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Here's the article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design

The first paragraph, with citations, is spot-on. Every statement is verifiably correct. Those are the claims of ID proponents, and those claims have been refuted.

Sometimes I think a viewpoint is just so indefensible that trying to report it is going to sound biased. But it isn't bias, it's just that the proposal is so spectacularly wrong.

Like the Flat Earth nonsense. If I tried to report that in an "unbiased" manner it would not sound like it because of the vast amounts of evidence going all the way back to Eratosthenes circa 200 BC that would have to be included in any such discussion of "Flat Earth".

(I didn't go past the first paragraph.)
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From your link:

A thoughtful reader discovered Sanger’s candid comment after he (the reader) sought to edit the entry on ID. He says he corrected the absurdly biased opening sentence, only to find his edits almost instantly reversed, “within one minute.” The first sentence of the entry reads:

Intelligent design (ID) is a religious argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents as “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins”, though it has been found to be pseudoscience.


Were you ever able to find Sanger's revision anywhere else? I'd certainly be interested in reading how he modified the article to make it neutral and unbiased (or at least more so than as currently exists).

Pete
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Here's the article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design

The first paragraph, with citations, is spot-on. Every statement is verifiably correct. Those are the claims of ID proponents, and those claims have been refuted.

Sometimes I think a viewpoint is just so indefensible that trying to report it is going to sound biased. But it isn't bias, it's just that the proposal is so spectacularly wrong.

Like the Flat Earth nonsense. If I tried to report that in an "unbiased" manner it would not sound like it because of the vast amounts of evidence going all the way back to Eratosthenes circa 200 BC that would have to be included in any such discussion of "Flat Earth".

(I didn't go past the first paragraph.)
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Intelligent design is indefensible as anything other than a topic of conversation. At its core, the idea is essentially that 'since we don't understand how it happened, it must have been magic'. Throughout history there have been ideas that this very same 'logic' was applied to, and have since fallen away under the bright light of actual knowledge, vs a presumption based on ignorance.

When you don't know how something works, you can only say "I don't know" or "Let's try to find out". What ID wants to do is say "therefore it must be x". It isn't a logical or rational process to learn anything.

ID is religious promotion, poorly disguised as 'science-y', wrapped in illogic. The attempts to insert this silliness into science curriculums amounts to nothing less than child abuse.
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When it comes to intelligent design, Wikipedia and its axe-grinding editors are ridiculously biased and unfair.

So what POV is Wikipedia supposed to present? The great majority of scientists are of the opinion that Intelligent Design as espoused by the Discovery Institute is NOT legitimate science. This is true of even those scientists who are theists and believe in intelligent design. They understand that this belief is based on faith rather than a valid exercise of modern day scientific methodology. It is not a question of whether the existence of God is right or wrong. It is about whether a philosophical/religious perspective on the origins of things is science based.

So who should make the determination of whether something qualifies as "science"? Rationally one would think it should be the community of scientists, just like mathematicians should decide what is defined as mathematics and biologists are in the best position to define "life" from "non-life".

You seem to believe that such distinctions should be made by the general public. If that is the case, it would be interesting to read your defense.

Even Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger agrees

Larry Sanger seems to believe in a somewhat extreme form of information neutrality. That any and all points of views should be represented more or less equally, regardless of the available evidence or the opinions of experts. This would seem to mean as just one example that Holocaust deniers should be given Wikipedia space and validation equivalent to mainstream historical descriptions of the genocide.

Is this what you believe?
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Larry Sanger seems to believe in a somewhat extreme form of information neutrality. That any and all points of views should be represented more or less equally,


No, Sanger and I think ideas should be presented fairly

It's this kind of behavior at Wikipedia that is not fair:

We’ve already recounted how distinguished paleo-entomologist Günter Bechly, after coming out for intelligent design, found his entry deleted. This was following a surreal online editorial discussion led by an editor going by the pseudonym Jo-Jo Eumerus. Jo-Jo is a self-described 23-year-old “boy” from Switzerland with a dual online identity as a 500-year-old wizard. Under this other identity, the wizard Septimus Heap, Jo-Jo explains of himself that, having been “diagnosed with Asperger syndrome,” he “sometimes [has] problems with society due to this.” Certainly he had a problem with Günter Bechly. The editors claimed the move to delete the entry was the result of their sudden realization that Bechly isn’t “notable” enough for Wikipedia. The notability argument is a joke, and even Darwinists conceded that Bechly was deleted for his support of ID.
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It's this kind of behavior at Wikipedia that is not fair:

Problem is, much of what you linked is simply untrue. You seem to be getting your information from some creationist blog that you assume is telling the truth. You do no fact-checking before spreading that info. At best that is lazy and at worse dishonest.

Anyone can create an article in Wikipedia and anyone can edit an existing article. Anyone can also ask for an article to be deleted. Deletions occur after discussion by "editors" who are defined as anyone who has contributed to Wiki. A decision to delete requires a "consensus" among the most active Wikipedia contributors. Here is a link to the Wikipedia discussion on Blechly: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletio...

Note that your link makes the claim: "This was following a surreal online editorial discussion led by an editor going by the pseudonym Jo-Jo Eumerus." Your link then goes on to make fun of Jo-Jo for his suffering from Asperger Syndrome.

As far as I can tell, Jo-Jo makes exactly one comment. In actuality the discussion is mostly led by David Eppstein (14 comments), a computer science prof at UC Irvine who is a major contributor of Wikipedia math and computer science articles (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:David_Eppstein ). In other words, most of your link is just misdirection. You should be embarrassed spreading such misinformation.

From what I understand of the discussion, Gunter Bechley wrote his own Wikipedia biography and failed to provide sufficient evidence of why he is notable enough to be included. One criteria is that there are secondary sources that talk about you, like newspaper articles. Bechley didn't have many of those.

Nevertheless, you make the claim that Bechley's deletion was due to bias against his belief in the religious doctrine of Intelligent Design. I will only note that William Dembski, Phillip Johnson, Michael Medved, Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe and several others from the Discovery Institute all have their own biographical Wikipedia pages. Seems pretty clear to me that Bechley's "sin" is not his belief but rather his lack of public prominence.

So two questions. First, after reading the actual Wikipedia discussion, do you believe the excerpt you posted from another source is an accurate description? Second, given that other more prominent Intelligent Design believers are listed in Wikipedia, do you believe the Wiki editors are systematically biased against the presentation of Intelligent Design?
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Seems pretty clear to me that Bechley's "sin" is not his belief but rather his lack of public prominence.

Funny how his prominence wasn't an issue before he supported ID. And it hardly matters who wrote the wikipedia entry, it matters if it is accurate and worthy of inclusion.

I'm not going to argue with you about his qualifications for a wikipedia article. Those interested can read here about his credentials, including having 7 taxa and species named after him, and numerous articles published in his field:

https://web.archive.org/web/20160723054528/https:/en.wikiped...
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Funny how his prominence wasn't an issue before he supported ID.

It is because no one noticed. Wikipedia only checks when someone complains. No one ever heard of the guy until he decided to support pseudo-science.

And it hardly matters who wrote the wikipedia entry, it matters if it is accurate and worthy of inclusion.

If someone else wrote Bechley's entry it would be evidence of broader public interest in Bechley. If Bechley wrote his own entry it is only evidence of his interest in himself.

Those interested can read here about his credentials, including having 7 taxa and species named after him, and numerous articles published in his field:

All of which is irrelevant to Wikipedia. What Wikipedia cares about is the "newsworthiness" of a person or topic. It doesn't matter how many papers Bechley might publish. What matters is how much is published about Bechley. Apparently, the answer is not much. I think Bechley has better scientific credentials than Behe. But Behe is far more deserving of a Wikipedia entry because the guy has been in the news.

In any case, there are two important points to be made. First, the fact that the most prominent Intelligent Design advocates have Wikipedia entries strongly indicates the Bechley's Wikipedia deletion is due to a lack of public recognition rather than any attempt at censorship. Second, the source you used clearly misrepresented the facts of the case and you are culpable for spreading that misinformation. In this age of Google there is no excuse for not fact-checking claims from blogs and websites of dubious credibility.
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What Wikipedia cares about is the "newsworthiness" of a person or topic. It doesn't matter how many papers Bechley might publish. What matters is how much is published about Bechley. Apparently, the answer is not much. I think Bechley has better scientific credentials than Behe. But Behe is far more deserving of a Wikipedia entry because the guy has been in the news.

Careful, that's the kindest thing you ever said about an ID theorist. Could get you in trouble. I appreciate your efforts to police the internet to ensure it's truthiness, even going as far as using bolding to get your point across.

I don't see "newsworthiness" listed anywhere as a criteria for inclusion in wikipedia. Maybe you meant notability?

First, the fact that the most prominent Intelligent Design advocates have Wikipedia entries strongly indicates the Bechley's Wikipedia deletion is due to a lack of public recognition rather than any attempt at censorship

The one does not follow from the other. The fact that Behe has a page says nothing about the reasons Bechley's was deleted

Second, the source you used clearly misrepresented the facts of the case and you are culpable for spreading that misinformation. In this age of Google there is no excuse for not fact-checking claims from blogs and websites of dubious credibility.

For one, I didn't consider the main point of the article to be who led the discussion, but the fact that an accomplished scientist was deleted because he started supporting ID. The only misrepresenting you mention was that the author claimed Jo-Jo Eumerus "led" the discussion, as if that is a significant error. You claimed he only made one comment, so wasn't the leader. Well, you're both wrong.

Jo-Jo seems to be the administrator who closed the discussion and decided whether the consensus was to delete. As such, per wikipedia rules, he cannot participate in the discussion (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletio... and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletio...)

Now before you get your bolding pen out and start wild accusations of posting misinformation on the internet, certainly my understanding of Jo-Jo's role could be wrong, for which I beg the worlds forgiveness.
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I appreciate your efforts to police the internet to ensure it's truthiness, even going as far as using bolding to get your point across.

Is that sarcasm? I'm just tired of people using the internet as an echo chamber, accepting as true anything that supports their POV without making even a minimal effort at fact-checking. It is your right to advocate whatever position you want, but posting stuff that is misleading is just wrong. I think it will only stop when others make it a habit to call it out when it happens.

I don't see "newsworthiness" listed anywhere as a criteria for inclusion in wikipedia. Maybe you meant notability?

Newsworthiness is my interpretation of what "notability" means. I think it pretty accurate.

The fact that Behe has a page says nothing about the reasons Bechly's was deleted

The fact that Behe (and other IDists) have a page indicates that there is no systematic effort to delete references to Intelligent Design. It supports the perspective that Bechly was deleted for reasons of notability, which is what is also indicated in the Wikipedia discussion on the matter.

For one, I didn't consider the main point of the article to be who led the discussion, but the fact that an accomplished scientist was deleted because he started supporting ID.

It was your excerpt of the article, which was mostly a diatribe ridiculing this one contributor (Jo-Jo) for perhaps having Asperger syndrome among other things. In actuality, no evidence has been presented that there was any bias involved. Here is the criteria for "academic notability" in Wikipedia, at least one of which has to met. Tell me which of these Bechley has unequivocally satisfied.

1. The person's research has had a significant impact in their scholarly discipline, broadly construed, as demonstrated by independent reliable sources.
2. The person has received a highly prestigious academic award or honor at a national or international level.
3. The person is or has been an elected member of a highly selective and prestigious scholarly society or association (e.g., a National Academy of Sciences or the Royal Society) or a fellow of a major scholarly society which reserves fellow status as a highly selective honor (e.g., Fellow of the IEEE).
4. The person's academic work has made a significant impact in the area of higher education, affecting a substantial number of academic institutions.
5. The person holds or has held a named chair appointment or distinguished professor appointment at a major institution of higher education and research (or an equivalent position in countries where named chairs are uncommon).
6. The person has held a highest-level elected or appointed administrative post at a major academic institution or major academic society.
7. The person has had a substantial impact outside academia in their academic capacity.
8. The person is or has been the head or chief editor of a major, well-established academic journal in their subject area.
9. The person is in a field of literature (e.g., writer or poet) or the fine arts (e.g., musician, composer, artist), and meets the standards for notability in that art, such as WP:CREATIVE or WP:MUSIC.
. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Notability_(academic...

This comment by Wikipedia editor David Eppstein summarizes the argument against Bechly:

"He has one well-cited paper ("Fossil odonates in Tertiary amber"), one reasonably well-cited co-edited volume ("The Crato fossil beds of Brazil: Window into an ancient world"), and lower citations for his other works, not enough to convince me of a pass of our standards for academic notability. His turn to fringe creationist views does not seem to be notable at all, and cannot be covered without mainstream sources giving it an adequately neutral point of view. So the only possible source of notability would be as an exhibit curator, but that would require in-depth coverage of his role in the exhibits or as a museum leader (not just inherited notability from special exhibits he organized) and I don't see that in the article. On top of all that, the autobiography issues are a big problem. And none of the sources we have are reliable; the only one with any plausible appearance of reliability and independence from the subject, the interview by Probst, is essentially self-published. —David Eppstein (talk) 18:30, 1 October 2017 (UTC)" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletio...

IMO, if Bechly really did contribute his own biography to Wikipedia, I find it a pretty pathetic attempt at self-aggrandizement.
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Here is the criteria for "academic notability" in Wikipedia, at least one of which has to met. Tell me which of these Bechley has unequivocally satisfied.

I don't know about "unequivocally" (there was after all a discussion on this which you linked, which on wikipedia means it wasn't a clear cut case for deletion), but I'd say he satisfied this one:

1. The person's research has had a significant impact in their scholarly discipline, broadly construed, as demonstrated by independent reliable sources.

Here I'm making an assumption that might not be correct, that if you have species etc. named after you, you didn't do the naming yourself, but your colleagues did, recognizing your work.
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"He has one well-cited paper ("Fossil odonates in Tertiary amber"), one reasonably well-cited co-edited volume ("The Crato fossil beds of Brazil: Window into an ancient world"), and lower citations for his other works

Here is a list from Google Scholar that lists his works and citations (with some samples below):

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C21&a...

[PDF] Fossil odonates in Tertiary amber
G Bechly - Petalura, 1996 - bechly.lima-city.de
Dragonflies and damselflies are one of the most spectacular, but also one of the rarest,
insect inclusions in Tertiary amber. Up to now there are no odonates known from any
Mesozoic amber. Because of this rarity dragonflies are not even mentioned in a recent book
Cited by 326 Related articles All 2 versions


[BOOK] The Crato fossil beds of Brazil: Window into an ancient world
DM Martill, G Bechly, RF Loveridge - 2007 - books.google.com
This beautifully illustrated 2007 volume describes the entire flora and fauna of the famous
Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil-one of the world's most important fossil
deposits, exhibiting exceptional preservation. A wide range of invertebrates and vertebrates
Cited by 126 Related articles All 7 versions

Phylogeny and classification of the Stenophlebioptera (Odonata: Epiproctophora)
G Fleck, G Bechly, X MartíneZ-Delclòs… - Annales de la Société …, 2003 - Taylor & Francis
Abstract The Juraheterophlebiidae, new family of the “heterophlebioid” lineage, the
Henrotayiidae, new family of the “anisopteroid” lineage, the Prostenophlebiidae and the
Liassostenophlebiidae, new families of the Stenophlebioptera, and three new genera and
Cited by 47 Related articles All 10 versions


The classification and diversity of dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata). In: Zhang, Z.-Q.(Ed.) Animal Biodiversity: An Outline of Higher-level Classification and Survey …
KDB Dijkstra, G Bechly, SM Bybee, RA Dow… - Zootaxa, 2013 - biotaxa.org
Abstract An updated classification and numbers of described genera and species (until
2010) are provided up to family level. We argue for conserving the family-group names
Chlorocyphidae, Euphaeidae and Dicteriadidae, as well as retaining Epiophlebiidae in the
Cited by 66 Related articles All 8 versions


[PDF] 11.8 'Blattaria': cockroaches and roachoids
G Bechly - The Crato fossil beds of Brazil: window into an ancient …, 2007 - researchgate.net
Cockroaches and their relatives are often found in abundance and are familiar insects,
especially in the tropics. Fossil cockroaches and roachoids are also often abundant, and are
especially common in the Crato Formation. About 4,000 Recent species of cockroaches plus
Cited by 52 Related articles All 2 versions

[CITATION] New Fossil Dragonflies from the Lower Cretaceous, Crato Formation of North-East Brazil (Insecta: Odonata): With 1 Table
G Bechly - 1998 - Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde
Cited by 51 Related articles

[CITATION] Mainstream cladistics versus Hennigian phylogenetic systematics
G Bechly - 2000 - Staatl. Museum für Naturkunde
Cited by 25 Related articles


[PDF] A revision of the Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous dragonfly family Tarsophlebiidae, with a discussion on the phylogenetic positions of the Tarsophlebiidae …
G Fleck, G Bechly, X Martínez-Delclòs… - …, 2004 - researchgate.net
ABSTRACT The Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous dragonfly family Tarsophlebiidae is
revised. The type species of the type genus Tarsophlebia Hagen, 1866, T. eximia (Hagen,
1862) from the Upper Jurassic Solnhofen Limestones, is redescribed, including important
Cited by 20 Related articles All 9 versions

[CITATION] The first fossil hanging flies (Insecta: Mecoptera: Raptipedia: Cimbrophlebiidae and Bittacidae) from the limestones of Solnhofen and Nusplingen (Upper …
G Bechly, G Schweigert - 2000 - na
Cited by 21 Related articles
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Here I'm making an assumption that might not be correct, that if you have species etc. named after you, you didn't do the naming yourself, but your colleagues did, recognizing your work.

Here is an article in Slate describing how species are named. There are any number of reasons for a given name, some quite whimsical. I think most would agree that a species name is not a particularly good indicator of scholarly impact. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/201...

In any case, I think you are beginning to see that Bechly's justification for a Wikipedia page is not obvious. It also may be worthwhile looking at the details of the species named after Bechly. For example, in the instance of Colossocossus bechly, in the paper first describing the discovery of the new fossil species the authors acknowledge Bechly simply for "...making the specimens available for study." Bechly at the time was curator of the amber section of a museum in Stuttgart and had control of who could access the stored materials. It is not clear what work, if any, Bechly contributed to the species identification (he was not an author the paper so it couldn't have been much) or if naming the species was simply gratitude or even a quid pro quo of gaining access to the museum materials. We just don't know.
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In any case, I think you are beginning to see that Bechly's justification for a Wikipedia page is not obvious.

Personally, I would have never in a million years nominated his page for deletion, or anyone else for that matter. Why bother? How much time have you spent in the last year, or 10, looking for someone to delete? I'll bet it never crossed your mind.

The sociological aspects of this episode are fascinating.
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Personally, I would have never in a million years nominated his page for deletion, or anyone else for that matter. Why bother? How much time have you spent in the last year, or 10, looking for someone to delete? I'll bet it never crossed your mind.

It never has crossed my mind, but then I don't care much about Wikipedia. But I can see how those who contribute a lot to Wikipedia and think it important might want to maintain standards. But again, just a little fact-checking shows that Wikipedia biographies of living people are continuously being scrutinized by the Wikipedia readers. There is even a special Noticeboard for comments and criticisms of such biographies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Biographies_of_livin...

At least 3 of the biographies listed for the past month are cited for lack of confirmed notability.

So I think your suggestion that what happened to Bechly is unusual is probably not true.

The sociological aspects of this episode are fascinating.

I don't find this fascinating so much as annoying. The "No surprise here" title of this thread for me reflects the consistent willingness of those pushing Intelligent Design to spread misinformation. Particularly depressing/irritating is that when the error is pointed out, there is no willingness to admit the mistake. Instead, you are attempting to double down by casting aspersions on the whistle blowers.
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The "No surprise here" title of this thread for me reflects the consistent willingness of those pushing Intelligent Design to spread misinformation.

All religions spread misinformation under the guise of 'faith'. In the case of ID, its followers insist on calling it science in an effort to get their religion infused into public education, and accepted as something other than what it is - nonsense.

Particularly depressing/irritating is that when the error is pointed out, there is no willingness to admit the mistake.

It isn't a mistake, it is quite intentional by design. Just not very intelligent. To followers of ID, your religion belongs in church, not in science class.
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All religions spread misinformation under the guise of 'faith'. In the case of ID, its followers insist on calling it science in an effort to get their religion infused into public education, and accepted as something other than what it is - nonsense.

Well, we can parse this into two separate pieces. First, "ID" is not science. It does not meet any of the criteria of being science. We can make that statement without any knowledge or concern about the correctness of the assertions of "ID".

Then we can look at the assertions separately to determine that, yes, they are likely nonsense. Ultimately we cannot prove there is no god, but if there is then he/she/it "created" the universe using the dynamics we have observed and can demonstrate scientifically (e.g. evolution). We have no reason to believe there is a deity, and all the models work without that assumption, but at most that allows us to state that the deity appears to be superfluous (at best).
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"All religions spread misinformation under the guise of 'faith'. In the case of ID, its followers insist on calling it science in an effort to get their religion infused into public education, and accepted as something other than what it is - nonsense."

Well, we can parse this into two separate pieces. First, "ID" is not science. It does not meet any of the criteria of being science. We can make that statement without any knowledge or concern about the correctness of the assertions of "ID".

Then we can look at the assertions separately to determine that, yes, they are likely nonsense. Ultimately we cannot prove there is no god, but if there is then he/she/it "created" the universe using the dynamics we have observed and can demonstrate scientifically (e.g. evolution). We have no reason to believe there is a deity, and all the models work without that assumption, but at most that allows us to state that the deity appears to be superfluous (at best).


Well said, and it will come as no surprise that I agree 100%.
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First, "ID" is not science. It does not meet any of the criteria of being science. We can make that statement without any knowledge or concern about the correctness of the assertions of "ID".

Probably worth keeping in mind that there are forms of the intelligent origin of earth life hypothesis that can be considered scientific. For example, "Directed Panspermia" has been proposed by a number of prominent scientists, including Carl Sagan, as a possible explanation for life on earth. It is perhaps best described in this paper by Francis Crick (of double-stranded DNA fame) and Leslie Orgel (a prominent origin of life researcher).

"Abstract
It now seems unlikely that extraterrestrial living organisms could have reached the earth either as spores driven by the radiation pressure from another star or as living organisms imbedded in a meteorite. As an alternative to these nineteenth-century mechanisms, we have considered Directed Panspermia, the theory that organisms were deliberately transmitted to the earth by intelligent beings on another planet. We conclude that it is possible that life reached the earth in this way, but that the scientific evidence is inadequate at the present time to say anything about the probability. We draw attention to the kinds of evidence that might throw additional light on the topic." http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/00191035739...

A scientist from the UK has published what he believes is evidence of panspermia (though there is much skepticism).

“Here, we provide images of a variety of biological entities (BEs) which we have sampled from the stratosphere at heights of between 23 and 27 km. The BEs have unusual morphology and are generally not representatives of known terrestrial organisms. Analysis using SEM and EDX shows that all of the BEs contain only C and O and are not associated on the sampling stubs with pollen, grass or other terrestrial organisms. Images are provided of some of the BEs which were sampled from our first and third successful sampling trips, the second trip isolated inorganic micrometeorites, but not BEs. We conclude that the evidence points to a space origin for these stratosphere-derived BEs. Clumps of stratospheric material with individual diameters of 10–30 µm were also isolated in a sterile manner from a height of 41 km. The masses showed no obvious morphology, but stained positive for DNA and are therefore considered to be biological. We suggest that, like the BEs, the masses are arriving to the stratosphere from space and not upcoming from Earth; evidence is provided to support this view.”
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/21672857.2015.108...
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First, "ID" is not science. It does not meet any of the criteria of being science. We can make that statement without any knowledge or concern about the correctness of the assertions of "ID".

This is not true. I say that just to register my disagreement, not as an attempt to rehash it. Not that I couldn't be prodded to do so ;-)

Probably worth keeping in mind that there are forms of the intelligent origin of earth life hypothesis that can be considered scientific. For example, "Directed Panspermia" has been proposed by a number of prominent scientists, including Carl Sagan, as a possible explanation for life on earth. It is perhaps best described in this paper by Francis Crick (of double-stranded DNA fame) and Leslie Orgel (a prominent origin of life researcher).

I was thinking about a related topic last night. Seems there is a belief among scientists (don't have links) that a) life exists elsewhere in the universe, and b) it is likely that some of it is way more advanced/intelligent than we are.

Since humans have (or on the verge of) the capability of manipulating the genome and even creating simple life forms, it follows that these intelligent extra-terrestrials would find this elementary.

If life can be designed, at least in principle, and that design can be detected, that is all you need to prove the basic tenet of ID.
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"First, "ID" is not science. It does not meet any of the criteria of being science. We can make that statement without any knowledge or concern about the correctness of the assertions of "ID"."

Probably worth keeping in mind that there are forms of the intelligent origin of earth life hypothesis that can be considered scientific. For example, "Directed Panspermia" has been proposed by a number of prominent scientists, including Carl Sagan, as a possible explanation for life on earth. It is perhaps best described in this paper by Francis Crick (of double-stranded DNA fame) and Leslie Orgel (a prominent origin of life researcher).

Interesting conversation.

First, I am not aware that Sagan ever proposed "directed panspermia" as an explanation for the origin of life on earth.

Second, while panspermia is one theory, and the idea of it being 'directed' is a good premise for a sci fi movie, there is no evidence to support the notion. Both are certainly possible, but neither lends any credence to the idea of ID as an explanation of the origin of life on earth. The basic elements for DNA based life may well spread out among the stars by traveling on bits of rock over billions of years, but that in no way suggests a designer is required. In fact, it would suggest that the universe is much more likely to be random in nature.

ID still isn't science.
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Seems there is a belief among scientists (don't have links) that a) life exists elsewhere in the universe, and b) it is likely that some of it is way more advanced/intelligent than we are.

This is based on the sheer size of the observable universe, and the time scales implied. Statistically, it is very likely that there are many places where life has evolved. So where are they? This is where the Fermi Paradox and the Great Filter come into the discussion.

Since humans have (or on the verge of) the capability of manipulating the genome and even creating simple life forms, it follows that these intelligent extra-terrestrials would find this elementary.

If life can be designed, at least in principle, and that design can be detected, that is all you need to prove the basic tenet of ID.


No, not at all. The fundamental idea behind ID is 'irreducible complexity', meaning there must have been a designer at work to explain things we cannot (with evolution). Eyes are often used as an example, but I believe that has been pretty well debunked. It is a poor leap of logic, at best. If life can be designed by an advanced intelligence, then whatever they designed was simply designed life. What tools did they have? Did they have eyes? You have to ask 'where did they come from'? Who designed the designer? It quickly becomes an exercise in circular logic.
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The fundamental idea behind ID is 'irreducible complexity', meaning there must have been a designer at work to explain things we cannot (with evolution). Eyes are often used as an example, but I believe that has been pretty well debunked.

I've studied ID for over 15 years, and have read many of the major books by the top ID theorists. I've never come across anything that suggests that irreducible complexity is the main idea of ID (an important test, yes), nor have I seen the eye used as an example of something that is irreducibly complex.

If life can be designed by an advanced intelligence, then whatever they designed was simply designed life. What tools did they have? Did they have eyes? You have to ask 'where did they come from'? Who designed the designer? It quickly becomes an exercise in circular logic.

All good questions, which science can address as data allows. It's not circular at all, but there is a limit to what we can know at present. Think of the science of archaeology. They have to address all the questions you ask (pertaining to their objects of study), and I doubt they'd consider it circular.
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Probably worth keeping in mind that there are forms of the intelligent origin of earth life hypothesis that can be considered scientific. For example, "Directed Panspermia" has been proposed by a number of prominent scientists, including Carl Sagan, as a possible explanation for life on earth.

Heh. We would just be shifting the argument to whether or not the species that did the first panspermia-ing was designed or not.

Even with this hypothesis, though, there would have been intelligent design involved in life on earth billions of years ago and none since. Michael Behe's example of malaria resistance would NOT be an example of intelligent design but would be an example of undirected evolution.


It also makes me think of some good scifi - who were the progenitors?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uplift_Universe
The Uplift Universe is a fictional universe created by American science fiction writer David Brin. A central feature in this universe is the process of biological uplift.

...In the Uplift universe an intergalactic civilization called the Five Galaxies, comprising a multitude of sentient races, has existed for billions of years. This civilization is perpetuated by the act of "uplift", in which a "patron" species genetically modifies a Pre-sapient "client" species until it is sapient. The client species is typically indentured to its patron species for 100,000 years. A patron species gains considerable status, and patrons and clients often unite into powerful clans. Patron status can be lost due to extermination, or gross crimes against the galactic civilization.

It is generally accepted in this universe that the process of uplift was initiated at least one billion years ago by a species known only as the Progenitors. Humanity is therefore an anomaly – a species with no apparent patron race. Whether humanity truly evolved independently, or whether it was criminally abandoned by an unknown patron early in its uplift, is a topic of fierce debate. Most of humanity believes itself to be a "wolfling" species that emerged into sapiency solely through natural evolution, without genetic manipulation by a patron species. This belief is considered heresy and ridiculous by most of the galactic civilization and has made most of the galactic powers enemies of EarthClan...
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I've studied ID for over 15 years, and have read many of the major books by the top ID theorists. I've never come across anything that suggests that irreducible complexity is the main idea of ID (an important test, yes), nor have I seen the eye used as an example of something that is irreducibly complex.

You need to study harder. Behe uses the human eye as an example of irreducible complexity in Darwin's Black Box in the section called "Seeing is believing" https://books.google.com/books?id=7L8mkq4jG6EC&pg=PA36&a...

Irreducible complexity is the central theme of ID theory. It is the foundation for the assertion that life could not have evolved by natural processes. That only leaves supernatural causes. Assumption of the supernatural is not science.

It's not circular at all, but there is a limit to what we can know at present.

The irreducible complexity argument for ID is entirely circular.

Assumption: There is complexity that is irreducible in that it cannot be produced naturally.
Conclusion: Irreducible complexity cannot be produced naturally.

Since the assumption equals the conclusion, the argument is circular.
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...while panspermia is one theory, and the idea of it being 'directed' is a good premise for a sci fi movie, there is no evidence to support the notion. Both are certainly possible, but neither lends any credence to the idea of ID as an explanation of the origin of life on earth.

And even if it did then you're kicking the can down the road. Where did that life (i.e. the "directing" race that seeded genetic material here) come from? At some point the first DNA strand had to develop. As this is not my field I could be wrong, but I am not aware of any reason to believe it must have come from an extraterrestrial source. If it could form somewhere else why couldn't it form here?

ID still isn't science

Not until it makes a testable prediction, no.
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Heh. We would just be shifting the argument to whether or not the species that did the first panspermia-ing was designed or not.

I knew I should have read ahead. :-)
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You need to study harder. Behe uses the human eye as an example of irreducible complexity in Darwin's Black Box in the section called "Seeing is believing"

I have the book, and he does no such thing. He addresses the biochemistry of seeing earlier in the book, and in the section you link he discusses Richard Dawkins criticism of Francis Hitchings comments on the eye, and summarizes Darwin's argument for the gradual evolution of the eye. He nowhere uses the eye as an example of irreducible complexity.

Irreducible complexity is the central theme of ID theory. It is the foundation for the assertion that life could not have evolved by natural processes.

While important, IC is not the central theme. It is only one of several lines of evidence for design. Probably the one that gets the most press. I've highlighted in bold below what I take to be the central theme:

Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program as well as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature. The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Through the study and analysis of a system's components, a design theorist is able to determine whether various natural structures are the product of chance, natural law, intelligent design, or some combination thereof. Such research is conducted by observing the types of information produced when intelligent agents act. Scientists then seek to find objects which have those same types of informational properties which we commonly know come from intelligence. Intelligent design has applied these scientific methods to detect design in irreducibly complex biological structures, the complex and specified information content in DNA, the life-sustaining physical architecture of the universe, and the geologically rapid origin of biological diversity in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion approximately 530 million years ago. http://www.intelligentdesign.org/whatisid.php

That only leaves supernatural causes.

Nope, could be intelligent aliens. Personally I think it was God, but ID doesn't tell me that.
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At some point the first DNA strand had to develop. As this is not my field I could be wrong, but I am not aware of any reason to believe it must have come from an extraterrestrial source.

No offense, but you are pretty behind the times. There is a reason why many scientists are looking elsewhere, i.e. not earth, to explain the origin of life problem.
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There is a reason why many scientists are looking elsewhere, i.e. not earth, to explain the origin of life problem.

Beyond covering all the bases, what might that reason be? The fact that we don't have it definitively demonstrated isn't it. There's lots of stuff we don't yet know, doesn't mean the answer lies "elsewhere".
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"The fundamental idea behind ID is 'irreducible complexity', meaning there must have been a designer at work to explain things we cannot (with evolution). Eyes are often used as an example, but I believe that has been pretty well debunked."

I've studied ID for over 15 years, and have read many of the major books by the top ID theorists. I've never come across anything that suggests that irreducible complexity is the main idea of ID (an important test, yes), nor have I seen the eye used as an example of something that is irreducibly complex.

I have not studied it much, so pardon my confusion. But I am surprised you have not come across this. IC is central to the ID concept. Without it, ID lacks any supporting evidence at all. So what IS the fundamental idea behind ID? Here is the definition I found; "the theory that life, or the universe, cannot have arisen by chance and was designed and created by some intelligent entity." If nothing else, IC has been often touted as evidence of a designer. Not in any scientifically valid way, of course.

With regards to the eye, here is some reading for your further study; (this showed up in the first page of a google search for 'examples of irreducible complexity')

"The human eye is often used as an example of an irreducibly complex system. If irreducibly complex systems are found in nature, then it follows that they must have been created, or designed, by some intelligent designer. The concept of irreducible complexity is one of the pillars for the theory of Intelligent Design."

http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/irreducible-complexity-...

"If life can be designed by an advanced intelligence, then whatever they designed was simply designed life. What tools did they have? Did they have eyes? You have to ask 'where did they come from'? Who designed the designer? It quickly becomes an exercise in circular logic."

All good questions, which science can address as data allows. It's not circular at all, but there is a limit to what we can know at present. Think of the science of archaeology. They have to address all the questions you ask (pertaining to their objects of study), and I doubt they'd consider it circular.

The difference being, archaeologists are not likely to make any conclusions based on their lack of data. That is how science works.

That leap of logic is being made by those who claim that lack of data is conclusive evidence of a designer. Which is not science. The limit of what we know at present does not mean that you can conclude that magic happened. It simply means we do not know all the answers.
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Its turtles all the way down.
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Exactly. The first strand of DNA came from somewhere. Out-sourcing that to aliens doesn't answer the question. It's just another turtle that has to be explained.
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With regards to the eye, here is some reading for your further study; (this showed up in the first page of a google search for 'examples of irreducible complexity')

"The human eye is often used as an example of an irreducibly complex system. If irreducibly complex systems are found in nature, then it follows that they must have been created, or designed, by some intelligent designer. The concept of irreducible complexity is one of the pillars for the theory of Intelligent Design."


Your link doesn't provide a source to this claim. I'm going out on a limb here and saying no prominent design theorist has ever used the eye as an example of irreducible complexity. It wouldn't be a good example.

Behe goes to great length to define IC in "Darwin's Black Box", and as I recall has refined it somewhat after that. Yes, it is an important concept, but hardly the only argument for ID.

Maybe it's me, but I prefer to let the theorist (whatever the topic and whoever it may be) speak for themselves on what their theory is, and to define their terms.

Then it's open season ;-)
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He nowhere uses the eye as an example of irreducible complexity.

I think Behe would disagree. Here is an ID website run by a group of which Behe is a member of the advisory board. Here is a quote from that website: "This is only one of many biochemical systems that Behe discusses in his book, Darwin's Black Box. Other examples of irreducible complexity include the light-sensing system in animal eyes,..." http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/840

The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause,

This is nonsense, because if this is all ID is then no one would care. The practice of identifying stuff produced by an an intelligent cause has been around for centuries. It is what archaeologists do when trying to decide whether a pointed rock is actually a manmade tool and what SETI does when assessing whether a repetitive signal is artificial or natural. There is a lot of real science going on in how to distinguish natural from manmade that is not controversial. The difference between these endeavors and ID is the assumption by scientists that the intelligent cause can be understood and described by natural laws and processes. That is the fundamental objective of science afterall, to provide a naturalistic description of the universe.

Let's try to be honest in this discussion. When you say "Intelligent Design", what you really mean is "Supernatural Design". It is this insistence that life requires a supernatural origin that makes ID a religious hypothesis that is fundamentally different from other fringe but still science-compatible assertions like directed panspermia, the universe is a computer program, and the universe is math.

Nope, could be intelligent aliens.

Case in point. If you accept the assumption that the intelligent aliens are natural in origin, then Intelligent Design is as acceptable a proposal as directed panspermia. But you won't, you want to expand the definition of science to include a supernatural being acting in supernatural ways, in effect turning science into a religion. This is disingenuous and you should know better.
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If we're going to be nit-picky (which I am), there are no "ID theorists" because ID is not a theory in the scientifically-accepted meaning of "theory". It makes no predictions to be verified, nor does it suggest any means of verification of the larger conjecture. So it isn't a theory. It barely qualifies as a hypothesis (supposition based on limited evidence designed to lead to further investigation), and I'm sure many would argue against using even that term.
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First, I am not aware that Sagan ever proposed "directed panspermia" as an explanation for the origin of life on earth

"Historically, Shklovskii and Sagan (1966) and Crick and Orgel (1973) hypothesized that life on the Earth may have been seeded deliberately by other civilizations." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directed_panspermia

In fact, it would suggest that the universe is much more likely to be random in nature.

The universe is turning out to be stranger than we ever imagined. An idea gaining a bit of traction among some neurobiologists and physicists is that consciousness may be a state of matter (we've discussed this topic before). http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/physics/physicists-say-con...

If this is the case, if consciousness is an innate property of matter, then the universe itself could have some level of consciousness (and if consciousness why not intelligence?). There are some who believe that the observation of coherence in the universe (that the same physical laws apply at the scales of the atom and galaxies), is evidence of proto-consciousness and even purpose. This is the philosophical notion of panpsychism. https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/07/12/536752502/is-th...

One physicist has even published a paper describing a possible way to test for a conscious universe, which would turn panpsychism into a branch of observational astrophysics. http://jcer.com/index.php/jcj/article/view/579

Forget about ID. This is where the real action is in the realm of metaphysics.
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He nowhere uses the eye as an example of irreducible complexity.
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I think Behe would disagree. Here is an ID website run by a group of which Behe is a member of the advisory board. Here is a quote from that website: "This is only one of many biochemical systems that Behe discusses in his book, Darwin's Black Box. Other examples of irreducible complexity include the light-sensing system in animal eyes,..." http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/840


We'd have to ask Behe. All I can say is he doesn't claim that the eye is IC, not in Darwin's Black Box, not that I can find. If you think he does, I'm open to correction by a direct quote from Behe.

After a lengthy and detailed description of the biochemistry of vision, he says: "Now that the black box of vision has been opened, it is no longer enough for an evolutionary explanation of that power to consider only the anatomical structures of whole eyes, as Darwin did in the nineteenth century (and as popularizers of evolution continue to do today). Each of the anatomical steps and structures that Darwin thought were so simple actually involves staggeringly complicated biochemical processes that cannot be papered over with rhetoric." (p.22) That's all he says. The part you quoted from earlier today was talking about anatomical structure of the eye, not biochemistry of vision.

The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause,
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This is nonsense, because if this is all ID is then no one would care.


Now you're finally getting it! The quote is from IntelligentDesign.org, and is their definition. That is what I've been arguing for years. They are not claiming that the intelligent cause must be supernatural.

You and many others have problems with ID because of the history of it, and because of the metaphysics of ID, not because of what ID actually claims (or what you think it claims).

History: no doubt, there's some problems here. Creationism wasn't flying in the courts, so there was an attempt to find a way to keep the insights and theory of creation, but stripping it of religion so it would not run into trouble with the State. Didn't work.

Metaphysics: as you point out, if true, ID strongly implies a supernatural intelligence, ie God. That's not because ID is religion (you have to look at the actually claims of ID and understand the basic philosophical concepts of identity). Science, with it's prior commitment to methodological (and I'd say metaphysical) naturalism, can't tolerate anything that lends credence to religion.

Let's try to be honest in this discussion. When you say "Intelligent Design", what you really mean is "Supernatural Design".

I honestly believe that is not true. That's the distinction with creationism, which posits a supernatural being as part of the definition. ID doesn't not make claims about whatever intelligence might be behind biology, if any.

It is this insistence that life requires a supernatural origin that makes ID a religious hypothesis that is fundamentally different from other fringe but still science-compatible assertions like directed panspermia, the universe is a computer program, and the universe is math.

This is a strawman, because ID doesn't insist on a supernatural origin. Now, I'm talking about the major proponents of ID, who all to a person (as far as I know) are theists, but who are able to separate their religious beliefs from ID. Show me where they claim that ID requires a supernatural intelligence, as a tenet of the theory. I'm sure they believe that God is the designer, so do I. Not part of ID but an implication of it.
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With regards to the eye, here is some reading for your further study; (this showed up in the first page of a google search for 'examples of irreducible complexity')

"The human eye is often used as an example of an irreducibly complex system. If irreducibly complex systems are found in nature, then it follows that they must have been created, or designed, by some intelligent designer. The concept of irreducible complexity is one of the pillars for the theory of Intelligent Design."

Your link doesn't provide a source to this claim. I'm going out on a limb here and saying no prominent design theorist has ever used the eye as an example of irreducible complexity. It wouldn't be a good example.

I agree it would not be a good example. What would be a good example? I have seen it referenced repeatedly by both proponents of ID and creationists. Who would be a good example of a prominent design theorist? I’d be very curious to know what they think supports the idea.

Behe goes to great length to define IC in "Darwin's Black Box", and as I recall has refined it somewhat after that. Yes, it is an important concept, but hardly the only argument for ID.

So what are the other arguments in support of ID? As science, I mean.

Maybe it's me, but I prefer to let the theorist (whatever the topic and whoever it may be) speak for themselves on what their theory is, and to define their terms.

It would be interesting to see what they say, but I don’t who they are.
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All I can say is he doesn't claim that the eye is IC, not in Darwin's Black Box, not that I can find.

I believe you are the only one in the ID community who thinks Behe is not using the eye as an example of irreducible complexity. In any case, this indicates how irreducible complexity is a moving target. If a natural explanation for something claimed to be irreducibly complex is found, IDists can simply claim it wasn't really irreducibly complex and find something else not yet explained. Here is a question for you, is there any biological system that if an evolutionary mechanism for its origin was demonstrate would convince you that the whole notion of irreducible complexity in biology is false? If so, specify it. If not, then in your mind irreducible complexity is not falsifiable. What does that say about it being science?

That is what I've been arguing for years. They are not claiming that the intelligent cause must be supernatural.

I honestly can't tell whether you are being dishonest or naive. You assert that just because ID doesn't mention supernatural in their definition it qualifies as "science". Give me a break. All of this has been discussed before ad nauseum, so let me just summarize briefly and with emphasis.

Science finds naturalistic explanations for phenomenon. If a scientific theory posits that life on earth was designed by an intelligence then a necessary part of that theory would be to speculate on the nature of that intelligence and the methods used by that intelligence to design life. Furthermore, all such speculation would be limited to the natural universe, i.e., an intelligence that is subject to natural laws and natural processes. Again, this limitation is a fundamental part of the definition of science, a study of the natural universe. Yet ID apologists keep saying that the nature of the designer is outside scope of their "theory". How can that be? How can one assess whether an intelligent designer is a more likely explanation than evolution without some conception of what that designer is and where it came from?

As long as Intelligent Design supporters are not willing to limit their speculation of the Designer to some thing or it that is explainable by natural laws and processes, then whatever it is they are proposing lies outside the definition of what is science.

This is a strawman, because ID doesn't insist on a supernatural origin.

You don't get it. The problem is that ID insists on the possibility of a supernatural origin. That is what makes ID non-science.

I'll give you an example. Francis Collins is a theist as well as head of the NIH. As a theist he clearly believes in the supernatural. But in his role as a scientist, he never considers the possibility that any disease has a supernatural cause, he always searches for a natural explanation regardless of the difficulty. He understands that the discipline of science is limited to the finding natural explanations and so a fundamental assumption of science is that the supernatural does not exist.
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It would be interesting to see what they say, but I don’t who they are.

I apologize for the brief answer, all your questions are good and I'd love to address them, but have no time.

I would read anything by Michael Behe, starting with "Darwin's Black Box", to get a good understanding of the issues that ID have with evolution, and to understand the subsequent discussion (some would say debunking) of the ID arguments.

Stephen Meyers is another ID theorist that writes well, and (to me) makes a compelling case. My favorite book of his is "Darwin's Doubt", a more recent work arguing for ID.

As a layman as far as biology is concerned, I find these works to be very accessible

Hopefully I will have more time this weekend to address your other questions.

-Bryan
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I believe you are the only one in the ID community who thinks Behe is not using the eye as an example of irreducible complexity.

Maybe so. In DBB, Behe discusses the eye in two contexts: the biochemical cascade of reactions when a photon hits the retina, a detailed description to illustrate the kind of detail that Darwinian explanations need to have in this day and age. He doesn't say this is IC, but maybe it is implied. 2) he discusses Darwinist critique of the anatomy of the eye to say basically that it is a straw man.

If a natural explanation for something claimed to be irreducibly complex is found, IDists can simply claim it wasn't really irreducibly complex and find something else not yet explained.

I see it similar to the case for some so-called "intermediate form" in the fossil record. Many species have been proposed, some of them have been proven wrong. By your logic, the whole concept then is false. Not sure I agree.

Here is a question for you, is there any biological system that if an evolutionary mechanism for its origin was demonstrate would convince you that the whole notion of irreducible complexity in biology is false? If so, specify it. If not, then in your mind irreducible complexity is not falsifiable. What does that say about it being science?

The devil is in the details of "demonstrate". I've read a number of articles claiming to demonstrate how a proposed IC structure evolved. None of them that I've read comes close to the level of detail required to demonstrate to me that it was possible. I haven't kept up with the literature in recent years, but I suspect that the state of the art is still about where it was, and that such demonstrations are not possible yet.

But to answer your question, I don't think I'd change my mind about IC's weight, I'd change my mind on whether the structure in question was actually IC. If proven not to be, then I'd accept that.

However, IC structures like the flagellum or blood clotting cascade, etc. that have been identified/proposed don't make up the sum total of evidence for intelligent design. The origin of information in the cell problem is more weighty to me.

me: That is what I've been arguing for years. They are not claiming that the intelligent cause must be supernatural.

you: I honestly can't tell whether you are being dishonest or naive. You assert that just because ID doesn't mention supernatural in their definition it qualifies as "science". Give me a break. All of this has been discussed before ad nauseum, so let me just summarize briefly and with emphasis.

Science finds naturalistic explanations for phenomenon. If a scientific theory posits that life on earth was designed by an intelligence then a necessary part of that theory would be to speculate on the nature of that intelligence and the methods used by that intelligence to design life. Furthermore, all such speculation would be limited to the natural universe, i.e., an intelligence that is subject to natural laws and natural processes. Again, this limitation is a fundamental part of the definition of science, a study of the natural universe. Yet ID apologists keep saying that the nature of the designer is outside scope of their "theory". How can that be? How can one assess whether an intelligent designer is a more likely explanation than evolution without some conception of what that designer is and where it came from?

As long as Intelligent Design supporters are not willing to limit their speculation of the Designer to some thing or it that is explainable by natural laws and processes, then whatever it is they are proposing lies outside the definition of what is science.

me: This is a strawman, because ID doesn't insist on a supernatural origin.

you: You don't get it. The problem is that ID insists on the possibility of a supernatural origin. That is what makes ID non-science.


There is a lot here, but I think we are getting at the core of our disagreement. Part of it has to do with the language you are using. Maybe you are being imprecise when you say something to the effect "ID requires a supernatural designer", but I have to take you to mean what you say unless you clarify.

Here you have rephrased to say (to the effect) that ID allows a supernatural designer. I'd say this is getting much closer to the actual ID position. ID does not rule out a supernatural designer by definition like the modern consensus on what science is does. ID just asks 1)what are the hallmarks of design produced by intelligent agents, and 2) can we identify such design in biology. I see that as a positive thing, letting the evidence lead where it will lead, rather than precluding certain things from the beginning by definition.

Maybe you are right, that this aspect of ID makes it something less than a modern scientific pursuit. I just have trouble with the whole "science = knowledge = nothing else exists" . I'm not asking you to defend (for the umpteenth time) methodological naturalism. I'm just asking that you let ID define itself, which I think you are close to here.


I'll give you an example. Francis Collins is a theist as well as head of the NIH. As a theist he clearly believes in the supernatural. But in his role as a scientist, he never considers the possibility that any disease has a supernatural cause, he always searches for a natural explanation regardless of the difficulty. He understands that the discipline of science is limited to the finding natural explanations and so a fundamental assumption of science is that the supernatural does not exist.


That's because for disease, we know enough what the immediate cause is (bacteria, virus, etc) that we don't need to know ultimate origins for the purpose of treating a patient or coming up with a cure.

For the scope of ID, origins of biological information is what is important. ID is the wrong tool to use for treating pneumonia.

Excluding ID from the realm of "science" because it does not limit it's possible explanations to natural agents is ultimately a philosophical choice. It might be the right choice for you. However, nature does not require such a limitation.
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I see it similar to the case for some so-called "intermediate form" in the fossil record. Many species have been proposed, some of them have been proven wrong.

You make my point. Every aspect of evolutionary theory is falsifiable, which is why it is a science. Scientists have developed practical protocols for how to test claims of "intermediate forms" and species relationships. That is why evolution is such a powerful theory that stimulates so much experimentation. It makes a number of very testable predictions, with each result, positive or negative, increasing our knowledge of how living things evolved.

Compare that with irreducible complexity, which is virtually impossible to prove or disprove. Behe demands such detailed molecular description for falsification that the only way to disprove a claim of irreducible complexity is to go back in time and watch the event. And the only "proof" of irreducible complexity is the absence of disproof. There is your Catch-22. The claim of irreducible complexity is simply not testable and as such it is not particularly useful or noteworthy.

I'm just asking that you let ID define itself, which I think you are close to here.
You don't have a right to define ID inaccurately in order to have it taught in science classes. That is dishonest.

ID just asks 1)what are the hallmarks of design produced by intelligent agents, and 2) can we identify such design in biology.

Those questions are often asked in science. The CDC has protocols for example on how to distinguish genetically modified viruses from natural variants. Asking those questions isn't a problem. That is because when the CDC does this, it assumes that any artificial modifications occurred consistent with natural laws and therefore can be understood by the application of natural laws and logic. That isn't how IDists work. IDists assume the possibility of "magic", stuff happening outside the realm of the natural world. There is no predictability once you bring in the possibility of the supernatural. It simply aint science.

That's because for disease, we know enough what the immediate cause is (bacteria, virus, etc) that we don't need to know ultimate origins for the purpose of treating a patient or coming up with a cure.

Exactly. We only are tempted to invoke the supernatural when there is insufficient information. Two thousand years ago, disease was often given a supernatural cause because we were ignorant. That is the lesson to be learned. In every case so far concerning the physical universe, assuming a supernatural cause has turned out to be unnecessary once humanity gained more knowledge of how things work.
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Your link doesn't provide a source to this claim. I'm going out on a limb here and saying no prominent design theorist has ever used the eye as an example of irreducible complexity. It wouldn't be a good example.
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I agree it would not be a good example. What would be a good example? I have seen it referenced repeatedly by both proponents of ID and creationists. Who would be a good example of a prominent design theorist? I’d be very curious to know what they think supports the idea.


If you're talking about the anatomy of the eye, it is not a good example. The biochemistry of sight is another issue.

In his book DBB, Behe uses the bacterial flagellum, the blood clotting cascade, and a few other examples of IC.

Meyers, in his books "Signature in the cell" and "Darwin's Doubt", focuses on the information problem, which I think is more weighty.


It would be interesting to see what they say, but I don’t who they are.


Meyers, Behe, William Dembsky (if you are into math) off the top of my head. Evolutionnews.org has a ton of good blog posts, gets a little snarky at times so you'd have to look past that.
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Compare that with irreducible complexity, which is virtually impossible to prove or disprove. Behe demands such detailed molecular description for falsification that the only way to disprove a claim of irreducible complexity is to go back in time and watch the event. And the only "proof" of irreducible complexity is the absence of disproof. There is your Catch-22. The claim of irreducible complexity is simply not testable and as such it is not particularly useful or noteworthy.

So your complaint is that it is not testable today. You are of course aware of scientific claims/predictions of things that were not testable at the time they were proposed. Dark matter comes to mind. Yet you have a different standard for IC.

You don't have a right to define ID inaccurately in order to have it taught in science classes. That is dishonest.

Not sure why you bring this up, it has not been part of the discussion. Part of the baggage you bring that colors how you hear others. I don't fault you for this, you are in good company.

That isn't how IDists work. IDists assume the possibility of "magic", stuff happening outside the realm of the natural world. There is no predictability once you bring in the possibility of the supernatural. It simply aint science.

But ID is an historical science, investigating stuff that happened in the distant past, the origin of biological information. It is no different than archaeology in this regard. No predictability there either, only hallmarks of design.

That's the problem you and everyone else faces when trying to discredit ID on the basis "it's not science", because the criterion you propose rule out other fields of accepted science. I think it's more honest to say that ID is fringe science at present.

In every case so far concerning the physical universe, assuming a supernatural cause has turned out to be unnecessary once humanity gained more knowledge of how things work.

Right, the "methodological naturalism's checks in the mail" defense. You are right, we've gained a lot of information on how the universe works, very good work done. But we have not explained the origin of biological information.

This is where we part ways. You want to give science the benefit of the doubt, that naturalistic explanations are forthcoming in time. ID theorist are looking for evidence that biological information requires an intelligent source. I'm hoping future generations in each camp will work together, instead of against each other.
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If life can be designed, at least in principle, and that design can be detected, that is all you need to prove the basic tenet of ID.

If only that were the Intelligent Design you seek, my friend. The big sticking point is ID claims it can scientifically prove life was/is designed by a supernatural intelligent being that is not subject to the physical laws of nature.

You're not in search of aliens, Bryan, and finding them will never satisfy you. You are in search of your god.
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The big sticking point is ID claims it can scientifically prove life was/is designed by a supernatural intelligent being that is not subject to the physical laws of nature.

Oh, well I guess that settles it. Thanks, I was starting to believe it again. Now I'm wishing I hadn't read all those books by Dembski, Behe, and Meyers. They are magicians, cleverly hiding it in plain sight.

How could I have missed it?
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Oh, well I guess that settles it. Thanks, I was starting to believe it again. Now I'm wishing I hadn't read all those books by Dembski, Behe, and Meyers. They are magicians, cleverly hiding it in plain sight.

How could I have missed it?


We've been here long enough to know that ID is the path to proving god is real, it has nothing to do with aliens. Same for all the other ID proponents. Or do you forget we've been chatting about this since the Wedge Document, and the Kitzmiller vs Dover case?

You have some egg on your shirt.
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So your complaint is that it is not testable today. You are of course aware of scientific claims/predictions of things that were not testable at the time they were proposed. Dark matter comes to mind.

My complaint is that irreducible complexity is not testable in principle. We can't know with certainty how anything occurred in the past. The best one can do is make a reasonable guess. Irreducible complexity is the assumption that certain types of complexity is impossible by natural means. How do you demonstrate impossibility? You can't. Best you can do is disprove it by presenting a plausible natural pathway. But this can always be countered by claiming it is not detailed enough, which is what Behe does.

Your comparison of ID with dark matter has no validity. Current theories in physics have been extremely successful at explaining the physical universe and are the basis for the development of stuff like airplanes and computers, so there are good reasons to believe in the validity of modern physics. However, when these theories are applied to cosmology, there is a consistent gap in the mathematics indicating an insufficient amount of observed matter. In order to hang on to these otherwise highly supported theories in physics, scientists postulate the existence of dark matter. In other words, there are substantial theoretical and mathematical reasons justifying the postulation of dark matter.

This is not the case with ID. Application of the laws of physics do not lead to any mathematical reason to posit an Intelligent Designer for biology. The only reasons are religious.
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But ID is an historical science, investigating stuff that happened in the distant past, the origin of biological information. It is no different than archaeology in this regard. No predictability there either, only hallmarks of design.

You've got it wrong about archeology, it is all predictable and consistent with the natural laws of the universe. For example, the sophistication of artifacts found are generally compatible with the hypothesized technology the times, providing a consistent timeline of human cultural and technical evolution. That is because archeological theories limit themselves to natural processes and natural laws. Would also add that a large part of how archeologists recognize design is by studying and understanding the intelligence that did the designing, something IDists try hard to avoid.

Imagine if archeology allowed for the possibility of the supernatural whenever it faced an unresolved issue. That is when things become unpredictable. Were the pyramids an astounding feat of human engineering or supernatural sorcery? Did the Mayans decline because of disease and climate change or vengeful deities? Progress in archeology is only made possible by limiting explanations to that consistent with the natural universe
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Right, the "methodological naturalism's checks in the mail" defense. You are right, we've gained a lot of information on how the universe works, very good work done. But we have not explained the origin of biological information.

We also have not explained Alzheimer's Dementia. Is that a justification for searching for the intelligent designer of Alzheimer's? It is a serious question.

What questions about the physical universe have been resolve by alternatives to "methodological naturalism"? What vaccines were produced by "non-naturalistic" methods? What evidence do you have that non-naturalistic methods of explaining the physical universe are more useful than naturalistic explanations?

This is where we part ways. You want to give science the benefit of the doubt, that naturalistic explanations are forthcoming in time. ID theorist are looking for evidence that biological information requires an intelligent source. I'm hoping future generations in each camp will work together, instead of against each other.

Again, you are misinterpreting. I want science to continue to be science, finding naturalistic explanations for physical phenomenon. Naturalistic explanations can include the intelligent design of life, as the directed panspermia hypothesis demonstrates. If IDists agree that they too are searching for naturalistic models of how intelligence helped design life on earth, then their proposal would be no more controversial than directed panspermia.

But if you IDists want to include the supernatural in your hypothesis that is also okay. Just don't keep trying to define IDism as "science".
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Would also add that a large part of how archeologists recognize design is by studying and understanding the intelligence that did the designing...

Would be a nice trick, since they're all dead

... something IDists try hard to avoid.

Nice catch-22 you have constructed:

ID: "We don't study the designer, only the hallmarks of intelligence left behind"

BT: "That's not very scientific! You lose."

ID: "How are we going to study an intelligence that might not even be material in nature?"

BT: "Now you are talking about a supernatural being, which is not science. You lose again".
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What questions about the physical universe have been resolve by alternatives to "methodological naturalism"? What vaccines were produced by "non-naturalistic" methods? What evidence do you have that non-naturalistic methods of explaining the physical universe are more useful than naturalistic explanations?

Not sure why you ask these questions. The ability of science to discover natural causes for natural effects is not in question.
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Would be a nice trick, since they're all dead

Just want to point out that this statement displays an ignorance of the science of archaeology. The primary objective of archaeology is to use artifacts to try to describe and understand the human beings that produced the artifacts.

Nice catch-22 you have constructed:

There is no "Catch-22" if you stick to science. It is legitimate to ask whether modern evolutionary theory can explain all observed biological structures. This is done all the time, which is how the field advances.

It is legitimate to ask whether intelligence might have had a role in the development of earth life or even the origin of the universe. This is done on occasions and is the basis for hypotheses like directed panspermia or the computer simulation universe. Data in support of these are pretty sparse so they are more speculation than theory.

The Catch-22 does apply when you try to describe ID as science. That is what happens when one tries to fit a square peg into a round hole.
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Not sure why you ask these questions. The ability of science to discover natural causes for natural effects is not in question.

I ask these questions because the remarkable success of methodological naturalism to explain natural events why it is now the default strategy for studying and explaining natural events. If you want to replace methodological naturalism you need to demonstrate that your alternative is more effective.
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Would also add that a large part of how archeologists recognize design is by studying and understanding the intelligence that did the designing...
---------
Would be a nice trick, since they're all dead
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Just want to point out that this statement displays an ignorance of the science of archaeology. The primary objective of archaeology is to use artifacts to try to describe and understand the human beings that produced the artifacts.


Right, archeologist study their artifacts, not direct observation of the people that made them.

In the same way, ID studies the products of intelligent agents today, to see if 1) they can be reliably identified based on observations and applying the scientific method, and 2) if those same things can be observed in biology, and what might be the possible explanations for such products.

Also, lighten up. I know saving the world from ID is important business for you, but sometimes it helps to find humor in the human condition we share ;-)
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Not sure why you ask these questions. The ability of science to discover natural causes for natural effects is not in question.
--------
I ask these questions because the remarkable success of methodological naturalism to explain natural events why it is now the default strategy for studying and explaining natural events. If you want to replace methodological naturalism you need to demonstrate that your alternative is more effective.


Your response implies to me a misunderstanding of ID. ID uses the scientific method to explore it's questions of interest. It is not trying to replace the scientific method.

It is true that MN would have to be "relaxed" a bit if ID were to be accepted as science, but it would not threaten the role of observation of the natural world, making hypothesis based on observations, coming up with experiments to test hypotheses, etc.
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Also, lighten up. I know saving the world from ID is important business for you,

I find ID mostly irrelevant, and as proof I suggest you look at my posts on this board over the last year or two. Almost all have been on other topics like consciousness and free will. What I found important enough to comment at length upon this time is your persistent insinuations of bias and unethical behavior by those favoring evolution. I get a little tired of creationists who aren't able to defend their position resorting to attacking the character of those who disagree with them. In this thread, you even alleged with little to no evidence that folks were trying to delete IDist biographies on Wikipedia! Note how you titled your thread "No surprise here", making clear your expectation and assumption of bias by evolution supporters.

So I find your "lighten up" comment ironic as you are the one finding the need to resort to character assassination to defend your IDist positions.
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So I find your "lighten up" comment ironic as you are the one finding the need to resort to character assassination to defend your IDist positions.

You've constructed quite the imaginary glass house there.

I don't see "lighten up" as a character assassination, but rather an observation that you don't seem to be having any fun here.

Is accusing someone of bias attacking his character? Don't you think I'm biased in certain areas? Pretty sure you've accused people of worse here. Initially you defended the bias as justified, now you want to say it's wrong to say someone's biased?

The OP, if you remember, was a quote from the co-founder of Wikipedia, lamenting the bias evident in the entry for ID. It was introduced by a quote from David Klinghoffer lamenting the bias he sees in wikipedia. Maybe Klinghoffer was a little over the top, but I happen to agree that it is biased. I think you are confused about who said what, attributing things to me that I didn't write.

It was just a conversation starter. Pretty successful I might add, seeing that this has gone for 60 posts or so. If you disagreed with it, you are welcome to say why, which you did. So far so good.

But you also seem to think that if a person links to an article, he becomes guilty of any "thought crimes" you find there. I find that odd, but let it pass in order to have a less confrontational discussion. Now I see that it was a mistake, and should have called you on it before.

I'm also surprised that you deny ID supporters' wikipedia entries have been deleted. Bechly's was, and it's pretty obvious that it was because he supports ID. I have no idea what the people/person who deleted him think about evolution, so you are wrong again there. I have not otherwise said that folks are trying to delete ID wikipedia pages, that is your creation.

To reiterate, I think there is bias in Wikipedia against ID and the way it is presented, just as I find your characterizations of it biased, as well as how you occasionally (not often) characterize those you are debating here. I don't see it as an attack on your character, any more than I'd see it a personal attack if you said I was biased in some area.

It's pretty much part of being human. Here I'm assuming you are human — not very scientific of me ;-)
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In the same way, ID studies the products of intelligent agents today, to see if 1) they can be reliably identified based on observations and applying the scientific method, and 2) if those same things can be observed in biology, and what might be the possible explanations for such products.

If that's the case, then it's great that we have sequences from hundreds to thousands of species and maybe as many from individual humans, parent-child trios, and patient-tumor pairs. We know what artificial genes look like when humans develop them. Guess what. We don't see anything in naturally occurring genomes that corresponds to what intelligent agents do today. No evidence of multiple cloning sites; no hybrid promoters and introns. The molecular changes we see between species look like the changes we see between people, between parent and offspring, and between patients and their tumors. When a gene gets duplicated, it's not a nice neat cutting and pasting of the gene. It looks haphazard, with portions of adjacent genes being duplicated - just like you'd expect from random mutations and not from design. If there was a designer manipulating DNA on our planet, it hasn't happened in the last couple hundred million years.

At best, you could argue that the "designer" was using artificial selection, much like humans did with dogs. I guess we ended up somewhat better than the poor dachshund, bred for a particular purpose without much thought for its long-term wellbeing. However, if that's the case, the designer clearly wasn't all that intelligent or creative. At best, they were as advanced as neolithic humans. Given the high incidence of spinal muscular atrophy due to the instability of a poorly planned duplication in that chromosomal location, a truly intelligent designer would probably be guilty of crimes against humanity.

Also, lighten up. I know saving the world from ID is important business for you

For me, it a question of saving the world from disinformation where I can, whether it be ID, vaccination paranoia, GMO fears, etc.

-Anthony
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If that's the case, then it's great that we have sequences from hundreds to thousands of species and maybe as many from individual humans, parent-child trios, and patient-tumor pairs. We know what artificial genes look like when humans develop them. Guess what. We don't see anything in naturally occurring genomes that corresponds to what intelligent agents do today. No evidence of multiple cloning sites; no hybrid promoters and introns.

Just wanted to say "cool". I can come at it from "this does not presently fit the definition of theory/science", but it takes a geneticist to point out the above.

It seems in a couple of sentences you have completely invalidated ID as a concept (science or not science). I suspect it would take another geneticist to supply any refutation (if it is even possible to refute it). Which takes me to my other pet peeve about stuff like this: stop trying to second guess the scientists. Let them do their jobs, and don't try to tell them they are wrong just because you don't like the answer. Without the kind of specialized training you have the average (or even above average) person is not likely to know what you just pointed out.

1poorguy
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I don't see "lighten up" as a character assassination, but rather an observation that you don't seem to be having any fun here.

I characterized "lighten up" as ironic, character assassination was related to insinuations of unethical behavior, e.g., unjustified censoring of Wikipedia. Don't know where the not having any fun suggestion came from. This is the closest I've come to shooting fish in a barrel and I have to say it is enjoyable being the shooter and not the fish.

Is accusing someone of bias attacking his character?

Let's stop being disingenuous. Your insinuations aren't simply about bias but also that such bias has resulted in unethical behavior, such as most recently the censoring of Wikipedia biographies. You keep making assertions that the scientific community blocks consideration of whether intelligence was involved in creating life and I've repeatedly given you examples demonstrating that this is not true. The scientific community tries to block bad science or, in the case of ID, non-science trying to masquerade as science.

But you also seem to think that if a person links to an article, he becomes guilty of any "thought crimes" you find there.

Give me a break. You linked an article claiming that a Wikipedia biography was unjustifiably censored because of bias against a particular belief in a thread you labeled "No surprise here". You really want to now claim you don't fully endorse the contents of that link? Doesn't seem credible to me.

I'm also surprised that you deny ID supporters' wikipedia entries have been deleted. Bechly's was, and it's pretty obvious that it was because he supports ID.

I'm curious what others here think because I don't think this was the case at all. I think I presented pretty good evidence that Blechly's biography was pulled for justifiable reasons. The ID controversy only brought it to people's attention who then noticed that lack of notablity. I showed you the Wikipedia discussion that indicated the reasons why the editors pulled Blechly, and another Wikipedia site demonstrating that such challenges to biographies (particularly one's submitted by the subject) occur all the time. I showed you the 10 or so criteria used to determine notability and you could only find one that might apply to Blechly and presented a pretty unconvincing argument for it. Fact is, you made several assertions in this thread that were demonstrated to be incorrect.

I think if you made even a half-hearted attempt to be objective, you would have to admit that a reasonable case was made that Blechly's biography was not sufficiently notable and that it was a legitimate judgement call by the editors.

Well, that was fun.
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It seems in a couple of sentences you have completely invalidated ID as a concept

Yeah, too bad he wasn't around 20 years ago, could have saved the world a lot of wasted time and energy.
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"Also, lighten up. I know saving the world from ID is important business for you"

Since you failed to refute any of his arguments, you might as well attack his character or motive eh?
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Yeah, too bad he wasn't around 20 years ago, could have saved the world a lot of wasted time and energy.

20 years ago I suspect we didn't have the technology to do what he described, so "no" it couldn't have.

Also, disproving/invalidating something isn't a waste of time. It's what science does best. Scientists can make names for themselves if they invalidate something.

Once invalidated it is a waste to pursue it further, though. :-)
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character assassination was related to insinuations of unethical behavior, e.g., unjustified censoring of Wikipedia.

There is nothing at all unethical about deleting about Bechly's page from wikipedia. Even if it was ultimately about his support for ID, it is within the rights of the users of the website to delete whoever and whatever they want from wikipedia.

There are guidelines, to be sure, but they hardly rise to the level of moral obligations. His deletion was biased because it was ultimately due to his beliefs. Plenty of argument was given on the discussion page you linked to support keeping his page.

Is accusing someone of bias attacking his character?
------
Let's stop being disingenuous.


I'll take that as an admission that no, it is not attacking someone's character per se.

You really want to now claim you don't fully endorse the contents of that link?

So you are asserting that someone is responsible for each and every claim in a linked article. I agree with the bias claim, but I don't agree with your assertion that someone must agree with everything or refrain from linking to something. I don't think you've always followed your rule here.

I think if you made even a half-hearted attempt to be objective, you would have to admit that a reasonable case was made that Blechly's biography was not sufficiently notable and that it was a legitimate judgement call by the editors.


Likewise, I think if you were objective, you'd agree that he was deleted because of his support for ID. You admitted as much. Seriously, if he never supported ID, he'd still be there. We all know that.
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Since you failed to refute any of his arguments, you might as well attack his character or motive eh?

Haha, are you attacking my character? Seriously, attacking someone's motives is one of the main anti-ID "arguments"

No wedge document, no controversy
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Also, disproving/invalidating something isn't a waste of time. It's what science does best. Scientists can make names for themselves if they invalidate something.

I'd have to agree with that. Maybe you can get Anthony's autograph before word gets out? ;-)
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. We know what artificial genes look like when humans develop them. Guess what. We don't see anything in naturally occurring genomes that corresponds to what intelligent agents do today. No evidence of multiple cloning sites; no hybrid promoters and introns.

Interesting. So are there absolutely no genes occurring in nature that have no evidence of cloning sites, no hybrid promoters and introns?


What makes these genes artificial?


If there was a designer manipulating DNA on our planet, it hasn't happened in the last couple hundred million years.

Yeah, that's kind of what ID is saying. Meyer focuses on the Cambrian Explosion in "Darwin's Doubt". That was a while ago.

I think you are under the impression that ID says that the designing intelligence has been at work all along, to this day. I haven't seen this. I see it focused on the origin of biologic information. Pretty sure they are ok with evolution doing it's thing after that.

However, if that's the case, the designer clearly wasn't all that intelligent or creative.

I don't know about that. At least intelligent enough to create life. Not too shabby for a day's work ;-)

For me, it a question of saving the world from disinformation where I can, whether it be ID, vaccination paranoia, GMO fears, etc.

All good. I would think in the case of ID it would enough to 1) get the ID argument right, and 2) show where it is wrong

Here's a question: What are scientists still lacking in knowledge or technology to be able to create a life-form at least as complex as the first life on earth?
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Likewise, I think if you were objective, you'd agree that he was deleted because of his support for ID. You admitted as much. Seriously, if he never supported ID, he'd still be there. We all know that.

How do you come to these conclusions? The editors who made the decision gave their reason for why they did what they did and they specifically said it had nothing to do with ID. Why do you assume they are lying, particularly since many more prominent IDists all have their own Wikipedia pages?

As I read the situation it appears that Blechly submitted his own biography (which is itself frowned upon) and no one noticed it for several years. When he became controversial more wanted to know who this guy was and it became evident to at least a few that he really wasn't all that notable, at least not by Wikipedia standards. So they complained through the usual channels and won the discussion. You may disagree with their decision, but that is no reason to insinuate that the Wikipedia editors are lying about their motives.

And this is the basis of my criticism. If you are going attack character, as you have in this example with the editors of Wikipedia, I think you need to do your due diligence and fact-check your allegations. If you go back through the earlier posts on this thread I think it is pretty clear you did not do that.
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I'm curious what others here think because I don't think this was the case at all.

At this point, I think it's just you and me arguing about whose is bigger ;-)
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At this point, I think it's just you and me arguing about whose is bigger ;-)

Most of us figured that one out a while ago.

Pete
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At best, you could argue that the "designer" was using artificial selection, much like humans did with dogs.

You failed to consider the magic number, 37 (see Fig. 5). Make of it what you will.

From Abstract:

"...As the actual scenario for the origin of terrestrial life is far from being settled, the proposal that it might have been seeded intentionally cannot be ruled out. A statistically strong intelligent-like “signal” in the genetic code is then a testable consequence of such scenario. Here we show that the terrestrial code displays a thorough precision-type orderliness matching the criteria to be considered an informational signal. Simple arrangements of the code reveal an ensemble of arithmetical and ideographical patterns of the same symbolic language. Accurate and systematic, these underlying patterns appear as a product of precision logic and nontrivial computing rather than of stochastic processes..." https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001910351...

This is a great example of numerological coincidences and the potential pitfalls of false positive "artificial" signals.
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We know what artificial genes look like when humans develop them. Guess what. We don't see anything in naturally occurring genomes that corresponds to what intelligent agents do today. No evidence of multiple cloning sites; no hybrid promoters and introns.

Interesting. So are there absolutely no genes occurring in nature that have no evidence of cloning sites, no hybrid promoters and introns?

To the best of my knowledge, no. Have you read anything to the contrary?

What makes these genes artificial?

Humans made them. I'm not sure of how many other species of intelligent agents we have around today engaged in genetic engineering. You claimed, "ID studies the products of intelligent agents today..." Humans would seem to be the only example. What else would you look at?

If there was a designer manipulating DNA on our planet, it hasn't happened in the last couple hundred million years.

Yeah, that's kind of what ID is saying. Meyer focuses on the Cambrian Explosion in "Darwin's Doubt". That was a while ago.

Unfortunately, that is wrong on two accounts. First, you brought up the clotting cascade. The number of proteins needed for clotting varies within Mammalia. The last common ancestor of currently existing mammals is put somewhere around 100 million years ago, meaning that your hypothetical designer(s) would have had to be operating in the last 100 million years.

Second, our whole genome sequences include sponges. Sponges show up in the fossil record about 700 million years ago, long before the Cambrian Explosion.

For me, it a question of saving the world from disinformation where I can, whether it be ID, vaccination paranoia, GMO fears, etc.

All good. I would think in the case of ID it would enough to 1) get the ID argument right, and 2) show where it is wrong

I think ID is wrong in that what it rests on is logically unsound. It asserts that certain things in nature require an intelligent designer without providing compelling evidence to support that assertion.

Here's a question: What are scientists still lacking in knowledge or technology to be able to create a life-form at least as complex as the first life on earth?

The biggest one is what did that life look like.

-Anthony
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I'm also surprised that you deny ID supporters' wikipedia entries have been deleted. Bechly's was, and it's pretty obvious that it was because he supports ID.

I'm curious what others here think


I think this new and different Bryan took a job with the Discovery Institute or some other affiliated organization.
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I think this new and different Bryan took a job with the Discovery Institute or some other affiliated organization.

Must be my new brilliant arguments
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Sorry, didn't realize Icarus had a paywall.

Here is a summary of the paper: http://www.lehigh.edu/~dwp0/Assets/images/Is%20the%20answer%...

"A cosmologist and astrobiologist at the Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute in Almaty, Kazakhstan,
Makukov says the numbers reveal that all terrestrial life came from outer space. Not only that, it
was planted on Earth by intelligent aliens. Billions of years ago, the planet was barren and lifeless.
But then, at some distant and unknowable moment, it was seeded with what Makukov calls an
"intelligent-like signal" – a signal that is too orderly and intricate to have occurred randomly.
This signal, he says, is in our genetic code.
Highly preserved across cosmological timescales, it
has been waiting there, like an encrypted message, for anyone qualified to read it. All of the
teeming varieties of life on Earth – from kangaroos and daffodils to albatrosses and us – carry it
within them. And now Makukov, along with his mentor, mathematician Vladmir shCherbak of the alFarabi
Kazakh National University in Almaty, claims to have cracked it. If they are right, the answer
to life, the universe and everything is... 37."
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Back to this:

In the same way, ID studies the products of intelligent agents today, to see if 1) they can be reliably identified based on observations and applying the scientific method, and 2) if those same things can be observed in biology, and what might be the possible explanations for such products.
---
If that's the case, then it's great that we have sequences from hundreds to thousands of species and maybe as many from individual humans, parent-child trios, and patient-tumor pairs. We know what artificial genes look like when humans develop them. Guess what. We don't see anything in naturally occurring genomes that corresponds to what intelligent agents do today. No evidence of multiple cloning sites; no hybrid promoters and introns. The molecular changes we see between species look like the changes we see between people, between parent and offspring, and between patients and their tumors. When a gene gets duplicated, it's not a nice neat cutting and pasting of the gene. It looks haphazard, with portions of adjacent genes being duplicated - just like you'd expect from random mutations and not from design. If there was a designer manipulating DNA on our planet, it hasn't happened in the last couple hundred million years.


Seems like a reasonable assumption then, that if you find genes that don't have these features, they are therefore "artificial" and thus designed.

So think about when life first appeared from non-life. The genes present would not have any of these features. I think you have just proved intelligent design.
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Seems like a reasonable assumption then, that if you find genes that don't have these features, they are therefore "artificial" and thus designed.

So think about when life first appeared from non-life. The genes present would not have any of these features. I think you have just proved intelligent design.


I don't see why. You asserted that "ID studies the products of intelligent agents today." I took a look at what intelligent agents produce today and what patterns they generate, and then I looked for evidence of it in nature. It turns out that there is none. That seems to be the death knell for portraying ID as science.

-Anthony
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Seems like a reasonable assumption then, that if you find genes that don't have these features, they are therefore "artificial" and thus designed.

So think about when life first appeared from non-life. The genes present would not have any of these features. I think you have just proved intelligent design.
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I don't see why.


So you think the first genes would have all the signs of age that modern genes have?


You asserted that "ID studies the products of intelligent agents today." I took a look at what intelligent agents produce today and what patterns they generate, and then I looked for evidence of it in nature. It turns out that there is none. That seems to be the death knell for portraying ID as science.

I don't follow how you come to that conclusion. ID has identified purposeful arrangement of parts and digital information as hallmarks of intelligence. Tons of it in nature.


You only looked at one thing, human designed genes. They are identifiable as products of intelligence, so I don't see how that invalidates ID.
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ID has identified purposeful arrangement of parts and digital information as hallmarks of intelligence. Tons of it in nature.

The very wording of this statement presupposes the conclusion. "Purposeful" implies a thinking deliberate entity. That is a religious thing, not a scientific one.

A flagellum (for example) has a function, but it's quite a leap to say that its existence is "purposeful".
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ID has identified purposeful arrangement of parts and digital information as hallmarks of intelligence. Tons of it in nature.
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The very wording of this statement presupposes the conclusion. "Purposeful" implies a thinking deliberate entity. That is a religious thing, not a scientific one.

A flagellum (for example) has a function, but it's quite a leap to say that its existence is "purposeful".


Been thinking about this. I think the distinction is the purposeful arrangement of parts would only apply to known intelligent designers. ID studies known designers to come up with criteria that would signal design/intelligence in unknown areas.

So you are probably right that purposeful would not strictly apply to non-intelligent natural sources.
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So you are probably right that purposeful would not strictly apply to non-intelligent natural sources.

I shoulda read ahead! :-)

I won't get into the flagellum specifically. We've done that before, and I'm sure btresist and Anthony are better-qualified anyway. But I am glad you see my point. :-)

Honestly, I think the biggest problem you would need to address is what Anthony mentioned a few days ago. Namely that we know what manufactured genes look like, and those we find in nature do not look like that. I'm not qualified to comment further, but that seems to be a significant obstacle any ID proponent would have to overcome.

1poorguy
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Honestly, I think the biggest problem you would need to address is what Anthony mentioned a few days ago. Namely that we know what manufactured genes look like, and those we find in nature do not look like that. I'm not qualified to comment further, but that seems to be a significant obstacle any ID proponent would have to overcome.

So we know that humans did not create first life. Do see any other implications than that?

Please explain
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So we know that humans did not create first life. Do see any other implications than that?

Please explain


Perhaps I misunderstood him, but it seemed he was saying that there are characteristics for manufactured genes. Not specific to whom manufactured them. Those traits are not evident in the genome of the numerous species we've sequenced. Therefore, they are not manufactured.

If I'm in error there I'm sure Anthony can correct me.
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Seems like a reasonable assumption then, that if you find genes that don't have these features, they are therefore "artificial" and thus designed.

So think about when life first appeared from non-life. The genes present would not have any of these features. I think you have just proved intelligent design.
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I don't see why.


So you think the first genes would have all the signs of age that modern genes have?


I'm not sure what the genes in the first life form looked like, so it's impossible to say. The problem above is that your "reasonable assumption" is a logical fallacy. I haven't argued that if a genome or gene is natural, it has these features.

I looked at what logically follows from your assertion that "ID studies the products of intelligent agents today." We need two data sets to do that. First, we need a set of things we know were manufactured by intelligent agents. Second, we need a set of things that we know were not. I guess you could argue that there's an invisible designer messing with our genomes still today, but I think it's reasonable to assume that there is not. Given that, we can compile a list of attributes that are unambiguously produced by intelligent agents and see if we find them in nature. As I've already, argued, we do not.

You asserted that "ID studies the products of intelligent agents today." I took a look at what intelligent agents produce today and what patterns they generate, and then I looked for evidence of it in nature. It turns out that there is none. That seems to be the death knell for portraying ID as science.

I don't follow how you come to that conclusion. ID has identified purposeful arrangement of parts and digital information as hallmarks of intelligence.


Has it? They claim to be able to so without providing any measure of how accurate they are. Bacteria can purposely move towards a food source or away from a hazard. Do you believe they are intelligent because of that? "Purpose" is one of those things that's hard for people to correctly identify. Interestingly, people who believe in the supernatural are more likely to attribute purpose and intent to random events:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17470919.2014.90...

You see "purposeful design" in the dragon in the sky; others see a cloud produced by natural processes.

In addition, we know that evolution creates new "digital information." We have observed this in the lab in the creation of new DNA sequences that provide new functions. For instance, bacteria develop new tools to fight again phages. No intelligence needed.

You only looked at one thing, human designed genes. They are identifiable as products of intelligence, so I don't see how that invalidates ID.

If you can think of another system where intelligent agents have designed molecular systems and we can clearly distinguish those from naturally created systems, we can discuss those. I'm just not aware of any. If there are none, then there's no scientific justification to attribute anything to ID.

Maybe I can sum it all up this way. I'm not claiming that there is no answer other than evolution. I'm claiming that there's no objective evidence that shows that there's something more than evolution.

-Anthony
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