and fills in the missing information.

But more importantly, keep in mind our visual field is about 125° wide, not mentioning the fact that we stop seeing color and acuity the further out we go. That means you have a 235° blind spot right behind you. That's 65% of the world you don't see. Chameleons don’t have that blind spot. Horses don’t have that blind spot. So if you really care about blind spots, non-inverted retinas aren’t the way to go. You need eyes at the side of your head. That’s the superior design. Wait, but your ears are in the way? I guess just put them on top like a horses do. Now isn't that lovely? I'm sure it'll be a good look for you. The ladies would love it lol.

Nyarlathotep's picture
I bet if you hired some guy

I bet if you hired some guy to wire your house with cameras and he put the wiring for each camera in-front of the pixel detector, then told you to get software to edit out the wiring; you'd wouldn't be making excuses for him, you'd be wanting a refund.

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