Belief in Darwinism; what does it even mean?

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Post Number:#196  Postby Meleagar » June 4th, 2010, 7:19 am

Belinda wrote:The text I quote is a neat illustration of how Intelligent Design is probably impossible.


You've already admitted that ID actually exists and that humans use it all the time. How then can you now say that ID is "probably impossible"? ID is a known, factual commodity that humans employ every day; it's not "probably impossible".

1.For Intelligent Design to design the enormous complexity of everything,


The theory of intelligent design doesn't claim that ID designed "everything".

Intelligent Design would have to be at least as complex as what it creates.


Non-sequiter. Very simple algorithms can generate enormously complex designs. Once again, as I said in another thread, your obsession with the term "complexity" demonstrates your lack of understanding about the ID argument. ID doesn't claim that only ID can generate massive complexity; indeed, if all one has is massive complexity, then ID is not the best explanation, as most if not all of the major ID theorists have stated.

Your focus on "complexity" as if ID theorists argue about "complexity" as the hallmark of ID is woefully misinformed.

If Intelligent Design were more, or as, complex as what it creates there would be the problem of what created Intelligent Design.


Even if it were a valid point that "complexity" required "greater complexity" to generate it (which it does not), it is an irrelevent point. The theory of ID, like the theory of evolution, or the theory of gravity, or the theory of entropy, is not an attempt to explain the origin of "everything"; it is a model that describes the qualitative effects of ID on physical phenomena.

It no more attempts to ascertain the "origin" of ID than evolutionary theory attempts to ascertain the "origin" of life, or the theory of gravity attempts to ascertain the "origin" of gravity.

Unless one understands what they are arguing against, they are doomed to argue against nothing but straw man mischaracterizations - which is all you and others here do, since you cannot be bothered to actually examine and understand that which you seem ideologically bound to attack.

How many ID books by ID proponents have you read? How man ID articles by ID proponents have you read? Have you even bothered to read the ID Faq at Uncommon Descent I've linked to several times?
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Post Number:#197  Postby Belinda » June 4th, 2010, 7:55 am

Meleagar wrote
Non-sequiter. Very simple algorithms can generate enormously complex designs.


This is precsiely the case with natural selection. Natural selection is a powerful and fertile explanation of how species evolve. What the theory of Intelligent Design lacks is any explanatory power.

You also say, Meleagar, that ID proponents don't claim that ID explains everything. If ID allows this loophole, then ID proponents will be in a similar position to that of those proponents of the existence of a real God who claim that God explains what science and philosophy cannot explain. This is called the God of the Gaps, and is an argument that will defeat itself the more that science fills in the gaps.Similarly, Intelligent Design which does not explain everything will paint itself into a smaller and smaller corner the more that evidence of natural selection is discovered.
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Post Number:#198  Postby Meleagar » June 4th, 2010, 8:26 am

Belinda wrote:This is precsiely the case with natural selection. Natural selection is a powerful and fertile explanation of how species evolve. What the theory of Intelligent Design lacks is any explanatory power.


You seem immune to the point that "complexity", by itself, being generated by non-ID forces is not challenged by ID theorists. ID theorists fully recognized that ID is not necessary to generate virtually limitless amounts of complexity. Complexity is not the same thing as functionally specified complex information (FSCI). You can have many universes full of complexity, but never achieve over 1000 bits of FSCI unless a teleological force is involved.

No evolutionary biologist that I know of agrees with you about natural selection; natural selection cannot create anything; it only kills things off. Without random mutation, epigenetics, genetic drift and other evolutionary mechanisms that supposedly generate new information, natural selection has nothing to work with.

If natural selection is such an algorithm, then please direct me to the mathematical model which demonstrates that it can produce what you claim it produces. Failing that, please direct me to any peer-reviewed, published scientific research that claims that natural selection is capable of producing anything near what you claim it is.

ID, as humans use it, has been shown to be able to easily produce FSCI in exess of 1000 bits, therefore it does have explanatory power when it comes to being the most likely explanation for such artifacts.

You also say, Meleagar, that ID proponents don't claim that ID explains everything. If ID allows this loophole, then ID proponents will be in a similar position to that of those proponents of the existence of a real God who claim that God explains what science and philosophy cannot explain.


ID isn't a theory of "everything" any more than gravity or Darwinism is a theory of "everything". ID theory doesn't postulate any god. More straw man here.

Intelligent Design which does not explain everything will paint itself into a smaller and smaller corner the more that evidence of natural selection is discovered.


You didn't answer my questions: How many ID books by ID proponents have you read? How many articles by ID proponents have you read? Did you read the ID faq at Uncommon Descent I have linked to several times? It seems obvious to me that you have very little understanding of ID argument by the way you keep using straw man arguments - as if ID is a theory of everything, or as if ID postulates a god.
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Post Number:#199  Postby Unrealist42 » June 4th, 2010, 11:18 pm

Meleagar wrote:No evolutionary biologist that I know of agrees with you about natural selection; natural selection cannot create anything; it only kills things off. Without random mutation, epigenetics, genetic drift and other evolutionary mechanisms that supposedly generate new information, natural selection has nothing to work with.



There is no supposedly about it, genetic differentiation does generate new information, new species even. There are many natural causes for changes in genetic material.

Natural selection is the entire process of genetic differentiation and survival/reproduction. No algorithm or formula is necessary, and no designer either, just a natural environment, which has yet to be modeled on our primitive computing machines.
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Post Number:#200  Postby Abacab » June 5th, 2010, 1:18 am

Unrealist42 wrote
Natural selection is the entire process of genetic differentiation and survival/reproduction. No algorithm or formula is necessary, and no designer either, just a natural environment, which has yet to be modeled on our primitive computing machines.


Along with what Belinda said here lies the rub for Juice and Meleagar. You both have it down and pinned to perfection and they only use wild rhetoric to try get out of their own maze. Evolution theory never has claimed to know everything, IDer`s do..their ID theory without naming a designer is a fallacious claim, Darwin never claimed he knew everything ie the origin, he claimed he knew enough [for his day] about nature and the science and that he did.
It is remarkable that after so many postings Meleagar is allowed to claim ID as science. Evolution called humans intelligent centurys ago is this all ID offers? Evolution went one step further than ID, it said man progresses and regresses, no pen ultimate intelligence is mans alone.
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Post Number:#201  Postby Belinda » June 5th, 2010, 5:06 am

Meleagar wrote
Complexity is not the same thing as functionally specified complex information (FSCI). You can have many universes full of complexity, but never achieve over 1000 bits of FSCI unless a teleological force is involved.


Functionally specified complex information is relevant to originating of life. Comparatively few planets are Earthlike enough to support life even the most primitive life.

A teleological force is not necessary for FSCI to have produced life on Earth.True, most planets, by far, in the entire universe cannot originate life, let alone evolve various forms of life.On the face of it, it seems improbable that life , the assembly of an RNA molecule, happened at all. But it did happen: we humans are here to prove that life happened.

To quote Dawkins:

"If the odds of life originating spontaneously on a planet were a billion to one against, nevertheless that stupefyingly improbable event would still happen on a billion planets."(page 138)

The event has now been duplicated in the laboratory of Dr Venter.
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Post Number:#202  Postby Meleagar » June 5th, 2010, 11:26 am

Objective wrote:
The insistence for a teleological explanation for complexity is insistence that some God or power exists with intelligence who is able to CREATE with some purpose in mind, complex structures.

Thus you made the assertion.


I have not "insisted" on, nor even asked for, any teleological explanation for anything, nor have I asserted in this argument that any god exists. I made no such assertion. Insisting that I did, when I did not, is a straw man fallacy.

This is the second time you have inserted the same straw man fallacy into the debate.

Did a god also make hydrogen and Oxygen in order to produce water so that "his biological creatures" would have something to cool them down when they burn sugars in their cells? From your argument it would seem that nothing could exist unless there was some external purpose to their existence in the minds eye of someone who could have a purpose.


I have made no such argument. This is a straw man fallacy; please refrain from continuing such mischaracterizations of my argument.

The rest of your post is just a reiteration of the same irrelevent material and does not meet my challenge, full of bald assertions and zero meaningful, referenced support.

Unrealist42 wrote:There is no supposedly about it, genetic differentiation does generate new information, new species even. There are many natural causes for changes in genetic material.


My challenge was not about whether or not natural causes can generate genetic information.

Natural selection is the entire process of genetic differentiation and survival/reproduction. No algorithm or formula is necessary, and no designer either, just a natural environment, which has yet to be modeled on our primitive computing machines.


Natural Selection doesn't generate anything; all it supposedly does is kill off that which is less fit to survive. Random mutation, genetic drift and epigenetics is supposed to be what "naturally" generates new information, not "natural selection".

If the process has yet to be sucessfully modeled, then how do they know it is capable of producing what they claim it has produced? You cannot; you can only take it on faith.

Belinda wrote:Comparatively few planets are Earthlike enough to support life even the most primitive life.


How would you know?

A teleological force is not necessary for FSCI to have produced life on Earth.


How would you know unless there is a theoretical model that shows it can be achieved without teleology? I've asked you several times to direct me to such a model or rigorous simulation, but neither you or anyone else has done so; all you have is the same bald assertion that teleology isn't needed. Why believe something when there isn't even a shred of evidence that it is possible?

If I told you that, given enough time, I could shake a planet full of microscopic legos up in a big box and eventually walking, talking, self-reproducing machines will step out, why should you believe me unless I can demonstrate that it is within the mathematical parameters of the extrapolated interactions of materials and natural laws to produce such an outcome?

The event has now been duplicated in the laboratory of Dr Venter.


No link? No source? No elaboration? What "event"? Did Dr. Venter generate life from scratch? Or is this just another one of your vague, bald assertions that you have no intention of supporting?

Also, Belinda, you never answered the following questions, so for the third time:

How many ID books by ID proponents have you read? How many articles by ID proponents have you read? Did you read the ID faq at Uncommon Descent I have linked to several times?
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Post Number:#203  Postby Belinda » June 6th, 2010, 7:38 am

Meleagar, nobody has time to read everything. Everybody has to be selective. If I had been told by authoritative and impartial people that Dr Behe and Dr Demski would increase my understanding, I would read them as original sources. But what I have learned against them, especially about the political partisanship of their arguments, makes me instead read secondary sources and criticisms.

As for the maths of the relative numbers of life friendly planets in the universe, I also have to take this on trust.The facts and stats are comparatively well known to scientists and a good many lay people who read quality newspapers.

Do you study chemistry and physiology before you take a paracetamol tablet for a minor pain?
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Post Number:#204  Postby Meleagar » June 6th, 2010, 9:31 am

Belinda wrote:Meleagar, nobody has time to read everything. Everybody has to be selective. If I had been told by authoritative and impartial people that Dr Behe and Dr Demski would increase my understanding, I would read them as original sources. But what I have learned against them, especially about the political partisanship of their arguments, makes me instead read secondary sources and criticisms.


IOW (and correct me if I am wrong), you have not taken the time to read any ID materials by ID proponents, yet feel completely comfortable making "arguments" based entirely on the hearsay of ID critics. Why are you arguing against something you won't even bother to honestly inform yourself about?

Is this how reputable people of good character pursue a rational debate? By smearing the reputations and character of a whole group of people without even bothering to investigate the matter personally, empirically, when it is very easy to do so? You would condemn them without even knowing what they have actually said on the matter?

As for the maths of the relative numbers of life friendly planets in the universe, I also have to take this on trust.The facts and stats are comparatively well known to scientists and a good many lay people who read quality newspapers.


IMO, you haven't read anything of the sort from any source whatsoever; you have never in these forums supported via source and reference anything you have claimed. Your vague, hearsay appeals to implied authority isn't a debate - it's not even good rhetoric.

Do you study chemistry and physiology before you take a paracetamol tablet for a minor pain?


No. What does that have to do with your admittedly uninformed smearing of scientists and other educated professionals in the ID community based on nothing more than hearsay?
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Post Number:#205  Postby Belinda » June 7th, 2010, 4:41 am

Meleagar, I am as I am and I can only form my opinions from the experience that I have, as do you, and as does the greatest scientist alive.

Most people, including professional academics, read accredited secondary sources.

I could accuse you of not reading the books that I have read, but ad hominem is no use to man or beast.

I think I probably have read longish quotations from Drs Behe and Dembski. I hope that you will now continue with the argument proper and accept that while my knowledge is not encyclopaedic, my point of view is not only valid, but also repeats the learned opinions of most scientists and educationists.
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Post Number:#206  Postby Meleagar » June 7th, 2010, 10:00 am

Belinda wrote:I could accuse you of not reading the books that I have read, but ad hominem is no use to man or beast.


It is not ad hominem to point out that you are maligning and smearing the reputations and character of ID theorists based on nothing more than hearsay. It is not ad hominem to point out that your characterizations of the ID argument are not based on any significant reading of ID materials written by ID proponents, but rather simply on hearsay - especially when you insist on your negative and false characterizations even after your errors about ID have been pointed out and corrected, and even after you have been directed to sources and provided with quotes in the attempt to clear up your misconceptions.

My "not reading the books you have read" is entirely irrelevent to the point; I have criticized Darwin, but then I have read Darwin's books. I have not made wide, sweeping dismissals and smears of evolutionary biologists; I have not mischaracterized any argument of biology or mainstream evolutionary theory to my knowledge.

In fact, I've had to correct you as you have misrepresented the current state of evolutionary theory by erroneously claiming that "natural selection" is a complete explanation for the origin of all species; no evolutionary biologist that I know of makes that claim. Natural selection does not create new genetic information; it therefore cannot be a complete explanation of the origin of any species.

It is my habit, and I hope the habit of most who would engage in a debate about any particular subject, to only debate to the degree that I have qualified myself to debate by my own investigation. If I am going to argue about Darwin, or what Darwin says, or what he did, then it is incumbent upon me to read Darwin's works and not rely on the hearsay of third parties. To argue from hearsay is just bad debate form.

If I am going to argue about intelligent design, then I cannot reasonably do so unless I read intelligent design materials from intelligent design proponents. Otherwise, my argument will be based on nothing more than hearsay and assumptions; such arguments would likely be little more than straw man, motive-mongering, and red herring because I would not have a meaningful grasp on the actual subject material itself.

Why argue about something that you refuse to educate yourself about? Why continue insisting upon mischaracterizations even after someone who is familiar with the material has pointed out your errors? Why smear the reputations and character of a whole group of people that you refuse to even give a fair reading?

I hope that you will now continue with the argument proper and accept that while my knowledge is not encyclopaedic, my point of view is not only valid, but also repeats the learned opinions of most scientists and educationists.


Your "argument" is about as improper, insubstantial, and willfully (by your own admission) ignorant of the subject matter as arguments get. If I had as little knowledge of a subject as you admit have of ID, I certainly wouldn't run around making erroneous and unsupported claims against and about it, and smearing the reputations and character of the proponents of that subject.

This wouldn't be an issue if, when corrected and offered quotes and sources to demonstrate your erroneous, hearsay-based characterization of ID, you'd accept the correction and amend your argument - but you do not. You keep insisting that the ID argument is something other than what it is - that is a continuation of a straw man fallacy. That would be like me insisting that evolutionary theory claims that humans evolve from apes and reiterating that claim even after it has been pointed out, sourced, and quoted that it is not the case; that would be willful ignorance on my part.

ID theory does not postulate or necessarily imply that there is a god of any sort, or that "all things" were intelligently designed. Some ID theorists speculate on such matters, but make the distinction that such speculation is not a formal part of ID theory itself. ID theory only claims that some artifacts or phenomena are currently best explained, through empirical evidence and abductive reasoning, as the product of intelligent design.

We know this to be a factual claim in the universe in some cases, as with a computer and a battleship, because they cannot be explained without reference to human intelligent design. ID theorists argue that some biological features are best explained as the product of intelligent design; this is also a factual claim in that many current biological features are the product of human intelligent design - the purebred Pekingese, for example, or genetically enhanced crop strains.

The theoretical portion of ID research is that it is possible that discernible product of ID can be found even if it is not apparently designed by humans, and that some biological features not known to have been genetically engineered or bred by humans are best explained as the product of some form of intelligent design.

The scientific theory of ID doesn't postulate any supernatural commodity whatsoever, nor does it necessarily imply any; it is squarely derived from known, empirical facts - the capacity of humans to intelligent design things that nature otherwise could not generate; it utilizes a mathematical, predictive formula which can falsify any particular candidate phenomena as being best explained by ID; and it only makes the modest claim that some phenomena can be found as being best explained by ID until such time as some non-ID sufficient explanation is found, if ever.

Science itself cannot be conducted without the application of human intelligent design; to call ID "non-scientific" is a ridiculous claim based on nothing more than negative hearsay and a lack of understanding even the most basic arguments of ID, which can be acquired in 15 minutes by reading the ID faq I've linked to several times. To deliberately not educate oneself about a subject by investing 15 minutes of one's time to learn the fundamental positions one is arguing about, and continue smearing, and mischaracterizing the subject one is arguing against is, IMO, reprehensibly irresponsible.

To continue claiming that ID theory postulates some god, or claims that "everything" was intelligently designed, is the same kind of willfully ignorant mischaracterization as when people assert that it is part of evolutionary theory that humans are descended from apes (and errroneously ask, "so why are there still apes around?"), and refuse to be corrected or educated on the subject because sources they trust and believe to be educated sources of opinion have told them otherwise.

IOW, if one cannot take a few minutes of one's time to read up on a subject they are arguing about, after they have been repeatedly corrected via legitimate quote and source, but rather insist that one's uninformed repetition of hearsay is a more valid description of ID theory, position and claims than the quoted and sourced statements of all of the main ID theorists themselves, then one is not engaged in reasonable debate at all.

At that point, all one is doing is parroting hearsay and rhetoric, and appealing to some false authority they cannot even be bothered to provide a source for.
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Post Number:#207  Postby Belinda » June 8th, 2010, 5:44 am

Meleagar's adverse criticisms of my background reading are thinly veiled ad hominem.

Meleagar's adverse criticisms of my objections to Intelligent Design are unfragrant recurring resurrections of the same straw man. I have never seen photos of any ID'ers including the famous Doctors. I don't know what hair styles they have, whether or not they beat their husbands, cats or wives,what their given names are,what universities they went to, whether or not they got drunk whooping it up in the students' union, or which churches they(do or dont) attend. Therefore to accuse me of vilifying persons I know not is ludicrous.

I do know a little about their theories which they purport to be scientific theories.My contention is that these theories are unscientific, no more, no less.

I am not interested, for the purposes of philosophyclub, in knowing who Meleagar is. However, I do know Meleagar as a proponent of Intelligent Design.I am slightly unwilling to characterise Meleagar as a proponent of Intelligent Design because I don't like characterising anybody, as a matter of principle. This is because we can all live, learn and evolve and may turn our thoughts around even within the scope of philosophyclub.

I repeat,origin of life is nt the same as speciation. Please remember this, Meleagar, it is a simple point.
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Post Number:#208  Postby Juice » June 9th, 2010, 10:44 am

Speciation and/or Darwinism are conclusions based on unknown premises, factors and manipulated criterion. Consider starting this sentence in its middle without knowing its beginning and having it read, "....middle without knowing the beginning...", someone reading it would then have to "guess" as to it's subject and surmise that what can be known is meaningless without exact knowledge of its start.

Essentially; Intelligent Design posits that the information necessary to create must have been available from the beginning so that probabilities as to origin, can then make observed phenomenon extrapolative-able. Given the complexity of present observed phenomenon, and the information necessary to create and maintain that complexity, more unlikely than likely it was created according to material standards.
Without making an in depth examination of causal historicity any attempt to make any conclusions as to present observed phenomenon wholly theoretical, thereby making, by present day scientific methodology, "Intelligent Design" just as viable a scientific theory as any other inferred scientific theory according to the philosophic standards of causal inferences.

"What is Darwinism?"; Darwinism is an ever "evolving" paradigm of theoretical causality as to the origin(s) of observed, defined living, ie life, phenomenon on this planet.

Darwinist start in the middle and make a conclusion which they present as fact, ignoring their own scientific principles and philosophies for doing so when it comes to considering Intelligent Design theories which is part of a causal inference based on historical and philosophical paradigms. It is part of the debate, and one which should include as much far reaching consideration as any other.

Darwinist ignore "origin", since through a, realistic, unbiased, examination of observed phenomenon they themselves must at least admit complete ignorance, or they must admit that Intelligent design is just as viable a consideration as to origin, as is a comet slamming into the earth carrying with it the components for life, without the infinite regress problem, as is Intelligent Design.
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Post Number:#209  Postby Unrealist42 » June 9th, 2010, 10:13 pm

Juice wrote:
Essentially; Intelligent Design posits that the information necessary to create must have been available from the beginning so that probabilities as to origin, can then make observed phenomenon extrapolative-able.


A premise of principle for sure, a reasonable one, I am not so sure. By the logical extension of this principle one would necessarily come to the conclusion that all the information in the entire universe was in existence when the universe began.

I am not a big fan of determinism myself but that's what this looks like to me.
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Post Number:#210  Postby Meleagar » June 10th, 2010, 7:07 am

Unrealist42 wrote:
Juice wrote:
Essentially; Intelligent Design posits that the information necessary to create must have been available from the beginning so that probabilities as to origin, can then make observed phenomenon extrapolative-able.


A premise of principle for sure, a reasonable one, I am not so sure. By the logical extension of this principle one would necessarily come to the conclusion that all the information in the entire universe was in existence when the universe began.

I am not a big fan of determinism myself but that's what this looks like to me.


When one considers the fact of both thermodynamic and informational entropy, then the universe began not only with all the information and energy that currently exists, but that information and energy must have originated in a highly ordered state, because - according to materialism - all it can have been doing for 15 billion years is, generally speaking, degrading.

Even so, the only scientific explanation for the thermodynamic and informational neg-entropy that the origin and continuation of life represents is that such order was imported in from somewhere; the only example we have that imports such FSCI order "from somewhere" is human intelligent design.

Radiation from the sun and cosmic radiation and comet strikes do not scientifically account for the order and neg-entropy known as life.
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