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July 18, 2007

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i'm sitting in a lab, and i just frightened its other occupant with a very, very loud "Pfft!"

who is PaV though? does this guy have at least a degree in a scientific subject?

Lepht

I think the guy should be taken away and shot just for using the word "purpose" as a verb. "To purpose...." ugh!

You have toi admire the sheer effort these people put in to avoid actually thinking. The "how can you study something that lacks intelligence?" question he seemed to find such a stumper just zoomed straight over my head at 30,000 feet. Say what?

That seemed about as sensible as saying "OK, Mr. Clever Photographer. You just explain how on earth can you photograph a scene that doesn't have a wombat in it? You can't, can you?"

The important thing is that the investigator have intelligence, not the thing being investigated.

The flagellum is an effective low-energy motive unit for bacteria. Until now, our machines have been large and clunky, making bulky, powerful motors a must. However, now we have the possibility of constructing bacterial-sized achines, do we spend millions or billions designing a custom-made unit, or consider a ready-made solution from nature? The provenance of the flagellum is irrelevant.

It's like building a stone house. You have one gap left, and you notice a stone lying around that would fit it perfectly. Do you ignore it and go to work trimming a bigger stone to the size and shape you want? Does this mean the "miracle" stone must have been intelligently produced by some unseen stonemason, or does it just happen to be the right shape?


It's so stupid and funny, I wish I could laugh. I've gotten too good at restraining myself at work.

I'm not a scientist, and I don't have access to resources needed for an experiment of any magnitude. For that matter, I haven't even checked to see whether this experiment has already been done. (It's also only tangentially related, so bear with me.)

I have a hypothesis that people who subscribe to this line of argument would be more likely to experience pareidolia-style phenomena, and, if faced with a scene in which something happened, would be more likely to suggest human intervention in creating the scene.

Hold on, let me make that more coherent. My hypothesis is that people who subscribe to that type of argument (for ID) would be more likely to see human activity where it doesn't exist and be more likely to "see" familiar objects in clouds, etc.

This is kinda just a blind guess, based on the fact that they seem unable to comprehend anything except in terms of "design," but it would be an interesting experiment to do.

Is anyone out there able/willling to do it?

Also:

That seemed about as sensible as saying "OK, Mr. Clever Photographer. You just explain how on earth can you photograph a scene that doesn't have a wombat in it? You can't, can you?

Actually, to make it more accurate, it's about as sensible as saying: "OK, Mr. Clever Photographer, can you explain how you can photograph a scene that doesn't have a camera in it?"

I remember a couple stories:

An actor forgets his lines while on stage and storms back and forth for a while before remember them and picking it back up. A critic watching the play is impressed and writes how the actor poetically captured the character's inner turmoil.

A comedy featured, as a prop, a bottle of champagne on a desk. The heat from the lighting causes the pressure inside the bottle to increase until it pops the cork with perfect comedic timing with the actor catching it as it falls. Lots of people ask the crew after the show how they did the trick and refused to believe dumb luck did it.

It's good to see you're back in full force as of this past week, Skeptico.

All PaV has really done is provide all and sundry with virtually indisputable evidence that everything he makes (especially arguments) could not be the result of Intelligent Design!

Dembski, on the other hand..... I remain unconvinced that his ostensible arguments for ID are anything other than a racket.

Is PaV licensed to carry that much stupid?

Dembski? Dumbski, more like.

The insinuation here is that the statement I made is strange, maybe even stupid. But what if the real problem is that you haven't the intelligence necessary to follow the argument?

Has that possibility been entertained?

My basic argument is contra those Darwinists who INSIST that unless we "know" who the Designer actually is, that we are in no position to evaluate the Designer's intelligence, and hence His design.

Now, there are those who say that biological complexity is the product of chance alone; and, there are those who say that it is the result of a directing intelligence--such is the argument. Among the many silly things that those who argue ‘chance’ say, one is the above: without knowing ‘who’ the Designer is, it is impossible to perceive design. The implicit assumption in such a statement is that one has to know how the Designer ‘acts’ and ‘thinks’ before one can possibly perceive any ‘design’ wrought by said Designer.

Well, my argument is that we see, time and time again, instances where scientists, once having studied biological complexity, now able to ‘design’ objects exceeding anything previously engineered. The only logical conclusion from such instances is that something has been learned by the scientists through their study of biological complexity. Now, when Darwinist worshippers say that it is “impossible to perceive design” unless one “knows” the Designer, this is the logical equivalent of saying that any scientist who studies biological complexity, in however great a depth he/she desires, will never perceive ‘design’.” If it is, indeed, true that scientists cannot “perceive” design no matter how much they study (so aver the “great lights” of Darwinism), then how does one explain the fact that BEFORE the scientists studied biological complexity they weren’t able to ‘design’ particular objects, but, NOW, after such study, they ARE able to design them? It is absurd to claim the former in the presence of the latter. Either the scientists “learned” something or they did not. If they did not learn anything by their study, then it would be completely unreasonable to expect them to be able to design something after their study that they could not design prior to it. And, if they did learn something, then they have encountered intelligence/design. You simply can’t have it both ways.

The only way around this logical dilemna is to PRONOUNCE that “all of biological complexity is the result of blind forces”, and therefore any “intelligence” discovered has been generated by these blind forces; hence, the intelligence/design encountered is completely outside any such Designer. But this is just question-begging, since to PRONOUNCE that “all of biological complexity is the result of blind forces” precludes all other possibilities, including that of intelligent design. The argument then becomes not “we cannot perceive design without knowing who the Designer is”, but “there’s no such thing as a Designer”. This becomes, then, no more than scientific dogmatism.

Skeptico: [The flagellum is not “incomprehensible” per any evolutionist’s definition. Just because per an IDists definition it is “irreducibly complex”, that doesn’t mean it is, and it certainly doesn’t mean it is “incomprehensible”.]

What evolutionists do, though, is to insinuate that any aspect of the Designer's design is completely beyond them since they don't know who the Designer is. But, of course, this flies right in the face of scientists who, as a result of their study of such biological systems as the flagellum, are able to improve the design of complicated nano-scale propellant systems. This is just as absurd a claim as claiming that a chemist who, having 'studied' a treatise on quantum mechanics written in Russian, and who neither knows a thing about advance mathematics nor a word of Russian, is now able to design 'fusion' reactions in his lab. For the chemist to pull this off two conditions are needed: first, the treatise would have to have some kind of breakthrough theoretical considerations, and, second, the chemist would have to know a fair amount of QM and read Russian as well. Otherwise, all one can say is that the chemist "looked at" the Russian treatise. To assert that he "studied" the treatise implies an intellectual engagement that simply could not have taken place, and is no more than empty rhetoric.
It's simply impossible to study that which we cannot comprehend, and it's just as impossible to credibly declare that "we cannot detect the intelligence behind intelligent design unless we know who the Designer is" and then watch as scientists implement unprecedented designs based on an understanding of how nano-scale propellant systems work in Nature.

Skeptico replies to PaV

Re: The insinuation here is that the statement I made is strange, maybe even stupid. But what if the real problem is that you haven't the intelligence necessary to follow the argument?

Has that possibility been entertained?

It was entertained. But then it was discarded since it was plainly absurd.

Re: My basic argument is contra those Darwinists who INSIST that unless we "know" who the Designer actually is, that we are in no position to evaluate the Designer's intelligence, and hence His design.

I understood your argument. You were wrong.

The argument is not that “unless we "know" who the Designer actually is, that we are in no position to” determine design. This is the actual sequence of arguments:

  1. IDists make the argument that ID is just like archaeology, SETI and other sciences.
  2. Critical thinkers such as myself, will point out where this analogy fails – namely that archaeologists, SETI etc infer design because, inter-alia, they know something about the designer. ID doesn’t do this – it looks for “irreducible complexity” – so it is a false analogy. ie the IDists argument is a logical fallacy – it’s no good.
  3. You, misunderstanding everything that went before, say this means we have to “name the Indian”.
  4. I say, no. The point is not that archaeologists etc know “who” the designer is – your “name the Indian”. The point is that archaeologists etc know something about the designer – ie that it was an Indian. (Although Native American is the term we usually use these days.) And so in your story, we did “know” enough about the designer to infer design. We did not have to “name” the Indian. This is compared with ID’s knowledge about the Intelligent Designer – which is zero.
  5. You claim that all this means that we say “unless we "know" who the Designer actually is, that we are in no position to” determine design.” You will note that (a) the original line of argument was started by the IDists, and (b) nowhere did any evolutionist say anything like what you said we said.

Perhaps you haven't the intelligence necessary to follow that argument? Because you didn’t address it, unlike your argument that I did address.

Re: Now, there are those who say that biological complexity is the product of chance alone;

Really? And who are those people? Not evolutionists for sure. Evolution is a product of chance coupled with the non-chance actions of natural selection, certainly not “chance alone”. Come on – this old chestnut has been debunked more times than I’ve had hot dinners.

Re: and, there are those who say that it is the result of a directing intelligence--such is the argument. Among the many silly things that those who argue ‘chance’ say, one is the above: without knowing ‘who’ the Designer is, it is impossible to perceive design. The implicit assumption in such a statement is that one has to know how the Designer ‘acts’ and ‘thinks’ before one can possibly perceive any ‘design’ wrought by said Designer.

Same straw man. Anyway tell me – how do you determine something was designed?

Re: Well, my argument is that we see, time and time again, instances where scientists, once having studied biological complexity, now able to ‘design’ objects exceeding anything previously engineered. The only logical conclusion from such instances is that something has been learned by the scientists through their study of biological complexity.

Agreed.

But then you go wrong again:

Re: Now, when Darwinist worshippers say that it is “impossible to perceive design” unless one “knows” the Designer,

Straw Man again – but I will accept that I don’t know how you would determine there was a designer unless you know something about that designer. I realize this version of my argument (ie my actual argument) is harder to refute than the straw Man version you constructed. That’s not really my problem though.

Re: this is the logical equivalent of saying that any scientist who studies biological complexity, in however great a depth he/she desires, will never perceive ‘design’.”

This is the logical equivalent of the straw man argument you constructed, so it’s not a valid point.

Re: If it is, indeed, true that scientists cannot “perceive” design no matter how much they study (so aver the “great lights” of Darwinism), then how does one explain the fact that BEFORE the scientists studied biological complexity they weren’t able to ‘design’ particular objects, but, NOW, after such study, they ARE able to design them?

Easy. Because nature built something (over millions of years, guided by natural selection), that the scientist hadn’t though of. Why would that not be possible? And please show your work

Re: It is absurd to claim the former in the presence of the latter. Either the scientists “learned” something or they did not. If they did not learn anything by their study, then it would be completely unreasonable to expect them to be able to design something after their study that they could not design prior to it. And, if they did learn something, then they have encountered intelligence/design. You simply can’t have it both ways.

Your whole argument boils down to this:

If nature contains something humans haven’t thought of yet, it must have been designed.

But why? Please show your evidence for this. Because all you are doing here is asserting.

Re: The only way around this logical dilemna is to PRONOUNCE that “all of biological complexity is the result of blind forces”, and therefore any “intelligence” discovered has been generated by these blind forces; hence, the intelligence/design encountered is completely outside any such Designer. But this is just question-begging, since to PRONOUNCE that “all of biological complexity is the result of blind forces” precludes all other possibilities, including that of intelligent design. The argument then becomes not “we cannot perceive design without knowing who the Designer is”, but “there’s no such thing as a Designer”. This becomes, then, no more than scientific dogmatism.

No. The argument is – you have offered no evidence for a designer. Present some.

Re: But, of course, this flies right in the face of scientists who, as a result of their study of such biological systems as the flagellum, are able to improve the design of complicated nano-scale propellant systems. This is just as absurd a claim as claiming that a chemist who, having 'studied' a treatise on quantum mechanics written in Russian, and who neither knows a thing about advance mathematics nor a word of Russian, is now able to design 'fusion' reactions in his lab. For the chemist to pull this off two conditions are needed: first, the treatise would have to have some kind of breakthrough theoretical considerations, and, second, the chemist would have to know a fair amount of QM and read Russian as well. Otherwise, all one can say is that the chemist "looked at" the Russian treatise. To assert that he "studied" the treatise implies an intellectual engagement that simply could not have taken place, and is no more than empty rhetoric.

But your analogy shows that the scientist would not learn anything from a more intelligent designer (the Russian) unless he already knew something about what the designer was doing – which is the absolute reverse of what you are trying to argue. The analogy’s crap by the way, but as it stands it shows you can’t learn anything from something designed by an intelligent designer.

Did you even read that before you pushed post?

Perhaps you would like to address my actual arguments, above. Because if you can’t, and if you continue to argue by assertion alone, people might think you haven't the intelligence necessary to follow my arguments.

A comedy featured, as a prop, a bottle of champagne on a desk. The heat from the lighting causes the pressure inside the bottle to increase until it pops the cork with perfect comedic timing with the actor catching it as it falls. Lots of people ask the crew after the show how they did the trick and refused to believe dumb luck did it.
Reminds me of when I saw a performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat some years back (before I had the critical capacity to notice just how vapid it was). There's a point in one of the songs where our protagonist sings about his "lucky break." A very brief moment after that word, his elaborate amulet fell off his neck and shattered on the stage. I was surprised when I found out later that it wasn't planned, and really thought that it should be.
The insinuation here is that the statement I made is strange, maybe even stupid. But what if the real problem is that you haven't the intelligence necessary to follow the argument?

Has that possibility been entertained?


Ah, the old "maybe I'm wrong, or maybe I'm just so right that it blew your mind" gambit. Sorry pal, somehow I don't think you're beyond our comprehension.

My basic argument is contra those Darwinists who INSIST that unless we "know" who the Designer actually is, that we are in no position to evaluate the Designer's intelligence, and hence His design.
You're putting the cart before the horse there, chachi. Before you can show that there's an "intelligent design," you have to provide some evidence that there was some kind of designer. Until you prove the existence of the designer, of some grand and ancient intelligence with the capacity to create such things, then any subsequent speculations on what creatures were designed by this intelligent agent, and what weren't, are moot.

It's like trying to determine which presents Santa Claus gave you, and which ones were from your parents. You've started by assuming the existence something for which you have no evidence.

Now, there are those who say that biological complexity is the product of chance alone;
Name one. Show me one person with any authority in biology who would make such a stupid claim. No, as Dawkins is wont to say, natural selection is the very opposite of a chance process.
Among the many silly things that those who argue ‘chance’ say, one is the above: without knowing ‘who’ the Designer is, it is impossible to perceive design. The implicit assumption in such a statement is that one has to know how the Designer ‘acts’ and ‘thinks’ before one can possibly perceive any ‘design’ wrought by said Designer.
That's not silly at all, and not just for the reason that I stated above (that until we have some evidence of an intelligent designer, it's foolish to posit an intelligent design). When we go to determine whether or not something is designed normally, we evaluate it on two criteria:
1. How it differs from nature.
2. How it corresponds to other things that were designed by known intelligent agents.
If I come across a barn in a field, I know it's the product of intelligent design because it is significantly and fundamentally different from other things in the surrounding nature, and because it looks a lot like other barns I've seen that were built by people. Since I can infer that it was designed, and was designed by humans like me, I can begin to make inferences about the purposes of some of the designs; I can guess that the doorknob is designed for a human hand, which can turn it to gain entry, and so forth.
If it is, indeed, true that scientists cannot “perceive” design no matter how much they study (so aver the “great lights” of Darwinism), then how does one explain the fact that BEFORE the scientists studied biological complexity they weren’t able to ‘design’ particular objects, but, NOW, after such study, they ARE able to design them?
For exactly the same reason that a painter may look at a landscape and see no art, but then paint that landscape and make it into a work of art. I can very easily study something that was not designed, and then design something based on it. The fact that my design is governed by an intelligence doesn't suggest that the object on which my design was based was therefore also designed by an intelligence.

Let's say I look long and hard at a rock from my garden. Then, I gather the necessary supplies and create a model of that rock, identical in every fashion, except that my design includes a place to hold a spare key to my front door. Does my rock-based intelligent design imply that the rock itself was designed?

You're equivocating the later design with the former; just because I design something based on nature doesn't imply that nature itself was also designed.

And, if they did learn something, then they have encountered intelligence/design. You simply can’t have it both ways.
And your premise is faulty. You assume that learning requires an intelligent teacher, which is simply not the case, and is a silly claim besides. Geologists learn things from rocks; is every rock produced in an intelligent tumbler? Nuclear physicists learn things from atoms; is every atom assembled by an intelligent micro-jeweler?
What evolutionists do, though, is to insinuate that any aspect of the Designer's design is completely beyond them since they don't know who the Designer is.
No, they "insinuate" that until you provide some evidence of the designer, then you can't make inferences about design. It's like saying "these twigs were broken by Bigfoot" before demonstrating that such a thing as Bigfoot exists.

Throughout your arguments, you do little more than assume that there is a design, then further posit that learning can only come from studying something that was intelligently designed. Both of these are wholly unsupported by evidence, and contradicted by experience. If I study the motion of the sun and moon, I may learn the cardinal directions; it doesn't therefore imply that the sun and moon are driven by intelligent forces. I can learn something from studying anything, regardless of whether or not there is some guiding intellect.

By the way, Skep, nice takedown.

hmmmm....
Well, my argument is that we see, time and time again, instances where scientists, once having studied biological complexity, now able to ‘design’ objects exceeding anything previously engineered. The only logical conclusion from such instances is that something has been learned by the scientists through their study of biological complexity.

What are you smoking?

The reason we are able to design nanomachines now and not before has absolutely zero to do with our ability to see and learn some tricks from nature.

Where in nature does a lithography machine live that allows us to build things at that scale? Where are the electron beam emitters that allow true nanoscale MEMS devices to be built? where are the naturally occuring SEM machines that allow us to check if the nanomachine is built correctly. Naturally occuring volt meters? and power supplies? Microprocessors? Vacuum chambers?

We can build nanoscale machines now, not because we understand biological features better, but because we have the science and technology that allows us to make small things and see them, something that we could not do until the last couple of decades.

Your idea that because we have the ability to get ideas from things that occur in nature means that the natural things were designed is so unbelievably obtuse, i cant believe I found the will to respond.

Just because you and Behe like to call living cells 'nanomachines' and DNA 'programming code', doesnt mean that they are. Those are analogies not realities. You are just trying to use linguistic tricks to imply design without having to explain yourself.

If you dont need to know the designer to recognize design, why are there no atheists who believe in this ID nonsense? Find me one.


Its just creationist bullshit.

BTW PaV

only you creationists say that you have to name the designer. We dont say that.

We would accept proof of a whole race of designers also. They could be greek gods, aliens, triffids, or 50 foot tall grandmothers in Hoverrounds. We dont really care, just show us the designer(s). Then we can talk about what was designed and what wasnt. You guys made up the "name the indian" argument for yourselves, without our help.


Just becuase I know that people are starving in Darfur, doesnt mean I have to know any of their names.

Skeptico:
But your analogy shows that the scientist would not learn anything from a more intelligent designer (the Russian) unless he already knew something about what the designer was doing – which is the absolute reverse of what you are trying to argue.

You've stood the entire logic involved here on its head. This means that it is pointless to argue with you. So I won't. I'll just point out your nonsense, and leave you be.

The "reverse" of what you state is: Unless a scientist understands quantum mechanics and Russian, reading a treatise on quantum mechanics in Russian would be a complete waste of time.

Using this "reverse" of what you state we can go on: Since scientists claim to be unable to recognize the design of a Designer unless they know something about a Designer, studying objects designed by the Designer without such knowledge will prove to be a waste of time.

Now, we now that scientists studying objects designed by a Designer have not wasted their time. In fact, based on what they've studied, they are capable of superior designs than previously.

The conclusion: Since scientists have not wasted their time, then they must understand the design involved in objects designed by a Designer, even without knowing anything about the Designer. Which is a direct refutation of what Darwinists blandly assert, as they walk off to the land of blissful ignorance.

TechSkeptic:
only you creationists say that you have to name the designer. We dont say that.

You have it backwards. You should check things out and get your facts straight. Darwinists make this claim so that they can discount the true presence of intelligence found in biological complexity. In their minds, it's an easy way out---but it's not a logical one.

TechSkeptic:

We can build nanoscale machines now, not because we understand biological features better, but because we have the science and technology that allows us to make small things and see them, something that we could not do until the last couple of decades.

Your logic is backwards. We can now understand biological features better because we have the science and technology that allows us to make small things and see them---something, I agree, we couldn't do until the last couple of decades. That's precisely why ID didn't surface until the last couple of decades!

TomFoss:
For exactly the same reason that a painter may look at a landscape and see no art, but then paint that landscape and make it into a work of art. I can very easily study something that was not designed, and then design something based on it.

And if you took a photograph of the scene, would you call that a "design"? I don't think so. "Copying" is not designing. Your example proves the point I'm trying to make. Scientists do "copy" what they see; but they do so ONLY BECAUSE THEY RECOGNIZE that it supercedes their THINKING! IOW, it's a more intelligent way of doing something.

Skeptico:

Critical thinkers such as myself, will point out where this analogy fails – namely that archaeologists, SETI etc infer design because, inter-alia, they know something about the designer.

You state this as part of your "argument".

What is it, may I ask, that you, or any other scientist, knows about an "alien," or an "ET"? SETI: Search for Extra-Terrestial Intelligence. This is a search for "intelligence" being conducted completely independently of knowing anything at all about what an "ET" is. Tell me, what do ET's look like? Do they have six legs and four hands? Are they ten feet tall, or only two? Do they have 3 digits on each hand and foot, or do they not have any hands and feet at all, but instead claws? Are they dark, or light skinned? Or do they have fur? Do they breathe oxygen or use photosynthesis to live? What is it, precisely, that you know about them? And, if you don't know anything about them, then why would you think that you could understand their "intelligence". But, of course, that is just what SETI is predicated upon. So, let's not pretend.

The "reverse" of what you state is: Unless a scientist understands quantum mechanics and Russian, reading a treatise on quantum mechanics in Russian would be a complete waste of time.
Which is precisely the opposite of the point you were trying to make. Here's your idiotic analogy, broken down:

1. A paper is drafted by an intelligent agent.
2. A different intelligent agent, who knows nothing about the design process, tries to study the paper.
3. The second agent can learn nothing about the paper, since he doesn't know the factors that went into its design (namely, Russian and Quantum Mechanics).
4. Therefore, unless you know something about the designer, specifically something related to how the product was designed, you can't gain any information from the product.

Since you were trying to argue that we can infer design and study design without knowing something about the designer, your analogy utterly undermines your point. Not to mention the fact that it's utterly false.

See, back when I was in high school, I didn't know anything about Quantum Mechanics. Then, I read some books written about QM by people who knew QM, and I learned some things about Quantum Mechanics. Similarly, two years ago, I didn't know any Latin. Yet, when I picked up books written in Latin, I was able to figure some things out from the text, using existing knowledge about other languages.

Now, granted, I didn't learn Quantum Mechanics from the Latin texts, and my QM books were written in English. Highly technical, jargon-filled English, but English nonetheless. But scientists do this same kind of thing all the time; how do you think we've decoded dead languages written on ancient tablets and whatnot? By studying them. And when we figure out features of a language, we can learn things from what has been written in that language.
Honestly, have you never played with Cryptograms before? It's the same principle; you study patterns in the language until you can decode it, then you figure out what it says. If our Chemist friend has any skill linguistically, chances are that given time and interest, he could eventually read the Russian Quantum Mechanics paper to a decent degree of accuracy.
The conclusion: Since scientists have not wasted their time, then they must understand the design involved in objects designed by a Designer, even without knowing anything about the Designer. Which is a direct refutation of what Darwinists blandly assert, as they walk off to the land of blissful ignorance.
You're assuming your conclusion again, and misunderstanding why it's a waste of time. Without knowing something about the Designer, the waste of time is not in studying the design, but in positing the existence of a designer in the first place. Until you can demonstrate that there is such a thing as the Designer, then it's useless to talk about "design." Instead, we'll just talk about form and function, independent of some intentional agent.
Darwinists make this claim so that they can discount the true presence of intelligence found in biological complexity. In their minds, it's an easy way out---but it's not a logical one.
No, evolutionists claim that you have to show that a designer exists before you can base claims on that designer. Demonstrate that there is a "presence of intelligence" in biological complexity, then we'll talk. The burden of proof is on those who claim the Designer exists; until then, you're just violating Occam's Razor.
And if you took a photograph of the scene, would you call that a "design"?
To a degree, sure. The photographer has to choose the right lens, the right angle and lighting, the right time of day. They're designing their shot as much as the painter is designing their landscape painting.
I don't think so. "Copying" is not designing. Your example proves the point I'm trying to make. Scientists do "copy" what they see; but they do so ONLY BECAUSE THEY RECOGNIZE that it supercedes their THINKING!
By that logic, we could never improve on nature. And we do. Often. My eyeglasses are a perfect example of just that. There are some things that nature does well, more efficiently than humans currently do them. That doesn't necessarily mean there was any intelligence behind the development of those natural mechanisms. The fact that we can look at those natural features and then improve upon them would seem to undermine your point that these features exceed our intelligence.

But, once again, you're getting away from the point you were initially arguing, which is that we can't learn from something unless there was a guiding intelligence behind it. Which is patently false, and the fact that you failed to address the rest of my post demonstrates that you recognize that fact.
IOW, it's a more intelligent way of doing something.
Way to equivocate on terms there, boyo. No, "efficient" and "intelligent" are not synonyms.
What is it, may I ask, that you, or any other scientist, knows about an "alien," or an "ET"? SETI: Search for Extra-Terrestial Intelligence. This is a search for "intelligence" being conducted completely independently of knowing anything at all about what an "ET" is. Tell me, what do ET's look like? Do they have six legs and four hands? [etc.]
Actually, SETI conducts its search with quite a few assumptions about the nature of the ETs that we would be likely to contact. SETI would only, for instance, find extraterrestrials who:

1. Are intelligent and technologically-advanced.
2. Have technology sufficiently advanced to broadcast and receive transmissions via radio or other similar means.
3. Are able to recognize and replicate patterns that would be almost universally meaningful (prime number sequences, other mathematical patterns).

And so on. Life forms that aren't intelligent, that aren't sufficiently advanced enough to have radio broadcast and receiver technology, that can't distinguish between intentional signals and interstellar noise, aren't going to be making contact via the SETI model.

Your requests for shape, size, and composition are utterly unnecessary for the scope of SETI's search. We don't need to know the nature of a species' morphology in order to communicate with them; if you call tech support, it makes no difference whether the guy on the other end has a club foot or lost an arm in the war or has a third nipple or back hair. What matters is that you have certain features in common which allow you the capacity to communicate with one another. In order for SETI to make contact with an alien species, they would similarly have to have some factors in common with us which would allow communication to take place, such as the traits I listed above.

Similarly, it doesn't matter whether the Designer is big or tall, fat or thin, blonde or redhead, Thor or Hercules. What matters is the nature of its abilities, the purpose of its designing, the reason for its actions, the method by which it designs, and most importantly, the features which clearly distinguish between "something designed" and "something that was not designed." Those are the kind of things we'd have to know about the Designer before it would become a scientific hypothesis. Then, you have to demonstrate some evidence that such a designer exists. Your circular argumentation so far just doesn't cut it.

"only you creationists say that you have to name the designer. We dont say that.

You have it backwards. You should check things out and get your facts straight. Darwinists make this claim so that they can discount the true presence of intelligence found in biological complexity. In their minds, it's an easy way out---but it's not a logical one."

No I'm afraid I do not have it backwards, you do. Read Tom Foss' last paragraph, if you couldn't understand the point I was making, perhaps you will when he says it (he's far more eloquent than I). Please find me a reference where a skeptical thinker asked for a name of the designer (or color, or number of arms). We don't. All we ask is that you show evidence of any designer or designers. We do not care what name they are or if they are purple. Its your camp that accuses us of that silliness. You just believe whatever rhetoric comes out of the ID camps collective mouths.

Your logic is backwards. We can now understand biological features better because we have the science and technology that allows us to make small things and see them---something, I agree, we couldn't do until the last couple of decades. That's precisely why ID didn't surface until the last couple of decades!

No, ID surfaced in the last couple of decades because your camp couldn't get creationism into schools through brute force. So you decided to call cells "nanofactories" and DNA "programming code" because these terms each imply design. You think you know a designer and so you see design, it cant be the other way. I agree it is a pretty slick attempt, but it is creationism all the same. We were able to 'see' microscopic features long before we were able to make them, why didnt ID come about way back then? It did, it was called creationism. you can try to convince yourself that its different, its not, its just new words for old, tired, worn out concepts.

Here read this
https://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/leeuwenhoek.html
We were able to see cell structure, flagellum and other cell features in the 1600's. THe first TEM machine was built in the 1930s. Its total nonsense to say that ID came about because of some new ability to see what nature has provided. It just had a different name back then and no convenient words that imply design (perhaps they could have called them machines, but they did not AFAIK)

I ask you again, if ID is truly a compelling theory, and you can truly find design without having any evidence for a designer first, then there should be folks who do NOT know a designer and still see design, right?

Could you point me to any atheist who believes in ID?

And of course as is traditional with my posts, i forget something.

with reference to "time and time again, instances where scientists, once having studied biological complexity, now able to ‘design’ objects exceeding anything previously engineered."

You still didnt bother to point out where the lithography machine occurs in nature. Or the microprocessor. Or the volt meters. LCDs? Internal combustion engines? Books? Doorknobs? Shoes? none of these things occur in nature and yet we figured them out all by our little selves.

We are fully capable of designing things without getting ideas from nature. just because we also are able to get some neat ideas from nature (like velcro) doesnt mean that the natural feature was designed.

I know, that because you are a God Zombie (yes, now i'm letting out the insults), you will never say to yourself "holy crap! What an idiot I am, what a stupid concept when you actually think about it". I dont know if you are just a theist or an actual bible thumper who invents weird justifications about why God thinks Pi=3. But regardless, since you have spent your life throwing away all your critical thinking skills, and have chosen to spend the short time you have on this planet wasting time and spreading ignorance, you dont need to respond to this. Its rather pointless.

Skeptico replies to PaV

Re: You've stood the entire logic involved here on its head. This means that it is pointless to argue with you. So I won't. I'll just point out your nonsense, and leave you be.

It was fallacious logic, so what do you expect? Although to be honest it was no better, even on its head.

Re: The "reverse" of what you state is: Unless a scientist understands quantum mechanics and Russian, reading a treatise on quantum mechanics in Russian would be a complete waste of time.

Oh boy – we still have the same Argument By Analogy - a fallacious method or argument. In this case it fails because the scientists are just copying something in nature – they don’t have to read anything in a foreign language or understand quantum mechanics. And there is no evidence they are looking at something designed by anyone. They are just observing and copying. Your analogy is absurd. And argument by analogy is fallacious.

Re: Using this "reverse" of what you state we can go on: Since scientists claim to be unable to recognize the design of a Designer unless they know something about a Designer,

Stop right there. If by “unable to recognize the design of a Designer” you mean “unable to recognize there is a designer” – you may be right. That doesn’t mean they can’t recognize what the object (built by nature) is doing, and it certainly doesn’t mean they can’t copy it.

Re: studying objects designed by the Designer without such knowledge will prove to be a waste of time.

Why? You just assert this without a shred of evidence whatsoever. And you assume there is a designer.

Re: Now, we now that scientists studying objects designed by a Designer have not wasted their time. In fact, based on what they've studied, they are capable of superior designs than previously.

The conclusion: Since scientists have not wasted their time, then they must understand the design involved in objects designed by a Designer, even without knowing anything about the Designer.

But you are assuming there is a designer. If the object was created by nature through evolution, it has no designer. So no design to understand. Just a process that can be understood and copied. You are assuming your conclusion.

Re: Which is a direct refutation of what Darwinists blandly assert, as they walk off to the land of blissful ignorance.

But all you have done is blandly assert. In blissful ignorance.

Re: What is it, may I ask, that you, or any other scientist, knows about an "alien," or an "ET"?

[Snipped]

I covered this in detail on my post last October - SETI, archeology and other sciences. Read the full post but in summary they know that aliens would transmit with an artificial signal (ie something simple) and that that they might well broadcast near the 1,420 MHz frequency.

If you want to reply to this point then I do insist you read the entire post and understand the actual arguments I make and respond to them and not a misunderstood or straw man version of what I wrote.

Some questions you didn’t answer:

  1. Do you know that evolution is a product of chance coupled with the non-chance actions of natural selection, not “chance alone”?
  2. Do you still think your argument about the arrow and the Indian is valid? If so, please explain how archaeologists knowing the designer was human is the same as your requirement to actually “name” the human involved?
  3. How do you determine something was designed?
  4. Why would it not be possible for nature to build something (over millions of years, guided by natural selection), that the scientist hadn’t though of, and/or why wouldn’t a scientist be able to copy what was thus built? And please show your work
  5. Do you realize you have assumed your conclusion in your argument – namely that nature was designed? Please present your arguments again without the assumption that there is a designer.


Skeptico:

By that logic, we could never improve on nature. And we do. Often. My eyeglasses are a perfect example of just that.

And by this same logic, you would say, " My "new" Ford Fiesta is beter 'car' than your old, beat up Ferrari." I don't think so.

Skeptico:
But you are assuming there is a designer. If the object was created by nature through evolution, it has no designer. So no design to understand. Just a process that can be understood and copied. You are assuming your conclusion.

But, according to Darwinists, you can't "understand" it unless you know who the Designer is. So, which way is it?

Do you see how you contradict yourselves? First, you say you can't infer design unless you know who the Designer is, and then you admit to "understanding" what's there before your eyes. And what is it that you understand: the design of a better nanoscale pumping mechanism. How do we know that? Because this newfound 'understanding' has actually led to a 'proposed design' of a newer, and better nanoscale pump mechanism. Nevertheless, all of this is then followed by the protestation: "We can't infer design unless we know who the Designer is".

So, please, either tell us that when you look at Nature, you can't figure a blessed thing out. Or, drop the nonsense about needing to "know" who the Designer is. You can't have it both ways.

[And, to those who would question, I have three degrees----and study QM and GR on the side. TaTa.]

Skeptico replies to PaV

Re: But, according to Darwinists, you can't "understand" it unless you know who the Designer is.

And who says that, exactly. Who says you must know who the designer is to understand what we see in nature? With a link, please.

Re: Do you see how you contradict yourselves? First, you say you can't infer design unless you know who the Designer is, and then you admit to "understanding" what's there before your eyes.

You are still assuming there is a designer. Do you know what it means to assume your conclusion? Oh, that’s another question. I’ll add it to the others you won’t answer:

  1. Do you know that evolution is a product of chance coupled with the non-chance actions of natural selection, not “chance alone”?
  2. Do you still think your argument about the arrow and the Indian is valid? If so, please explain how archaeologists knowing the designer was human is the same as your requirement to actually “name” the human involved?
  3. How do you determine something was designed?
  4. What would it not be possible for nature to build something (over millions of years, guided by natural selection), that the scientist hadn’t though of, and/or why wouldn’t a scientist be able to copy what was thus built? And please show your work
  5. Do you realize you have assumed your conclusion in your argument – namely that nature was designed? Please present your arguments again without the assumption that there is a designer.
  6. Who said, “according to Darwinists, you can't "understand" it unless you know who the Designer is”? Who says you must know who the designer is to understand what we see in nature? Don’t forget the link
  7. Do you know what it means to assume your conclusion?
  8. Do you now understand how SETI are using knowledge of a putative designer to look for one, and how this is different from ID? If not, please explain how ID has knowledge of the designer, the way SETI does.

Come on. ANSWER THE QUESTIONS. Your evasions are getting tiresome.

Skeptico:

By that logic, we could never improve on nature. And we do. Often. My eyeglasses are a perfect example of just that.

And by this same logic, you would say, " My "new" Ford Fiesta is beter 'car' than your old, beat up Ferrari." I don't think so.

First, I said that, not Skeptico.
Second, how is that the same logic at all? Your analogy doesn't even make sense. You argued first that the reason scientists are able to create (or "copy") new, more efficient designs based on nature is because nature was itself designed by a greater intelligence than human scientists, and that the "designs" of nature "supercede their thinking." You seem to think that scientists are only capable of copying and approximating the achievements of nature (or its "Designer"), which simply isn't the case. The telephoto lens and the human eye function according to similar mechanisms, but the telephoto lens is better in every conceivable fashion. If the "Designer's" work is so far beyond human intellect, why are we able to do the same work better?
And your Ferrari/Fiesta thing is just nonsensical. Are Italian car manufacturers God--er, "the Designer"? Is the Ferrari a product of nature? Was the Ford Fiesta an attempt to copy or improve upon the Ferrari?
But, according to Darwinists, you can't "understand" it unless you know who the Designer is. So, which way is it?

You really need to learn how to define your pronouns, PaV. Let me lay it out for you, one more time, in big bold letters:
Until you can provide evidence that there is a "Designer," you cannot claim that there is a "Design," inasmuch as "design" means "form or schematic drawn and built by an intelligent agent." You can't just say "X was designed," you need to support that with some evidence. Evidence, in this case, should give us some idea of who or what the Designer is and how you would distinguish between "design" and "non-design."
Nevertheless, all of this is then followed by the protestation: "We can't infer design unless we know who the Designer is".

And despite your nonsensical protestations, this is exactly true. Until you can provide some evidence that there is a designer, and some criteria by which to judge whether or not something was designed, then there's quite literally no sense in claiming that "X was designed." Scientists didn't study "the design of a better nanoscale pumping mechanism," they studied a nanoscale pumping mechanism. Then, they worked to design better ones. Until you can provide some evidence for the capital-D Designer, then the only "design" in that whole process is the one that the scientists drafted at the end of the study.

So, please, either tell us that when you look at Nature, you can't figure a blessed thing out. Or, drop the nonsense about needing to "know" who the Designer is. You can't have it both ways.
How about you go look up "equivocation" in the dictionary. There's a very big difference between "not inferring design" and "not understanding." No one (excepting you) has said that "we can't understand anything unless we know who the Designer is." What we've said, and what you fail to comprehend, is that you can't make the claim "X was designed," for any X, without knowing something about the Designer, and without having some criteria to distinguish between design and non-design. Without those factors, you cannot reasonably posit the existence of intelligent design. You can still study the products, you can learn all sorts of things about them, but you do so without invoking some unproven, unnecessary original intelligence.

What this seems to boil down to is that we're saying "the burden is on you to prove that there's a Designer, and then prove that X was designed," and you're saying "but if you don't know who the designer is, then you can't learn anything from the design" as though it addresses anything remotely related to the point. You're arguing in circles, assuming the existence of the very thing we're requiring that you prove.
[And, to those who would question, I have three degrees----and study QM and GR on the side. TaTa.]
I've got two, working on a third, and I studied Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity as a main course. Strangely enough, with all that schooling you never quite managed to learn the basics of science (such as where the burden of proof lies, what the scientific method is, and how to construct a valid hypothesis) or the basics of rhetoric (such as how not to use logical fallacies and how to form valid arguments). Of course, this has nothing to do with the topic; we could play dueling degrees all night and it would have no bearing on whether or not your arguments are sound, which they aren't, or whether or not you've addressed any of our points, which you haven't. So, instead of whipping out your diplomas to play "mine's bigger," why don't you provide something of substance to the discussion?

And by this same logic, you would say, " My "new" Ford Fiesta is beter 'car' than your old, beat up Ferrari." I don't think so

Wow. When I said that you threw out your critical thinking skills, I meant it as an exaggeration originally. I no longer do.

There is so much wrong with those two sentences alone, i cant believe it made it out of your own self censorship rules.

You used an analogy to try to back up some claim no one made. Why are analogies bad? well, lets just look at your sentence:


What do you mean by better? if the fiesta runs and the ferrari doesn't, then yes its better. If the fiesta hold 4s people and the ferrari only two, it is better again. If the ferrari is a matchbox car and the fiesta is a real car, then again, the fiesta is better.

See why arguing by analogy is stupid? The analogy never works because it never includes all the relevant information.

Then, there is the fact, that this isn't even using the same logic as Tom was using. His point was, that by your logic we could not improve on nature. Which of course we do all the time. We do better than that, we think of things that aren't even in nature. You read that and then started thinking that a ford fiesta is never better than a broken down ferrari? What the heck? Besides being a ridiculous analogy, what does that have to do with anything?

Do you actually write these things and then think to yourself "yeah! I really got them there!"

PaV

I have a little more time today, and I’m going to try to explain to you where you’re logic is going wrong.

First I must apologize – I was confusing your post with another one at Dembski’s blog, that I also wrote about recently - Identify the Indian or Shut Up. They were both recent posts about identifying design, which is why I got them mixed up. Anyway, I apologize. My references to “name the Indian” didn’t really make any sense in relation to your post.

That said, let’s get back to your argument.

Evolutionists say that IDists can’t define how they identify design. We point to archaeologists etc, and note that they can infer design because they know something about the designer. We point to IDists and state that they have no equivalent assumptions about their designer that they can use to infer design. The conclusion is that IDists can’t infer design the way archaeologists do. That’s not the same as saying this is the only way to infer design. There may be another way. But that is the way archaeologists do it, and so if IDists are going to compare themselves to archaeologists they will need to explain what they know about the designer that enables them to infer design like archaeologists do.

To infer design the way archaeologists do, you need to know something about the designer.

You wrote above:

My basic argument is contra those Darwinists who INSIST that unless we "know" who the Designer actually is, that we are in no position to evaluate the Designer's intelligence, and hence His design.

and

without knowing ‘who’ the Designer is, it is impossible to perceive design. The implicit assumption in such a statement is that one has to know how the Designer ‘acts’ and ‘thinks’ before one can possibly perceive any ‘design’ wrought by said Designer.

These are the ways your argument is wrong:

  1. (a)”Inferring design” – ie determining that there is a designer – is not the same as (b)“evaluat[ing] the Designer's intelligence, and hence His design”. (a) is the act of determining if there is a designer or if the item arose by natural means with no designer; (b) is looking at what is built and determining how it works. You must see that these are different?
  2. In your second quote above, you talk about how we need to know about the designer before we could “perceive design.” If by “perceive design” you mean “determine if there is a designer or not", then this is probably correct. But you are equivocating – you also use the phrase “perceive design” to mean “understand the design”. But determining if there is a designer and understanding what has been built are two different things.
  3. The fatal flaw in your argument is that you assume there is a designer. Look at your quotes above – in both cases you just assume there is a designer. But the original point that archaeologists know something about the putative designer, while IDists don’t, is that this is the way archaeologists determine if an item was designed or not. If the archaeologist’s question is, “is this object designed,” they can’t assume the item was designed before they answer the question. Assuming your conclusion is circular reasoning.

    When you use phrases like “we are in no position to evaluate the Designer's intelligence, and hence His design”, you have assumed there is a designer and that the nanotubes or whatever were designed. If you don’t assume this to start you’re your argument can’t even be stated.

    In fact, what you are actually saying is that (a) we can’t understand the designs of a designer we know nothing about, and yet (b) scientists are actually learning something from items they find in nature. The only logical conclusion from this argument you have constructed is that the nanotubes were not designed by any designer – because if they had been designed, by your definition we wouldn’t be able to understand them. I don’t think this is what you meant.

Please think about this and try to understand that inferring design is not the same as copying something (that may or may not have been designed), and that if you use the phrase “perceiving design” to mean both “determining IF there is a designer or not” and to mean “understanding” the workings of something we have found (which may or may not have been designed), you are employing the logical fallacy of Equivocation.

Also, try to construct your argument without the assumption that there IS a designer. If you try to do that I think you will see that your argument can’t even be stated.

Skeptico:

I've quickly looked at just the first part of your latest post. I find its civil tone refreshing. But, I have absolutely no time today to respond. My best guess would be Sunday afternoon sometime is the first that I could respond.

You realize, don't you, that that post was itself a response?

I don't really understand how people think responding to blog comments takes so much time, or how you can justify posting about how you can't post right now but will post in the future. Seems a little off to me. It's not as though there's an established schedule for this sort of thing; if you don't have time to post, don't post.

Skeptico:

We point to archaeologists etc, and note that they can infer design because they know something about the designer. We point to IDists and state that they have no equivalent assumptions about their designer that they can use to infer design. . . .
But that is the way archaeologists do it, and so if IDists are going to compare themselves to archaeologists they will need to explain what they know about the designer that enables them to infer design like archaeologists do.

I disagree with you here. But, if we get into a discussion about this, it will only muddy the waters.

The more salient comparison is between SETI and the Designer. So, I’ll restrict my remarks to this comparison only.

Skeptico:

These are the ways your argument is wrong:
(a)”Inferring design” – ie determining that there is a designer – is not the same as (b)“evaluat[ing] the Designer's intelligence, and hence His design”. (a) is the act of determining if there is a designer or if the item arose by natural means with no designer; (b) is looking at what is built and determining how it works. You must see that these are different?

I do, indeed, see the difference, and accept the fact that (a) and (b) should be distinguished one from the other.

Skeptico:

In your second quote above, you talk about how we need to know about the designer before we could “perceive design.” If by “perceive design” you mean “determine if there is a designer or not", then this is probably correct. But you are equivocating – you also use the phrase “perceive design” to mean “understand the design”. But determining if there is a designer and understanding what has been built are two different things.

Well, in the quotes you were referring to, I was trying to explain what Darwinists are saying. The equivocation is the result of two related concepts becoming intertwined because we fail to distinguish them properly. These two concepts are ‘intelligibility’ and ‘design.’ Now I suppose that what Darwinists mean when they say that they “cannot perceive design without knowing who the Designer is” is something along the lines of what you mean when you describe archeologists and the arrowheads they examine. (Although I imagine that archeologists begin with stones that look like they've been shaped and then conclude from that the presence of Indians, and not the other way around. I'll just guess that's what was being argued about in that other thread you referenced. But let's put that argument to the one side.)

What about SETI, however? As I pointed out in a previous post, we don’t know anything about ‘extra-terrestrials,’ yet no one seems to object to what is being attempted. Why not? What I mean is that SETI is in fact looking for signals from outer space that show some kind of intelligible pattern. But they understand that this alone is not sufficient to justify a conclusion that the signal was caused by an intelligent agent. Rather, to justify such a conclusion of whether or not a signal is ‘non-random’ and, in fact, the ‘product’ of ‘intelligence’ (hence, the inclusion of ‘intelligence’ in SETI) SETI researchers employ a process that is really the same thing as what an IDist would call an “inference of design”. The ‘proof’ that a pattern (as in the movie, Contact) is a reflection of ‘intelligence’ (not 'intelligibility) is that it has the characteristics of 'design'. After all, only ‘intelligent agents’ are capable of design. And the SETI investigators know this. So they look for this, although they know nothing about "who" the ET’s are. (I discuss this more fully below.)

Anyway, it’s this interpenetration of the two notions, ‘intelligbiility’ and ‘design’, that causes equivocation if we're not careful.

Skeptico:

The fatal flaw in your argument is that you assume there is a designer. Look at your quotes above – in both cases you just assume there is a designer.

I did it for effect.

Skeptico:
“When you use phrases like “we are in no position to evaluate the Designer's intelligence, and hence His design”, you have assumed there is a designer and that the nanotubes or whatever were designed. If you don’t assume this to start [with,] your argument can’t even be stated.”

My aim in saying what you quote was to identify what Darwinists themselves were saying. Isn't this what they say? Well, maybe they actually say, "how can we detect design in nature if we don't know who the Designer is?" But, in any event, it's their statement, not mine.


Right now, however, might be the best moment to draw out the point I’ve been trying to make; namely, that the question that’s at stake here is not really one of ‘intelligibility’, but one of ‘design’. To make the statement that “we are in no position to evaluate the Designer’s intelligence and hence His design” is to more or less ASSERT that if we can, indeed, “understand” what we see in nature, then it certainly couldn’t have come from a Designer, since “we don’t know anything about Him and, thus, can't know the ways in which He acts.” But this is to confuse the two concepts of 'intelligibility' and 'design'.

Let's face it, if there weren’t any ‘intelligibility’ (equivalent to a QM treatise written in Russian) to be found in nature, then what further questions would there be to ask? IOW, 'intelligibility/understanding' is the starting point for determining ‘design’, not the end-point. Again, to say that something is 'designed' is not to assert mere 'intelligibility', but rather the appearance of 'intelligent AGENCY'!

So, by way of illustration, in the case of the movie, Contact, a signal is received. It is series of beats and pauses. This is intelligible. From their own experience, they recognize this as a possible binary message. They convert the message into a series of 0’s and 1’s, i.e., binary code. All of this is intelligible. Then, in looking at the overall pattern formed by the 0’s and 1’s, they figure out that it is a pattern involving all of the prime numbers between 2 and 101. Now they know this pattern represents a “design”; i.e., the odds of such a pattern emerging through sheer chance processes (or natural processes) is so small that they can conclude that they’re dealing with an “intelligent agent”.

Just this past week, with those miners in the caved-in mine, hope arose when “noises” were heard coming from the well. What did the mine-owner say? “The noise went on for fifteen minutes and then it stopped. That’s good. We’re encouraged. But it would have been better if we had heard some noise, then a pause, then some more noise, then another pause.” (I’m paraphrasing here). To distinguish between “chance” noises and “noise caused by intelligent agency” they looked for a pattern to emerge.

So, I’m not saying that just because some scientists looked at some biological structure and were able to design a better nanoscale pumping mechanism that this alone is PROOF of “design”. (The “design inference” a la Wm Dembski, is quite involved, and ultimately becomes a mathematical argument.) But what I am saying is that it is completely disingenuous to look at nature, obviously understand it, be better off intellectually for the effort, and then to say, “Well, unless I know who the Designer is, I can’t possibly recognize His design.” Why? Because obviously “intelligibility” has been observed, and “design” (‘intelligent agency’) is expressed through “intelligibility”. Again, only ‘intelligent agents’ can design. So, to make the above pronouncements is to simply preclude the possibility of “design” in an a priori manner.

Here’s another way of looking at all of this: we know who the Egyptians were; but we don’t know how the Great Pyramids were built. Does anyone want to question whether they were designed or not? I bet not. So, in a similar fashion, if an intelligence that you’re not directly aware of has designed something, why would your not knowing who they are affect your determination of whether something is designed or not? This, it seems obvious to me, is exactly the starting point of the SETI researchers. So, why all the rhetorical nonsense? In fact, it only succeeds in missing the point entirely.


Skeptico:
Also, try to construct your argument without the assumption that there IS a designer. If you try to do that I think you will see that your argument can’t even be stated.

But, of course, if we assume that there is no Designer, then there can only be ONE explanation for both “intelligibility” and design; namely, it is the result of material forces. So, if I find “intelligibility” in nature, why should that surprise me (=why should I be surprised if scientists find in nature instances of better design for the things they want to build?)? There can be no alternative.

Instead, what we need to do is to ask: “Is the intelligibility we find in nature the result of chance or intelligent agency?” That’s why IDists are annoyed when asked about “who the Designer is” since it is an irrelevant question. It is the equivalent of asking “what planet is the Extra-Terrestrial from?” How, or why, does such information enter into our decisions about whether or not a received signal is 'designed'?

TechSkeptic:

Yes, you're right. I should have included the word "engineered" right after 'better'. But I didn't have the time, nor inclination, to repost, hoping that you would make an effort at trying to actually understand what was written. It seems your reaction is one of trying not to understand it, as is evidenced by this statement of yours:

"If the fiesta hold 4s people and the ferrari only two, it is better again. If the ferrari is a matchbox car and the fiesta is a real car, then again, the fiesta is better."

When I was 18 years old--which is going sometime back--I learned very quickly that when dealing with the liberal mind it was very common to have a strong argument on my part met with the protestation of ignorance on their part. That is, when they didn't want to understand something, there was no power in the world, let alone the power of logic, to get them to acknowledge the force of your argument. Something along the lines of: "Well, that depends of what the defintion of 'is' is."


Tom Foss, sorry about getting you and Skeptico mixed up.

Tom Foss: By that logic, we could never improve on nature. And we do. Often. My eyeglasses are a perfect example of just that.

PaV: And by this same logic, you would say, " My "new" Ford Fiesta is beter 'car' than your old, beat up Ferrari." I don't think so.

Then, Tom Foss:
[H]ow is that the same logic at all? Your analogy doesn't even make sense.

It doesn't make sense? Really?

You're trying to use an example of 'nature gone bad' as an example of 'nature' period. Normally, people are born with excellent eyesight. Why use an 'exception' then to prove the 'rule'? Now, it is true that with age, nature does break down--people eventually die. But the fact that we correct for loss of kidney function with a machine, or eyesight with glasses, doesn't in any way suggest that "man" is doing better than "nature". That's simply silly---as my analogy points out.

Tom Foss:

The telephoto lens and the human eye function according to similar mechanisms, but the telephoto lens is better in every conceivable fashion. If the "Designer's" work is so far beyond human intellect, why are we able to do the same work better?

Now, I hope I don't have to explain this comment as well. I hope you can figure it out: Are you suggesting that humans should have been designed with "bulging eyeballs"? (Hint to understanding this statement: there are physical limitations on anything you design. Because of these limits, what is needed--not what is possible--is sufficient.)


Tom Foss:

And your Ferrari/Fiesta thing is just nonsensical. Are Italian car manufacturers God--er, "the Designer"? Is the Ferrari a product of nature? Was the Ford Fiesta an attempt to copy or improve upon the Ferrari?

The key words of the analogy were "new" and "old". I left it as an exercise for the reader to figure it out. But I should have included the word "engineered" after "beter"(="better") So, I apologize for that. As they say, haste makes waste.

PaV:
When I was 18 years old--which is going sometime back--I learned very quickly that when dealing with the liberal mind it was very common to have a strong argument on my part met with the protestation of ignorance on their part.

When I was 18 years old--which is going sometime back--I learned very quickly that when dealing with a God Zombie it was very common to have a strong argument on my part met with the protestation of ignorance on their part. (BTW, I'm not sure what definition of 'liberal' you were using. politcally? you missed the mark by a lot)

So you think saying "Goddidit" (basically the whole ID paradigm mushed into a single word) is a powerful argument? So, basically you say this, and dont address a single thing I asked?

If you don't need to know who the designer is to understand or believe ID, where are the atheists who believe in ID?

Where is a doorknob found in nature that we supposedly improved upon?

And yes, are you truly saying that if we are designed that this is the best god (face it, that's your designer) can do? Apparently god can control every single electron in the universe, and he cant make our eyesight stay good? He cant design a prostrate that doesn't swell in 50% of all men, he made the default embodiment of a penis subject to intense infection? He made moths commit suicide when they see a flame?

If we had bulging eyes, you wouldn't know it as any different than you do now. You only think its strange because they dont bulge now. If we had them, you would think it was weird to think that the designer would think to unbuldge them in favor of reduced vision capabilities. you presume that what we have is a best design, because your designer is all powerful.

The fiesta/ferrari analogy is still ridiculous (it doesnt matter how much you work at it, analogies are almost always doomed to fail as a method for making a case). The fiesta is far better engineered for what it was designed for. The Ferrari is a ridiculous engineering design for a small, economical, four seat, car. I still don't get where you get the idea where one is engineered better than the other (especially when considering how often Ferraris fail).

Well, in the quotes you were referring to, I was trying to explain what Darwinists are saying.
Perhaps instead, you should listen to what scientists are saying. You'd have less of a tendency to beat at straw men if you did so.
What about SETI, however? As I pointed out in a previous post, we don’t know anything about ‘extra-terrestrials,’ yet no one seems to object to what is being attempted.
Actually, there is quite a lot of debate as to the scientific validity of SETI. And, once again, we know quite a lot about the sort of aliens we would be likely to find through SETI, namely the traits they would necessarily possess to be able to receive our transmissions and/or send out transmissions that we could receive and perceive as having an intelligent source. I've listed a number of these traits above, so I'd prefer not to do so again.
What I mean is that SETI is in fact looking for signals from outer space that show some kind of intelligible pattern. But they understand that this alone is not sufficient to justify a conclusion that the signal was caused by an intelligent agent. Rather, to justify such a conclusion of whether or not a signal is ‘non-random’ and, in fact, the ‘product’ of ‘intelligence’ (hence, the inclusion of ‘intelligence’ in SETI) SETI researchers employ a process that is really the same thing as what an IDist would call an “inference of design”. The ‘proof’ that a pattern (as in the movie, Contact) is a reflection of ‘intelligence’ (not 'intelligibility) is that it has the characteristics of 'design'.
You make a fatal error here, in not defining all your terms. It's true that SETI looks for patterns that are likely to have an intelligent source, which "have the characteristics of design." What you fail to realize here is precisely what is meant by "design," which to SETI means roughly "a pattern which would not occur in natural transmissions." For instance, one of the first major SETI-type discoveries was a radio signal, originating in deep space, which transmitted on a short wavelength at very specific time intervals. The researchers thought this might be a transmission from an intelligent extraterrestrial, and accordingly named the source "LGM-1" for "Little Green Men." Further examination, not the least of which the discovery that the radio signal itself was random noise, determined that the 'transmissions' were the natural occurrence of a pulsar, a rapidly rotating star which emits a narrow beam of radio waves.

The point of this is that scientists determine "design" by comparing the apparent pattern to what is likely to occur in nature. They discovered early on that "radio pulses released at regular intervals" wasn't enough to denote something as "intelligently designed," which is why SETI looks for signals that contain information, of a sort which would not be likely to occur naturally, such as (and I think this was the example in Contact) the prime number series, or other mathematical algorithms which would be comprehensible to any similar species advanced enough to broadcast radio signals into deep space.

I did it for effect.
Congratulations. The effect was that you looked like someone who couldn't form a cogent argument.
Well, maybe they actually say, "how can we detect design in nature if we don't know who the Designer is?" But, in any event, it's their statement, not mine.
What you seem unable to recognize is that this statement by scientists is a response to the claims of ID advocates. Namely, their assertion that a Designer exists when they cannot describe any features of the Designer, cannot demonstrate its existence through evidence, and cannot explain how one distinguishes between "design" and "non-design." The point is that ID folks baselessly assert the existence of a designer, then work from there. The scientific response (one of many, I might add) is that until you can tell us something about the Designer, specifically something that would allow us to distinguish between "design" and "non-design," then it is ridiculous to even postulate the existence of such an entity. It is a clear, unjustified violation of Occam's Razor.
To make the statement that “we are in no position to evaluate the Designer’s intelligence and hence His design” is to more or less ASSERT that if we can, indeed, “understand” what we see in nature, then it certainly couldn’t have come from a Designer, since “we don’t know anything about Him and, thus, can't know the ways in which He acts.” But this is to confuse the two concepts of 'intelligibility' and 'design'.
No, no, no. To make that statement is to assert that until we know something about "the ways in which he acts," we have no way of distinguishing between "natural things that are designed" and "natural things that are the result of natural processes."
Let's face it, if there weren’t any ‘intelligibility’ (equivalent to a QM treatise written in Russian) to be found in nature, then what further questions would there be to ask?
How are "unintelligible" and "a QM treatise written in Russian" equivalent? Certainly the treatise may appear unintelligible at first, but with time and study, it could eventually be read, if not entirely understood. Once again, were this not the case, archaeologists and linguists would be unable to read ancient writings in dead languages; we can do precisely that because we can recognize patterns in the unknown text, compare it to other texts in the same and other languages, examine context clues about the content, and so on. Our imaginary chemist wouldn't be able to curl up by the fireplace and read his Russian QM manual on the night he receives it, but with enough time and effort, and particularly with resources and collaboration, he should at least be able to decipher the language, if not the concepts.
Again, to say that something is 'designed' is not to assert mere 'intelligibility', but rather the appearance of 'intelligent AGENCY'!
And in science we determine the presence of intelligent agency by comparing the allegedly-designed object to its natural surroundings, and by using what we know about the potential designer. If we are trying to determine whether a rock in the backyard is triangular, or an arrowhead, we look to see how it compares with other features in the yard, how it compares with arrowheads, and what we know about the society which would likely produce arrowheads (i.e., do we know if Native Americans once inhabited your backyard?). If we are trying to determine whether a pile of sticks in a stream are windblown debris or the result of nearby beavers, we may examine the erstwhile dam for signs of regularity and rigidity, or for the impressions of beaver teeth, we may compare it to other beaver dams, and we would use our knowledge of beavers (can beaver fur or droppings be found in and around the dam? Are beavers indigenous to the region?).

What ID purports to do is look at nature, and determine that there is design in it. Right off the bat, this eliminates the first scientific method of determining design, which is comparison with nature. If you're trying to argue that some natural feature has been designed, it's difficult to compare it to other natural features in order to determine that, unless you have some criteria which would determine design from non-design in natural objects.
And that's where ID kicks out the second method by which scientists determine the presence of Design, which is through some knowledge of the likely designer. Because we know something about Native American arrowhead-making, we have criteria to judge "arrowheads" from "triangular rocks." Since we don't know anything about the Designer, and since ID proponents are generally adamant that we can't or shouldn't examine the Designer, we have no criteria by which to judge whether or not a natural object has been designed.

But what I am saying is that it is completely disingenuous to look at nature, obviously understand it, be better off intellectually for the effort, and then to say, “Well, unless I know who the Designer is, I can’t possibly recognize His design.” Why? Because obviously “intelligibility” has been observed, and “design” (‘intelligent agency’) is expressed through “intelligibility”.
Why has intelligibility "obviously" been observed? What features make intelligibility "obvious"? Looks like you're equivocating again; you were using the term "intelligible" to mean "able to be understood through study," and now you're citing that as a component of Design? Design doesn't necessarily require intelligibility; although the more you know about the purported designer, the more likely it is that the designed object will be intelligible. What a design inference requires is some knowledge of the Designer and some deviation from nature. As you said yourself, the pattern in Contact was recognized to be very, very different from the radio signals we'd find in nature, and expressed a pattern which would be highly unlikely in nature. Your problem is that you don't recognize that you can't use that same criterion, then, to determine design within nature.
Again, only ‘intelligent agents’ can design.
Yet unintelligent agents can produce the illusion of design, as that UK observatory discovered in 1967, when they found LGM-1. Unless you have something to compare the alleged design to, usually nature, or know something about the designer, you have no way to distinguish between "actual design" and "apparent design."
So, to make the above pronouncements is to simply preclude the possibility of “design” in an a priori manner.
Or, put more correctly, to make the above pronouncements is to follow basic scientific principles like Occam's Razor, and assume that there is no magical Designer until some evidence can be shown to justify the Designer-hypothesis.

The burden of proof is on the ID proponents, PaV. This is why we keep telling you that you need to give us some information about the Designer; until you can justify the "Designer hypothesis" with evidence, or at least specific information, then it remains a clear violation of Occam's Razor, and thus wholly unscientific.

Here’s another way of looking at all of this: we know who the Egyptians were; but we don’t know how the Great Pyramids were built. Does anyone want to question whether they were designed or not? I bet not.
Do you see where this diverges from the Intelligent Design hypothesis? We know who the Egyptians were. And, furthermore, we can compare the Pyramids to their natural surroundings and see a clear contrast.
So, in a similar fashion, if an intelligence that you’re not directly aware of has designed something, why would your not knowing who they are affect your determination of whether something is designed or not?
It wouldn't, as long as we had something to compare the alleged design to, such as nature. The problem is that you're trying to claim that nature itself was designed, by an unknown designer, which removes both our vectors for judging whether or not something was intelligently designed.
Instead, what we need to do is to ask: “Is the intelligibility we find in nature the result of chance or intelligent agency?”
Why would we need to ask that? Until there is some evidence of an intelligent agent with the capability to design nature, such a question is ridiculous. It's like asking "is the fire on my stove the result of gas lines or an invisible dragon who lives in the oven?"
When I was 18 years old--which is going sometime back--I learned very quickly that when dealing with the liberal mind it was very common to have a strong argument on my part met with the protestation of ignorance on their part.
Except that's not a strong argument, it's an argument by analogy. Also, you're committing the genetic fallacy (the "liberal mind"), and not recognizing the importance of defining your terms. The word "better," as Techskeptic rightly pointed out, is very vague and differs based on the criteria being judged. If I am an American Union worker, the Fiesta will clearly be the "better" car, since it's produced in America. If I am a college student on a limited budget, the Fiesta will clearly be the "better" car, because it's in my price range. If I have high insurance due to multiple speeding tickets or accidents, the Fiesta will clearly be the "better" car, at least in the eyes of my insurance company. Even "better engineered" is a slippery phrase: engineered for what? For looking pretty, or for seating multiple passengers? For gas mileage?

It seems more likely that when you approached people with your weak arguments, based around circular logic and equivocations (and other fallacies), and were met with genuine requests to define your terms more explicitly, you became frustrated and decided that it was because you and your opponents shared different political views.

It doesn't make sense? Really?
Really. Because I was comparing something natural (the human eye) with the scientific improvement upon it (in this case, eyeglasses, but it could easily have been any number of camera lenses or telescopes). On the other hand, you provided a comparison between two objects which do not occur in nature, and in which one is not designed to improve the function of the other. I fail to see the connection.
You're trying to use an example of 'nature gone bad' as an example of 'nature' period.
Not at all. I'm using an example of nature, period, and an example of how science can improve on nature. My eyesight, at least in one eye, is actually quite good; my glasses improve it still.

I could easily have chosen a hawk's eye (nature doing well enough for itself that it deserves a hearty pat on the back) to a long-range wide-spectrum camera (science doing yet better).

But the fact that we correct for loss of kidney function with a machine, or eyesight with glasses, doesn't in any way suggest that "man" is doing better than "nature". That's simply silly---as my analogy points out.
No, your analogy doesn't point that out at all. And, furthermore, what I described was humans learning from nature and improving upon the "designs" they gleaned from nature, not merely copying them, as you'd suggested. Do you really deny that humans have the ability to improve on nature, except where nature goes "wrong"? Or do you just define "nature gone wrong" as "any circumstance in which humans can do better through technology"?
Now, I hope I don't have to explain this comment as well. I hope you can figure it out: Are you suggesting that humans should have been designed with "bulging eyeballs"? (Hint to understanding this statement: there are physical limitations on anything you design. Because of these limits, what is needed--not what is possible--is sufficient.)
No, but I wouldn't mind having been designed with fully-functioning eyeballs, as opposed to the flawed set that each and every human being possesses. I'm not even talking about eagle eyes, at this point (though I doubt that their laser-accurate eyes are significantly larger than our own, certainly not enough to produce bulging), I'm talking about the blind spot where the blood vessels exit the eye through the retina. Now, the "Designer" managed quite well to build animals without this inconvenient backwards-built eyeball, and it seems a small request to not have such a weakness in an otherwise decent organ. A third eyelid, not unlike the protective one possessed by cats and other animals, would have been nice as well. Incidentally, arranging our organs so we don't share a tube for swallowing and breathing would have been a smart, multiple-life-saving choice. Placing the reproductive organs so close to the waste disposal organs seems a bad move; placing the female pleasure center in a spot where, during normal coitus, it is unlikely to be stimulated was a worse move.

I'm beginning to think that "Intelligent Design" is too much credit. Can we agree on the term "barely competent design"?

The key words of the analogy were "new" and "old". I left it as an exercise for the reader to figure it out. But I should have included the word "engineered" after "beter"(="better")
And yet, it said absolutely nothing about your point, and less still about Intelligent Design. Clearly, the same Designer who gave us teeth whose current main function is to become painfully impacted, must have a hand in designing your arguments.

Incidentally, I notice that you still haven't addressed the meat of anyone's points, preferring to debate cars and Contact than to understand why the Intelligent Design hypothesis fails on scientific grounds.

PaV: "When I was 18 years old--which is going sometime back--I learned very quickly that when dealing with the liberal mind it was very common to have a strong argument on my part met with the protestation of ignorance on their part."


Skeptico: "Except that's not a strong argument, it's an argument by analogy. Also, you're committing the genetic fallacy (the "liberal mind"), and not recognizing the importance of defining your terms. The word "better," as Techskeptic rightly pointed out, is very vague and differs based on the criteria being judged. If I am an American Union worker, the Fiesta will clearly be the "better" car, since it's produced in America. If I am a college student on a limited budget, the Fiesta will clearly be the "better" car, because it's in my price range. If I have high insurance due to multiple speeding tickets or accidents, the Fiesta will clearly be the "better" car, at least in the eyes of my insurance company. Even "better engineered" is a slippery phrase: engineered for what? For looking pretty, or for seating multiple passengers? For gas mileage?"

You left out a few sentences when you quoted me. I ended by saying this:

"That is, when they didn't want to understand something, there was no power in the world, let alone the power of logic, to get them to acknowledge the force of your argument. Something along the lines of: "Well, that depends of what the defintion of 'is' is."

You see, you've just proven my point. It's really unbelievable that you can't see yourself falling right into the very way of thinking that I criticized. Look at what you've written. Instead of the question being, "That depends on what the definition of 'is' is," we hve only to substitute--as your argument!--"That depends on what the defintion of 'better' is."

If you look at what you've written relative to "ET's" and then relative to Egyptian's, you'll see that in the case of ET's you think you know what they're capable of doing but you don't know what they look like. In the case of the Egyptians, you know what they look like, but you don't know what they're capable of. In both instances, it's not a problem for you to conclude that "design" is involved. So, apparently to conclude that "design" has taken place it's not necessary that you know either what they look like or what they're capable of; the only thing that seems to be necessary is that they "exist". So, instead of inferring from the "design" that you see in nature to a Designer that exists, you first have to know that the Designer exists to be able to infer that "design" is possible.

This is the a priori dogmatism I've accused you of.

I don't care to waste any more of my time here.

Skeptico replies to PaV

You are really beginning to irritate me. A Couple of posts up, in response to your question about SETI, I summarized two assumptions SETI make about putative ET, that they use to look for an ET signal. I linked to my detailed post - SETI, archeology and other sciences - that explained it in detail, and I wrote:

If you want to reply to this point then I do insist you read the entire post and understand the actual arguments I make and respond to them and not a misunderstood or straw man version of what I wrote.

In bold this time so you can’t miss it. Respond to my actual arguments I said, not a straw man version. So what do you do – you COMPLETELY ignore what I have written, you talk about signals that “show some kind of intelligible pattern”, you talk about whether a signal is “non-random” – although I NEVER MENTIONED EITHER OF THESE POINTS, and then you give the example of what they did in the movie Contact – A WORK OF FICTION. WTF is wrong with you? Read what I actually wrote - SETI, archeology and other sciences - and respond to that or don’t bother posting.

Re: What about SETI, however? As I pointed out in a previous post, we don’t know anything about ‘extra-terrestrials,’ yet no one seems to object to what is being attempted. Why not? What I mean is that SETI is in fact looking for signals from outer space that show some kind of intelligible pattern. But they understand that this alone is not sufficient to justify a conclusion that the signal was caused by an intelligent agent. Rather, to justify such a conclusion of whether or not a signal is ‘non-random’ and, in fact, the ‘product’ of ‘intelligence’ (hence, the inclusion of ‘intelligence’ in SETI) SETI researchers employ a process that is really the same thing as what an IDist would call an “inference of design”. The ‘proof’ that a pattern (as in the movie, Contact) is a reflection of ‘intelligence’ (not 'intelligibility) is that it has the characteristics of 'design'. After all, only ‘intelligent agents’ are capable of design. And the SETI investigators know this. So they look for this, although they know nothing about "who" the ET’s are. (I discuss this more fully below.)

No, SETI are not trying to “infer design”. They are looking for an artificial signal. Artificial – not complex or “non random”. They think it could be around the 1,420 MHz band. And - and please think about this – if and when they find such a signal they will inform the rest of the world about it so that others can check it out to see if they agree it is artificial. And THEN they can check the source to see if it likely comes from a planet that could sustain life. In other words, they can check it out further to see if it might be real. And they do this, knowing these ET exist in the same universe as we do and obey the same rules. It is these things that they know about the putative ET that enables them to do this.

I ask you AGAIN – what equivalent knowledge do IDists have about their designer? (Clue – it’s nothing.)

One more point – SETI don’t yet claim to have even found a signal. So they could be wrong about their assumptions. If so – they won’t be able to claim they have found anything. Unlike IDists who claim a designer must exist, although they don’t have a scrap of evidence for one.

Re: My aim in saying what you quote was to identify what Darwinists themselves were saying. Isn't this what they say? Well, maybe they actually say, "how can we detect design in nature if we don't know who the Designer is?" But, in any event, it's their statement, not mine.

So you agree you misquoted evolutionists. What I have said is:

I don’t know how you would determine there was a designer unless you know something about that designer

Note – nothing about “evaluat[ing] the Designer's intelligence”.

Re: To make the statement that “we are in no position to evaluate the Designer’s intelligence

STOP RIGHT THERE. I said nothing about “evaluat[ing] the Designer's intelligence”. What is wrong with you? You just agree that evolutionists didn’t actually say that and that maybe they actually say, "how can we detect design in nature if we don't know who the Designer is?" – and then you go straight back to your straw man version. NO. Determining if something is designed is not the same as determining the designer’s intelligence.

Re: and hence His design” is to more or less ASSERT that if we can, indeed, “understand” what we see in nature, then it certainly couldn’t have come from a Designer…

No it’s not, because we are not evaluating the Designer’s intelligence. Your point is incoherent and it’s based on your own straw man construction.

Re: So, by way of illustration, in the case of the movie, Contact, a signal is received. It is series of beats and pauses. This is intelligible. …

Yes, Contact – A WORK OF FICTION. It’s not how SETI does it. Sorry – it just isn’t.

Re: Just this past week, with those miners in the caved-in mine, hope arose when “noises” were heard coming from the well. What did the mine-owner say? “The noise went on for fifteen minutes and then it stopped. That’s good. We’re encouraged. But it would have been better if we had heard some noise, then a pause, then some more noise, then another pause.” (I’m paraphrasing here). To distinguish between “chance” noises and “noise caused by intelligent agency” they looked for a pattern to emerge.

Oh for Christ’s sake – we know the miners are human. So we know the sort of bangs they would make. They probably have a code agreed for such a situation.

Re: So, I’m not saying that just because some scientists looked at some biological structure and were able to design a better nanoscale pumping mechanism that this alone is PROOF of “design”. (The “design inference” a la Wm Dembski, is quite involved, and ultimately becomes a mathematical argument.) But what I am saying is that it is completely disingenuous to look at nature, obviously understand it, be better off intellectually for the effort, and then to say, “Well, unless I know who the Designer is, I can’t possibly recognize His design.”

Why is it disingenuous to copy something we find in nature without having to agree it was designed? Why?

Re: Here’s another way of looking at all of this: we know who the Egyptians were; but we don’t know how the Great Pyramids were built. Does anyone want to question whether they were designed or not? I bet not. So, in a similar fashion, if an intelligence that you’re not directly aware of has designed something, why would your not knowing who they are affect your determination of whether something is designed or not?

In the first case we know the Egyptians built them because of the records and the writings. And the encampments where the builders lived. The point you are missing is this: in the second case above – how do you know it was designed? How many times must I ask you this? SETI and archaeologists try to identify design based on their knowledge (or assumptions) about the designer. WHAT DOES ID KNOW ABOUT ITS DESIGNER? Unless you can answer this, you can’t compare ID to scientists such as archaeologists or SETI

Re: This, it seems obvious to me, is exactly the starting point of the SETI researchers.

It’s obvious to me you have no clue what SETI does.

Re: So, why all the rhetorical nonsense? In fact, it only succeeds in missing the point entirely.

That’s exactly what I think when I read your posts.

Re: But, of course, if we assume that there is no Designer, then there can only be ONE explanation…

I never said “assume that there is no Designer”. I said don’t assume that there IS a Designer. They are not the same thing. You are assuming a designer – assuming your conclusion. If I were to assume there was no designer I would also be assuming my conclusion – but I didn’t do that. I said don’t assume there is [or there is not] a designer.

And you still can’t write your argument without assuming there is a designer.

Re: Instead, what we need to do is to ask: “Is the intelligibility we find in nature the result of chance or intelligent agency?”

Nooooo. What we need to ask is, it the result of natural selection or intelligent agency? You have already been told numerous times – evolution is not chance.

Re: That’s why IDists are annoyed when asked about “who the Designer is” since it is an irrelevant question. It is the equivalent of asking “what planet is the Extra-Terrestrial from?” How, or why, does such information enter into our decisions about whether or not a received signal is 'designed'?

It is an entirely relevant question. Now please read this and try to understand. It is relevant because IDists try to compare themselves to scientists such as archaeologists and SETI – who are looking for design. IDists do this comparison – not evolutionists. But, as I have said numerous times - archaeologists and SETI do their work with knowledge and assumptions about their designers. Without this they could not infer design. So, and please read this and try to understand:

IDists can’t compare themselves to archaeologists and SETI UNLESS they can demonstrate they know something about their designer – something similar to what the scientists know.

If you are going to reply, please reply to what I actually wrote, learn what SETI actually does, stop making stuff up and stop claiming evolution is random. You have been told all this numerous times. Reply to the actual arguments.

Questions for PaV

Reading through my last post it seems there are a lot of questions in there – relevant to what you wrote – that you need to consider. I have summarized them below:

  1. Do you understand that some IDists compare the way archaeologists and SETI work, to the way IDists identify design?
  2. If you answer yes – why is it irrelevant for evolutionists to ask IDists what they know about their designer, that is similar to what scientists know or assume about theirs?
  3. If you answer no, then what evolutionists are saying that you have to know something about the designer? Who is saying this, except in response to what IDists are saying?
  4. Do you understand that SETI does not looking for “complex” or “non random” signals? If not why not – what in my post was not clear?
  5. Why couldn’t we copy something we find in nature without having to agree it was designed? Why couldn’t we copy something that was built by nature – not designed?
  6. Please write your argument without assuming there is a designer.
  7. Do you get yet that evolution is not random and not chance? If not, what do you think “natural selection” means?

Skeptico:

SETI would only, for instance, find extraterrestrials who:

1. Are intelligent and technologically-advanced.
2. Have technology sufficiently advanced to broadcast and receive transmissions via radio or other similar means.
3. Are able to recognize and replicate patterns that would be almost universally meaningful (prime number sequences, other mathematical patterns).

You don't know anything about the extraterrestrials. This is all hypothetical knowledge.

I could just as easily say:

In order for life to have been designed, the Designer would have to be capable of:

1. Developing a chemical system of replication.
2. Sequestering the replicational system from outside disturbances through membrance systems.
3. Develop an informational system that is so highly complex that no signal deterioration would take place within the cells.
4. Providing some kind of energy-system to fuel the work of nutrition, movement and replication.

Only when a signal from outer space showed a non-random pattern indicative of intelligent agency would you conclude: (a) this is an intelligently designed signal, and (b) the extraterrestrials must possess the above qualities.

Likewise, when in nature we see a non-random pattern indicative of intelligent agency, we would conclude: (a) this natural object was intelligently designed, and, in the case of cellular life, (b) the Designer possesses the above qualities.

So why, then, is it required to know something about the Designer, but not about the extraterrestrials?

PaV

In your last two posts you quote “Skeptico” saying things I never wrote.

Perhaps you’re confusing me with some of the other commenters which is understandable – there are a lot of comments – but please try not to attribute quotes to me that were from others.

You see, you've just proven my point.
Once again, you've confused me for Skeptico. And no, I haven't proven your point. My point, far from being "what the definition of is is," is the very basic point that you need to define potentially vague terms if you want to argue successfully. The term "better" has no intrinsic meaning; it must be defined with reference to some quality. It is a comparison word.

The word "is," contrary to the objections of certain politicians, has a well-defined meaning. It's a verb, it's the present form of the verb "to be." It is not a word comparing one thing to another, it is not a word with any particular wiggle room.

The word "better," however, is another beast. First, it is a word which requires two subjects (one which is "better" than the other) and a quantity (the trait which is "better" in one than in the other). As Techskeptic and I pointed out, while you defined the two objects (an "old" Ferrari and a "new" Ford Fiesta), you didn't define the trait that was being offered up for comparison. Instead, you treated it as self-evident that the Ferrari is better than the Ford Fiesta, with no qualifications. As TS and I both pointed out, this depends on what specifically you're comparing between the two cars. There are some traits for which there is an objective "better" and "worse"--gas mileage, number of seats, acceleration, and other comparable matters of fact. There are other traits for which "better" is wholly subjective, such as your opinion of the manufacturer or country of origin, the color, etc. Your initial assertion, seemingly that any Ferrari is better than any Fiesta, is a matter of subjective opinion, period.

You later clarified your position; the Ferrari is "better engineered" than the Fiesta, but this doesn't really fix anything. Every part of a car is "engineered," and done to a specific purpose. And, just as the overall status of the cars is a matter of subjective opinion, the overall status of the engineering is similarly a matter of subjective opinion.

Also, I'd avoid using terms like "the power of logic," when you can't seem to grasp the basics of logical argumentation, from defining slippery terms to avoiding equivocation and circular reasoning, to understanding the burden of proof.

If you look at what you've written relative to "ET's" and then relative to Egyptian's, you'll see that in the case of ET's you think you know what they're capable of doing but you don't know what they look like.
You've got something backwards there. It's not that we think we know what the ETs are capable of doing; it's that we know what capabilities ETs would have to have in order to receive our signals, or in order for us to receive theirs. ETs which do not share those common capacities will not be discovered by SETI.

In other words, SETI is looking for a fairly specific type of alien life, which would have to be very similar to humans in a number of ways in order for us to both detect them and understand what we're detecting. These ETs would have to be intelligent, capable of receiving and broadcasting radio transmissions, aware of the importance of the Hydrogen emission spectra (the bands on which SETI broadcasts and listens, which should be universally recognized as important), and capable of recognizing or producing complex mathematical algorithms that could be universally understood among similar life forms. SETI won't find aliens who don't have those capabilities, though they may very well be out there.

Here's a brief analogy: let's say I get a HAM Radio transmitter, and start broadcasting on some frequency. I don't know who might be receiving, but I can reasonably assume several things: they have some sort of radio receiver, they are within the range of my transmitter, and they are listening on or near the frequency I'm broadcasting at. There may be other radio owners out there, but my signal won't reach them unless they fit those criteria. The same goes for ET life and SETI; we'll only find the ones who fit the criteria we're looking for.

Tying this back to ID, the reason SETI works is that it's able to define the characteristics ET would have to have in order for us to recognize them if we made contact. It's able to define specific qualities that would be found in a radio transmission which would demonstrate that it has an intelligent source. SETI works because it sets criteria to determine the difference between "designed" signals and "non-designed" signals.

In the case of the Egyptians, you know what they look like, but you don't know what they're capable of.
Utter bull. We know quite a bit of what the Egyptians were capable of; they were mere humans. Being humans, they had certain limitations which are well-known to us, since we're also humans. We can be reasonably certain, for instance, that the Egyptians did not move the giant stone blocks with telekinesis, nor did they individually carry them in stacks of ten with their immense strength. Humans haven't changed drastically in the intervening millennia. Furthermore, we're able to look at their writings and records, and the pyramids themselves, to get a pretty good idea of the building process.

What are the Designer's limitations? What traits in nature can be used to determine which objects were designed by the designer, and which weren't? Until these questions can be answered, you have no justification for calling an object in nature "designed" by some grand Designer.

So, apparently to conclude that "design" has taken place it's not necessary that you know either what they look like or what they're capable of; the only thing that seems to be necessary is that they "exist".
Ancient Egyptians exist now? Last I checked, they stopped existing some time ago. No, if you would stop to actually read what I've written, you'd understand that "existence" has very little to do with the design inference. Once again, these are the two criteria by which we determine design:

1. How the allegedly designed object compares to the natural environment in which it is found

and

2. What do we know about the alleged designer which would allow us to distinguish between "design" and "non-design"?

In the case of the Pyramids, we can see that they diverge from the surrounding nature in many ways, from being made out of stone, to being regular geometrical shapes as opposed to irregular shapes, to being filled with halls and rooms teeming with human artifacts and art. We can also use what we know about humans in general, and Egyptians in specific, to determine the likelihood that these Egyptian pyramids were constructed by Egyptian people. If, for instance, the Pyramids were significantly different from other Egyptian architecture, or the art inside were of a wildly different style, or if our other knowledge of the Egyptians would strongly suggest that they were incapable of building such structures, then we might come to a different conclusion about their construction. Because of the divergence from nature, we still wouldn't attribute them to natural forces, but we might postulate that they were built by some other human civilization.

The fact that the ancient Egyptians no longer exist is not a problem for making a Design inference. The fact that they once existed helps us determine the precise nature of the designers and the method of design, but it is incidental to our determination that the objects were not a natural occurrence. Once again, the criteria we need to determine whether or not something was designed are a point of comparison (usually nature), or (failing that) some knowledge about the alleged designer which would help us distinguish between design and non-design.

So, instead of inferring from the "design" that you see in nature to a Designer that exists, you first have to know that the Designer exists to be able to infer that "design" is possible.
Once again, you fail to see the problem in this reasoning. What criteria do you use to determine "design" in nature? I don't see "design" in nature, I see "design" in the contrast between designed objects and nature.

So, when you say, for instance, "this tree was designed," what criteria are you using to determine design there? It can't be "comparison with nature," since it's part of what we would consider nature. So, without that first vector, that first thing we look for when trying to determine whether or not something is designed, we must have some base set of knowledge which would help us determine "design" from "non-design." This would necessarily include some traits which "designed" things possess and "non-designed" things lack, or some traits possessed by the Designer which would give us an understanding of such a being's capabilities, methods, and purposes. Ideally, this latter vector would include some evidence of the Designer's existence, which would justify even asking the question in the first place.

This is the a priori dogmatism I've accused you of.
Kind of like dogmatically assuming a priori that a Designer exists, based on no evidence? No, not like that at all, in fact. Because a worldview which assumes no Designer, which assumes natural mechanisms, until evidence can be presented to suggest otherwise, is more parsimonious, passes Occam's Razor, and is scientific.

I think the biggest problem here is that you don't understand that some things only have meaning with reference to other things. You ascribe to the Ferrari some sort of "obvious" and intrinsic better-ness than the Fiesta. You ascribe to nature some sort of "obvious" and intrinsic design, independent of comparisons to non-design. You fail to justify these claims of intrinsic meaning with any kind of definition or criteria by which to determine them.

But the fact is that no car is intrinsically "better" than any other car, and no isolated object has some intrinsic quality of "design." We determine better-ness and make design inferences by comparing objects to other objects, and the terms are useless in a vacuum.

PaV it looks like you finally grasped a little of what skeptico said (whew! finally). Now....

Not one SETI astronomer claims to have found an alien. Not one. (btw, stop using fiction as a reference, its the same reason you shouldn't use the bible)

SETI folks do NOT claim that their assumptions are correct.

ID folks do the exact opposite. not only do they claim that ID is a reality, they claim that the designer is real.i.e. they claim their assumptions are fact. you even listed a bunch of requirements that the designer must have. Good for you! Now, to keep on the high ground, you could claim to look for that designer, but you can not look for design and designer using both as justifications for each other. Thats totally circular. Just like the conversation as follows:

"God exists"
"How do you know?"
"Its in the Bible"
"Who wrote the Bible?"
"God"
"How do you know God exists?"
"Its in the bible"
.
.
.


That is the difference.

The scientists are generally honest about their work, and even when they aren't it is verified and the dishonest ones are called out. The ID folks continue to cram creationism into the public eye using a constant barrage of fallacies, like you have done here.

Other than that, I will shut up now. Skeptico and Tom are far more eloquent and patient with you than I ever can be.

Skeptico:

and then you give the example of what they did in the movie Contact – A WORK OF FICTION.

To be fair, Contact was written by Carl Sagan, who was heavily involved with SETI from the beginning. If anyone knew what SETI was looking for, at least at the time, it was Sagan.

PaV:

Skeptico:

There's a little bit at the bottom of each post, which says "Posted by:" and then a name. Please read it. This is the third time you've mistaken my words for Skeptico's. We are not the same person.

You don't know anything about the extraterrestrials. This is all hypothetical knowledge.
No, this is knowledge of the traits the ETs would have to have in order to receive our signals, or to transmit signals which SETI would recognize. If I post something on a blog, I know that any receivers must possess the following traits: a computer, access to the Internet, access to the blog website, and some desire of reaching that website. My audience is somewhat smaller, further limited to people able to read the language in which I write, and who possess all the previous traits. This is not hypothetical knowledge; I know for a fact that no one will access my blog without access to an Internet-capable computer. Similarly, SETI knows for a fact that they won't receive radio transmissions from any species that doesn't have the capacity for radio transmissions.
In order for life to have been designed, the Designer would have to be capable of:
This would be a good start, except you're once again starting with the assumption that life was designed, the very thing you're trying to prove. You need to start with the traits of the Designer, and work toward the design (as SETI would), not the other way around.
Only when a signal from outer space showed a non-random pattern indicative of intelligent agency would you conclude: (a) this is an intelligently designed signal, and (b) the extraterrestrials must possess the above qualities.
Not at all. SETI hasn't received any such signal, and yet is looking for extraterrestrials who must possess those qualities. They've narrowed their search parameters, specifically defining the sort of beings that their setup would allow them to find.
Likewise, when in nature we see a non-random pattern indicative of intelligent agency, we would conclude: (a) this natural object was intelligently designed, and, in the case of cellular life, (b) the Designer possesses the above qualities.
What non-random patterns do we find in nature, which we conclude to be designed? Once again, you fail to understand that "design" is determined with reference to non-design, usually nature. What criteria do you use to determine whether or not something "in nature" is designed?
So why, then, is it required to know something about the Designer, but not about the extraterrestrials?
For the reasons which I've repeated over and over. If you can't be bothered to read and understand them, then I see no reason to continue repeating myself. I think I have made myself more than abundantly clear on multiple occasions. But, once more, we determine design by comparison with nature, and/or by having some knowledge about the alleged designer which would allow us to distinguish between design and non-design. The ID hypothesis eliminates the first by claiming that nature itself was designed, and tries to avoid the second by making no claims about the Designer. Without something in one of those categories, you have no way to justify calling some natural object "designed," because you have no criteria to distinguish between "design" and "non-design."

Unless, of course, you're claiming that everything in nature is "designed," in which case the word becomes utterly meaningless, and your only justifiable option is to provide evidence of the Designer.

TechSkeptic:

Re: btw, stop using fiction as a reference, its the same reason you shouldn't use the bible

That actually made me LOL. And I wish I’d thought of saying it. I hadn’t considered that connection.

Tom Foss:

Re: To be fair, Contact was written by Carl Sagan, who was heavily involved with SETI from the beginning. If anyone knew what SETI was looking for, at least at the time, it was Sagan.

That’s true. Which is a little puzzling. I guess they must have changed their criteria since those days.

I can't help but harp once again onthe fiesta/ferrari analogy. not only becuase its totally nonsensical, but the idea that a ferrari is somehow 'better engineered' than a car in a totally different class cracks me up.

here is a tiny bit of data:
"Speed is not always what it appears. Sometimes speed is a fraud and a deception. Assuming only that it can escape congestion, a sedate Ford Fiesta will travel 10,000 miles and last about a year without any failures or maintenance. The rather higher performance American F-18 fighter aircraft has, on the other hand, an MTBF (mean time between failures) of a mere 2.2 hours. The same aeroplane requires 28.2 man hours of maintenance for every hour in flight."

from https://www.newstatesman.com/199910250039

Would you say an F-18 fighter is 'better engineered' than a ford fiesta also?

That’s true. Which is a little puzzling. I guess they must have changed their criteria since those days.
Going through the SETI website (and in fact looking at their positive review of the Contact movie), it seems to me that the movie depicts more of an ideal scenario than SETI is actually looking for. It seems to me that what "Contact" depicted was SETI receiving a signal not unlike the message signals that SETI has sent or constructed in the past. While SETI is just looking for artificiality, the movie gave them artificiality and content.

As this page notes, the method by which SETI collects radio data would tend to wash out complicated messages. What they're looking for, as you mentioned, is the signal. Once they find that, they could tune in on it and start looking for embedded information.

So, in any case, they would have made the "design inference" long before they got to the prime number pattern, or anything of the sort.

One final point: I haven't seen Contact since it was in theaters, and while the Sagan novel is sitting in my bookshelf, I haven't yet read it. Consequently, I have no idea how close the film is to the Sagan text, and it's entirely possible that the book goes into more detail on the discovery and deciphering of the signal.

Tom Foss:
The term "better" has no intrinsic meaning; it must be defined with reference to some quality. It is a comparison word. . . . .

Instead, you treated it as self-evident that the Ferrari is better than the Ford Fiesta, with no qualifications. . . .

Your initial assertion, seemingly that any Ferrari is better than any Fiesta, is a matter of subjective opinion, period. .

Would you say that an i-pod with 8 gbyte memory is better than one with only 4 gbyte? I expect you’ll have problems answering this question simply because you want to avoid the obvious meaning of the word “better”. However you may answer this question, “objectively” the answer is that the 8 gbyte model is “better” than the 4 gbyte i-pod. How can I make such an outlandish statement? Because the 8 gbyte model costs 35-40% more. Now, a Ferrari costs about $625,000, and a Fiesta (they don’t make it anymore, so I substitute the Focus) would cost about $18,000. Obviously the Ferrari is better---no matter what kind of mental gymnastics you want to go through.


PaV:
You look at what you've written relative to "ET's" and then relative to Egyptian's, you'll see that in the case of ET's you think you know what they're capable of doing but you don't know what they look like.


Tom Foss responds:
You’ve got something backwards there. It's not that we think we know what the ETs are capable of doing; it's that we know what capabilities ETs would have to have in order to receive our signals, or in order for us to receive theirs. ETs which do not share those common capacities will not be discovered by SETI. . . . [….] . . .

Tying this back to ID, the reason SETI works is that it's able to define the characteristics ET would have to have in order for us to recognize them if we made contact. It's able to define specific qualities that would be found in a radio transmission which would demonstrate that it has an intelligent source.

I’ve underlined the instances of the “simple future tense” you’ve used. What makes you think you possess now that which you will only have in the future? IOW, it is only at such time as a patterned message is received from space that you ‘would have’ that knowledge. In the meantime, it’s no more than mere speculation.

Tom Foss:
SETI works because it sets criteria to determine the difference between "designed" signals and "non-designed" signals.

Well, first of all, it hasn’t worked---except in the movie, Contact, which, as you point out, is a work of FICTION.

Second, notice that what is determinative here is the difference between “designed” and “non-designed” signals, which is completely independent of what ET’s can, or can not do. So, again, why do we need to “know” anything about the Designer ahead of time? The capabilities, as I stated in a previous post, are implied ONCE design is detected.

Third, I agree that “design” is determinative. And, according to Dembski’s Explanatory Filter the pattern used by Carl Sagan in his book, Contact, qualifies as “complex-specified-information” (CSI) Hence, in the case of Contact, as Dembski clarifies in his book, No Free Lunch, we can confidently infer “design”. No problem. Except that (1) we haven’t received any such transmissions from space, while in the meantime the bacterial flagellum is there to see for any one so interested; and, (2) what is critical here is a “design inference”. Should I point out that that is EXACTLY what the mathematical foundations of ID is concerned with?


Tom Foss’ criteria for ‘testing design’:

1. How the allegedly designed object compares to the natural environment in which it is found

[Thought experiment: You’re from the planet Zircon. As you fly through space you see an object. It’s an i-pod. Since you don’t know what it’s “natural environment” is, you conclude that it wasn’t “designed”, correct?]

IOW, anything that is “natural” is not designed, eh? Again, this is a priori materialist dogmatism. And you can’t argue with a dogmatist.

(and)

2. What do we know about the alleged designer which would allow us to distinguish between "design" and "non-design"?

You say later on:
So, instead of inferring from the "design" that you see in nature to a Designer that exists, you first have to know that the Designer exists to be able to infer that "design" is possible.

So, in the case of ET’s, apparently you KNOW they exist. Have you seen them? Do they visit you?

Your criteria might have some validity when it comes to Egyptians (are we to call them “Ancient Egyptians”), but this will not work for ET’s. All you can do at this point is “hypothesize” what qualities ET’s might have. Now, if you want me to list the hypothetical qualities/attributes/powers of the Designer, I’ve already done so.

PaV:
This is the a priori dogmatism I've accused you of.

Tom Foss:

Kind of like dogmatically assuming a priori that a Designer exists, based on no evidence? No, not like that at all, in fact. Because a worldview which assumes no Designer, which assumes natural mechanisms, until evidence can be presented to suggest otherwise, is more parsimonious, passes Occam's Razor, and is scientific.

Let me begin my reply this way: “Kind of like dogmatically assuming a priori that ET’s exist, based on no evidence?

Shall we now talk about “parsimony” and “Occam’s Razor”? And what is the materialist response to the Big Bang—a theory totally consistent with biblical accounts of creation—and the “fine-tuning” of the Universe? It's the “multiverse”: i.e., an “infinite number of infinite universes. Would you call that parsimonious? Is this something Occam would have proposed?

TechSkeptic:

SETI folks do NOT claim that their assumptions are correct.

Well, at last, you’re starting to get it: the SETI people are, indeed, making plenty of “assumptions”. And they better not claim that they're correct.


TechSkeptic:

ID folks do the exact opposite. not only do they claim that ID is a reality, they claim that the designer is real.i.e. they claim their assumptions are fact.

Let’s try to remember that the thread I started on UD stemmed from my frustration that Darwinists DEMAND that we delineate all the qualities of the Designer, and they DEMAND to know “Who is the Designer”.


This is not the starting point of ID. All ID folk do is to claim that under the proper conditions, a “design inference” is warranted. When animal life is investigated, it exhibits the necessary hallmarks of designed objects. Once you are able to legitimately infer “design”, you can then also ‘infer’ a “Designer”.

Now, let’s contrast that with what the SETI folk are doing. SETI researchers conduct their investigations because they “believe” ET’s exist. (Why else do it?) It’s part of their ‘faith system’. Contrariwise, ID folk “look” at nature, see its complexity, it’s specified complexity, and say that plants and animals were designed. Our starting point is not “faith”, such as the SETI researchers, but reality—nature itself!—not science fiction. (Can you spell Contact?)


Tom Foss:

pv:You don't know anything about the extraterrestrials. This is all hypothetical knowledge.

No, this is knowledge of the traits the ETs would have to have in order to receive our signals, or to transmit signals which SETI would recognize. . . . . . This is not hypothetical knowledge; I know for a fact that no one will access my blog without access to an Internet-capable computer. Similarly, SETI knows for a fact that they won't receive radio transmissions from any species that doesn't have the capacity for radio transmissions.

Again, you’re using the “future” tense. This isn’t knowledge that you possess, but that you would acquire should a received transmission merit a design inference. Contact, as you all like to point out and laugh about, is SCIENCE FICTION. (And, I can only assume that you know that what is written in a book of fiction is not intended to be taken as real.)


PaV: In order for life to have been designed, the Designer would have to be capable of:

Tom Foss:

This would be a good start, except you're once again starting with the assumption that life was designed, the very thing you're trying to prove. You need to start with the traits of the Designer, and work toward the design (as SETI would), not the other way around.

But in your analysis of SETI, you start with the “signal” and then work backwards from there. Who are you trying to kid?

PaV:
Only when a signal from outer space showed a non-random pattern indicative of intelligent agency would you conclude: (a) this is an intelligently designed signal, and (b) the extraterrestrials must possess the above qualities.

Tom Foss responds:
Not at all. SETI hasn't received any such signal, and yet is looking for extraterrestrials who must possess those qualities. They've narrowed their search parameters, specifically defining the sort of beings that their setup would allow them to find.

Maybe you are kidding. I hope you see the difference between the word I used, “conclude”, with the word you used, “define”. They’re not the same thing. Do you want me to “define” who the Designer is?


PaV: Likewise, when in nature we see a non-random pattern indicative of intelligent agency, we would conclude: (a) this natural object was intelligently designed, and, in the case of cellular life, (b) the Designer possesses the above qualities.

Tom Foss:
What non-random patterns do we find in nature, which we conclude to be designed? Once again, you fail to understand that "design" is determined with reference to non-design, usually nature. What criteria do you use to determine whether or not something "in nature" is designed?

What “criteria”? Have you read either The Design Inference or No Free Lunch, both by Wm. Dembski? He presents a serious mathematical argument which identifies the conditions which warrant a “design inference”.

pv:So why, then, is it required to know something about the Designer, but not about the extraterrestrials?

Tom Foss:
For the reasons which I've repeated over and over. If you can't be bothered to read and understand them, then I see no reason to continue repeating myself. I think I have made myself more than abundantly clear on multiple occasions.

Maybe you have; but you haven’t been consistent in your logic. According to your logic, SETI researchers impute to ET’s those qualities which are necessary for an electromagnetic signal to be sent. IOW, you begin with a hypothetical, potentially-designed, object, and then you work backwards. OK. OTOH, I start with living cells, and the bacterial flagellum in particular, as being potentially designed. I then work backwards to the requisite attributes of the Designer. Now, before you start howling about “You’re assuming nature is designed”, let me point out that you’re assuming that what we find in the living cell is not designed. Tell me, what’s the difference?


And what makes you so dogmatically sure of your assertions?

A number of years ago Paul Davies wrote a guest column for New Scientist magazine to address something that had recently been discovered. Scientists found that they could cut out huge portions of “highly-conserved DNA from the mouse embryo with the result that the mice so engineered ended up being completely normal—not one single difference from their normal siblings. Davies speculated that these “highly-conserved DNA” sequences could be explained as a “message”, a “signal” sent to earth by ET’s. (He pointed out how electromagnetic signals fall off in intensity by the inverse of distance, and how these DNA sequences would be a more efficient means of “signaling” we earthlings of their existence.) So, when you look at the cell, and you see DNA, how do you know that some ET didn’t design some of it? That’s what Fred Hoyle thought. But dogmatism is a nasty business.

Tom Foss:

But, once more, we determine design by comparison with nature, and/or by having some knowledge about the alleged designer which would allow us to distinguish between design and non-design.

Let us consider this case:

A “Rubik’s Cube” is completely jumbled up, placed in a rocket and sent off to the outer reaches of our galaxy. After 150 years, the rocket is found by human space explorers, upon opening the rocket up, they find the Rubik’s Cube completely solved, i.e., only one different shade of color on each of the cube’s faces. Now, what would you conclude? Would you conclude that this happened completely by chance—a simple by-product of all the jostling, twists and turns, accelerations, etc, the rocket experienced in its journey? Or, would you conclude some intelligent being got a hold of it, solved it, and sent it on its merry way? If you say its attributable to ‘chance’ operations, that is an absurd answer. If you say it was “solved”, then you’re acknowledging that “design” has occurred even though you know absolutely nothing about this intelligent being.

Tom Foss:

Unless, of course, you're claiming that everything in nature is "designed," in which case the word becomes utterly meaningless, and your only justifiable option is to provide evidence of the Designer.

First, I’m not claiming this. Second, why is it wrong for me to assume that everything is designed, but it’s OK for you to assume that all of nature is not-designed? What makes you so smart?

PaV

The questions are still there, unanswered:

  1. Do you understand that some IDists compare the way archaeologists and SETI work, to the way IDists identify design?
  2. If you answer yes – why is it irrelevant for evolutionists to ask IDists what they know about their designer, that is similar to what scientists know or assume about theirs?
  3. If you answer no, then what evolutionists are saying that you have to know something about the designer? Who is saying this, except in response to what IDists are saying?
  4. Do you understand that SETI does not looking for “complex” or “non random” signals? If not why not – what in my post was not clear?
  5. Why couldn’t we copy something we find in nature without having to agree it was designed? Why couldn’t we copy something that was built by nature – not designed?
  6. Please write your argument without assuming there is a designer.
  7. Do you get yet that evolution is not random and not chance? If not, what do you think “natural selection” means?
Would you say that an i-pod with 8 gbyte memory is better than one with only 4 gbyte? I expect you’ll have problems answering this question simply because you want to avoid the obvious meaning of the word “better”
Once again, you fail to understand that there is no obvious meaning outside of context. I actually bought an iPod earlier this summer, a 2GB iPod Nano. I'm a grad student, which limits my budget, and I planned on using the device primarily to listen to music while riding my bike. This eliminated my need for video capability, and with the primary use being "short trips," I had no need for the increased memory capacity. Plus, I don't like the colors of the 4GB model Nanos. So, for my situation, the 2GB iPod Nano was the best option.

If what you're looking for is "memory capacity" or "song selection," then the 8GB iPod is better than the 4GB model. If you have different concerns, then is may very well not be.

This is pretty simple linguistics here. A comparative term (such as "better" or "greater" or "worse") has no intrinsic meaning when applied to a single object, or when applied without some compared quality. It's as if I said "the ostrich is faster." Faster than what? Similarly, you might say "the Ferrari is better than the Fiesta." Better at what?

Now, you can be completely justified in saying "the Ferrari is better than the Fiesta" and leaving it at that. But that's not a matter of fact, that's a matter of personal opinion, and someone else would be equally justified in saying "the Fiesta is better than the Ferrari." Until you specify some objectively measurable quality (gas mileage, price, maintenance costs, speed, acceleration, safety features, etc.), it remains a matter of personal opinion.

However you may answer this question, “objectively” the answer is that the 8 gbyte model is “better” than the 4 gbyte i-pod. How can I make such an outlandish statement? Because the 8 gbyte model costs 35-40% more.
So "more expensive" equals "better"? And you call this objective? Do you even know what the word "objective" means?

"More expensive"="better"...god damn, you're gullible. No wonder you fell for the Intelligent Design dopes. Hey, if I buy an ear of corn from the supermarket for $1.19, does that mean it's "objectively better" than the one I could buy from the farmer for $0.40? Even if the supermarket buys from that farmer? Even if the supermarket pays to have it shipped cross-country over the course of a week, while the farmer's is fresh-picked?

Now, a Ferrari costs about $625,000, and a Fiesta (they don’t make it anymore, so I substitute the Focus) would cost about $18,000. Obviously the Ferrari is better---no matter what kind of mental gymnastics you want to go through.
You, sir, are an idiot.
I’ve underlined the instances of the “simple future tense” you’ve used.
You've underlined nothing, and there's only one place in that quoted passage where I use the future tense ("will not be able"). Your grasp of the English language is clearly as tenuous as your grasp of...well, just about everything else.
What makes you think you possess now that which you will only have in the future? IOW, it is only at such time as a patterned message is received from space that you ‘would have’ that knowledge. In the meantime, it’s no more than mere speculation.
If I make a phone call, is it "speculation" when I say "any person who receives this phone call must have access to a telephone?" If I read a book, is it "speculation" when I say "the person who wrote this was able to use language to communicate"? If I post a message on a blog, is it "speculation" if I say "the person who reads this page has access to a computer"?

No, it's not. It's the nature of the medium. A phone call will only be received by another telephone. A book can only be written by someone who communicates linguistically. A blog can only be read on a computer.

So, when I say "the only kind of extraterrestrials that SETI would detect have the qualities of intelligence, technological advancement, knowledge of the emission spectrum of Hydrogen, and the ability to construct a clearly artificial tone," I'm not speculating; I'm making a statement of fact because that's the only kind of transmission that SETI is capable of receiving.

A brief analogy for you, since you're too dense to get this otherwise: imagine that SETI's detection apparatus is a telegraph. There may be aliens out there who are sending us e-mails, or sending us snail mail, or making phone calls or sending text messages or broadcasting television signals at us. SETI won't receive any of that, because none of that is configured to be received by a telegraph. The only aliens SETI will find are the ones sending message by telegraph.

Or, a simpler analogy, that even your underdeveloped intellect should be able to handle: SETI is a star-shaped hole. Some alien transmissions are round pegs, some are square pegs, some are oval pegs, some are crescent moon pegs, but SETI will only ever find the ones that are star-shaped pegs.

Get it yet?

Well, first of all, it hasn’t worked---except in the movie, Contact, which, as you point out, is a work of FICTION.
Again, confusing me and Skeptico. Although I admit, Contact is a work of fiction (and it's next in my Netflix queue!).

But, again, you're wrong. I already mentioned the case of LGM-1, which wasn't a SETI discovery, but was of the same mindset. SETI has worked, it's just that most of the incoming signals are normal, non-designed, interstellar noise. If they hadn't set out specific criteria to distinguish between "non-design" and "design," they'd be pouring over every bit of static, trying to find nonexistent patterns in meaningless white noise. That would be the very definition of "not working."

Second, notice that what is determinative here is the difference between “designed” and “non-designed” signals, which is completely independent of what ET’s can, or can not do.
Agreed. But it's not independent of what SETI can and cannot detect. If I have a star-shaped hole, it doesn't mean there aren't crescent-shaped and square-shaped pegs out there. It doesn't even mean that there are any star-shaped pegs out there. It means that the only peg I'm ever going to find is going to have to be star-shaped.
So, again, why do we need to “know” anything about the Designer ahead of time? The capabilities, as I stated in a previous post, are implied ONCE design is detected.
We need to know something about the Designer ahead of time because we need some criteria to distinguish between "design" and "non-design." SETI is able to distinguish an artificial signal by comparing it with natural signals and natural noise. How would you scientifically distinguish design in nature? Compare it to nature? Gosh, that sounds real productive.

Since you're proposing that portions of nature are themselves designed, you have to set up criteria to distinguish between "designed" things in nature and "non-designed" things in nature. To do that, you need to be able to tell us something about how the Designer designs, which would allow us to make the distinction between "design" and "non-design" in nature.

And, according to Dembski’s Explanatory Filter the pattern used by Carl Sagan in his book, Contact, qualifies as “complex-specified-information” (CSI) Hence, in the case of Contact, as Dembski clarifies in his book, No Free Lunch, we can confidently infer “design”.
"Complex" is another one of those comparison words. "Complex" compared to what? What level of "complexity" necessitates a designer? With what units do you measure "complexity"? Is a sea otter more complex than a seal? Are viruses more complex than archaea?

No, the reason they could make a design inference in "Contact" is because a complex mathematical sequence embedded in an artificial signal is very different from nature.

Except that (1) we haven’t received any such transmissions from space, while in the meantime the bacterial flagellum is there to see for any one so interested; and, (2) what is critical here is a “design inference”.
And what about the bacterial flagellum is a marker of design? Is the bacterial flagellum the lower bound of complexity? Is anything less complex than the bacterial flagellum not-designed? Is a bacterial flagellum more complex than other sorts of cellular pumping mechanisms? How do you objectively judge complexity?
[Thought experiment: You’re from the planet Zircon. As you fly through space you see an object. It’s an i-pod. Since you don’t know what it’s “natural environment” is, you conclude that it wasn’t “designed”, correct?]
Read my passage again, and you'll see it answers your idiotic scenario:
How the allegedly designed object compares to the natural environment in which it is found
If you're from the planet Zircon and you're flying through space, and you encounter a complex bit of electronic machinery that differs in size, elemental composition, shape, regularity, and functionality from all the natural space debris, then you can reasonably assume that the object is indeed designed.

Incidentally, nice update of Paley's watchmaker argument. As if that hasn't been debunked ad nauseam over the last hundred-odd years.

IOW, anything that is “natural” is not designed, eh? Again, this is a priori materialist dogmatism. And you can’t argue with a dogmatist.
No, you idiot. Once again, you're getting things backwards.

We distinguish design by comparing it to nature. So far, in the experience of every person alive, everything "designed" is different from nature in some observable fashion.

If you want to claim that nature is itself designed, the burden of proof is on you to justify that claim. This is not a priori dogmatism, it is basic logic and Occam's Razor. Since you're such a fan of Sagan's fiction, here's a bit from his other prose: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."

If things in nature are designed, you should be able to provide criteria to determine between design and non-design among natural things. If there is a Designer who crafted bits of nature, you should be able to provide proof of its existence. If you can't provide reasonable criteria to justify your claims of design, and you can't provide any evidence to justify your claims of a Designer, then your hypothesis has as much scientific validity as my claim that that the bacterial flagellum and other bits of nature were carved by Paul Bunyan using the Tooth Fairy's wand.

So, in the case of ET’s, apparently you KNOW they exist. Have you seen them? Do they visit you?
No, I don't know they exist, I can judge an ET signal by the first criterion, i.e., comparison with nature. If an ET signal were otherwise indistinguishable from interstellar noise, then I'd have to know something about the ETs, particularly something about how they broadcast, in order to detect their signal.

See, the first criterion is used in any situation where you can determine "design" based on "difference from nature." It's only when you can't make such an inference that you have to rely on the second criterion, prior knowledge of the designer, to be able to make a design inference.

Here's a scenario in which you'd resort to the second inference-criterion: you're an art museum curator, and you've got a huge exhibit of art by a famous modern artist. You come across a piece which might be one of his, or might be a forgery. It's in the artist's style, it uses the same kind of paints and canvas and frame that the artist uses, it has the artist's signature on it, and every scientific test you can run on it puts it in the right time period to be the artist's work. In other words, it is completely indistinguishable from "nature"--in this case, the artist's existing catalog--and so you have to rely on other knowledge of the artist in order to determine whether it is "natural"--in this case, painted by that artist--or "designed"--forged. So, you hit the Internet, and you find information about a notoriously excellent forger who was recently caught. In his taunting statement to the police, he says "I've sold fakes of all the modern greats to all the best museums, and the only way you'd be able to tell is that my pictures all have a sailboat with a little cat in the bottom right corner! Bwahahaha!" So, you take that knowledge of how the "designer" works, and apply it to the alleged "design." You discover a sailboat with a little cat in it on the bottom right corner of the image, and make a "design inference"--that this is, in fact, a forgery.

The only time you need to rely on the second criterion in order to make the initial design inference is if you can't make it from the first criterion. Otherwise knowledge of the designer's methods is just another line of evidence you can use to support and confirm the inference made from the first criterion.

Your criteria might have some validity when it comes to Egyptians (are we to call them “Ancient Egyptians”), but this will not work for ET’s. All you can do at this point is “hypothesize” what qualities ET’s might have. Now, if you want me to list the hypothetical qualities/attributes/powers of the Designer, I’ve already done so.
Gosh, you use "hypothesize" as if it weren't a vital part of the scientific method. Clearly your grasp of science is as tenuous as your grasp on the English language.

I can speculate on the qualities that ETs or the Designer might have (a hypothesis requires some initial observation), and it does little good. What I need to do is determine what qualities the ETs or Designer must have in order for me to distinguish their designs. I need to delineate qualities possessed by the designer that are relevant to distinguishing design.

In other words, in order to determine design, I have to define testable qualities possessed by the design. With ETs, this is easy: a designed signal is different in specific ways from natural space-noise. What testable qualities must a natural object have in order to mark it as "designed" by the Designer?

Let me begin my reply this way: “Kind of like dogmatically assuming a priori that ET’s exist, based on no evidence?
Gosh, a straw man argument, I never would have expected that. Such "force of logic" you display.

You have admitted to assuming the existence of a Designer in your arguments. You don't seem to understand that your arguments fall apart unless you make that assumption.

Shall we now talk about “parsimony” and “Occam’s Razor”? And what is the materialist response to the Big Bang—a theory totally consistent with biblical accounts of creation—
1. There is no "materialist response" to the Big Bang; the Big Bang is a materialist theory. 2. How is the Big Bang at all consistent with Biblical accounts of creation? I don't recall seeing "on the first day, God created light and high-energy plasma." I seem, in fact, to recall Biblical creation taking six days, whereas the time between the Big Bang and even just the formation of the first atoms is 380,000 years. God divides waters on the first day, but there weren't even oxygen atoms to make those waters until hundreds of thousands of years after that first day. And there certainly weren't seas and plants and planets before there were stars, yet God makes the seas and plants on the second day, and gets around to the sun and stars on the third. I guess by "totally consistent" you mean "kind of consistent if you squint at it real hard and don't think about it too much."
and the “fine-tuning” of the Universe?
Ah, the anthropic principle. Yet another thing you've got backwards. It's not that the universe is fine-tuned for us, it's that we're fine-tuned for the universe. If the universe were different, we wouldn't be here to ask that question.

If the universe is so "fine-tuned" to us, then why is so much of it incapable of supporting us? At least 75% of our planet is uninhabitable by humans, since we breathe air instead of water, the vast majority of discovered planets and similarly-sized objects are incapable of sustaining human life, the vast majority of the universe is vacuum, which is inhospitable to humans...when less than one millionth of one percent of the universe is capable of supporting us, how on Earth can you say that the universe is "fine-tuned" for us?

Or perhaps you meant that the universe is "fine-tuned" for dark energy, since that's the most abundant thing in it. In that case, the answer is clearly that Dark Energy is the Designer's favorite, and humans are just an unintended byproduct of a universe designed perfectly to house oodles and oodles of dark energy.

It's the “multiverse”: i.e., an “infinite number of infinite universes. Would you call that parsimonious? Is this something Occam would have proposed?
First, who said anything about the universe being infinite? Second, the many-worlds interpretation comes out of quantum physics, not anthropic cosmology. It builds out of the more standard Copenhagen interpretation, but is only one of many contenders. If there were no evidence to suggest its possibility, then it would indeed be a violation of Occam's Razor, and generally discarded. But, there is evidence to suggest that it might be true, and so it remains one of several more-or-less equally plausible hypotheses.
Well, at last, you’re starting to get it: the SETI people are, indeed, making plenty of “assumptions”. And they better not claim that they're correct.
And yet, it's just fine for ID folks to make assumptions and claim not only correctness, but greater correctness than evolutionary theory.
Let’s try to remember that the thread I started on UD stemmed from my frustration that Darwinists DEMAND that we delineate all the qualities of the Designer, and they DEMAND to know “Who is the Designer”.
BECAUSE YOU CLAIM HE EXISTS, YOU BOOB! In science, we back up out claims with evidence. When scientists ask you to define some characteristics of the Designer, they're actually trying to help you make your ridiculous claim into a testable hypothesis. Instead, you'd rather languish in vague assumptions and claim correctness, rather than make specific testable claims and subject them to the scientific method.
All ID folk do is to claim that under the proper conditions, a “design inference” is warranted.
And all scientists are saying when they ask you about the Designer is "what, specifically, are those 'proper conditions' which allow you to distinguish design from non-design?"
When animal life is investigated, it exhibits the necessary hallmarks of designed objects.
What are those hallmarks?
SETI researchers conduct their investigations because they “believe” ET’s exist. (Why else do it?) It’s part of their ‘faith system’.
No, they do it because they hope ETs exist, but want to find out whether or not they do. It's not a faith system, it's a systematic search.
Contrariwise, ID folk “look” at nature, see its complexity, it’s specified complexity, and say that plants and animals were designed. Our starting point is not “faith”, such as the SETI researchers, but reality—nature itself!
No, your starting point is fantasy, namely the Bible. Because you, unlike SETI, have defined no criteria by which you can distinguish between "design" and "non-design" in nature. You have defined no set of characteristics that a "design" must have in order to be objectively distinguished as such. SETI have specific criteria to look for in signals which would tell them the difference between noise and intelligent broadcast. Where is the ID equivalent? What qualities do you look for to determine whether or not a thing in nature was designed?
Again, you’re using the “future” tense. This isn’t knowledge that you possess, but that you would acquire should a received transmission merit a design inference.
No, I possess the knowledge right now that if I send a message on the Internet, only someone else with Internet access will receive it. Similarly, SETI knows for a fact, looking with radio receivers that the only intelligent message they'll receive will be from aliens with radio transmitters. Either they will receive a radio transmission, or they will receive nothing.

If I have a walkie-talkie and I press the button and say something, I know that either someone with a walkie-talkie will hear it, or no one will. Similarly, I know if I hear a message on my walkie-talkie that the person who sent it must have had a walkie-talkie. This is not "future tense," these are things I can say with absolute certainty any time I send out any message through any medium. Either someone with some access to the medium will receive that message, or no one will. What is so hard to understand about that?

(And, I can only assume that you know that what is written in a book of fiction is not intended to be taken as real.)
Where, in the quoted passage, did I mention anything about any fiction book?
But in your analysis of SETI, you start with the “signal” and then work backwards from there. Who are you trying to kid?
No, you start with the criteria you would use to distinguish between an artificial signal and a natural one. So far, you have set no such criteria for distinguishing design in nature.
Maybe you are kidding. I hope you see the difference between the word I used, “conclude”, with the word you used, “define”. They’re not the same thing. Do you want me to “define” who the Designer is?
No, you boob, I want you to define the criteria which would allow you to distinguish between design and non-design. I used the word "define" rather than the word "conclude" because they mean different things and happen at different stages in the observation process. Watch: 1. I define the criteria which would allow me to distinguish a designed signal from a non-designed one. 2. I receive a signal. 3. I compare the signal to the criteria I have defined which would distinguish design from non-design. 4. I conclude whether the signal was designed or not designed, based on comparison with those criteria.

You can try it at home with your very own radio!
1. Define criteria to distinguish design from non-design: in this case, a "non-designed" signal will have static. A "designed" signal will have music, talking, or some other non-static noise.
2. I turn on the radio and listen to the signal.
3. I compare the signal to my criteria: in this case, it sounds like static.
4. I determine that this signal is non-designed, based on the criteria I determined in step 1. I'll repeat steps 2-4 as necessary.

Now, what if my criteria were flawed? What if, in fact, the signal in #2 was WNOZ, the all white-noise channel? In that case, I would have to have some knowledge about the designer--in this case, station WNOZ--relevant to distinguishing the design from non-design. This info might be that WNOZ broadcasts on 88.9 FM, or that the white noise on WNOZ is an octave higher than the normal white noise, or that every ten minutes WNOZ broadcasts their station identification. In that case, I'd have to re-examine the signal in light of this knowledge about the designer. But until I have some of that knowledge, then I have no way of distinguishing between normal static and WNOZ.

He presents a serious mathematical argument which identifies the conditions which warrant a “design inference”.
And what are those conditions? What objectively testable criteria can distinguish design from non-design, according to Dembski?
Maybe you have; but you haven’t been consistent in your logic.
Show me where the inconsistencies lie.
According to your logic, SETI researchers impute to ET’s those qualities which are necessary for an electromagnetic signal to be sent.
No, according to my logic SETI will only receive signals from ETs who possess certain qualities. SETI scans the skies with radio receivers; they will therefore only receive radio transmissions. The only aliens who are detectable by SETI are ones who broadcast on radio. If there are no such aliens, then no aliens are detectable by SETI.
IOW, you begin with a hypothetical, potentially-designed, object, and then you work backwards. OK.
Oh, I feel just like 'enry 'iggins! You're close; we begin with a hypothetical actually designed object, and we define the characteristics possessed by that object, which we can test for to distinguish an "actually designed" object from a "not designed" object. And then we look at the real "potentially-designed" objects and see if they possess the characteristics we previously said would distinguish "design" from "non-design."
OTOH, I start with living cells, and the bacterial flagellum in particular, as being potentially designed. I then work backwards to the requisite attributes of the Designer.
No, no, no, it's "the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain."

Instead of starting with a hypothetical actually-designed object and defining the characteristics which mark it as "designed," you're starting with a "potentially-designed" object, assuming it was designed, and then determining the characteristics which must be possessed by the designer. You're skipping at least one step, and more likely two. What characteristics do actually-designed objects have which distinguish them from not-designed objects, and what justifies your claim that the bacterial flagellum is designed?

Now, before you start howling about “You’re assuming nature is designed”, let me point out that you’re assuming that what we find in the living cell is not designed. Tell me, what’s the difference?
The difference is that I don't have the burden of proof in this instance. What's more, I have an existing model, supported by evidence, which explains the development of the bacterial flagellum through mechanisms which are all known to exist, and which does not require the existence of a hypothetical undetectable ultrapowerful magical entity. Even if my model were not supported by evidence (which it is), and said evidence did not overwhelmingly outshine the evidence supporting your model (which it does, since you have no such evidence), your model would be thrown out for being the less parsimonious of the two.

You have not provided evidence significant enough to overturn the existing evidence-based model, you have not met your burden of proof with any shred of evidence, and your model doesn't even pass Occam's Razor. Until you can justify--with evidence--your claim that some supernatural Designer exists, your model will continue to fail that test. Until you can provide some characteristics which distinguish design from non-design in nature, then your claims of "design" are utterly arbitrary and unjustified. And try as you might to shift the burden of proof, you seem utterly unaware that it doesn't shore up your circular little argument one iota.

And what makes you so dogmatically sure of your assertions?
You really like that word, "dogmatic." I guess you've missed all the places where I've said that you need to justify your claims with evidence, or at least define some criteria which would allow you to form a testable hypothesis. I'm ready, willing, and able to consider your claims and hypotheses on their merits, but first you need to provide some merit.

There's a difference between rejecting your claims out of dogma, and rejecting your claims because they don't meet basic standards of logical consistency and evidentiary support.

Davies speculated that these “highly-conserved DNA” sequences could be explained as a “message”, a “signal” sent to earth by ET’s. (He pointed out how electromagnetic signals fall off in intensity by the inverse of distance, and how these DNA sequences would be a more efficient means of “signaling” we earthlings of their existence.) So, when you look at the cell, and you see DNA, how do you know that some ET didn’t design some of it? That’s what Fred Hoyle thought.
I don't know that some ET didn't design it. So, in order to test for that, first I need some set of criteria which would distinguish "message DNA" from "regular DNA." Since we can't do this by making a comparison with nature, since it would be part of nature, we'd have to know something else about the ETs who encoded the message, something which would be relevant to the message-encoding process. Somewhere along the line, that would necessitate evidence of the existence of the ETs.

Starting to sound familiar? It's no wonder that some ID proponents, like the Raelians, think life was created by super-advanced aliens rather than a super-advanced invisible magic-man in the sky. The hypothesis is just as unjustified, just as unparsimonious, just as untestable, and just as much in need of logic and evidence for support as the traditional ID hypothesis.

And, as an aside, what a stupid way to send messages. It'd be like writing a note in pebbles on a gravel driveway. If that were the case, we could reasonably conclude that the aliens might be advanced, but they certainly aren't intelligent.

After 150 years, the rocket is found by human space explorers, upon opening the rocket up, they find the Rubik’s Cube completely solved, i.e., only one different shade of color on each of the cube’s faces. Now, what would you conclude?
That depends: as one of the explorers, do I have any idea that this Rubik's Cube was sent into space jumbled? Do I know what a Rubik's Cube is?
Would you conclude that this happened completely by chance—a simple by-product of all the jostling, twists and turns, accelerations, etc, the rocket experienced in its journey? Or, would you conclude some intelligent being got a hold of it, solved it, and sent it on its merry way?
So I guess we're assuming, then, that I know both what the cube is, and that the cube was jumbled before it was sent. Now, the first explanation is highly unlikely, but possible, given enough time. "Enough time," however, is a lot longer than "150 years." In this case, we would make a design inference because the movements which would produce a solved cube are very different from the natural movements that would occur within the ship over 150 years. Once again, we make a design inference from comparison with nature.
If you say it was “solved”, then you’re acknowledging that “design” has occurred even though you know absolutely nothing about this intelligent being.
And we make that acknowledgment based on the first criterion, which does not require knowledge of the designer, only knowledge of the natural conditions of the environment.

And, once we've made the inference based on the first criterion, we can make further inferences about the "designer," such as the fact that it can perceive colors, manipulate physical objects with some degree of dexterity, and has way too much time on its hands.

First, I’m not claiming this. Second, why is it wrong for me to assume that everything is designed, but it’s OK for you to assume that all of nature is not-designed? What makes you so smart?
It's not about smarts, it's about logical validity, parsimony, and the burden of proof. I'm not trying to prove that the universe isn't designed, so I'm not assuming my conclusion. My explanation doesn't require unknown entities, so it is more parsimonious. And, once again, as the positive claimant, it's up to you to back up your assertions with evidence.

Tom Foss:

PaV: If you say it was “solved”, then you’re acknowledging that “design” has occurred even though you know absolutely nothing about this intelligent being.

And we make that acknowledgment based on the first criterion, which does not require knowledge of the designer, only knowledge of the natural conditions of the environment.

You've conceded the argument.

Tom Foss:

PaV:Now, a Ferrari costs about $625,000, and a Fiesta (they don’t make it anymore, so I substitute the Focus) would cost about $18,000. Obviously the Ferrari is better---no matter what kind of mental gymnastics you want to go through.

You, sir, are an idiot.

You think that a $625,000 Ferrari is not "better" than a $18,000 Ford Focus? And you call me an idiot?

You, my friend, are a liberal. Only a liberal would destroy the inherent meaning of words simply to fend off an argument that would force you to think otherwise. But, since you're young, there's hope you'll grow out of it.

And, as to your style of argumentation, please notice this:

(Tom Foss)"Complex" is another one of those comparison words. "Complex" compared to what? What level of "complexity" necessitates a designer? With what units do you measure "complexity"? Is a sea otter more complex than a seal? Are viruses more complex than archaea?
No, the reason they could make a design inference in "Contact" is because a complex mathematical sequence embedded in an artificial signal is very different from nature.

Without skipping a beat, you went directly from claiming that, like "better", the word "complex" is one of those slippery type of "comparison" words, to then including that very same word into the reason you give for SETI researchers justifyingly concluding design.

Throughout your post, you come up with examples that repudiate what you're attempting to demonstrate. I haven't the patience to point them all out to you.

Skeptico:
If you answer yes – why is it irrelevant for evolutionists to ask IDists what they know about their designer, that is similar to what scientists know or assume about theirs?

In the case of the SETI researchers, you are looking for designed objects. Everything is being assumed; nothing is known. The reality is that signals from outer space come in all the time; Tom Foss seems to be enamored, for example, with LGM-1. What is critical in the SETI research is that any signal received from outer space contain evidence that intelligent agency was involved in its production. Which means that (a) before such a signal is detected, SETI researchers know absolutely nothing about ET’s, and that (b) after receiving such a signal, all they know is that the ET’s are intelligent.

This has been my whole point all along, we don’t need to know anything about a Designer to conclude that design is present. SETI researchers don’t know anything about ET’s. It’s their conclusion that design is present that begins to tell them something about the originators of the designed signal.


Do you understand that SETI does not looking for “complex” or “non random” signals? If not why not – what in my post was not clear?

You must be kidding. What are they looking for then, the Disney Channel?


Why couldn’t we copy something we find in nature without having to agree it was designed? Why couldn’t we copy something that was built by nature – not designed?


I think your example of arches is not accurate; nonetheless, that would be an example of such copying not involving design. But, of course, that’s not what got all of this started.

Please write your argument without assuming there is a designer.

If I assume there is no designer, then I have to conclude from that that there is no design. But, of course, things work just the opposite from that: one finds a designed object, and then one infers a designer, such as Indians designing arrowheads and Steve Job designing i-pods.

What if I turn this around on you? Please write a justification for all the money that has been spent, and will be spent on SETI research assuming there are no ET’s.


Do you get yet that evolution is not random and not chance? If not, what do you think “natural selection” means?

You make a god out of natural selection. If you assume that all of nature is the result of natural forces alone, and that the primary motive for its formation was chance and natural selection, then, indeed, natural selection is “mighty”. I don’t see it that way at all. Michael Behe has recently written a book highlighting the tremendous limitations of natural selection ‘in action’, The Edge of Evolution. I think that natural selection is a kind of algorithm that is part of the reproductive mode of all organisms that enable to them to fine-tune themselves to the environment, and, to show forth the “glory of the Lord.” In other words, I consider natural selection to be part of God’s design. (And, again, it’s “power” is very limited. But I don’t deny such a mechanism exists. And, I wouldn’t call it natural selection; I’d call it, simply, “adaptation to a changed environment.”)

You've conceded the argument.
Not in the least. Clearly, your grasp on...well, you know how this goes.
You think that a $625,000 Ferrari is not "better" than a $18,000 Ford Focus? And you call me an idiot?
You think price is some kind of intrinsic measure of value, and not an arbitrary distinction made in an arbitrary economic environment? Yes, I call you an idiot. Is the gas I bought today worse than what I could have bought yesterday when it was more expensive? When something goes on sale, does its quality drop? If I haggle with the car dealer, does the car's become worse?

And not just for that reason either; if you'll recall, this whole meandering thread about different cars started because you were trying to disprove a point I didn't make, that "newer is better." So, you've replaced "newer is better," an idiotic claim that I never made (in fact, I claimed that humans can improve upon nature), with "more expensive is better," an equally, if not more, idiotic claim. But, by that logic (more expensive=better), anything made by humans is intrinsically "better" than anything in nature; a telephoto lens camera costs quite a bit of money, but my eyes were free. If "more expensive=better," then nature is utterly worthless, and anything man-made and man-priced is obviously better.

So, congratulations, your hilariously incompetent reasoning has caused you to refute your earlier hilariously incompetent argument.

You, my friend, are a liberal.
Guilty as charged. Completely irrelevant to the argument, but true.
Only a liberal would destroy the inherent meaning of words simply to fend off an argument that would force you to think otherwise.
No, in this case, I'm a linguist. I'm not sure how better to explain this to you: "better" is a comparative word. It has intrinsic meaning only within a context. If I say "X is better," I am making a null comparative, and essentially talking nonsense. If I say "X is better than Y," I am making a comparison that is an utterly subjective opinion. If I say "X is better than Y at A," I may be stating a subjective opinion ("Pizza Hut is better than Papa John's at making tasty pizzas") or I may be stating a matter of testable, objective fact ("A minivan is better than a two-door sedan at seating nine people").

You, sir, are an idiot. Only an idiot would try to claim that his subjective opinions applied objectively and universally.

Without skipping a beat, you went directly from claiming that, like "better", the word "complex" is one of those slippery type of "comparison" words, to then including that very same word into the reason you give for SETI researchers justifyingly concluding design.
You're right, I did, didn't I. Of course, I was making a comparison, though I wasn't explicit about it: I was comparing the signal received in "Contact" with the signals SETI expects to receive, as I'd mentioned several posts ago. SETI is looking for a sustained tone, a signal which exhibits signs of artificiality. The signal in "Contact" exhibited signs of artificiality, but was more complex than just a sustained tone, by virtue of containing an embedded mathematical sequence. The "Contact" signal is complex compared to the type of signal SETI is actively looking for.

And, yet again, "complexity" had little to do with the design inference; "artificiality" was the key word in that sentence.

Throughout your post, you come up with examples that repudiate what you're attempting to demonstrate. I haven't the patience to point them all out to you.
And yet I've pointed out every one of yours to you.

No, no, that's being too generous. I'm sure I've failed to point out several of yours. The fact that I've been able to do so in the vast majority of posts, and you've been able to do so precisely once (and even then you were quite simply wrong about it), suggests to me quite the opposite.

Everything is being assumed; nothing is known. The reality is that signals from outer space come in all the time; Tom Foss seems to be enamored, for example, with LGM-1.
I am. I write "TF + LGM-1" on all my notebooks, in little hearts with arrows through them.
Which means that (a) before such a signal is detected, SETI researchers know absolutely nothing about ET’s, and that (b) after receiving such a signal, all they know is that the ET’s are intelligent.
No, it means that before the signal, they have set up certain criteria to expect should they ever receive an intelligent transmission, which would allow them to interpret it as an intelligent transmission. After receiving such a transmission, they would conclude, based on their pre-determined criteria, that the signal came from an intelligent source.

This is the point you seem to be missing about LGM-1: if SETI and similar organizations did not set up criteria which would allow them to distinguish between "intelligent transmission" and "interstellar noise," then they would not have the capability to recognize an "intelligent transmission" if they received one, and would spend their time investigating every pulsar in the sky for life.

SETI researchers don’t know anything about ET’s. It’s their conclusion that design is present that begins to tell them something about the originators of the designed signal.

And you fail to understand how they are able to make that conclusion.

You must be kidding. What are they looking for then, the Disney Channel?
No, you boob, they're looking for artificial signals. Complexity (compared to the simple tone they're looking for) would be a bonus, non-random is a red herring (pulsars emit non-random signals too, it's not an accurate measure of artificiality). The fact that you have failed to absorb this, after multiple repetitions, suggests to me that your reading comprehension needs some serious work.
If I assume there is no designer, then I have to conclude from that that there is no design.
No, you don't. If you assume that there is no Designer, then proceed to set out criteria that would allow you to distinguish between design and non-design, and then you find something that fits those criteria, you can reasonably conclude that a Designer may exist. Or, if you assume that there is no Designer, and then you find evidence that a Designer exists, you can then conclude that the Designer exists. This is what we call in science the "null hypothesis;" all of science is an attempt to disprove the null hypothesis.
What if I turn this around on you? Please write a justification for all the money that has been spent, and will be spent on SETI research assuming there are no ET’s.
That's just it: SETI researchers, by and large, don't assume that there are ETs. They hope that there are, but don't assume it.

Justify all the money? Sure: SETI has collected terabytes upon terabytes of data cataloging the radio noise emitted by stars that fills the interstellar medium. This data can be used to better calibrate communication satellites and other communications involving space, such as transmissions between shuttles or between the space station and Earth. It can also be used to help determine facts about the stars themselves. SETI's techniques for collecting and analyzing radio waves can be adapted to other studies, particularly astronomical studies of the radio noise produced by distant stars. And, should we ever receive some strange transmission which may or may not have an intelligent source, SETI's mass of data would give us a point of comparison to judge whether it's natural or artificial. Should I keep going?

It's kind of like saying "assuming there is no cure for cancer, justify all the money that has been spent on searching for one." It's amazing what unexpected innovations can come out of a study that doesn't accomplish its stated goal.

And that's all ignoring the value of hard data and pure science.

You make a god out of natural selection.
Sorry, that's incorrect. Thanks for playing, and here's a copy of our home game.
If you assume that all of nature is the result of natural forces alone,
It's not an assumption; we have evidence for natural forces and evidence for natural selection. These aren't just guesses or different equally-valid worldviews, this is a matter of "evidence" vs. "no evidence."

And then you devolve into god-nonsense. I thought ID was supposed to be scientific, and not just creationism in new clothes.

If you want to play with the scientists, you have to follow their rules. Rule number one: prove it.

Tom Foss:

If you want to play with the scientists, you have to follow their rules. Rule number one: prove it.

Proposition #1: Aliens exist.

Proposition #2: Aliens don't exist.

Take your pick of these two propositions: now prove it.

Jeez this thread had me laughing hard. Obviously Tom is the next in line to have lost patience. Its truly like trying to talk with a computer that has miserably failed the turing test.

PaV you last post is truly the height of ignorance.

I'll start with #2: you can't prove a negative. If you had any knowledge of scientific debate (or perhaps debate at all) you would know that, its why the proof of gods existence lies in the hands of those that believe in god.

Its the whole reason that Saddam was screwed as soon as Bush starting in with this exact fallacial reasoning, "He must prove he doesnt possess WMD". You can't prove you DONT have something, its up to the accuser to prove that you do!

As for #1, Tom has laid out exactly how we are trying to do that. I don't think it comes any clearer. No one says there ARE aliens, they are just looking for real evidence (unlike you God jockeys I might add). He has also listed the side benefits to this effort. Is that worth it, well that is certainly up for debate, but the debate about worth has nothing to do with whether or not aliens are out there.

PaV, can you explain how we came up with sonar? dont say bats or whales, because that is 100% wrong. In fact, it was quite contentious when scientists hypothesized that bats use sonar. We invented sonar FIRST. Perhaps God learned from us and quickly stuck the feature into bats. That order of events is certainly proof that we do not need to see design before we can design things ourselves (much like the non-existent doorknob in nature, which you never explained to me where I could find).

I am truly amazed that you can not grasp the nature of comparisons. If you have 20K to spend on a car.... which is the BETTER choice for me: a fiesta or a ferrari? Go back and read my post about fiesta vs F-14, which would you say is better? why? you will find you can only claim the f-14 is better if you need to fly in combat situations, you certainly can't claim its better with regard to failure rate, money spent on maintenance or any such thing. The same goes for the ferrari. but the f-14 costs more...so it must be better...right?

Tom,
While your analogies are quite lucid as far as analogies go (and the cure for cancer one was quite adept), I dont think they will ever be helpful to this God Zombie. He is finally not even trying to hide anymore that its nothing more the blind faith in the bible that guides him, nothing else. Once a person has decided to choose faith over (or in spite of) evidence, you might as well argue at a wall. He is now resorting to quoting to Behe. Thats even funnier.

Something that stuck in my craw: you accuse me of

destroy[ing] the inherent meaning of words

Well, I just checked the good ol' Oxford English Dictionary, the foremost source on how the English language has developed, and while this was present right off the bat:
A. adj. The comparative degree of GOOD (which see for phrases and idiomatic uses in which the force of better corresponds with that of the positive adj.): more good.

Nowhere on the page, in the entire known history of the word, from the 9th century C.E. on, is the word defined as "more expensive." Who's "destroy[ing] the inherent meaning of words"?

Proposition #1: Aliens exist.

Proposition #2: Aliens don't exist.

Take your pick of these two propositions: now prove it.


A scientist wouldn't "take his pick" of the two propositions. If I seek to prove the existence of aliens, then I start by assuming the null hypothesis: aliens do not exist (I start with this assumption because it is impossible to prove a negative, but simple to refute one--this is how science works). So, starting with that hypothesis, I design an experiment which would potentially refute it, or which would add support to it. So I design such an experiment; if the experiment fails to turn up any evidence to support the existence of aliens, then that adds support to the null hypothesis--that they do not exist. I may change the experiment slightly, tightening the controls or changing the scope, and repeat the process. If the experiment turns up evidence in support of the existence of aliens, then it would be reviewed and, if it is found to be sound, it would refute the null hypothesis, and demonstrate the existence of aliens. I would then conduct experiments that would potentially support the new hypothesis (aliens exist) or refute it. I would continue this, increasing our body of knowledge and our degree of certainty, until retirement.

SETI is just such an experiment: it starts with the null hypothesis and gathers evidence that could potentially refute it. So far, all the observations continue to support the null hypothesis: aliens do not exist. But all it would take is one significant piece of evidence in favor of existence to call the null hypothesis into question. So they continue collecting data, and continue supporting the null hypothesis, until something different comes along.

You have such a profound misunderstanding of the methodology of science, PaV.

Techskeptic:

Obviously Tom is the next in line to have lost patience.

What my opponents always fail to realize is that I have far more patience with these idiotic arguments than they do. Always. I can keep this up forever. Now, I admit, I've stopped holding back with my ahem...editorial comments, but that's more out of an effort to keep things entertaining than any impatience.

The same goes for the ferrari. but the f-14 costs more...so it must be better...right?
I love this logic, too. Imagine all the things it can apply to: Name-brand medicine is "better" than generic medicine, because name-brand medicine costs more (despite both being made, packaged, and bottled in the same plant). Snail mail is "better" than e-mail because snail mail is more expensive. Pyramid schemes are "better" than jobs, because pyramid schemes are more expensive. Sex with a prostitute is "better" than sex with your spouse, because the prostitute is more expensive. And, of course, since the Gideons and Mormons give the Bible away for free, then it must be worthless. Consequently, any other book, from The God Delusion to Green Eggs and Ham to The Gay Man's Kama Sutra must be "better"!
While your analogies are quite lucid as far as analogies go (and the cure for cancer one was quite adept), I dont think they will ever be helpful to this God Zombie.
And I'm not doing this for his benefit. PaV is like a whetstone, on which I'm honing my own abilities. Being forced to analogize something for an idiot dozens of different ways is a great exercise for the brain.
Once a person has decided to choose faith over (or in spite of) evidence, you might as well argue at a wall.
Hey, that's an insult to walls. At least when you argue at a wall, it has the common decency not to reply with bottomless stupidity.

Tom Foss:
What my opponents always fail to realize is that I have far more patience with these idiotic arguments than they do. Always. I can keep this up forever.

I believe you wholeheartedly. But this is because you have no idea when you've lost the battle for ideas--which you have.

I believe you wholeheartedly. But this is because you have no idea when you've lost the battle for ideas--which you have.
Is this where you stand on an aircraft carrier and claim "Mission Accomplished"? Because declaring victory and actually winning are exactly the same thing, right?

You came into this argument bereft of ideas, and left with fewer still. You have no skill with the English language, no idea about the very basics of the scientific enterprise, no understanding of logic or fallacious arguments, no coherent train of thought, no concept of the difference between "subjective" and "objective," and no recognition of your own shortcomings. You entered the argument looking like a fool, and left looking like a buffoon.

So, I suppose that is victory. In the same sense that "better" is "more expensive." As long as you redefine basic terminology, why, you can do anything!

Skeptico replies to PaV

Thanks for answering the questions. The thing is, answers to questions like these, that arose from your posts, can be instructive – can highlight the weaknesses in your argument and areas you don’t understand or are ignoring. Unfortunately your answers demonstrate you don’t understand evolution, don’t understand what SETI are doing, and don’t understand logic and how you’re argument is illogical. It is irritating that you apparently still haven’t read my detailed explanation of what SETI does, despite linking the post numerous times. Or, if you have read it you either don’t understand it or you willfully misunderstand it. I’m going to go through your answers and explain where you’re wrong. And I’m going to have to resort to using ALL CAPS in a couple of places – in the hope that you might actually read those bits and try to understand them.

The questions and your replies are in bold below.

1 Do you understand that some IDists compare the way archaeologists and SETI work, to the way IDists identify design?

2 If you answer yes – why is it irrelevant for evolutionists to ask IDists what they know about their designer, that is similar to what scientists know or assume about theirs?

In the case of the SETI researchers, you are looking for designed objects. Everything is being assumed; nothing is known. The reality is that signals from outer space come in all the time; Tom Foss seems to be enamored, for example, with LGM-1. What is critical in the SETI research is that any signal received from outer space contain evidence that intelligent agency was involved in its production. Which means that (a) before such a signal is detected, SETI researchers know absolutely nothing about ET’s, and that (b) after receiving such a signal, all they know is that the ET’s are intelligent.

This has been my whole point all along, we don’t need to know anything about a Designer to conclude that design is present. SETI researchers don’t know anything about ET’s. It’s their conclusion that design is present that begins to tell them something about the originators of the designed signal.

No. Wrong again. They do know something about putative ET. Before SETI start their search they use what they know about a putative ET:

- If ET exists, they may be trying to signal us (otherwise there would be nothing to receive)

- They know that any ET lives in the same universe with the same rules as us.

- SETI scientists know that if they (the SETI scientists) were trying to communicate with ET, they would have to send an artificial signal – “a persistent, narrow-band whistle”. Knowing ET are subject to the same laws of nature as we are, they think ET would also send such an artificial signal.

- Ditto the 1,420 MHz frequency.

- When and if they detect such a signal – finding this signal IS THE FIRST STEP. Next steps would be to learn something more about the putative ET.

You can tell me NOTHING similar about God (sorry, the “Designer”); nor are IDists even trying to find anything about it, or trying to learn anything at all of use that we can make of the supposed design implication. Science tries to learn something about putative designers, be they ancient man or ET. With ID, determining design is the END of the process. That’s it. No interest in learning anything about your designer. As I wrote – “The totally empty, vacuous and useless nature of ID, compared with the endeavors of science, is what is most striking about this comparison with science that the IDists want to make”.

So unless you can tell me exactly what is wrong with SETI using these things it knows about ET – THE ACTUAL THINGS, NOT YOUR MADE-UP “COMPLEX SIGNAL” ETC THINGS – then stop saying “SETI researchers know absolutely nothing about ET.”

4 Do you understand that SETI does not looking for “complex” or “non random” signals? If not why not – what in my post was not clear?

You must be kidding. What are they looking for then, the Disney Channel?

Absurd straw man. And no, I’m not kidding – as you would know if you had read and understood my SETI, archeology and other sciences post. They are looking for an ARTIFICIAL signal that would be SIMPLE NOT COMPLEX. How many times are you going to keep ignoring me every time I tell you this. Did you read my post? Did you? Yes or no? Why do you keep ignoring everything I write that does not fit in with your pre-conceived opinions?

5 Why couldn’t we copy something we find in nature without having to agree it was designed? Why couldn’t we copy something that was built by nature – not designed?

I think your example of arches is not accurate; nonetheless, that would be an example of such copying not involving design. But, of course, that’s not what got all of this started.

What example of “arches”? I have no idea what you are talking about here – no one has mentioned “arches” as far as I can tell.

But I do note that you can’t give me a reason why we can’t copy something we find in nature without having to agree it was designed. You must therefore agree that we can copy from un-designed items found in nature. Thanks for confirming that.

6 Please write your argument without assuming there is a designer.

If I assume there is no designer,

WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG

For the umpteenth time, (and please this time will you actually try to READ WHAT FOLLOWS):

NOT assuming there is a designer

And

Assuming there is NO designer

ARE NOT THE SAME THING!

I DID NOT SAY, “ASSUME THERE IS NO DESIGNER”. Did you get that this time? All in capitals to perhaps you won’t miss it.

I said, “do not assume there is a designer”. But thanks, again, for confirming that you cannot phrase your argument without an a priori assumption of a designer. As this is also your conclusion, you have assumed your conclusion – circular reasoning.

If I assume there is no designer, then I have to conclude from that that there is no design. But, of course, things work just the opposite from that: one finds a designed object, and then one infers a designer, such as Indians designing arrowheads and Steve Job designing i-pods.

Yes, but how do you know you have found “a designed object”? How do you know it was a designed object? How?

What if I turn this around on you? Please write a justification for all the money that has been spent, and will be spent on SETI research assuming there are no ET’s.

No, not “assuming there are no ETs.” Just not assuming there is ET:

“We don’t know if ET exists or not (ie we don’t assume ET, but we don’t assume there is no ET). But if putative ET were to exist, it would likely send a simple signal near the 1,420 MHz band. So we should look for that type of signal”.

See - easy. Now let’s try yours. Take this one:

My basic argument is contra those Darwinists who INSIST that unless we "know" who the Designer actually is, that we are in no position to evaluate the Designer's intelligence, and hence His design.

I’ll try to re-phrase it without the a priori assumption of a designer:

“My basic argument is contra those Darwinists who INSIST that unless we "know" who the putative Designer actually is, that we are in no position to evaluate if there is a designer or not, and hence evaluate EITHER His design OR what nature built.”

You see – that makes no sense. If we can’t determine if there is a designer or not – WE CAN STILL EVALUATE THE BUILT OBJECT WE HAVE FOUND. Why wouldn’t we be able to do this? One more time, and say it with me this time: you have assumed a designer in your evidence that there is a designer. This is circular reasoning.

7 Do you get yet that evolution is not random and not chance? If not, what do you think “natural selection” means?

You make a god out of natural selection. If you assume that all of nature is the result of natural forces alone, and that the primary motive for its formation was chance and natural selection, then, indeed, natural selection is “mighty”. I don’t see it that way at all. Michael Behe has recently written a book highlighting the tremendous limitations of natural selection ‘in action’, The Edge of Evolution. I think that natural selection is a kind of algorithm that is part of the reproductive mode of all organisms that enable to them to fine-tune themselves to the environment, and, to show forth the “glory of the Lord.” In other words, I consider natural selection to be part of God’s design. (And, again, it’s “power” is very limited. But I don’t deny such a mechanism exists. And, I wouldn’t call it natural selection; I’d call it, simply, “adaptation to a changed environment.”)

That takes the prize for one of the biggest non sequitur and straw man I have ever seen. Natural selection is not a “God” – it is just the non-random part of evolution. It is why evolution is not “chance alone” as you so ignorantly put it. And we don’t “assume that all of nature is the result of natural forces alone” – it’s just that there is evidence evolution works and there is no evidence for anything else. There is nothing where we have to add “designer” to the explanation to make the explanation work. Natural selection is not an “algorithm”, and organisms don’t “fine-tune themselves.” Behe’s book is lame with no alternative hypothesis or use for any of his claims:

That Designer sure has been busy! He's been working hard to sculpt life on earth towards generating human beings and chimpanzees and malaria parasites, right down to specifying the amino acid sequences of active sites in their proteins. Cells, genes, regulatory networks, all that fundamental stuff is the direct handiwork of a mysterious designer which Behe will leave nameless and unexplored.

As I've already mentioned, he's not going to offer any descriptions or evidence for this amazingly persistent and industrious Designer, so the entire argument is going to rest on his assertion of barriers to variation that cannot be overcome without intelligent aid. Wouldn't you know it, though—there's nothing new in his argument, and he mainly just reworks bad old creationist claims about probability.

Your whole argument boils down to this: if we can learn from nature, nature must be designed. But there is no logical reason for this, you present no evidence. Instead you build your entire case on a willful misunderstanding of what SETI does combined with assuming your conclusion. As I wrote in my original post - that makes no sense.

Skeptico:

Before SETI start their search they use what they know about a putative ET:

- If ET exists, they may be trying to signal us (otherwise there would be nothing to receive)

- They know that any ET lives in the same universe with the same rules as us.

- SETI scientists know that if they (the SETI scientists) were trying to communicate with ET, they would have to send an artificial signal – “a persistent, narrow-band whistle”. Knowing ET are subject to the same laws of nature as we are, they think ET would also send such an artificial signal.

- Ditto the 1,420 MHz frequency.

First of all, using all these specifications is part of Dembski's program for CSI: you're basically defining a rejection region.

Second, this is a wonderful display of imbecilic logic.

You start off the list of what the SETI researchers know with this: "If ET exists......"

IF???

Well, IF a "unicorn" exists, it looks very much like a horse, but its coloring is solid white, and, it has a horn sticking out from between its eyes.

I have just given you a very specific description, but, I suspect you'll never find a "unicorn". Nor do I expect anyone to find an ET.


Tell me, what is the difference between saying: "Well, IF biological complexity is the result of intelligent design, then the Designer would have to have these capabilities....." and, "Well, IF aliens exist, and IF they want to contact us, then they would have to have these capabilities"?

Answer: NONE!


Skeptico:
They are looking for an ARTIFICIAL signal that would be SIMPLE NOT COMPLEX.

But that's not how they started out, was it? They've had to switch since they haven't heard a thing in all these years.

The key word you use is "artificial". As in: not "natural". As in: "designed". You can run, but you can't hide.


Skeptico:
Please write your argument without assuming there is a designer.

This is your original statement. Then when I tried to point out to you the inanity this involves you respond:

"I DID NOT SAY, “ASSUME THERE IS NO DESIGNER”. Did you get that this time? All in capitals to perhaps you won’t miss it."

Please, don't go apoplectic. Let me get this straight: you want me to argue for design without assuming there is no designer. So, I will follow your orders. I assume there is no Designer, i.e., the Designer doesn't exist, and now I will prove that design exists. This, in case you don't recognize it, is a non sequitor.

Here's what you're trying to say: Without invoking or relying on the existence of a Designer, make your argument for design.

But, of course, Wm. Dembski and Michael Behe have already done that. I suggest you read their books.

Skeptico:
We don’t know if ET exists or not (ie we don’t assume ET, but we don’t assume there is no ET). But if ET were to exist, it would likely send a simple signal near the 1,420 MHz band. So we should look for that type of signal”.

We don’t know if "unicorns" exist or not (ie we don’t assume "unicorns", but we don’t assume there are no "unicorns"). But if "unicorns" exist, they would likely be found in the southern part of Borneo, so we should look there."


You continue to delude yourself about the distinction you think exists.

But I do note that you can’t give me a reason why we can’t copy something we find in nature without having to agree it was designed.

The argument has already been made. Artists "copy" from nature all the time. Now why would a scientist decide to include what he perceives in nature into his design for an object if he didn't think it was an improvement? The original argument was that for a scientist to conclude that nature's solution is superior, is to recognize in nature something that is "intelligible"---which, of course, Darwinists would say is impossible unless--unless--we "know" who the Designer is. I reject that silly and absurd argument.

Skeptico:
If we can’t determine if there is a designer or not – WE CAN STILL EVALUATE THE BUILT OBJECT WE HAVE FOUND.

Thank you for agreeing with me---and so emphatically!


Skeptico:
Natural selection is not a “God” – it is just the non-random part of evolution.

This is tired Dawkins-ian pablum. Please don't weary me with it.

Skeptico:
Your whole argument boils down to this: if we can learn from nature, nature must be designed. But there is no logical reason for this, you present no evidence.

From the very beginning, I have had one consistent argument. From the very beginning, likewise, you have deliberately misstated and misunderstood it. That's not my fault.

My position has made a consistent distinction between "intelligibility" and "design". Though related, they are not the same thing. You simply insert "design" where I've said "intelligibility". What lies at the heart of the question Darwinists demand, i.e., "Who is the Designer?", is the presumption that unless, and until, the Designer is "known", then any putative "intelligibility" would be lost on us, poor mortals. The argument is disengenous. I've pointed this out using the article I first posted on UD.


Finally:
Instead you build your entire case on a willful misunderstanding of what SETI do combined with assuming your conclusion.

Again, you delude yourself. So the SETI researchers are looking for a broadcast at 1420 mHz. Tell me, did they pick that frequency by chance? And, tell me, do they expect any supposed ET to select that frequency by chance? I bet not. So, we're dealing with "design" again, aren't we?

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about your 1420 mHz signal:

"There are a number of puzzling features of this candidate, which have led to a large amount of skepticism. The source is located between the constellations Pisces and Aries, a direction in which no stars are observed within 1000 light years. It is also a very weak signal. The frequency of the signal has a rapid drift, which would correspond to it being emitted from a planet orbiting nearly 40 times faster than the Earth around the sun - however each time the signal was detected, it was at circa 1420 MHz, prior to it starting to drift."

I must say, doesn't sound too promising.

I now take my leave since you either cannot, or will not, engage my arguments.

Skeptico replies to PaV

Re: Tell me, what is the difference between saying: "Well, IF biological complexity is the result of intelligent design, then the Designer would have to have these capabilities....." and, "Well, IF aliens exist, and IF they want to contact us, then they would have to have these capabilities"?

Another Straw Man. I never said “IF aliens exist, and IF they want to contact us, then they would have to have these capabilities".

I said, if ET exists, they will live in the same universe as us with the same capabilities (and restrictions) as we have. (That’s what we know about them, btw.) So they will have to communicate the way we would. So I START with a feature of the designer, AND FROM THAT I CONCLUDE how they would communicate.

When you say “IF biological complexity is the result of intelligent design, then the Designer would have to have these capabilities....” – you START with what you think is designed AND FROM THAT YOU CONCLUDE what capabilities the designer would need.

The ID process IS THE REVERSE OF SETI.

Re: Answer: NONE!

Wrong again. As I showed above, ID works in the opposite direction. The imbecile is you.

Re: But that's not how they started out, was it? They've had to switch since they haven't heard a thing in all these years.

So what? That’s how science works – when the known facts change they change the theory or the approach. I realize this concept is alien to you. (No pun intended.)

Re: The key word you use is "artificial". As in: not "natural". As in: "designed". You can run, but you can't hide.

As in not found in nature. Unlike ID which looks for irreducible complexity – which has been proven to evolve without an intelligent agent. I’m not hiding. You are – behind semantics.

Re: Let me get this straight: you want me to argue for design without assuming there is no designer.

I think you mean “without assuming there is A designer”, not “no designer”. Assuming this is what you meant – then of course that’s what you have to do. If you assume there is a designer that is the end of your argument. You have assumed the conclusion before you start. Look up Circular Reasoning.

Re: So, I will follow your orders. I assume there is no Designer, i.e., the Designer doesn't exist, and now I will prove that design exists. This, in case you don't recognize it, is a non sequitor

Wrong. How many times do I have to say it:

I AM NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT ASKING YOU TO ASSUME THERE IS NO DESIGNER. I am saying do not assume there is a designer.

They are two different things:

1) “Assume there is no designer” – means you must assume nothing was designed.

2) “Do not assume there is a designer” – means we don’t know if there is a designer or not – things may be designed / things might not be designed.

The third option:

3) "Assume there IS a designer" - this is where you start.

When you are starting to make an argument that there is a designer, you MUST start from 2) above. If you start from 3) (as you do) you have assumed what you are trying to prove before you even start your argument.

If your English skills or reading comprehension skills are so poor that you still don’t understand that these things are different then I don’t know how else to explain it to you.

Re: Here's what you're trying to say: Without invoking or relying on the existence of a Designer, make your argument for design.

But, of course, Wm. Dembski and Michael Behe have already done that. I suggest you read their books.

So I take it then that you’ve given up your “if we can copy it, it must be designed” argument? Because that isn’t Behe’s argument – that’s your argument. AND YOU CAN’T MAKE IT WITHOUT ASSUMING YOUR CONCLUSION.

Re: Now why would a scientist decide to include what he perceives in nature into his design for an object if he didn't think it was an improvement?

He wouldn’t. That doesn’t mean what he copies had to be designed.

Re: The original argument was that for a scientist to conclude that nature's solution is superior, is to recognize in nature something that is "intelligible"---

Capable of being understood. Of course. Why does that mean it had to be designed? Only designed items are capable of being understood? Why?

Re: which, of course, Darwinists would say is impossible unless--unless--we "know" who the Designer is. I reject that silly and absurd argument.

NO WE DON’T. Jesus, when will you stop with this fucking ridiculous straw man? We don’t say what you just said. We DO say we don’t know how you would tell IF something was designed unless you know SOMETHING ABOUT the designer (not who he is). BUT WE DON’T SAY SOMETHING IS INCAPABLE OF BEING UNDERSTOOD UNLESS WE KNOW WHO THE DESIGNER IS. We just fucking do not say this.

If you don’t utilize this silly straw man that you made up, your argument dissolves.

Re: Again, you delude yourself. So the SETI researchers are looking for a broadcast at 1420 mHz. Tell me, did they pick that frequency by chance? And, tell me, do they expect any supposed ET to select that frequency by chance? I bet not. So, we're dealing with "design" again, aren't we?

No, we’re dealing with what we know about putative ET. You still haven’t read my article have you?

Re: This is tired Dawkins-ian pablum. Please don't weary me with it.

I realize you don’t want to be “wearied” with the facts about evolution. Fact: evolution is not “purely random”. Up to you – stay ignorant.

Re: My position has made a consistent distinction between "intelligibility" and "design". Though related, they are not the same thing. You simply insert "design" where I've said "intelligibility".

You are inferring if it can be understood and copied, it must be designed. And you have offered nothing to support this – just straw men and other flawed logic.

Re: I now take my leave since you either cannot, or will not, engage my arguments.

“Can not?” LMAO. Your arguments have been shredded. You are just incapable of seeing the logical holes in your argument.

PaV

Before you even think of replying here again, I want you to answer this:

Which evolutionists say: it is impossible for a scientist to conclude that nature's solution is superior, to recognize in nature something that is intelligible (capable of being understood) - unless we know who the Designer is?

Who says this? A citation please, OR admit you made it up.

First of all, using all these specifications is part of Dembski's program for CSI: you're basically defining a rejection region.
No, he's "basically" developing a hypothesis and setting up an experiment with specific observational parameters. You know, basic science.

Oh, that's right, you don't know basic science.

You start off the list of what the SETI researchers know with this: "If ET exists......"

IF???


Yes, you imbecile, that's the whole point: scientists don't assume what they're trying to prove.

Tell me, what is the difference between saying: "Well, IF biological complexity is the result of intelligent design, then the Designer would have to have these capabilities....." and, "Well, IF aliens exist, and IF they want to contact us, then they would have to have these capabilities"?

Answer: NONE!


Once again, you're so very wrong. In this case:
"Well, IF aliens exist, and IF they want to contact us, then they would have to have these capabilities"

You're defining testable characteristics relevant to the experimental setup which would either refute the null hypothesis (that they do not exist) or further support it. In this case, SETI has defined the characteristics of the signal they'd be looking for (shows signs of artificiality--that's divergence from nature), and then the characteristics of the sort of beings capable of sending such a signal, specifically related to the ability to send the signal.

And the kicker: they've done all this based on existing evidence. We know what natural radio noise looks like, and so we have a point of comparison to determine whether a signal is natural or not. We know key things about the electromagnetic spectrum and the natural objects which broadcast along it, which any extraterrestrial broadcaster would also be likely to know, such as the emission spectrum of Hydrogen. And we know about one species broadcasting radio signals out into space: us. While it may be a mistake assuming that extraterrestrial broadcasters would share characteristics of the more down-home variety, if such aliens exist, we'll be far more likely to find and recognize them than ones that are quite different. All the characteristics we're looking for in extraterrestrial broadcasts are based on our own knowledge about the universe around us, and on the reasonable assumptions we can make about any other (potential) species with deep-space radio transmission capabilities.

Whereas your other example:

"Well, IF biological complexity is the result of intelligent design, then the Designer would have to have these capabilities....."

Would be great, if not for three things:
1. You've defined no criteria for distinguishing design from non-design in nature.

2. You'd have to define characteristics of the Designer relevant to the design, and relevant to proving his existence.

3. None of it is based on scientific observation.

See, we know that there is intelligent life in the universe, and it is us. While it's possible (some would argue probable) that the conditions which led to intelligent humans (and a few other now-extinct species) were unique, we know that, however rare, it has happened once before. It's well within physical, chemical, and biological possibility that it could happen again on one of the billions of other planets out there.

On the contrary, we have no evidence for any being capable of creating organisms out of whole cloth. So, even for the target of the ID search, we have no real precedent. In this way, it's even more ridiculous than your unicorn example--we know there are horses, we know there are things with horns, we even know there are animals with spiral-shaped horns poking out of the front of their heads. We have no such examples which might suggest even the possibility of magical gods.

But, leaving that aside, if you would define testable characteristics that would allow one to determine between design and non-design, and define characteristics of the Designer relevant to determining design, we could set up a somewhat valid experimental search for the Designer. Why are IDists so unwilling to do this? Why do you think you can just skip all the intermediate steps and assume the existence of the Designer?

But that's not how they started out, was it? They've had to switch since they haven't heard a thing in all these years.
Show some evidence that this is what has occurred: as Skeptico said, "Contact" was fiction, and depicted an idealized scenario, rather than what SETI is actually looking for.

As I noted from the page I linked to above, a Space.com article about SETI, the method SETI uses to search the sky would wash out any message embedded in a signal; the point is to find the signal first, then they could tune directly in on it and find any message which may or may not be embedded.

The key word you use is "artificial". As in: not "natural". As in: "designed". You can run, but you can't hide.
Ah, you just conceded the argument. "Designed" is "not natural"? Yes, that's precisely what we've been saying.

The way we determine artificiality--or design--is by comparing it to nature, not by looking for some unrelated quantity such as complexity. Thanks again for playing.

Please, don't go apoplectic. Let me get this straight: you want me to argue for design without assuming there is no designer. So, I will follow your orders. I assume there is no Designer, i.e., the Designer doesn't exist, and now I will prove that design exists. This, in case you don't recognize it, is a non sequitor.
Wow, there's so much wrong here that I scarcely know where to begin. 1. Not assuming there is a Designer is not the same thing as assuming there is no Designer.
2. It's non sequitur. And no, that's not a non sequitur.
3. What it is is a Proof by Contradiction argument. Properly formulated, such an argument can be completely sound. You start by assuming a claim for the sake of argument, then deduce conclusions from that claim until you come to a conclusion which obviously contradicts reality. Assuming all your premises and conclusions to that point are correct, the necessary conclusion is that the claim is false. So, for instance: Leprechauns exist.
If Leprechauns exist, then we should expect to find pots of gold at the end of rainbows.
But we don't find pots of gold at the end of rainbows; in fact, rainbows don't even have ends.
Therefore, Leprechauns do not exist.
Here's what you're trying to say: Without invoking or relying on the existence of a Designer, make your argument for design.

But, of course, Wm. Dembski and Michael Behe have already done that. I suggest you read their books.


Really? Because everything I've ever read from Dembski or Behe, which admittedly isn't much, assumes the existence of the Designer.

I'd tell you to read some real science books, but I think we both know that you're not about to do that.

Now why would a scientist decide to include what he perceives in nature into his design for an object if he didn't think it was an improvement? The original argument was that for a scientist to conclude that nature's solution is superior, is to recognize in nature something that is "intelligible"---which, of course, Darwinists would say is impossible unless--unless--we "know" who the Designer is. I reject that silly and absurd argument.

It is a silly and absurd argument, but it's nothing like what any scientist would claim. Your premise--that finding efficiency in nature is the same as finding "intelligence"--is fallacious.

This is tired Dawkins-ian pablum. Please don't weary me with it.
No, it's correcting your tired, ID-inspired misunderstanding and misuse of scientific concepts.

Dear FSM, he invokes Paley's watchmaker a dozen times in different iterations, and accuses us of tired pablum?

From the very beginning, I have had one consistent argument.
Ha! Consistently fallacious, perhaps. Consistently wrong, certainly. But consistent? You refuted your own point in the idiotic car analogy.
The argument is disengenous. I've pointed this out using the article I first posted on UD.
The argument is disingenuous, but the disingenuousness is on your part, because no scientist has ever argued that.

What we have said, over and over again, is that unless you can give some information about the Designer pertinent to the design, then you have no reasonable way of distinguishing design from non-design in nature.

As you mentioned earlier in this post, "design" and "nature" are different things; this is how scientists (and everyone else) determine whether or not something is designed: by comparing it to nature. Since you purport that parts of nature are designed, you must have some other criteria to distinguish design from non-design. Scientifically, that criteria would be knowledge of how the Designer works, relevant to the design process. If you have another equally-valid source of criteria, you have yet to detail it. But, since you eliminate the first scientific way of determining design, and refuse to comment on the second, you must either define some way of distinguishing design from non-design, or tell us something about the designer which would allow us to distinguish design from non-design. That is the scientific argument.

Again, you delude yourself. So the SETI researchers are looking for a broadcast at 1420 mHz. Tell me, did they pick that frequency by chance?
No, you illiterate blockhead, they picked that frequency because it corresponds to the emission spectrum of Hydrogen, something that any radio-capable alien species ought to be aware of. If you'd read the original article, which has been linked repeatedly in this comment thread, you'd know that. You lack the courtesy to read a brief article which would clear up your idiotic misconceptions, and yet you want us to read Behe and Dembski?
I must say, doesn't sound too promising.
You have no idea what you've read, and even less idea what you're talking about.
I now take my leave since you either cannot, or will not, engage my arguments.
We could only be so lucky. And yet, I've heard this same drivel before:
I'll just point out your nonsense, and leave you be. [...] I don't care to waste any more of my time here.
You can't even be consistent on when you're going to leave.

Who says this? A citation please, OR admit you made it up.

https://litcandle.blogspot.com/2005/11/golden-record-evidence-that-we-need.html

Skeptico replies to PaV

I asked:

Which evolutionists say: it is impossible for a scientist to conclude that nature's solution is superior, to recognize in nature something that is intelligible (capable of being understood) - unless we know who the Designer is?

You replied with this link.

Well, I’ve read your link and I don’t see where he says what I asked you about. Please quote the exact passage in that article which says what you claim evolutionists say.

My God PaV (punny no?),

First off, did you know that you linked something that totally refutes your position that "darwinists" ask WHO the designer is:

"Mr. Colleague is right that this is a common criticism of ID “theory.” In fact it is, as far as I know, a completely unrefuted criticism.

Secondly, how many times does Tom have to say it? We recognize design by its contrast to the natural things around it.

If there were golden records all over the place and we understood the process by which they were made naturally, it is true, no intelligence anywhere would be able to distinguish OUR golden record from the natural ones.... Could you point me to the source of naturally occurring golden records? Pretty Please?

DNA is everywhere. We understand how it replicates, we understand how it works, we understand that there are a variety of forms of it. It was essentially predicted by evolutionary theory long before Watson and crick actually saw it. Since it occurs everywhere in nature, it is the opposite of the golden record, we do not recognize it as designed.

another quote from the link your provided:
There is no reason whatsoever to conclude that DNA was designed. This conclusion requires evidence, the kind we get when we know something of the designer’s methods.
.
.
.
The example of the Golden Record, despite Mr. Colleague’s intent, further demonstrates the vapidity of the "we need know nothing of the "designer"" argument.

Did you even read the post you linked? Where does he say we need to know WHO the designer is? Do you understand that asking to know "things about" the designer is different than asking "who" the designer is?

My suspicion is that you don't really read these posts. I suspect you are having equally vapid arguments on a number of blogs. My evidence for this is that you have on more than one occasion messed up who said what and the fact that you blathered on about arches. Im guessing that you said something stupid on UD, a bunch of critical thinkers like skeptico called you out, and now you are trying to patch together something that makes you look less stupid. Too bad you just made it worse.

Now tell me: How did we invent sonar before we understood that bats and whales use the same system?

Where is the door knob found in nature that we must have copied because we cant improve on or invent outside of nature?

If you dont need to know the designer, there must be at least one or two atheists who buy into intelligent design, could you point them out?

And just for laughs, could you go over again how an f-18 is better than a fiesta? I mean with its 2 hour MTBF and 28 hours of maintenance required for each hour of use, it sounds much better and totally worth the 32 million dollar price tag compared to the lowly ford fiesta, especially if all i need it for is to go to the grocery store.

btw, you see what I did there? I used an analogy to set up a straw man, and then showed you how stupid the idea is, even though you were not talking about an f-18. This is essentially what you do over and over again (but your straw men are far more obtuse). So you think, by some bizarre point of view, that you win arguments. But you only win arguments that no one actually makes. And even then, you don't actually win them! Its a strong case of delusion you are afflicted with, but it appears to have stemmed from a lifetime of not using critical thinking skills (and trusting in faith)

You crack me up. Don't be a scaredy cat, come and post more of your illogical drivel. I will miss it if you leave.

hmmmm..... well it looks like pharyngula found one for you PaV.

https://science-is-blind.blogspot.com/2007/08/what-they-dont-want-to-see.html

Except his Sky Daddy is simply aliens. I bet you think that is silly. Guess what we think about your Sky Daddy?

Cou and this guy should both read Demon Haunted world by Carl Sagan....its NON-fiction. It would not only help you to have a basic grasp of evidence based argument, but also why some people resort to believing in aliens despite the lack of evidence that aliens are here on this planet. Which of course is the same thing as believing in a Sky Daddy despite the basic lack of evidence.

Yeah, the "aliens made us" IDists are less common than the "sky daddy" ones, but exist nonetheless.

The real question is why aren't there any Raelians or other panspermia-types at the Discovery Institute? It's the DI who claims that they're not advocating a religious worldview, but they all seem to share a monotheistic magic-man model.

Either way, the whole argument is special pleading or infinite regress: "life is too complex to have arisen naturally, so it must have been designed."--then what about the Designer/Alien engineers? If they are equally or more "complex," then they must have been designed as well, and so on. If they were not designed, then you're special pleading, saying some complex things must have been designed but other equally or more complex things were not. If they are less "complex" than Earth life, then what makes it better than evolution as an explanation?

christ... they are breeding....

https://icon-rids.blogspot.com/

william brookfield..from the The Brookfield Institute of Transparadigmic Science... LOL!
Apparently the BITS is operating out of a shed! this gets funnier by the second.

The purpose of this institute is to support full scientific freedom of inquiry at a paradigmic level plus an education system free of mono-paradigmic dogma and subsequent ideological coersion.

what does this even mean?

LOL he quotes What the Bleep!


Well while I am having fun here, the scary part is that this nonsense continues to spread.


So PaV, is that it? Is that all you got? You know that link you provided didn’t support your claim that “Darwinists” (as you insist on calling evolutionists) say that you can’t understand what they see in nature unless they “know who the designer is”. You know that, right? The guy talks about the need to know something about the designer to determine if an item was designed, but doesn’t say anything about only being able to recognize something as intelligible (capable of being understood) - unless we know who the Designer is.

Of course, if I was wrong you could just copy and paste the bit where he says that. Come on – that would only take a minute and you’ve now had over two days. What's the problem? It was your claim, remember? Your link was The Golden Record - Evidence that we need know nothing of the "designer?" btw – just to make it easy for you. Go on – click that link and copy and paste below the paragraph where he says what you claim “Darwinists” say.

Or admit you made it up. Because you know you did.

Which is it going to be?

Well, it’s been over two weeks and PaV can’t back up his ridiculous claim. So he’s gone away.

As a reminder, PaV made the same claim in varying ways:

Darwinist worshippers say that it is “impossible to perceive design” unless one “knows” the Designer

and

But, according to Darwinists, you can't "understand" it unless you know who the Designer is.

and

The original argument was that for a scientist to conclude that nature's solution is superior, is to recognize in nature something that is "intelligible"---which, of course, Darwinists would say is impossible unless--unless--we "know" who the Designer is.

In this last quote I think PaV is equivocating over the meaning of the word “intelligible”. Intelligible means “capable of being understood”. That’s all. I think PaV may be confused because the word “intelligible” starts with “intellig…” – which is almost “intelligent”, and so perhaps he thinks they are the same. I’m not sure if he’s doing this deliberately or if he really doesn’t know, but either way it is a form of equivocation in that he’s blurring the distinction between these two words.

He is claiming that evolutionists say: it is impossible for a scientist to conclude that nature's solution is superior, to recognize in nature something that is intelligible (capable of being understood) - unless we know who the Designer is. This is the fundamental point that is the basis of his whole argument. Over two weeks ago I asked him to back up that claim – find a “Darwinist” who actually says that. The best he could come up with was The Golden Record - Evidence that we need know nothing of the "designer?" which says no such thing.

PaV’s argument relies on this straw man “Darwinist” that he can’t find, a stubborn determination to misunderstand what SETI do (and refusal to read my post on the subject), generally poor (read virtually non-existent) reading comprehension skills and the inability to recognize the logical fallacies he is relying on. As an example of the latter, he simply could or would not understand that “do not assume there is a designer” is not the same as “assume there is no designer”.

Since PaV can’t support the initial assumption / claim made in his original blog post (and repeated here), I think we can say his argument is busted.

To be clear, evolutionists don’t say you have to know who the designer is, to know something was designed. We say that the only way we know how to determine if something was designed, is if we know something about the designer (not “who he is”, obviously). That’s how archaeologists and SETI go about determining design. (Although SETI haven’t had success yet.) We don’t say it’s “impossible” to do it any other way – that would be argument from ignorance. We say “this is how scientists do it”, and “we don’t currently know of another way”. If IDists want to compare themselves to SETI, archaeologists, etc, they need to do it the way that SETI and archaeologists do it – ie they must know something about the designer. Of course, they could propose other ways (and they have – it’s just they’re all bogus), but then they wouldn’t be making a design inference “the way SETI and archaeologists do”.

Incidentally, it looks like PaV has moved on to get his arse kicked at ERV.

This was the best - thread - ever.

Tom Foss is my hero. You were close Skeptico and TechSkeptic, but Tom is the Master. I bow to his intelligence, elloquence, and, above all, patience.

Apparently PaV does, as well.

Kenbo

well, you have way more patience than I do. Patience? Hmmm, I wonder if I talk to my door over and over again will convince it to be Claudia Shiffer.

well, you have way more patience than I do. Patience? Hmmm, I wonder if I talk to my door over and over again will convince it to be Claudia Shiffer.

You make your own reality! Seeing is believing! Put your request out to the universe, and it will be delivered! Like attracts like--it's the Law of Attraction that every great person in history ever has known! You create the universe with your every thought, and the magnetic signals of those thoughts bring everything in your life to you, good or bad! Believe, and Claudia Schiffer will be yours! That is the Secret.

...Whoa, wow, sorry...I think I had a seizure there or something.

Jeez Tom, I thought you were awesome and yet you still left out quantam mechanics.

All my illusions shattered....

There are just some lines I can't bring myself to cross.

Until, you know, the next time I feel sarcastic and dismissive.

this hole argument is anachronistic. When will the american population (dont want to generalize) recognize facts? Or at least accept other concepts of realitity than their own one?

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