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Stephen Meyer - 17th Nov
  • GavinM November 2011
    "Christian Darwinism is called Christians in Science over there"

    Nice. I don't think that is even grammatically correct let alone anything else. :-)
  • SimonSimon November 2011
    Actually he was two and a half when I took that picture... bet very few of their contributors have scientific publications - that blog is simply awful.
  • GrumpyBob November 2011
    AnthonySmith - uncommondescent took a bit of a pop at my Wonderful Life blog.  Where, I might add, I seem to have had a drive-by comment from Alastair Noble.

    Robert
  • David_Tyler November 2011
    Simon - Thanks for these five observations.  I've been rather preoccupied since I last posted, but would like to provide some responses.  This is just in relation to your first comments.

    "I'm not as convinced as Meyer that "no material causes have been discovered that demonstrate the power to produce large amounts of specified information" (p378).   OK so DNA first or protein first scenarios are unlikely, and the RNA world explanation does not give a complete picture, however chemical space is vast."
    This appears to me to be an acknowledgement that Meyer is on target in his critiques of these approaches.  This is a significant step because it means that most of the literature relating to OOL research must now be regarded as evidence that life did not start this way.  Normally, when scientists provide reviews of research that allow conclusions to be drawn like this, it is an occasion to be thanksful that someone has done the hard work and helped refocus people's minds.  Yet Meyer is getting a lot of stick for this service!  I understand why you are saying that chemical space is vast, but I suspect Meyer will respond that the OOL challenge is not just about chemistry.

    "Instead of giving up (as ID does at this point) the scientist should be reaching for his (or her) Merck index. Where the IDer becomes incredulous the scientist keeps beavering away."
    It is not that ID has given up.  The argument is that the research undertaken this far is positive evidence that life has not arisen by these means.  What is needed now is a paradigm shift to address encoded information.  This is where inferences are needed, but your inference that we must keep bearing away looks more like "gap thinking" than Meyer's design inference. Meyer is not giving up - he is following the evidence wherever it leads.
    More feedback to follow.
  • Pete November 2011

    "Nonsense - as I said in my earlier post there is always a good THEOLOGICAL reason for miracles. Hence Jesus' resurrection, virgin birth, various of Jesus' miracles etc.

    Secondly miracles are necessarily unexplainable by the scientific method - indeed supernatural miracles NEED science to define when they occur. To be truly supernatural miracles have to be the sort of thing that science cannot even get close to explaining
    ."

     

    I was being facetious Simon.

     

    However, this is what YECs and the gnu Atheists will throw at you.

    Funny how they both say the same things to the TEs ! 

  • Michael November 2011
    I have the same problem over the historicity of Job and Jonah. It seems that an essential article of my faith is to believe that Jonah was parboiled and survived.
  • David_Tyler November 2011

    Simon: This is a response to point (2).
    "Despite the somewhat annoying rhetorical feel of the phrase "inference to the best explanation" it is a generally valid way of reaching a conclusion." 
    I am really not sure why you refer to an “annoying rhetorical feel”.  The term is valid; it is meaningful; it is appropriate.


    "However I am not convinced that ID is the "best explanation" for understanding how life started. As I mentioned in an earlier post the one important point of these studies is to find an explanation for natural intelligence."
    Yes.  That was how Darwin presented it.  He claimed inference to the best explanation for his conclusion that variation filtered by natural selection can explain biological information.  That is what Meyer is addressing – finding Darwin’s theory lacking in explanatory power; finding alternative naturalistic explanations lacking; and inferring intelligent agency to be the best explanation of the evidence. 


    “All ID does is say that because it is "incredulous" that specified complexity could have resulted from materialistic processes, a supernatural intelligence must be behind the system - hence the accusation of God of the gaps.”
    But this objection has already been addressed – this is not all that ID does.  It is based on positive evidence of what intelligent agency can achieve.  It is not God of the gaps.

  • SimonSimon November 2011
    Hi David - I have an opportunity to type some replies, although I fear this conversation will head off into multiple directions that are difficult to keep track of!

    First off your 25th November post:

    This appears to me to be an acknowledgement that Meyer is on target in his critiques of these approaches.  This is a significant step because it means that most of the literature relating to OOL research must now be regarded as evidence that life did not start this way.  Normally, when scientists provide reviews of research that allow conclusions to be drawn like this, it is an occasion to be thanksful that someone has done the hard work and helped refocus people's minds.  Yet Meyer is getting a lot of stick for this service!

    Meyer is not a scientist involved in this research. He is a skilled rhetorician who chooses to communicate through the popularist rather than the scientific literature. Much like Dawkins writing about theology, Meyer is operating at such a basic level that he mostly misses the relevant questions, or at least misunderstands the conclusions that can be drawn from them. Sadly, and exactly analogous to the gnu-atheist movement, the ID movement is full of people with strong opinions but little knowledge. Meyer is disliked because from a position of a little bit of knowledge he inflames passions amongst people with no knowledge. If Meyer really wanted to contribute to the scientific discussion he would go work in a lab and publish peer reviewed papers.

    ...but your inference that we must keep bearing away looks more like "gap thinking" than Meyer's design inference. Meyer is not giving up - he is following the evidence wherever it leads.

    Nonsense. We know so little about chemistry, biology and physics that we haven't even come close to exhausting the physicalist paradigm. "Gap thinking" relies on gaps not being close-able. Science does nothing of the sort.

    Onto your post from today:

    I am really not sure why you refer to an “annoying rhetorical feel”.

    A sure way of telling creationists is to look at their vocabulary - words like Darwinism, macro-evolution, baraminology, irreducible complexity and yes, "inference to the best explanation" are characteristic. Why not just use the normal phrase "inductive knowledge"? This comes back to my accusation that ID is more rhetorical than logical.

    ...finding Darwin’s theory lacking in explanatory power; finding alternative naturalistic explanations lacking; and inferring intelligent agency to be the best explanation of the evidence. 

    "Darwin's theory" is old hat. Evolution has moved on since then so criticising "Darwin's theory" is a straw man argument. As for positing intelligence to explain intelligence, by being dishonest about his Christian motivation Meyer is arguing for a tautology. I (as a Christian) am happy to agree that God's supernatural intelligence is the first cause of our natural intelligence. But by claiming that ID is not religious/theological Meyer completely loses touch with the logic and rationale of the theistic apologetic.

    “All ID does is say that because it is "incredulous" that specified complexity could have resulted from materialistic processes, a supernatural intelligence must be behind the system - hence the accusation of God of the gaps.”
    But this objection has already been addressed – this is not all that ID does.  It is based on positive evidence of what intelligent agency can achieve.  It is not God of the gaps.

    So you admit that ID DOES partly rely on the incredulity argument - good that is at least a start! Problem with the second half of this paragraph is that it doesn't get away from the tautology issue I mentioned above.

    Again, nothing I have read by Johnson, Behe, Meyer or indeed yourself has caused me to think that ID is not a) religiously motivated, b) an argument from incredulity, c) relies upon God of the gaps and hence d) is not science but is e) bad theology. 




  • GHitch November 2011
    It is truly discouraging to witness the appallingly ignorant - and even just plain stupid - level of attempted "rebuttal" offered to Meyer's points here by Simon et al.

    Get a grip on what Meyer actually states instead of chasing your little tails in circles debating your own pitiful understanding of the arguments and their contexts.

    Sheesh, I would have expected more from so many self-styled "experts" who are yet truly without a clue.
    --------
    Code implies convention, syntax, semantics etc.
    There is no such thing without intelligence.
    There is no such possible entity as algorithmic information or meta information without intelligent origin. Nor is it ever going to happen either, no matter how much you blind followers of the blind wish it so.

    Try rubbing a magic lamp instead of wasting your breath trying to refute axioms of information with your zero level understanding of what algorithmic info is.


  • GHitch November 2011
    Simon says for ex.,

    "...that ID is not a) religiously motivated, b) an argument from
    incredulity, c) relies upon God of the gaps and hence d) is not science
    but is e) bad theology."


    Wrong on every single point.
    And obviously so!

    "religiously motivated"?

    You mean like Darwinism? You better leave that alone too if you're capable of honesty, because nothing is more religiously motivated than Darwinism. That's why its nothing more than revived metaphysical naturalism hiding posing behind a mask of pseudo-science.

    "argument from
    incredulity"
    ?


    So you're really attempting to state that the argument presented - which is in fact argument based on statistical mechanics - is an argument from incredulity?
    Right. Dream on.  You've been reading K. Miller's codswallop so long you actually believe it, all while sadly not even understanding its many fallacious premises, often refuted. No one in the Darwinian cage pays any attention to the little man behind the curtain or the elephant in the room.
    "The problem is not incredulity on the part of the evaluator but credulity on the part of the evolutionist. “Don’t worry, it evolved” is not a plausible explanation."
    Worse, there is no theory of origins that contains more arguments from incredulity than Darwinism itself.

    Since day one its been little more than "there is no god or he is absent therefore evolution did it"
    We have not a scrap of evidence that blind forces can do anything more than the very trivial, but hey you believe!!
    "DNA rules don’t count because that would be an argument from
    incredulity."
    Right. Dream on...

    The new field of systems biology is forcing the biologists back to school to study engineering. Why do we need engineering to understand the results of Darwin’s simple idea? Doh!
    Biosemiotics, by itself, is also undoing Darwinian fairy tale stories.

    All mechanical structures - including bio-structures - are subject to the laws of physics.
    Probabilities thus apply as much to biomechanics as to any other mechanics.
    And the laws of probability tell us that it is impossible for the blind, unguided forces of nature to create interacting functional machines.
    Algorithms are required for construction of parts and their assembly as well as their functional purpose.

    Any mechanical composite device must be assembled in order.
    Any parts must adhere to the laws of physics as well.
    The component parts must have the correct physical properties for the function of the machine.
    Parts require the correct strength, size, shape, rigidity, elasticity, durability, viscosity for heat resistance, etc etc.

    Because parts of a machine must work together they create combinatorial dependencies. Yet another thing Darwinists are utterly ignorant of and willfully blind to.

    Combinatorial dependencies, the more there are of them in any organized system, the lower the probability of their random assemblage and function.

    For any machine, composed of say 20 parts, the probability of a randomly ordered assembly getting the correct order to form the machine, is ridiculously low.
    Calculating such a P for a basic problem where order is vital is easy.
    It's the same as calculating the P for getting any sequence of objects or numbers in an exact order.

    For our hypothetical 20 part machine, assuming the parts must be assembled in order - which is the case in most machines, that gives:
    1/20! = about  4,110e-19
    Meaning 1 chance in 1 out of 4.11 x 10^19
    Or P = about 1/41,000,000,000,000,000,000

    How's that for "never gonna happen"?
    Because the math says so, not incredulity. Its just amazing how supposedly intelligent people can think they are allowed to ignored the FACTS pointed to by simple math - just because they don't like such facts! That's willful incredulity.

    Statistical mechanics is not something they have ever understood as having profound implications in biology. The
    numbers are always so astronomically against them that Darwinism should
    have dropped off the science map a century ago.

    Selection doesn't help here either. In fact it has no real existence at this molecular level.

    Worse.  That little calculation of mine is way off.
    Why?
    I included only the P for a random event of getting 20 out of 20 parts in order.

    This assumes the parts already exist!
    It also assumes there is a mechanism of assembly.
    It also assumes all parts - randomly created of course - are of the correct size and shape to allow assembly.

    Adding all those further improbable events multiplies P to many orders of magnitude less than the already humongous improbability!

    i.e. No matter how astronomically low the probability of a chance bio occurrence is, you all put on your tinfoil Darweener caps and apply blind faith in chance and necessity.
    FAIL!

    "relies upon God of the gaps and hence"?
    Obviously you've never heard of "evolution of the gaps".
    Can't explain even the origin of the simplest organism known? Well easy! "Evolution did it".

    "is not science
    but is e) bad theology"
    ?

    Now this "argument", if I may abuse the term, is worth nothing more than a hearty ROTFLMAO!

    If anything is NOT science it's Darwinian fundamentalism's idiotic, logical fallacies-based, imbecilic metaphysics based propositions.
    The very roots of his foolish hypothesis are riddled with errors of circular reasoning, undistributed middle, affirming the consequent and others.

    But hey this isn't a problem!  Darwinists just put on their Dawkins masks and make-believe all day long anyway!

    Yes, "life started on the backs of crystals" (Ruse's inane belief)

    Evolutionists have not and cannot explain the existence or origin of the instructions for assembly of a simple flagellum, let alone DNA.
    DNA requires proteins, but the instructions for building proteins are encoded in DNA. Duh!
    Chicken or egg?
    The answer is necessarily both simultaneously, right from the start.
    This is not hard.

    There is not a single instance of proof for the asinine Darwinian "theory" (doesn't even qualify as a legit theory) and almost ALL the evidence refutes its core proposition, but hey it must be true because the metaphysical commitment is, there is no god and Darwieners are his prophets!


  • Michael November 2011

    Oh dear, I am one with Simon and have been for a very long time.


    I hadn't dabbled in ID until I reviewed Darwin's Balck Box 15 years ago for Science and Christian Beleif  - and only did so as I saw David carrying a copy. I soon realised that is was a goddidit and a godofthegaps argument


    Despite being familiar with most of the arguments but not all ID (often a cloak for YEC) has nothing going for it  and where I check out its arguments eg over the Cambrian Explosion it collapses to dust


    I ignore GHitch's poor rhetoric

  • AnthonySmithAnthonySmith November 2011
    GHitch - thank you ranting so eloquently.

    But please note that we encourage a more, well, congenial style of discussion here.
  • SimonSimon November 2011
    Hi GHitch,

    You see I didn't read beyond your first couple lines because first impressions often count more in communication than anything else - and the first impression you presented was, er , well...

    However you have motivated me to create a 'introductions' category as a nice polite place for people to start their engagement - so at least thanks for something!
  • GrumpyBob December 2011
    GHitch has lowered the tone somewhat with his incoherent ranting! I Googled "GHitch", and found an incoherent ranting blog quite closely resembling GHitch's 'contribution' to this discussion.