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Author Topic:   Intelligent Design just a question for evolutionists
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 50 of 146 (792364)
10-07-2016 1:15 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Taq
10-07-2016 12:58 PM


Re: Life Looks Engineered
And they don't take us very far in biology, either.

Then why exactly is the molecular biology literature replete with terminology borrowed from engineering disciplines?

Does this high resolution look at a protein look designed, or just like a mass of atoms?

Umm, that looks like a sophisticated two-part machine with interlocking modules.

But two can play this game.

ATP_synthase_UPDATED

That's a machine. Well, it's a machine according to the scientific literature, at least.

It doesn't help us in biology, either.

Really? Then tell that to published biologists who extensively use terminology borrowed from engineering disciplines.

It isn't required.

So why is it used so extensively?

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by Taq, posted 10-07-2016 12:58 PM Taq has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 53 by Taq, posted 10-07-2016 2:53 PM Genomicus has not yet responded
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Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 52 of 146 (792366)
10-07-2016 1:52 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by Percy
10-07-2016 1:22 PM


Well, okay, but is this science or religion? In what branch of science or with what natural phenomena does science ever argue, "This could be the result of some agency far more intelligent and powerful than ourselves." None. With rare exceptions such arguments originate with religious adherents.

That's kinda the whole point of SETI, though, isn't it? That there could exist signals out there that were created by some intelligence. Extrapolating from "an intelligence that's more powerful than ourselves" to the notion of gods is incredibly anthropocentric ("How dare there be intelligence elsewhere in the universe that is superior to ours"). We must acknowledge the real possibility that intelligence civilizations exist -- or have existed -- which are significantly more advanced than humanity at present.

There's nothing inherently religious in what I am arguing. I'd call it exploratory science.

Now, it does become religious when right-wing American Christian zealots attempt to co-opt the overall notion of teleology to suit their own agenda and desired power structures.

It can often be difficult to tease apart the idea of agency behind the origin of life and the cultural and ideological forces that have co-opted that theme and forced an interpretation on it. Yet I have consistently endeavored to highlight that distinction here -- that the notion of teleology in biological origins is not necessarily religious.

Let's confront the hypothesis of "DNA as an intelligently designed code" in a bit more detail. Upon first learning of the genetic code one could be forgiven for exclaiming, "My God, this couldn't have happened naturally." But then one asks where the DNA came from? From the parents. And where did their DNA come from? From their parents, and so forth back through all the ancestors and finally to when it wasn't even DNA. And how could species ever evolve? DNA copying is imperfect. And how does that not cause extinction of all life? Selection. And so forth with questions of ever broadening scope and answers that lead to an infinite supply of more questions.

Most scientists are familiar with the dangers of extrapolation without independent, supporting data. The question of the origin of the genetic code is a historical one. Conjuring molecular evolutionary fantasias not supported by historical evidence is exactly that -- an exercise in creative imagination, but not particularly a rigorous attempt at answering the question of how the genetic code, as an entity in biological history, actually emerged.

No investigation of a bewildering scientific mystery finds discovery leading toward intelligent agency. What we learn is always in the direction of the natural.

Agency can be perfectly, utterly natural. I'm hardly proposing otherwise.

This is one of the things science gradually learned in the centuries after the Middle Ages, that divine providence (or intelligent agent in modern ID lingo) never turns out to be the answer. It is never argued in modern science, "We've tried and tried to find an answer for this, but we can't find one, so one has to consider a power far greater than ourselves."

There's nothing wrong with considering a "power greater than ourselves." That's an intrinsically anthropocentric ideology; the problem becomes when that "power" is presumed to be some sort of masculine god creature thing.

Actually, engineering life doesn't require technology significantly more advanced than our own. It only requires a few decades of advance in molecular nanotechnology and manufacturing.

IDists will argue, "No no, not a 'power far greater than ourselves,' just an intelligent agent. Intelligent, like we are, that's all." But it's hard to take them at their word - at heart they seek God, not aliens, for there's no answer for the infinite regression. If life here is the result of an intelligence, then where did that intelligence come from?

What makes you think that life on Earth represents the only possible combination of molecules that can be endowed with intelligence? We know, after all, that non-biological systems can possess intelligence (i.e., AI systems, which are becoming increasingly "smarter").

All that is required for evolution to kick-start on a planetary (or other) surface is self-replication with errors. And there are plenty of possible self-replicating systems that could conceivably arise on another planet: systems which would not possess the properties that life on Earth has -- properties that have posed a problem for origin of life models.

Ultimately there had to have been a first intelligence, a god...

That's rather parochial -- even naive -- thinking. Gods and their ilk are hardly needed for non-genetic-code-based evolution to kick-start elsewhere in the universe.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 51 by Percy, posted 10-07-2016 1:22 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 57 by Percy, posted 10-08-2016 8:12 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 61 of 146 (792382)
10-08-2016 11:04 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by Percy
10-08-2016 8:12 AM


All I can say in response is, yes, that's pretty much what one in your position would be expected to argue...

Yes, that's pretty much all you can say in response, but just because you expected me to argue that doesn't invalidate my position. You didn't really offer much substantive criticism. And I'd expect someone in your position to argue what you're arguing, so I'm frankly not sure what your train of thinking here is.

...making a plea to accept your position as reasonable with no arguments built around evidence...

Arguments from analogy are perfectly reasonable.

This doesn't mean we jump up and down and declare that life was definitely engineered.

It doesn't mean that we try to sneak this into the classroom.

But it does mean that it makes sense to be suspicious that agency has played a role in the origin of life.

...and with no hint of recognition that your position's infinite regression leads to theological questions of ultimate origins...

There is no "infinite regression" in my position. That's more anthropocentric ideology. There is nothing that suggests that non-code-based self-replicators cannot emerge on other planets. I suspect that it is creationists who first instilled this belief in the overall debate over life's origin, with the bizarre argument that if scientists cannot presently explain how life arose that god must have done it.

But let's think this through in more depth. What is it about life that leads me to suspect agency was involved in its origin? It is the presence of a genetic code, coupled to the fact that life -- at its core -- makes use of molecular machinery that smacks of rational design not reflective of hodge-podge Neo-Darwinian co-option scenarios. There is more to this suspicion, but this is a start and will help clarify my point.

At this point, you think my suspicion necessarily entails an appeal to the supernatural (or that it ultimately must do so through infinite regression). But that can only be true if self-replicating systems unlike what we find here on Earth could not have ever emerged elsewhere in the cosmos. On the one hand, you feel like I must appeal to the supernatural -- to an utterly unknown entity. But if I can appeal to an unknown entity, why must that entity be supernatural? Why can't it be perfectly and utterly natural?

After all, we know that there are myriads of possible non-biological, non-genetic-code-based self-replicators. One need only examine the research of Rebek and colleagues (see, e.g., [1] and [2]) to understand that the analogs of genetic codes, bipartite complementarities found in nucleic acids, and ribosomes are hardly needed for the existence of non-biological autocatalytic systems. Their model is based on principles of self-complementarity -- an elegantly minimalistic pathway to non-biological, molecular evolution. Such a model is similar in principle to the non-computationally-intensive Penrose block replicators (see, for example, [3]).

Much more could be cited here as it pertains to self-replicating systems that are quite unlike biological life on Earth, such as dendrimers [4] and zeolites [5].

The point here is rather straightforward. Your argument that my position necessarily entails an infinite regression to a god is hard to entertain when one considers that either (a) my position must resort to something we know absolutely nothing about (gods and such), or (b) it can resort to phenomena we actually have some knowledge and documentation about (non-code-based self-replication). I see no reason why option A is the only option, and nor have you made a case for that.

Just as the Earth's history is recorded in the rocks, life's history is recorded in the cells. About Earth's history Faith likes to call geological strata "stacks of rocks" as if they contain no evidence of time and process, and you seem to be making a very similar argument about life.

C'mon, Percy. You know very well that the geological evidence for common ancestry is magnitudes more robust than any historical evidence you can muster for life's origin through non-teleology.

References

1. Rebek, 1990. Molecular Recognition with Model Systems. Angewandte Chemie.

2. Nowick et al., 1991. Kinetic studies and modeling of a self-replicating system. Journal of the American Chemical Society.

3. Penrose and Penrose, 1957. A Self-reproducing Analogue. Nature.

4. Matthews et al., 1998. Dendrimers—Branching out from curiosities into new technologies. Progress in Polymer Science.

5. Chretien, 2007. Supramolecular photochemistry in zeolites: From catalysts to sunscreens. Pure and Applied Chemistry.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by Percy, posted 10-08-2016 8:12 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by edge, posted 10-08-2016 11:34 AM Genomicus has responded
 Message 63 by Percy, posted 10-08-2016 3:21 PM Genomicus has responded
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Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 64 of 146 (792401)
10-08-2016 10:04 PM
Reply to: Message 62 by edge
10-08-2016 11:34 AM


Then what is the origin of your agency?

Imperfectly self-replicating systems that subsequently undergo Neo-Darwinian evolution.

Let's suppose that life on Earth could not have plausibly originated without the intervention of agency. Does it follow that no life form could ever originate through non-agency? Absolutely not. Extrapolating a conclusion based on life on Earth to all possible self-replicating systems is rather nonsense.

So then, that would be some natural origin?

Yes, of course. It seems as if non-teleologists have succumbed to the relentless propaganda of creationism which says that if life on Earth could not have arisen without design, then a god -- and only a god -- must be invoked.

Non-teleologists would do well to take a page out of the papers of Japanese scientists Yokoo and Oshima (1979) and Nakamura (1986) -- arguably more or less immune to the right-wing, fundamentalist propaganda of American creationism.

These researchers sought to test the hypothesis that extraterrestrial messages could be found in the genomes of simian virus 40 and bacteriophages. Their investigation was motivated by SETI, not by gods -- and if such a message had been found, the conclusion would have lead to natural, extraterrestrial intelligence without appeals to the supernatural.

Refs:

1. Yokoo, H., and Oshima, T., 1979. Is bacteriophage φX174 DNA a message from an extraterrestrial intelligence? Icarus.

2. Nakamura, H., 1986. SV40 DNA—A message from ϵ Eri? Acta Astronautica.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by edge, posted 10-08-2016 11:34 AM edge has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by Percy, posted 10-09-2016 12:18 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 66 of 146 (792407)
10-09-2016 1:24 AM
Reply to: Message 63 by Percy
10-08-2016 3:21 PM


Your position isn't invalid - it's unsupported by any evidence, and that's why you're arguing in the way you are.

Then you misunderstand my position. My position is not that life was definitely engineered. My position is not that there is strong, direct evidence for life's origin through agency. Rather, my position is that there is a reasonable basis for the hypothesis of rational engineering in life's origin, contrary to the rather loud clamoring of some non-teleologists who insist that any hypothesis of design springs from religious motivation.

I see now that you're focused solely on design in life's origin, not design generally in life that would include the design of each species and so forth.

Search my post history on EvC. I've never argued for the direct design of all biological species. That would fly in the face of present scientific evidence.

Analogies are explanatory aids, not evidence.

Analogies are more than just explanatory aids. Analogous reasoning is useful in scientific discovery (e.g., in archeology; see Lewis-Williams, 1991, and Wylie 1982). So while analogies cannot function as direct evidence, they have a proper role in providing a robust basis for hypothesis discovery and creation.

Thus, Darwin made analogy the thrust of his argument for the origin of species through variation and selection, by drawing a comparison between domestic breeding through artificial selection and the natural evolution of species (Levine, 2007; Haig, 2013).

"Analogy reasoning, besides the possibility of suggesting scientific metaphors, also guides the scientific creativity in the proposal of new theoretical models capable of providing theoretical explanations of open problems," writes Rivadulla in a 2008 publication (Rivadulla, 2008), and cites numerous examples of the use of analogous reasoning in scientific discovery and hypothesis generation. Examples include the proposal of the shell model of the nucleus, stimulated by analogies with the atomic shell model; other examples from theoretical physics are brought to the front, as well.

Citing the utility of analogy in shedding light on the wave model of electrons, Rivadulla notes that: "As this experiment shows, analogy serves to provide a theoretical interpretation of a surprising experimental outcome, and it is the basis of an abductive inference to the best explanation of the experimental result."

Examples of analogous reasoning to serve as the rational basis for scientific hypothesis creation abound in the biological sciences. For example, Margulis' endoysmbiotic hypothesis was stimulated on the basis of Wallin's observations concerning the similarities between the cytological properties of mitochondria and bacteria.

And, of course, numerous other examples could be raised from the history of science. As Henry Margenau (1950) noted:

"Historical evidence indicates that all sciences start upon the correlational level and evolve progressively toward the theoretic stage. At any given stage, no science is entirely correlational and none is entirely theoretic. Nevertheless, if there is a significant methodological distinction it is this, that a science is either predominantly correlational or predominantly theoretic."

As the non-religiously-motivated suspicion of engineering in life (or what may properly considered a SETI endeavor rooted in molecular biology) is in its infancy, where does such a notion fall -- is it predominantly correlational or predominantly theoretic? While some tentative theoretic models have been suggested (see, e.g., my own essay at EvC, "Nature's Engines and Engineering"), more work needs to be done in this area. So the notion of teleology in biology is more correlational than theoretic, but the strong analogies between life's molecular fabric and actual engineered technology does mean that there is a perfectly rational basis for postulating a hypothesis of agency in the origin of life.

That's your argument? That life based upon "non-code-based self-replicators" arose elsewhere in the universe, that intelligent life eventually emerged there, then they traveled here and created "code-based self-replicators"?

Do you have evidence that life based upon "code-based self-replicators" can't arise naturally or at least not here?

You're needlessly re-directing the line of discussion. The entire point behind noting that non-code-based self-replicators exist and can plausibly evolve into intelligent entities was to refute this notion that any design hypothesis concerning life's origin must necessarily invoke gods. And that's a point you're not really responding to.

Any evidence that life based upon "non-code-based self-replicators" *can* arise naturally?

Umm, there's nothing that makes the origin of self-complementary, imperfectly self-replicating molecules arising under natural (that is, non-technological) conditions implausible. This idea is far more credible than looking to what we absolutely know nothing about -- the notion of gods.

Some explanation of how such life might even work? Do you have any arguments based upon evidence instead of analogies and an overactive imagination? (We'll leave aside science-fictiony interstellar travel.)

You're, again, misdirecting the line of discussion. Do you have any solid, robust arguments as to why my position necessarily entails the supernatural?

C'mon yourself. Faith likes to ignore the geological evidence for geological history, and in similar fashion you like to ignore the biological evidence for life's history.

Eh, I hardly ignore the biological evidence for life's history. I rely on such evidence every day for making robust molecular evolutionary hypotheses.

The evidence for both geological and biological history peters out the further back in time you go, but we don't conclude from lack of this type of evidence that aliens built the Earth or created life.

You're arguing from analogy, but it's a poor one at that. The evidence for geological evolution is in a distinctly different category then any evidence you can possibly muster for a non-teleological origin of biological life.

We instead seek other avenues of evidence.

Then present your non-science-fiction-y evidence that life arose on Earth through non-teleological mechanisms.

Refs:

Lewis-Williams, J.D., 1991. Wrestling with Analogy: A Methodological Dilemma in Upper Paleolithic Art Research. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society.

Wylie, A., 1982. An analogy by any other name is just as analogical: a commentary on the Gould-Watson dialogue. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.

Levine, A., 2007. Partition epistemology and arguments from analogy. Synthese.

Haig, B.D., 2013. Analogical modeling: a strategy for developing theories in psychology. Frontiers in Psychology.

Rivadulla, A., 2008. Discovery practices in natural sciences: from analogy to production. Revista de Filosofia.

Margenau, H., 1950. The Nature of Physical Reality, p. 29.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Percy, posted 10-08-2016 3:21 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by Percy, posted 10-09-2016 7:49 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 67 of 146 (792408)
10-09-2016 1:29 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by Percy
10-09-2016 12:18 AM


Let's suppose that life on Earth could not have plausibly originated without the intervention of agency.

Let's have good reasons for what you're proposin' supposin'. What conditions make agentless abiogenesis possible elsewhere and impossible here?

Not the point of my response to Edge. I said "Let's suppose that life on Earth could not have plausibly originated without the intervention of agency" to make the point that design hypotheses for the origin of life on Earth need not lead to any infinite regression.

It seems as if non-teleologists have succumbed to the relentless propaganda of creationism which says that if life on Earth could not have arisen without design, then a god -- and only a god -- must be invoked.

At least it is possible to understand their motivation. Heaven only knows your reasons for wanting code-based self-replicators here on Earth to have been designed and created by non-code-based self-replicators from another star.

Sure, you understand their motivation, but you've also fallen prey to their theological propaganda.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by Percy, posted 10-09-2016 12:18 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by Percy, posted 10-09-2016 8:02 AM Genomicus has not yet responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 69 of 146 (792411)
10-09-2016 7:58 AM
Reply to: Message 68 by Percy
10-09-2016 7:49 AM


You sound like Trump.

Welp.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by Percy, posted 10-09-2016 7:49 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by Percy, posted 10-09-2016 9:54 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 72 of 146 (792416)
10-09-2016 10:22 AM
Reply to: Message 71 by Percy
10-09-2016 9:54 AM


Thanks for your response. To be clear, when I stated that "I hardly ignore the biological evidence for life's history. I rely on such evidence every day for making robust molecular evolutionary hypotheses," the "robust hypotheses" I was referring to had nothing to with intelligent design or self-praise. It was in reference to published and ongoing molecular phylogenetics research relevant to bacterial systematics. The hypotheses are "robust" because, well, statistics and stuff.

The point I was making there is that I fully accept and am well-aware of the biological evidence that maps out life's history. I am completely aware, too, that no robust ID hypotheses have been proposed.

IMHO, you seem slightly paranoid and/or confused about my intentions here, and continually drawing comparisons between my arguments and Faith's appears to be a rhetorical ploy that doesn't really serve much of a purpose beyond your own attempts at provocation. It's rather off-putting and frankly unnecessary. But whatever.

You're apparently unbothered by comparisons to Faith, so I'll mention that when Faith's ideas are challenged she starts finding problems with people, even provoking them.

Well, I don't know -- I'm not the one who thought that drawing comparisons between one's debate opponent and a racist misogynist backed by Klansmen was a good idea.

Do you have arguments beyond, "I think hints and analogies justify making this an area of active research"?

Right now? Nope. Well, other than my argument that design hypotheses don't have to lead to invocations of the supernatural.

Do you have any ideas for where such research would even start?

I don't have the time right now to discuss in depth the various arguments I've raised that suggest agency in the origin of life and/or potential research programs. Those discussions have been carried out in depth at EvC. See here, here, here, here, and here. When I have time to present my other lines of thinking, I'll put up a post here at EvC.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by Percy, posted 10-09-2016 9:54 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 73 by Percy, posted 10-10-2016 7:48 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 74 of 146 (792473)
10-10-2016 10:54 AM
Reply to: Message 73 by Percy
10-10-2016 7:48 AM


Yes, precisely, bragging about your knowledge and thinking instead of giving us demonstrations of it.

I don't decide if a hypothesis is "robust." The statistics do. That's not bragging. That's statistics.

Good to know - I thought you were trying to convince us there were.

Whatever gave you that idea? In the future, maybe don't assume what someone is arguing.

Yeah, right, that was the context here, racism and misogynism, not ceaseless self-promotion without factual foundation.

Geez, Percy, you can't even admit that saying I "sound like Trump" was in bad taste. Check your damn privilege. You're insulated from most of the negative effects of a Trump candidacy, so you're fine with throwing around comparisons with Trump. Not everyone is insulated, Percy. And don't for a second think that your concern of "his hands on a nuclear button" ever rivals the lived experiences of others.

How many times do I have to remind you that I dropped that argument as soon as you argued that life here was designed by life elsewhere that arose naturally?

You asked explicitly if I had any other arguments beyond the analogies being discussed. I answered that question by affirming that my one other argument was related to theology and the origin of life.

You haven't so far been able to offer any support for that possibility. Your position now seems to be, "I have disproved the charge of theological motives by offering up this possibility but will not be addressing the expressed concerns about its lack of factual foundation."

My only intent was to refute the idea that any design hypothesis necessarily leads to an invocation of the supernatural.

The original question in this thread is why evolutionists can't see that the robustness of ID arguments invalidates accusations of theological motives, but you just said there are "no robust ID hypotheses," so just what more is there to say?

I'm not sure that anyone is saying that there is more to say.

By the way, isn't the solar system just a giant clock? Must have been designed.

You've made this discussion more hostile than anticipated (let me guess: in a classically socially awkward manner, you're going to draw more comparisons between me and Faith, right?). Our conversation here is over, as far as I'm concerned (obviously, you can reply all you want, but it won't be a good use of my time to engage in that line of discussion).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by Percy, posted 10-10-2016 7:48 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by Percy, posted 10-10-2016 12:55 PM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 99 of 146 (793553)
11-01-2016 10:57 PM
Reply to: Message 93 by Percy
10-31-2016 8:20 AM


The stars appear motionless in space...whoops!

The sun and planets look like they orbit the Earth...whoops!

The world looks flat...whoops!

The continents look like permanent and immovable features of the planet...whoops!

There are only four fundamental elements: earth, air, fire and water...whoops!

Heavier objects should fall faster...whoops!

Life looks designed...whoops!

This is a rather shoddy argument, and not a very nuanced one. For each of these you cited, closer examination of the perceived appearances reveal that these appearances fall away. That is, a "higher resolution" perspective renders these appearances flawed.

Which isn't quite true for biological life. Paley's argument was that life "looks designed," and therefore was designed (by agency). Hume countered that life, in fact, does not look designed and is actually full of fundamental flaws.

But when we look at life on a biochemical/molecular level, the analogy with engineering strengthens, rather than weakens. This isn't true for all the other examples you cited: closer inspection doesn't support the initial appearances.


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 Message 93 by Percy, posted 10-31-2016 8:20 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
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Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 101 of 146 (793557)
11-02-2016 1:34 AM
Reply to: Message 75 by Percy
10-10-2016 12:55 PM


Yes, precisely, bragging about your knowledge and thinking instead of giving us demonstrations of it.

I don't decide if a hypothesis is "robust." The statistics do. That's not bragging. That's statistics.

No, that was you making unsupported assertions that you "hardly ignore the biological evidence of life's history," and that you "rely on such evidence every day for making robust molecular evolutionary hypotheses." When challenged the story suddenly changed and the robust hypotheses weren't about ID but were "in reference to published and ongoing molecular phylogenetics research relevant to bacterial systematics," and that "the hypotheses are 'robust' because, well, statistics and stuff."

Robust molecular evolutionary hypotheses aren't ID hypotheses. If I had meant robust ID hypotheses, I would have said robust ID hypotheses. Idk, maybe you should consider upping your verbal comprehension game. Understanding what I wrote isn't hard, but the powers of your imagination were nevertheless able to attach your own story to it.

Whatever you really meant, instead of claims of how substantially your thinking is based upon evidence and how strong your hypotheses are, it would be better to just attempt to demonstrate those claims through your discussion in this thread, and then let people make up their own minds.

Kinda hypocritical, Percy, because you're not following your own advice. Instead of claiming how I "like to ignore the biological evidence for life's history," it would be better to just attempt to demonstrate that claim through your discussion in this thread, and then let people make up their own minds.

To me you appear to be not only ignoring the evidence of life's history, but ignoring it while it's being called to your attention. We know the power of mutation and selection, it's unambiguously obvious throughout life's history, but you ignore it as you consider the transition from life to non-life and instead baldly state that DNA couldn't have emerged naturally.

- Where have I denied the power of mutation and selection in shaping biological life on Earth?

- When have I denied the unambiguous evidence for the nature of life's history on Earth?

- What internally consistent armamentarium of evidence that documents the evolutionary history of life and that also supports the purported transition of non-life to biological life on Earth am I ignoring?

- Where have I baldly stated that DNA couldn't have emerged naturally?

It would do you well to actually read what I write instead of conjuring stuff up.

You asked explicitly if I had any other arguments beyond the analogies being discussed. I answered that question by affirming that my one other argument was related to theology and the origin of life.

Theology? Better check your Message 66 again. No mention of theology.

Apparently the meaning of the word "related" escapes the scope of your lexicon. My other argument was related to theology in the origin of life, as I was discussing how theology need not be invoked in an agency-based hypothesis for the origin of biological life on Earth. But sure, go ahead and keep ignoring what I'm actually saying and letting your lack of attention to detail permeate this discussion.

My only intent was to refute the idea that any design hypothesis necessarily leads to an invocation of the supernatural.

And when your refutation was challenged you ignored that challenge, continue to ignore it, and are evading like crazy. I ask you once again, what is the factual foundation for your supposed refutation? By what evidence and reasoning do you conclude that life on Earth could not have arisen naturally?

You mean non-teleologically, not "naturally." If a non-biological intelligence engineered life on Earth, then it'd still be natural.

Anyways, I've already outlined why the life on Earth is categorically different than other forms of self-replicators. It is code-based, but self-replicating systems need not demand the use of a code:

"What is it about life that leads me to suspect agency was involved in its origin? It is the presence of a genetic code, coupled to the fact that life -- at its core -- makes use of molecular machinery that smacks of rational design not reflective of hodge-podge Neo-Darwinian co-option scenarios. There is more to this suspicion, but this is a start and will help clarify my point.

At this point, you think my suspicion necessarily entails an appeal to the supernatural (or that it ultimately must do so through infinite regression). But that can only be true if self-replicating systems unlike what we find here on Earth could not have ever emerged elsewhere in the cosmos. On the one hand, you feel like I must appeal to the supernatural -- to an utterly unknown entity. But if I can appeal to an unknown entity, why must that entity be supernatural? Why can't it be perfectly and utterly natural?

After all, we know that there are myriads of possible non-biological, non-genetic-code-based self-replicators. One need only examine the research of Rebek and colleagues (see, e.g., [1] and [2]) to understand that the analogs of genetic codes, bipartite complementarities found in nucleic acids, and ribosomes are hardly needed for the existence of non-biological autocatalytic systems. Their model is based on principles of self-complementarity -- an elegantly minimalistic pathway to non-biological, molecular evolution. Such a model is similar in principle to the non-computationally-intensive Penrose block replicators (see, for example, [3]).

Much more could be cited here as it pertains to self-replicating systems that are quite unlike biological life on Earth, such as dendrimers [4] and zeolites [5].

The point here is rather straightforward. Your argument that my position necessarily entails an infinite regression to a god is hard to entertain when one considers that either (a) my position must resort to something we know absolutely nothing about (gods and such), or (b) it can resort to phenomena we actually have some knowledge and documentation about (non-code-based self-replication). I see no reason why option A is the only option, and nor have you made a case for that."

You responded with asking me if I have evidence that biological life can't arise naturally. It's notoriously difficult to demonstrate a negative; the burden of evidence is on you to demonstrate that life on Earth could have plausibly originated without the intervention of agency -- and that this actually happened in Earth's history.

...and are evading like crazy.

You didn't even begin to address this comment of mine, from Message 66:
"Then present your non-science-fiction-y evidence that life arose on Earth through non-teleological mechanisms."

I actually am addressing the points you're raising; but you didn't even respond to that. Who's the one evading like crazy now?

The hostility here is all you...

Most* intelligent adults of sound judgment don't think it mature to draw comparisons between someone they're discussing stuff with and people like Donald Trump. But hey, you do you -- maybe you're the exception to that overall generalization of respectable adults.

*Based solely on personal experience and not statistical studies.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by Percy, posted 10-10-2016 12:55 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 102 by Pressie, posted 11-02-2016 7:21 AM Genomicus has not yet responded
 Message 109 by Percy, posted 11-02-2016 8:39 AM Genomicus has not yet responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 105 of 146 (793564)
11-02-2016 7:57 AM
Reply to: Message 103 by Pressie
11-02-2016 7:41 AM


Nope. It's a great argument. And very nuanced, too.

Ping me when you're finished being a cheerleader and actually start contributing to meaningful discussion.

Thx.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 103 by Pressie, posted 11-02-2016 7:41 AM Pressie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 106 by Pressie, posted 11-02-2016 8:02 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 107 of 146 (793566)
11-02-2016 8:06 AM
Reply to: Message 106 by Pressie
11-02-2016 8:02 AM


Ping me when you actually stop using worthless word salads.

Ping me when you've shown where I've written something that is unintelligible to most college-educated, English-speaking audiences. You'd have to do that to back your claim of "word salad."

Thx.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 106 by Pressie, posted 11-02-2016 8:02 AM Pressie has not yet responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 108 of 146 (793569)
11-02-2016 8:27 AM
Reply to: Message 100 by dwise1
11-02-2016 1:16 AM


But when we look at life on a biochemical/molecular level, the analogy with engineering strengthens, rather than weakens.

What are you seeing at that biochemical/molecular level that strengthens the analogy with engineering?

You don't have proof-reading and error-correcting mechanisms in volcanology (or geology as a whole), and nor does one find codes in astronomy or chemistry.

Chemists don't talk about a nitrogen-chloride circuit that shuttles chloride to nitrogen. And you will not find the scholarly literature discussing how the ocean "senses" the moon and regulates its motion in response, thereby forming tides. Communication (as defined by, e.g., De Loof in "Life is Communication") doesn't happen between the Earth and sun, with a resulting orbit. And you won't read discussions on literal machines ("complex machines," not simple machines, as defined by Bruce Alberts and others) in the discoveries of these scientific disciplines.

Yet this kind of language is at the core of both molecular biology and engineering. Writes Alberts (1998):

"Why do we call the large protein assemblies that underlie cell function protein machines? Precisely because, like the machines invented by humans to deal efficiently with the macroscopic world, these protein assemblies contain highly coordinated moving parts. Within each protein assembly, intermolecular collisions are not only restricted to a small set of possibilities, but reaction C depends on reaction B, which in turn depends on reaction A—just as it would in a machine of our common experience."

Notably, the extensive use of engineering language in biology only began with the birth of the molecular biology and genomics revolution. While words like "machine" or "pump" were used to describe biological features like the human heart, this kind of language becomes much more useful and much more prevalent when we look at the molecular level of life. So the analogy between life and engineering -- fuzzy at best before discoveries in molecular biology -- strengthened, instead of weakened, with further understanding of the cell.

Do you know anything about engineering practices or principles?

Probably.

One principle is modularity.

Life is chock-full of modularity. Protein domains function as molecular modules that can be used in a wide array of biological contexts. Look 'em up.

Let's look at life. What do we see? Complexity. Extreme complexity. Even "irreducible" complexity. Is that consistent with engineering principles? Absolutely not!

"Complexity" is a vague term here, so it'd be useful if you broke down exactly what you mean by "complexity" in the context of engineering and molecular biology. Redundancy, for example, is often considered a form of "complexity," and is frequently cited as an instance of poor engineering.

Yet this fundamentally overlooks the nature of scaling laws as they pertain to machine components of nano-size. Thermal bond cleavage, photochemical disruption through energetic photons, and radiation damage all present challenges to the successful functioning of molecular machine components -- while they aren't particularly relevant when it comes to designing macro-scale machine systems.

One solution for staving off loss of function in molecular machines due to the above phenomena is to create redundant components (generally using a random-damage model). And this, in turn, results in a significant rise in system complexity. Here, complexity is an engineering solution, so the claim that complexity is "Absolutely not" consistent with engineering principles isn't exactly correct. You have to offer a more nuanced perspective of complexity here in order to support your thesis.

Similarly, the elegance of one's design is indicative of the Engineer's skill. So then you believe that your Divine Engineer is an absolutely Schlockmeister?

Well, I'm not a creationist, so you can leave the theological terminology and assumptions about me at the door.

That being said, would you care to explain why so many of the molecular machines which are phylogenetically basal (e.g., F-ATPases, flagella, etc.) actually aren't hodge-podge, jury-rigged designs but instead smack of rational design? Where, exactly, is the "hodge-podge" design in the ur-flagellar core? Where's the kludginess in that bacterial system's architecture and component arrangement?

Reference

Alberts, B., 1998. The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines: Preparing the Next Generation of Molecular Biologists. Cell.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 100 by dwise1, posted 11-02-2016 1:16 AM dwise1 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 110 by Percy, posted 11-02-2016 9:38 AM Genomicus has not yet responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 201 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 113 of 146 (793636)
11-02-2016 8:08 PM
Reply to: Message 77 by Taq
10-11-2016 4:50 PM


Re: Life Looks Engineered
I have seen used pieces of bubble gum on the sidewalk that look more like a machine than that.

I'll be responding to Percy et al. shortly, but Taq, this argument of yours is so bizarre. I'm not sure what part about the relationship between atomic theory and the molecular surfaces of nanometer-sized machine components you don't get.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 77 by Taq, posted 10-11-2016 4:50 PM Taq has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 114 by Percy, posted 11-02-2016 9:08 PM Genomicus has responded

  
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