Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Sterility of Intelligent Design

One thing that separates pseudoscience from science is fecundity: real science takes place in a social context, with an active community of scholars meeting and exchanging ideas. The ideas in one paper lead to another and another; good papers get dozens or hundreds of citations and suggest new active areas of study.

By contrast, pseudoscience is sterile: the ideas, such as they are, lead to no new insights, suggest no experiments, and are espoused by single crackpots or a small community of like-minded ideologues. The work gets few or no citations in the scientific literature, and the citations they do get are predominantly self-citations.

Here is a perfect example of this sterility: Bio-Complexity, the flagship journal of the intelligent design movement. As 2012 draws to a close, the 2012 volume contains exactly two research articles, one "critical review" and one "critical focus", for a grand total of four items. The editorial board has 30 members; they must be kept very busy handling all those papers.

(Another intelligent design journal, Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design, hasn't had a new issue since 2005.)

By contrast, the journal Evolution has ten times more research articles in a single issue (one of 12 so far in 2012). And this is just a single journal where evolutionary biology research is published; there are many others.

But that's not the most hopeless part. Of the four contributions to Bio-Complexity in 2012, three have authors that are either the Editor in Chief (sic), the Managing Editor, or members of the editorial board of the journal. Only one article, the one by Fernando Castro-Chavez, has no author in the subset of the people running the journal. And that one is utter bilge, written by someone who believes that "the 64 codons [of DNA are] represented since at least 4,000 years ago and preserved by China in the I Ching or Book of Changes or Mutations".

Intelligent design advocates have been telling us for years that intelligent design would transform science and generate new research paradigms. They lied.

138 comments:

John Pieret said...

... the flagship journal of the intelligent design ...

The fleet has sunk.

andrew said...

Yeah ... evolution is being used to design everything from drugs to airplane engines. Intelligent design is being used to ...

Yeah. Your point exactly.

Miranda said...

Andrew, is it really true that evolution -- and of course you must mean unguided evolution -- is really being used to design drugs and airplane engines?

Pseudonym said...

According to Wikipedia, the disco institute defines "intelligent design" as the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection". If you squint a bit, I suppose that "intelligent design" is what human engineers have always done, and evolutionary techniques, biomimicry and so forth are the newcomers.

(Of course, no competent engineer would ever build a machine where the air intake, the fuel intake, and the air exhaust all share the same pipe. But I digress.)

But your point is taken. The proposition that "features of the universe and of living things" are best explained with an "intelligent cause" doesn't really have any explanatory power at all.

I should point out for completeness that the slimness of Bio-Complextity could also be explained by it having a high rejection rate. Of course this journal beats that.

Anonymous said...

"Best explained with an intelligent cause" does not tell us what that explanation is, nor what an intelligent cause is, other than it's something other than evolution.

Moreover, to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever proposed an explanation for the pattern of relationships known as the "tree of life" which does not involve common descent with modification.

And I'd also like to point out that things like a shmoo or a "Penrose triangle" are intelligently designed, but they don't exist; which means that intelligent design alone is not enough to account for the existence of something.

There are some major gaps in "best explained by an intelligent cause".

TomS

James Cranch said...

Yes, Miranda, genetic algorithms, which were inspired by and which model unguided evolution, are used in many optimisation problems. These include drug design and airplane design.

They can do things that traditional optimisation techniques have problems with. If you want to learn more about this, Google is your friend.

Les Lane said...

Intelligent design publications are entirely Discovery Institute propaganda funded by wealthy theocrats.

Takis Konstantopoulos said...

" Intelligent design advocates have been telling us for years that intelligent design would transform science and generate new research paradigms. They lied."

They didn't lie. They bullshitted. And they keep doing so. A liar knows the truth but chooses not to reveal it. That requires some intelligence. But the only intelligence in intelligent designers is in their self-designed title.

Melville said...

"Of course, no competent engineer would ever build a machine where the air intake, the fuel intake, and the air exhaust all share the same pipe. But I digress."
Are you sure? He or she would if the machine worked well most of the time. At the very least, there would be a weight savings.

Melville said...

"Intelligent design publications are entirely Discovery Institute propaganda funded by wealthy theocrats."
Wealthy religious people are the vast majority of funders, but how do you know they're theocrats?

Melville said...

Anonymous wrote: "Moreover, to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever proposed an explanation for the pattern of relationships known as the "tree of life" which does not involve common descent with modification."

Which Tree of Life are you talking about? http://www.nature.com/news/phylogeny-rewriting-evolution-1.10885

Melville said...

"And I'd also like to point out that things like a shmoo or a "Penrose triangle" are intelligently designed, but they don't exist; which means that intelligent design alone is not enough to account for the existence of something."
-- By "not enough", do you mean "not necessary"?

Anonymous said...

@Melville:
By "tree of life" I mean any such pattern. I extend it, for example, to the similar pattern for languages or for manuscript traditions.

By "not enough" I mean "not sufficient". If "intelligent design" is proposed as an explanation for something, then it ought to account for that thing. I am suggesting that something more than "intelligent design" is needed to account for something. Even for mere existence.

To combine these two points:

What is the "intelligent design" account for why the human body is most similar to the bodies of other primates among all living things?

One needs something more than just ID to account for that, for example, one might make auxialiary hypotheses like these:

(1) The designer(s) designed things by a process involving common descent with modification.

(2) The designer(s) were constrained by the material that they were given to work with, and by the laws of nature.

(3) The designer(s) wanted humans to serve the same purposes as do other primates.

TomS

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Tom:

Don't waste your time on Melville/Miranda. He/she is just a boring troll.

Sandstedt said...

Hi Jeffrey. Is there any concept of information which can be applied to gene duplications and mutations to show that it results in an increase of information?

Melville said...

Tom, thanks. I understand you're saying that intelligence isn't sufficient to explain existence, but it appears that you're not arguing that it isn't necessary. Are you "agnostic" on that question?

fdocc said...

Thank you very much for promoting my works! The first one was: http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/BIO-C.2012.2 And the second: http://www.hoajonline.com/jpscb/2050-2273/1/3 Fernando Castro-Chavez.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

You're welcome. I believe in shining the light on crackpottery wherever possible.

Curt Cameron said...

Sandstedt wrote:
"Hi Jeffrey. Is there any concept of information which can be applied to gene duplications and mutations to show that it results in an increase of information?"

I'm not a mathematician, but I had information theory in college as part of my EE degree, so I think I can reasonably answer this. Your answer is "yes."

No matter how you measure information content, you can imagine that changing a single nucleotide in a DNA sequence will cause that sequence to either have more information or less. Since a mutation can be in either direction, then it's easy to see that a random mutation can easily result in more information.

Further, duplicating a whole gene will be more information, but only slightly more. However, make a random mutation in one of those duplicated genes and the information content increases significantly.

Jeffrey, is that about right?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Is there any concept of information which can be applied to gene duplications and mutations to show that it results in an increase of information?

Yes, in the Kolmogorov theory, duplications and point mutations can both increase information (but need not). I covered this in my post here.

Sandstedt said...

Q1; But since biology is more or less based on functionality and 'meaning', is the use of Kolmogorov theory/Shannon-theory really relevant?

Q2; Lets say that a gene duplication occur and copy 500 aminoacids. A frameshift mutation takes place at the 50th aminoacid and inserts a startcodon resulting in 450 new aminoacids and a new gene. How much 'information' would that be according to Kolmogorov theory?

I study biology so my knowledge with regards to information theory is limited.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

How much 'information' would that be according to Kolmogorov theory?

It's hard to answer precisely that question in Kolmogorov complexity, but we can give upper and lower bounds for more "asymptotic" versions of your question. However, the notion of "new gene" has no meaning in Kolmogorov complexity.

JasonMitchell said...

Of course, no competent engineer would ever build a machine where the air intake, the fuel intake, and the air exhaust all share the same pipe. But I digress."
Are you sure? He or she would if the machine worked well most of the time. At the very least, there would be a weight savings.

- The V1 flying bomb used a crude pulsejet engine - air intake, fuel intake and exhause (in addition to combustion) all in the same tube

Anonymous said...

I just took dr. noor's online genetics course and it was 100% devoid of how new specifies created new function. yes he explained how one population stopped having the ability to breed with another population. but he offered no better explanation for the life we see about us and actually less than what ID offers. it is clear no one has a detailed explanation for the life we see around us, correlation is not causation and materialism has no explanation for why there is something rather than nothing or even the origins of life.

what is clear is a focus on attacking ID simple reflects bias by Shallit and those who agree with him.

Anonymous said...

and jefferey, adding noise destroys the signal unless you are down at the low level of stochastic resonance. evolutionists have zero explanation for the information content of DNA, what they do is all circular. even noor points that out.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

new specifies created new function

I don't know what this means. But even the most cursory search will find examples of how mutations can create new functions. The fact that you didn't look shows you are a liar.

materialism has no explanation for why there is something rather than nothing

Another lie. Read Krauss's new book.

or even the origins of life

Another lie. The problem is not "no explanations", but rather the many different explanations that we have no idea how to choose between, currently.

evolutionists have zero explanation for the information content of DNA

Another lie. You don't know what "information content" is, do you? Mutations, by their very random nature, are what cause "information content", at least in the Kolmogorov sense.

Creationists have to lie, because the evidence is all against them.

Anonymous said...

materialism has no explanation for why there is something rather than nothing or even the origins of life

I presume that you find this is a fault in materialism. I wonder if there is any alternative which doesn't have this fault.

Please note that I am not arguing for materialism or against any particular non-materialist ontology (dualism, spiritualism, whatever). All I am wondering about is whether anybody has an explanation for why there is something rather than nothing. And if not, why single out materialism for this supposed fault.

TomS

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

you don't seem to actually understand science which in turn seems to be the reason you attack ID. ID MAY OR MAY NOT BE TRUE BUT ou have no idea either way. you claim to respond but don't offer evidence for your beliefs.

if you understand the origins of life then you could go into a lab and create it from scratch. Demonstrate how chemistry becomes biology. that is called evidence, not citing someone who has not created life either. how sad you don't apply the rules of science to your own beliefs and then lash out when people point out how dumb you are.

you seem to think noise (mutations) create information and that the more static in music on a car radio is actually more music. you are a dolt and are humiliating yourself in public. if your attempt is to bolster the case for atheism or materialism you have ruined your team's effort with your shallow and faulty arguments.

Hint ... not one person on earth can explain why there is something rather than nothing, why there is life or how it came to be as it is. those who argue for materialism sound like you do ... just a bit of pattern recognition on my part. demanding that I supply an answer to origins shows a lack of character and insight on your part. no one knows so you are attempting to defend a religion/philosophy by negating what I believe ... can't do that, I fully admit I too don't understand themoriginsmof life ... but I also understand you don't know either so your claims it even been known shows an extreme intellectual dishonesty on your part. like people should not buy a used car from you.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

check out the "proof" mutations create new function. Lenski's LTEE has show no new function created, other ae Coli metabolize citrate. and the gain of the ability to use citrate came from A LOSSMOF GENETIC INFORMATION.

much like SICKLE CELL ANEMIA OFFERS AN ADVANTAGE TO PEOPLE AGAINST MALARIA VIA A LOSS OF GENERIC INFORMATION. in Shannon terns this represents the arrow of time. entropy always increasing ... ans please no butter in a refrig analogies. new function in the Lenski lab is not forthcoming. that means when you test for evolution it isn't there. your faith in evolution is faith in a hoax.

Anonymous said...

generic algorithms, to design the wing of a Boeing 777 had to have an intelligent designer to set the process in motion and evaluate the results. IOW, an argument for a lazy intelligent designer.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Lenski's LTEE has show no new function created

Don't try to change the subject, creationist liar. I gave you an example where a new function was created.

Shannon terns this represents the arrow of time. entropy always increasing

You're a moron as well as a liar. Shannon entropy has nothing to do with "the arrow of time".

Jeffrey Shallit said...

you seem to think noise (mutations) create information and that the more static in music on a car radio is actually more music

You don't understand anything about information. I teach about it for a living.

If music represents more information than static, why is it that we are able to compress music to a smaller file but not to compress static so easily?

not one person on earth can explain why there is something rather than nothing

You lie shamelessly. I cited Krauss's book. Haven't you read it yet?

your claims it even been known shows an extreme intellectual dishonesty on your part

I don't tolerate people groundlessly impugning my honesty on my own blog. You have been warned.

RealShmoo said...

TomS wrote: "I'd like to point out that things like a shmoo or a "Penrose triangle" are intelligently designed, but they don't exist; which means that intelligent design alone is not enough to account for the existence of something."

When an argument is true, that means the contrapositive is true. You did not show the contrapositive. I'm not even sure you showed the inverse or converse. I just know your statement doesn't follow any rules of logic. In any case, Penrose triangles and shmoos are ideas, not things, and it took an intelligent design to come up with those ideas.

Anonymous said...

did Krauss walk into a lab and create life via unsupervised conditions? of course not. you seem intent in hiding the fact you and everyone else regardless of belief has no clue how life began. IOW, you are no friend of the truth, more like a hopeless bigot.

claiming noise = information is totally bogus. expectation maximum is my forte. you are super shallow. I could care less if you ban me, I saw your name at pandas thumb and then read how shallow your thinking is ... no idea how to connect cause to effect and have a fairy tale as the basis for your belief about origins. make some life if it is so doable. prove me wrong or shut up.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

did Krauss walk into a lab and create life via unsupervised conditions?

You're so stupid you don't even know what the Krauss book was offered as evidence in support of. Hint: it was not origin of life. You'd have to have reading comprehension ability to figure it out, I guess.

claiming noise = information is totally bogus

Anyone who studies the Kolmogorov theory will understand this. You can attend my winter course CS 462 if you want to learn something, instead of spouting stupidities.

IOW, you are no friend of the truth, more like a hopeless bigot.

I gave you your warning. You are now banned! Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

@RealShmoo:

As you point out, intelligent design is only able to produce "ideas", not things.

TomS

Ingo Brigandt said...

In the forthcoming paper "Intelligent design and the nature of science: philosophical and pedagogical points" I argue that rather than judging an approach in terms of its theories (e.g., intelligent design theory is not falsifiable), we should also judge an approach in terms of its proponent's practice (as based on this it becomes most obvious why ID falls short and has no future). Among other things, I mention the abysmal track-record of intelligent design journals pointed out by Jeffrey Shallit – see footnote 18 of my paper.

W. Benson said...

There are some 50 'indexed' English language scientific journals with 'evolution', 'evolutionary', etc in the title. I suppose that all are peer-reviewed.


Pseudonym said...

JasonMitchell, pulsejet engines, including that of the V1, take in air from the front and expel exhaust out the back. They have to, otherwise they work against themselves. And, of course, the fuel is loaded elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Ingo Brigandt. I note that you do point out quite well that "there is no ID theory apart from alleged arguments against evolution" and "Not only is there currently no content-laden ID theory, but these practices of ID proponents show that no such theory is forthcoming."

ISTM that it is often overlooked. For legal reasons in the USA, it is not enough to point out that there is "no there, there".

TomS

Anonymous said...

it would be interesting to connect the dots ... have a person take your course in information and then be able to demonstrate how eukaryote beings became capable of generating several proteins from the information contained in a single gene.

Evolution faithful point out splinters in the eyes of others and they appear to have timbers in their own. Inadequate tool kit.

Sheaf said...

To the last post by anonymous:

You seem to be confused.
ID people have asserted that information theory prevents new information from arising in the genome. The response by Prof. Shallit that this is not true for Kolmogorov complexity undermines this point.

Now if ID theorists would come up with a different rigorous notion of complexity, then we could have some sort of discussion.
But until now everything I have read by them are vague and for the mathematically trained person deeply unsatisfying appeals to intuition that are simply not worthy of academic discussion.
I would suggest that before you try to identify timbers in the evolutionist eyes, you learn to recognize one.

Anonymous said...

Sheaf,

It is one thing to assert Kolmogorov complexity creates information in DNA and another thing entirely to demonstrate that it actually did or can in a lab experiment.

It was pointed out that Lenski is trying to demonstrate evolution via his LTEE project. Plenty of opportunities for Kolmogorov to show its hand and thus far remains in hiding. Maybe this or maybe that with no actual evidence to back guess when evolution is asked to show its hand speaks volumes that evolution really isn't part of science. Just a philosophy with its on creation myth. Which lab has reversed engineered life and demonstrated how life actuall arises under unsupervised conditions?

If guessing is ok for a materialists then it is ok for YECs but this is a faith battle and not science. Science deals in evidence.

And andrew, genetic algorithms that design wings of airplanes have an intelligent designer creating the program and analyzing the results. Would be cool if they just popped into existence with no guidance but that doesn't happen.

Microsoft has done the most to demonstrate that a billion monkeys on a keyboad can create Msft Word but even it works in most cases and is not a random event.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

It is one thing to assert Kolmogorov complexity creates information in DNA

You are too confused to respond to.

Anonymous said...

Jefferey,

Clearly you can't explain the actual mechanism by which DNA gains information. You don't seem to have a clue and are throwing out words to cover what you don't know ... just what it looks like.

Here's a clue on what you need to understand:
http://www.astrobio.net/pressrelease/5212/a-new-way-to-look-at-the-dawn-of-life
"To a physicist or chemist life seems like 'magic matter,'" Davies explained. "It behaves in extraordinary ways that are unmatched in any other complex physical or chemical system. Such lifelike properties include autonomy, adaptability and goal-oriented behavior – the ability to harness chemical reactions to enact a pre-programmed agenda, rather than being a slave to those reactions."

Also study Schroedinger's "What is Life."

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Clearly you can't explain the actual mechanism by which DNA gains information.

The actual mechanism is mutation and other mechanisms such as polyploidy and gene duplication. I have explained this multiple times. At this point, I cannot help your ignorance, you must learn to help yourself.

You don't seem to have a clue and are throwing out words to cover what you don't know

You seem to be the same commenter who was banned for groundlessly impugning my character. At least, your spelling errors and sentence mangling look similar. Nothing more from you will be posted.

Sheaf said...

Anonymous,

Gene duplication and other processes can create arbitrary amounts of Kolmogorov information (For example repeated duplication sometimes increase kolmogorov complexity since the resulting sequence could be used to encode arbitrary large numbers). This is an undeniable fact. The rest of your posts is irrelevant drivel.

Anonymous said...

Clearly you can't explain the actual mechanism by which DNA gains information.

ID/creationism doesn't offer a mechanism. So,even if you were right about this, ID/creationism is no better.

TomS

Anonymous said...

TomS,

Consider neither you and Jeff know what you are talking about, Jeff supplies no evidence, and ID does not have the answer either. Both of you seem trapped in binary thought patterns.

James Shapiro actually does know biology, as opposed to Jeff, and he falsifies Jeff at his huffpo blog:
"I decided to respond and provide a few examples of evolutionary change where we have enough molecular evidence to know that they did not occur by the gradual accumulation of random mutations:

1. Multiple antibiotic resistance in bacteria;
2. Origin of the eukaryotic cell;
3. Origin of photosynthetic eukaryotic lineages;
4. The "abominable mystery" of rapid angiosperm evolution.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Consider neither you and Jeff know what you are talking about, Jeff supplies no evidence

You seem extremely confused. Evidence for what?

You certainly know that Shapiro's claims are controversial, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Rather than quoting Moran, why not just show how lots of small mutations actually do solve each issue Shapiro raises? Isn't it better t focus on science/evidence than personality? If Romney had 500,000 more votes in the right place would that makehim right and Obama wrong? Not sure popularity or whether or not an idea is controversial is the way to judge science questions.

If there is evidence Shapiro is wrong I am sure it will get to him and then we can see what you have to say. Very interesting to see him defend hisviews after you show him wrong.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jeffrey in his question, "Evidence for what?"
Even if we assume that there is evidence that certain features of the world of life "did not occur by the gradual accumulation of random mutations", this still does not suggest what happened, when, where, why, how or by whom.

TomS

Jeffrey Shallit said...

If there is evidence Shapiro is wrong I am sure it will get to him and then we can see what you have to say.

You obviously didn't read Moran's critique. Try arguing like an adult, not a child who keeps sticking his fingers in his ears.

Anonymous said...

Shapiro posted:
"The idea of Darwin predicting conjugative plasmids, transposons and integrons was indeed novel to me."

How is that comparable to him holdinmg his fingers in his ears or is this a description of Moran?

and

A second commentator, Torbjörn Larsson, argued that horizontal DNA transfer posed no challenge to the neo-Darwinian theory: "In other words the generic gradualism of Darwin mentioned in the article isn't rejected by the observed degree of horizontal gene transfer."

But Torbjörn's claim does not make sense scientifically. Horizontal transfer is not the gradual Darwinian accumulation of changes. Horizontal transfer episodes rapidly incorporate complex evolved DNA structures into new genomes by coordinated molecular events.

There is no way we can reasonably apply the term "random mutation" to a DNA transfer process that utilizes dedicated surface structures for bringing two cells together, assembles a multi-protein DNA transport pore connecting the cells, and initiates DNA transfer replication at a specific site on plasmid DNA.

This looks to me like Shapiro is a person willing to discuss the details of why he thinks what most believers about evolution is wrong.

He takes issue right at your position (below) so why not just tell us all why he is wrong? I majored in chemistry and never saw a single case of how we felt about a chemist made any difference. Only in evolution do personalities make a fuss.

From the Shapiro HuffPo blog and I don't see where he suggests ID is correct:

In preparing for a public lecture early next year on what DNA teaches us about evolution, I made a list of take-home lessons to use as an introduction:

1. Evolution is complex, not reducible to simple formulas;
2. Evolutionary thinking has a long history full of ongoing discoveries;
3. Cell mergers are an important source of abrupt evolutionary novelty;
4. Horizontal DNA transfer is an important source of rapid evolutionary novelty;
5. Cells actively repair and restructure their genomes (the genome as a RW memory system);
6. Proteins evolve by swapping segments, not by changing one amino acid at a time;
7. Mobile genetic elements can rapidly modify genome function at multiple locations and establish genomic networks;
8. Inter-specific hybridization and whole genome duplications are further sources of rapid evolutionary innovation;
9. Genome restructuring (natural genetic engineering) is regulated and activated by stress, cell fusions and inter-specific hybridization.

I would like to understand where Ben and Tobrjörn find a basis for the certainties they express about what kind of evidence to accept. So, can someone please answer two questions for me?

A. What do my nine take-home statements have to do with supernaturalism outside the bounds of science?
B. Where have these statements been convincingly incorporated into Ben's all-encompassing "Theory of Evolution by Random Mutation and Natural Selection"?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

You're now completely off the topic of the post. If you want to discuss Shapiro, go to Moran's blog.

And stop talking about "my position" as if you know what it is. Nobody says random mutation is the only mechanism of evolution. It is, however, one way that the genome can acquire Kolmogorov information, which is what was being asked before.

Anonymous said...

Is it fair to assume your position is:
1. ID is false, direction not permitted
2. Kolmogorov + mutations + other undirected processes yield life

If so then explain using whatever undirected system you can come up with hos this happens:
Mechanisms of DNA repair and mutagenesis are defined on the basis of relatively few proteins acting on DNA, yet the identities and functions of all proteins required are unknown. Here, we identify the network that underlies mutagenic repair of DNA breaks in stressed Escherichia coli and define functions for much of it. Using a comprehensive screen, we identified a network of ≥93 genes that function in mutation. Most operate upstream of activation of three required stress responses (RpoS, RpoE, and SOS, key network hubs), apparently sensing stress. The results reveal how a network integrates mutagenic repair into the biology of the cell, show specific pathways of environmental sensing, demonstrate the centrality of stress responses, and imply that these responses are attractive as potential drug targets for blocking the evolution of pathogens.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6112/1344

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Anonymous:

You seem so confused that I doubt that anything I can say will remedy it. But I'll try one more time.

1. It's hard to interpret the statement "ID is false". It would be better to say it is incoherent, since its claims are so vague and its terms are undefined. What is "intelligent", for example? To the extent it can be falsified (such as Behe's claims) it has been falsified.

2. It's hard to interpret "direction not permitted", because we study what might be called "direction" all the time in science, such as in archeology. There is no reason why ID advocates couldn't produce some real evidence. They simply haven't so far.

3. "Kolmogorov + mutations + other undirected processes yield life" - this is so crazy it would take a whole page to decode it. "Kolmogorov" is a description of what constitutes information; it cannot "yield" anything. And from your description it is not clear whether you are talking about abiogenesis or evolution.

4. "If so then explain using whatever undirected system you can come up with hos this happens".
Again, you seem quite confused. There are thousands of unsolved problems in science, but we don't solve them by say "a magic fairy made it happen". Nobody knows currently why the Sun's corona is so much hotter than its surface, but my inability to explain this doesn't mean that it is magic.

Complicated interactions are no problem for evolutionary processes; consult, for example, the Tierra model or the work of Karl Sims.

Anonymous said...

so long as complicated problems can be explained away as fully handled by a theory then kids will be taught evolution is fact when we have no way of testing whether or not that is true or false. Starting with the assumption you are right and not offering any evidence (just a theory) for how problems get resolved is just what you complain about with ID.

If natural processes are all that is then you need to erxplain how something came into existence from nothing, how atoms and molecules acquired information. Davies points out that information in life is unique in anything seen in the universe. so claiming Kolmogorov gets us by the issue one time and one time only is a rather exceptional clain and out to be discussed in schools - how unlikely the beliefs of you and Coyne actually are.

Sara Walker:
"When we describe biological processes we typically use informational narratives -- cells send out signals, developmental programs are run, coded instructions are read, genomic data are transmitted between generations and so forth," Walker said. "So identifying life's origin in the way information is processed and managed can open up new avenues for research."

You need to demonstrate Kolmogorov actually does work to account for everything rather than asserting it might have and then we are all supposed to agree it actually did.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

You need to demonstrate Kolmogorov actually does work to account for everything rather than asserting it might have and then we are all supposed to agree it actually did.

Nobody said "Kolmogorov accounts for everything" and I don't even have any idea what this is supposed to mean.

When you can present your ideas in a coherent way, instead of the confused rambling jumble you have so far, let us know.

Anonymous said...

The title of this thread is "The Sterility of Intelligent Design".

It is being demonstrated just how sterile.

Instead of telling us something productive, or even just something positive or substantial, we get complaints about how "random mutations and natural selection" might not be able to account for something.

Nothing about how ID might be able to account for
anything.

Not that the supposed examples of inadequacy of RM&NS are particularly well chosen, everybody knows that RM&NS is not the totality of evolution. But moreover, ID doesn't account for those very examples, just as it doesn't account for anything else.

To demonstrate the sterility of ID.

TomS

Anonymous said...

So if I have your correctly, we are 100% sure ID is false but can't say how natural causes create life but we are sure they did. Like the issue is binary - Coyne vs ID.

If Behe proposed ID is in the mix for part of the solution? How could that be wrong (falsified) since we don't know what makes up the total answer ... and some results certainly defy explanation ... and design sure looks like what we've got that makes us alive.

Anonymous said...

anon,

why is ID more or less sterile than random mutations + selection + kolomogrov + whatever else you are guessing supplies the answer? lots of parts of lode appear to be designed so that looks like the burden is on the materiasit assumption rather than ID. you seem to grant for naturalism philosophy the right to frame the discussion when it in fact looks pretty sterile.

The big problem in biology today is that the Miller-Urey is asserted as evidence that life has a natural origin and then one unproven and unduplicated assumption is piled on top of another and correlation = causation and life is just a few math equations I got in taking Dr. Noor's genetics course.

Anonymous said...

TomS,

Say you are the Creator and you built the universe to be a numerical simulation to amuse yourself. Martin Savage etal could be on to your tricks. So ID has its hand forced and we figure what the Creator is up to - for this they built a Creator trap. If the Creator can be so easily detected then that is the end of free will but it also decimates the likes of Coyne and the fun guy Dr. Noor, I like him a lot.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.1847

Silas R. Beane, Zohreh Davoudi, Martin J. Savage
(Submitted on 4 Oct 2012 (v1), last revised 9 Nov 2012 (this version, v2))

Observable consequences of the hypothesis that the observed universe is a numerical simulation performed on a cubic space-time lattice or grid are explored. The simulation scenario is first motivated by extrapolating current trends in computational resource requirements for lattice QCD into the future. Using the historical development of lattice gauge theory technology as a guide, we assume that our universe is an early numerical simulation with unimproved Wilson fermion discretization and investigate potentially-observable consequences. Among the observables that are considered are the muon g-2 and the current differences between determinations of alpha, but the most stringent bound on the inverse lattice spacing of the universe, b^(-1) >~ 10^(11) GeV, is derived from the high-energy cut off of the cosmic ray spectrum. The numerical simulation scenario could reveal itself in the distributions of the highest energy cosmic rays exhibiting a degree of rotational symmetry breaking that reflects the structure of the underlying lattice.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Time to leave the poor crackpot alone, I think.

Anonymous said...

"would be fun to see Jeff explain how Komolgorov explains actions in DNA over time and space ...

"The one thing I expect to learn more about in 2013 is the role that repetitive and other so-called "non-coding" elements play in the four-dimensional organization of DNA in the genome. The way the DNA is organized in space and time plays a key role in genome functions, and it is hard to imagine that the major component of most genomes does not play a key role in that organization.

Surprises are unpredictable, by definition, but we can expect some next year as well. Maybe one of them will be a major surprise that clears up a lot of confusion. Those come along unpredictably but reliably in science.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

"would be fun to see Jeff explain how Komolgorov explains actions in DNA over time and space ...

It would be fun to see if you could learn how Kolmogorov is spelled and what Kolmogorov complexity means.

Anonymous said...

So cool that an algorithm can pump out life all by itself which explains why we keep seeing life come into existence so often. Perhaps molecules went on strike? Is that why there is no evidence backing your faith in a natural explanation for life? Places naturalism and materialism in the sterile crack column IMHO.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Oh, the poor crackpot thinks conditions on the earth today are exactly the same as conditions 3.5 billion years ago. That's why the poor crackpot believes a magic fairy did it is a better explanation.

Anonymous said...

Nobody says that evolution explains everything. Nobody says that Kolmogorov complexity explains everything. Nobody says that the round earth explains everything. But they do have their place. They lead to further investigations. They are productive.

ID is different in that it makes no attempt to explain anything. It never accounts for "why this rather than something else". There is nowhere to go after someone pronounces that such-and-such is a result of ID. ID is sterile.

TomS

Anonymous said...

crack pots are those who argue that they have a solution or can eliminate possible solutions with inadequate tools to decide one way or the other. crack pots claim that natural causes created life when there is insufficient evidence to make that claim.

Anonymous said...

TomS,

when something appears to be designed maybe it is.

Anonymous said...

Maybe.

But that's putting the cart before the horse. I don't know what ID tells us about something. How is ID fertile, leading us to new studies, rather than sterile?

I can very well believe that I stand in a special relationship with my Creator, but that doesn't tell me why my body is so similar to a chimp's. On the other hand, telling me that I am "designed" to be like a chimp doesn't tell me anything about my Creator.

TomS

Anonymous said...

you don't want a blood transfusion from a chimp, correlation is not causation.

Anonymous said...

You continue to demonstrate that "Intelligent Design" has nothing positive and substantial to offer.

TomS

Sheaf said...

The last comment by anonymous about blood transfusion is stupid:
Even humans have to be carefully matched so that they can receive blood transfusion, why would anyone expect this to work with chimps?
Anyway the response of the immune system in chimps against our blood is a lot less than the corresponding response in rabbits, which again points to the fact that the similarities between humans and chimps are far more than skin deep.

Anonymous said...

TomS,

If something is designed that is a huge principle. Behe's detractors can't establish he is wrong just as much as he has not proven his case.

Anonymous said...

Sheaf,

You don't want chimp blood in you regardless of how well you work on blood typing. So close is really not so close Afterall.

Anonymous said...

TomS,

I don't like using the arguments of ID people but attacks against it miss the mark as well. The idea we need to know the identity of the creator is totally lame as is calling people creationists, meaning young earth creationists who subscribe to ID. The only honest position is to admit we have no clue how life came into existence or got to where it is today. I just took Dr. Noor's genetics class in hopes he would connect the dots and all he does is present the case that life comes from simple algebra formulas. No connecting molecules to man at all. And he has a lengthy sales pitch by Coyne in the class as well, a total waste of time. Jeff focuses on ID for some reason but fails to put the same test to Coyne etal, Darwin followers ... More fake than ID CAN BE!

Jeffrey Shallit said...

The only honest position is to admit we have no clue how life came into existence or got to where it is today.

You've got some nerve talking about "honest position[s]" when you are so lacking in it yourself.

It is simply false to say "we have no clue". We have lots of clues and lots of theories. You can start here if you want to learn something, instead of spouting lies.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

With so many great minds seeking a solution and so many guesses on the table you have to be honest that every attempt at explaining life in natural unsupervised conditions to date is a complete and total dry hole. Or STERILE in your words. Try falsifying ID, can't co it. And I don't even subscribe to it either. Claiming natural explanations explain life is simply a pure and total guess at this point in time. While some aspects of life, even according to Dawkins, appear to be designed. Thus ID HAS THE EDGE in the guessing game of what caused life.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

With so many great minds seeking a solution and so many guesses on the table you have to be honest that every attempt at explaining life in natural unsupervised conditions to date is a complete and total dry hole.

No kidding, he really said that. This poor fellow has no idea how science works or what "sterile" means.

Sheaf said...

To Anonymous regarding blood tests:
The point I was making was that given that even many humans cannot take blood from many other humans, we would not expect a chimp that diverged from our lineage about 6 million years ago (the last common ancestor of modern humans was within the last 100 000 years) to provide compatible blood.
But the severity of the reaction of the immune system is highly indicative of molecular similarities between human and chimps.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that creationists lead us off on to far-flung topics like cross-species blood transfusions and the origin of life, when the topic is "The Sterility of Intelligent Design"? Yes, I know someone will complain, "But I'm not a creationist." More red herrings!

TomS

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Because they have very disordered minds.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

a friend of mine, an atheist believer in evolution, was in a room with four Nobel Prize winners discussing the origins of life. All admitted they have no clue how it happened. When something is sterile, ,ole materialist explanations for origins of life, it means the area is not producing useful results. Natural causes for life is every bit as sterile as your belief that ID is sterile. Trying to just single out ID is vacuous since naturalism does not offer any evidence whatsoever that it can account for the origins ofmlifemor how life came to be as it is.

By attacking just ID you leave a false impression that natural causes actually created life when even Nobel Prize winners can't say that.

Anonymous said...

TomS,

I am not a creationist and natural causes should get exactly the same scrutiny given ID. I don't subscribe to ID either. What is truly sad is that those who ATTACK ID have zero evidence to believe natural causes actually created what we see about us as life. Belief should be proportional to the evidence that supports it. Attacking ID is a backwards way of claiming natural causes explain molecules to man when there is no evidence this is true. ZIP, ZERO, NADA. you have your own creation myth and no evidence supports your POV.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

a friend of mine, an atheist believer in evolution, was in a room with four Nobel Prize winners discussing the origins of life. All admitted they have no clue how it happened.

Oh, yeah, the old "friend told me the story" ploy. Yeah, yeah, Nobel Prize winners. I hate to tell you, but unless it was people working in abiogenesis, their opinion is not worth much. I myself have corrected a Nobel prize winner when he was spouting garbage about my own field.

Natural causes for life is every bit as sterile

Still haven't read the article about abiogenesis, I see. That's why you have to lie over and over again.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

What is truly sad is that those who ATTACK ID have zero evidence to believe natural causes actually created what we see about us as life.

Still haven't read the article I pointed out and still lying. It doesn't surprise me.

Anonymous said...

Jeff.

Why not apply the info in the article you are so proud of and create some life? Else this article is one more STERILE guess in support of natural causes.

Science is based on evidence and you have shown NO EVIDENCE that life has a natural cause. As a coverup for the failure of your faith system you attack ID which is no more or no less STERILE than natural causes.

Trying to justify a prior belief is all we see from you and a belief for which there is no evidence.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

you have shown NO EVIDENCE that life has a natural cause

Still can't be bothered to read the link, I see. Anonymous just posts the same thing over and over and over.

Defenestration said...

Tom writes: "There is nowhere to go after someone pronounces that such-and-such is a result of ID."

This isn't true. Let's say that an ID guy convinces a person who is on the fence to accept some ID arguments. That person may start thinking in theological terms, or at least to be more of an evolution skeptic than he had previously. That person's whole life, or at least career, could change based on that.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Defenestration is just playing stupid. Saying "there is nowhere to go" was obviously meant in a scientific sense. Heck, after ID you could go into dentistry or ear candling, who knows?

Sheaf said...

Anonymous wrote:
"Why not apply the info in the article you are so proud of and create some life? Else this article is one more STERILE guess in support of natural causes."

You seem to assume that just because the causes of a phenomenon are understood to some degree, one can recreate the phenomenon. This is evidently untrue, as we understand the formation of black holes but cannot create them since there are physical limits to our current capabilities as a species.

Anonymous said...

the point of attacking ID as sterile, when naturalism is no more productive and just as sterile is to change the religious vies of the population. Jeff is a top ID detractor and he can't make a positive cae for his own POV.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

As to your origins article, it is one of many and all lead nowhere.

Science daily points us to yet another bogus theory, below. note the many related articles that all propose how life originated. now go click on any of these related articles and they too have articles proposing natural pathways to life ... all of which are totally bogus. ... or as you might say ... totally STERILE.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121220143530.htm

Jeffrey Shallit said...

the point of attacking ID as sterile, when naturalism is no more productive

You lie again. Just look at any evolutionary biology journal - there are literally thousands of articles published each year, and you claim this is not productive? You seem insane.

Anonymous said...

It does seem odd to use a computer to proclaim that naturalism is not productive.

TomS

Anonymous said...

It does seem odd to use a computer to proclaim that naturalism is not productive.

TomS

Defenestration said...

"there are literally thousands of articles published each year, and you claim this is not productive? "

Jeff, I'll remember to remind you of this quote by pointing out the "literally thousands" of religious books printed each year.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Jeff, I'll remember to remind you of this quote by pointing out the "literally thousands" of religious books printed each year.

Come on, you're not being serious. I am talking about peer-reviewed research with genuinely new ideas, not evangelical tracts that recycle the same old tired lies.

Don't you find any irony at all that Anonymous, trying to make his point, actually cites a new research paper on abiogenesis, and then says this proves it is sterile? I mean, it's like the guy is so lacking in self-awareness, he doesn't understand why he has undermined his own argument.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

you totally missed the point ... none of these papers represent results, only in academia is wild skyhook guessing considered results.

you need some time in time in the private sector. As Ray told Venkman, the private sector expects results.

clue ... results would mean molecules come alive. and the iPad I'm using is a product of design. An actual result, not a pretend result.

Anonymous said...



Naturalism does not implement life from molecules. Such belief is wishful thinking and a creationist myth your team subscribes to. I form my beliefs based on evidence. Thus I have total suspicion of naturalism because it does not yield results. duplicating results is what makes something part of science. The inability to recreate life under unsupervised conditions is why naturalism is just a spooky antii Christian philosophy. Many Canadians have this problem that keeps them from dealing with reality. My atheist friend who was in the room with four Nobel Prize winners who had admitted to having no clue about origins is Canadian in origin..

To his credit he wants to run an experiment ,.. like a SETI deal ... to try to start life from molecules.

Anonymous said...

by the way I asked James Shapiro to promote my atheist friend's project on his HuffPo blog and he refused. James said that the lack of results would cause students to lose their"faith" in evolution. So James let it slip that the motivation to believe in naturalism is just a faith. Not science.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

As to your origins article, it is one of many and all lead nowhere.


You give no basis for your claim that "all lead nowhere".

In any event, I'm very weary of this discussion, which is leading nowhere. You simply repeat the same lines over and over, with no new information, and you simply disregard all the evidence that has been presented.

You can have the last word, because I do not plan to respond further.

Anonymous said...

When I correctly stated ALL LEAD NOWHERE I have evidence for the statement. None have produced life. So there is evidence for what I believe and your ideas are solely based on faith. And this MORE STERILE than ID.

QED

Defenestration said...

I mention "religious books", and you responded with "evangelical tracts."
You committed a fallacy of changing the term.
Besides, I'm sure that as a devotee of all things religious, you keep up to date on much of the religious literature that is put out each year, and can thus make such an objective assertion.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

I mention "religious books", and you responded with "evangelical tracts."

That's because the vast majority of religious books published each year are devotional in nature.

Besides, I'm sure that as a devotee of all things religious, you keep up to date on much of the religious literature that is put out each year, and can thus make such an objective assertion.


I bet I've read more religious books than you have. My personal library, containing about 10,000 books, has many such books.

I'll make you a deal. You suggest a religious book that you think has contributed something important to the world's knowledge, and I'll read it this year and review it.

Anonymous said...

The pretense popularized by Darwinists is that religion gives way to science on a continuous basis. Of all the world's cultures, Christianity and western civilization is the most nuturing to science and does not give an inch to science. It is Darwinists who believe in myths and former Darwinist, Thomas Nagel, put it very well in Mind and Cosmos->
"I realize that such doubts [about Darwinian naturalism] will strike many people as outrageous, but that is because almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science."

and totally 100% in accord with what I have posted here before I just learned his views even as I have shown Jeffrey can't use Kolmogov establishes information in life : "For a long time I have found the materialist account of how we and our fellow organisms came to exist hard to believe, including the standard version of how the evolutionary process works. The more details we learn about the chemical basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical account becomes. This is just the opinion of a layman who reads widely in the literature that explains contemporary science to the nonspecialist. Perhaps that literature presents the situation with a simplicity and confidence that does not reflect the most sophisticated scientific thought in these areas. But it seems to me that, as it is usually presented, the current orthodoxy about the cosmic order is the product of governing assumptions that are unsupported, and that it flies in the face of common sense."

And Paul Davies in "The Fifth Miracle" makes clear Jeffrey, Coyne, etal have zero explanation for why things are as they are.

So there is at least one honest atheist in Nagel saying his "the ideal of discovering a single natural order that unifies everything on the basis of a set of common elements or principles." is as yet unfulfilled.

Pretending evolution explains things is really harmful to kids and science in general. Nagel points out that Darwinism is an emperor who wears no clothes - naturalism is a 100 total failure in explaining consciousness, cognition, and morality ... kolmogorov-smirnov not withstanding.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

You are the one with no new information. Evidence would mean showing actual evidence molecules can come alive in unsupervised conditions. This with too much order and no evidence self-assembly can do the job ID remains a fertile possibility but Darwinistic naturalism is a 100% dry hole of GUESSES that produce no life.

It takes life from molecules before a person should honestly BELIEVE IN NATURALISM. You claim to have read a ton of books about religion. Too many to assume you are actually objective when you claim ID is sterile. So all you have shown is that you have a prior negative attitude about ID rather that relying on a model that a natural cause explains what we see about us. kolmogorov is just so much hand waving. there is zero evidence it accounts for the information in living molecules.


Even Schroedinger' saw this is what makes things alive versus dead ... Negative entropy ... Resistance to equilibrium in thermodynamics. Same applies to information ... Shannon saw the parallel to Boltzmann. Thus Shannon entropy. And you can't explain how resistance to moving towards equilibrium happened in thermodynamics and information at exactly the same instant. Or what happened to all the D life ... Or or or ...

In nature when molecules become amino acids they many times form in a way that twists polarized light. And this happens right down to the molecule. Explain the absence of right twisting amino acids in your body and why your sugars twist light the opposite direction to the right.

Sterile indeed!!

Defenestration said...

"My personal library, containing about 10,000 books, has many such books. "

Why in the world would you have "many such" "evangelical tracts that recycle the same old tired lies" in your library?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Why in the world would you have "many such" "evangelical tracts that recycle the same old tired lies" in your library?


Because I am fascinated by all sorts of pathological thought systems. That's why I have books about scientology, Mormonism, and so forth.

Anonymous said...

Darwinism naturalists descends right from the idiotic ideas of MALTHUS. where Darwin baed his thoughts. To still subscribe in such nonsense is pathological in the extreme ... Seven sigmas beyond the mean.

Anonymous said...

Evidence would mean showing actual evidence molecules can come alive in unsupervised conditions.

Insofar as one can make anything coherent about this:
When a living thing reproduces, metabolizes, and grows, molecules are coming alive in unsupervised conditions.
On the other hand, what examples do we have of molecules coming alive in supervised conditions?
What if someone could demonstrate that there is something in the world of life that evolution does not account for? Everybody admits that evolution doesn't explain everything. It does explain some things, while the "alternative" ("inscrutable designer(s) with no known limitations might have done something") explains nothing.

TomS

Anonymous said...

Would be interesting if evolution can start with whatever molecules it wishes in a simulated natural condition ... Trillions of these .... And then see life emerge as a consequence.

A friend of mine is trying to do just that. The controversial James Shapiro has stated that the lack of results would cause youngsters to lose FAITH IN EVOLUTION so he won't help promote the project ... and the project is a way to either negate of confirm naturalism. My guess is that naturalism and thus Darwinism will fail. Same belief as Shapiro has. So why in the world promote faith in Darwin and naturalism ifi it is likely to be shown to be fake ... Just like the piltdown man and Haeckel's embryos.

Anonymous said...

Evolution accounts for only a handful of events. Very few. Most events are beyond its power. that is why a top top math guy won't even attempt to show it actually working .

Anonymous said...

Evolution explains only a handful of things. Like taxonomy, biogeography, paleontology, drug/pesticide resistance, ... Some handful.

Meanwhile, "please don't let evolution be true" (that is, creationism/intelligent design) explains nothing. And its advocacy shows no signs of interest in ever explaining anything.

The only puzzling thing is that advocates of creationism/intelligent design should want to draw attention to the issue of accounting for things.

TomS

Anonymous said...

you are guessing about evolution explaining. anything. what is funny is that you and Jeff assume that if a person can see that evolution is incapable of explains much of anything save micro evolution that it makes a person tinto a creating onset. I reserve judgement on ID and don't subscribe to creationis,. evolution does. it has its own creation miracle. no rational argument for origins based on evidence.

I just took Dr. Noor's Duke genetics class and he never got around to explains how life came to be. as it is but he did have Coyne show up and waste everyone's time,

all guessing backed by no proof ... same thing ID folks,do.

Ernst said...

The theory of evolution doesn't so much as explain as it does accommodate.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

The theory of evolution doesn't so much as explain as it does accommodate.


Says someone who obviously knows nothing about science or evolution.

Evolution explains sex ratios in eusocial species, just to give one example.

Ernst said...

Says someone who doesn't read carefully. I said "doesn't so much as explain as..."
Sure, maybe it explains sex ratios in eusocial species (though I'll have to read up on that), but it doesn't truly explain why some organs can become more complicated and others more streamlined, fast and slow animals, flashy and plain animals, huge and tiny animals, light and dark animals, predator and prey, loner and herder, extinction andfecundity, giving and selfishness, reason and psychosis.
The theory of evolution accommodates these dichotomies very nicely. Explaining them, however, is a different matter.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Ernst:

The fact that you don't know about such explanations doesn't mean they don't exist. How much of the evolutionary biology literature have you read? The fact that you don't know about the eusocial sex ratio explanation - one of the most famous - suggests strongly that you are are arguing from ignorance, not knowledge.

Ernst said...

"one of the most famous"
Right.
Your bluff is obvious.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

if adaptive evolution unfolds by differential survival of individuals, how can individuals incapable of passing on their genes possibly evolve and persist?

So much for eusocial animals with a pat on the back to WD Hamilton. IOW, the idea they were designed this way is a vastly better solution. Not proof of ID but you just gave evidence against evolution.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

"one of the most famous"
Right.
Your bluff is obvious.


Poor, sad, Ernst, who knows nothing about evolution, but likes to pretend he does.

That's the thing about creationists - you can't educate them, because they already think they know everything, and are unwilling to learn.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

if adaptive evolution unfolds by differential survival of individuals, how can individuals incapable of passing on their genes possibly evolve and persist?

Poor sad, stupid anonymous, who apparently doesn't know that this puzzle was solved long ago by the very person he mentions.

Ernst said...

"The fact that you don't know about such explanations doesn't mean they don't exist."

Jeff, when are you going to learn the difference between explanation and accommodation?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Jeff, when are you going to learn the difference between explanation and accommodation?

I don't think you have any knowledge or understanding at all about evolution and why scientists find it useful. My evidence is that you don't even know about one of the most famous evolutionary explanations, and you sneer at those with more knowledge who try to educate you.

When you are done reading about eusocial mammals, you can read this. But I doubt it will make any difference. Creationists rarely learn anything.

Ernst said...

Jeff, when you claimed that sex ratios in eusocial species was one of the most famous examples of explaining a theory in evolution, I considered the "15 Evolutionary Gems" from Nature magazine, and the well-known "29 Evidences for Macroevolution", and noted that eusociality was mentioned in neither of them. (And it's barely mentioned at the talkorigins site.)
Besides, when I said I wanted to check up on it, I meant to check up on whether the theory truly explained the ratios, or merely accommodated them. If it's been a while since I've read up on eusociality, well excuuuse me!

The link you supplied does nothing to refute my contention that the theories within the theory of evolution are less about explaining and predicting (which they may very well do at times) than they are about adapting to fit what is observed.

PS: I'm not a creationist. Jump back from the island of conclusions.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

I considered the "15 Evolutionary Gems" from Nature magazine

Oh, geez, if it's not mentioned in a popular article, it can't be famous.

the well-known "29 Evidences for Macroevolution"

It's not exactly evidence for macroevolution. It's a prediction by evolution that turned out to be correct. Do you understand the difference?

The link you supplied does nothing to refute my contention that the theories within the theory of evolution are less about explaining and predicting (which they may very well do at times) than they are about adapting to fit what is observed.

Yes, I've already noticed you seem to have trouble admitting you are wrong when the evidence is clear that you are.

I'm not a creationist.

You argue just like one. If you're not a creationist, I'm betting you're a philosopher.

Ernst said...

"Oh, geez, if it's not mentioned in a popular article, it can't be famous."

You conveniently forgot to mention the TalkOrigins site.

"It's not exactly evidence for macroevolution. It's a prediction by evolution that turned out to be correct. Do you understand the difference?"
Yes. I admit I should've focused on "explanatory power" of evolution as opposed to "evidence for evolution." Some examples, including eusociality, are here: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13677-evolution-myths-evolution-is-not-predictive.html

(Unfortunately, the article neglects to mention where the theory predicted incorrectly.)
Also failing to mention where the theory predicted incorrectly is the following more comprehensive site, which claims to list successful evolutionary predictions, but does not
include eusociality. http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/creation/evo_science.html)

"Yes, I've already noticed you seem to have trouble admitting you are wrong when the evidence is clear that you are."
You're worse.

I'm not a philosopher, either.

Why don't we just revisit the question: Does the T.O.E. explain long-necked giraffes, or does it just accommodate them. If the former, then how does it explain the short-neck animals in the same environment. If it explains flashy animals, then how does it explain plain animals in the same environment. And so forth with the other dichotomies I mentioned. It accommodates both extremes, but doesn't explain them (a contention you've yet to address).

Jeffrey Shallit said...

And so forth with the other dichotomies I mentioned. It accommodates both extremes, but doesn't explain them

Not true. Your ignorance of the existing explanations does not constitute an argument. I already gave you an example of an explanation, which you want to pretend is unimportant because you were unfamiliar with it.

how does it explain the short-neck animals in the same environment

I guess you haven't heard of the concept of ecological niche. If you think that because one animal has a long neck, another must, then I'm wasting my time, because this kind of ignorance is not really remediable.

following more comprehensive site

Now your argument is that a famous case, well-known to biologists, somehow doesn't count because it fails to appear on a popular website created by a non-biologist? You seem to have a real problem evaluating sources.

Ernst said...

" I already gave you an example of an explanation, which you want to pretend is unimportant because you were unfamiliar with it"

How many times do I have to remind you that I do not reject the idea that the TOE can explain some things?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

How many times do I have to remind you that I do not reject the idea that the TOE can explain some things?

So I guess your claim is unfalsifiable, then, since no matter how many examples I adduce, you will just repeat the line above?

Let's look at another example: meteorology. Would you say that meteorology doesn't so much explain the weather as it does accommodate it? After all, meteorology cannot explain* why there is a big puffy cloud over my head right now, but not over yours.

* In the sense of giving a relatively complete causal history of how *that particular cloud* came to be there.

Ernst said...

"I already gave you an example of an explanation, which you want to pretend is unimportant because you were unfamiliar with it"

It's not accurate to say I was "unfamiliar" with it. I just wasn't very fluent in it.

" If you think that because one animal has a long neck, another must, then I'm wasting my time, because this kind of ignorance is not really remediable."

People who like to shoot down strawmen like that are also not really remediable.

"So I guess your claim is unfalsifiable, then, since no matter how many examples I adduce, you will just repeat the line above?"

Not true. I could adduce two examples of "accommodation" to every one of your "explanations", and my argument (which I think you forgot) would hold true.

Thanks for inspiring me to read http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=267591

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Your inability to address the question about meteorology is noted.

Ernst said...

And your ability to conclude that "no comment for now" equals "inability to address" shows that you're a top notch mathematician.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Your continued evasion is noted.

Ernst said...

Your new equation of "give me some time to think about it" = "continued evasion" is duly noted, too.
It happens to be good food for thought, this analogy to meteorology.