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Master
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quote:
Originally written by Dikiyoba:

This post, Thralni.

Dikiyoba.

How was I able to miss that... I can remember that I read that post. I probably got distracted by an other post and started reading something else. I often have that problem, also in real life: starting something else before finishing what I was doing.

This thread keeps surprising me, by the way.

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Posts: 3029 | Registered: Saturday, June 18 2005 07:00
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quote:
By Stillness:
Ok Thuryl, you got me with the “i.” I was thinking about the letter drawn by a person meant to convey information.
This shows the worthlessness of your specified complexity argument.

You say here that the letter "i" only has specified complexity if it was made by someone trying to convey information. This implies that specified complexity, by definition, needs to have been created for a purpose. Therefore, to show that living things have specified complexity, you have to first show that they were created, otherwise your argument is circular.

If you want to say that a pattern like "i" doesn't have enough specified complexity, or whatever, then you're back to having to come up with a way to quantify it, which you refuse to do.

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Posts: 1798 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

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.
This is incoherent. If you have a problem with the analogy, state it. (Note that I didn't say that anything is possible given time. I said that random processes can produce the same results as intelligent ones, given time and, ideally, a few other factors. Intelligent processes won't make you jump a mile in the air, either.)

Also, about some of your other replies: "random" and "arbitrary" are not synonyms. Choosing pi out of all possible numbers is an arbitrary decision, but that doesn't make its digits random. Once pi is chosen as the number to analyze (a decision which could be made randomly or non-randomly, and either way could be arbitrary), there is no randomness to speak of.

I think I have some handle on what you mean by "specified complexity," but I have two problems with it: first, any given arrangement generated randomly also has specified complexity, and second, you seem to think that it has something to do with "information content," which we haven't discussed at such length that I understand what you mean by it. In what way do you determine whether something has information content? Does the letter sequence "ugly" have information content? What about the letter sequence "brzydki"? What about "mimsy"?

And finally, common descent gives the reason that life-forms can be found in a nested hierarchy. That's one of the ways in which it's useful in modern biology. It also suggests why we find vestigial organs, selectively neutral traits, etc. If you read a little in a bio textbook — or, heck, the Wikipedia articles on evolution — you could find more details on this.

(Incidentally, for anyone who didn't read the previous threads, SoT and I both quite plainly spelled out why we didn't give arguments in favor of evolution, and it wasn't for lack of ability to do so.)

[ Thursday, January 10, 2008 11:13: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

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.

Do you understand that evolution is a process which is used to explain;
1) How fossil record "A" beget living organisms i, ii, and ix,
2) Similarities between living organisms iv and xiii,
3) Presence or absence of living organisms that resemble fossilized organisms?

Among other things, of course, but those are prevalent in my mind. It explains how, over hundreds of thousands of years, small changes can be made in the individual organism which produce changes in the population of organism. Over millions of years those changes can create whole different creatures. Now, I'm not sure there are any evolutionary scientists that are proposing that they have identified one particular cell which spawned the creatures of the entire planet. I mean, that's not even silly. It is far more likely that over the course of thousands of years there were multiple events across the planet where ultra violet radiation combined with various complex acids to form these cells, which then lived or died according to their ability. Eventually some of them, by accident, were able to split through mitosis, and suddenly all hell broke loose. Blue-green algae were eventually formed. Parameciums were eventually formed, and the rest is history.

So yeah, I didn't take the time to read your links. In fact, I only read links about 1% of the time under any circumstances, so its nothing personal. The unfortunate thing about interweb conversations is that important starting points can be missed. This is clearly the case with the S-K-T discussion, along with the interjections by E and T, on page 5. And it appears to be that way on this level of the discussion as well. So I'll ask you to clarify. What do you understand to be the "theory of evolution" and to what do you object?

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quote:
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.

Nalyd usually doesn't participate in these debates, as he usually makes himself look like an idiot, but he does follow them, and this time he knows the content.

This theory is definitely true. Eventually, a completely bizarre and unlikely series of coincidences will allow you to jump as high as you want to. You'll probably die, and entropy would likely complete, before that happened, but assuming unlimited time, anything is possible.

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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Common descent doesn’t predict anything beneficial that knowing that all living things are similar doesn’t.
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.

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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

is it also true that if I keep jumping in the air I will eventually jump ... 1,000,000,000,000 feet?
quote:
Originally written by Thoughts in Chaos:

This theory is definitely true. Eventually, a completely bizarre and unlikely series of coincidences will allow you to jump as high as you want to.
Hmmm, I found Kelandon's response more convincing. Not that I doubt you Nalyd, but I'm not going to believe Stillness can jump twice the distance from the earth to the sun.

Edit: clarity

[ Thursday, January 10, 2008 13:56: Message edited by: Micawber ]

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Stillness:

You argued irreducible complexity which is inherently tied to the arguments made with regards to information theory, whether you specifically made them or not. As part of these arguments about how gene mutation destroys more information than it creates and how structures are have "too much" "specified complexity" to have evolved on their own. That's the short of it, although proponents are so shifty and loose you can probably find quotes to recast the argument very differently.

You can argue popularity in the scientific community when it shows consensus. You want to claim that a term has meaning in the scientific community. I claim it does not really. One measure of this is to look at how prevalent it is. My conclusion using this and the non-quantifiability is that the term is entirely worthless.

My point is exactly that you MUST quantify specified complexity. If you are going to argue irreducible complexity, that things cannot have evolved on their own to reach a certain degree of specified complexity, we need to be able to measure it. If you don't want to try to do this, then don't make the argument. Heck, at very least tell us why you don't have to quantify it and it is still a valid argument based on mathematics rather than just gut feelings.

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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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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

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.

Okay, then what about common descent do you find troubling? Because I'm a little confused. I'm pretty sure that consensus is that the common ancestor wasn't the equivalent of a bacterial Wilt Chamberlain. It was more of common gene pool. And how is that not appropriate, considering how much genetic material is shared amongst all living creatures.

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

what do people call you?
They call him Superman. Or star-eye for short. *i for even shorter.

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Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

When you say random processes can produce similar results to nonrandom ones I can buy that.
Then we agree on this point. I said at the time that it's not a rigorous analogy.

quote:
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.
Well, yeah, it's already been pointed out that real monkeys are not actual random letter generators. I did say that monkeys "typing randomly" would do it, which I still maintain; it's just that real monkeys don't type randomly. Real monkeys also don't live for untold gazillions of years, either, but these sorts of practical considerations are not exactly relevant for the idea.

Put another way, this was a thought experiment to explore plausibility, not an engineering design. It's probably worth letting this one go, in order to focus on other issues.

quote:
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.
Well, let me nitpick your analogy, then. The "stuff" is there for evolution. Even very early life had DNA, and DNA is the main difference between us and very early life. It just didn't have DNA in at all the right order or length. But DNA copies itself, so the amount available is not an issue, and the order can change, given time. If your shoe were made of metal and sufficiently large, then patching and patching it and patching it could eventually lead to a stealth bomber.

quote:
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.
You said this in our previous discussion, but no one else accepts this.

quote:
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.
Okay, basic probability time. No number is inherently random or non-random. Processes can be random or non-random, not numbers. Finding the next digits in pi is a non-random process. Selecting a number, any number, out of all numbers can be done randomly. But the number 2 could be random or non-random, depending on how you come up with it, and so could pi.

This is just what the word "random" in probability means.

quote:
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.
I changed it because "mimsy" is apparently a real word outside the context of Jabberwocky. "Toves" is not. :P

But your description of information makes it entirely plain that whether something contains information depends entirely on the observer. If you speak Polish, "brzydki" contains information and "ugly" doesn't. If you know your Lewis Carroll, "toves" conveys information, but if you don't, it doesn't. If "specified complexity" is closely related to "information," and "information" depends on the observer, then I have to worry that specified complexity depends on the observer, too, which would make it completely subjective and useless.

You left alone the other problem, which, if you wanted to focus on specified complexity, you really should've addressed: any given randomly-generated arrangement has specified complexity. For example, I could pick up a rock and say that its atomic and molecular structure has specified complexity, since you'd need to have a fairly long algorithm to generate exactly the same rock again. You've replied to this that you could just generate any random rock, and it would be equivalent, but it wouldn't be the same rock.

It might equally lack information, but we've just said that whether something has information or not depends significantly on the observer, so this is not a useful distinction.

quote:
The nested hierarchy came before the idea of common descent. How would you explain that?
And Democritus came up with atomic theory. That doesn't make him Niels Bohr.

quote:
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.

quote:
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
Yes, they do have to fit. It's just the placement that can be unclear. But nothing is so far removed from the hierarchy that we don't know what its closest relatives are, so things do end up fitting rather neatly.

This is not an inevitable consequence of a nested hierarchy, by the way. Languages also fit into a nested hierarchy (by a similar evolutionary mechanism), but there are languages (Basque being one of the more famous) that don't appear to fit at all into anything that we know. Most people figure that Basque didn't emerge completely separately, that at some point it was related to something that is related to some other known language, but that it goes back farther than we can trace with our linguistic history (since our fossils only go back a few thousand years, unlike biologists'). But we don't have any direct evidence that Basque isn't an instance of language arising completely independently.

It just happens that the biological nested hierarchy is a particularly complete and tidy one, so we can fit everything in somewhere.

quote:
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)
Uh, if I'm not mistaken, every single one of those principles has been quantified (assuming you mean "least action"). They're often expressed in words, but they're also expressed with equations.

[ Thursday, January 10, 2008 22:30: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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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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Stillness: I've given my reasons. My objections to what you've said in this thread don't logically depend on common descent being correct.

For the record, I'm objecting to your premise that specified complexity is only observed in systems created by an intelligence. For all I care, common descent could be false, and your premise would still be wrong. If you're interested in discussing this, let's discuss it and not attempt to bring in additional (and distracting) issues.

[ Thursday, January 10, 2008 23:20: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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I'm not an expert in any field, but I have read liberally from within it. I can appreciate your skepticism, but each of those "things" has been answered many times to the satisfaction of the general scientific population. Once can't expect to find a fossilized record of the proportions you expect, but only because your expectations are vastly removed from reality. It took some pretty special events to make fossils at all, and there is no reason to expect them to be prevalent. There may be further fossil records still under the seabed which we haven't yet explored. I know that where I live there are fossilized clams and such, since it used to be 600 feet down. But such is the passage of time.
You'll have to struggle on with your confusions over the origin of the species. It has been answered, and rigorously tested. It is a robust answer. I still don't see what your answer is, despite all the rhetoric. You claim it not to be design, yet you do mention it. I just don't know what you are bringing to the table, because, if it is a vastly superior and testable, and ultimately more robust theory, then the scientific community will welcome it with open arms and heap praise on you for your elucidation. So start sharpening your pen and explain your theory.

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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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quote:
Originally written by Jumpin' Salmon:

I still don't see what your answer is, despite all the rhetoric.
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Salmon, I think the evidence points to multiple creation events.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_creationism
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Whatever, Kel. You wrote in support of common descent but are unwilling or unable to back it up with actual logic.
I could, but I might as well just point you to the Wikipedia article (which I did a few pages back), because it goes into basically all of the relevant points.

I'm not sure why you suddenly lost interest in discussing a point that you were interested in discussing previously. Was it because you realized that you actually had no answer, that your argument was as groundless as I'm saying that it is?

Seems suspicious.

[ Thursday, January 10, 2008 23:34: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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What happens to the rock with the 'i' is also "directed". It's not going to turn into a porpoise any more than my hypothetical children will.

Oh, and about complexity through the length of the algorithm to generate it - that is Kolmogorov complexity, and is on a proper mathematical footing. However, it is not like your specific complexity - random sequences have, as people have been repeatedly saying, more complexity than nonrandom ones of the same length.

So algorithm-length isn't going to quantify complexity for you - it doesn't have the properties you want. Try again.

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

quote:
Originally written by Jumpin' Salmon:

I still don't see what your answer is, despite all the rhetoric.
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Salmon, I think the evidence points to multiple creation events.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_creationism

Really? That is sad. Talk about the ultimate cop out. I mean, if you doubt the fossil record is an accurate representation, then why even acknowledge it at all? In my defense, about not seeing your answer, I wasn't even aware that this thing called "Progressive creationism" even existed. To actually provide some merit to this post, I'll talk a bit about your point on cyanobacteria and other millenia old things. The simple answer is that they are ultimately adapted to their surroundings. They don't change, as a whole, because the most beneficial form already exists. Every generation sees some changes, of course, as mutations, but these are not beneficial so they don't become retained. Now, you can call bull on that, but we are seeing a beneficial change take place in the medical environment right now. Bacteria are "becoming resistant" to (um) anti-bacteria. (That is a pretty stupid name for it, to be honest.) But it isn't that the bacteria named Steve has suddenly learned Chuck Norris style -fu and teaches all his buddies. It is that Steve wakes up one day and finds that it is just him. He doesn't even get that chick that swore she would never talk to him and that the bacterial race would die if they were ever the last two bacteria on earth because bacteria don't reproduce sexually. It is just him. (Hurgle) And suddenly there are millions of little Stevie's, all with that ability to not be affected by the anti-bacteria which killed all his friends. But otherwise, it is exactly the same thing.
So, not only is mutation capable of changing the species, it tends to favor those things that allow survival at a higher rate than without the mutation. This is not a "deleterious" mutation. That is a loaded word, and really has no place here. Much better to say that it is a stabilizing mutation, as that is what is happening.

But now I've gone and added more comments when I had none to give. Progressive? Really? Is that the best they could do to describe a retread on the tired idea of creationism?

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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.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

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.
Please, by all means, keep trying to teach us biology. :rolleyes:

When you use phrases like "by definition", it helps to know what the definitions mean. You don't.

quote:
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.
You still haven't given an adequate definition of either "aperiodic" or "non-random", and it's rather difficult to evaluate your first premise until you do. If by "non-random" you mean "not produced by any means involving random processes", then your argument is circular. If by "non-random" you mean "not produced solely by random processes", then your argument is vacuous. (Given that there's an ongoing debate among theoretical physicists about whether there's any true randomness in the universe at all, your arguments probably shouldn't rely so heavily on randomness in the first place.)

[ Friday, January 11, 2008 00:53: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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I'm undecided as to whether this is a flame fest, a debate or an orgy. Needless to say, after this post I am obviously going to find out.

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quote:
Okay, basic probability time. No number is inherently random or non-random. Processes can be random or non-random, not numbers. Finding the next digits in pi is a non-random process. Selecting a number, any number, out of all numbers can be done randomly. But the number 2 could be random or non-random, depending on how you come up with it, and so could pi.

This is just what the word "random" in probability means.

Blast, read the whole thread up to this point hoping to be able to say this, and you just have to say it on the last page.

On the same subject, in response to some post somewhere in this topic, humans can create random processes. Any process that doesn't always have the same outcome is 'random'. You (meaning whoever made that post) can argue that its just that process is slightly different, and deals with some sort of chaotic system, but seems to me that would just be part of the randomness of it.

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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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Yeah, because obviously, lack of an immediate compelling answer on a web forum = support for a role played by a magical god. :rolleyes:

Let's turn it around:

Please show the logical premises that support the conclusion that a magical god is responsible for all increase in complexity in biological systems.
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