Wednesday, August 05, 2015

ID Supporters Interviewed; Count the Misrepresentations

Oh, look, a religious group interviews two ID supporters while claiming to examine the biological theory of evolution. No need, of course, to interview a real biologist.

Here are some brief comments:

  1. "evidences": why is it that creationists nearly always use "evidence" in the plural, while almost everyone else considers it a mass noun?
  2. McLatchie: "information uniformly traces its source back to an intelligent cause"; "We know in all realms of experience of cause and effect that information uniformly traces its source back to an intelligent cause"; "specified complexity uniformly comes from an intelligent source". McLatchie shows that he is a good little parrot who is able to read Stephen Meyer and regurgitate him practically word-for-word. Don't let the fact that all these claims are lies deter you, Jonathan!
  3. Bridges: "We know that the Darwinian mechanism are [sic] not capable of building this type of information and the only known source is something like conscious activity." Another lie. In fact, we know that evolutionary algorithms can produce extremely complicated designs. Creationists always sidestep this objection; you can't even find a reference to Sims in any of the major ID books.
  4. McLatchie: "or if you could demonstrate that some mechanism other than intelligent design could explain specified complexity then that again would destroy the design inference. So intelligent design is falsifiable". To the extent that's true, it's been falsified. Of course, "specified complexity" is a charade, as Elsberry and I have shown. But even using the bogus definitions of Dembski, it's easy to generate specified complexity (as we also showed in that paper).
  5. McLatchie: "intelligent design predicts that the ratio of functional to non-functional sequences should be astronomically small", "whereas the neo-Darwinian scenario predicts that it should there should be a relative abundance of stable and functional protein folds within combinatorial space". Of course, this is false. Intelligent design doesn't make any such prediction, because the intelligent designer is not constrained. He could make functional sequences abundant or rare, as he chose.
  6. Bridges: "if 99% of the relevant data set [i.e., the fossil record] is missing how could a theory dealing with that data set purport to give us a literally true story of the type of organisms that lived in the past and their potential genealogical relationships?". Well, Bridges just shows that he knows nothing about science. 99% of most of the relevant data sets in geology, biology, astrophysics, and other fields are not available for us to study directly; yet we still have accurate theories about orogeny, stellar evolution, and so forth. Heck, 99% of the data about my grandparents' emigration to the US is missing, but I can still give you a literally true story of how they got here.
If the interviewer had really wanted to understand evolution, he could have interviewed Jerry Coyne or Richard Dawkins or dozens of other scientists. But, of course, he doesn't. His goal is to prop up the faithful.

Similarly, you're never going to see Jonathan McLatchie or J. T. Bridges being interviewed by an actual science program. The only way they can get airtime is in religious forums like this. So much for the pretense that ID is actually about science.


lukebarnes said...

What part of the linked paper shows that "evolutionary algorithms can produce extremely complicated designs"? The paper claims that, for example, "the walking fitness measure also produced a surprising number of simple creatures that could shuffle or hobble along at fairly high speeds ... A number of more complex creatures emerged that push or pull themselves along, inchworm style." Am I missing something? Could you provide a few more references?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Go look at the other papers and videos of Karl Sims, if you're not convinced. I find the strategies evolved for locomotion by Sims' creatures to be fascinating and complicated. If you don't, then I guess the next step is for us to try to create a measure of complicatedness that would satisfy both of us.

Piotr GÄ…siorowski said...

The count plural evidences was perhaps originally inspired by the religious use of evidence as 'a sign of grace/salvation' and the idiomatic term the Evidences (of the Christian Religion). I can think of no other reason (except, perhaps, incomplete literacy).

Joe Felsenstein said...

The Sims example is an excellent one. When creationists or ID proponents are shown genetic simulations that have a genome that approaches a predefined target sequence (such as "Methinks it is like a weasel") they argue that the information was already built in by the programmer, in the form of the target sequence.

But Sims's beasts have their own "physics". Put them under selection to move to the right, and they will evolve diverse and successful structures that do that increasingly well. There is no way to argue that those structures, or those motions, are built in by the programmer. Sims's organisms are selected based on their movements, without regard to how they achieve them.

Mikkel Rumraket Rasmussen said...

Where do I get this sims program? It sounds awesome.

Jeffrey Shallit said...