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Intelligent Design

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Meleagar

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Post Number:#31  PostDecember 7th, 2009, 9:34 am

First, here is the theory of ID as it is represented by many of the major sites and by most of the major proponents of I.D.:

http://www.intelligentdesign.org/
ID Defined | Uncommon Descent
Intelligent design - New World Encyclopedia


The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.



Note that the theory itself doesn't necessarily implicate a god of any sort. ID theory is based on the observable, quantifiable difference between what humans intelligently design, and that which appears to be not guided by intelligence (chance, natural law, etc.)

1. Intelligent design as theorized in its most ubiquitous form (above) is (I contend) as irrefutable a scientific fact as the most ubiquitous theoretical forms of evolution (populations evolve over time) and gravity. Humans utilize intelligent design to intentionally plan and construct things which we don't expect to be generated by chance and necessity, necessity being the predictable behavior of natural laws.

2. Forms of ID are already in use in the scientific community, whether by name or not, whether denied as ID or not; forensics, for example, determines if a murder or a fire was intentionally designed by a deliberate agent, or if it was an accident. SETI, for example, is searching for evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence (although now they'd like to change their name to "artificiality", which is again simply sidestepping the issue via dishonest semantics).

3. Science itself relies on the intelligent design of theories and experiments to advance. Human intelligent design generates things that are obviously and intuitively different than that which we normally expect chance and natural laws to produce on their own. IOW, if we found something like a very weird-looking spaceship on Mars, that had a power-source and computer-like controls, we wouldn't go around looking for a "natural" explanation to explain it; we would intuitively know it was designed by some form of intelligence.

4. The question isn't really if intelligent design exists, but rather if it exists outside of human beings, and if so, can it offer a more precise and functionally signifcant predictive model that can be used to reliably discern between non-designed phenomena and those produced by I.D.? After all, we might not always be able to intuitively identify artifacts of intelligence.

5. Unless one is going to argue that intelligence is unique to humans, then theorizing that non-humans might also have intelligence is a reasonable scientific theory - much as theories that some animals have various levels of intelligence as displayed by their capacity to innovate tool use and learn and use some rudimentary languages, and plan their actions to various degrees.

Also, we examine what other forces produce on Earth, like vucanism or erosion by air or water, and use those findings to guide our explanations of what we find on other worlds; this is nothing more than extrapolating what known commodities are known to produce into a explanatory framework for finding similar such activity elsewhere.

6. The problem of the definition of "natural". First, in normal usage, "natural" is a juxtaposition of "artificial", which means made by man. However, this dichotomy is false; scientists do not propose that humans, or human intelligence, is unnatural; in fact, according to science, the intelligence and foresighted design capability that humans possess must be generated entirely by natural processes. Humans are part of the natural world, and operate entirely within the natural world, according to science.

Unless one is going to argue that humans are not part of the natural world, then it is obvious that intelligent design is part of the natural world, and does produce phenomena that cannot be readily explained without it. Just as gravity produces phenomena and evolution explain phenomena that cannot be readily (scientifically) explained without appeal to those forces, so too does intelligent design produce phenomena (computers, battleships, space shuttles) that defy description or explanation with it.

7. Unless one wishes to argue that the existence of computers and space shuttles can be best described without appeal to a designing intelligence, then we must agree to the validity of the ubiquitous version of the theory, whether or not any more precise and valid predictive commodities derived from that theory have yet been developed or established.

Intelligent Design, like evolution, is a fact and a scientific theory, whether or not it has yet produced any successful rigorous predictive commodities that can reliably discern ID as the best explanation of a phenomena. Let's not forget that when Darwin first theorized evolution, he had no method for inheritance and no rigorous predictive capacity.

ID theorists are currently attempting to develop a rigorous, predictive model for identifying when a phenomena is best explained as the product of ID; some of those attempts are: irreducible complexity (Behe), the explanatory filter (Dembski), and the FSCI limitation of 500-1000 bits (Meyer).

Contrary to some who believe that such a designation indicates the "end" of scientific research into the phenomena in question, nothing could be further from the truth. A finding of ID only changes the methodology, the direction, the heuristic of further research; it doesn't end it.

For example, we return to the example of finding what appears to be an alien artifact on an apparently long-dead world we visit for the first time. If there is no scientifically valid means of first identifying the artifact as best explained as the product of ID, must we then limit our research to providing natural explanations for the artifact that preclude ID?

If so, why? Is ID not as natural as anything else in the world (see #6 above)? Why should it be excluded as an explanatory candidate?

Can we not attempt to reverse-engineer the artifact? Can we not speculate on design goals for different aspects or about what appear to be functional machines and devices in the artifact, the purpose of the arrangement and layout, the uses of what seems to be equipment, then test, experiment, and conduct research on such hypothesi?

There are entirely different research paradigms involved if the artifact is assumed to be generated by intelligence or if it is assumed to be the product of otherwise natural forces; if we assume it came together largely by chance and mindless, lawful necessity, or if we assume it was constructed with a purpose (or many such purposes) in mind.

Why should we assume either? Why not develop a scientifically rigorous methodology that can determine if something is best explained as product of ID or not?

This is precisely what ID theorists are currently striving to do, as well as to find such phenomena, and then to develop research programs of such phenomena based on the finding that they are intelligently designed.

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Post Number:#32  PostDecember 7th, 2009, 12:03 pm

This is precisely what ID theorists are currently striving to do, as well as to find such phenomena, and then to develop research programs of such phenomena based on the finding that they are intelligently designed.
(Meleagar)

But people who believe in 'intelligent design' believe that there is an other-worldy designer. Either design is natural and there is no final cause, or design is artifical and there is a final cause. Or to put it even more briefly, nature is either designed with final causes or it is designed without final causes.There is no way that there both is final cause in nature and that there is not final cause in nature.

Final causes are the upshots of intentions.Blueprints embody final causes. There is no blueprint that makes oak trees what they are, but only struggle for survival plus random mutations.

That man made artefacts are made with final causes is true. This fact added to Darwin's experience, he bred pigeons.The difference between artifical selection and natural selection is final cause.

The writer of the article forwarded by Meleagar apparently does not know the singular of 'criteria'.

if we found something like a very weird-looking spaceship on Mars, that had a power-source and computer-like controls, we wouldn't go around looking for a "natural" explanation to explain it; we would intuitively know it was designed by some form of intelligence.
(from article forwarded by Meleagar)

If I found this queer spaceship, I would assume that it was designed for a purpose, yes. I assume that a proper space scientist would not assume anything untilthere was significant evidence one way or the other. I imagine that if the queer spaceship thingy had working reproductive organs it would be able to reproduce itself by artificial selection if it was intelligent, and by natural selection if brainless.If they were brainless the race of spaceship thingies would evolve according to their struggles for survival in whatever ambience they inhabited.

Likewise Intelligent Design proponents can reproduce themselves if they want to do so by artifially selecting the characteristics they want their offspring to have, or Intelligent Design proponents who are themselves unintellegent can reproduce themselves entirely by natural selection.Only intelligent beings make blueprints.Nature is not intelligent.Scientists study nature.
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Post Number:#33  PostDecember 7th, 2009, 12:45 pm

Meleagar wrote:Note that the theory itself doesn't necessarily implicate a god of any sort. ID theory is based on the observable, quantifiable difference between what humans intelligently design, and that which appears to be not guided by intelligence (chance, natural law, etc.)

Part of the problem here is that we know how humans work and what purposes humans are interested in. Certainly, it is possible that every rock on the planet serves the purposes of some alien geological nerds; does that mean rocks have the "signature of design"? No; such an explanation is both too vague to offer us anything useful and too expansive to be justified by the evidence. In fact this is exactly the problem with ID for evolution.
Meleagar wrote:Forms of ID are already in use in the scientific community, whether by name or not, whether denied as ID or not; forensics, for example, determines if a murder or a fire was intentionally designed by a deliberate agent, or if it was an accident. SETI, for example, is searching for evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence (although now they'd like to change their name to "artificiality", which is again simply sidestepping the issue via dishonest semantics).

No, I'm afraid you're the one who has been sucked in by dishonest semantics. ID as proposed by the Discovery Institute is not scientific; there is not a single hypothesis or experiment that has been done in support of ID behind evolution. Yes, we look for intelligence--but for particular kinds. SETI is looking for human-like species, which it hypothesizes will also use light as a signaling device. Forensics is looking for human causes in particular; as I said above, we know what people do and why they do it, so it's easy to know what we're looking for.
Meleagar wrote:Science itself relies on the intelligent design of theories and experiments to advance.

What does the ubiquitous applicability of the words "intelligent" and "design" have to do with how the world works?
Meleagar wrote:ID theorists are currently attempting to develop a rigorous, predictive model for identifying when a phenomena is best explained as the product of ID; some of those attempts are: irreducible complexity (Behe), the explanatory filter (Dembski), and the FSCI limitation of 500-1000 bits (Meyer).

None of those models are valid or useful. As I already showed you, we know that stonehenge was designed not because its complicated, but because it fits the behavior of humans--and because there is not a natural cause behind it. Dembski comes closest, but you cannot use the process of elimination to find the answer; there needs to be affirmative evidence of something, not just incredulity toward alternatives. Further, ID proponents only have fallacious criticisms of evolution by natural selection--criticisms that are designed only to mislead the general population, not pursue science.
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Post Number:#34  PostDecember 7th, 2009, 12:48 pm

It seems clear to me that 'Intelligent Design' is not a scientific theory. In fact, I do think it even meets the qualifications for being a scientific hypothesis.

Remember a scientific theory is a validated hypothesis, and by definition it must be testable.

Karl Popper described the characteristics of a scientific theory as follows:

1. It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory—if we look for confirmations.

2. Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions; that is to say, if, unenlightened by the theory in question, we should have expected an event which was incompatible with the theory—an event which would have refuted the theory.

3. Every "good" scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.

4. A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.

5. Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability: some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation, than others; they take, as it were, greater risks.

6. Confirming evidence should not count except when it is the result of a genuine test of the theory; and this means that it can be presented as a serious but unsuccessful attempt to falsify the theory. (I now speak in such cases of "corroborating evidence".)

7. Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers—for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by reinterpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status.
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Post Number:#35  PostDecember 7th, 2009, 1:47 pm

Belinda wrote:
But people who believe in 'intelligent design' believe that there is an other-worldy designer.


Most people that believe in the big bang believe in an other-worldly originator for the big bang. So? What most people believe about any supposed designer is irrelevant to the scientific fact and theory of ID.

Either design is natural and there is no final cause, or design is artifical and there is a final cause. Or to put it even more briefly, nature is either designed with final causes or it is designed without final causes.There is no way that there both is final cause in nature and that there is not final cause in nature.


Whether or not there is some "final cause" is entirely irrelevent to ID fact and theory.

Final causes are the upshots of intentions.Blueprints embody final causes. There is no blueprint that makes oak trees what they are, but only struggle for survival plus random mutations.


Blueprints exist because humans make them and employ them. Unless this means that the human construction and use of blueprints lies outside the realm of science to quantify and describe, then there is no reason that if such a blueprint was used in the generation of oak trees, it cannot be similarly found out and subjected to ID research. Your assertion about how the oak tree has come into existence is nothing more than just that - a bald assertion.

That man made artifacts are made with final causes is true.


It makes no difference if intelligence represents a "final cause" or not, any more than "gravity" represents a "final cause" or not when it comes to quantifying what characteristics we can expect from a phenomena generated or affected by gravity.

If I found this queer spaceship, I would assume that it was designed for a purpose, yes. I assume that a proper space scientist would not assume anything untilthere was significant evidence one way or the other.


How does one go about collecting evidence that the artifact is intelligently designed, if all methods of determining ID from non-ID are by definition non-scientific? If ID detection is not a scientific enterprise, then how can any such "space scientists" collect any scientific evidence to make a determination?

I imagine that if the queer spaceship thingy had working reproductive organs it would be able to reproduce itself by artificial selection if it was intelligent, and by natural selection if brainless.If they were brainless the race of spaceship thingies would evolve according to their struggles for survival in whatever ambience they inhabited.


So are you saying that there is, or is not a rigorous methodology for determining if something is the product of ID or not?

Alun: your counter-assertions have no merit in fact, evidence or in logic.

Scott: ID is an empirical, scientific fact, as humans employ it every day. It is of course a scientific theory.

I see you failed to address the "alien artifact" problem; how are we going to determine if an artifact we find on a dead, alien world is the product of unintelligent forces or intelligent design?

Please try and focus on that example of necessary ID detection and tell me how one would scientifically go about determining if an artifact we found on a long-dead alien planet was best explained by unintelligent or intelligent causation.
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Post Number:#36  PostDecember 7th, 2009, 6:09 pm

If only Darwinist and climatologist would adhere to some strict interpretation of the "scientific method" which is propounded upon intelligent design scientist. A wonder at all that we have a scientific method which serves only to support materialist objectivity. The only good science is materialist science. The scientific method is an authoritarian process of scientific discrimination. If the goal of the scientific method is to hijack truth for a materialistic cause then it has become discriminatory and no longer ideologically neutral. A sixth grader today knows more about science than Karl Popper could ever have dreamed of. Not only in science proper but in philosophy too.

Can anyone, who supports Darwinism, say that they are scientifically neutral when it is obvious that they "SEARCH" for a materialistic cause?

SETI is multimillion search for "extraterrestrial intelligence". I hear its carrying a sample of Whitley Strieber's DNA to prove its serious.

The seminal event of human meaning and its origin reduced to theory, hypothesis, unjustifiable, unproven political and legal material mysticism.

Consider the fallacy of material scientific reasoning; "The fact that there are instances in biological construction which appear designed are only an illusion of design."

It is not by chance that 85% of members in Academy of Science reject God.

Evolution allows the atheist to be "intellectually" fulfilled.

Intelligent design is rooted in scientific methodology allowing for the "shoe fits" theory to guide resources, objectivity and observations.
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Post Number:#37  PostDecember 7th, 2009, 7:13 pm

An artefact is by definition something designed by an agent. Better say some unbiased name, for instance 'entity X'. Let's call it 'Entity X'.If there were evidence that this Entity X had an ancestry going back millions of years, I'd say that Entity X was a result of natural selection.

If there was no such evidence of any ancestry, I'd wonder if an agent designed and made it, or conversely if I had failed to find traces of its ancestry,I'd surmise that an agent may have made and designed it.This case wouild remain indeterminate until significant evidence came along, one way or the other.

Oak trees are easy to explain by natural selection.Oak trees have ancestors.
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Post Number:#38  PostDecember 7th, 2009, 7:22 pm

The proposition that reality is materialistically or physicalistically monist is also not a scientific claim or scientific hypothesis. The scientific method is very simple idea which focuses solely on using empirical data to validate testable, refutable hypotheses and theories and in no way does it imply that that which can not be scientifically refuted or scientifically proven is somehow not true or true.

Scientific study and results cannot refute superstitions, supernatural beliefs, religious beliefs or other untestable or non-empirical beliefs. For instance, one may believe that gravity exists because supernatural demons from some realm that cannot be empirically observed use their magical powers to bend spacetime around objects to make them closer together in correlation with the objects' mass. The belief in such demons is not a scientific theory or a scientific hypothesis. Science can give us a theory that lets us predict that objects will fall if let go from the top of a roof through the empirical observation of gravity in controlled experiments, but science has nothing to do with providing evidence for or against the existence of those magical demons that cannot be empirically observed.

I'm surprised people who hold a superstitious, supernatural or religious belief often seem to want to try to turn into pseudoscience rather than embrace the fact that it is something out of the narrow focus of science and narrow ability of science to potentially refute. If I held a religious/superstitious/supernatural belief, I would feel it to be mockery for that belief to be falsely treated as science.

Meleagar wrote:ID is an empirical, scientific fact, as humans employ it every day. It is of course a scientific theory.

What tests have been done on the ID "hypothesis" to make it a theory? Also, what is the ID "hypothesis" in your own words? What type of empirical data if found could refute this ID theory/hypothesis? Remember, testability and refutablilty are required elements of even just a scientific hypothesis.
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Post Number:#39  PostDecember 7th, 2009, 10:47 pm

If the "empirical data" from observed biological structures gives the appearance of design then why can it not be considered intelligently designed?

Intelligent design firstly proposes that intelligent agents are able to do things that undirected causes cannot.

There is a faction of intelligent biological agents which flatly rejects that the universe and all it contains can be explained by pure naturalism and doing so is actually antithetical to any scientific endeavor since it simply attempts to replace God with His denial, and turns science into a religion, or an anti-religion. Besides such materialism stifles scientific inquiry by pretending that science can progress without intelligent causes, which is philosophically impossible.

The Darwinist attempts to deny that intelligent causes do not exist when all one needs do is imagine the progress and advancements of civilization without intelligence. The view of the metaphysical naturalist that wholly undirected natural causes govern the universe is patently false. Believing so is based on superstition and misguided faith. Darwinist depend on a "dumb public" for support while Intelligent Design recognizes the value of human intuition.

So called science itself recognizes the value of intelligent design with SETI, since based on probabilities and statistics millions are spent on the search without one iota of "empirical evidence" unless a dollar and dream counts.

If we don't allow for the growth of scientific inquiry to progress with the technology. If we are not prepared to concede that in fact nature and the nature of existence reach beyond the imagination to develop Truths about reality then what is science for? The goal of the materialist is to prove, by hook or crook, that nature can be explained by undirected processes is actually what is based on superstition and mysticism! Think about it! Nature should never exceed the abilities of directed causes, but it does if man is the only intelligent designer. If nature can be constructed into a viable work of progress by undirected causes then why are mans directed causes so limited?

Remarkably the more science unveils of the nature of nature the more it proves Gods reality. What is even more remarkable is that man being the result of undirected causes believes himself capable of defining a reality that is unpredictable if undirected.

What should be of interest is a very recent report from the University of Florida on the study done on fossil plants from some 58 million years ago (There goes that magic 50 million year mark again) which shows that plants from that time have not changed. The same plants existed then that exist today. No evolution!

The team found 2,000 megafossil specimens from the Paleocene, said to be 58 million years old. This is only 5 to 8 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs according to conventional dating. “The new study provides evidence Neotropical rainforests were warmer and wetter in the late Paleocene than today but were composed of the same plant families that now thrive in rainforests.” The press release says that the fossil record from neotropical rain forests has been “almost nonexistent” – but now, it is evident that modern plant families existed then. “We have the fossils to prove this,” one said. “The foundations of the Neotropical rainforests were there 58 million years ago.”
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Post Number:#40  PostDecember 7th, 2009, 11:57 pm

Scott wrote:What tests have been done on the ID "hypothesis" to make it a theory?


Tests that compare product of human design against product achieved by chance and natural law and which show a significant, quantifiable difference between the two. Such tests are conducted daily in the fields of forensics, fraud investigations, and archaelogy when we recognize a distinct difference between the product of deliberate, intentional design and non-intelligent forces and accidental, non-teleological events.

Intelligent design is an empirical fact; humans have it and employ it to generate product that is quantifiably distinct. The fact that ID is empirically known to exist and generate distinct product advances it beyond the "hypothesis" state in the same way that "evolutionary theory" in Darwin's time was not a "hypothesis" because living things were known to evolve. Evolutionary theory was, and is, a mix of competing models and descriptions that incorporated known facts and speculation.

Just as there were many competing theories on how to best describe evolutionary process, there are competing ID theories on how to reach a determination of "best explanation" by ID; Behe uses IC, Dembski uses the explanatory filter and CSI, and Meyer uses FSCI. Essentially, they seek to rigorously quantify the difference between what can be achieved via chance and natural law, and what requires intelligent ordering to achieve.

Also, what is the ID "hypothesis" in your own words?


ID theory is the theory that some phenomena are best explained as the product of intelligent or intentional design because they have characteristics known to be generated by intelligent agents (humans)which are not known to be generated by unintelligent processes or chance, and that non-intelligent forces or processes are insufficient as explanations for those phenomena. Example: a functioning space shuttle is best explained as the product of intelligent design; unintelligent forces and processes are insufficient as an explanation.

What type of empirical data if found could refute this ID theory/hypothesis?


All that it takes to refute ID as best explanation in any particular case is to show unintelligent forces and chance to be a sufficient explanation for the phenomena in question. ID cannot be "refuted" in the overall sense because we know it exists.


Belinda: your design detection model fails, because purebred Pekingese are not the product of natural selection, and they have ancestors going back millions of years.
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Post Number:#41  PostDecember 8th, 2009, 3:05 am

Moreover, intelligent design based on the principle of complex specified information (CSI), formulated on information theory primarily asserting that no new information can be increased by any natural process in a closed system. This is a problem for Darwinian evolution particularly when a stochastic process is included. No matter how one spins it Darwinian evolution cannot explain the vast amount of information necessary to make a self sufficient and functional biosphere of such complex diversity especially from a single common organism which itself would have to be specific and complex.

When one considers the relationships between different organisms and the unity of the whole of it then a new dimension of specified complexity is added.

There is a distinction in our world between its material reality and conscious reality. Strange to me is how some don't see how perfectly suited humanity is to scientific discovery. It seems to me that the Darwinist looses something if he believes science should suit humanity.
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Post Number:#42  PostDecember 8th, 2009, 3:54 am

Juice wrote:If the "empirical data" from observed biological structures gives the appearance of design then why can it not be considered intelligently designed?

Neither you nor any ID proponent has defined "design" sufficiently for this to work as an hypothesis.
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Post Number:#43  PostDecember 8th, 2009, 9:39 am

Alun wrote:Neither you nor any ID proponent has defined "design" sufficiently for this to work as an hypothesis.


Neither you nor any "non-design" proponent has defined "non-design" sufficiently to appropriately characterize evolutionary selection as "natural" (i.e., unintelligent) or the mutations required to generate novel, functioning biological features as "random".

On the other hand, only ID proponents have produced the mathematical analysis of evolutionary and ID processes that indicate evolution is entirely inexplicable via random and unintelligent components, and that only ID can provide the necessary active (target) information required by evolutionary searches to reach functional, specified biological targets.

Showing that unintelligent processes are insufficient through the models of IC, the explanatory filter and CSI, and that they exceed the FSCI bound of 1000 bits and showing that ID as we know it to exist is not only a sufficient explanation, but the only known sufficient explanation, are viable means of establishing a phenomena to be best explained as product of ID.

Papers defining the limitations of such unintelligent evolutionary searches, and the necessity for target information to be involved in any such evolutionary search, have been published by Dembski and Marks at IEEE, see http://www.evoinfo.org/Publications/CostOfSuccess. html and http://www.evoinfo.org/Publications/Hagg.html. To my knowledge, no paper has been published showing that unintelligent evolutionary searches have the capacity to reasonably find highly specified targets of novel biological function.

Alun and others here defend Natural Selection as a meaningful component of evolutionary processes. However, it seems that he's missed the funeral of natural selection by the mainstream:

Evolutionary-genomic studies show that natural selection is only one of the forces that shape genome evolution and is not quantitatively dominant, whereas non-adaptive processes are much more prominent than previously suspected. - Darwinian Evolution in the Light of Genomics, Eugene Koonin, Nucleic Acids Research, 37(4), 2009, pp. 1011-1034.


Alun argues that no statistical analysis is possible; that is definitely true because there is no meaningful model of natural selection as a sorting agent. However, since natural selection is no longer regarded as the dominant "selector" of biological diversity by many (if not most) evolutionary biologists:

In the decades since its introduction, the neutral theory of evolution has become central to the study of evolution at the molecular level, in part because it provides a way to make strong predictions that can be tested against actual data. The neutral theory holds that most variation at the molecular level does not affect fitness and, therefore, the evolutionary fate of genetic variation is best explained by stochastic processes. This theory also presents a framework for ongoing exploration of two areas of research: biased gene conversion, and the impact of effective population size on the effective neutrality of genetic variants. - Neutral Theory: The Null Hypothesis of Molecular Evolution
By: Laurent Duret, Ph.D. (Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Évolutive, Université Claude Bernard, France. ) © 2008 Nature Education


Not only is natural selection an insufficient sorting process; it has been largely abandoned by evolutionary biologists for a long time in favor of Motoo Kimura's neutral molecular evolution theories and in light of Gould & Lewontin's work showing that selection for adaptive success is not nearly a comprehensive explanatory framework for describing much, or most, of the variation we see today and in the fossil record.

As Duret explains, the neutral theory virtually eliminates natural selection as a meaningful contributor in evolutionary processes (a fallen state further exacerbated by epigenetics and genetic drift), and that the neutral theory - in contrast to natural selection - allows for statistical models to be generated in regards to the capacity of mutations to generate novel, functioning expressions.

IOW, there was no way to usefully model the contribution of natural selection to the generation of novel, functioning biological forms. Asserting that NS was sufficient and was the primary sorting agent (expressed as a scientific fact in many books on evolution) has been shown to be entirely incorrect.

There was absolutely no science or math that supported NS was a sufficient sorting process for what it was claimed to produce; yes, you can observe it in action, but just because you can observe something doesn't mean that it can accomplish everything you attribute to it.

Today, horizontal gene transfer and epigenetics are the focus of evolutionary developmental research. Other research like Adaptation of Mutation Rates in a Simple Model of Evolution by Mark A. Bedau Robert Seymour show that genetic variation seems to be a regulated process; many other papers show that the environment contains developmental triggers for phenotypical variance, and that these phenotypes themselves can have a recursive effect on genetic expression; this isn't natural selection, but rather an intelligent genetic response to environmental factors that can be inherited.

The idea of "random" mutation acted on by "natural" selection as being the engines of successful, functional biological diversity has been effectively dead for years.

As far as the ID side goes, Dembski and Marks and others have shown that it is possible to formally model the search and success potential of undirected evolutionary searches, and that unintelligent searches (that have no information about the target) are no better than random searches. It appears that evolutionary searches in the real world are not blind; if the environment is triggering genetic variance and expression of corresponding potential stored in the code, and controlled by regulatory enzymes that we have just begun to research, one can hardly make the claim that random mutations generate physical variances which natural selection then acts upon.

There is apparently a regulatory system for the brute mutation rate in effect; a check and library system for mutation correction and storage in non-coding areas; a regulatory system for genetic expression, and what seems to be feedback loops and systems for spreading successful variant expressions through horizontal mechanisms that have nothing to do with "heredity".

The process of evolution is obviously intelligent, not blind, and not random. Formal examination via a statistical analysis of the capacity of blind and random processes to generate successful, novel biological features strongly indicates non-intelligent processes are not up to the task of creating or sorting the information required, while what we know of ID as expressed by humans is up to the coding and meta-regulatory system generation challenge, making ID the best explanation available.

Such findings justify further research of biological phenomena based on the design heuristic. ID theorists predicted such meta-regulatory systems would be found that govern virtually all aspects of evolutionary processes; such systems cannot be accounted for as the results of blind searches acting on random information.
Last edited by Meleagar on December 8th, 2009, 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Belinda

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Post Number:#44  PostDecember 8th, 2009, 1:31 pm

Belinda: your design detection model fails, because purebred Pekingese are not the product of natural selection, and they have ancestors going back millions of years.


Good answer Meleagar, and I agree that evidence of ancestry fails as a natural selection detector.It fails because it's necessary but not sufficient.


Please bear with me while I revise it.

An artefact is by definition something designed by an agent. Better say some unbiased name, for instance 'entity X'. Let's call it 'Entity X'.If there were evidence that this Entity X had an ancestry going back millions of years,and in the probable absence of any visible agents-- such as dog breeders-- I'd say that Entity X was a result of natural selection.
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Post Number:#45  PostDecember 8th, 2009, 1:58 pm

Belinda wrote:An artefact is by definition something designed by an agent. Better say some unbiased name, for instance 'entity X'. Let's call it 'Entity X'. If there were evidence that this Entity X had an ancestry going back millions of years and in the probable absence of any visible agents-- such as dog breeders, I'd say that Entity X was a result of natural selection.


You haven't explained how you assess the probability of the absence of any visible agents (I presume you mean intelligent agents), so your detection system is too vague to be useful.

Plus, you might want to rethink the value you place on the capacity of natural selection as a sufficient sorting process. Please read my response to alun above and the papers I've cited about the fall of natural selection from it's former position in mainstream evolutionary biology as a process with any significant explanatory power.
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