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Exploring Origins 
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Post Re: Exploring Origins
johnson1010 wrote:
Those are all examples of complex codes which we know for certain none of the intelligent agents we can confirm exist could have manufactured. You are assuming the existence of a god, and assuming that his having created these codes is a foregone conclusion. It is not.
So how do you explain the D.N.A. code ?



Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:40 pm
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Post Re: Exploring Origins
Quote:
Quote:
We are constantly told that all the appearance of design and purpose is illusory

That is an opinion based on ignorance and simply a rebuttal to theist's inference to an intelligence behind Creation itself.


That's not an opinion based on ignorance. The idea that purpose is illusory is extremely complex. If you don't follow it; if you don't understand it, then I can see how you'd say it's based on ignorance. But not the ignorance of those who attempt to explain the mechanism.

I once ran across something strange in the woods where I grew up. It was a series of sticks, arranged in a roman numeral 2. My first(and instant) thought was that someone else placed the sticks. This initial conclusion is a well-documented bias in human psychology. We are biased to conclude that intelligence is the cause of anything and everything which appears to have purpose or contain information, even if those things are random and naturalistic. The examples are legion. Apophenia and Paradoelia are consequences of this bias.

The reason we are biased is because if we weren't, we'd be easier to ambush, easier to deceive, easier to enslave, easier to kill. By concluding that there was intelligence behind the roman numeral two, I was guilty of a false positive(after picking up the sticks, I saw that it was a single branch laying in a way that created an optical illusion). This is where the math kicks in, game theory if you will. A false positive is relatively harmless(increased wariness). We react in a way that's 'better safe than sorry'. A thousand false positives are less dangerous than a single false negative.

This results in an inherent bias in our psychology. Daniel Dennet calls it Agency Detection, and there are many books that show this bias is in fact a bias; we routinely reach false positive conclusions of Agency even when the truth is naturalistic(controlled experiments show this).

The idea that purpose is illusory comes directly from this bias.

ant wrote:
How do the laws that govern genetic code organization ultimately achieving conscious systems surpass those that govern nonliving systems?
Which of the several aBiogenesis hypothesis addresses this?


Ant, none of the abiogenesis hypotheses address it. The origin of consciousness is a separate problem. Consciousness arose long after life arose. Hypotheses for the origin of consciousness include models of cultural evolution. Again, I'm more than happy to look through existing literature and discuss it here on Booktalk if you wish. There are models of how consciousness arose.

Flann wrote:
The greater the complexity of the code the more likely it came from an intelligent source rather than some confluence of random events and laws.


Most information today is the result of human creation. The elephant in the room is whether or not natural laws can also create information. ID proponents say there is no evidence for spontaneous generation of information. Therefore evolution is false.

The problem is, this rebuttal is circular. A primary argument of ID is that we don't have evidence that information can arise spontaneously, therefore evolution is false. Yet, evolution is, at it's core, a naturalistic explanation for how information is created naturalistically. In order for the ID argument to be valid, you need to believe evolution is false. But the primary argument that evolution is false is that information can't arise spontaneously. This is circular.

The evidence for evolution is stronger than theists want to admit. It truly is. Not only in sheer volume, but in the elegance of the mechanism. Can information arise naturalistically? That's a question that's answered by evolution. Yes, information can and has arisen naturalistically, which we conclude from all available evidence.

Let's shelve the talk of abiogenesis for now. Not ignore it, but shelve it. I think there's another thread on abiogenesis where we can hash it out. Instead, I'll try to give my understanding of evolution and how it leads to the accumulation of information. Since the literature on evolution is so vast, I may misunderstand part of it or portray it incorrectly. So I'll try to keep it simple.

Let's assume that proto-life was naturalistically assembled from the stew of prebiotic ingredients on ancient Earth(we can discuss the "how" in another thread). The first form would have very little "information". It would be an 8-bit form of protolife.

By definition, the conditions of this protolife is that it can replicate, and during the replication process, it's information is changed/subtracted/added in a random fashion. One of the ways the original 8-bit life form may alter during replication is to form a 12-bit life form. (It may also lose information or alter information... mutations are random). Compared to the zettabytes of information in our genetic code, this 4-bit increase would be small. There's no telling what this increase in information may result in.

The consequences are as random as the mutation itself.

This is where the elegance of natural selection kicks in. While the mutations may be random, the environment is not. There are highly specific and numerous parameters in any environment. If the 4-bit increase lead to a type of organism that self-destructs or can't use the surrounding prebiotic molecules or can't replicate any further, then it is a dead end. That information is lost. The majority of mutations during ancient Earth would have originally resulted in dead ends.

But this replication isn't serial, it's parallel. Many proto-life forms, each with many 'offspring'. Think of the possible consequences of this 4-bit increase in information. If only 1 out of 100 of the 'offspring' is able to replicate slightly faster, or use resources a touch more efficiently, or resist destructive molecules a bit more effectively, then that single offspring will spawn countless others with the same traits. A new baseline is create(a new species of proto-life), and from that baseline an entirely new set of possible mutations now exists between parent and offspring.

That incremental increase in information from a mutation is enough to give rise to the zettabytes of information we see today. It happened over billions of years, a slow accumulation of random information that is de-randomized by the parameters of the environment. That is how information spontaneously generates.



A primary argument for an intelligent designer is that information can't come into existence in a naturalistic fashion. Yet that's exactly what all the evidence for evolution says happened. In order to accept any argument against the spontaneous generation of information, you first need to believe evolution didn't happen. Yet most ID proponents don't believe in evolution because they don't believe information can spontaneously generate. Again, it is circular.

EDIT - I said we could hash out abiogenesis on another thread, but this is an abiogenesis thread!!! Subsequent posts in this thread then. For the sake of brevity, this one is to show how evolution produces information.


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Post Re: Exploring Origins
Since Johnson's scientific knowledge greatly outweighs mine.I'm going to present some countervailing arguments vicariously, through an essay of David Berlinski from some time ago,1996.They have probably evolved since.At least it may provide some food for thought or maybe indigestion. Title;The deniable Darwin. http://www.rae.org/pdf/dendar.pdf



Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:22 pm
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Post Re: Exploring Origins
to qualify as a living system (not rainbows, or snowflakes, or the rings around planets) there must be meaningful information . Meaningful to the system that receives it. "context". contextual meaning. the information must be specified.

How does meaningful specification arise spontaneously in nature?
That is the question.

I dont want pictures of rainbows and the pretty rings around Uranus. Stop making false comparisons.

Let me save you some key strokes: there is no scientific model that either explains or predicts how LIFE occurs in nature.
And there certainly is NOT any hypothesis that I know of that can be tested.
And saying it came from the ocean doesnt explain the question away either.

Come on now. Lets stop pretending.


If we cant say He did it, you cant say He didn't because there is no evidence. Thats an argument from ignorance, Johnson.



Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:22 am
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Post Re: Exploring Origins
ant wrote:
...the worldview of atheists that claims Science has disproved the existence of a divine intelligence behind Nature. Science itself is not in the business of hypothesizing the existence/non existence of a God. People like Robert Tulip...

It is fascinating how ant has invented this imaginary Robert Tulip who bears little resemblance to me.

Of course science considers the question of God. As Laplace told Napoleon, "I have no need of that hypothesis." Laplace did not assert that the theory of a supernatural existent God was disproved, merely that talk of God as existing is superfluous and harmful to any rational or ethical endeavour.

Leaving aside these landmines in the path of our galumphing ant, my view is that there is a divine intelligence within nature. The divine is seen in laws such as gravity and evolution, which are omnipotent, omnipresent and eternal. These laws are what Psalm 19 meant in saying "the firmament sheweth his handywork, day unto day uttereth speech." God speaks in the natural logic of the language of mathematics.

As to the problem of purpose, it is scientifically basic to observe that the protoplanetary disk of the sun five billion years ago contained the potential for intelligence to evolve within it. This must be true because it actually happened. So we might say, the telos of the material disk contained intelligence as its potential result, just as the purpose of an acorn contains a mature oak tree. This need not imply any external shaper, because the far more elegant and coherent story is that the consistent interaction of material things enabled an ever increasing complexity on earth, with each step governed by the iron laws of physics and evolution.

The arrogance in this debate comes from the supernatural fantasists. It really is impious towards the divine operation of physical law to assert that some psychological fantasy, some primitive political myth, some patriarchal control agenda, some accidental or intentional corruption of enlightened texts, some unconscious social projection, some imaginary emotional comfort blanket, some irrational desire for belief in a magical creating entity, may be more real than the universally consistent and coherent and magnificent beauty and simplicity of physics.


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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:39 am
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Post Re: Exploring Origins
Interbane wrote:
Yet, evolution is, at it's core, a naturalistic explanation for how information is created naturalistically.
Hi Interbane,How are you? It seems to me that pushing things back to proto-life and diminishing the information required doesn't explain how that information arose naturalistically.
Johnson says, he is happy to admit his ignorance of causes,but surely causes are the big question when it comes to origins of life and the Universe with it's Laws,matter,energy and anything else it contains.It seems to me his explanations are mechanistic,laws,functions, properties.
My appeal to codes like in D.N.A,( which he says I can't claim),are inferential and analogous.In Lennox's words "the only thing we know of capable of producing such codes are mind".No one is saying that human intelligence devised the D.N.A. code. The question remains what the alternative explanation might be.Appealing to mechanisms and laws,to me at least is unsatisfactory.A complex code indicates to me,a concept first.
While Berlinski's essay is old,I think, he still raises serious questions ,for the neo Darwinian hypothesis and it's application in areas of origins. The elephant in the graveyard, transforms itself into the ubiquitous metaphorical one found in all urban dwellings.The fossil record.
Johnson's computer simulated cheetah,suffers from the same fatal deficiences, Berlinski describes in his essay.
Finally the question of design and purpose or lack thereof. All is illusion.The material and immaterial world has neither.It has laws, properties and functions. Johnson's brain was neither purposed nor designed,it merely functions according to laws, properties.chemistry which he can explain better than I.Yet Johnson the man, Houdini like,escapes the vice like grip of the aforementioned material constraints to, plan, purpose and design. Isn't life strange?



Last edited by Flann 5 on Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:53 am
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Post Re: Exploring Origins
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Hi Interbane,How are you? It seems to me that pushing things back to proto-life and diminishing the information required doesn't explain how that information arose naturalistically.


Flann, my post directly explained how information arose naturalistically. Look at the complexity of a human, and compare it to a single cell microbe. That vast differential in information was all naturalistically created, by the process of evolution. What parts of my post did you disagree with?

If you want an example of the first life forms, check here.

Quote:
"the only thing we know of capable of producing such codes are mind.


I'm guessing you missed my last post. We know that evolution created such codes. I explained the process.


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Post Re: Exploring Origins
O.K. Interbane, I'll have a look.



Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:21 am
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Post Re: Exploring Origins
"I'm guessing you missed my last post. We know that evolution created such codes. I explained the process."

I'm guessing you know this and it may be a bit off topic but darwinian evolution needs life to exist in order to get the ball rolling.



Last edited by ant on Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:01 am
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Post Re: Exploring Origins
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Flann 5 quotes: In Lennox's words "the only thing we know of capable of producing such codes are mind."

Really? Does Lennox explain exactly how "mind" produces complex codes such as DNA?



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Post Re: Exploring Origins
Robert wrote;

"Of course science considers the question of God. As Laplace told Napoleon, "I have no need of that hypothesis." Laplace did not assert that the theory of a supernatural existent God was disproved, merely that talk of God as existing is superfluous and harmful to any rational or ethical endeavour."


Since your hero Laplace is dead, I'll put you to task here instead of him.

I'm not surprised you'd pull this idiotic comment out from under the mothballs where it belongs.

I'm now convinced you do not know what a hypothesis is. Here:

"A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories. Even though the words "hypothesis" and "theory" are often used synonymously, a scientific hypothesis is not the same as a scientific theory. A scientific hypothesis is a proposed explanation of a phenomenon which still has to be rigorously tested." -Wiki


Robert, is God a scientific hypothesis?
Is God a testable hypothesis? If so, how?
Can you provide a link to a legitimate scientific study thats been published in which a God phenomenon has been rigorously tested?
Or was that simply Laplace stating an opinion that you happen to agree with?
You amaze me sometimes, Robert. That was no land-mine, that was a cow-pie you stepped in.

Robert wrote:

"As to the problem of purpose, it is scientifically basic to observe that the protoplanetary disk of the sun five billion years ago contained the potential for intelligence to evolve within it."


Really?
Okay, what is the relationship between confirmation and evidence here based on observation of the sun's Pdisk about 5 billion years ago? Are we taking into account the procedures involved in generating this confirming data?
What were the procedures, Robert?
The data indicates that potential for intelligence existed within the disk? Exactly how was this "potential" tied to observation, Robert?

Can someone help me understand Robert here, please?
He's quickly becoming the Tickle-Me Elmo of Weird Science.



Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:30 pm
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Post Re: Exploring Origins
ant wrote:
... Laplace is ... idiotic

The point of citing Laplace, who was responsible for the clockwork universe theory of universal determinism, is to indicate that we cannot really have a coherent ethical theory that is not based on sound epistemology, ie that if we base our views on convenient imagination about divine entities then as Voltaire said, our belief in absurdities will permit atrocities. Ant's view of Laplace as an idiot is based on ant's bullying of anyone who questions ant's irrational supernatural fantasies.
ant wrote:
you do not know what a hypothesis is. ...is God a scientific hypothesis?
Well, yes. The hypothesis is that a unified intelligent entity created our universe. Unfortunately there is no evidence for this hypothesis. It is almost certainly untrue, ranking with the hypothesis that teapots may be orbiting in space.
ant wrote:
Is God a testable hypothesis? If so, how?
No, that is why it is probably untrue. It is unethical to promote belief in ideas that appear to conflict with all observation.
ant wrote:
Robert wrote: "As to the problem of purpose, it is scientifically basic to observe that the protoplanetary disk of the sun five billion years ago contained the potential for intelligence to evolve within it."
Really? Okay, what is the relationship between confirmation and evidence here based on observation of the sun's Pdisk about 5 billion years ago? Are we taking into account the procedures involved in generating this confirming data? What were the procedures, Robert? The data indicates that potential for intelligence existed within the disk? Exactly how was this "potential" tied to observation, Robert?

Again, ant displays ignorance of simple scientific logic. It is a basic axiom of science that if something did happen then it was possible. Impossible things don't happen. Only possible things occur. Necessary conditions are required for possible events. This is basic to the anthropic principle, the observation that the early universe must have been limited to conditions that would enable life, since life exists. This axiom also helped Fred Hoyle discover the carbon formation process, based on the Sherlock Holmes exclusion principle.

Our solar system contains the necessary conditions for the evolution of life. Therefore, since intelligence exists within our solar system, the alternatives are that intelligence evolved here, or came from somewhere else. Either way, the early earth had the potential to become intelligent, through humans, since it happened. The long existence of liquid water on earth is just one of the necessary conditions that provided a suitable niche for the evolution of intelligent life.

Since it was possible, it is meaningful in some sense to suggest the purpose of the earth was to become intelligent, in Aristotle's sense of a final cause. Even though every acorn does not become an oak tree, that is the telos it contains within it. So too, intelligence is the flowering glory of our planet. Let us hope intelligent life is not a beautiful swan song and prelude to extinction.


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Post Re: Exploring Origins
:lol:

OMG!
This is going to be fun, Robert!

What a respnse!

Im swamped now but this is too rich to ignore!



Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:34 pm
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Post Re: Exploring Origins
Quote:
I'm guessing you know this and it may be a bit off topic but darwinian evolution needs life to exist in order to get the ball rolling.


Well then, let's pretend god created the first 8 bit proto-life that I mentioned. Does that satisfy you? Beyond that point, evolution is a perfect model of spontaneously generated information. My point is, we don't need to address abiogenesis in order to conclude that information spontaneously generates.

Compared to the zettabytes of information in our DNA, any hypothetical proto-life is a grain of sand on an endless beach. God is a wimp compared to evolution.

Tell me ant, are you denying that abiogenesis happened?

The building blocks of proto-life are all like magnets. Microscopic forces that cause them to "click" into place when in close proximity. See the link you provided earlier.

How many building blocks are needed for a replicating proto-life form? A hundred, perhaps? Twenty? Ten? And how many of those building blocks would there have been in the pre-life eras? A billion per cubic mile? A billion per cubic kilometer? A billion per cubic meter? A billion per cubic centimeter?

How many years would it take, given the conditions listed above, for a proto-life form to spontaneously generate anywhere across the surface of the planet? Ten years? A hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand, or a million? Five hundred million?


The conditions are all there for abiogenesis to have happened. But we will never know exactly how it happened unless we invent time travel. In other words, we know it happened at the same time we don't know which of our many models is correct. Perhaps all of them are correct. It's plausible that life spontaneously assembled through a large variety of mechanisms. Some in Asia, some in the Americas. Perhaps some of this life was based on phosphorus rather than carbon. But after a few million years, carbon based life was better suited to the environment, so phosphorus based life went extinct. We can't know which models actually happened during that time period. But at least one of them did, right?


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Post Re: Exploring Origins
It's rediculous.

The only thing i've really managed to sqeeze out of Ant is that he wants to find something... anything that exists in the universe but is impossible. So, he's regularly claimed just about anything he talks about has an ultimately impossible origin and so is magic and so justifies a belief in god.


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In the absence of God, I found Man.
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Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


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