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Koth, thanks for being patient with me.

The mind can imagine all sorts of possibilities. What I’m more concerned with is what nature actually does, not what we theorize it can do. I don’t believe it actually progressed from the simpler life forms to the more complex ones. I want to see the logic behind accepting that it did. I ask because I think it includes illogical, circular reasoning.

1) Although not seen, it is theoretically possible for natural selection to make increases in complexity.
2) We can’t allow willful agency to be the cause.
3) Natural selection must be responsible for all complexity.


At its heart is this thinking in my experience and estimation of Neo-Darwinism. I want it exposed or I want to be corrected if I’m wrong so we both know what we’re dealing with.

As far as evidence goes, we both have all the same evidence and I think it all points to something different, but I was able to give a concise argument. Use your examples and delineate your logic. It’s going to help the discussion.

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Thralni, complexity is not just about quantity. So you can’t count the cells in a human brain and say they are equal in complexity to an equivalent count of single celled organisms just because of the number of them. Complexity is about the connections and interactions in a system. So among many other things, the cells in our brain give rise to the human mind, which can control and harness the power of this planet on a scale that is unequaled, can actually leave the planet, and can ponder and examine the brain that produces it.

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Thuryl, it’s not about me “doing my homework.” I was asking for your professional insight. Now I’m very curious as to what you do so that you’ve never considered relative complexity of various organisms.

Complexity – the degree to which a system is characterized by an intricate arrangement of parts, units, etc.

So take a toddler stacking blocks up to reach the cookie jar, to a preteen making a wooden go-cart, to an actual car, to a space shuttle. There is an increase in complexity because the parts have to interact in a more and more intricate way to accomplish their purpose. I feel odd telling you that this same disparity in complexity is seen in living things.

By “natural processes” I mean phenomena of the physical world (especially those that we can observe and investigate) excluding human manufacture or interference. So bees making honey, crystals forming, and natural selection are natural processes. Bee keeping, diamond cutting, and dog breeding are artificial (although these do involve natural processes).

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Slarty, I’ve told him at least three times on this thread that I don’t understand quantum mechanics, once even stating the extent to which I was familiar with it and saying it seemed ok, but that I don’t really know. I asked him to explain it to me and said I would tell him what I think. I even accepted the point he was making about absolute certainty and perfect knowledge.

-->*I don’t understand quantum mechanics.*<-- Did I answer the question now? What if I ask you if you accept an idea you barely understand without explaining what I mean and when you keep telling me it sounds ok, but you don’t get it and ask for an explanation I say you’re dodging the issue?

As far as the other responses go, I’m trying to focus on a logical argument from the Neo-Darwinistic side. If we can get there I’ll address the other stuff. But it will be after we can focus and understand each other with clear, concise statements of the respective positions. I’m hanging on at the moment in hopes that we can. If we can’t, I will get out of the discussion fully as you suggest.
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quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

I’m sure that you think dolphins are more complex than blue-green algae
Then you're surer of that than I am.

Really!? How do you define complexity in such a way that a dolphin is not more complex than a single-celled organism? I’m really puzzled. All of the Darwinistic literature I’ve seen acknowledges that there’s increase. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that the human brain is the most complex thing we know of.

You would disagree with this?

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Khoth,

Are you attempting to respond to my request? I really appreciate that. I don’t need proof of evolution though, because I accept evolution! Your human-chimp argument is interesting. I’d like to explore it.

Here’s what I’d like first, if you don't mind: At the top of page 7 in this thread is an inductive argument for why I believe that life was created by a willful agent and did not descend from one common ancestor through naturalistic means. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it makes sense to me. What I’m asking is for you all to do the same and show your premises to support your belief that natural processes are responsible for all of the increase in complexity in organisms since the first life hit this planet.

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Slarty,

If I’m in a discussion, I respond. I’m pretty much out of this one unless I get a response to my request. It’s really not worth my time. I’m not looking to convert anyone, but I would at least like something progressive. Things like Stareye asking me the same questions over and over again after I’ve answered explicitly and people thinking I don't believe life evolves would be bearable if I got a little cooperation from the other side.

I don't understand quantum mechanics! I believe evolution occurs! :)
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Thuryl, use your definition of complexity. You’re more qualified than me. I’m sure that you think dolphins are more complex than blue-green algae and that the latter is more ancient than the former. That is the general pattern right. I’m fairly sure that’s basic and accepted Neo-Darwinistic teaching – evolution doesn’t have to yield more complexity, but over billions of years it has. Show me the logic.
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Thanks for all the responses gang. There are a few interesting points I’d like to kick around with you all, like my definition of randomness, irreducible complexity, and what’s up with the bacteria. What I would most like to see though is a response to my request. Picking apart my arguments is nice and fun, but where is the alternative?

Can some reasonable person please show the logical premises that support the conclusion that natural selection is responsible for all increase in complexity in biological systems. I’m just not willing to discuss with someone that, not only hasn’t explored their position logically, but is unwilling to.

Maybe I’m a irrational creationist that wouldn’t know information from a hole in the wall, but at least I have an argument.
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Drew, my argument was for a willful agent, not a magical god. And I didn't claim that failure for them to produce an argument amounts to support for my beliefs. It highlights a Neo-Darwinistic lack though.

1) Living organisms have irreducibly complex structures and systems.
2) Irreducibly complex structures and systems are only observed to be made by a purposeful agency.
3) The alternative to purposeful agency is that which occurs in populations of living organisms gradually by means of recombination, mutations, and natural selection.
4) Organisms observed over millions of generations (e.g. bacteria) do not develop irreducibly complex systems.
5) The fossil record does not indicate introduction of irreducibly complex structures by gradual change.
6) Natural processes have not made the irreducibly complex structures and systems in living organisms.
7) Irreducibly complex structures and systems in living organisms are a result of purposeful agency.


EDIT: Clarity

[ Friday, January 11, 2008 08:00: Message edited by: Stillness ]
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Thuryl,

Somebody has to teach you biology. :cool:

Aperiodic means that a pattern doesn’t repeat. A crystal would be periodic because it’s a regular repeating network of atoms. If you break it any way you please, you get smaller but pretty much identical structures. Smash your car, your body, or a protein and you don’t get smaller cars, thuryls, or proteins.

Non-random means that a pattern is formed or proceeds with a specific guide or objective. If an asteroid strikes a mountain, causes a rockslide, one of the rocks rolls into a cave, and water drips from the cave ceiling and erodes it, then it is random – even if it looks like a heart. There is no objective on the part of the cave, the water, or the rock. Contrast that with an automated assembly line that produces heart-shaped chocolates. The machinery and programming have the specific purpose of shaping the chocolate into hearts every time.

quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

By the way, as a possible counterexample to your premise, what about the large-scale physical structure of the planet Earth? It's not periodic -- you have the inner core, the outer core, the mantle, and the crust, and none of those layers repeat themselves. But while I'm still not sure what you mean by "random", I struggle to see how you could come up with a meaningful definition by which the formation of a planet is random and the formation of life isn't. Are you going to start arguing that our entire planet was physically created by an intelligent agent as well?
My argument deals with things for which we know the origins. The earth is prehistoric. Besides, there is no specific guide or objective that we can see for the structure of the earth like with life.

quote:
If you randomly select a number from your local telephone directory, it's not a randomly-generated number. Likewise, a circle is not a "random shape" in the sense of being randomly generated, so your argument that pi is a "random number" doesn't hold water.
If pi is not random, it’s because a willful agent has selected it. If not, take a picture of a randomly occurring pi and post it for us.

quote:
Many mathematicians, perhaps most, would disagree with you…keep that in mind before you start making blanket statements about what does and doesn't exist.
Yes, I will keep in mind that many mathematicians think 5 exists before I make statements. Thank you for that insight, Thuryl.

Thuryl, it seems you’d be qualified to answer my question to Kel, SoT, and now Salmon. Please show the logical premises that support the conclusion that natural selection is responsible for all increase in complexity in biological systems.
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I do believe it's design, Salmon. "Intelligent Design" carries the connotation of guided evolution. So I do believe in intelligent design, but not "Intelligent Design." Kel’s link basically reflects my beliefs with some exceptions irrelevant to this discussion.

And there's no confusion here. If you're basing your beliefs on fossilized remains that we haven’t found, that’s called an argument from ignorance.

I don’t “expect” to find anything other than what has been found and continues to be found. You probably don’t know that Darwin hoped the fossil record would show a continuum, but that many Neo-Darwinists have given up on that hope because they recognize it’s not there. Enter philosophies like punctuated equilibrium to explain the gaps. I don’t know what you mean when you say I think the fossil record is inaccurate, but I think exactly the opposite. You think it’s inaccurate, or rather incompletely represents common descent. It fits my understanding perfectly.

The point with cyanobacteria, the most ancient life we know of (i.e. there is no record of anything else before that – only these very advanced and well-designed creatures appearing suddenly), is that the genetic code resists change well.

Again, your mutation argument is not an issue with me. As far as it being deleterious, well that depends on the specific case you’re talking about. If there is a loss of function it is by definition deleterious, even if the organism becomes more fit for its environment. That is not the kind of change you need to get from bacteria to biologists. A series of deletions does not yield an increase.

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Koth, Thanks for that. I had never heard of Kolmogorov complexity. I'll grant you that I lack seriously in information theory and my understanding of the principles of complexity. That's why my claim is simple in the extreme. Here, let me give my simple induction:

1. All objects for which we know the origin that have the qualities of being both aperiodic and non-random are made by willful agency.
2. Life is both aperiodic and non-random.
3. Life is made by willful agency.

What makes it so strong is that life is the only other aperiodic non-random thing we know of besides the things we make. Notice this says nothing of how much randomness or aperiodicness the objects have. That’s why the qualitative questions are irrelevant.

And the shape of the “i” is not directed – at least not by non-random process. The point with your child is that the code is non-random.

I do find your claim that it won’t turn into a porpoise interesting though. What would prevent that? With your offspring, the genetic code does. What law or principle would prevent inanimate matter from developing into a porpoise…given billions of years? Or did you just mean the shape of a porpoise? If so, the same process that made the “i” could make an animal.

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Kel, my loss of interest is in discussing with you. Whatever you ask me to do I do, but when I make a simple request you lame out on me.

If I don’t have an answer I say so and if I think the other person is right I’m not ashamed to admit it. You should know that by now.
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Whatever, Kel. You wrote in support of common descent but are unwilling or unable to back it up with actual logic. Disappointing.

I wonder will anyone be able to. I've honestly never seen it done without circular logic. It sticks out like a sore thumb to me when I read Darwinistic literature. It's one of the main reasons I'm wary of "science." We all hold irrational beliefs at times, but when they're exposed and you can't see them, but are supposed to be a beacon of logic...well it looks pretty bad to a layman.
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Salmon,

Here is a brief summary list from the other thread. It’s a little out of context because I posted it after 25+ pages of discussion. But I think you’ll get the drift. 2 might better be called 1b, but 10 is nice and round…

quote:

Information
1) Mutations are overwhelmingly neutral or harmful. Even when they are beneficial they are generally deleterious (i.e. antibiotic resistant bacteria, wingless beetles). This is not the increase in information needed to go from “simple” proto-life to people.

2) Some single-celled organisms have the ability to generate beneficial mutations without loss of information. It is a special ability of these organisms (possibly analogous to hypermutation) and not the kind of mutation needed for common descent, as it is an exclusive ability.

3) Other claimed examples of Darwinian evolution while appearing to be addition of information fall short upon closer examination. Some may be actual increases but these are at best extraordinarily rare and not seen in multicellular organisms (i.e. the literally millions of mutations of fruit flies last century).

4) An amazing quality of all life is that it contains language – arbitrary quatranomial code written in every cell. (see paramecium for the same code with a different convention) It requires an “agreement” on the code convention before it is ever used. Such programming is best understood as originating with an intelligent programmer.

Patterns/Fossils
5) The testimony of the fossil record is repeatedly the same: types of organisms appear suddenly with no connection to anything that went before them. This is harmonious with the understanding that living things were made by type with the ability to vary within those types. While not necessarily disproving common descent the fossil record certainly is not supportive of it.

6) Life, in the fossil record and now, corresponds to a nested hierarchy. This pattern is consistent with typology, but again not supportive of common descent. It is actually somewhat problematic as common descent requires gradual stepwise change. Lack of distinction and blurring between divisions would be ideal for common descent.

7) Genetic machinery has self-corrective mechanisms to preserve the kind of organism for which it codes. In the case of d. melanogaster mutants normal flies arose from the mutants in a few generations. Cyanobacteria are the same today after supposed tens of trillions of generations over billions of years. There’s no evidence that any organism has the plasticity to account for all the variety in the biosphere. The evidence is in fact the opposite.

8) Discontinuity in distribution of traits in the biosphere (i.e. vivipary, eye designs, hemoglobin) is easily understood from the perspective of a creator that placed these traits wherever it was seen as desirable.

Complexity
9) Life has a quality distinguishing it from other natural phenomena – specified complexity. Living things share this quality with things only know to be made from purposeful action. By analogy we can conclude that living things are also made this way.

10) Living things have irreducibly complex structures. Such structures are only observed to be made by purposeful action. They also place a hurdle before conclusion that stepwise increases in complexity by mutations account for all of the ingenious devices seen nature as such change has never been observed (even in bacteria which can experience hundreds of thousands of generations for every single human generation).
Let me ask you what I asked Kel and SoT: please show the logical premises that support the conclusion that natural selection is responsible for all increase in complexity in biological systems.

(They actually asked me first and I went along found the process edifying. I’m not exaggerating when I say it changed me a little. That’s why I have a fondness for these boards.)

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

By the way, what would prevent you from answering me now?
The same thing as last time. We can't even understand each other's terms yet, so it seems entirely fruitless to attempt to construct arguments with them.

C’mon Kel, don’t cop out on this. You understand the argument I gave at the end of the other thread even if you don’t agree. Why am I always the one of us cooperating when there’s a thought experiment?

Play fair.
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Koth,

Thuryl’s rock randomly looks like an “i.” Specified complexity is by definition nonrandom. Since the shape is random it does not have the quality of specified complexity.

Life has specified complexity because the arrangement of it is directed. There is randomness involved, but it is not fully random. So if you reproduce, you may have a boy or a girl, but you will not have a porpoise.

I agree that it has to do with someone, but only by induction, not by definition.

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Kel,

When you say random processes can produce similar results to nonrandom ones I can buy that. Snow could fall from a tree and roll into a ball that looks like a manmade snowball. What I’m not buying is your claim that monkeys can write Shakespeare. Here’s why: It was actually done! It was only six monkeys for a month, but their work was published.
http://www.vivaria.net/experiments/notes/publication/

They didn’t get one word of Shakespeare.

My problem is that you ignore real limitations, like with monkeys. If I modify my shoe using only the material available in the shoe, I might make it more comfortable for my environment. Maybe it’s hot and I cut vents in it. But I can modify and modify for billions of years and never get a stealth bomber. The stuff is just not there. Throwing time at an impossiblility doesn’t necessarily make it possible. That’s one of the biggest problems with the darwinistic mindset.

Life has built in protection and limitations to preserve it’s various forms. Yes it’s flexible. Yes it can mutate. But when you look at the way it works in reality, not in our minds, the flexibility that you need to get from molecules to microbiologists is just not there – not in the lab, not in nature, and not in the fossil record.

And if pi is not random, it’s because you are selecting it. You specify it by selecting a circle and it’s diameter. You have a mind. Pi by itself is a random number though. (I find discussion of pi as a thing awkard. It’s more a concept than a real entity like caterpillars, cars, or crystals. Mathematics is not just laying around in your backyard. It occurs in the mind. I think it’s a poor argument to make claims about it as if it exists separate from the human mind. It does not.)

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Information is an encoded, symbolically represented message conveying expected action and intended purpose. So “brzydki” may convey information, but I can’t know that unless you clue me in on the code or I become aware of a “receiver” that can decode it. “Mimsy” (lol, you changed it to “toves.” I know the nonsensical poem.) and “ugly” are understandable to me, but there’s a problem of frame of reference. Unless there’s context they’re just random sounds having no information.

But I somehow think this is taking us off the subject. My argument was not so much about information as it is specified complexity. I don’t think that it is a difficult concept to grasp in and of itself. You all are making it more complex than it is.

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

common descent gives the reason that life-forms can be found in a nested hierarchy…It also suggests why we find vestigial organs, selectively neutral traits
The nested hierarchy came before the idea of common descent. How would you explain that?

And I know it’s hard to keep in mind that I don’t have a problem with evolution, but I don’t. So, natural selection is not a problem for me.

By the way, what would prevent you from answering me now? I think I’m pretty cooperative with you when you ask me to clarify and explain. Delineate your logic for me: Show the logical premises that support the conclusion that natural selection is responsible for all increase in complexity in biological systems.

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Salmon, It’s common descent that’s problematic for me. Evolution is good. We can see it and it actually works. There are certain hurdles I don’t think it can jump though. And indeed when we look at life, past and present, there are distinct divisions in it. It is not a continuum or a blurr.

And we’ve known creatures were similar from time immemorial. We didn’t need common descent to tell us that.

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Micawber…Ye of little faith. I’ve been exercising my calves and thighs. It stands to reason that if I continue exercising I will be able to jump higher and higher. Given enough time I could escape this solar system’s gravity.

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quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

Except how do you know that all living things are similar, when we haven't examined every single living thing? If you just assume that all living things are similar because all the ones you've seen so far are similar, you run smack bang into the problem of induction. It's absolutely necessary to have a theoretical framework which justifies why we can expect all living things to be similar.
Thuryl, those problems are yours too. When you see living things you find out where they go in the hierarchy after the fact. Living things don’t necessarily have to fit because of common descent, just like they don’t have to with a common creator. They could have mutated so much that they don’t or there could be another category of life that doesn’t fit. We’d both just make a second hierarchy. Neither of our theories would be falsified. (Knowing the Darwinists they’d somehow treat it as proof.)

The difference is that mine fits the current evidence better.

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*i (what do people call you?), all principles and laws need not be quantified (right-hand-rule for magnetic fields; rotary direction of a whirlpool; the Pauli Principle; Le Chatelier’s Principle; The Principle of Least Motion). Some of these cannot be quantified and all of them are expressed perfectly well verbally.

When I think of information, I think of it how I described it before – the size of the smallest algorithm you’d need to generate an arrangement. This it totally unnecessary to get the point though. If you insist I’m pretty sure I put a link to calculate information on the first or second page of the regulation-complexity thread because you made this same argument. Calculate all you please, but both of my complexity arguments are qualitative. If you can’t deal with that, I don’t know what else to tell you. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

By the way, I don’t think I made claims about the scientific community. That’s why your argument is not well received by me. I’m actually quite skeptical of the scientific communities claims, as I am with all claims until they make sense to me. The scientific community is not infallible.
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Excalibur,

Please elaborate on what I’m doing that makes me look like a hypocrite.

And I’m not preaching or trying to persuade anyone.

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Synergy,

I believe you about your leg.

Things have come together in such a way that this culture doubts the supernatural – even some of those that claim to believe don’t really believe. In other lands they’d be considered slow. Christendom has insulated us, in some ways to our benefit, but it’s a double edged sword.

I also agree with you to some extent about nature. There is competition, but there’s also affection and collaboration. Every once in a while you hear about a big cat raising a calf as her own, dolphins saving a person, or something like that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcrN9adGcP0

There’s certainly good in humanity. I believe the philosophies of Darwinism, which are a natural offshoot of common descent through natural selection, have aided in perverting this though.

For what it’s worth, I appreciate you. I don’t agree with all you say, but that’s what makes life interesting. These boards would be worse off without you IMO.

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SoT, I did exactly what you said. I was teasing with you about your wording, but your question is answered.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t say synonyms, but things with specified complexity have information content. I would definitely say “strongly related terms.” Are energy and work synonymous?”

To be clear, an identifying mark of things with specified complexity is information content. But I would not say information = specified complexity.

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quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

Again, the kind of data with the most information content per bit is random data. When I asked you whether you knew this
I don’t remember you asking, but I don’t know this. Define “random data." Data implies information, which implies meaningful signaling of some sort, which is not random.

And I’m not claiming that knowing what’s non-random and is easy or always possible. When we can and the non-random is also aperiodic, it’s always from a mind. And we do pretty well identifying. We discussed arrowheads made from stone before. We know life is not a random collection of proteins, since there’s a code directing their production and organization.

quote:
That's not the same as the shortest algorithm you'd need to recreate a specific random arrangement which had been generated in the past.
If you’re recreating a specific arrangement it’s no longer random, it’s specified.

quote:
The exact value of pi can be encoded by a simple definition: the ratio of any given circle's circumference to its diameter.
So you randomly pick a shape, randomly make a line in it, randomly divide the length of the shape by the length of the line, but the number you get is not random?

How is this any different from my random triangle?

I understand the importance of pi, but it’s importance doesn’t take away from it’s arbitrariness. Why use pi and not 2pi or 1/2-pi?

quote:
when you claim that specified complexity is "not random", are you claiming that specified complexity is also path-dependent: that is, that anything generated by a wholly or partially random process is by definition incapable of containing specified complexity?
A process could be partially random, but not wholly. It could depend on or even harness some randomness, but to be purely random would make a thing unspecified by definition. I don’t see how this question-begs.

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

I rest my case.
LOL. OK Kel. Point made. If atheists believe it, it must be correct.

Regarding your monkeys, is it also true that if I keep jumping in the air I will eventually jump 50 feet high? 1000 feet? 1,000,000,000,000 feet? Because your theory about how anything is possible given time sounds wonderful. Call the bouncing baby bunnies because it’s fluffy hugging time.

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quote:
Originally written by *i:

1) The term specified complexity has no meaning beyond something very subjective and non-quantifiable. Just about everyone within information theory says this.
2) Your arguments against evolution stem from the assertion that specified complexity cannot increase through "non-intelligent biological processes". This is based on a mathematical premise.
3) However, no one has yet come up with a way to quantify specified complexity in any rigorous sense: how much does a plant cell have relative to an animal cell?
4) To say that things cannot increase, one has to be able to give a relative measure of one object to another.
5) Therefore, the arguments you have asserted are total junk.

1) argumentum ad populum. I’m not trying to quantify specified complexity. You are.
2) No. My argument is that specified complexity is not observed to occur separate from a mind.
3) I don’t know.
4) I didn’t say this.
5) …

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Synergy,

I think the evidence points to multiple creation events.

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Look at my post on May 11, 2007 11:24 AM just above halfway on page two .
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quote:
Originally written by Jumpin' Salmon:

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Salmon, I'm actually not a proponent of intelligent design.
I wasn't eager to bring this up, but since you have broached the topic, you have a fantastic ability to position yourself as anti-"x" without ever coming forth with an accepted substitute. Why is that?

Salmon, I think the evidence points to multiple creation events. Happy? Probably not.

And I’m guessing you didn’t look at the original thread that I’ve linked to a few times, because I am very explicit. I delineate my logic [something which Kelandon and SoT were unwilling, and I suspect, unable to do after many requests], give multiple reasons why common descent is an inferior and unscientific explanation, give quotes from archeologists on what the record actually shows, etc. I’m just halfway defending one of my points (probably not one of the stronger ones) here. I have the feeling that if I do what I did before this thread will be shut down.

Common descent doesn’t predict anything beneficial that knowing that all living things are similar doesn’t. If common descent actually did do something useful that would be a great argument in favor of its superiority. In actual fact life now and in the past gives the appearance of multiple creation events for genetically versatile creatures.
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"No problem" as in "do what you please." I think I was thinking of abiogenesis. I don't know that I've come across atheists that don't accept common descent.

And how would you predict pi? In what way are my triangles random that a circle is not?

EDIT: The discussion is not whether evolution fits into the atheist perspective of the world. The discussion is whether evolution fits into the scientific one.

[ Wednesday, January 09, 2008 12:12: Message edited by: Stillness ]
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Lol, you put words in my mouth and then ask if that’s my final answer. I don’t know Regis, let me think…I feel like you’re trapping me, but…I’ll have to say…um…uh…I don’t…know….

Yeah, I wouldn’t say synonyms, but things with specified complexity have information content. I would definitely say “strongly related terms.” Are energy and work synonymous?

Let’s compare three concepts –randomness, order, and specified complexity.

Think about the shortest algorithm you’d need to write to generate a random arrangement.

1. Print any letter.
2. Return to step 1.

You could generate volumes full of random letters.

Now an ordered arrangement:

1. Print ‘XYZ’.
2. Return to step 1.

Again, you could generate volumes of ordered (periodic) letters.

Now what if you wanted to generate volumes of information - say the Encyclopedia Britannica. What would your algorithm look like? It would have to be big enough to have every letter in the right place.

“[T]here is enough information capacity in a single human cell to store the Encyclopaedia Britannica, all 30 volumes of it, three or four times over.”
R. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton, 1986), p. 115

quote:
Originally written by Ephesos:

How far back do you place the point where species were created/spontaneously-generated?
You mean in time? Like what year? I don’t know. My guess is way less than 4 billion years, but I’m not dogmatic on that.

And I don’t think that “species” were created. That’s an artificial designation. So I could see a big cat evolving into the lion, the tiger, the cougar, etc.

quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

until you can provide a single instance of an atheist scientist who agrees with anything that you're saying, I have to consider this entire discussion silly.
No problem…By the way, what if I said, “I won’t consider common descent until you can show me one of Jehovah’s Witnesses that accepts it.” Would that be logical?

quote:
Give me enough time, and I can tell you what is coming next in the digits of pi
And I can tell you the next number in the ratio between my triangle legs and generate algorithms to make it. What does that have to do with whether or not something is random? I can pick any random number and memorize it or write programs to spit it out.
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Ok Thuryl, you got me with the “i.” I was thinking about the letter drawn by a person meant to convey information. So you caught me with a poorly stated argument. Good job. You get a cookie. The problem with the rock is it would still be random even though it looks like an “i.” It would tell you absolutely nothing. In fact, even an “i” made by a person is random unless it actually conveys information.

Pi is aperiodic, but how is it not random? If I draw a triangle and measure the ratio of the length of the legs and it = 1.36490220013784…, is that random? What if I draw a million more triangles with the same ratio? If not, what is the purpose?

Let me explain why life has specified complexity. The pattern of a single blue whale is non repeating. It is not a property of the amino acids in her to form blue whales. They have to be driven to do so by a code. Leave them be and you get nothing. It is therefore non-random.
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If a pattern is aperiodic and non-random it has specified complexity. The shape of “i” would qualify. Yes there is a continuum with the shape of “i” being at one extreme and you at the other. The extremes don’t have anything to do with it though, because all other objects with specified complexity arise from a mind. The question is whether living things are unique among things with specified complexity or like everything else that has that quality.

Wikipedia has this quote from origin of life researcher Leslie Orgel:

“In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specified_complexity

He thought that naturalistic processes could explain it, which is why I don’t understand why you don’t grasp this concept. It’s not a biased term.

EDIT: I see your point, *i. It does have meaning though. The genetic code is aperiodic and nonrandom.

[ Wednesday, January 09, 2008 06:25: Message edited by: Stillness ]
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Thuryl, your question completely misses the point. The discussions of complexity were regarding specified complexity (a term coined by an evolutionist) and irreducible complexity. When I introduced these I meant neither to be considered quantitatively. A qualitative understanding serves the purpose for both. Your random code does not have specified complexity (like life and the code that has poetry) even if it is complex. It therefore lacks the information that the poetry has.

I can understand that without having to take any ones word.

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Synergy, my initial objection to common descent (not evolution) was religious. But it’s conceivable that God could use evolution to make the life on this planet and still not destroy the Christian faith. I found relativity, an expanding universe, and non-circular orbits for electrons faith-shaking initially. Somehow, when God’s mind didn’t match my own I used to find it disturbing. Not anymore. I revel in being wrong and broadening my understanding to trace God’s hand.

Now, my objection to common descent is that it’s logically flawed and lacking in it’s ability to explain anything real. It’s an interesting idea, but the evidence says something different. At the heart of it is what I believe to be an a priori rejection of anything outside a naturalistic explanation. That’s my problem with embracing it.

If you want to believe that I choose religion over reason and evidence, I tell you like I told Salmon, go with that if it makes it easy. If you want the truth, look at my logic and challenge it. Just don’t do it on these boards because it’s not permitted. (Yes, I’m still bitter about the censorship).

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quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

You can't wish cancer out of existence by pretending you live in a world of happy fuzzy hopping bunnies that spend all day hugging each other.
LOL, Thuryl I don’t care what they think or say about you, you make me laugh. If I were to take on a signature, this would be a candidate.
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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

And when the only people who argue against evolution are heavily religious, before even listening to their arguments, I have to wonder why no secular scientist supports this.
Because we know religion when we see it…even when it’s trying to pass itself off as science.

I can’t stress enough how observable testable science is good. Evolution is that. We know life is flexible. It’s common descent that’s the problem. It has metaphysical connotations.

And I think there are some agnostic/atheistic scientists that don’t accept common descent. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen stuff from them. I’ll have to look into it.
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Salmon, I'm actually not a proponent of intelligent design.

And while I do care what you think and I don't want to come off as ignorant to you, I don't care enough to abandon reason and blindly follow to please you.

On scientific validity, I was looking through the thread and came across some quotes regarding the fossil record. Look at my post on May 11, 2007 11:24 AM just above halfway on page two .

Some, including me, don't believe common descent is real science and that those who think it is are the ones who are ignorant. That is based on the actual state of the fossil record right now, not the Bible, God, an angel, contact with spiritual energy, or wishful thinking. But, if it makes you feel comfortable to group me with flat-earthers and geocentrists, then go with that.

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*i, I get your point now. I said it had to make "complete sense." I meant that I understand it and it makes sense, not that I have perfect knowledge.

And complexity relates to information. That can be measured somewhat objectively. I just don't know how to do it. My argument never involved a quantitative measure of complexity though. That's way over my head.
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quote:
Originally written by Excalibur:

Before I comment, I should tell you Stillness that I do not believe in evolution.

Having provoked many arguments during my visits here, I can say that doing so is quite foolish. The people here will adamantly say otherwise, and it is your obligation to attempt persuading other crowds regardless of what denomination of Christianity you may be.

I don't understand what you mean. What is foolish? What is my obligation?

quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

Why might it not be the case that the magic of life is that the more collaboration of life with life, that the more consciousness/awareness/"intellect" becomes possible?
Synergy, the only means I know by which to understand the universe is reason and revelation. For me, neither of these point to what you're saying as plausible.

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Salmon, the cool thing is that even though this discussion is verboten on these boards; the majority of the logic behind my position was eaten by UBB; and Jeff stopped the second big discussion before I demolished the opposition my argument is summarized here:

http://www.ironycentral.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=21;t=000477;p=6

Look at my last big post for the 7 numbered lines emboldened. Also check about 3/4 down this page for 10 numbered reasons I give under Information, Patterns/Fossils, Complexity:

http://www.ironycentral.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=21;t=000477;p=4

You may disagree, but my position is not held illogically.
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*i, I honestly don’t understand quantum mechanics. If you’d like to explain it to me maybe I can tell you if it makes sense. I don’t remember having a problem with electron energy states, though. I’ve even seen fringe science talking about quantum energy states on the level of galaxies. I guess it’s ok. I don’t know.

With evolution it’s a different story. I understand it pretty clearly. I think it’s a poor explanation.

Synergy, what it would mean is that things work differently than what we observe – like extremely complex mechanisms and formal language developing without an intellect. Indeed, that is fantastic…and by “fantastic” I mean “ridiculous and unbelievable.” :)
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I don't really understand it. All I remember is talking about valence shells and electron energy levels in physics. I remember being let down as I thought from high school (or it may have been middle school) that electrons were to the nucleus as the planets are to the sun. I was deceived. :mad:
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I meant the beliefs, practices, traditions in our society. A lot of people in it don’t accept evolution the same as you –and they feel very strongly about it. And while they, and me, don’t doubt evolution is a real process, we don’t accept it for all that some claim it to be. The reason I don’t is because I am a skeptic as well. I accept nothing - spiritual, scientific, or otherwise - unless it makes complete sense to me…especially when it has such strong implications as to our very nature and that of our world.

By the way, general evolution (i.e. "chemicals-to-man" or even "single celled organisms-to-men") is also not repeatable or testable, nor is it the best explanation based on evidence (in the opinion of many). But that has nothing to do with whether or not a thing is part of the culture.
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Salmon,

Those things are the lighter side of culture, but the nature of and limits of evolutionary processes is indeed a "hot topic" that a lot of people do care about. The subthreads that continued well after UBB ate the original thread are testimony to that. You also might check and see if any politics in this country have anything to do with ringtones and compare that to evolution.

Sullust does raise a good point though. I hadn't thought about it that way. I had always thought of these boards as a place where one could excercise his intellectual and social muscles - and there was great freedom to do so, provided it was done without obscenity. I forget that the ultimate goal is for the owner to stretch his wallet muscles.
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I can go for stretches before a worthy thread catches my attention and makes me post, but I do lurk a bit. I think the mods are lock-happy at times and I think it may discourage posting.

My view of these boards has never been the same since Jeff locked regulation. I would have understood a move to general, but censorship on a whole subject as important to American culture as evolution?! C'mon...
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Is it entirely beyond the realm of possibility that T. Rex walked the earth within the past million years?
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