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Date: 2004/09/17 08:36:35, Link
Author: PaulK
While I have not read Hunter's book, people using Hunter's arguments focus not on positive arguments for evolution but on arguments against Creationism (e.g. the argument from poor design).

It seems obvious to me that arguments against a theological position such as Creationism will involve a theological element.

We face, again, the fact that examining a design hypothesis involves considering the objectives and capabilities of the proposed designer.  Naturally when the proposed designer is God these are theological issues.

Date: 2005/01/04 01:46:36, Link
Author: PaulK
When you say

If you look at ID as Dembski does, then you would have to believe it is a theory.

Do you mean that the ID movement does have an alternate theory to replace evolutionary theory - but they just refuse to talk about it ?  Or that Dembski has to believe that there is one even though there isn't ?

SETI isn't a theory - its a (small) research program.  And it is rather better than ID has managed to do.  Partly because it is focussed on practical methods of investigating the question but more because it does not prejudge the result.  ID as it is actually practised is more like religious apologetics than science.

Date: 2005/01/09 14:58:10, Link
Author: PaulK
Sorry, but intelligent design isn't a theory in the same sense that evolution is at all.

Evolution proposes testable positive hypotheses and leads to more.  The main ID hypothesis is "there is somethong in the history of life that can never be explained by anything other than design".

And it is not the search for intelligence that is deemed unscientific - it is the methods ID proposes using - and the fact that they seem unable to even apply those correctly.  Dembski's hopeless attamtp to show that a bacterial flagellum was designed when he managed to misrepresent Behe and seriusly misapply his own methodology is a case in point.  Meyer's recent paper contains equally bad blunders.

To point out one significant difference SETI has worked out criteria in advance - ID does not.  Radio transmission is also far better understood than the details of evolutionary history.  So SETI has a far firmer basis than ID.

And one final point it is all very well to talk about "probability calculations" in the abstract but we need positive examples where they have been done - correctly.  In fact there is one way to "fix' the result - do the wrong calculation and then claim success.  Which is exactly what Dembski did in No Free Lunch

Date: 2005/01/24 09:33:57, Link
Author: PaulK
I would think that it is up to you to provide evidence that Intelligent Design represents a significant body of knowledge relevant to the history of life on Earth.  After all how would it be possible for me to prove that there isn't some theory hidden away somewhere ?  If you want to claim it is there, then where is it ?
To the best of my knowledge ID has very little in the way of - for example - testable mechanisms (how does the designer implement its designs ?) or predictions.  Nor does it seek to provide - even in outline - any representation of that history (indeed ID refuses to even discuss the age of the Earth which would seem rather important to producing any such history).

As to Dembski's calculations for the flagellum all I have to point out is that Dembski manages to confuse the assembly of an individual flagellum with the acquisition of the flagellum as an inheritable trait.  He does not deal with how flagella actually do grow - looking only at random assembly.  In fact the growth of a flagellum is explained by regularity.  Dembski didn't even consider the real problem.
Moreover, I note that the quote from Behe in "Still Spinning Just Fine" does NOT endorse Dembski's original claim that evolution could not even in principle produce an IC structure.  Probably because Behe did not make any such claim in Darwin's Black Box - he  just argued that it was improbable.  Dembski's argument relies on arguing that it is impossible - a "proscriptive generalisation".  To apply his own methodology properly  he would have to show that the probability of a flagellum evolving is below an appropriate probability bound.  This he has not done.

Meyer's paper is even worse since Meyer confuses the common idea of "Specificied Complexity" with Dembski's idisyncratic usage of the term (better and less misleadingly describied as Specified High Improbability).
So long as Meyer fails to realise that Dembski's information is improbability and "Complexity" simply represents improbability above a specified bound he cannot correctly deploy Dembski's concept.  Yet he uses the term throughout without even specifying a bound (as Dembski's term requires) or calculating the relevant probabilities.

And I have no idea how your response to my point on SETI is meant to help ID.  I did not say that ID must choose a fixed set of criteria and stay with that for all time.  But ID must choose strong criteria which it can justify - as SETI does - and only change them in ways that can be equally justified.  Instead ID seems content to declare success without even adequately justifying the criteria they do use (when they use any at all, that is).

Date: 2005/01/30 13:09:45, Link
Author: PaulK
Quote (Darth Furious @ Jan. 30 2005,01:16)
It is apparent to me that many people are confused with the theory of Intelligent Design. True Designists, such as myself, or those who follow the theory the same way Michael Behe does strongly believe in evolution.[U] The only thing that separates us from the Evolutionists is the fact that we believe evolution occurs on a minor level and not on a major level. Evolution is a theory which seems to simplify Biology. We only wish to point out the complexity of it; Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin each state that evolution is filled with many small simple steps. We stress that this is not so because the biological components of life are far too complex for these small simple steps to take place on a major scale. Therefore the evidence of these major scale changes seem to point in the direction of a Designer. We simply follow the evidence where it leads, and if it leads to a designer then so be it.

You call yourself a "designist" but your argument is indistinguishable from similar arguments used by YECs.

Let me also state that you are NOT following the evidence where it leads.  Since you do not have adequate grounds to rule out evolution from your "major scale changes" (whatever you mean by that) your claim that such changes should be considered "evidence of design" is trivially false.

Date: 2005/01/31 03:48:16, Link
Author: PaulK
In other words you haven't actually examined the matter at all.  You just assume that the eye (and which eye is "the eye" ?) can't evolve because those that you have looked at are complex.  So much for your claim that you were following the evidence.

The real fact is (as even Darwin knew) that there is a good deal of variation in eye structures - including simpler versions (such as those nautiloids that lack a lens - relying on the pinhole-camer principle to focus).

Date: 2005/02/01 02:19:14, Link
Author: PaulK
Quote (Darth Furious @ Jan. 31 2005,19:07)

I don't claim to have studied the matter in any great depth.  Just in greater depth than you have.  Which is hardly difficult since you seem to know almost nothing.

And as for your claim that Darwnin could not have known of the variations in eye structure at the time he wrote - it is a complete absurdity.  And to follow that by claiming that you assume nothing - when assumption is the main basis for your claims is an obvious falsehood.   Well in fact "assumption" is too weak a word for it - your argument is pure invention on your part.  Would it really kill you to try to find out what WAS known in the mid-19th Century rather than making excuses to deny that they knew it ?

Finally there is no need to go into the complexity of the eye.  What IS needed is an explanation of how you can be "following the evidence" without knowing what that evidence is.  Here's a hint the complexity of the eye is NOT an important piece of it - comparative anatomy is and your refusal to accept that

Date: 2005/02/02 01:51:10, Link
Author: PaulK
[quote=Darth Furious,Feb. 01 2005,23:58][/quote]
I'm not dismissing the complexity of the eye. I am dismissing it as SIGNIFICANT EVIDENCE OF DESIGN.  And you have provided no reasoning to explain why you disagree.  And that is how I know that you have not studied the subject in any great depth - vague handwaving about complexity doesn't even touch the real issues in the evolution of the eye - it is simply the same objection that Darwin first answered in 1859.

You say that there is a difference between observation and assumption.  Well did you OBSERVE what 19th century naturalists knew of the comparative anatomy of the eyes of various species or did you assume that they knew nothing of the subject ?   Remember THAT was your claim, not that Darwin did not know about the complexity of cells.

The reason I don't "see" the design of the cell is because "design" is a subjective inference.  There is no objective evidence that "the" cell is designed.

Date: 2005/02/07 17:56:21, Link
Author: PaulK
I beleive that there is an problem with Dembski's view of specification that is not adequately accounted for in the paper.

Dembski allows a specification that is read off from the result provided it meets the requirements he has established.  However this is not equivalent to providing a specification in advance.

Consider a sequence of 500 bits.  If we specify the full sequence in advance then the probability of hitting it by pure chance is 2^-500.

If on the other hand we read the specification off from the result, the probability we should consider is the probability of producing one of the sequences of 500 bits fully defined by a specification that Dembski would consider valid.  Thus to know the probability of achieving such a result by chance we should not consider the probability of producing that particular sequence - we must consider the probability of producing ANY ONE of those sequences.  But how many are there ?  This is where your point that "specification" is quite loosely defined hits hardest - the more sequences that have specifications meeting Dembski's criteria the greater the probability of hitting one by pure chance.  One is reminded of the mathematical "proof" that there are no uninteresting numbers*.

This represents a very serious problem with Dembski's method, and dealing with it will add very greatly to the (already huge) amount of work that must be done to apply Dembski's criterion.

*The proof relies on the idea that being the first uninteresting number is itself an interesting property.  Thus there can be no "first uninteresting number".

Date: 2005/03/04 16:32:38, Link
Author: PaulK
Quote (Lord Timothy @ Mar. 03 2005,14:15)
Since you seem to argue against anything anyone says let's get your idea.

Paul K, how about you give me your definition of a theory, and I will tell you whether or not ID fits it, and why that is true. OK?  

What, according to this theory, did the designer do, specifically.


Before I answer your question I would like a response to the opening paragraph of my last reply to you:

"I would think that it is up to you to provide evidence that Intelligent Design represents a significant body of knowledge relevant to the history of life on Earth.  After all how would it be possible for me to prove that there isn't some theory hidden away somewhere ?  If you want to claim it is there, then where is it ?"

Since you have had more than 5 weeks to find an answer I think it is only reasonable for you to deal with this point first.

Date: 2005/03/14 17:50:12, Link
Author: PaulK
Quote (Lord Timothy @ Mar. 14 2005,14:57)
Before I answer your question I would like a response to the opening paragraph of my last reply to you:

"I would think that it is up to you to provide evidence that Intelligent Design represents a significant body of knowledge relevant to the history of life on Earth.  After all how would it be possible for me to prove that there isn't some theory hidden away somewhere ?  If you want to claim it is there, then where is it ?"

Since you have had more than 5 weeks to find an answer I think it is only reasonable for you to deal with this point first.
Ok I could do that, Irreducible and Specified complexity for example are evidence of design, I think the easiest way to fulfil your next question is for you to give YOUR definition of a theory like I proposed.

Well on Irreducibe Complexity Behe never got around to showing that indirect routes were as unlikely as he claimed, and given that he and Dembski seem to prefer fiddling with the definition to actually addressing the point I think we have to say that the claim that IC is evidence of design still needs work.

As to Specified Complexity do you mean Dembski's definition (which has yet to be applied to biology) or the more usual idea ?  Only the former can be considered evidence for design and then only when the Complexity (i.e. improbability) exceeds a calculated bound.  And it seems to be completely impractical to calculate the "Complexity" in the sorts of situations that ID would like to apply Dembski's ideas to.

I think you can agree that a couple of underdeveloped speculations falls short of being a genuine theory.  If that is the best you have to offer, then why claim that ID has a theory ?

Date: 2005/03/28 14:31:47, Link
Author: PaulK
Dembski's final response is odd.  Why wouldn't the tripod structure of a three-legged stool be valid as a "way in which the function is performed" ?  

It seems like he is trying to grope his way to a definition of IC that really does rule out evolution but it doesn't look likely that he will succeed without making it impractical to determine if a functionis "IC" under that definition or not.

Which would put IC in the same boat with CSI (or SHI as I prefer to call it)

Date: 2005/03/31 01:07:52, Link
Author: PaulK
I would add that in even this case a designer would have had the option of producing completely unrelated "designs" or those that embodied a radically new design element to implement one or more of these functions.  With the diversity of life it has to be considered surprising that we do not see more variation in these areas - if common design were true.

Common design is less constrained than common descent and for that reason even if the intent were to compare the two hypotheses the evidence discussed would still favour common descent.

Date: 2005/04/01 02:51:58, Link
Author: PaulK
I would say that the elements under discussion represent engineering solutions more than artistic style  and so the comparison is not very appropriate.  How could we decide that these particular elements were stylistic rather than purely functional ?  

Even if we were to consider the designer a pure artist, pure artists can and do work in different media requiring different techniques.  So why not a different form of life embodying different mechanisms for one or more of the elements under discussion ?

So I don't see how we could make a strong prediction from a design perspective that any of these elements would be largely constant - let alone all of them.

Date: 2005/04/01 14:48:54, Link
Author: PaulK
No, I think that we do have to consider thaty the actual observed unity is one of solutions and that it is not clearly an aesthetic preference.  THe Common Descent explanation expects these elements to be highly conserved, the Common Designer explanation has no basis for choosing these elements over any others.  Nor is there such strong grounds for expecting a single unvarying "style" over such a wide  range of - supposed - designs.

So in this instance Comon Descent is the superior explanation because it is more constrained in what it could potentially do.

Date: 2005/04/03 06:55:08, Link
Author: PaulK
If you were simply referring to "similar causes produce similar effects" then the choice of an artist is an odd one.  Naturally the "similar" elements produced by an artist would tend to be stylistic and thus we would expect aesthetic commonalities rather than functional ones.

Artists of all people would be the ones who most greatly undermine the simplistic use of the metaphysical principle you refer to, to apply to the output of intelligent designers.

But what amazes me most is the fact that you consider the fact that Common Descent provides strong grounds for these partiocular elements to be conserved to be a seperate issue from the fact that the Common Design does not.  But this comparison is a clear indication that Common Descent is the better explanation for the conservation of these features.  It is only by comparisons like this that we can determine which explanation is the better.

But most amazing of all is the final sentence which indicates that Common Design offers a tautology in place of explanation.

There are valid responses you could have offered - for instance an explanation of why Common Design WOULD predict that these particular elements would be conserved.   You could have looked for other common elements that better fitted the Common Design argument.  BUt you cannot claim that a prediction that maybe some elements will be common to all life is as good as a prediction that specific elements are very likely to be common to all life.

Date: 2005/04/05 02:51:25, Link
Author: PaulK
Quote (Michael Finley @ April 04 2005,17:25)
I have conceded defeat on "the unity of life" prediction. Perhaps we can discuss nested hierarchies in turn.

So long as the designers intentions and capabilities are left undefined there is no good way to say what the designer would produce.

The best you can hope for is that in some cases a designer might produce the same result as common descent - but always the prediction would be weaker, since there is no way to say that the designer WOULD produce that result rather thna some other.

Your strategy - which I grant is the preferred strategy for ID - essentially prevents you from being able to produce positive arguments for design.  If you are serious about exploring a design explanation then you badly need to produce a far more concrete idea of the designer.

Date: 2005/04/14 12:21:08, Link
Author: PaulK
Quote (Michael Finley @ April 14 2005,10:46)
Consider the following example:

In the U.S. around 90% of blacks vote Democratic. Suppose I meet a black voter, and all that I know about him is that he's black and he's a voter. Can I reasonably predict that he votes Democratic, i.e., is it probable that he votes Democratic?

I think I see where your argument is going.

While this response may seem like a nitpick it does illustrate an important point.

If we take it literally that ALL you know about this black person is that he or she is a voter and black - the person in question is randomly selected from every black person in the world who has cast a vote - the answer is "no".  Because there are many black voters in this world outside of the U.S. and they, of course, vote for the governments of their own nations.

The important point is that you cannot extrapolate from a sample unless you know that sample to be representative.  The U.S. population of black voters is not representative of the world population so your "prediction" is a product of poor sampling methodology.

Date: 2005/04/14 13:41:39, Link
Author: PaulK
I don't know why you are insisting on taking thing so slowly.

But OK, I happily accept that IF you know that 90% of a group have a particular property then a randomly chosen member of the group is 90% likely to have that property.

However I will point out that you have to know that 90% of the group DO have that property (or at least have a valid extrapolation that is not biased by the choice of sample).  And I hope that it is not necessary to note that the argument cannot be reversed so that it is argued that an individual with the property in question is 90% likely to belong to the group.

Date: 2005/04/14 14:36:25, Link
Author: PaulK
Well we need precision as well as speed.

So just to be clear, I think we need the following things:

1) A description of your sample of designers - for instance are you including any non-human designers at all ?

2) A description of the sort of similarities expected -  "similarities" is rather vague.

I will also add that I don't think that there is much hope of a useful prediction coming from this, nor of any real support for ID.  So far as I am aware the "similarities" in  biology are best explained by a process of descent with modification and thus support evolution over ID.

Date: 2005/04/14 16:55:51, Link
Author: PaulK
If I read you correctly your known designers are all humans.  That does mean that you must be cautious about extending the idea to any designer that is presumed to be radically different from a human being.

"Similarity" is just too vague - it is the case that similar causes often have "similar" effects (it's an old saw but if we keep it vague it has a lot of truth to it) so it seems likely that any hypothesis explaining the diversity of life would be expected to produce some degree of similarity.  Really you should be looking for the sorts of similarity expected from designers rather than other possible causes.  And I don't think that you can do better than stylistic and aesthetic considerations.

Date: 2005/04/14 17:25:39, Link
Author: PaulK
Quote (Michael Finley @ April 14 2005,16:49)
The group is "intelligent designers" without any further qualification (cf. American, black voter without any further qualification). Human beings are known members of that group.

Presumably then your sample includes a large number of non-human designers, including at least one entity similar to whichever designer you would propose to have been behind biological life (hopefully they would be as well represented as humans).

If not you have fallen into exactly the trap I mentioned in my first post

Date: 2005/04/15 01:50:32, Link
Author: PaulK
Firstly I must point out that accurately characterising your sample is NOT making an additional assumption.  If the only black voters available to you happen to be American would it be an "assumption" that your sample of black voters consisted only of Americans ?  Would it somehow become an reliable sample of black voters worldwide if you simply refused to "assume" or even mention that they were indeed American ?

Rather in claiming that your sample of intelligent designers is automatically representative you are making the assumption that all intelligent designers are - in this respect - like humans.  Which might hold for proposed extraterrestrials, but would hardly be safely applied to the Christian God who many (probably most) ID supporters believe to have been the "designer" of life.

Stylistic and aesthestic considerations are good examples of similarities that are associated with designers rather than any other mechanism.  I think that the relevance should be obvious.  If you really want to argue that similarities are evidence of design you should look for the similarities that are best explained by design rather than those best explained by rival hypotheses.

And this is the point.  Keeping the argument vague and superficial may "help" your position in a rhetorical way since it puts design on the same level as common descent. Yet unless a design hypotheses can lead to deeper and more detailed predictions - as common descent does - then there is no real equality.

Date: 2005/04/15 14:12:41, Link
Author: PaulK
The issue is not that you did not correct the issue in your example - it is that you repeated the error in your main argument.  If you are prepared to make the appropriate modification - rather than labelling it an "assumption" then that problem is solved.

Now similarities in human designs are to an extent a reflection of human limitations - reinventing the wheel is a mistake in human terms - but obviously a being that lacked those limits would not necessarily produce that degree of similarity.

Indeed it seems that rather than relying on a sample, you are trying to reason from the properties inherent in being an "intelligent designer".  This might be a better approach in the absence of examples of non-humans to sample but it is a different approach and renders your initial post irrelevant.

Not being any sort of art critic I will not attempt to offer any detailed description of stylistic and aesthetic considerations.  But it is clear that an artist will tend to use particular motifs and produce results which please his eye.  Because these considerations are not functional AND can be expected to widely cross the (presumed) lines of descent they represent the best sort of similarities to use if arguing for an intelligent designer of life.  

Structural similarities are far less useful to you for reasons discussed in the earlier thread.  You might have some hope of arguing in the grounds of lateral transfer of "designs" but so far as I am aware that approach is not supported by the evidence.

Date: 2005/04/28 06:31:06, Link
Author: PaulK
In the sense relevant to this discussion, the answer is yes.  In every case the designer is known - a human being.  We have a good idea of the designer's capabilities and often of the designer's intentions.  And where we do not know the latter it can be fruitfully investigated.

And please do not tell us that ID is "scientific" because it refuses to generate genuine explanations.  That refusal is UNscientific in itself.  Nick Matzke's paper on a possible pathway for the evolution of the flagellum  presents a testable hypothesis with sufficient supporting evidence to make it plausible.  That IS science.

Date: 2005/04/28 07:45:14, Link
Author: PaulK
Well it's odd that the material you chose to quote is not the one you happen to disagree with.

But your disagreement with me is based on some clear errors.  Firstly the discussion is on ID's status AS A THEORY - not on whether it is true.  SETI is NOT a theory, therefore no comparison betwen SETI and ID could show that ID is a theory.  

Secondly SETI does consider what a designer would do - for instance:


Our first assumption is that the signal will be received at or around the frequency of 1420 MHz. This is the spectral frequency of hydrogen, the most common element in the universe, and therefore a universal reference point for different intelligent species

And of course it deals with ordinary radio signals - a simpe extrapolationf rom human behaviour!  What SETI does NOT do is to go look at astronomical phenomena and look for excuses to declare them designed.  So SETI is very different from ID.

Thirdly our normal intuitive "design detection" does not rest on pure elimination.  Instead it rests on comparing hypotheses.  It has yet to be shown that pure elimination is a practical method.  So there is a very good reason why ID should be trying to frame design hypotheses even IF they are only trying to detect design.

Fourthly there is every reason for websites such as this to oppose the ID movement even if there is no real theory of ID.  ID's claim to be science is part of the propaganda used by the political ID movement.  How can that be countered other than by showing that the claims are false ?

Finally as stated in my first point the question is whether ID offers a theory to replace (or supplement) evolution.  The requirement to generate explanations for biological observations - rather than just claiming to have detected desgn - is not arbitrary as you would have it.  It is simply asking that ID should do what evolutionary theory already does - which is an obvious necessity if it is to offer a genuine replacement.  

Far from disagreeing with me that ID does not have such a theory your response indicates that in fact, you agree.

So lets sum up, you have quoted one of my posts to disagree with a point I made in other posts that in fact you actually agree with.  Might I suggest a little more care and thought in future ?

Date: 2005/05/03 02:05:01, Link
Author: PaulK
Teleologist, if you can't answer the responses you have, what need is there for any more ?

Date: 2005/05/03 14:04:31, Link
Author: PaulK
Teleologist it seems that you are badly confused.

For a start you seem unable to understand that identifying the designers are human is at least a good start.  And your own post identifies three of the crop circles as human creations.  In the case of Stonehenge the archaeology indicates human presence at the time of the (various) construction periods, and the stones themselves are within the capabilities of humans with the technology of the time.  Why then is the conclusion of human design so objectionable to you ?  

Nor do you address my point that generating testable explanations for observations is a very important part of science.  Nor do you explain why an absolute refusal to even attempt to generate such explanations is "scientific".

Finally it would be a good idea to refrain from the use of strawmen.  Darwinism does argue that the evidence is against life having been designed by an entity of completely unknown capabilities and intentions.  The primary arguments for Darwinism are positive arguments.  There are secondary arguments against design which assume a designer whose capabilities and intentions are understandable, but there is no need to argue against the vacuous idea of a designer who could and might do anything.

Date: 2005/05/18 07:35:53, Link
Author: PaulK
My understanding is that MDT is an example of what a design-based scientific approach could be, offered in contrast to ID as it is.

Whether MDT is a better explanation for the evidence than evolution is entirely peripheral to the main point - and even to the secondary point that ID largely neglects the possibility of multiple designers for no clearly stated reason.

Date: 2005/06/16 07:01:49, Link
Author: PaulK
Quote (genesemon @ June 15 2005,10:58)
So what if Meyer actually used the term in Orgel's sense; what is his great crime? Does it really diminish his substantive points? He smuggled Dembski into a peer-reviewed journal to fool state education officials?

Nobody has said that the content of Meyer's article constitutes a literal crime.

However if one of Meyer's major arguments relies on falsely conflating Orgel's usage of "specified complexity" with Dembski's then it is invalid.

If Meyer was aware that he was conflating two distinct definitions then he was being intentionally dishonest.  If he did not then he literally did not understand his own argument.

Equally the reviewers should have caught the error and insist that it was corrected before publication.

Taken together these points argue that Meyer's paper should not have been published as it stands.  That it passed peer review is a testament to the inadequacy of the review, not the quality of the paper.

Date: 2005/06/20 02:11:19, Link
Author: PaulK
Quote (genesemon @ June 17 2005,12:47)
I'm sorry, what is this "falsely conflating" the reviewers are supposed to catch in a journal of taxonomy?! It seems to me that Information Theory is not only a work in progress, so that the meanings of ITS terms may not be completely "specified", but that the criticism is unfair when applied to a MATHEMATICAL theory. An error would be a statement by Meyer that is inconsistent with Dembski' math. Has anyone found such an error? And why should Myer's peer reviewers be obligated to spot something that is outside their field, especially when Meyer's use of the term is consistent with a definition used by one of the founding fathers of molecular biology?

Again, we're talking about a tempest in a teapot.

1) Orgel's definition of "specified complexity" and Dembski's are very different.  The paradigmatic example of Dembski's "specified complexity" are VERY simple from the perspective of Orgel.

2) Strictly speaking, neither definition is a term in information theory.  Orgel's usage was never intended to be a formal term in information theory.

3) Conflating definitions is a serious LOGICAL error.

4) In mathematics definitions must be strictly defined and must never, never be confused.  Why would it be unfair then to point to such an error when dealing with a MATHEMATICAL theory as you claim ?  That would be one of the cases when such an error is most serious.

5) Why should none of the reviewers be familiar with Dembski's work ?  Or investigate the basics - how hard is it to find Dembski's definition ?  If none of the reviewers were capable of spotting the error then there is a problem in the review process.

6) The "storm" appears to be a fabrication on your part.

Date: 2005/11/15 01:36:44, Link
Author: PaulK
Intelligent design could, in principle, be scientific.  But I don't beleive that a single data point - no matter how puzzling - is enough.

What it would take in my view is the production of fruitful design hypotheses.  That is constructing hypotheses about what the Designer would do that lead to predictions about what we will find.

Date: 2005/11/18 06:17:24, Link
Author: PaulK
Paul, I agree with the general point that if you specify a sufficiently unlikely target in advance - say 100 digits of pi in a fixed point base-4 notation in the human genome - then finding it would be evidence that something odd is going on.

Going back to the subject of the thread, though, one anomaly does not make a scientific discipline.  It might be a starting point for a scientific form of ID, but it could never make ID scientific in itself.

Going further, if ID is to be scientific it is up to the supporters of ID to actually BE scientific.

Date: 2005/12/12 07:30:15, Link
Author: PaulK
I have little to add to Henry J's point on Lemma 1.  Variation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for speciation.

On lemma 2 I owuld have to add that stabilising selection and gene flow reduce the amount of variability in a population.

Also the larger the population the harder it is for a new allele to reach fixation - thus a large population is inherently more resistant to evolutionary change than a smaller population.

Given that Lemma's 1 and 2 are less than entirely accurate Lemma 3 only indicates what we already know - that other factors are important.

Thus Lemma 4 has yet to be established.

Date: 2005/12/12 22:55:27, Link
Author: PaulK
In mathematics a "lemma" is an intermediate result in the proof of a theorem.  In other words by labelling these points "lemma"s Dave Finn is claiming to have shown them to be true.

Date: 2005/12/13 20:24:36, Link
Author: PaulK
Salvador states
"This kind of sleight-of-hand being passed of as truth is distressing."

I hope that he is referring to his own post, because it is there that you will find falsehoods passed off as truth.

The weasel program is presented as a simple example of cumulative selection - the theme of the chapter.  Dawkins does not present it as a model of evolutionary processes.  He explicitly states on p50 that evolution does not use comparison to a single, distant target - that the selective process of evolution is "always short term, either simple survivial or, more generally, reproductive success".

In short Salvador's claim is based on a misrepresentation, clearly contradicted by the short section of text - a mere 6 pages - which he cites.

Dawkins does not say that the weasel program represents how haemoglobin was formed.  Dawkisn says instead that calculations of the probability of haemoglobin evolving which do not take account of the cumulative selection of evolution are wrong.

Dawkins does not state that the selective process in the weasel program is that of evolution - he explicitly states that they are different.

The selective forces he invokes for evolution are entirely natural.

On all these points Salvador's claims are false - and to know that all he had to do was read 6 pages of text - the very pages he himself cited.

Date: 2005/12/14 20:26:45, Link
Author: PaulK
Dawkins uses the weasel program as an example of cumulative selection.  Just as your quote says.  Unfortunately for your argument that is all it says - it offers no support for your claims.  Worse for you, as I have shown, Dawkins also explicitly states that the selective mechanism of evolution is different to that in the weasel program on p50.

Thus your argument is based on a misrepresentaion of Dawkins views, explicitly contradicted in the very pages you cited.

As to the rest of your second post:

1) There is no reason to doubt that natural selection was operational in the past.  All the scientific evidence is consistent with such a conclusion.

2) Simply showing that selection can work with design does not prove that it can ONLY work with design.  Your assertion that the weasel program proves the latter is a clear logical error.

None of your assertions - not even your denial of the huge body of scientific evidence supporting evolution - is relevant to the central point of this thread.  

Finally if you really beleive that science education should leave out the mainstream consensus view of the vast majority of working scientists - just because it contradicts your opinions - then I have to say that you obviously have no commitment to good education.