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Author Topic: The ID movement isn’t the same as ID
Tom Curtis
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Kenmeer:

quote:
This sounds crassly hypocritical from someone who writes Derrida-ese, but I think it would be useful for the broader reading community of this thread (assuming anyone reads it ther than ourselves) would benefit if you defined and exemplified "auxilliary hypotheses". I, for example, have difficulty distinguishing at this point how your assertions in this regard are not an inverted form of saying 'they're really thinking teleologically'.
One of the most famous theses in the philosophy of science is the Duhem-Quine theses that no theory by itself makes any testable predictions. Taking Newton's theory of gravity as applied to the solar system, for example. The theory consists of the three laws of motion, plus the inverse square law of gravitational attraction. With just those four laws, nothing follows about the motions of planets. If you add to those laws other hypotheses about the relative masses of the planets, their relative locations at a given point of time, and their relative velocities at that time, you can then predict their motion into the far future. The additional hypotheses are called auxilliary hypotheses. They are not derivable from the theory, and are required in addition to the theory to make testable predictions. Auxilliary hypotheses of this particular sort are called initial conditions.

However, just having the initial conditions and the theory still does not give you any testable predictions. We cannot test directly the motions of the planets - only the observed motions of the planets. And to observe the motions of the planets you need to use light. So to make a testable prediction you need a new set of auxulliary hypotheses - the laws of optics.

In fact, one of the first tests of Newton's theory was by this guy (I forget his name) who oberved the Galilean moons of Jupiter to see if they obeyed Newton's theory. His observations contradicted Newton's theory - but rather than reject Newton's theory of gravity, he rejected part of Newton's theory of optics, ie, that light travels at an infinite velocity - and successfully predicted the finite velocity of light (and made its first measurement). Later two planets were discovered when predicted motions were contradicted by observations, and a new auxilliary hypotheses were added. Later still, the failure of any alterations of auxilliary hypotheses to allow Newton's theory to predict the motion of Mercury led to the replacement of Newton's theory by Einstein's.

So, an auxilliary hypothesis is an additional hypothesis to the central thesis, which is not derived from the central thesis, but which is necessary for the central thesis to make particular predictions.

So much for Duhem and Quine, now enter Lakatos.

Imre Lakatos emphasised the well known fact that given sufficient auxilliary hypotheses, almost any theory can be made to predict almost any phenomena. So if you allow just any auxilliary hypothesis in science, then no theory can be falsified, and every theory can be confirmed by virtually any concievable array of facts. To avoid this possibility, Lakatos proposed as a methodological rule of science that only auxilliary hypotheses which increase the predicted emperical content are allowed. Given this rule, theories with substantive merit will progress by the continuos prediction of, and discovery of new data.

It should not need to be said, but does when discussing ID, that if you accept an auxilliary hypothesis to make a particular prediction, then you accept it for all predictions it makes when combined with your theory. This is relevant because when asked to produce predictions, ID proponents often smuggle in auxilliary hypotheses about the motives of the designer; but when critics of ID use the same auxilliary hypothesis in dysteleological arguments, they are accused of playing at theology, or of using a strawman.

Logically the situation stands like this:

No theory (ie, the central core of a scientific research program) makes testable predictions by itself.

Any theory can be made to make testable predictions with suitable auxilliary hypotheses.

A theory is only scientific if:
It makes testable predictions with certain auxillary hypotheses; and

Those auxilliary hypotheses by themselves do not make that prediction.

A research program is only scientific if it has a scientific thesis at its core; and continuosly expands its range of emperical commitment by the addition of new auxilliary hypotheses; and in when confronted with potential falsification, the new auxilliary hypotheses used to avoid that have a greater emperical content than the auxilliary hypotheses they replace.

When it comes to ID, every purported example of ID research I have examined either:

Makes no emperical prediction; or

Makes a prediction, but the prediction follows from the Auxilliary hypotheses alone; or

Makes a prediction, but the prediction is does not follow from the theory and auxilliary hypotheses in any logical sense; or

Makes a prediction which does follow from the auxilliary hypotheses used, but those auxilliary hypotheses are not accepted as part of ID, and critics who use them are condemned.

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Tom Curtis
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Teleologist:

quote:
Tom says:

quote:
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Mike uses a machine analogy because he finds it convenient post hoc..
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Mike Gene says:

quote:
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Consider the F-ATP synthase, where Science News reported "With parts that resemble pistons and a drive shaft, the enzyme F1-ATPase looks suspiciously like a tiny engine. Indeed, a new study demonstrates that's exactly what it is." Science News vol 151, p173

In fact, an expert on this machine observed, "These exciting results led to the conclusion that Fo.F1-ATP synthase is the smallest electrical machine created by Nature and a number of technical terms previously unknown to enzymology such as: rotor, shaft, stator, torque, clutch are now widely used to describe the enzyme operation." See http://www.protein.bio.msu.ru/biokhimiya/contents/v64/full/64111443.html

When scientits observe certain protein assemblies they notice they are are quite similar to the machines humans design, which is why non-teleologists themselves coined the descriptor, 'molecular machine.' And the manner in which molecular machines differ from humanly designed machines supports, rather than damages, the ID inference.

I agree that while mechanical metaphors and analogies render biochemical systems familiar and more tractable to thought, they do not transform these systems into artifacts. Yet, there is little reason to think a molecular machine is only analogous to a machine rather than being a literal machine. I challenge any ID critic to demonstrate that any ID proponent is being misled by analogy. Merely pointing out that you see things differently doesn't cut it. And remember I'm only explaining why I suspect design. I don't claim to have proven design.

ID critics insist that the teleological terminology used by science is only metaphor and analogy. Maybe, but then maybe not. What matters is that someone can indeed interpret the terminology most literally. A non-teleologist might interpret a membrane protein to be like a sensor, while a teleologists might interpret it to be a sensor. Is there any evidence to indicate the teleologist would be wrong? And more importantly, is there any evidence that a literal, rather than a metaphorical interpretation, could not guide scientific research?

Now, I certainly don't claim to know that design exists. Neither do I claim these dynamics prove design. Neither would I expect non-teleologists to interpret any of this literally rather than metaphorically. But one thing is beginning to come into clear focus for me, namely, taking these concepts literally not only can produce what science produces, but might actually do better in some cases.
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Mike Gene claimed that "ID allows me to take a view of the cell more as a sophisticated, machine-like entity rather than a jury-rigged hodgepodge cobbled together by the Blind Watchmaker." That is, the analogy was between the cell and a machine, not between a particular component of the cell and a machine. So pointing out just one machine like component of a cell is hardly to the point.

However, I'll take up your challenge, here. Do you think all or most cell components are machines? And in what sense do you mean "machine"?

Do you mean:

a) a device that is a "simple machine" (ie, a wedge, wheel, pulley or lever) or is composed of simple machines?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_machine

b) a device that performs a function by the mechanical transmission of force?

c) "a mechanical or electrical device that performs or assists in the performance of ... tasks"?
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/machine

d) a "mechanical or organic device that transmits or modifies energy to perform or assist in the performance of tasks"? OR
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine

e) a system that performs a function, and is efficiently organised to perform that function?

If you don't like any of these definitions, please supply your own. BUT if you don't accept any of these definitions, or supply your own, then you are only using "machine" as a metaphor. It has no distinctive content, and hence makes no emperical predictions. Its usefullness will consist of its vagueness in that it can be applied or not applied to the convenience of the user.

Scanning the list of definitions I have provided, it is fairly plain that the "machine" prediction of ID is either falsified, or empty. Clearly most cellular components do not consist of wedges, levers, etc, and nor are they made up from them. Nor do they perform their function by the transmission of mechanical force, or of electrical force, except to the extent that chemical bonding is an electrical phenomena. Even that last caveat doesn't save the prediction, because cellular components perform their functions not by the transmission of electrical forces, but by electrical bonds.

There are a few (a very few) exceptions. Bacterial flagella and ATPase are driven by the movement of electrical ions, ie, the transmission of electrical force; and perform their functions by the mechanical transmission of that force. But they are very much exceptional cases.

In contrast, everything that performs a function satisfies definition (d), for any work done must involve the transmission of energy. That all components of cells (excluding purely structural components) are machines in sense (d) is a prediction of the laws of thermodynamics plus the hypothesis that that cellular components have functions. In otherwords, ID is redundant to the prediction (as is Darwinism). It is not one of ID's predictions at all. In other words, in a world were work could be done without the transfer of energy, ID would not predict that cellular components perform work by the transfer of energy.

Finally, (e) follows immediately from the premises that cells are alive, and that they have subcomponents that perform functions (ie, that vitalism is false). So again, it is not a prediction of ID (or of Darwinism). Put simply, ID without the biochemical view of life does not predict that cellular components will be machine like in sense (e); but the biochemical view of life does predict just that by itself. So ID is an ad hoc addenda on that prediction.

This shows you some of the hurdles of trying to make the machine analogy more than a metaphor. To my knowledge, Mike Gene never spells out the analogy, and with good reason given his aims. In my words, "Rather, Mike uses a machine analogy because he finds it convenient post hoc; and keeps it as metaphor so that it will not commit him to predictions that might be potentially falsifying."

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kenmeerilritorne
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quote:
Good point. So going back to your assertion that specificity doesn't indicate design I'll try to find some Mike Gene stuff wherein he explains why he connects specificity to design. Just remember that Mike isn't attempting to prove design. He's merely using a teleological perspective to generate testable hypotheses.
Like I said, I like MG. And yes, my impression is that he isn't trying to 'prove' ID as in promoting an agenda or preexisting bias, but rather that he is pleased by the opportunities for insight it provides now and maybe even a new discipline down the road.

Unfortunately, papers riddled with words like deglandioshposphate (to make one up) make it very hard to read the forest for the trees. I'm thinking of tackling one of them this weekend -- spend a solid hour with it and chart it out so I can follow his underlying logic trail that currently is too much obscured by terms over my head.

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Tom Curtis
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teleologist:

quote:
Another point from Mike Gene:

quote:
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Biologists have cleverly stolen ID concepts and smuggled them into their methodology and refuse to credit and reference their sources.

It's a tricky way of shutting ID out of science. Take all its concepts, label them as mere "metaphors," and then act like ID has no place in science. Then, claim that ID is useless to science because the only thing left for ID to do is find some vaguely defined "extraordinary
evidence" (allowing one to masquerade a demand for absolute proof as mere "evidence").

It's starting to look highly suspicious when someone claims ID has no scientific support when they live and breathe ID concepts to do their science. Why don't they just abandon ID concepts and walk the walk of all that anti-ID talk?
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Wouldn't it be nice if I could get to debate Teleologist, and not just Mike Gene by poxy!

As illustrated in my preceding post, the test of whether something is just a metaphor, or is actually doing cognitive world is whether you can cash out the metaphor. Now, in fact, all the "ID metaphors" in science are cashed out; and they are cashed out before scientists start making predictions. So, in the end, the metaphors serve no role in the science except to make it easier to understand what is going on for someone who is first learning (or learning only the basics) of the topic. They may also serve a role in scientific discovery in the same way that the Oroborous metahpore served Kekule. But they need not, and most scientific metaphors have not served such a role.

Nor indeed, are they "ID metaphors". They are metaphors drawn from common experience, it is true. And most of our common experience is with interactions with humans and human artifacts. But when the metaphors are cashed out, the one thing that always drops out is the ID, the designer.

The situation is approximatley this:

Scientists use a metaphor because properties a, b, and c, of the thing they examine are approximately like the properties A,B,C of the metaphor. The ignore properties D through to Z of the metaphor because to use them would be to push the metaphor too far. Now the IDists want to insist that because they use properties, A, B, and C in the metaphor, they must also use property Z (the designer). They do this even though the original analogy was inexact; and even though they (as also their opponents) don't see any reason to include properties D through to Y in their extended analogy. What is more, they do this despite the fact in actually making predictions, the scientists use properties a, b, and c of the thing they study, and not the metaphor; and despite the fact that they cannot, and refuse to cash out property Z of the metaphor emeperically, and cannot use property Z to make any emperical predictions.

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kenmeerilritorne
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quote:
Finally, (e) follows immediately from the premises that cells are alive, and that they have subcomponents that perform functions (ie, that vitalism is false). So again, it is not a prediction of ID (or of Darwinism). Put simply, ID without the biochemical view of life does not predict that cellular components will be machine like in sense (e); but the biochemical view of life does predict just that by itself. So ID is an ad hoc addenda on that prediction.

This shows you some of the hurdles of trying to make the machine analogy more than a metaphor. To my knowledge, Mike Gene never spells out the analogy, and with good reason given his aims. In my words, "Rather, Mike uses a machine analogy because he finds it convenient post hoc; and keeps it as metaphor so that it will not commit him to predictions that might be potentially falsifying."

This was very helpful. Thanks.

Believing as I do that evolution is at least a very big part of the explanation of life on Earth, I'm intrigued by how tool-using designers like homo sapiens appear to have arisen from a pattern of chemisty (life) that willfully swims against the entropy stream.

That life COULD arise from spontaneous events doesn't seem odd to me at all. Some forms of symmetry are self-reinforcing. From there, positive entropy actually FORCES negative entropy into these symmetrical structures.

Being at least as poetical as I am scientifically inclined, I'll make this analogy:

We've seen the eddy counter-currents in streams wherein the water actually flows UPSTREAM along a bankside (generally where a projection pushes the main current away from the bank creating a low-pressure area into which water moves into from the higher presure area, and thereby creating this counter-current).

Such currents don't travel very far upstream and they last only as long as the obstruction, anywhere from a few minutes to a few centuries depending on the type and size of obstruction.

A twig gets caught in one of these eddies and moves upstream and is then caught in the projection. More twigs get caught, thereby extending the life and influence of the current-deflecting projection. It manages not to get washed away.

While the vast majority of twigs simply wash downstream or are briefly caught in weirs that are subsequently washed downstream en masse during spring floods, these twigs move against the current to enlarge the projection or just maintain it . The projection, over time grows downstream in a slow crawl. It doesn't take a twig from the river's mouth and deliver it to the stream's source: it cannot travel backward in time. But it can acculate entropy and build something out of a force -- (the river current is of course a metaphor for entropy) that overwhelmingly washes almost everything away.

In time there is a unique stretch of bank going a considerable ways, whose structure would appear somehow designed: twigs intermeshed with mud and gravel in such a way as to make them particularly resistent to the general entropy flow so long as the current mostly stays within certain bounds, the forest delivers adequate twigs and leaves and pinecones, the stream provides adequate gravel and stnes and boulders to allow the building of a stable rock aggregate, et cetera. These parameters just described would be what we call necessary conditions for survival: food, water, climate, et cetera.

It's JUST a metaphor, folks.

When it comes to inferring design, I find that complexity and specificity themselves don't yield to inference. What is required is "evidence of absence": a configuration that, like the IC concept, exists in a hereditary vacuum. A vacuum where no tails, or at least an insufficient number of trails, lead to ther functions and forms of life.

A thing without a Mommy; an orphan phenomenon. Thus the easily recognized appeal of IC.

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Tom Curtis
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quote:
Mike Gene says:

quote:
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It is often said that ID is not science and has contributed nothing to science. But how can this be when biology is built around ID concepts and language? How is it that advances in our own understanding of our own designs help to illuminate biology in a very fundamental way?

For example, in trying to explain feedback and homeostasis to new biology students, biologists do not draw from basic chemistry or physics. They draw from the manner in which furnaces and thermostats are designed to work.

Or consider how one Japanese biotech company
(Yokoyama CytoLogic) describes the cell:


quote:
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During the early stages of cell evolution a very clever system of information manipulation evolved: DNA became a repository of genetic information; messenger RNA served as an active copy of this information; and transfer RNAs together with various enzymes acted as adaptors/translators, producing functional products,i.e. proteins. This was a decoding process, which became fundamental logic of all future organisms. Interestingly, this process can also be viewed as a type of "computer". In the language of mathematics the DNA is the domain (or code table), the transfer RNA and associated enzymes a function, and the protein products the range. By changing the content of the domain or the structure of the function it is possible to produce a range comprising many products. Since there are many thousands of copies of the RNAs and enzymes involved in this process in a cell, this "computer system" can be though of as being massively parallel, far
beyond anything that can now be constructed using solid state computer hardware. The gradual understanding of this molecular logic, which has
been preserved throughout evolution, has not only been a great success of basic science, but has also opened up the possibility of much new and interesting technology involving information and data processing. By employing the basic strategy of nature it is now possible to conceive
of rationally modifying the DNA and/or the transfer RNAs and their associated enzymes in order to produce a wide variety of products.
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That cellular processes are likened to computer processes clearly means that our understanding and design of computers has shed light on cells. Thus, intelligent design clearly guides science.

One of these days, someone is going to blow the whistle on the fact that biologists are constantly putting their hands in the ID cookie jar.
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Before going any further, it is important to cash out Cytologic's metaphor. The DNA is a domain, the tRNA and related enzymes constitute a function, and the proteins produced a range. This, by the way, is almost literally true. In mathematics, a function is any operation (mathematical, logical, or otherwise) that, given two, the domain and the range, relates them such that, for every member of the domain, d, there is one, and only one, member of the range, r, such that the function of the former is the later (f(d) = (r)); and for every member of the range,x , there is some member of the domain, y, such that f(y) = x.

Functions are a dime a dozen. The Dewey library classification system is a function between a set of alph-numeric strings and the set of all books. What is more, because the correlation is 1 to 1, it is also a function in the reverse direction. The phonetic alphabet is a function of the set of all human sounds used in speach. The set of even numbers is a function of the set of whole numbers (but not vice versa). The set of surnames is, to a first approximation, a function of the set of humans in the twenty-first century. And each of these "can be viewed as a type of computer" in exactly the same way the process of protein formation.

Indeed, and interestingly, the process as described by cyotlogic is not trully a function. This is because some gene sequences have more than one protein product (with the one produced depending on how the tRNA is edited, in eukaryotes). In contrast, the protein production system is a function in the strict mathematical sense if we take proteins as the domain and a subset of DNA sequences as the range. A subset because not all DNA sequences encode for proteins. However, although more accurate, this metaphor is not usefull because it travels in the opposite direction from the information transfer.

Let's return to the computer metaphor, however. It is an interesting fact that every possible situation describable in a first order quantified logic can be modelled in arithmatic (Skolem-Lowenheim thesis). That's right, every possible physical process has a model in arithmatic. And, for every arithmetic model, there is a turing machine that computes it (Church - Turing thesis). It follows from these two facts that every possible physical process is some sort of computer.

However, a turing machine is not the same as a universal turing machine. Universal turing machines are mathematically equivalent to Von neumann machines such as (except for irrelevant details like a finite memory) the computers on our desktops. And that is the basis of cyotologics metaphor. They are analogising the protein production system to desktop computers, and massively parallel computers at that. And in doing so, the metaphor becomes funademtally misleading. The simple fact is that the protein production system is not capable of performing any mathematical function beyond that of, suprise, surprise, producing a protein to correspond with each gene. It has no "AND" gates, no "NOR" gates, no "NEGATION" operations. It does not even have the computational power of an abacus. The metaphor turns out to be trivial, or trivially false depending on how you cast it.

In the light of this, it is interesting to notice MG's comment that:

quote:
That cellular processes are likened to computer processes clearly means that our understanding and design of computers has shed light on cells. Thus, intelligent design clearly guides science.
Transparently the likening of cellular processes to computer processes has not shed light on cells. The (almost) accurate metaphor to a function told us nothing that was not already well known; nothing in fact that did not go directly into inspiring the metaphor. In contrast, the metaphor to actual silicon and software computers is fundamentally misleading. It tells us nothing that is not misleading. MG has been mislead by ID into treating a companies PR blurb as though it was actual science.

Mike Gene challenged "... any ID critic to demonstrate that any ID proponent is being misled by analogy." Well, congratulate me, I just did. The ID proponent in question was, in fact, Mike Gene.

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kenmeerilritorne
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Here's a Mike Gene paper that is simple enough for plain folks to understand:

Error Correction Runs Deep

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kenmeerilritorne
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That cellular processes are likened to computer processes clearly means that our understanding and design of computers has shed light on cells. Thus, intelligent design clearly guides science.

MG wrote this? I'd thought Teleo wrote it.

Oh, I see. It was MG alright. Gawrsh. That disappopints me. I saw the flaw in that one first time. Thought it was so obviously wrong I didn't bother with it. No knock on Teleo, but I thought it was him following in MG's lead, and figured I'd leave it be, since (I thought) it wasn't one of his cited authorities.

[ March 10, 2006, 10:38 PM: Message edited by: kenmeerilritorne ]

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kenmeerilritorne
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quote:
However, a turing machine is not the same as a universal turing machine. Universal turing machines are mathematically equivalent to Von neumann machines such as (except for irrelevant details like a finite memory) the computers on our desktops. And that is the basis of cyotologics metaphor. They are analogising the protein production system to desktop computers, and massively parallel computers at that. And in doing so, the metaphor becomes funademtally misleading. The simple fact is that the protein production system is not capable of performing any mathematical function beyond that of, suprise, surprise, producing a protein to correspond with each gene. It has no "AND" gates, no "NOR" gates, no "NEGATION" operations. It does not even have the computational power of an abacus. The metaphor turns out to be trivial, or trivially false depending on how you cast it.
Instead, the 'machine' is experience itself, yes? Every so often, a protein fits a gene in a way that was not indicated by the one-to-one corredpondence of that particular DNA. The resulting mutation is sometimes the equivalent of an AND or NOR or NEGATION?

In essence, using the computer metaphor again, the machines of life are not processors writing code; they are codes written by experience?

Forgive me my hopelessly metaphoric verbiage; I've been writing fiction for the past few months andmy brain is dominated by the poetic process. (I'm taking a break this week.)

[ March 10, 2006, 10:40 PM: Message edited by: kenmeerilritorne ]

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Tom Curtis
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No, MG wrote it. That post by Teleo consisted of two long quotes from MG.
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kenmeerilritorne
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Oh, I see. It was MG alright. Gawrsh. That disappopints me. I saw the flaw in that one first time. Thought it was so obviously wrong I didn't bother with it. No knock on Teleo, but I thought it was him following in MG's lead, and figured I'd leave it be, since (I thought) it wasn't one of his cited authorities.
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Tom Curtis
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quote:
Here's a Mike Gene paper that is simple enough for plain folks to understand:

Error Correction Runs Deep

Looking at the article, I see that someone has devised a code for the bases used in DNA, based on the number of hydrogen bonds, and whether the base is a donor or acceptor of hydrogen for each bond, and on whether the base is a pyrimidine or a purine. The codes are:

A 10,0
C 100,1
G 011,0
T 01,1

Purportedly, the representation acts as a parity code:

quote:
Represented in this way, says Mac Dónaill, the permissible combinations of A,C,T and G correspond to what computer scientists call a parity code. Each nucleotide has an even number of 1's - it is said to have an even parity.

This makes it easier to spot errors such as non-natural nucleotides. If the error changes any one digit in a nucleotide, its parity changes from even to odd. Odd-parity nucleotides are clearly wrong.

That seems wrong to me, because A has an odd number of 1s. If this is an actual in nature hamming code, then As would always be error corrected out of existance. Now probably I am missing something here, but I don't know what it is. Could someone explain why this speculation is not just still born?

Anyway, with respect to MG's actual article, a couple of points should deflate it nicely:

1) Nobody has actually found this error correcting code in nature. Someone has found that you can represent certain properties of nucleic acids as a hamming code, and speculated that it is related to an error corecting mechanism. But no-one has found an error correcting mechanism in nature that makes use of those particular properties. So at this stage MG is basing his speculations on some very thin speculations by another scientist.

2) Neither MG, nor any other ID proponent actually predicted this purported mechanism. There not even predicting that the speculation will be confirmed. I find it very hard to analyse a prediction to see whether or not it follows from ID when the prediction is not even made.

http://cmbi.bjmu.edu.cn/news/0209/92.htm
http://www.indstate.edu/thcme/mwking/nucleic-acids.html#dna

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kenmeerilritorne
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For what it's worth, a novel of sorts brewing in the back of my mind involves a future in which, among other things, humanity survives (along with the highr life forms important to it) bu redesigning DNA so it is aggressively error-correcting.

All that plutonium in those post-apocalyptic futures, you know. Not that this s the focus of the book, per se. Just something I felt useful in imagining humanity alive 200 years from now.

"hamming code". Shucks. I thought this had some reference to the connection between ham radio and the Internet. (Oh, *indirectly* it probably still does, but...) Just the name of guy who invented it. Why should HE get all the credit?

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kenmeerilritorne
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quote:
1) Nobody has actually found this error correcting code in nature. Someone has found that you can represent certain properties of nucleic acids as a hamming code, and speculated that it is related to an error corecting mechanism. But no-one has found an error correcting mechanism in nature that makes use of those particular properties. So at this stage MG is basing his speculations on some very thin speculations by another scientist.

...

2) Neither MG, nor any other ID proponent actually predicted this purported mechanism. There not even predicting that the speculation will be confirmed. I find it very hard to analyse a prediction to see whether or not it follows from ID when the prediction is not even made.

Aw, cut the guy some slack. Newtonian kinetics was having trouble with small eccentricites with Mercury's orbit before Einstein's work predicted (after the fact) those same eccentricities.

So the train left the station before he did. He at least is predicting where it should go if it is following a designed route. He is also making some specific predictions before the fact of how it got to the statio, and WHY he think it might have followed ID tracks. See following:

quote:
2) Neither MG, nor any other ID proponent actually predicted this purported mechanism. There not even predicting that the speculation will be confirmed. I find it very hard to analyse a prediction to see whether or not it follows from ID when the prediction is not even made.
I think MG is making the case that selective pressure might not be the most likely cause for the observed phenomenon:

Ball's article states:

When life first emerged from simple molecular constituents, says Mac Dónaill, "selective pressure should have favoured parity-code-structured alphabets".

But might Mac Donaill be mistakenly extrapolating modern biology on a pool of "simple molecular constituents?" I think Ball's essay lays out the thinking that underlies such opinions:

The consequences of wrongly read or copied information can be disastrous. Malfunctioning genes can cause diseases and defects. Errors can occasionally have beneficial effects - they create the mutations that drive the evolutionary process - but they are usually detrimental. So cells have evolved molecular machinery for checking transcription and replication. This greatly reduces the chances of errors, but does not eliminate them. Mac Dónaill says that there is another mechanism for detecting errors - in the chemistry of DNA itself.

It is understandable why mistakes in a high information entity such as a human being can be disastrous. But are we sure that the same applies to such primitive quasi-life forms? That is, while it makes sense that mutations are more likely to be detrimental than beneficial in modern day, high-information organisms, does this really apply in primitive, low-information quasi-life forms? Consider the following points:

* Viruses represent the simplest replicating entities, on the border between life and non-life. They also can exploit the highest mutation rates, often bordering on error-catastrophe.

* Low-information proteins, by definition, can tolerate the widest range of amino acid substitutions.

* Mutation is the source of evolutionary variation. A simple, rather homogeneous population of low-information replicators would be well served by high mutation rates, generating variation to exploit great volumes of untapped niches and increasing the opportunities for adaptation.

I would thus hypothesize that any original, simple-quasi-life forms would be better served by maintaining high error rates that appear to come with simplicity and low-information states.


How testable this is, I don't know. I note the following frailty in MG's thinking: Elsewhere in another article he has made a point that viruses, while very primitive, are parasitic of more complicated life forms and thus are probably newer not older microbes. By this notion, viruses then would have DEVOLVED from more sophisticated systems, or conversely, would have evolved from subcomponents of more sophisticated systems that 'cut loose and went it alone'. Either way, that would place them AFTER the parity code DNA hypothesized by Mac Donail.

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kenmeerilritorne
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Also, MG seems to be one of those big boys who can and does deflate himself without any help. In his Error-Correction Runs Deep article, he says toward the end:

While the argument is fuzzy, it would seem that the error correction capabilities, inherent in the DNA chemistry (and perhaps the genetic code) appear to reflect foresight, when such capabilities would become essential in the high-information state life forms that would exist hundreds of millions of years after the putative simple replicators. bold mine

I like MG. He's OK, even if he's running on pure speculation, with some of it borrowed. Dembski and *that* crowd, however, get on my nerves.

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Tom Curtis
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quote:
Aw, cut the guy some slack. Newtonian kinetics was having trouble with small eccentricites with Mercury's orbit before Einstein's work predicted (after the fact) those same eccentricities.

So the train left the station before he did. He at least is predicting where it should go if it is following a designed route. He is also making some specific predictions before the fact of how it got to the statio, and WHY he think it might have followed ID tracks.

My point was that he does not make any prediction at all, predictive or retrodictive. As the current topic under discussion is the ability to make predictions using ID, in the absence of a prediction I am at a loss as to how to show whether that prediction does not come from ID, is based solely on a metaphor, comes from ID using auxilliary hypotheses that are denied elsewhere, or is that yet to be discovered beast, a genuine ID prediction.

Now, as you point out, Mike Gene does have some commentary as to what you might expect from ID vs what you might expect from Darwinism. However, it no where rises to sufficient specificity to amount to a prediction. The "prediction" in the commentary is so vague that effectively any state of affairs would fulfill it. That is a point you comment on yourself.

Where I to criticise that "prediction", I would point out that all species have a mutation rate approximately equal (but just less than) the level at which mutation catastrophe occurs. To avoid mutation catastrophe, each member of a species must, on average, produce at least one offspring with no negative mutations so that if no beneficial mutations occur, at least the lineage won't degenerate. For sexually reproducing species, which can eliminate harmful mutations without extinguishing the lineage, the mutation rate can be slightly higher. For species with very many offspring (such as viruses), it can be higher still. For an asexually reproducing species with small numbers of offspring, the relevant probability of a point mutation per generation per nucleotide is 1/N where N is the length in base pairs of their genome. Humans have a point mutation rate which results in, on average 10 point mutations with a phenotypic effect per offspring; so humans skirt mutation catastrophe as much as do viruses. Viruses, of course, have a much higher mutation rate, but that is because the genome is much smaller, and because they produce tens of thousands of offspring per reproduction. The rate for bacteria hovers around 1/N, again skirting catastrophe. There mutation rate is higher than that of humans, but only because there genomes are only 100th of the size. It follows from this that IF MG is predicting that bacteria and viruses have a reduced mutation rate compared to what they can maintain to establish an advantage for later, more advanced life forms, he is wrong. His prediction is already falsified in that the mutation rate of bacteria is very close to the mutation catastrophe rate, and many times less than the natural rate without error correction.

I would also point out that a Hamming code error correction system to prevent the use of non-standard bases is hardly usefull in modern lifeforms which do not have any non-standard nucleic bases in their system; but may have been usefull in a prebiotic situation in which most of the nucleic bases would have been of natural origin, and taken up from the environment. So IF there is anything to the hamming code, then it looks more like a survival of a system usefull in the first few million years of life's existence, but now thoroughly redundant.

But such discussion would be redundant. The main topic at the moment is the ability of ID to make predictions, and if ID can make bad predictions than it is still making predictions. My problem with this example is that the prediction is not explicit enough, nor the reasoning behind it clear enough to determine if the ID thesis actually enters into the prediction, and, if it does, how it enters into the prediction. Given THAT, it seems likely that if the reasoning and prediction were clear in this example, it would be seen that it was not properly based on ID, just as can be seen in very other case where the reasoning and prediction are clear.

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Tom Curtis
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quote:
I like MG. He's OK, even if he's running on pure speculation, with some of it borrowed.
I was inclined to like him to. He certainly seemed a cut of any other ID proponent I have come across in both integrity and intellectual rigour. However, when I got to debate him I found out that he wanted to spend most of his time running specious arguments denigrating ID's opponents; would not tolerate anyone pointing out when he had done exactly the same thing as he was denigrating and ID opponent; declined to debate the scientific merits of his various proposals; and banned people if the points they made against his position got too cogent.

There may be a better side to MG than that which I saw, but I cannot see much point in looking for it.

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kenmeerilritorne
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quote:
There may be a better side to MG than that which I saw, but I cannot see much point in looking for it.
Ah. You've dealt with him directly. I see.

Your recent post, beginning with "My point was that he does not make any prediction at all, predictive or retrodictive", is pretty definitive. Clearly stated and neatly conclusive (it's HARD to cull specialized vocabulary when speaking to visigoths like myself, I know, just as it's hard for me to remove Big Words from my artist's vocabulary). I especially like the simple logic about what really MATTERS regarding mutation rates.

It's been great fun. I am almost over this past week's vicious head cold that followed (or perhaps resulted from) my recent had-on collision with a sizable Writer's Block, and will soon be Ornery-silent again, probably until summer commences, but I've had me a real good time.

How ironic if the Old Testament were originally a sci-fi chronicle? [Wink]

It saddens me that the idea of ID is so rudely (and perhaps worse, crudely) harnessed to assertive dogma. By itself, the thrill of looking for a designer's trademark in the wonders of nature is a very fine cognac. I leave with these selections from the first novel I ever tried to write, and which I might someday even finish:

"For most people, the Author of All is an unobtrusive artist. “The moving finger writes, and having written...” doesn’t sign Its Name. I would that I could practice such reserve – or is it disdain? – for my creations, but I won’t. It makes me uncomfortable to shuck my skin totally and pretend I don’t exist. Likewise, to pretend as if I’m not narrating this story, to act as if it somehow wrote itself, is like listening to an empty grey suit tell stories about itself or, more precisely, about whom it might be if it really were someone and not just a someone-shaped garment."

+++

"I really am someone, and this is my story. Of course, the Author writing me might also claim this story as Its Own, determining me as only a character of Its invention. That may well be, as my story will show, but while I’m not denying the possibility, neither am I endorsing Its alleged copyright. “I’m not sure which of us it is that’s writing this page,” to quote a famously obscure Argentine.

"Interesting that the One who claims authorship of All lays no such claim upon my personal being. According to God (more about this character later), the subjects of this book are very much a mutual collaboration. Be that as it may, I claim full responsibility for and original credit for all of the following words. Damned if I’ll give ghostwriter’s credit to an alleged God who won’t claim the same for me..."

+++

"One of life’s absurdities is Humankind’s desire for me to show my hand, to appear at the local basilica for a world signing. You know, “show us a sign”. As much as I like to consider myself an artist, for I know what I like and I (mostly) like my work, this is nonetheless Reality. The work at hand or in progress is our World, people, and it does It no credit to run credits after an evening’s sunset or paint my initials at the bottom right corner of every far horizon. Legerdemain and stage tricks benefit from the presence of a self-aggrandizing person in a swirling cape and twirling mustachios, but I doubt we would much enjoy it if I announced every sunset with patter and flourish, declaring “Behold, the land is thicker than the sky!” as I make great ceremony of pulling the bright cloth of day out from under the gleaming cutlery and shimmering goblets of night. It doesn’t even make for convincing prose."

copyright Robin Morrison

And on a more locally relevant note:

"Even though I’m not sure I believe a word of it, I think I’m telling the truth. If the liars of our realm came to have no faith in themselves, what would be left of our world?"

God bless us everyone, even those of us who believe in Him despite His steadfast refusal to manifest as more than a figment of our imagination. How would you like it if I declared you were a Voice inside MY head? How could you deny it? If God exists, the least we can do is leave Him be and enjoy His work...

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Teleologist
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Tom says:

quote:
When it comes to ID, every purported example of ID research I have examined either:

Makes no emperical prediction; or

Makes a prediction, but the prediction follows from the Auxilliary hypotheses alone; or

Makes a prediction, but the prediction is does not follow from the theory and auxilliary hypotheses in any logical sense; or

Makes a prediction which does follow from the auxilliary hypotheses used, but those auxilliary hypotheses are not accepted as part of ID, and critics who use them are condemned.

Well, I don't have time to refute all this but here's a suggestion. Try applying this logic to your own position. Where is the blind watchmaker research program? Where are the testable hypotheses based on non-teleological concepts and terminology? What predictions about the cell can be attributed to viewing it as a jerry-rigged hodgepodge cobbled together by the blind watchmaker?

I submit there is no such thing as a blind watchmaker research program. Without teleological concepts and terminology biological research would come to a screeching halt. Mike Gene says:

quote:
Make your case that the evolutionary process is a totally non-teleological process. Demonstrate that biology and medical science would be better off without teleological concepts and terminology. Want to claim teleological language is metaphorical? Fine. By all means, lead a crusade to eliminate all the metaphorical language from biology and hand it over to the ID people. If there is no design behind life, the non-teleologists shouldn't need these metaphors. So they should stop borrowing from the engineers and draw exclusively from the language of the physicists, chemists, geologists, and astronomers. If the non-design approach is so good, why do the non-teleologists need to steal teleological concepts left and right in order to explore the living world? They have a whole universe to draw metaphors from and, given that life is not designed, the non-teleological perspective ought not be so dependent on *so many* teleological metaphors.

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kenmeerilritorne
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There really IS a difference between scientifically rigorous hypotheses and metaphors. Really.
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kenmeerilritorne
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quote:
Where is the blind watchmaker research program? Where are the testable hypotheses based on non-teleological concepts and terminology? What predictions about the cell can be attributed to viewing it as a jerry-rigged hodgepodge cobbled together by the blind watchmaker?
Congratulations, Teleo. You've reached a formidable height of absurdity. No, I won't bother explaining it to you. I've concluded this can't be done.

[ March 11, 2006, 04:25 PM: Message edited by: kenmeerilritorne ]

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kenmeerilritorne
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quote:
They have a whole universe to draw metaphors from and, given that life is not designed, the non-teleological perspective ought not be so dependent on *so many* teleological metaphors.
I will offer this one observation:

That life is itself telelogical (well, at least I am) does not mean that the process whereby life came to be is teleological. However, the fact that we are teleological, and that our pursuit of understanding how life came to be is an inherently teleological process, tends to influence the process, capisch?

This is an example of why science philosphers are so leery of claiming their results 'explain' things but prefer to say they 'describe' them. You are most fond of citing sources. I will again quote the text that I laboriously and teleologically hand-copied from an article of yore:

From Encyclopaedia Britannica 1947:

“5) Reference to Purpose. In the study of human conduct, and of certain biological phenomena, it seems impossible ton dispense with all reference to purpose, even when other kinds of explanation are made use of at the same time. The most familiar way of explaining human actions is by referring them to some purpose that is pursued either consciously or unconsciously. Such explanations are suggested by our own felt experiences on similar occasion, and have always been so satisfying to many people that they have been applied also to most other phenomena at one time or another. Hence the animism, fetishism, and anthropomorphism characteristic of the early history of human thought. This kind of extravagance was a serious obstacle to the progress of science during many centuries – to say nothing about the evils of theological anthropomorphism. Hence the reaction in modern science, which has not unnaturally displayed a strong hostility to all such teleological explanations, that is, explanations by reference to purposes. But the just revolt against one extreme does not justify another extreme. Such teleological explanations, too, have their proper place in certain limited fields of research. And it seems difficult to conceive how even the most violent opponent of teleological explanation could regard his own researches, writings and higher activities as aimless and purposeless.

What has just been said may help to account for the tendency of modern science to disclaim all attempts to explain things, and to confine itself to the more modest task of describing them. The contrast is usually expressed by the statement that science only tries to answer how things happen, not why. But to say how things happen is also to explain them. ( bold mine) Indeed, what is called scientific description often includes much that cannot be considered to be anything but explanation, right or wrong. The opposition to the question: Why? and the identification of all explanations with answers to such questions, betrays what is really at the back of the mind of the opponents of explanation as a legitimate aim of science. They really object to teleological explanation being applied indiscriminately to all kinds of natural phenomena. This is quite right. But it is a very short-sighted policy to give this extremely narrow view to the term “explanation”, and so to deprive science of its legitimate and honourable claim to explain things, even if it does not explain everything, nor any one thing completely. The unsophisticated man of science who is not addicted to shibboleths certainly thinks not only that science explains things, but explains them most correctly.”


Ultimately, this debate is covered in the popular high-brow bathroom graffiti:

Sartre said to be is to do

Nietsche said to be is to do

Sinatra said do be do be do...

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Tom Curtis
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quote:
Tom says:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When it comes to ID, every purported example of ID research I have examined either:

Makes no emperical prediction; or

Makes a prediction, but the prediction follows from the Auxilliary hypotheses alone; or

Makes a prediction, but the prediction is does not follow from the theory and auxilliary hypotheses in any logical sense; or

Makes a prediction which does follow from the auxilliary hypotheses used, but those auxilliary hypotheses are not accepted as part of ID, and critics who use them are condemned.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, I don't have time to refute all this but here's a suggestion. Try applying this logic to your own position. Where is the blind watchmaker research program? Where are the testable hypotheses based on non-teleological concepts and terminology? What predictions about the cell can be attributed to viewing it as a jerry-rigged hodgepodge cobbled together by the blind watchmaker?

I can well accept that you don't have time to disprove this with regard to every one of Mike Gene's essays. But that you don't have time even with the examples that you presented? Particularly seeing it would be so easy if, for example, MG was no depending on a metaphore to predict the function of enolase, to cash out the metaphore and thus prove me wrong. That seems a bit of a stretch to me.

On to your main point, Darwinism makes very few predictions about the cell except in the most general terms UNLESS you add a large number of auxilliary hypotheses about cell structures in related organisms, or specific functioning of specific mechanisms and particular environmental needs. It is, afterall, not a theory of cellular functioning, but of evolution.

But Darwinism does predict that the mutation rate of all species will hover just below the rate of mutation catastrophe (as discussed above). It predicts this because of the mathematically provable fact that at that rate evolution procedes at its fastest.

It does predict that every metabolically expensive feature of a phenotype has a payoff in improved reproduction. In the case of peacocks, this is a prediction that despite appearences, the peacocks with the longest glossiest tails will have the most offspring. (Since proved by experiment.) With more detailed analysis it was predicted that peacocks with the longest tails would also have the offspring most resistant to disease. (Since proven by experiment.)

It has predicted the sex ratio of bees based on particular facts about their chromosome distribution. It predicted the circumstances under which mammals would be hive animals, successfully.

It retrodicted the orign and spread of the melanic form of the Peppered Moth with the onset of industrialisation; and predicted the decline of the melanic form of the Peppered Moth following clean air legislation.

This is a small sample of the studies I know of, which is in turn a small sample of all the studies - all of them not just musings as a hobby by an internet blogger; but made in the scientific literature, and backed up by studies in multiples of papers.

Go ahead and pick one to study in detail. I can show you why Darwinism makes the prediction, what auxilliary hypotheses were used; and refer you to some of the papers reporting the experiments that have confirmed the results. None of which you have been able to do for MG's "ID predictions".

quote:
I submit there is no such thing as a blind watchmaker research program. Without teleological concepts and terminology biological research would come to a screeching halt. Mike Gene says:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Make your case that the evolutionary process is a totally non-teleological process. Demonstrate that biology and medical science would be better off without teleological concepts and terminology. Want to claim teleological language is metaphorical? Fine. By all means, lead a crusade to eliminate all the metaphorical language from biology and hand it over to the ID people. If there is no design behind life, the non-teleologists shouldn't need these metaphors. So they should stop borrowing from the engineers and draw exclusively from the language of the physicists, chemists, geologists, and astronomers. If the non-design approach is so good, why do the non-teleologists need to steal teleological concepts left and right in order to explore the living world? They have a whole universe to draw metaphors from and, given that life is not designed, the non-teleological perspective ought not be so dependent on *so many* teleological metaphors.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This becomes tedious, but once again:

The metaphores are used for teaching (broadly defined);
For that purpose they have to be drawn from every day experience; and
They follow from, and do not substitute for, straightforward emperical descriptions.

The thing MG and you assume is that scientists depend on the metaphores, rather than merely finding them usefull for purposes of instruction of illustration. I have already shown above how MG was drawn into error by exactly that assumption. This is one clear difference between science and ID - MG's predictions do depend on metaphores, and depend on them remaining metaphorical. Science does not.

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Teleologist
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kenmeerilritorne says:

quote:
That life is itself telelogical (well, at least I am) does not mean that the process whereby life came to be is teleological.
Who is making that argument?
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kenmeerilritorne
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quote:
Who is making that argument?
Um, what argument? Speak clearly, boy, I say, I say, speak c-l-e-a-r-l-y. What argument?
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Teleologist
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You said that life being teleological doesn't mean it had a teleological cause. I thought that was suppose to be a rebuttal to someones's argument. If it isn't then I withdraw my question.
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Teleologist
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kenmeerilritorne says:
quote:
There really IS a difference between scientifically rigorous hypotheses and metaphors. Really.
But are teleological concepts and terminology really just metaphors? How do we determine this?

Here is Mike's quote again:

quote:
Some insist the teleological terminology used by science is only a metaphor. Maybe, but then maybe not. What matters is that one can indeed interpret the terminology most literally. One might interpret a membrane protein to be like a sensor, while someone else might interpret it to be a sensor. Is there any evidence to indicate the literal interpretation is incorrect? And more importantly, is there any evidence that a literal, rather than a metaphorical interpretation, could not guide scientific research?
If there is no evidence to indicate the literal interpretation is incorrect, it seems to me that all that matters is if the literal interpretation can guide scientific research. I think Mike Gene has demonstrated it can.

[ March 12, 2006, 02:17 PM: Message edited by: Teleologist ]

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kenmeerilritorne
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quote:
You said that life being teleological doesn't mean it had a teleological cause. I thought that was suppose to be a rebuttal to someones's argument. If it isn't then I withdraw my question.
A proper withdrawal. It was only an observation. Indeed, one reason I express annoyance with you is that you don't seem to read the actual ARGUMENT laid before you and, instead, waste my time with questions, about a single OBSERVATION, that are easily answered by reading the ARGUMENT.

quote:
But are teleological concepts and terminology really just metaphors? How do we determine this?
They are not *just* metaphors. They are metaphors and, as the wag once said: a man's reach should exceed his grasp else what's a meta-phor? Teleological concepts and terminology are teleological concepts and terminology, no more nor less. How one *uses* them to create testable predictions, or untestable predictions, is an extension of them. The final analysis to be made here is: do these metaphors (lovely, beautiful, entrancing metaphors, in my opinion) actually *touch* anything of themnselves? What Tom has said is that they do so only by borrowing from other, non-teleological, metaphors.

Replying in kind, you, or MG, or both, have now suggested the nontelologists, the NS gang, are actually using teleological metaphors but pretending they're not.

Some insist the teleological terminology used by science is only a metaphor.

There's that *just* thing again.


[MG quote] Maybe, but then maybe not. What matters is that one can indeed interpret the terminology most literally. One might interpret a membrane protein to be like a sensor, while someone else might interpret it to be a sensor. Is there any evidence to indicate the literal interpretation is incorrect? And more importantly, is there any evidence that a literal, rather than a metaphorical interpretation, could not guide scientific research?

No one here is refuting the IDEA that a teleological interpretation of life can yield testable hypotheses. I certainly haven't, and it disturbs me that you should even waste my time in this vein. I have made it abundantly clear that I LOVE ID/teleology as a concept.

The refutation to be addressed here, the one that my argument above comments on, is the perception by some, like Tom Curtis, that the bio-teleologists they've so far encountered have failed to produce a genuinely testable hypothesis that makes a POSITIVE prediction on its own which reaches conclusions that NS metaphors can't reach more directly (sans auxilliary hypotheses from nonteleological metaphors).

I have gone on record here several times recently and months ago defending the essential 'scientific nature' of the IC hypothesis, stating that it is not ambiguous but, rather, consistently either provides results of its own or doesn't. (To date, best I can tell, it doesn't.)

So far, Tom Curtis has managed to follow a straight line of logic on this matter and communicate his reasonings for his assertions to me in a manner I can comprehend (although it has taken some work for I am not a scienticist just a layman with a fair dinkum thinkum).

To date, you have gone in circles. Rather like a dog chained to a leash of its own design (pun unintended but welcomed after the fact).

quote:
If there is no evidence to indicate the literal interpretation is incorrect
Agian you put the cart before the horse. No wonder you're not getting anywhere. There is currently no known means of proving that a literal rather than metaphorical approach to teleogical metaphors as a means of exploring the derivation of biological forms is inherently invalid, and no one here that I know of is saying so.

Rather, it is you and MG who have implied that those pursuing non-teleogical interpretations are being false to their principles by often speaking 'as if' a life system were designed. The difference here is that the NSers are not sayin 'if xyz were designed, it would do abc'; instead, they use the design metaphor to describe what they're seeing because such metaphors communicate so much more readily to inherently teleogical beings like ourselves.

The Blind Watchmaker is a nifty poetic metaphor that provides a neat semantic label for NS/survival pressure/random mutation et ceteras et cetera. But it does not indicate a genuine Blind Watchmaker (BW) any more than Adam Smith's economic concepts indicate there really IS an Invisible Hand adjusting mortgage rates (although, to hear Alan Greenspan speak, any thing's possible). It's eazsier for Richard Dawkins to speak of a BW than it is to drown his reader in the dense sentences required to string together the several principles which in conjunction make up NS evolution. Just as it is easy to speak of ID or God as aneat label describing potentially teleogical biogenesis/construction.

The HUGE difference between the two is that the NS/BW label stands for an enormous body of (mostly) sound results, while the ID/God contains little if any solid supporting evidence and much self-contradicting evidence. Indeed, many see the rise of ID as an acknowledgement by much of the God/Creationist camp that there label has increasingly become a detriment to the teleology concept, since Yahweh/Genesis is such a washout.

My observation above and in my previous post is that we, being inherently teleogical in our BEHAVIOR, initially approach EVERYTHING from a teleological point of view, but that this is only a result of our starting place, which is our very teleological consciousness. Restated, It says that just because we see things teleogically doesn't mean that things are teleogical themselves.

Tom consistently reviews a given specific hypothesis as presented by your favorite ID star, MG, and responds to its SPECIFICS. You reply in generalities. You, in effect, back up again and again and take another run at the takeoff ramp.

And consistently splash the mud.

But that's just you. I do not confuse YOU with the concept of ID any more than I confuse the ID concept with the ID movement or with Tom Curtis.

That said, it IS true that there are myriad instances of solid evidence supporting the notion that NS could be right, so many so that its probability far overweighs, at this point, the idea that ID concepts could do as well or better. No one has proven, or can prove, NS incapable of predicting patterns in natural history any more than anyne has proven ID incapable of predicting patterns in natural history. But NS has proven itself capable time and again while ID still seems to be struggling to get out of the gate; a gate, I note, of its OWN design.

Tom, I read some yesterday, from E.B.'s '47 and '74, about scientific method and philosophy. Does it show?

I note here that the anthropocentric principlke, which abandons specific design in Terran biogenesis but claims that the very nature of the universe and ther solar system appear designed to make the evolution of life likely is an hypothesis that remains untestable, there being no other solar systems with life, much less entire universes, to compare ours with. This enormous luck of the draw we have in living next to a gentle stable sun on a planet covered with water and other organc chemistry, can thus not be distinguished from anything else. It remains dumb luck by default.

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kenmeerilritorne
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quote:
If there is no evidence to indicate the literal interpretation is incorrect, it seems to me that all that matters is if the literal interpretation can guide scientific research.
Of course as teleological perspective can guide a teleological endeavor.

The challenge to science is to REMOVE, to ISOLATE said teleological bias. This is what lifts scientific inquiry from magical thought. As the Enc.Brit. '47 article I quoted from says, this need to distance science from teleology can become a dogma of its own. But allowing that teleology MAY prove beneficial in at least some circumstances doesn't MAKE it beneficial. What TOm c has demonstrated to me, at least, is that in those instances that BOTH you and I cited as seeming to fulfill thjis promise, they hadn't. He didn't say that such an approach CAN'T. But he has said that so far it hasn't and that this track record accords with science's general view of teleology as a form of leprosy -- except, of course, when dealing with innately teleological fields, such as sociology. INdeed, I suspect that one feature defining the 'soft sciences' as a group is their inherent inclusion of teleology, which ever gets in the way of objective analysis by nature.

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kenmeerilritorne
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Found this:

Lord Bertrand Russell wisely observed on one occasion: To be perfectly intelligible one must be inaccurate; to be perfectly accurate one has to be almost unintelligible!"

How true.

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Teleologist
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kenmeerilritorne says:

quote:
The HUGE difference between the two is that the NS/BW label stands for an enormous body of (mostly) sound results..
An enormous body of (mostly) sound results that support the idea of descent with modification which is irrelevant to this discussion.

Mike Gene says:

quote:
My working hypothesis is that ID applies at the base of life. Evolution followed, most likely because life was designed to evolve. Thus, I am only interested in the cellular level because life originated at this level (and the point of origination is where I posit ID). Now, it's possible that certain IC states above the cellular level may be signaling design. But that's not where my focus is. I am focused on the matrix upon which evolution is played out.
Does the evidence for the role of evolution in natural history tell us anything about how something like the bacterial flagellum evolved? Mike Gene refers to the evidence for evolution in general as the "grid" and attempts to answer this question:

quote:
Let’s imagine we can place this visually on a screen as a huge net of evidential lines. Now, let’s consider the nature of the evidential lines to determine if use of the grid obfuscates or illuminates the origin of the bacterial flagellum.

First, the most compelling pieces of evidence come from analyses of common descent. Consider the origin of mammals, for example. What we do know, thanks to the fossil record, is that organisms did exist prior to the existence of mammals. And among those pre-existing organisms, we can find groups that are more similar to mammals than others, representing superior candidates for “precursor” states for evolution to tweak. Fine. But if we turn to bacterial flagella, we cannot say, with the same confidence, that precursor organisms did in fact exist prior to the flagella. We might try to infer their existence in a rather fuzzy manner, but the situation is fundamentally different with mammals (where we KNOW organisms pre-existed mammals). Now, if the grid is the basis for our confidence, we have to push the delete button and remove all the evidential lines for common descent, as there is no compelling reason to think these lines of evidence apply in the case of the bacterial flagellum.

Secondly, we now factor IC into the picture. When we turn to the grid, a huge chunk of the remaining evidence deals with modification along a linear axis - the wings of a moth becoming darker, the neck of a giraffe becoming longer, the nose of the proto-elephant becoming longer, the beak of a finch changing shape in one way or another. All of this evidence does not help explain the origin of an IC system (as conceded by evolutionary biologists in the scientific literature). Thus, we can press the button again and remove these lines of evidence from the grid on our screen.

Thirdly, we can turn to all the evidence of jerry-rigging and vestigial structures. The flagellum is not an example of either, so let’s remove all these evidential lines from the grid.

Fourth, we can turn to all the morphological evidence found in comparative anatomy and the fossil record. Since morphological evolution may be driven largely by changes in regulatory genes, we can likewise delete all this evidence (the entire fossil record) from the screen since regulatory changes alone do not account for the origin of a molecular machine like the flagellum.

Then there is all the evidence of gene families spawned from an original stem gene. This fails to account for the origin of a molecular machine, thus we can delete this evidence.

Then there are the classic examples of genes acquiring new functions, such as the crystallins and AFGPs. But they are not molecular machines, so we can delete them.

By the time we work our way through this grid, we end up with a few isolated lines applying to some rather simple systems (such as the PCP degradation system). Hasn’t anyone else noticed how few and far between the examples of the evolution of IC molecular systems have been? In the end, the vast majority of this grid is irrelevant to the question of flagellar origins and I’m afraid that any attempt to derive confidence in the evolutionary origin of the flagellum from this grid is going to be a function of keeping the picture very blurry.

The bottom line: vague appeals to the grid are not evidence for the evolution of the flagellum or other molecular machines.

I have another problem with this approach that seeks to blur all distinctions. The common assumption in these debates is that either everything is designed or everything is the product of blind watchmaking. I find this to be a bad approach to reality. Recall that my position is anchored by my views on the origin of the first cells. Since I think ID is involved in this origin event, I don’t view the grid as advocates of blind watchmaking do. For the non-teleologist, everything has been explained in non-teleological terms and the flagellum is nothing more than one more thing awaiting such explanations. This is understandable. But from my perspective, since life was designed, it is reasonable to expect the influences of this designed state to penetrate beyond the original conditions. These questions can only be answered if one seriously considers the clues and follows up on the hunches. To insist that the grid means that EVERY biotic event will likewise be explained in similar manner is to kill the ability to be on the look-out for such clues. It is nothing more than assuming your conclusion and looking only for those things that will support what you already believe.



[ March 12, 2006, 06:06 PM: Message edited by: Teleologist ]

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kenmeerilritorne
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quote:
An enormous body of (mostly) sound results that support the idea of descent with modification which is irrelevant to this discussion.

In science, comparison with alternate results is THE most relevant aspect of it.

As a DISCUSSION on ID, I've yet to hear you make a single speculation, scientific, poetic, metaphoric, teleologic, period, except as comments on what this or that cited individual has said.

If you want to DISCUSS ID, discuss it. Go for it.

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kenmeerilritorne
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Tom C.: thanx for limning the details. See you in a few months?

[ March 12, 2006, 07:53 PM: Message edited by: kenmeerilritorne ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Lifewish:
@ Teleologist:

I'm glad that there's a group of people out there doing actual research into design detection. I'd be very interested in seeing the peer-reviewed output of that group - got any journal citations I should be checking out? Maths stuff in particular would be of interest.

This is wonderful! I've tried to introduce this idea here for over a year now on this forum, based on parallels between genetic selection rules (founder effect, etc) and language development. The idea that intelligent design could leave a discernable trace. Every time I raise the topic some people start seeing read and taking out torches and pitchforks. Very enlightened. [Big Grin]
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Teleologist
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Hi Pete, go here: http://www.idthink.net/
to see testable ID hypotheses and other neat stuff.

[ March 13, 2006, 12:54 PM: Message edited by: Teleologist ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeerilritorne:
Found this:

Lord Bertrand Russell wisely observed on one occasion: To be perfectly intelligible one must be inaccurate; to be perfectly accurate one has to be almost unintelligible!"

How true.

Should I infer that because that remark was intelligible, that it must therefore be innaccurate? [Razz]
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Teleologist:
Hi Pete, go here: http://www.idthink.net/
to see testable ID hypotheses and other neat stuff.

Thanks, Teleologist! Love the first page, particularly the disclaimer about authority. I hope you can get a fair hearing here. Some folks seem to have a hard time even admitting that genetic engineering and software creation is a form of intelligent design. [Big Grin]
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Teleologist
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Hi Pete,

Are you familiar with Shapiro's thesis of a natural genetic engineering toolkit?

By the way, you might also want to check out these papers by Julie Thomas: http://tinyurl.com/sxb98

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Tom Curtis
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quote:
kenmeerilritorne says:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There really IS a difference between scientifically rigorous hypotheses and metaphors. Really.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

But are teleological concepts and terminology really just metaphors? How do we determine this?

Yes, they are just metaphors. You can tell because the same theories can be stated without the use of metaphor; and it is the nonmetaphorical descriptions which are employed in making predictions. Richard Dawkins may write about selfish genes in popularising his theories; but when making predictions he uses population genetics and talk of "seflishness" vanishes.

quote:
Here is Mike's quote again:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Some insist the teleological terminology used by science is only a metaphor. Maybe, but then maybe not. What matters is that one can indeed interpret the terminology most literally. One might interpret a membrane protein to be like a sensor, while someone else might interpret it to be a sensor. Is there any evidence to indicate the literal interpretation is incorrect? And more importantly, is there any evidence that a literal, rather than a metaphorical interpretation, could not guide scientific research?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If there is no evidence to indicate the literal interpretation is incorrect, it seems to me that all that matters is if the literal interpretation can guide scientific research. I think Mike Gene has demonstrated it can.

Well, I for one think we should say not that they are like sensors, but that they are sensor.

quote:
sen·sor (snsr, -sôr)
n.
1. A device, such as a photoelectric cell, that receives and responds to a signal or stimulus.
2. See sense organ.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/sensor

quote:
sense organ
n.
A specialized organ or structure, such as the eye, ear, tongue, nose, or skin, where sensory neurons are concentrated and that functions as a receptor. Also called sensor.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/sense%20organ

I believe this example shows the shallowness of Mike Gene's analysis. So keen is he to find design metaphors that he forgets that "sensor" is itself based on a metaphor, a metaphor to the capabilities of organic beings. His design metaphor is not really a metaphor to design at all, but the extension of a metaphor regarding living things back to living things. A full circuit.

More troubling is the shallowness of his talk of "the literal interpretation". I have provided several literal meanings of "machine" in this thread, none of which will bear the interpretation MG wants to place on it, and few (and only the most absurd of which, when applied to molecular systems) necessarilly involve a designer. You won't, and MG has not indicated which literal meaning he is using. That is because, taken literally, most design metaphors in biology are transparently absurd.

What MG does when he purports to take a metaphor literally is to take it strictly metaphorically. He does not cash out the terms in any literal form, but rather relies on the images that come with the metaphor to suggest an idea. But, what he wants to add is the idea of design. Even when design is not an essential part (or even a proper part) of the metaphor.

No body objects to a scientist trying to take a metaphor literally to see what comes of it. What we object to is people saying we ought to take a metaphor literally, and then not actually doing so. What they accomplish by that is simply to keep their program metaphorical, and hence unfalsifiable. Nothing else.

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Pete at Home
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"Are you familiar with Shapiro's thesis of a natural genetic engineering toolkit?"

Nope! Haven't had bio or genetics coursework since my undergrad [Frown] Thanks for the link.

--------------

"Richard Dawkins may write about selfish genes in popularising his theories; but when making predictions he uses population genetics and talk of "seflishness" vanishes."

I'm delighted to hear that Mr. Dawkins can be accurate when he's not trying to mold the unwashed masses into his personal cult.

[ March 15, 2006, 04:47 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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