Discussion in 'The PatsFans.com Pub' started by CPF, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. CPF

    CPF Practice Squad Player

    Hey Wistah, I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you. I pray that both you and your family had a wonderful Holiday season and are all well.

    The reason is that Dembski is attempting to make a scientific analysis of information and it’s origin, not a philosophical analysis of “who†or “what†that origin may be.

    I see, this is kind of like the “who created God†argument right? Except you have substituted the "possibilities" for God. As far as I can ascertain, we can trace “creation†(for lack of a better word) back to a singularity. Now many theoretical physicists are hard at work attempting to smash that singularity (see Stephen Hawking’s “Imaginary Numbersâ€) but thus far they have been unable to do so, at least not without resorting to “bending the rules“ so to speak. We really have no way to look any further back than the singularity, and while we can speculate and postulate theory after theory based on differing hypothesis, we are left with no way of knowing how that singularity came to be. All we know is that in the natural world things don’t have a tendency to spontaneously create themselves, especially something as complex as the singularity in question would have to be, considering from it emerged the universe we now experience all around us. Thus there must have been what is commonly referred to as a “First Causeâ€. I don’t think we need really concern ourselves with what happened prior to the “First Cause†as much as we need be cognizant of what happened after it. I think you are right that it is completely beyond our “capacity to understand†but we would expect this of an intelligence advanced enough to accomplish what we are talking about. Dembski attempts in some way to explain how CSI works from a biological perspective by indicating that, in some cases of CSI, the “pattern†is given after the “possibility†is actualized.

    Many of the interesting cases of specified information, however, are those in which the pattern is given after a possibility has been actualized. This is certainly the case with the origin of life: life originates first and only afterwards do pattern-forming rational agents (like ourselves) enter the scene. It remains the case, however, that a pattern corresponding to a possibility, though formulated after the possibility has been actualized, can constitute a specification

    He goes on to qualify his statement.

    Certainly this was not the case in the third scenario above where the target was painted around the arrow only after it hit the wall. But consider the following example. Alice and Bob are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Their six children all show up bearing gifts. Each gift is part of a matching set of china. There is no duplication of gifts, and together the gifts constitute a complete set of china. Suppose Alice and Bob were satisfied with their old set of china, and had no inkling prior to opening their gifts that they might expect a new set of china. Alice and Bob are therefore without a relevant pattern whither to refer their gifts prior to actually receiving the gifts from their children. Nevertheless, the pattern they explicitly formulate only after receiving the gifts could be formed independently of receiving the gifts-indeed, we all know about matching sets of china and how to distinguish them from unmatched sets. This pattern therefore constitutes a specification. What's more, there is an obvious inference connected with this specification: Alice and Bob's children were in collusion, and did not present their gifts as random acts of kindness.
    But what about the origin of life? Is life specified? If so, to what patterns does life correspond, and how are these patterns given independently of life's origin? Obviously, pattern-forming rational agents like ourselves don't enter the scene till after life originates. Nonetheless, there are functional patterns to which life corresponds, and which are given independently of the actual living systems. An organism is a functional system comprising many functional subsystems. The functionality of organisms can be cashed out in any number of ways. Arno Wouters (1995) cashes it out globally in terms of viability of whole organisms. Michael Behe (1996) cashes it out in terms of the irreducible complexity and minimal function of biochemical systems. Even the staunch Darwinist Richard Dawkins will admit that life is specified functionally, cashing out the functionality of organisms in terms of reproduction of genes. Thus Dawkins (1987, p. 9) will write: "Complicated things have some quality, specifiable in advance, that is highly unlikely to have been acquired by random chance alone. In the case of living things, the quality that is specified in advance is . . . the ability to propagate genes in reproduction."

    So, did the “options†or “possibilities†exist apart from the intelligent cause of the universe? Or did they exist in the “mind†of the designer? I don’t know, all I do know is that we are able to observe in varying ways what has occurred since that one optional singularity was chosen and what we see, in my opinion, is a definite pattern. A pattern that is quite distinguishable from uncaused chance. Take care.
  2. All_Around_Brown

    All_Around_Brown In the Starting Line-Up

    This is all well and good, but isn't it much more plausible to state simply that organisms evolve over time? How? Through natural selection.

    We know alot about artificial selection, its how we came to feed ourselves with tasty smoked bacons, plentiful eggs and milk, and juicy steaks. Now, instead of human directed, artificial selection, substitute environment, and you have natural selection.
    CPF, I've forgotten, how do the ID people explain artificial selection?
  3. CPF

    CPF Practice Squad Player

    For goodness sake AAB; why don't you respond to my post to YOU before we go off on a tangent in my post to Wistah. Lets give WPF a chance to weigh in and see where the conversation goes from there. Take care.
  4. All_Around_Brown

    All_Around_Brown In the Starting Line-Up

    Oh...these personal thread titles get me all confused.
  5. CPF

    CPF Practice Squad Player

    Sorry about that, I should have used your full screen name, I just get in the habit of shortening folks names (the way I did with my own) in order to save time, especially names like yours and Wistahpatsfan's that are a bit long. Let me know if this bothers you and I will of course stop. Take care.
  6. All_Around_Brown

    All_Around_Brown In the Starting Line-Up

    Let me review...I'll respond later today.
  7. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Pro Bowl Player

    #75 Jersey

  8. CPF

    CPF Practice Squad Player

    You're next on the "hit parade" Wistah, I'll be getting back to you soon, take care.
  9. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Pro Bowl Player

    #75 Jersey

    What were we talking about, again?
  10. CPF

    CPF Practice Squad Player

    Very funny;) I know it takes me a while to get back to you guys but honestly if I could devote more time to these on-line discussions I would, life is simply too busy. I'm hoping to carve out some time tonight to get a response to you. Thanks for your patience and take care.
  11. CPF

    CPF Practice Squad Player

    Here you go my friend.

    First, he does nothing of the sort. He bases his arguments on solid data having to do with information theory, which is very much a science. His philosophical worldview does not substantiate nor invalidate his theory of CSI. Although it may be what drives him to search for alternatives to the naturalistic materialist’ dogma that exists in the scientific community at large, it does not in any way effect the scientific arguments he is positing. By the way, we all have assumptions that drive our reasoning to some extent or another, are you aware of the “Spectacles Behind the Glasses†theory?

    Second, have you done much study regarding the authenticity and accuracy of the Biblical text? It seems to me you are giving what millions of people consider to be sacred writings rather short shrift. Although I sincerely do not think this pertains to our conversation regarding Dembski‘s paper, I would be more than happy to discuss this matter with you as well.

    We all bring presuppositions to any endeavor we choose to take on and science is no different, regardless of how objective we attempt to be, we can’t help but allow our “pre-disposed notions†to seep in a bit. Having said that I would have to say that he has done just what you have suggested ad nauseum. All of his arguments are based on observable evidence, he gives us examples using a poker hand, archery, speech, how animals learn, etc. He forms hypothesis’ and then tests them against observable phenomena. This particular paper’s focus is Complex Specified Information, it’s indications as well as it’s origin and implications. He meticulously explains how and why he has come the conclusions he has proposed. He also goes so far as to answer a few critics at the end. I honestly don’t see how you can call what he has offered pure philosophy, it’s apparent to me that quite a bit of research has been done in order to present his findings. You may disagree with him but I don’t think you can undercut his scientific credibility by sighting his alleged motivations

    I know, what I actually said was “this is kind of like the ‘who created God’ argument right?†I know it’s not the same thing, I was just saying it is a bit similar in it’s construct.

    I would just like to bring to your attention the fact that I (nor Dembski for that matter) am not the one who keeps bringing God into the equation…..you are. Now, how can we discuss where the ideas in God’s mind came from if we do not in some way presume the existence of God? How exactly does the presumption of God “throw the logical controls of objectivity into question�

    You are aware that the “Big Bang†model for the origin of the universe is almost universally accepted correct? Are you also aware that within that model we find a host of evidence that the universe had a “beginning†and that it apparently rose from a singularity? Take your pick from Vesto Slipher’s “Red Shift†to Einstein’s “Theory of General Relativity†and many more besides. The hypothesis that the universe is expanding and thus had a beginning are well documented and substantiated by observable facts.

    Actually I think this is something that scientists should attempt to avoid as much as possible.

    Nonsense, the majority of those that are foundational in the development of the Big Bang model are either agnostic or atheistic in their philosophical worldviews. It is simply where the known evidence points.

    The singularity is not God, the singularity is the compressed matter that existed before the Big Bang caused it to begin to expand. The “First Cause†is the intelligence that formed the singularity. I honestly don’t know why you feel the need to continue to put religious rhetoric in my mouth, I have no compulsion about speaking my mind where my faith is concerned. Conversations about scientific hypothesis are not, however, conducive to philosophical religious discussion. Although the two can co-exist within the same thread (as is evidenced by my conversation with Patters) , they are none the less mutually exclusive.

    Well I choose to focus on the observable data available to us and the viable conclusions that we are able to come to as a result of studying it. What “patterns†have you “observed develop due tohance events that reflect a greater universe of pre-existing patterns that had no real “beginning†as we can conceive it.� I’m willing to discuss this but it seems to me to be pure philosophy. Sorry it took so long to get back to you, I look forward to your response. Take care.
  12. CPF

    CPF Practice Squad Player

    Just wanted to make sure this didn't get "lost". Take care.

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