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October 16, 2006

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The basic difference, as I understand it, is: scientists are comparing specific concrete hypotheses, some of which happen to imply design; IDers are trying to make a "rarefied design inference". From the point of view of sciences like seismology and archaeology, that's quite firmly positioning the cart before the horse.

With ID, detecting design isn't the end of the process. After one determines design it is followed by praising Jesus, and then repenting for your sins. And then finally, ranting about atheists.

Thank God for us atheists!

Another difference between IDers and real scientists is that they accept counterevidence not as a setback but as flawed or marginal data.

Another difference between IDers and real scientists is that they accept counterevidence not as a setback but as flawed or marginal data.

I'd slightly disagree - even very rational people do that (e.g. the Paluxy tracks). The difference is that IDers work to create an environment where, if a genuine falsification existed, it would still be possible to marginalise it. The equivocation over what exactly comprises a Dembskian "specification" is a classic example - it means that, for any counterexample (good, bad, whatever), it's possible to shift the goalposts and claim that their ideas haven't been disproved after all.

Rationalists, by contrast, tend to set up environments whereby the truth does eventually out - they try to make it easy to produce data that, if accurate, absolutely will disprove their notions.

The easy way to test for this attitude is to present someone with a list of possible falsifications for their work, with a factual error mixed in ("they found a fossil rabbit in precambrian strata"). If that untrue counterexample is challenged, the person has set up an environment in which it's possible to empirically analyse their ideas. If the false statement is rationalised away or otherwise declared to be consistent with their position, the person has set up an ID-like environment. Any other response returns no verdict.

To take the analogy further:

If SETI found a signal that they believed was from extraterrestrial intelligence, but it was then pointed out to them that there was a very good and almost universally accepted natural explanation for their data, then they would accept this and look again at how they construct their experiments, what assumptions they use etc.

They would not stick their fingers in their ears, shout “LA, LA, LA, NOT LISTENING”, and start a massive PR campaign for their ideas to be taught in schools.

This has already happened once, although long before SETI.

Pulsars were first seriously thought to be evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence because of the (at that time) unnatural-seeming regularity of their emissions. When it was shown that they were naturally occuring objects, scientists altered their

...hypotheses accordingly.

(That's what I get for hitting "post" too soon.)

re SETI's approach: What does it take to generate a hydrogen emission artificially? Is the process of generating a signal or building a device that can the type of thing that could be described as having specified complexity? It seems SETI is looking for the by-product of an irreducibly complex process. In effect, isn't that DI?

Since even William Dembski has a problem figuring out what "specified complexity" is, I can't comment on that.

The difference between ID and SETI is that SETI has a reasonable guess as to design motives and methods of other lifeforms out there. If they want to communicate, we can imagine they'd go through some similar methods we used.

ID has no idea what the alleged universe designer is like, what he wants from the universe, or how he designed and built/modified the universe. Some actively promote the idea that we'll never know.

Skeptico replies to Scott

You have misunderstood the point of the hydrogen emission. The hydrogen emission is not produced artificially: it is a natural signal, not designed. The thinking is that ET would also know about this hydrogen emission and would use it as a universal "marker" on the radio dial. That is, ET might use nearby frequencies for an interstellar hailing signal. All the hydrogen emission does is suggest a place to look for for ET signals; it is not itself an ET signal.

As I explained, SETI is not looking for complex signals. SETI are looking for artificial signals which are simple, not complex.

Please describe the difference between a natural hydrogen emmission and an artificial one.

Skeptico replies to Scott

Re: Please describe the difference between a natural hydrogen emmission and an artificial one.

This helps explain the 1,420 MHz hydrogen emission:

The 1420 MHz radiation comes from the transition between the two levels of the hydrogen 1s ground state, slightly split by the interaction between the electron spin and the nuclear spin. The splitting is known as hyperfine structure. Because of the quantum properties of of radiation, hydrogen in its lower state will absorb 1420 MHz and the observation of 1420 MHz in emission implies a prior excitation to the upper state.

Some more on the cause of the hydrogen line.

The cause of the hydrogen emission is understood, and no “designer” is needed to explain it. I hope that helps.

As for determining an artificial hydrogen emission – I suspect you mean an artificial 1420 MHz signal – I can’t really help you there. The ID folks are the ones who claim to be able to recognize design in nature.

Archaeologists can describe a method by which you can distinguish something that is artificial from something that is natural. IDists cannot come up with a method to distinguish something that has been created from something that has not. That's because everything has been created in their view. That's the basic difference I believe.

Now, SETI does seem to me like something that could be pseudo-science, and I understand that's a criticism of SETI. What is the hypothesis? If it is that extra-terrestrial intelligence exists, how do you possibly falsify that?

SETI is essentially looking for signals that aren't likely to be generated by natural phenomena, and show signs of intelligence. Essentially, it boils down to "what kind of signal would we send if we were trying to be detected?"

I think the classics include steady sine waves, prime number series (2 blips, 3 blips, 5, 7, etcetera), and so forth.

In short, SETI works by assuming the aliens want to be heard like we do. With ID, however, the designer's motives are kept nebulous, so we have no comparison.

Joseph:
"Archaeologists can describe a method by which you can distinguish something that is artificial from something that is natural. IDists cannot come up with a method to distinguish something that has been created from something that has not."

Incorrect. There is, at the least, one important distinguishing factor for positively determining if something has been designed. That factor is information.

My lattest post on my blog discusses this very idea.

Furthermore, does everything that is "artificial," as you have used the term in the above quote, have a natural cause?

Bronze Dog:
"In short, SETI works by assuming the aliens want to be heard like we do. With ID, however, the designer's motives are kept nebulous, so we have no comparison."

Which science other than psychology deals with motivations? According to the science of psychology, as far as I can tell, we can only know an intelligent being's motive by examining either their work or their person (ie: an interview) psychologically.

Is the aforementioned assumption that "the aliens want to be heard like we do" scientifically determined and verified? If so, then does it follow that all intelligence "wants to be heard?" If so, then that is also a scientific assumption behind ID.

Skeptico replies to CJYman

Re: There is, at the least, one important distinguishing factor for positively determining if something has been designed. That factor is information.

You’ll have to provide a little more than that to be convincing.

Re: Furthermore, does everything that is "artificial," as you have used the term in the above quote, have a natural cause?

Don’t understand what you’re getting at here.

Re: Which science other than psychology deals with motivations? According to the science of psychology, as far as I can tell, we can only know an intelligent being's motive by examining either their work or their person (ie: an interview) psychologically.

As I wrote in the original post, the seismologists and archeologists:

The first obvious difference is that the seismologists checking on North Korea know something about the designers - they know they are human. Consequently they also know the designers' motive was to create a nuclear device. Knowing what the designers were trying to do means the seismologists knew what to look for.

The same argument applies to archeologists - they are looking for evidence of human design. When they find remains of an ancient human encampment, knowing something about how humans behave they can determine that a flint is most likely a tool. They use their knowledge of the designers, and the context of where they found the articles, to determine what the objects are.

Knowledge about the designers provide context. It was all explained in the original post.

Re: Is the aforementioned assumption that "the aliens want to be heard like we do" scientifically determined and verified?

If ET is sending us a signal then it stands to reason they’re trying to communicate with us. As I wrote in the original post:

SETI are still looking for intelligence that lives in the same universe and obeys the same laws of physics that we do. That means we do know something about the putative ET and can make assumptions and predictions about how they would try to communicate with us.

SETI use these assumptions to predict where to look for ET signals. IDists have no such assumption to guide their search.

I explained where ID falls short compared with the sciences I discussed.

Re: If so, then does it follow that all intelligence "wants to be heard?" If so, then that is also a scientific assumption behind ID.

How does ID use this assumption to infer design?

RE: There is, at the least, one important distinguishing factor for positively determining if something has been designed. That factor is information.

Skeptico:
"You’ll have to provide a little more than that to be convincing."

As stated already, the information regarding information is in the most recent post on my blog. It would take a bit of room to copy it all here. If you would like, you can take a bit of time to read through it and then even respond to it over here on your blog or on my own if you so choose.

RE: Furthermore, does everything that is "artificial," as you have used the term in the above quote, have a natural cause?

Skeptico:
"Don’t understand what you’re getting at here."

My apologies for not being as clear as I could have been. I was responding to Joseph's comment:
"Archaeologists can describe a method by which you can distinguish something that is artificial from something that is natural. IDists cannot come up with a method to distinguish something that has been created from something that has not."

and, although the last statement is blatantly ignorant of ID, I just wanted to see the scientific criteria for defining and separating "artificial" from "natural," in order for it to be useful scientifically. ie: is there a rigorous scientific filter to separate "natural" from "artificial."

But, I do believe the question is straight forward nonetheless, basically restated as "does everything ultimately have a natural cause?" If so, how are we to determine between "artificial" and "natural" and what is the definition of "artificial." The definition can not be "that which is not natural," since then you would be equating "artificial" with "supernatural." Furthermore, if there is a distinct difference between that which is artificial and natural (even if the artificial arises out of the natural), how can this be quantified scientifically?

RE: Which science other than psychology deals with motivations? According to the science of psychology, as far as I can tell, we can only know an intelligent being's motive by examining either their work or their person (ie: an interview) psychologically.

Skeptico:
"As I wrote in the original post, the seismologists and archeologists:

'The first obvious difference is that the seismologists checking on North Korea know something about the designers - they know they are human. Consequently they also know the designers' motive was to create a nuclear device. Knowing what the designers were trying to do means the seismologists knew what to look for.

The same argument applies to archeologists - they are looking for evidence of human design. When they find remains of an ancient human encampment, knowing something about how humans behave they can determine that a flint is most likely a tool. They use their knowledge of the designers, and the context of where they found the articles, to determine what the objects are.

Knowledge about the designers provide context. It was all explained in the original post.'"


Unless I am missing something, I can't find an answer to my question. You have stated that we knew the motivation of the North Koreans. You seem to imply this was discovered via the logical path "if human, then motive = create nuclear device." But this doesn't really provide a satisfactory answer how we know their motivation. Or was this motivation not discovered by knowing something of the psychology and history of the North Koreans in question.

You also stated that in archaeology we are looking for evidence of human design. The question I wish to pose is: "Can the same criteria that is used to verify human design also be used to verify design originating from intelligence that is at least as intelligent as humans?" also "can we not use knowledge about design and intelligence itself to provide context in determining if something is the design of intelligence?"

Whereas, you seem to be saying that you can only scientifically verify specifically human design, since we are human and therefore we know the psychology of humans. You seem to imply that there is no commonality among intelligence (even that which is at least as intelligent as humans)? Is this true?

Relating this to SETI -- Do we have any knowledge about the designers, and hence do we have any context?

RE:Is the aforementioned assumption that "the aliens want to be heard like we do" scientifically determined and verified?

Skeptico:
"If ET is sending us a signal then it stands to reason they’re trying to communicate with us. As I wrote in the original post:"

Yes, but that only begs the question, "how do we know ET is sending us a signal?"

Skeptico:
"SETI are still looking for intelligence that lives in the same universe and obeys the same laws of physics that we do. That means we do know something about the putative ET and can make assumptions and predictions about how they would try to communicate with us.

SETI use these assumptions to predict where to look for ET signals. IDists have no such assumption to guide their search.

I explained where ID falls short compared with the sciences I discussed."

Contrary to what you seem to be implying earlier, now you are quite specifically stating that all Intelligence, at the least within our universe, has commonality, and therefore there is a certain science that we can use to determine whether something is intelligently designed. Correct?

Furthermore, you seem to state that "SETI uses these assumptions [of commonality between intra-universal intelligence] to predict WHERE to look for ET siganls." (caps lock added)

My question to this: how are these assumptions used to predict WHERE to look and WHERE IS SETI LOOKING? Last I checked it was EVERY direction for ANY intelligent siganl from ANY ETintelligence.

Furthermore, when SETI finds THE SIGNAL, is that siganl necessarily going to tell them anything ABOUT THE SOURCE other than that it came from intelligence and the general direction of it's source? In addition, do you have to know the direction of the signal in order to determine the signal as a product of intelligence? No, all you need is the siganl itself.

ID relies on the scientific assumption that information is a mark of intelligence. (refer to my lattest post at my blog)

RE:If so, [that "the aliens want to be heard like we do"] then does it follow that all intelligence "wants to be heard?" If so, then that is also a scientific assumption behind ID.

Skeptico:
"How does ID use this assumption to infer design?"

Neither SETI nor ID use this to infer design. They both use this as an assumption that intelligence WILL LEAVE OR PRODUCE A MARK. That specific mark itself is an inference to design.

SETI and ID both use this assumption to say, "intelligence is detectable because intelligence desires to be detected and thus provides reasonable marks that can be inferred to be designed."


Skeptico replies to CJYman

Re: As stated already, the information regarding information is in the most recent post on my blog. It would take a bit of room to copy it all here. If you would like, you can take a bit of time to read through it and then even respond to it over here on your blog or on my own if you so choose.

All those arguments are refuted on this website and on this blog.

Re: I just wanted to see the scientific criteria for defining and separating "artificial" from "natural," in order for it to be useful scientifically. ie: is there a rigorous scientific filter to separate "natural" from "artificial."

I discussed this in the post – some signals are not seen in nature. AFAIK there is no overall definition that can be universally applied.

Re: You have stated that we knew the motivation of the North Koreans. You seem to imply this was discovered via the logical path "if human, then motive = create nuclear device." But this doesn't really provide a satisfactory answer how we know their motivation. Or was this motivation not discovered by knowing something of the psychology and history of the North Koreans in question.

You are making this more complicated than it is. The seismologists were trying to determine if the Koreans had exploded a nuclear device. If the Koreans had exploded a nuclear device, then obviously Korean scientists had the motivation, at some time, to design and make a nuclear device. The seismologists were trying to decide if the Koreans had exploded a nuclear device – no matter how much you try you cannot make this “the same” as the way ID tries to imply design.

Re: You also stated that in archaeology we are looking for evidence of human design. The question I wish to pose is: "Can the same criteria that is used to verify human design also be used to verify design originating from intelligence that is at least as intelligent as humans?"

The criterion is not how intelligent the designer (human or not) may be. The question archeologists ask would be: “knowing what we know about the designers (human), would they have made this tool we have found?” If you know nothing about the non-human intelligence, you can not make any inference about whether something was designed by it or not.

You are using semantics to try to equate how we verify human design with how you would infer your “intelligent designer”. You can’t do that because ID says nothing about the intelligent designer. You can’t infer anything from a lack of knowledge.

Re: also "can we not use knowledge about design and intelligence itself to provide context in determining if something is the design of intelligence?"

I don’t see how. I know IDists think they can but they haven’t managed it.

Re: Whereas, you seem to be saying that you can only scientifically verify specifically human design, since we are human and therefore we know the psychology of humans.

Not psychology, per se. Context.

Re: You seem to imply that there is no commonality among intelligence (even that which is at least as intelligent as humans)? Is this true?

Not really. I’m saying ID proponents know nothing about their designer, and so they can infer nothing about whether something is designed by the intelligent designer or not.

Re: Relating this to SETI -- Do we have any knowledge about the designers, and hence do we have any context?

Explained in the original post.

Re: Yes, but that only begs the question, "how do we know ET is sending us a signal?"

We don’t. And we haven’t found one yet so perhaps they aren’t. But if we find one we’ll know, won’t we?

Re: Contrary to what you seem to be implying earlier, now you are quite specifically stating that all Intelligence, at the least within our universe, has commonality, and therefore there is a certain science that we can use to determine whether something is intelligently designed. Correct?

No. I said in the post, that some signals are not seen in nature, and if we did see them it would imply design. I also explained how this is different from ID, that thinks a complex signal must be designed. We know complex things can evolve, and we know ID is wrong on this.

Re: My question to this: how are these assumptions used to predict WHERE to look and WHERE IS SETI LOOKING? Last I checked it was EVERY direction for ANY intelligent siganl from ANY ETintelligence.

Can you please read my post? I explained all this. By “where” I did not mean a direction. I meant “near to the 1,420MHz interstellar hydrogen signal”.

Re: Furthermore, when SETI finds THE SIGNAL, is that siganl necessarily going to tell them anything ABOUT THE SOURCE other than that it came from intelligence and the general direction of it's source?

Maybe not – but it will be the start of an endeavor to learn more about the source. As I explained, this differs from ID where a (supposed) design determination is the END of the job.

Re: Neither SETI nor ID use this to infer design. They both use this as an assumption that intelligence WILL LEAVE OR PRODUCE A MARK. That specific mark itself is an inference to design.

Yet ID hasn’t been able to define what this “mark” is. (Well, OK they think they have, but specified complexity etc has been shown to have evolved. ID hasn’t produced a valid definition.)

Before commenting again please read my original post and make sure your questions haven’t already been answered. Thanks.

ID simply will not be taken seriously until it proposes who/what this designer is.

Without this, Intelijunt Desine is just a conclusion w/ ad hoc observations.

And SETI saying: "It's an alien," is telling us who/what the designer is? "Alien" in this case is another way of saying "intelligence that is foreign to us." ID makes the exact same proposition, until it can find the source of the "intelligent signal."

Simple isn't is?

I'll be back to respond to Skeptico.

CJYman, I made it very clear exactly why and how ID is NOT making “the exact same proposition”, or even a similar proposition, as SETI, and so far you haven’t shown you even understand the arguments, let alone shown any error in them. You are going to have to do more than just assert that SETI and ID are using the same methods, to convince anyone here.

My apologies for not having read through your original post fully. I think I was only originally responding to other comments and wanted some important clarifications which still, upon reading your post fully, have not been provided.

Re: As stated already, the information regarding information is in the most recent post on my blog. It would take a bit of room to copy it all here. If you would like, you can take a bit of time to read through it and then even respond to it over here on your blog or on my own if you so choose.

Skeptico:
"All those arguments are refuted on this website [www.talkorigins.org] and on this blog [www.scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/]."


I don’t mean to slam the website or the blog, but maybe my research abilities are not as honed as yours. I have searched all over talk origins website and a bit on pharyngula and I can not find ANY refutations of the arguments posted on my blog. If you could please guide me to an article or two that provide refutations of my specific arguments.

In order to not bog down this blog, my full response to Skeptico can be found on my blog. post title "SETI archaology and relevance to ID"
http://cjyman.blogspot.com/2006/12/seti-archaeology-and-relevance-to-id.html

CJYman:

You apparently don't get it, so I'll dumb Skeptico's point down for you:

SETI looks for a signal that we as humans, using our own little brains (some littler than others) would send. We know what these signals are because we make them.

IDiots have no basis for their designer aside from the fact it's a lame attempt to make "God did it" sound scientifical (or add truthiness).

Another point:

We know at least some of the tools and methods that would be available to aliens to use, since we've invented our own versions using the same laws of physics the aliens would be working under.

ID doesn't know any of the tools for the designer, other than to waffle on whether or not they're "supernatural." Until I bump into someone who can cast Genesis to create a demiplane, or something along those D&Dish lines, I don't see any reason to seriously consider ID.

Skeptico replies to CJYman

My reference to talk.origins and Pharyngula were merely a mirror of your own response, which was (paraphrasing) “read my blog”. If you can’t summarize your argument (with a supporting link to the post or other references), why should we listen to you? My response “these websites refute all your arguments” was to demonstrate the vacuousness of your response. That said, I did eventually find your blog and the relevant post (here,">http://cjyman.blogspot.com/2006/12/my-view-of-id-in-nutshell.html">here, presumably), and I found your arguments incoherent. Sorry, but your post was such a disorganized mish-mash of unfounded assertions and non sequiturs that I can’t be bothered to reply to it. Anyone reading this can click the link above and make up their own minds about whether you have proved that “information” is an “important distinguishing factor for positively determining if something has been designed”.

Furthermore, the new arguments you have just posted on your blog demonstrate you still don’t understand my original post, or why ID is different from SETI and the other sciences I wrote about. I’m sorry, but there is a only a fixed number of times I am going to explain this to you, and I have now reached this number.

Bronze Dog:
"We know at least some of the tools and methods that would be available to aliens to use, since we've invented our own versions using the same laws of physics the aliens would be working under."

Yes, these would be very general, obvious, arbitrary descriptions of tools of intelligence that resides in this universe. In fact, so general as to be scientifically useless in determining anything about a siganl's source by simply analyzing the signal. Therefore, this knowledge of possible tools and possible methods becomes scientifically useless in determining that a signal, such as one that is in sequence of the prime numbers, has an intelligent source. Agreed or no?

Bronze Dog:
"ID doesn't know any of the tools for the designer, other than to waffle on whether or not they're "supernatural." Until I bump into someone who can cast Genesis to create a demiplane, or something along those D&Dish lines, I don't see any reason to seriously consider ID."

So, what does "casting Genesis" and "supernatural" have anything to do with our discussion? The supernatural does exist, for whatever caused our natural universe to exist is by definition "supernatural." The only relevance I can see that this may have is in regards to the creation of the universe and cosmological fine tuning which hasn't been discussed once in this discussion as far as I can see.

So, along those lines ... ummmm ... do you know what ID is? ID is the science of discovering patterns in nature which are best explained as having resulted from intelligence. Therefore, SETI works under ID assumptions. SETI assumes that you can discover patterns in nature which are best explained as having resulted from intelligence.

Now, if you are discussing the science of ID as applied to biology, if (for the sake of argument) life had been designed, scientifically speaking, it was designed from either of two persepctives. Either a previous intelligence within our universe created life and would therefore have used the tools that you just previously mentioned, or life is a result of the initial conditions of the universe, in which case we would have to argue the intelligent creation of the universe and possible "supernatural" tools or methods used. So, your criteria for being able to determine intelligence are met, agreed?

However, I would argue that your criteria isn't a scientific necessity. Can you prove why it would be a scientific necessity to know anything regarding the possible methods and tools used in creating a signal of prime numbers in order to determine that that signal has an intelligence source?

Or, if someone was to typewrite a message in English on a piece of paper and sneak it into the camp of a remote tribe, possessing a written language, that had no contact with the outside world, would anyone in that tribe upon discovering the paper be able to attribute the English message to an intelligence without a necessary knowledge of the tools used, or motivation of the sender, or identity of the sender? Would these three areas of knowledge be necessary to determine the message as having an intelligent source?

TO SKEPTICO:

I at least see myself as a teachable person and I would like to know any logical flaws in my arguments. Furthermore, if something has not been explained well enough or orderly enough I accept constructive and negative criticism. I honestly would like to see the argument from your point of view, but so far I can not see it as true, and I have detailed why. If I have missed something in my comments please tell me. Thanks.

Additionally, I responded to the discussion regarding information by linking to a small essay I had written on my blog. This was done so that I didn't have to re-copy my whole post over here and bog this thread down. It can be very easily responded to on my blog, if you so choose. Or, you can bring up specific relevant points regarding information from the websites and blog you mentioned and I will respond to them as best I can.

I could easily respond from my perspective and say, as you have done to me, that your argument is incoherent. HOwever, this benefits neither of us. I seriously hope that either yourself or others who check out my blog can point out incoherency and inconsistencies and further enlighten myself in either creating a better structered or a more logically sound argument.

Thank you in advance.

Skeptico replies to CJYman

Bronze Dog, RRyan and I have all made the same point about SETI that you still don’t understand. Here (AGAIN!) is what I wrote:

SETI are still looking for intelligence that lives in the same universe and obeys the same laws of physics that we do. That means we do know something about the putative ET and can make assumptions and predictions about how they would try to communicate with us.

SETI use these assumptions to predict where to look for ET signals. IDists have no such assumption to guide their search.

Go and read what Bronze Dog and RRyan wrote – they are saying the same thing in different ways. This is not an “arbitrary” description, nor is it “scientifically useless” as you claim. You seem to think that there must be some complete universal set of rules that we apply to any and all signal to determine if it is designed or not, and I these rules cannot be universally applied then they are not scientifically useful. But you have given us no reason why this should be so. More to the point, SETI’s methods are entirely different from ID. And yet you continue to show your lack of understanding of this with comments like:

SETI works under ID assumptions. SETI assumes that you can discover patterns in nature which are best explained as having resulted from intelligence.

I have explained ad nauseam how SETI works under different assumptions from ID. Your continued stubborn assertions they are the same has now got beyond tiresome. If you don’t understand this point yet, after three different people have had a go at explaining it, I honestly don’t know what else to tell you.

Regarding your view of ID - I’ll just deal with your first sentence:

Information has only ever been seen to be the result of a mind and has never been seen and actually does not make any logical sense to be a result of any process (especially natural laws) other than that -- purposeful process -- produced by mind

There are two fundamental problems with this statement, namely:

1) You just assert this is true with not one shred of supporting evidence. “Information has only ever been seen to be the result of a mind”? – it’s nonsense.

But there is an even more fundamental problem with the statement:

2) You are arguing that “information” is what determines design. (At least I think this is your point – it’s hard to be sure as your post rambles incoherently. However, in your comment above you write: “There is, at the least, one important distinguishing factor for positively determining if something has been designed. That factor is information.” So I think this must be your point.)

Anyway, this opening statement (or premise) is also the conclusion of your argument. The definition of circular reasoning is when your premise is the same as your conclusion. This is a logical fallacy for the reason that if you allow circular reasoning you can prove virtually anything. Yes, DNA contains “information”. But you have shown no evidence that this was a result of a mind, other than your opening bold assertion.

You have started the argument with your conclusion, and this is your basic problem and the basic problem with creationists in general – namely you start with the conclusion (designer, or more realistically, God), and then look for supporting evidence while ignoring any contrary evidence. Your comments above, where you continually ignore contrary explanations, demonstrates that this is how you think.

Just one more point – evolution is not “random” as you keep implying.

CJYMan
RE:Yes, these would be very general, obvious, arbitrary descriptions of tools of intelligence that resides in this universe. In fact, so general as to be scientifically useless in determining anything about a siganl's source by simply analyzing the signal. Therefore, this knowledge of possible tools and possible methods becomes scientifically useless in determining that a signal, such as one that is in sequence of the prime numbers, has an intelligent source. Agreed or no?

No, and the fact that you can't or won't see this speaks volumes. What you are saying is that based on our own knowledge of physics (and this can only be the same as an extra-terrestrial intelligence's knowledge), mathematics and communication technologies if we finally detected a mathematically constructed non-random signal consistent with the sort of signal we would be sending to extra-terrestrial life we can't deduce anything from it, correct?

RE:So, what does "casting Genesis" and "supernatural" have anything to do with our discussion? The supernatural does exist, for whatever caused our natural universe to exist is by definition "supernatural." The only relevance I can see that this may have is in regards to the creation of the universe and cosmological fine tuning which hasn't been discussed once in this discussion as far as I can see.

How can the first part of a natural process be considered supernatural? The answer, if you redefine supernatural to mean whatever you want it to. The Big Bang does not lie outside the laws of physics, therefore it is not supernatural. You want to know about logical flaws in your arguments, here is one:

How do we know the supernatural exists? Because the supernatural must have created the universe. Since the universe exists, the supernatural exists.

This whole line of reasoning relies on an assumption you cannot prove, and begs the question you try to answer.

ID rests on the assumption the supernatural exists, but cannot prove this except by inference and by redefining supernatural as a term. SETI relies on the assumption that an artificial signal can have a natural intelligent cause, and should therefore be worthy of note.

ID is by definition a supernatural theory, burying your head in the sand and refusing to accept this does not change that, and therefore the supernatural is at the heart of this discussion whether you and fellow ID believers like it or not.

RE:So, along those lines ... ummmm ... do you know what ID is? ID is the science of discovering patterns in nature which are best explained as having resulted from intelligence. Therefore, SETI works under ID assumptions. SETI assumes that you can discover patterns in nature which are best explained as having resulted from intelligence.

ID is not science. Any theory which rests on the existence of the supernatural is by definition not science. Since an intelligent designer would be supernatural, ID is not science. Before you even begin to argue ID does not rely on the supernatural ask yourself this:
Who do you consider the designer to be? Did you come to believe intelligent design was valid before or after you developed a belief in god?

The only similarity between ID as you define it here and SETI as it exists, is that both have so far failed miserably in their purpose. Thanks for pointing that out for us once again. Everything that IDers have claimed as designed thus far can be shown to have evolved naturally, and has been.

Its been pointed out to you many times already but I'll try again. SETI assumes that you can find artificial signals that are not generated by nature (based on the evidence that we do this ourselves as, at least mostly, intelligent life), and that intelligence can be inferred from this based on the assumption that intelligence would conclude the best way to be noticed over the vast distance of space would be to generate an artificial signal. SETI is not looking for the natural or supernatural, but the unnatural. At no point does this approach ID and its inferences of natural to supernatural. SETI is not looking for patterns in nature, but patterns outside nature, something which can only be generated by an intelligent life form such as humanity.

Ask yourself this about ID. If it is truly a scientific theory, why is it that the only people who accept it are those who were religious prior to hearing of it, and who are mostly operating well outside their areas of expertise, and yet evolution and Big Bang theory require no external belief system other than an understanding of science, and are accepted by religious and non-religious people? If it were a scientific theory it would be acceptable on its own merits without religious belief, yet it is not. They may exist, but I have yet to see an atheist or agnostic IDer. I'd be interested in hearing about them.

RE:Now, if you are discussing the science of ID as applied to biology, if (for the sake of argument) life had been designed, scientifically speaking, it was designed from either of two persepctives. Either a previous intelligence within our universe created life and would therefore have used the tools that you just previously mentioned, or life is a result of the initial conditions of the universe, in which case we would have to argue the intelligent creation of the universe and possible "supernatural" tools or methods used. So, your criteria for being able to determine intelligence are met, agreed?

What? Let me get this straight, if we accept that the universe is designed, then its proven its designed, either by a designer who already existed, or a designer that set the natural process of the universe in motion supernaturally. I thought the supernatural had no part here? Again your answers beg the question. Who designed the designer? If life exists because of the initial conditions of the universe, why is the further hypthesis of a designer even necessary or valid?

RE:However, I would argue that your criteria isn't a scientific necessity. Can you prove why it would be a scientific necessity to know anything regarding the possible methods and tools used in creating a signal of prime numbers in order to determine that that signal has an intelligence source?

Of course you would argue that, accepting it would invalidate your cherished theory. Sure can prove it. How many inanimate nonsentient objects do you know that can build radio transmitters and transmit the prime numbers into outer space? Could you recognise a radio signal if you didn't know they existed and how to detect them? Could you recognise the prime numbers if you didn't know they existed? Now, can you prove that the universe was created by an intelligent designer without knowing how or why or when and under what rules and conditions without once resorting to the supernatural or religious?

RE:Or, if someone was to typewrite a message in English on a piece of paper and sneak it into the camp of a remote tribe, possessing a written language, that had no contact with the outside world, would anyone in that tribe upon discovering the paper be able to attribute the English message to an intelligence without a necessary knowledge of the tools used, or motivation of the sender, or identity of the sender? Would these three areas of knowledge be necessary to determine the message as having an intelligent source?

Thanks for proving the point of the difference between SETI and ID. Your tribe knows there is a message because it uses a written language as well, can recognise the characteristics of intelligent communication because of this, and can therefore attribute intelligence to it. Its precisely because the tribe possesses intelligent means of communication that it can recognise intelligent communication. However, since you have no possible means of designing and creating a universe, how do you infer that you can sense the intelligence behind ours?

SETI does not need to know the exact radio or transmission tool an intelligent lifeform uses in order to understand that an intelligent message is being sent and to be able to understand it. It is enough to be looking for the sort of thing we oursleves would and are transmitting. However, without understanding the method by which a designer could create control and guide a universe and why they would do so, all you can say is that you have faith that the universe was designed, and with purpose, no more.

Some further questions for you:

What do you consider the origins of the intelligent designer to be? This does not matter for SETI, but most certainly does for ID.

Who or what do you consider the intelligent designer to be, and what scientific proof is there for your position? SETI does not make any claim as to who or what the intelligence might be (other than it is extra-terrestrial), and it is irrelevant to the search.

Does your theory of intelligent design exist without the concept of god? SETI can exist without there being any intelligent life in the universe other than humanity. ID relies on the assumption that a designer exists in order to demonstrate design, SETI can only show probable design when it identifies probable designers.

I've already gone over a lot of this with you and I am now beginning to repeat myself. It seems that somehow we are not understanding each other.

Skeptico:
"Bronze Dog, RRyan and I have all made the same point about SETI that you still don’t understand. Here (AGAIN!) is what I wrote:

SETI are still looking for intelligence that lives in the same universe and obeys the same laws of physics that we do. That means we do know something about the putative ET and can make assumptions and predictions about how they would try to communicate with us."

I've already stated that the same is true of ID in relation to biology. Why would it be any different?

Skeptico:
"SETI use these assumptions to predict where to look for ET signals. IDists have no such assumption to guide their search."

Yes they do; they assume that complex specified information is a result of intelligence, so all you have to do is find a "signal" that possesses complex specified information to scientifically determine it as having an intelligent source.

Similarily, SETI assumes that certain, arbitrarily chosen signals can only have its origin in intelligence. I say "arbitrary" because there is no common rule among these signals to separate them from natural signals other than, we don't yet know how nature could create these signals and intelligence MAY create these signals in an attempt to communicate, correct? So in accordance with this, I could say that SETI argues from ignorance by saying, "we don't know how this signal could have been produced by a natural source, so we are atributing it to intelligence." HOwever they have been wrong before in regards to pulsars. That is why I am saying that they need a more scientifically rigorous deffinition of an artificial signal. Prime numbers is a good start, for then you wouldn't need to know anything about the source, apart from the signal itself, in order to determine that the signal is the result of intelligence that understands mathematics. This is one of the universal rules that I am alluding to. A string of prime numbers, no matter the medium or type of signal, would be unviversally accepted as arriving from intelligence. Agreed or no?

Skeptico:
"Go and read what Bronze Dog and RRyan wrote – they are saying the same thing in different ways. This is not an “arbitrary” description, nor is it “scientifically useless” as you claim."

I was referring to the claim that we MUST know something of the tools and methods used to create the signal in order to determine the signal as intelligent. This is, as far as I can tell, a sientifically false claim. I give you the example of a signal containing a string of prime numbers.

Skeptico:
"You seem to think that there must be some complete universal set of rules that we apply to any and all signal to determine if it is designed or not, and I these rules cannot be universally applied then they are not scientifically useful. But you have given us no reason why this should be so."

I'm not referring to every and all signals. Some signals are common in having their origin in both nature and intelligence. These are the signals that we would first categorize as natural until further evidence arrived. Also, some signals may have been thought to have originated only in intelligence, however upon further investigation it was discovered that there were natural phenomenon to account for these signals (ie: quasars). Obviously these signals will need further investigation in order to determine them as having an intelligent source. Then, there are some signals which are universally and scientifically demonstrated to having intelligence as their most likely explanation, based on the signal itself, since there is no plausible way that these signals could even possibly have been created naturally (ie: a string of prime numbers). This is one of the universal intelligent signals that I am discussing where absolutely no information is needed regarding the source in order to determine the signal as having an intelligent source. The question is, are there other signals like this, and can prime numbers be categorized with these other siganls? The answer is a resounding, scientific YES!

This would depend on if my argument re: information is valid. BTW: in order to invalidate my argument, you just need to show me one natural law that creates information.

Skeptico:
" More to the point, SETI’s methods are entirely different from ID. And yet you continue to show your lack of understanding of this with comments like:

SETI works under ID assumptions. SETI assumes that you can discover patterns in nature which are best explained as having resulted from intelligence.

I have explained ad nauseam how SETI works under different assumptions from ID. Your continued stubborn assertions they are the same has now got beyond tiresome. If you don’t understand this point yet, after three different people have had a go at explaining it, I honestly don’t know what else to tell you."

Then you do not understand the science of ID and how SETI would use it if they received an information rich siganl. ID interpretes the source of complex specified information as it would interprete the source of a string of prime numbers. Both are scientifically and universally seen as having an intelligent source, and if SETI saw either it would immediately infer intelligence. So does ID. The only difference is that SETI also allows other signals to have their origin in intelligence. As far as I can tell, the rules for distinguishing these signals are rather arbitrary, thus making SETI not as scientifically rigorous.

So, my argument rises and falls on complex specified information being as valid as a string of prime numbers in determining an intelligent source.

Are we seeing eye to eye yet?

I'm responding to your arguments re: information on my blog as a response under "My view of ID in a nutshell"

RE:I've already stated that the same is true of ID in relation to biology. Why would it be any different?

So, SETI is looking for beings that live in our universe and obey the same laws of physics that we do and who may be performing a similar search with a similar purpose; the ID movement is looking for a supernatural being living outside the laws of space, time and reality who is responsibe for the creation of everything and who we have no comparison or exemplar, but you think the two are the same? You're right, how could the two be any different? I can't see any obvious difference there. Its exactly the same thing, we've been so wrong and foolish. How could we not see the similarities?

RE:Yes they do; they assume that complex specified information is a result of intelligence, so all you have to do is find a "signal" that possesses complex specified information to scientifically determine it as having an intelligent source.

And everytime IDers do this, the alternative evolutionary explanation is shown to provide the 'unexplainable without a designer' answer. No ID claim for irreducible complexity has been found to stand up to scrutiny yet, or to explain anything that evolutionary biology cannot. If you can find an alternative explanation for radio transmissions carrying the prime numbers I'd like to hear it. And there you go with the redefinition of words again. Put signal in quotes, and all of a sudden ID and SETI can be the same for you.

RE:Similarily, SETI assumes that certain, arbitrarily chosen signals can only have its origin in intelligence.

Wrong, but thanks for playing. SETI assumes that the signals most likely have an intelligent source and would therefore require closer scrutiny and further investigation because of the small chance such a signal could occur naturally. ID assumes god did it, no more looking needed.

RE: HOwever they have been wrong before in regards to pulsars.

And science was and is self correcting, so we know of the fuss over pulsars. Care to acknowledge when IDers have admitted they were wrong, when they have been clearly shown to be wrong. Like during the Dover trial for instance. Or about the eye?

Let's not forget this though; if SETI worked the same way ID does scientists would still be insisting pulsars were alien civilisations trying to communicate with us despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that it wasn't. I mean, no-one has ever seen a pulsar working the way it does have they? Its just a theory after all and theories aren't fact. The odds of pulsars sending a signal like that naturally are astronomical, so there must be a designer behind it, right?

Thankfully, real science doesn't work like IDers, and we know pulsars are naturally occuring. Maybe when you're trying to prove ID, you should leave real science out of it since it demonstrates the total absence of anything worthwhile in ID and further demonstrates how hollow its claims to validity are.

RE:I was referring to the claim that we MUST know something of the tools and methods used to create the signal in order to determine the signal as intelligent. This is, as far as I can tell, a sientifically false claim. I give you the example of a signal containing a string of prime numbers.

I dealt with this above (including your massively flawed analogy) and you ignored it. Please provide your evidence that it is a scientifically false claim. Other than the fact that if it isn't false, your entire argument falls flat on its face.

RE:Also, some signals may have been thought to have originated only in intelligence, however upon further investigation it was discovered that there were natural phenomenon to account for these signals (ie: quasars).

Pulsars or quasars? Make your mind up. Incidentally, the extraterrestrial origin of pulsars was something not taken seriously (according to Martin Rees), but considered (according to Paul A Sturrock). Here again real science took over, where ID would have accepted the pre-formed conclusion and left it there with the evidence they had.

RE:This is one of the universal intelligent signals that I am discussing where absolutely no information is needed regarding the source in order to determine the signal as having an intelligent source. The question is, are there other signals like this, and can prime numbers be categorized with these other siganls? The answer is a resounding, scientific YES!

And what are these signals, where is your evidence they exist? Simply asserting something doesn't make it true for anyone other than an IDer. More importantly, have you considered that your universal signals have an alternative explanation other than design?

RE:This would depend on if my argument re: information is valid. BTW: in order to invalidate my argument, you just need to show me one natural law that creates information.

Erm, how about that whole pesky evolution thing. Of course, you've no doubt redefined 'information' to mean something that only further proves you're right anyway so what's the point.

RE:ID interpretes the source of complex specified information as it would interprete the source of a string of prime numbers.

And interprets it incorrectly, since it has been repeatedly demonstrated that evolutionary theory explains irreducible complexity and specified information, and explains it more plausibly and accurately and simply.

RE:Both are scientifically and universally seen as having an intelligent source,

Prime numbers don't have an intelligent source, they just are. Sort of like the universe really.

RE:and if SETI saw either it would immediately infer intelligence. So does ID. The only difference is that SETI also allows other signals to have their origin in intelligence. As far as I can tell, the rules for distinguishing these signals are rather arbitrary, thus making SETI not as scientifically rigorous.

SETI would infer probable intelligence requiring further investigation. ID stops looking as soon as it sees what it wants to. The fact that you call ID scientifically rigorous is laughable given its exposure as fraudulent, practically and theoretically useless, biased, untestable and unproven. If that is your idea of scientifically rigorous, things make a lot more sense.

SETI are still looking for intelligence that lives in the same universe and obeys the same laws of physics that we do.

I've already stated that the same is true of ID in relation to biology. Why would it be any different?

Holy shit dude. C'mon now, work with me here.

If your "desingner" (hereafter referred to as god) lives in the same universe and obeys the same laws of physics as we do, god is testable, and not more complex than us. So you should easily be able to prove god.

However, ID proponents frequently cliaim that god is beyond science, therefore supernatural, therefore it does not live in the same universe and obey the same laws of physics, therefore not testable, therefore equal to Carl Sagan's dragon.

Do you get it now? ID proposes supernatural causes for design, SETI looks for signals that use the same natural laws of the universe we know and understand.

Again, if god is not supernatural, god is our equal. You're going in circles now - it's your own fault if you don't understand; you'll have to pull your fingers out of your ears.

The way IDiots have tried to define "specified complexity" either amounts to something easily explainable by evolution, or an oxymoron.

Skeptico replies to CJYman

  1. I said, SETI are still looking for intelligence that lives in the same universe and obeys the same laws of physics that we do. That means we do know something about the putative ET and can make assumptions and predictions about how they would try to communicate with us. You claim ID does the same.

    How does ID use the same principle to infer design?

  2. Why does ID “assume that complex specified information is a result of intelligence”? On what basis?
  3. What do you have to counter Bronze Dog’s link debunking specified complexity?
  4. What do you mean by a “common rule” among signals to separate them from natural signals? Why does the rule for distinguishing an artificial signal need to be “common”?
  5. Where is your evidence that information cannot be created naturally?
  6. In what way is your “information” post on your blog not relying on circular reasoning? Isn’t your first sentence, the premise of your argument, the same as your conclusion?
  7. When has ID ever changed any part of its “theory” in response to contradictory evidence, the way that scientists changed their ideas about pulsars?

Request I'd like to add to the above: Define "information" as you're using it.

Jimmy_Blue:
"What you are saying is that based on our own knowledge of physics (and this can only be the same as an extra-terrestrial intelligence's knowledge), mathematics and communication technologies if we finally detected a mathematically constructed non-random signal consistent with the sort of signal we would be sending to extra-terrestrial life we can't deduce anything from it, correct?"

Ummmmmm ... don't know where u get that from. ID determines the exact opposite. Refer to my lattest response to Skeptico.

Jimmy_Blue:
"How can the first part of a natural process be considered supernatural? The answer, if you redefine supernatural to mean whatever you want it to. The Big Bang does not lie outside the laws of physics, therefore it is not supernatural. You want to know about logical flaws in your arguments, here is
one:"

Ah, I see, a game of semantics. Ok, just so we are on the same page, how do you define
supernatural and what relevance does this definition have in relation to your quotes regarding ID in this thread? I define nature as that which is governed by the laws of nature (physics). But, since the laws of physics only came into being after the Big bang, the origins of laws of physics must be
"extra-" or "super-" or "ultra-" "laws-of-physics."

Jimmy_Blue:
"How do we know the supernatural exists? Because the supernatural must have created the universe. Since the universe exists, the supernatural exists.

This whole line of reasoning relies on an assumption you cannot prove, and begs the question you try to answer."

What’s the assumption?

Refer to my aforementioned defintion and then please respond again.

Jimmy_Blue:
"ID rests on the assumption the supernatural exists, but cannot prove this except by inference and by redefining supernatural as a term. SETI relies on the assumption that an artificial signal can have a natural intelligent cause, and should therefore be worthy of note."

ID relies on no such assumption. However, since ID is scientific, it can no more address the possibility of intelligence outside of our universe than can Physics address the possibility of multiple
universe, since at the big bang, all the rules of physics break down. Furthermore, ID also relies on the assumption that an unnatural or artificial signal will most likely have an intelligent cause,
however, they go even one step further, scientifically, than SETI and actually define these unnatural or artificial signals so as to apply to more than just radio signals and therefore be more useful in
other scientific arenas.

Jimmy_Blue:
"ID is by definition a supernatural theory, burying your head in the sand and refusing to accept this does not change that, and therefore the supernatural is at the heart of this discussion whether you and fellow ID believers like it or not."

Last I checked the people who kicked off modern ID define it as: "the study of patterns in nature which are best explained as the result of intelligence."
http://www.overwhelmingevidence.com/

You'll have to explain to me why ID is "by definition" a "supernatural theory."


RE:So, along those lines ... ummmm ... do you know what ID is? ID is the science of discovering patterns in nature which are best explained as having resulted from intelligence. Therefore, SETI works under ID assumptions. SETI assumes that you can discover patterns in nature which are best
explained as having resulted from intelligence.

Jimmy_Blue:
"ID is not science. Any theory which rests on the existence of the supernatural is by definition not science."

Agreed (except for the part that "ID is not science) and as such the cause of the Big Bang is not scientific.

Jimmy_Blue:
" Since an intelligent designer would be supernatural, ID is not science."

Huh?!?!?! are you trying to say that all intelligent designers are, by definition, supernatural?

Jimmy_Blue:
"Before you even begin to argue ID does not rely on the supernatural ask yourself this:
Who do you consider the designer to be? Did you come to believe intelligent design was valid before or after you developed a belief in god?"

I know there are ID proponents who did not have a belief in God upon understanding the scientific validity of ID and its relation to biology. This alone renders your statement quite inane.

You are going to have to define "supernatural" and "god" before I answer this.

Furthermore, you are only offering one choice here for intelligent designer. Why is that?

As a side note, even Dawkins has said that he believes ID in relation to biology to be scientific; it's just that he also thinks it has been falsified by showing that information systems can create themselves.

Jimmy_Blue:
"The only similarity between ID as you define it here and SETI as it exists, is that both have so far failed miserably in their purpose. Thanks for pointing that out for us once again. Everything that IDers have claimed as designed thus far can be shown to have evolved naturally, and has been."

That may be a valid argument, but only once you can show me natural laws that create sequences of prime numbers or complex specified information.

So, are you starting to see that SETI will use the science of ID if it discovers complex specified information or a string of prime numbers?

Jimmy_Blue:
"SETI is not looking for the natural or supernatural, but the unnatural."

And how would you demarcate these three? Tell me, is a set of prime numbers or complex specified information unnatural? If that isn’t then what is, and how do you define unnatural?

Jimmy_Blue:
" At no point does this approach ID and its inferences of natural to supernatural."

Where's you get THAT from?!?!?!?! "Inference from natural to supernatural"?!?!?!?

Jimmy_Blue:
" SETI is not looking for patterns in nature, but patterns outside nature, something which can only be generated by an intelligent life form such as humanity."

Incorrect. They are searching for unnatural patterns within nature; and yes these would be generated only by intelligence. Oh wow, look at that scientific research that lines up directly to the definition of ID.

Jimmy_Blue:
"Ask yourself this about ID. If it is truly a scientific theory, why is it that the only people who accept it are those who were religious prior to hearing of it,"

Incorrect. refer to David Berlinski. Furthermore what relevance does this have to scientific validity? Last I checked, scientific arguments rose and fell on their own merits, not based on who did or didn't use them.

Scientists at first were very sceptical about the big bang theory, because at the time it seemed too religious or theistic.

The big bang has unscientific origins, yet it is a scientific theory that is derived from the math of the theory of relativity and from observations of the red shift and an inference of what would happen if
“the tape of the universe were rewound.” Further evidence has come in the form of big bang background radiation.

However, ID as it relates to biology doesn’t need unscientific origins. It is derived from the math of probability and information theory (specifically complex specified information), from the understanding that natural laws do not create information, and from the observation that information
arises from mind. Further evidence arises in the complex matrix of codes within genetic information, super-conserved, supposedly non-functional, areas of DNA. Furthermore, the cell is the only “Shannon information processor” in nature.

RE:However, I would argue that your criteria isn't a scientific necessity. Can you prove why it would be a scientific necessity to know anything regarding the possible methods and tools used in creating a signal of prime numbers in order to determine that that signal has an intelligence source?

Jimmy_Blue:
"Of course you would argue that, accepting it would invalidate your cherished theory. Sure can prove it. How many inanimate nonsentient objects do you know that can build radio transmitters and transmit the prime numbers into outer space? Could you recognise a radio signal if you didn't know
they existed and how to detect them? Could you recognise the prime numbers if you didn't know they existed? Now, can you prove that the universe was created by an intelligent designer without knowing how or why or when and under what rules and conditions without once resorting to the
supernatural or religious?"

Actually, I see what you are saying, but it doesn't address the point I am trying to make. Without knowledge of such methodology of signal creation, could someone with an understanding of prime numbers, arrive at the conclusion that any sequence of prime numbers occurring in the universe is
unnatural, regardless of methods of creating that siganl?

Jimmy_Blue:
"Thanks for proving the point of the difference between SETI and ID. Your tribe knows there is a message because it uses a written language as well, can recognise the characteristics of intelligent
communication because of this, and can therefore attribute intelligence to it."

Ah, yes, now we are getting somewhere. The tribe doesn't need to know anything about the source other than having a shared language of specified complexity. Therefore, the signal itself and a common language, either based on math (ie: prime numbers) or specified complexity (code or language) is all that is needed to infer design. Agreed? Well, obviously, cause that is what you just
said. Neither identity, motivation, or understanding tools of signal creation are NECESSARY (you will notice the tool that designer in question used was a typewriter). This is the point I have been making since my first post here, albeit not as well as I could have been making it.

Jimmy_Blue:
"Its precisely because the tribe possesses intelligent means of communication that it can recognise intelligent communication. However, since you have no possible means of designing and creating a universe, how do you infer that you can sense the intelligence behind ours?"

Well, only under the assumption that fine-tuning = intelligence both in our universe or outside of our universe. We can only do the best that we can with what we've got when trying to scientifically discuss non-scientific ideas such as the cause of the big bang. Would you like to throw some other options on the table? Furthermore, you’re switching from the general theory of ID and its relation to biology to the specific theory of ID as it relates to the fine tuning of the universe. Why are you doing that?

Jimmy_Blue:
"Some further questions for you:

What do you consider the origins of the intelligent designer to be? This does not matter for SETI, but most certainly does for ID."

What does this have to do with the general theory of ID or ID as it relates to biology? What is the origins of the alien that sent the signal to SETI?. OR as it relates to the big bang, what do you consider to be the origins of the big bang? Why does the origin of the designer matter to the general
theory of ID and why doesn’t it matter to SETI?

Can you honestly define for me the general theory of ID and the specific theory of ID as it relates to biology. If you can't do this, then you haven't done your research and I don't have time to teach you. Thus, I can't debate with you.

Jimmy_Blue:
"Who or what do you consider the intelligent designer to be, and what scientific proof is there for your position? SETI does not make any claim as to who or what the intelligence might be (other than it is extra-terrestrial), and it is irrelevant to the search."

ID does not make any claim as to who the intelligent designer might be (other than it is intelligent). Further information re: designer is irrelevant to seeing that something such as a string of prime numbers or complex specified information has been designed.

Jimmy_Blue:
"Does your theory of intelligent design exist without the concept of god?"

If you are discussing ID as a theory of origins of intelligence then, YES. "Integrated Theory of Intelligence." Google it and then download the free e-book.

If you are discussing ID as a general theory or its application to SETI or biology or forensics then again, YES. You should know this by now.

Jimmy_Blue:
" SETI can exist without there being any intelligent life in the universe other than humanity. ID relies on the assumption that a designer exists in order to demonstrate design, SETI can only show probable design when it identifies probable designers."

Not sure what you mean here by "humanity." You may be confusing yourself as well as me.
Ummmm ... yea ... a designer would have to exist in order for design to appear ... and SETI can show almost absolute design (as the best explanation) if it picks up a signal of prime numbers or specified complex information. This is the same with ID as it relates to biology.


TO EVERYONE ELSE:

Many of your questions are answered in this post and Skeptico's problems with "information" and my post regarding it are posted on my blog as a response under the thread "My view of ID in a nutshell." (where I define information)

P.S.
If information can only be shown to result from intelligence as opposed to having it's origins in natural laws, then ID as it relates to biology is scientific and not falsified.

Skeptico replies to CJYman

I note you haven€'t answered my questions (and I'€™m not going to painstakingly read all of that last post of yours in to try to see which have been answered, somewhere, buried in all the other points - I can see most of my questions were not covered), and you haven't responded to my point that your "€œinformation"€ post is based solely on assertion and circular reasoning. Up to you -€“ you commented here, I replied here. I'€™ll let anyone reading this draw their own conclusions.

I just wanted to respond to your last sentence above:

If information can only be shown to result from intelligence as opposed to having it's origins in natural laws, then ID as it relates to biology is scientific...

Yes, IF. But you haven'€™t.

Can you honestly define for me the general theory of ID and the specific theory of ID as it relates to biology. If you can't do this, then you haven't done your research and I don't have time to teach you. Thus, I can't debate with you.

Last I checked, there is no specific theory. The closest ID ever came was CSI, which has been debunked, and irreducible complexity, which even if it's correct creates no problems for evolutionary theory.

How about this question which you conveniently ignored: what is your definition of "information"? What is your definition of "intelligence"? Without rigorous definitions, you end up playing word games.

If information can only be shown to result from intelligence as opposed to having it's origins in natural laws, then ID as it relates to biology is scientific...

If that were the case, then you'd have to be willing to argue that you can have intelligence without information, since intelligence clearly would have to precede information. I don't know if that's nonsense until I hear your definitions of those terms, though.

Regardless, this isn't the case, since information can be generated without intelligence, at least for standard definitions of the word.

supernatural
adjective
1. not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material; "supernatural forces and occurrences and beings" [ant: natural]

noun
1. supernatural forces and events and beings collectively; "She doesn't believe in the supernatural"

god

noun
1. the supernatural being conceived as the perfect and omnipotent and omniscient originator and ruler of the universe; the object of worship in monotheistic religions
2. any supernatural being worshipped as controlling some part of the world or some aspect of life or who is the personification of a force [syn: deity]
3. a man of such superior qualities that he seems like a deity to other people; "he was a god among men"
4. a material effigy that is worshipped; "thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image"; "money was his god"

Some thoughts from the ID movement:

"Thus, in its relation to Christianity, intelligent design should be viewed as a ground-clearing operation that gets rid of the intellectual rubbish that for generations has kept Christianity from receiving serious consideration.” (Dembski, “Intelligent Design’s Contribution to the Debate Over Evolution”, Designinference.com website, February 2005).

Dembski titled one of his books “Intelligent Design; the Bridge Between Science and Theology” (Dembski, 1999). In that book, Dembski makes the religious basis of ID “theory” explicit: “The conceptual soundings of the theory can in the end only be located in Christ.” (Dembski, 1999, p. 210).

“The fine-tuning of the universe, about which cosmologists make such a to-do, is both complex and specified and readily yields design. So too, Michael Behe’s irreducibly complex biochemical systems readily yield design. The complexity-specification criterion demonstrates that design pervades cosmology and biology. Moreover, it is a transcendent design, not reducible to the physical world. Indeed, no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe or the origin of life.” (Dembski, “The Act of Creation”, ARN website, Aug 1998)

“Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.” The Wedge Document, Discovery Institute.

That sets the scene, on to CJYMan:

Ummmmmm ... don't know where u get that from. ID determines the exact opposite. Refer to my lattest response to Skeptico.

Don't you remember what you wrote:
Therefore, this knowledge of possible tools and possible methods becomes scientifically useless in determining that a signal, such as one that is in sequence of the prime numbers, has an intelligent source. Agreed or no?

SO you're clearly saying that knowing what we do about possible transmission tools and signals, we can't deduce anything from finding the sort of signal we would expect intelligent life to generate. In other words, our knowledge of tools does nothing to help us deduce the possible source of a signal, and is therefore useless. If that's not what you mean, then say what you do mean.

I'm curious how you feel about forensic scientists being able to deduce what caused a particular wound pattern from their knowledge of possible tools, given your assertion that knowledge of methods and tools is scientifically useless.

Ah, I see, a game of semantics.

Oh, I'm the one playing semantics, and there was me not noticing this.

Ok, just so we are on the same page, how do you define
supernatural and what relevance does this definition have in relation to your quotes regarding ID in this thread?

See the definition of supernatural above, from wordnet. Any designer who creates a natural universe must not be of that natural universe since they existed prior to it. Therefore, any designer must be supernatural. Therefore, the supernatural is the very basis of ID. And you accuse me of not understanding the theory.

But, since the laws of physics only came into being after the Big bang, the origins of laws of physics must be
"extra-" or "super-" or "ultra-" "laws-of-physics."

The Big Bang probably originated from a gravitational singularity, something predicted by relativity theory. The laws of physics lose experimental support at the Planck Time, but quantam cosmology may provide answers. The Big Bang is not outside the laws of physics, but not all of it is currently understood.

What’s the assumption?

Refer to my aforementioned defintion and then please respond again.

That the supernatural exists. Next time I'll try to be a lot less subtle for you.

ID relies on no such assumption. However, since ID is scientific, it can no more address the possibility of intelligence outside of our universe than can Physics address the possibility of multiple
universe, since at the big bang, all the rules of physics break down.

So much wrong in so few words. As I outlined above, ID does rest on the assumption the supernatural exists. But it is the second sentence that I like the most. Are you saying that ID cannot discuss, prove or demonstrate an intelligence outside our universe? If so you are presented with the following paradox:

ID postulates that the universe was created by an intelligent designer. The universe did not exist before the designer created it. ID cannot address the possibility of intelligence outside of our universe. Before the universe existed, the designer could not have resided in it, and therefore must be outside of it.

The conclusion is unmistakeable, ID cannot address the existence of an intelligent designer, and you said it brother.

Please explain in scientific terms without resorting to the supernatural or religious how ID postulates the existence of a designer who resides outside of our universe, when it cannot address anything which exists outside of our universe.

Physics does address the existence of multiple universes. Its called quantam physics, look it up. Are you saying quantam physics is an invalid discipline? What does the existence of multiple universes have to do with Big Bang theory?

Furthermore, ID also relies on the assumption that an unnatural or artificial signal will most likely have an intelligent cause, however, they go even one step further, scientifically, than SETI and actually define these unnatural or artificial signals so as to apply to more than just radio signals and therefore be more useful in other scientific arenas.

An assumption which is completely unfounded and has been completely undermined by evolutionary theory. ID has no uses in other scientific areas. What use does ID have in medicine? In astrophysics? In chemistry? In genetics? How many research papers with practical applications has ID produced? How does ID contribute to the cure for cancer search?

Last I checked the people who kicked off modern ID define it as: "the study of patterns in nature which are best explained as the result of intelligence."
http://www.overwhelmingevidence.com/

You'll have to explain to me why ID is "by definition" a "supernatural theory."

Last I checked, they don't. See the quotes given at the head of my post. Do you want to keep playing 'He said, she said'? I guarantee I will win.

Who do you consider to be the designer, why won't you tell us? Why do most practitioners of ID admit they believe it is god? Would you admit it could be Thor, or Zeus? Or an eight headed flying monkey cow that craps Gamecubes? Why do so many ID believers studiously avoid ever trying to say anything about the nature of the designer? What are they hiding?

Agreed (except for the part that "ID is not science) and as such the cause of the Big Bang is not scientific.

The Big Bang does not rest on the supernatural.

Huh?!?!?! are you trying to say that all intelligent designers are, by definition, supernatural?

You see, that is what we call a straw man argument, its one of those logical fallacies you asked us to point out in your arguments. I'll type this really slowly for you so you can catch on:

We are talking about intelligent design. It talks about the universe being created by intelligent designers. When I mention intelligent designers in this discussion I mean those referred to by the ID theory. I don't mean the guy that invented Cat's Eyes for the roads, or the guy who invented the wind up radio. The intelligent designers referred to in the ID theory are by definition supernatural.

Was that slow enough for you? Do you get it now? I tried not to use big words just for you. (Incidentally, this is known as an ad hominem and should be avoided, but sometimes the temptation is just too great.)

I know there are ID proponents who did not have a belief in God upon understanding the scientific validity of ID and its relation to biology. This alone renders your statement quite inane.

Who are they, I am genuinely interested to know. Your failure to mention them renders your statement quite pointless.

Furthermore, you are only offering one choice here for intelligent designer. Why is that?

Check again, I used god without the capital G, which applies to the concept of god rather than the Judeo-Christian God. Now why would you suspect I was only referring to your god?

I'll make this even more simple for you:

Do you believe the intelligent designer is the Judeo-Christian God? What scientific basis is there for this belief? Do you believe those who say intelligent design promotes a christian world view are wrong?

As a side note, even Dawkins has said that he believes ID in relation to biology to be scientific; it's just that he also thinks it has been falsified by showing that information systems can create themselves.

Actually this is a gross oversimplification of what Dawkins says. I've just finished reading the God Delusion, have nearly finished Ancestors Tale, and am part way through the Selfish Gene and Unweaving the Rainbow. Dawkins' position through these is that ID makes scientific claims, but at its heart is religious dogma. He also says that where religion makes scientific claims they should be answered by science, questions like the existence of god. His position is not that ID is science through and through.

That may be a valid argument, but only once you can show me natural laws that create sequences of prime numbers or complex specified information.

Why would I argue there are natural laws that create sequences of prime numbers, I never said that and don't believe it possible (there you go with the straw man again). And I already said it - evolution can create complex specified information. Just because you don't like it doesnt stop it being true.

So, are you starting to see that SETI will use the science of ID if it discovers complex specified information or a string of prime numbers?

Nope, because it won't. For starters, SETI has been around a lot longer than ID so if anyone is borrowing the science, its ID.

And how would you demarcate these three? Tell me, is a set of prime numbers or complex specified information unnatural? If that isn’t then what is, and how do you define unnatural?

Natural - occuring in nature without influence from anything other than natural law
supernatural - defined at the start
unnatural - not of nature, artificial

Prime numbers are not strictly speaking natural because they are a product of mathematics, which is a construction of man not naturally occurring. Pretty sure mathameticians would hate that definition, but there it is anyway. Complex specified information, can be natural or unnatural depending upon the source. E.g. A computer program - unnatural, DNA sequences - natural.

Where's you get THAT from?!?!?!?! "Inference from natural to supernatural"?!?!?!?

I'm sorry, is there some definition of supernatural you use that wouldn't include a designer that resides outside of physical space and time, and outside of our universe? I suppose there is since you seem to pick whatever meaning best suits your argument at the time.

ID takes naturally occurring things such as bacterial flagallum, calls them irreducibly complex, and infers therefore there is a designer. Or in other words infers from natural to supernatural.

Are you sure you understand the ID theory because you don't seem to know much about its core principles other than waffling on about some bizarre definition of information only you understand?

Incorrect. They are searching for unnatural patterns within nature; and yes these would be generated only by intelligence. Oh wow, look at that scientific research that lines up directly to the definition of ID.

No, its not. Please define unnatural as you use it. SETI is looking for artificial signals. You know, artificial as in, not natural, or outside nature. If you found a signal that was natural it wouldn't be, you know, unnatural, and then it wouldn't be what SETI is looking for.

Incorrect. refer to David Berlinski.

Would this be David Berlinski, fellow of the Discovery Institute? The same Berlinski that wrote:

How so? The question has historically been the pivot on which the assumption of religious belief has turned. How so? "God said: 'Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let fowl fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven."' That is how so. And who on the basis of experience would be inclined to disagree?

Just curious.

Furthermore what relevance does this have to scientific validity? Last I checked, scientific arguments rose and fell on their own merits, not based on who did or didn't use them.

You don't think that identifying the religious nature of an argument has any relevance to its scientific validity? I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the merits of scientific arguments. ID is a joke that has no scientific merit and which only persists because of its religious support.

The big bang has unscientific origins

What proof do you have for this assertion? Or the assertion that it was rejected as theistic?

However, ID as it relates to biology doesn’t need unscientific origins.

Yes it does, the designer.

It is derived from the math of probability and information theory (specifically complex specified information), from the understanding that natural laws do not create information, and from the observation that information
arises from mind.

No, it derives from creationism, as proven during the Dover trial.

Further evidence arises in the complex matrix of codes within genetic information, super-conserved, supposedly non-functional, areas of DNA.

All of which is better explained by evolutionary theory.

Without knowledge of such methodology of signal creation, could someone with an understanding of prime numbers, arrive at the conclusion that any sequence of prime numbers occurring in the universe is
unnatural, regardless of methods of creating that siganl?

Boy are you funny.
Pulsars are proof that apparently unnatural signals can occur in nature, and you used that to show SETI is unscientific. Now you are saying that without knowing how a prime numbers signal could be produced, we could determine its not natural. Please make up your mind.

SETI would determine that a prime number signal is worth looking at because we know of its significance, and SETI also determines certain frequencies that would be more worthy of note because of their use for long distance transmission, but we couldn't know of those frequencies without knowledge of transmission devices and methods. And because we do know, we also recognise their importance.

Ah, yes, now we are getting somewhere.

If only.

The tribe doesn't need to know anything about the source other than having a shared language of specified complexity.

Wrong. The tribe also needs to know that the typewritten letter is a form of communication, which it can only know from inferring purpose from its own knowledge and experience of its own mediums of communication. Just as SETI does. ID on the other hand goes from finding a pattern straight to designer with no knowledge of method or tools.
How can you know the universe is designed when you don't know if it could be designed?

Well, only under the assumption that fine-tuning = intelligence both in our universe or outside of our universe. We can only do the best that we can with what we've got when trying to scientifically discuss non-scientific ideas such as the cause of the big bang.

The Big Bang is not unscientific. Fine-tuning does not equal intelligence. Natural selection is capable of fine-tuning and does so.

Furthermore, you’re switching from the general theory of ID and its relation to biology to the specific theory of ID as it relates to the fine tuning of the universe. Why are you doing that?

Why not? Afraid of something?

What does this have to do with the general theory of ID or ID as it relates to biology? What is the origins of the alien that sent the signal to SETI?. OR as it relates to the big bang, what do you consider to be the origins of the big bang? Why does the origin of the designer matter to the general theory of ID and why doesn’t it matter to SETI?

Why won't you answer the question? The origin of the designer isn't important to ID, is that your belief? Are you afraid to admit what you believe because it is unscientific and unprovable? Until you answer my question, don't expect an answer from me. If you can't see why the question is important, there is little point in continuing the discussion.

Can you honestly define for me the general theory of ID and the specific theory of ID as it relates to biology. If you can't do this, then you haven't done your research and I don't have time to teach you. Thus, I can't debate with you.

Can you? The general theory of ID is that wherever an IDer sees something they can't explain, they say god, sorry the designer, did it. The specific theory as it relates to biology is that wherever an IDer sees something in biology they think natural selection doesn't explain, because they don't understand natural selection, they say the designer did it.

ID does not make any claim as to who the intelligent designer might be (other than it is intelligent). Further information re: designer is irrelevant to seeing that something such as a string of prime numbers or complex specified information has been designed.

I didn't ask for what ID says, I asked what you believed. If ID cannot determine what or who the designer is, then really, what use is it?

If you are discussing ID as a theory of origins of intelligence then, YES.

But I'm not. No-one here is.

If you are discussing ID as a general theory or its application to SETI or biology or forensics then again, YES. You should know this by now.

ID has no application to SETI. Or biology, or forensics. If ID does not need god, who is the designer?

Not sure what you mean here by "humanity." You may be confusing yourself as well as me.

Of the human race. Why so confused, because I'm fine?

Ummmm ... yea ... a designer would have to exist in order for design to appear ... and SETI can show almost absolute design (as the best explanation) if it picks up a signal of prime numbers or specified complex information. This is the same with ID as it relates to biology.

And that's the problem, ID presupposes the conclusion it is trying to reach. If design exists there must be a designer, but design only exists if there is a designer.

Science doesn't start with a conclusion. Darwin didn't conclude evolution and then prove it, the big bang wasn't concluded first and then proven. SETI doesn't conclude there is life and then look for it, it looks for it and if it finds some, then it will not surprisingly conclude there is some.

ID and science have nothing in common?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!

(See, if you put lots of punctuation after a point it makes it all the more surprising and true).

SETI doesn't know all prime number sequences are designed. They guess it because they can't think of any way for unintelligent natural phenomena could do it. If they bumped into some kind of prime number pulsar, they'd look for other sequences to test and pass on the data to astronomers to figure out how that pulsar works.

If an IDer was running SETI, they'd probably claim that aliens built the pulsar.

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