homepage
  roll on christmas  
click here to find out more about ship of fools click here to sign up for the ship of fools newsletter click here to support ship of fools
community the mystery worshipper gadgets for god caption competition foolishness features ship stuff
discussion boards live chat cafe avatars frequently-asked questions the ten commandments gallery private boards register for the boards
 
Ship of Fools


Post new thread  Post a reply
My profile login | | Directory | Search | FAQs | Board home
   - Printer-friendly view Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
» Ship of Fools   » Special interest discussion   » Dead Horses   » The Death of Darwinism (Page 23)

 - Email this page to a friend or enemy.  
Pages in this thread: 1  2  3  ...  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  ...  40  41  42 
 
Source: (consider it) Thread: The Death of Darwinism
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

 - Posted      Profile for Faithful Sheepdog   Email Faithful Sheepdog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I see.

I hope you found the links enlightening. I have appreciated your comments to date.

quote:
I think there are a number of related structure's, though, that seem to share common ancestry.
ID theory of itself does not say anything either way about common ancestry (i.e. "evolution" in its general sense). One is free to make any reaonable deduction from the biochemical and palaeontological evidence.

Behe, for example, is on record as saying that he accepts the notion of universal common ancestry. Dembski is also very clear that ID theory can live happily with common descent.

The argument is very focussed - what are the limits (if any) to a specifically Darwinian evolutionary mechanism? Hitherto unknown but more powerful non-Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms are quite consistent with ID theory.

quote:
Secretion mechanisms, pilae, intracellular ATPase's....... secondly I'm not sure why pick on the flagellum; it strikes me that most organs and most organisms could be described as irreducibly complex on the same basis.
I think the bacterial flagellum is relatively easily understood by non-specialists, hence the frequency with which it appears in ID writing as a poster boy. You are right - ID predicts that irreducible complexity will eventually be found all over the biological world.

The only significant response that I know about to ID claims about the bacterial flagellum is this article at Talk Reason by Nicholas Matzke. I would appreciate your comments on this article. Dembski replies here.

quote:
So the argument doesn't seem different from saying "creation is incredible; there must be a designed" rather than a specific instance of God's footprint.
I presume you meant to say "there must be a designer".

This is a somewhat caricatured form of the argument. ID theory provides some rigorous tools to discern the activity of an intelligent agent, but says nothing about who or what that agent is or was. One can see this as "God's footprint" if one wishes, but that is a strictly optional statement of faith that goes beyond the scientific theory.

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Callan
Shipmate
# 525

 - Posted      Profile for Callan     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Originally posted by ken:

quote:
Yes, "intelligence" is a silly word to use about bacteria, but bacteria certainly exhibit behaviour, and they change their behaviour.

Just in order to make our language simpler we can talk about bacteria "intending" to do something, or doing something in order that they achieve some goal. I doubt if anyone at all thinks that that means we assume the bacteria have thoughts or ideas or emotions or intelligence in the way that animals do. Its no different from saying that a plant grows towards the light so that it can photosynthesise. We can even talk about bacteria "choosing" between one life state and another or one behaviour and another. With the possible exception of some aspects of motility effectively all bacterial behaviour is mediated through differential gene expression - a bit more of this protein, a bit less of that. In effect behaviour, gene expression, cell state, life cycle, and phenotype are not separate categories when talking about bacteria.

So this is much the same argument as the one about whether or not we could describe genes, or at least organisms, as being selfish?

This is a press release describing a paper which suggests that e-coli bacteria respond to their environment, when their food has run out, by mutating more rapidly. It seems entirely compatible with the theory of evolution, to my untrained eyes.

I do like the idea that bacteria have a stress protein.

--------------------
How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9757 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I'd go further Callan; it supports the theory of evolution. It makes mutation more likely when environment changes.

However, I think we should be cautious understanding evolution by looking at bacteria. As Ken says, they take up DNA from their neighbours rapidly - as far as I know this kind of horizontal gene transfer doesn't occur in higher organisms.

I think the argument is similar to selfish gene - but there's an important difference. Gene's are described as selfish because of the selection pressures - and the organism's need to survive/ bear young etc. (I have heard this parodied by describing the "selfish deletion" - which would have RD foaming at every orifice, I'm sure)

On the other hand, the social intelligence of bacteria is describing a system where simple organisms socially develop a form of complexity in their social behaviour one would not normally expect.

Not disimilar to ants or bees, come to think of it.

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
FS, perhaps the flagellum is a bad example; although non-specialists can easily grasp the idea, they won't know that some of the component parts have uses in other structures.

That the pilae, for instance, could be fore-runners of the structural element.

That intracellular ATPases could be fore-runners of part of the motor.

That one of the secretion mechanisms (type 3, I think) used in other pathways could be a forerunner of the whole setup......

Whereas with eyes, I think non-specialists (like myself) are more aware of the different kinds of eyes around in animals, worms etc.

But I'm not clear what these "tools" for demonstrating design are, except to challenge the plausibility of evolutionary mechanisms for various bits of biology.....

And yes, I did mean designer.

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

 - Posted      Profile for Faithful Sheepdog   Email Faithful Sheepdog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
That one of the secretion mechanisms (type 3, I think) used in other pathways could be a forerunner of the whole setup......

Yes, I 've heard that viewpoint as well. I've also heard it said that the actual historical evidence shows the type 3 secretory system to have evolved after the bacterial flagellum, and not before.

Unfortunately, resolving this particular controversy passes into specialist biochemical territory, so I can't comment any further.

quote:
But I'm not clear what these "tools" for demonstrating design are, except to challenge the plausibility of evolutionary mechanisms for various bits of biology.....
Then prepare yourself for some heavy mathematical and scientific reading (plus some very heated controversy [Smile] ).

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Of course, historical evidence can't exist..... various lines of reasoning might argue from sequence, non-coding mutations, size of reading frame.......much of which I haven't read up on either.

In general, however, one would expect things to progress from simpler apparatus to more complex....

Be that as it may - [Help] ... [Paranoid] .... [Two face] ... [Devil] ... [Waterworks] ... [Mad] ... [brick wall] ...


Right. Ready for the reading.

Where is it?

[Cool]

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

 - Posted      Profile for Faithful Sheepdog   Email Faithful Sheepdog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Of course, historical evidence can't exist..... various lines of reasoning might argue from sequence, non-coding mutations, size of reading frame.......much of which I haven't read up on either.

Yes, I agree, I should have said "historical inference from the presently available information".

quote:
In general, however, one would expect things to progress from simpler apparatus to more complex....
In the engineering world this is not always the case. Sometimes it is the temporary construction state where the most ingenuity is required. Once the project is complete, the engineering principles underlying the final state may be much more straightforward.

quote:
Be that as it may -

<snip>

Right. Ready for the reading.

Where is it?

[Cool]

As a first step look at the large amount of information available at the Access Research Network (ARN) website and the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design (ISCID) website.

As for books, anything by William Dembksi (a mathematician and philosopher) and Michael Behe (a biochemist) is well worth reading. Good luck in getting to grips with this subject. [Smile]

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Callan
Shipmate
# 525

 - Posted      Profile for Callan     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:

quote:
Methodological naturalism is a potentially “flawed technique” in so far as it presupposes the nature of nature. Remember, many people only go looking for what they expect to see, and then, even when they stumble on something highly significant, they sometimes fail to recognise it because of presuppositional blinkers.

Read this essay on “The Neglected Elements of Scientific Discovery” by “Mike Gene” (a pseudonym) at the TeleoLogic website. He is another professional biochemist and ID theorist. If I recall correctly, he self-identifies as an agnostic.

The paper you linked to is divisible into two parts. The first, stressing serendipity and personality in the process of scientific discovery is unremarkable. Similar observations can be found, in Peter Medawar's 'The Limits of Science' and 'Pluto's Republic'. Creativity is an important part of the scientific process. Of course, it should be remembered that once one has reached one's conclusions by unorthodox methods they should be replicable by one's more plodding colleagues.

The second part suggests that the greater the number of researchers engaged in the project of investigating design, the greater the chances of the forces of serendipity and personality hitting upon something to validate the thesis of design. Obviously and unsurprisingly, I disagree with Mr Gene's underlying premise that there is validation to be had but whilst I think his argument is based on a false proposition it is a valid argument. The chances of increasing the sum of human knowledge in any given field are proportionate to the numbers and the skill of the workers in that field. That seems fair enough, nay it seems self-evident.

But it doesn't, as far as I can see, demonstrate an argument for abandoning methodological naturalism. If we are being undogmatic and purely scientific in assessing evidence for design without being dogmatic about the designer, then we need not assume the scientific method, as it has been generally understood for the last couple of hundred years, is fatally flawed until the evidence starts accumulating. Gene asserts that the scientific community is not open to those aspects of personality and serendipity which validate design.

It would be idle to deny that most scientists are hostile to design, to that extent he has a point. But most scientists were hostile to evolution in 1857 and to Special Relativity at the beginning of the century. However the data stacked up in such a way that the prevailing consensus changed. Get the data and change the consensus. At its simplest, that is how science progresses. Abandoning methodological naturalism is more akin to changing the consensus on the grounds that it might offer us richer data. One would have to have an inordinately high estimate of the work produced by ID theorists so far, I would have thought, to take such a step.

--------------------
How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9757 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
quote:
In general, however, one would expect things to progress from simpler apparatus to more complex....
In the engineering world this is not always the case. Sometimes it is the temporary construction state where the most ingenuity is required. Once the project is complete, the engineering principles underlying the final state may be much more straightforward.

Though, we're discussing biological systems. So the analogy with engineering isn't appropriate.

--------------------
Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
On the first link I've clicked on this, this and this.

Now I'm getting a bit bored, since these are all more of the same.... either "isn't it all wonderful" or shooting at evolution...... could you save me the bother of more clicking, and link something specifically about the "tools" to demonstrate design.

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

 - Posted      Profile for ken     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
So this is much the same argument as the one about whether or not we could describe genes, or at least organisms, as being selfish?

Yes, I think so.

It runs right through biology and has for a century or so. Some biologists will refuse to say that anything has evolved "for" anything. Some very strict biologists will even refuse to say that an organ is "for" something - they would not even say that a leg is for walking or an eye for seeing. But most stick to teleological language because it is easier.

quote:

I do like the idea that bacteria have a stress protein.

Most of them have a fewe dozen different ones.

Some of them have hundreds.

Poor wee things

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

 - Posted      Profile for ken     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I read some papers on Type III secretion a few weeks ago & IIRC the suggestion is that they are similar to the mechanism by which flagellar structures are exported from the cell & assembled outside the membrane, not that the functioning flagellum itself has much relationship to a T3SS.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

 - Posted      Profile for Faithful Sheepdog   Email Faithful Sheepdog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Though, we're discussing biological systems. So the analogy with engineering isn't appropriate.

Yes and no. One of the arguments brought by Darwinists against the concept of irreducible complexity (IC) is the notion of biochemical "scaffolding" - a term clearly borrowed from the world of construction.

What they mean by this is that the present apparently IC biological system evolved though some complex intermediate states ensuring partial system functionality before the whole system was complete. These intermediate states have now disappeared completely leaving no trace of their existence.

The argument is that these complex intermediate states were first generated and then dismantled by a purely Darwinian mechanism, leaving a residual biological system in existence. The residual system may appear to be IC in the way that many engineering systems are indeed IC.

However, on this argument, that appearance of IC is misleading, and any anti-Darwinian deductions from it fallacious, since these deductions do not take into account the intermediate "scaffolding" that was once present but can no longer be seen.

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

 - Posted      Profile for Faithful Sheepdog   Email Faithful Sheepdog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Now I'm getting a bit bored, since these are all more of the same.... either "isn't it all wonderful" or shooting at evolution...... could you save me the bother of more clicking, and link something specifically about the "tools" to demonstrate design.

To understand Dembski's methodology for detecting design one must understand two concepts: the Explanatory Filter (EF) and Complex Specified Information (CSI). Dembski is using these terms in a precise technical manner.

For now, an old and unfortunately unillustrated article on the Explanatory Filter is here. An article on Complex Specified Information is here.

Your best bet if you can handle the maths is to read his 2002 book No Free Lunch. In it he also develops his statistical methodology with respect to the bacterial flagellum. The introduction to that book is here.

Hope that helps for now. I've been studying ID theory, on and off, for over 5 years. It's more complex and subtle than you might think. I don't expect anyone to get on top of it overnight.

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
I read some papers on Type III secretion a few weeks ago & IIRC the suggestion is that they are similar to the mechanism by which flagellar structures are exported from the cell & assembled outside the membrane, not that the functioning flagellum itself has much relationship to a T3SS.

I think that's right. But part of the irreducible complexity argument was that the export and assembly mechanisms were specialized, and could not evolve since there would be nothing for them to do without the flagellae.... and flagellae nothing to evolve for without the export/assembly line.

So this removes part (if not all) of the irreduciblity.

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Suze

Ship's Barmaid
# 5639

 - Posted      Profile for Suze   Email Suze   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
At Ruth's suggestion, after closing a thread in purg is there any chance of a plain english "dummies" explanation of ID -v- creation please. You know that way when you're not entirely sure what you think mainly cos you were blinded by the science bit a long time ago.... well that's me at the moment but I'm hoping to get to grips with this one. I'm less concerned about "my way is the right way" arguments at this point, I would be happy just understanding what you are all talking about.

--------------------
' You stay here and I'll go look for God, that won't be hard cos I know where he's not, and I will bring him back with me , then he'll listen , then he'll see' Richard Shindell

Posts: 2603 | From: where the angels sleep | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Callan
Shipmate
# 525

 - Posted      Profile for Callan     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Rather than having us post long screeds with copious links - of which there are quite enough on this thread - could I suggest that those who would like a simpler version ask the specific questions which are troubling them.

In the meantime the Access Research Network (pro ID) can be found here.

And Talk Design (anti ID) can be found here.

[ 08. September 2005, 08:41: Message edited by: Callan ]

--------------------
How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9757 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

 - Posted      Profile for Faithful Sheepdog   Email Faithful Sheepdog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
The paper you linked to is divisible into two parts. The first, stressing serendipity and personality in the process of scientific discovery is unremarkable. Similar observations can be found, in Peter Medawar's 'The Limits of Science' and 'Pluto's Republic'. Creativity is an important part of the scientific process. Of course, it should be remembered that once one has reached one's conclusions by unorthodox methods they should be replicable by one's more plodding colleagues.

Just as there is a fine line between prophet and heretic, so there is a fine line between scientific creativity and “alchemy”. Perhaps the more important question is who gets to say where that line should be. A case can be made for saying that real scientific progress is only made when the influential old guard simply die off.

quote:
The second part suggests that the greater the number of researchers engaged in the project of investigating design, the greater the chances of the forces of serendipity and personality hitting upon something to validate the thesis of design. Obviously and unsurprisingly, I disagree with Mr Gene's underlying premise that there is validation to be had but whilst I think his argument is based on a false proposition it is a valid argument. The chances of increasing the sum of human knowledge in any given field are proportionate to the numbers and the skill of the workers in that field. That seems fair enough, nay it seems self-evident.
“Self evident” in theory, but persuading people to put up the research funding is a large part of the story, as any academic researcher knows. Furthermore, no one is going to want to do any research in this area if it is so controversial that it jeopardises their future prospects.

quote:
But it doesn't, as far as I can see, demonstrate an argument for abandoning methodological naturalism. If we are being undogmatic and purely scientific in assessing evidence for design without being dogmatic about the designer, then we need not assume the scientific method, as it has been generally understood for the last couple of hundred years, is fatally flawed until the evidence starts accumulating. Gene asserts that the scientific community is not open to those aspects of personality and serendipity which validate design.
A rigorous methodological naturalism in evolutionary science remains a defensible methodology for as long as it continues to provide true insights about the natural world. The proposal to go beyond (not “abandon”) methodological naturalism in this field is partly on the grounds that such a naturalistic methodology has simply failed to deliver any worthwhile scientific fruit, as least as perceived by the ID world.

Worst of all, such methodological naturalism in evolutionary science has now hardened into a dogmatic philosophical naturalism in some cases, even becoming an unpleasant ideology. Evolutionary science compares unfavourably with the huge progress made in many other areas of science, such as physics and cosmology, where subtle philosophical ideas, including cosmological design, are now being openly discussed in the mainstream.

quote:
It would be idle to deny that most scientists are hostile to design, to that extent he has a point.
The very fact that someone of “Mike Gene’s” intellectual calibre has to shelter behind a pseudonym shows the hostility of the climate in which he is proposing his ideas. I have no idea about his real-life situation, but to me his pseudonym is prima facie evidence of his perception of a threat.

If you’ve been following Dembski’s salutary experiences at Baylor University (where he used to work as a researcher without tenure), there is every reason to take precautions. Dembski has many intellectual opponents and rather too many political enemies. Fortunately Behe has tenure at his university, but he is not the flavour of the month there, either.

quote:
But most scientists were hostile to evolution in 1857 and to Special Relativity at the beginning of the century. However the data stacked up in such a way that the prevailing consensus changed. Get the data and change the consensus. At its simplest, that is how science progresses. Abandoning methodological naturalism is more akin to changing the consensus on the grounds that it might offer us richer data. One would have to have an inordinately high estimate of the work produced by ID theorists so far, I would have thought, to take such a step.
That is why the ID fraternity are to some extent caught in a “catch 22” situation. To win more mainstream approval they will have to continue to build on their work to date. And to do that they will need to attract the funds and the staff to keep up the research. And for that they will need more mainstream approval. It’s a vicious circle.

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

 - Posted      Profile for Russ   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
So the argument doesn't seem different from saying "creation is incredible; there must be a designer"
to which Faithful Sheepdog replied:
This is a somewhat caricatured form of the argument. ID theory provides some rigorous tools to discern the activity of an intelligent agent

So ID is a recent attempt to take an old form of argument (which intuitively "has something in it") and make it intellectually rigorous.

I'd suggest that this philosophical attempt isn't itself much to do with science. The underlying intuition is better expressed in Bayesian statistics...

I'm not convinced that Dembski et al have succeeded in their philosophical quest - it's not obvious that the consensus of philosophers is that they've proved their case.

In particular, it seems to depend on notions of probability.

But am I right in thinking that - convinced that their argument is intellectually rigorous - they are now suggesting that scientists ought to apply their result to proclaim in every textbook and paper they write that the organisms that they're studying were designed by somebody ?

Russ

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
Just as there is a fine line between prophet and heretic, so there is a fine line between scientific creativity and “alchemy”. Perhaps the more important question is who gets to say where that line should be. A case can be made for saying that real scientific progress is only made when the influential old guard simply die off.

Nobody get's to say. If one publishes enough papers in peer reviewed journals and the evidence stacks up, eventually things shift over. Well argued papers with unpopular ideas do frequently get in high profile places; I remember the chemical basis of homeopathy in Nature.... the case that HIV was spread by vaccination.... deeply unpopular views do get aired. Those two have not stuck - but not because of censorship.

I think that the case you describe is without evidence. The new guard are just as unkeen on ID as the old.

I'm still looking at the links you posted .... I've yet to find anything that adds much to the statement "ID = not believing such complexity as creation could be chance". The discussion of probabilities is little more than standard knowledge applied to certain assumptions.... the biology is all well known and not analysed in any particularly new way.....

I'm with Russ on this, so far.

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
That is why the ID fraternity are to some extent caught in a “catch 22” situation. To win more mainstream approval they will have to continue to build on their work to date. And to do that they will need to attract the funds and the staff to keep up the research. And for that they will need more mainstream approval. It’s a vicious circle.

We all have that problem.

I'm unclear what experiments they would want to do, though.

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

 - Posted      Profile for Faithful Sheepdog   Email Faithful Sheepdog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
So the argument doesn't seem different from saying "creation is incredible; there must be a designer"
to which Faithful Sheepdog replied:
This is a somewhat caricatured form of the argument. ID theory provides some rigorous tools to discern the activity of an intelligent agent

So ID is a recent attempt to take an old form of argument (which intuitively "has something in it") and make it intellectually rigorous.
In a word, yes. ID arguments take into account the huge advances in mathematical and scientific knowledge since Paley produced his “watch argument”. The whole basis for the argument has moved on substantially.

quote:
I'd suggest that this philosophical attempt isn't itself much to do with science. The underlying intuition is better expressed in Bayesian statistics...
Dembski’s work isn’t simply philosophy. His work has a large amount of mathematics and statistics in it. He attempts to provide quantitative tools to discern design.

In his book No Free Lunch he briefly discusses the challenges to his work from Bayesian statistics and other comparative probability approaches. I think he has discussed this in more mathematical detail in his earlier (and very expensive) CUP monograph The Design Inference.

quote:
I'm not convinced that Dembski et al have succeeded in their philosophical quest - it's not obvious that the consensus of philosophers is that they've proved their case.
That’s a fair comment. Dembski’s work has come under heavy and sustained fire from certain quarters. Dembski has responded in depth to his competent critics and still stands by his work. You must make your own mind up.

quote:
In particular, it seems to depend on notions of probability.
Yes. Other technical terms associated with Dembski’s work are probabilistic resources and universal probability bound. Just what can 15 billion years and all the naturalistic resources of the universe achieve in an unintelligent fashion?

quote:
But am I right in thinking that - convinced that their argument is intellectually rigorous - they are now suggesting that scientists ought to apply their result to proclaim in every textbook and paper they write that the organisms that they're studying were designed by somebody ?
No. There’s no attempt to force anyone to accept a viewpoint with which they do not agree. Within evolutionary science a “design” paradigm remains a controversial minority viewpoint at present. This is in marked comparison to, say, cosmology, where “design” seems to be an acceptable mainstream viewpoint.

Speaking more generally, the ID world would certainly like to have the freedom to accept some form of teleology with respect to evolutionary science. At the moment the reigning naturalistic paradigm rules this completely out of order.

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I know nothing about cosmology... but I'm surprised if ID is a mainstream viewpoint.... is that what you meant?

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
Within evolutionary science a “design” paradigm remains a controversial minority viewpoint at present. This is in marked comparison to, say, cosmology, where “design” seems to be an acceptable mainstream viewpoint.

I've never come across design in any cosmological context - outwith the assorted "creation science" stuff. Certainly not in any mainstream context. Like mdijon, I'd appreciate some expansion on what you mean.

--------------------
Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Callan
Shipmate
# 525

 - Posted      Profile for Callan     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Is this the sort of thing?

--------------------
How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9757 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ian Climacus

Liturgical Slattern
# 944

 - Posted      Profile for Ian Climacus     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
In the meantime the Access Research Network (pro ID) can be found here.

And Talk Design (anti ID) can be found here.

Thank you Callan: that was a great help.
Posts: 7800 | From: On the border | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

 - Posted      Profile for JimT     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I thought I would drop by just to see what the fate was of the post I made in Hell and can see that I've nothing unique to contribute. I am completely with ken on EAM and epigenetics: they are both easily explained mechanically as physically based and do not require metaphysical mind for "intent." The whole of "bacterial intelligence," including the appearance of metaphysical intent, can be seen in purely physical terms as well by my eyes. An appearance of "social intelligence" emerges when machines can exchange physical entities, namely signalling compounds, and respond to the exchange. The "learning" and the "memory" they appear to display also have physical roots that don't require metaphysical intent.

As one looks deeper and deeper into bacteria as machines, it seems to me there is a greater likelihood of proving that we ourselves are in fact dumb machines than there is that bacteria are simple people.

Seriously. [Paranoid]

[ 09. September 2005, 06:06: Message edited by: JimmyT ]

Posts: 2619 | From: Now On | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
How would you know the difference, JT?

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

 - Posted      Profile for Faithful Sheepdog   Email Faithful Sheepdog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
Within evolutionary science a “design” paradigm remains a controversial minority viewpoint at present. This is in marked comparison to, say, cosmology, where “design” seems to be an acceptable mainstream viewpoint.

I've never come across design in any cosmological context - outwith the assorted "creation science" stuff. Certainly not in any mainstream context. Like mdijon, I'd appreciate some expansion on what you mean.
I was using “design” as shorthand to mean “ a more philosophically literate approach to physical science that is willing to consider some form of natural teleology” At the back of my mind when I made that comment was the readiness of some in the cosmological world to acknowledge the Anthropic Principle that was originally proposed in 1973 by cosmologist Brandon Carter.

It’s my subjective impression that cosmologists consider these ideas to be a respectable opinion even if they are far from being universally accepted by all cosmologists. This contrasts very strongly with evolutionary biology, where ID theory has been vigorously denounced as a viewpoint completely beyond the pale.

If one looks at the list of fellow in the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design (ISCID) here, one will see that several are astronomers, cosmologists, mathematicians, physicists and scientific philosophers.

Guillermo Gonzalez is one such fellow. He is an astronomer associated with the making of the film The Privileged Planet. Although I haven’t seen this film, the title does appear to be an echo of what Brandon Carter said about the Anthropic Principle:

quote:
"Although our situation is not necessarily central, it is inevitably privileged to some extent". (Carter’s emphasis)
Another name on the list of fellows, who has already been mentioned above by Callan, is Frank Tipler He is known for his books The Anthropic Cosmological Principle and The Physics of Immortality.

This thread has already mentioned quantum theory a few times. This theory is well established in physics and has spawned as one possible consequence the “multiverse” hypothesis. There appear to be several different version of this hypothesis.

What intrigues me in general is that physicists and cosmologists seems able to propose these philosophically nuanced ideas to a mainstream audience without being subsequently denounced vigorously. The ideas in question may be right or wrong – and they can’t all be right! - but cosmology does seem big enough to allow the debate to take place without perceiving a threat to its very existence.

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
At the back of my mind when I made that comment was the readiness of some in the cosmological world to acknowledge the Anthropic Principle that was originally proposed in 1973 by cosmologist Brandon Carter.

Of course, the Anthropic Principle ranges from the weak form (we're here to observe the universe, therefore the universe is capable of supporting intelligent life like us. Well, duh) to stronger forms (any universe like ours will result in the development of intelligent life like us) to the very strong (the universe is like it is so that intelligent life would evolve). They're philosophical positions with little in the way of physical predictions (the stronger versions can be used to argue that if intelligent life has to evolve in the universe we have then it most probably has done so on numerous occasions). All but the "well, duh!" weak form are by no means accepted by a large number of cosmologists, and most cosmologists would recognise them for being philosophy beyond the scope of science. And, besides, apart from the strongest form, the Anthropic Principle doesn't imply design or purpose.

quote:
Another name on the list of fellows, who has already been mentioned above by Callan, is Frank Tipler He is known for his books The Anthropic Cosmological Principle and The Physics of Immortality.
And, certainly his Physics of Immortality is about as mainstream in cosmology as Van Daniken's Chariots is in archaeology.

quote:
What intrigues me in general is that physicists and cosmologists seems able to propose these philosophically nuanced ideas to a mainstream audience without being subsequently denounced vigorously. The ideas in question may be right or wrong – and they can’t all be right! - but cosmology does seem big enough to allow the debate to take place without perceiving a threat to its very existence.
I think the key is the phrase "philosophically nuanced". Cosmologists know that they're dealing with philosophical ideas, and accept that. Something like the multi-verse interpretaion gains a hearing because there isn't a consensus on interpreting quantum mechanics - that the predictions of multi-verse views (to the extent that it makes predictions) and the Copenhagen interpretation (ditto on it making predictions) are identical doesn't help, they basically provide a framework for discussing observations of something inherently beyond normal language to describe.

I suspect, though I don't hang around evolutionary biologists much, that when a group of biologists go to the bar at conferences they would quite happily discuss philosophical views. It's when what they recognise as being philosophy starts getting passed off as robust science that they get narked.

--------------------
Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Callan
Shipmate
# 525

 - Posted      Profile for Callan     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:

quote:
I suspect, though I don't hang around evolutionary biologists much, that when a group of biologists go to the bar at conferences they would quite happily discuss philosophical views. It's when what they recognise as being philosophy starts getting passed off as robust science that they get narked.
I think there is a difference in attitudes between cosmologists and biologists. A crude generalisation may be made that cosmologists are rather happier speculating about the existence of a designer than biologists are. It is worth examining the reason for this.

One might begin with Simon Conway Morris' recent book 'Life's Solution' in which Morris makes clear his commitment both to Neo-Darwinism and to Christian orthodoxy. Morris' book was respectfully reviewed by scientists from a variety of religious positions - even Dawkins was polite about it which suggests that the science must have been good. It is unusual for a popular work on evolution to suggest that the philosophical implications of evolution may point towards rather than away from a designer - to that extent I agree with FS - but I think Morris got away with it because it is quite clear when he is writing with his scientific hat on, quite clear when he is writing with his philosophical hat on and because he is quite up front about his religious commitments.

The stock objection to ID, of course, is that it conflates science and metaphysics and that the religious convictions of ID theorists tend to be overt or veiled depending on the exegiencies of the argument. I realise that FS objects strongly to this characterisation but it is a fairly widespread view.

I think also - for the sake of the argument, or rather for the sake of avoiding an argument, I am not now alluding to ID - evolutionary biologists tend, with justice, to believe that evolution is widely resented and often under attack. From the controversies over Darwin's original thesis, from the various Lamarckian controversies, most notably Lysenkoism even unto Scientific Creationism people have objected to Darwin on ideological grounds. Furthermore within the scientific community there was a bruising battle between the Marxist faction and the sociobiologists in the 1970s. There is therefore, I think it fair to say, an understandable wariness among evolutionary biologists when considering either theological or political implications. A great deal of popular writing on the subject rather regards theology and socialist ideas as mortal competitors with biology rather than as separate disciplines which might be informed by biology. I am afraid that I rather think ID contributes to this unhelpful frame of mind. If exercises like Conway Morris' are rare and if a defensive philosophical naturalism is common it may not be entirely the fault of methodological naturalism.

--------------------
How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9757 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

 - Posted      Profile for ken     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
One might begin with Simon Conway Morris' recent book 'Life's Solution' in which Morris makes clear his commitment both to Neo-Darwinism and to Christian orthodoxy. Morris' book was respectfully reviewed by scientists from a variety of religious positions - even Dawkins was polite about it which suggests that the science must have been good.

Its a while since I read it (though not that log since my copy is still lying around in heaps rather than on a shelf) but it is good.

Also of course Conway Morris has a big reputation already. Not neccessarily one he wants - he had the strange luck to become well-known (almost famous, or as near to famous as invertebrate palaeontologists ever get) by featuring as the star player in a book by someone else that was putting forward a point of view he deeply disagrees with.

quote:

It is unusual for a popular work on evolution to suggest that the philosophical implications of evolution may point towards rather than away from a designer

Conway Morris's ideas on that seem (IIRC) more in tune with the anthropic principle than with ID. For him the universe is the kind of place in which creatures like ourselves will evolve by natural means. So there is no fundamental clash between scientific and theological accounts of creation. His line is that if there are aliens they are probably more like us than we might think. If it was possible to rewind the tape and play evolution all over again we'd get a world not very different from the one we are in fact in.

That's almost the opposite of ID which claims that what we know about the universe doesn't explain life in its own terms, so there must be Something Else that does.

quote:

I think also - for the sake of the argument, or rather for the sake of avoiding an argument, I am not now alluding to ID - evolutionary biologists tend, with justice, to believe that evolution is widely resented and often under attack. From the controversies over Darwin's original thesis, from the various Lamarckian controversies, most notably Lysenkoism even unto Scientific Creationism people have objected to Darwin on ideological grounds.

I think a lot of them would put it more strongly than that. I do hang around in bars with biologists & can therefore humbly report that football, sex, children, politics, beer, sex, and football are more common topics of conversation than philosophy - though we do get round toi that on occasion. Once or twice a term I even get to hang around in bars with palaeontologists, sometimes bincluding a couple of reasonably well known ones. And some of them are very wary of
mixing it with "Creationists". There are reports and rumours of all sorts of people getting their fingers burned - being quoted out of context as having "disproved" evolution when they did nothing of the sort, or invited to meetings under false pretences and set up to be humiliated. Fine distinctions between YEC & OEC & ID tend not to be made in such gossip. The embedded message - the tradition of the tribe if you like - is that "Creationists" are nasty aggressive small-minded people who will lie and cheat to get their point over, and who put on fake "debates" stage-managed to please the crowd and sideline any scientific evidence.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Callan
Shipmate
# 525

 - Posted      Profile for Callan     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Originally posted by ken:

quote:
Also of course Conway Morris has a big reputation already. Not neccessarily one he wants - he had the strange luck to become well-known (almost famous, or as near to famous as invertebrate palaeontologists ever get) by featuring as the star player in a book by someone else that was putting forward a point of view he deeply disagrees with.
It did occur to me that the tolerance his religious beliefs are accorded in some circles stem from his adherence to that more important Darwinian orthodoxy, being Sound On Gould. [Biased]

--------------------
How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9757 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

 - Posted      Profile for JimT     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
How would you know the difference, JT?

I wouldn't, I don't think. The only way I would feel confident about there being another intelligence acting willfully after thinking about its choices is to communicate with it. Until then, it seems to me that willful "intent" is apparent and not evident.
Posts: 2619 | From: Now On | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

 - Posted      Profile for JimT     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I just got back from a conference where I went out to dinner with a couple of other guys. There was three minutes of Reformed Judaism and Unitarianism, but that was it. I can't get people to even talk about the humanities in general, much less philosophy. ID and any kind of creation don't help us with our work; we have to figure out mechanisms. But the proponents use it to level charges of bias, conspiracy, close-mindedness, etc. so it is only a negative and thus people don't like to even hear about it.
Posts: 2619 | From: Now On | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

 - Posted      Profile for Faithful Sheepdog   Email Faithful Sheepdog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
One might begin with Simon Conway Morris' recent book 'Life's Solution' in which Morris makes clear his commitment both to Neo-Darwinism and to Christian orthodoxy. Morris' book was respectfully reviewed by scientists from a variety of religious positions - even Dawkins was polite about it which suggests that the science must have been good.

I haven't read Simon Conway Morris's book, but you will find Dembski's review of it here.

From Dembski's final page:

quote:
Ultimately, the problem here is a fundamental tension inherent in theistic evolution. As is characteristic of theistic evolution, Life’s Solution challenges materialism as a metaphysical position but not as a regulative principle for science. In bringing teleology into biology, Conway Morris therefore assumes the role of philosopher and theologian, not of scientist. Thus, however metaphysically pleasing it may be otherwise, the teleology for which Conway Morris argues is not scientifically tractable (if it were, he would be a proponent of intelligent design, which he is not). This is the tension inherent in theistic evolution, namely, trying to marry teleology and science. Theistic evolution does nothing to ease this marriage.
and his final sentence:

quote:
More importantly, those with a stake in integrating faith and learning should be asking themselves why, in the dialogue between science and religion, Life’s Solution is yet another example of religion getting the short end of the stick.
Perhaps that's why Richard Dawkins was "polite" about this book. [Waterworks] [Smile]

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
From Dembski's final page:

quote:
Ultimately, the problem here is a fundamental tension inherent in theistic evolution. As is characteristic of theistic evolution, Life’s Solution challenges materialism as a metaphysical position but not as a regulative principle for science. In bringing teleology into biology, Conway Morris therefore assumes the role of philosopher and theologian, not of scientist. Thus, however metaphysically pleasing it may be otherwise, the teleology for which Conway Morris argues is not scientifically tractable (if it were, he would be a proponent of intelligent design, which he is not). This is the tension inherent in theistic evolution, namely, trying to marry teleology and science. Theistic evolution does nothing to ease this marriage.

I've not read the book either. But, that quote seems to totally misunderstand what I'd expect to be Morris' point. I wouldn't expect theistic evolution to attempt to "marry teleology and science", but rather to seperate teleology and science. It's no wonder it doesn't ease the marriage, as it's aim is closer to causing a divorce of the two. Or, at least put the union at some point outwith science - indeed, in the realm "of philosopher and theologian, not of scientist".

--------------------
Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

 - Posted      Profile for Faithful Sheepdog   Email Faithful Sheepdog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
A further review of Conway Morris's book from the ISCID website is here.

From the final paragraph:

quote:
Theology, Conway Morris argues, will be the lifeline to our study of evolution. He concludes that evolution is congruent with the belief in a Creation in six ways: simplicity, a small ratio of actual to possible possibilities, sensitivity of process and product, the inherency of life, diversity with convergence, and the inevitability of sentience. Convergence is the key to understanding that evolution, despite its tremendous variety, is fraught with direction, or dare say, purpose. It is a bold statement that will undoubtedly receive a strong reaction from the bulk of the evolutionary community. From the ID and creationist communities, Life’s Solution will likely receive a more tepid response. For all of the difficulties, directionality, and “purpose” that evolution entails, ultimately Conway Morris’ views are incongruent with any strong design claim, such as detectability. Evolution, lest we forget, “is the way the world is.”
So it sounds like Conway Morris is arguing that examples of convergent evolution in particular are evidence of some kind of direction or purpose at work. What do other theistic Darwinian evolutionists make of this?

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by AC:
....though I don't hang around evolutionary biologists much, that when a group of biologists go to the bar at conferences they would quite happily discuss philosophical views..... It's when what they recognise as being philosophy starts getting passed off as robust science that they get narked.

I've been engaged in such activities before..... and I think the characterisation is accurate. By all means, wildly speculate on life, universe and everything with a few beers inside you at the bar; but don't pretend it's science and can be published.

quote:
Originally posted by Callan:

I think there is a difference in attitudes between cosmologists and biologists. A crude generalisation may be made that cosmologists are rather happier speculating about the existence of a designer than biologists are ....... evolutionary biologists tend, with justice, to believe that evolution is widely resented and often under attack. From the controversies over Darwin's original thesis, from the various Lamarckian controversies, most notably Lysenkoism even unto Scientific Creationism people have objected to Darwin on ideological grounds. Furthermore within the scientific community there was a bruising battle between the Marxist faction and the sociobiologists in the 1970s.

Evolutionary biologists do get a bit precious from time to time; I was witnessed a speakers reaction when her terminology was called "Lamarckian" - imagine accusing someone of racism in a social science and policy conference....

My favourite anti-evolution argument relates to the toxins produced by spore-producing bacteria; which we've discussed previously in purgatory. It's a trivial little point, but very difficult for evolutionary biologists to argue with. And it does produce angry responses.

I think there is a quasi-religious attitude among some evolutionary biologists; where certain ideas are treated as a religious fundamentalist treats blasphemy.

But I agree that evolution has been used politically in a way cosmology hasn't, and your argument might explain the sensitivity.... but I'm not sure where the religious fervour of Dawkins et al comes from. In fact, he breaks all the rules you argue (I think rightly) would be rational; making strident claims about the lack of a designer and the evils of religion on the basis of evolutionary science.

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Callan
Shipmate
# 525

 - Posted      Profile for Callan     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:

quote:
and his final sentence:

quote:
More importantly, those with a stake in integrating faith and learning should be asking themselves why, in the dialogue between science and religion, Life’s Solution is yet another example of religion getting the short end of the stick.
Perhaps that's why Richard Dawkins was "polite" about this book. [Waterworks] [Smile]
I'm not sure why an advocate for a theory which does not postulate a designer and has no opinions on gods or deities would think that a scientific work which suggests that science is compatible with religion is an example of religion getting the short end of the stick. Dembski surely isn't objecting to Conway Morris' work on religious grounds, is he?

I imagine the ID lot must find Conway Morris deeply parteigenossen. He is, after all, arguably the most eminent paleobiologist of his generation. He is a deeply religious orthodox Christian. Yet he insists on disagreeing with the ID fraternity about the merits of the theory of evolution.

quote:
Ultimately, the problem here is a fundamental tension inherent in theistic evolution. As is characteristic of theistic evolution, Life’s Solution challenges materialism as a metaphysical position but not as a regulative principle for science. In bringing teleology into biology, Conway Morris therefore assumes the role of philosopher and theologian, not of scientist. Thus, however metaphysically pleasing it may be otherwise, the teleology for which Conway Morris argues is not scientifically tractable (if it were, he would be a proponent of intelligent design, which he is not). This is the tension inherent in theistic evolution, namely, trying to marry teleology and science. Theistic evolution does nothing to ease this marriage.
This seems to me to be important. From a certain type of ID perspective, methodological naturalism is flawed because ultimately nature points to a designer. From a scientific perspective (or orthodox scientific perspective or whatever) that is why ID isn't science because it is an attempt to argue that science can resolve metaphysical questions. Theistic evolution is an attempt to argue that Darwinian theory does not contradict a theistic metaphysics. Rather ironically both Dawkins et. al. and ID argue that it does. From Dawkins' point of view Dembski is rather closer to his position - did they but realise it - than Conway Morris is.

--------------------
How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9757 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
J. J. Ramsey
Shipmate
# 1174

 - Posted      Profile for J. J. Ramsey   Author's homepage   Email J. J. Ramsey   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
My favourite anti-evolution argument relates to the toxins produced by spore-producing bacteria; which we've discussed previously in purgatory. It's a trivial little point, but very difficult for evolutionary biologists to argue with. And it does produce angry responses.

I managed to find a cache of this thread on Google, but it is no longer in Purg.

Anyway, here's what I found:


quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
The other biological problem I wonder about is a sort of "malevalent design" - Clostridum botulinum , and Clostridium tetani both produce a toxin which does the organism itself no good at all in its natural environment. These toxins, however, are such perfect fits for receptors in the central nervous system that tiny quantities of them in the body in very unusual situations (food processing and dirty wounds) lead to botulism and tetanus respectively - often fatal. The death of the infected human does the bacteria no obvious good either.

Why should such a sinister mechanism have evolved? I've asked a few evolutionary biologists the question.....and not had anything very convincing as an answer yet.

I can understand why this question would rankle evolutionary biologists. It contains a crucial misconception, namely that a trait must somehow be useful in order for it to have evolved. In standard-issue evolution, traits do not evolve for a purpose, which is what your question seems to imply, but rather traits simply happen. Now if the trait helps the lifeform out-reproduce others of its species, then it becomes a more common trait in the species. That's natural selection at work. If, however, the trait does not impede the lifeform's reproductive viability, then it gets passed on, even if it isn't necessarily beneficial to the lifeform. The latter can easily be what is happening in the toxic bacteria of which you spoke.

--------------------
I am a rationalist. Unfortunately, this doesn't actually make me rational.

Posts: 1490 | From: Tallmadge, OH | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

 - Posted      Profile for Faithful Sheepdog   Email Faithful Sheepdog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:

and [Dembski’s] final sentence:
quote:
More importantly, those with a stake in integrating faith and learning should be asking themselves why, in the dialogue between science and religion, Life’s Solution is yet another example of religion getting the short end of the stick.
Perhaps that's why Richard Dawkins was "polite" about this book. [Waterworks] [Smile]
I'm not sure why an advocate for a theory which does not postulate a designer and has no opinions on gods or deities would think that a scientific work which suggests that science is compatible with religion is an example of religion getting the short end of the stick. Dembski surely isn't objecting to Conway Morris' work on religious grounds, is he?
As I said, I haven’t read Conway Morris’s book, but my impression from reading Dembski’s review is that he takes issue with Conway Morris on strictly scientific grounds. This would be entirely consistent with the flow of Dembski’s argument and the basis of his ID theory.

One of the fundamental cultural differences between the ID world and the YEC world is that the latter, to a large extent, occupies an uncritical cultural ghetto within a certain strand of the evangelical church. By contrast, the ID world has pitched its scientific ideas to the wider scientific world on their scientific merits alone. That is a much, much tougher assignment.

quote:
I imagine the ID lot must find Conway Morris deeply parteigenossen. He is, after all, arguably the most eminent paleobiologist of his generation. He is a deeply religious orthodox Christian. Yet he insists on disagreeing with the ID fraternity about the merits of the theory of evolution.
Please note that the ID world has no argument with the conventional scientific picture of the age of the earth or the basic facts of palaeontology. The very fact that Dembski has read and subsequently written a four-page review of Conway Morris’s book shows a certain level of academic respect for him.

I think the ID world is very used to “deeply religious orthodox Christians” disagreeing with them, and not just those in the YEC world, either. One of their most vociferous critics in the USA has been the theologian Howard Van Till. This is to misunderstand the argument, which is advanced on its scientific merits alone, and not at all from a theological perspective.

quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
quote:
(from Dembski’s review)
Ultimately, the problem here is a fundamental tension inherent in theistic evolution. As is characteristic of theistic evolution, Life’s Solution challenges materialism as a metaphysical position but not as a regulative principle for science. In bringing teleology into biology, Conway Morris therefore assumes the role of philosopher and theologian, not of scientist. Thus, however metaphysically pleasing it may be otherwise, the teleology for which Conway Morris argues is not scientifically tractable (if it were, he would be a proponent of intelligent design, which he is not). This is the tension inherent in theistic evolution, namely, trying to marry teleology and science. Theistic evolution does nothing to ease this marriage.

This seems to me to be important. From a certain type of ID perspective, methodological naturalism is flawed because ultimately nature points to a designer. From a scientific perspective (or orthodox scientific perspective or whatever) that is why ID isn't science because it is an attempt to argue that science can resolve metaphysical questions. Theistic evolution is an attempt to argue that Darwinian theory does not contradict a theistic metaphysics. Rather ironically both Dawkins et. al. and ID argue that it does. From Dawkins' point of view Dembski is rather closer to his position - did they but realise it - than Conway Morris is.
I think the ID argument is not that “science can resolve metaphysical questions”, but that methodologically naturalistic science may nevertheless point beyond itself to something else – the designer(s) of ID theory. In ID theory, a “design inference” determined on entirely rational grounds certainly does challenge the adequacy of methodological naturalism as a full explanation. Even then, to my eyes, this still leaves many “metaphysical questions” open and unresolved.

I think Dembski would agree with you that his main intellectual opponent is the “blind watchmaker” thesis of Dawkins et al. His main complaint against Conway Morris seems to be precisely that with respect to evolutionary biology he assumes the role of philosopher and theologian, and not that of scientist. Dembski has proposed his ID theory on rational scientific grounds, and those are the grounds on which it will stand or fall.

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

 - Posted      Profile for Faithful Sheepdog   Email Faithful Sheepdog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by J. J. Ramsey:
I can understand why this question would rankle evolutionary biologists. It contains a crucial misconception, namely that a trait must somehow be useful in order for it to have evolved. In standard-issue evolution, traits do not evolve for a purpose, which is what your question seems to imply, but rather traits simply happen. Now if the trait helps the lifeform out-reproduce others of its species, then it becomes a more common trait in the species. That's natural selection at work.

"Useful" strikes me as an adequate word to describe a new trait that gives a selectable advantage, even if it did just "happen" as a result of a fortuitous random mutation.

Perhaps the selectable advantage in this case is a very short-term one. Then the medium-term disadvantage of the toxin on the bacteria or the long-term death of the host would not matter as far as the spread of a genetic trait is concerned.

Or maybe the bacteria are intelligent after all and can see some rationality behind the evolution of the toxin, even if so far the explanation has eluded us. [Smile]

quote:
If, however, the trait does not impede the lifeform's reproductive viability, then it gets passed on, even if it isn't necessarily beneficial to the lifeform. The latter can easily be what is happening in the toxic bacteria of which you spoke.
There's a whole subset of evolutionary theory based around the concept of "neutral" evolution associated, I think, with the name of Kimura. In this case new traits that give neither a selectable advantage nor an obvious disadvantage become fixed in a population due to the operation of population genetics. That may be another explanation for the development of this particular bacterial toxin.

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
As I said, I haven’t read Conway Morris’s book, but my impression from reading Dembski’s review is that he takes issue with Conway Morris on strictly scientific grounds.

My impression from reading Dembski's review is that he takes issue with Morris alomost entirely on non-scientific grounds. In talking about the 'meat' of the sandwich he describes it as "popular science writing at its best, and this material is worth the price of the book.", going on to say that Morris describes convergence "at length and with awe". But the bulk of the review basically follows on from the question "what does this all mean? Why is biological convergence important in the wider scheme of things?" ... which is philosophy and theology, not science.

--------------------
Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by J. J. Ramsey:
It contains a crucial misconception, namely that a trait must somehow be useful in order for it to have evolved. In standard-issue evolution, traits do not evolve for a purpose, which is what your question seems to imply, but rather traits simply happen.

There needs to be a selection pressure, surely? Isn't this the lynchpin of evolutionary theory?

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
FS, Kimura's Neutral Evolution is quite different; it's a bit of algebra, based on neutral single nucleotide changes - which have neither positive nor negative effects.

This complemented the process of natural selection and "founder effects" - but wasn't an alternative hypothesis to evolution under selection pressure.

The original paper is here

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
J. J. Ramsey
Shipmate
# 1174

 - Posted      Profile for J. J. Ramsey   Author's homepage   Email J. J. Ramsey   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by J. J. Ramsey:
It contains a crucial misconception, namely that a trait must somehow be useful in order for it to have evolved. In standard-issue evolution, traits do not evolve for a purpose, which is what your question seems to imply, but rather traits simply happen.

There needs to be a selection pressure, surely? Isn't this the lynchpin of evolutionary theory?
Selection pressure is responsible for making a trait more common amongst a species but not necessarily for creating that trait in the first place.

--------------------
I am a rationalist. Unfortunately, this doesn't actually make me rational.

Posts: 1490 | From: Tallmadge, OH | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

 - Posted      Profile for mdijon     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Oh sure; selection hardly causes the mutation in the first place.

But should the mutation occur, I can't see how it would become a widespread, stable phenomena without selection pressure.

--------------------
mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 12277 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
HenryT

Canadian Anglican
# 3722

 - Posted      Profile for HenryT   Author's homepage   Email HenryT   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
FS, Kimura's Neutral Evolution is quite different; it's a bit of algebra, based on neutral single nucleotide changes - which have neither positive nor negative effects.
...

Note that this phenomenon is used in forms of "genetic dating" such as the quest for the "mitochondrial Eve". As mitochondria have their own DNA but live in the cytoplasm, they are inherited solely from the mother, with no cross-overs, etc. And they accumulate random mutations in the unimportant parts of the DNA.

(In the important parts, selection comes into play.)

--------------------
"Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old-fashioned" P. Henry, 1788

Posts: 7231 | From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

 - Posted      Profile for ken     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Henry Troup:
And they accumulate random mutations in the unimportant parts of the DNA.

(In the important parts, selection comes into play.)

Of course. But we have great trouble working out which are the important bits!

(Though I think I have a method which works for bacteria...)

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged



Pages in this thread: 1  2  3  ...  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  ...  40  41  42 
 
Post new thread  Post a reply Close thread   Feature thread   Move thread   Delete thread Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
 - Printer-friendly view
Go to:

Contact us | Ship of Fools | Privacy statement

© Ship of Fools 2016

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0

 
follow ship of fools on twitter
buy your ship of fools postcards
sip of fools mugs from your favourite nautical website
 
 
  ship of fools