JIMMY HIGGINS From what I'm reading here, ID is not YEC, however YEC can be ID, kinda like all Nazis are German, but not all Germans are Nazis. I admit, I had the two confused. However, the circumstances, what it appears to being said is that ID can be falsible by determining whether a process can occur through natural means. Therefore plunge waterfalls, such as Eugenia or Niagara, occur naturally as the water scours away weaken shales on the bottom waiting for the harder dolostone to fall from lack of support. Other processes such as the water cycle, watershed to clouds then cloud to rain then rain to watershed are natural as well. The question I have is, just how large of a process does one look at to determine whether it can occur naturally? For instance, the "fine-tuning" of the universe. Take each individual fine-tuning and the probabilities are good that nature can make that happen. However, when adding the tuned ideals, the numbers become insanely incredible by happenstance. So when evaluating ID, does the "fine-tuning" become a study of individual parts or the whole system. In addition, what is the limit or what leads to such a choice when scrutinizing a process. More specifically, when does something become ruled as un-natural? Take a man made element such as Californium. This element does not exist naturally. When made in a laboratory, it exists for a fraction of a second. Because it is not observed in the universe and is created in a laboratory, it is safe to say, that Californium is something that exists that is not natural. In light of recent biologic attacks at the hands of right-wing extremists, the biological knowledge of anthrax is out. Some places can alter the anthrax so that it can become more buoyant in the air or be immune to antibiotics. These changes all occur in the lab and have not been seen in nature. Therefore, we can, again, state that these additions to anthrax are not natural. However, what puzzles me is that ID can't possibly, can it?, recreate certain instances to test whether something can occur naturally, such as the creation of the universe. If certain ideals are currently unknown and some ideals are currently well out of our abilities of recreation because of technology, what are the assumed limitations of falsibility of ID? What do ID scientists believe they can affirmly say something is in need of an ID through current science and technology and what do scientists believe they can not affirmly say something is in need of an ID because of current limitations of science and technology? ZERATUL I agree with your post, Jimmy, but I have 3 nitpicks. 1. Hitler was a Nazi, but he was Austrian. 2. I used to work with Californium. Most of the isotopes have half-lives measured in years. Here are a few: Californium-249, half-life 351 years, Californium-250, half-life 13 years, Californium-251, half-life 890 years and Californium-252, half-life of 2.6 years. 3. Unless I missed some recent breaking news, it is mere speculation that right-wing extremists are involved. It is certainly possible, but I would be hesitant to state it as a fact. By the way, my whole problem with the criteria used to infer design is the logic that is used. For example, I was reading through some of the links on one of the other threads. One of the first examples they provided was Paley’s argument that a watch must have a watchmaker. That is a terrible example because we all know that a watch is designed. One of the next examples was trying to define specified complexity. They presented 2 text strings: FOURSCOREANDSEVENYEARSAGOOURFATHERS... And ZOEFFNPBINNGQZAMZQPEGOXSYFMRTEXRNYG... Now, the first was used as an example of specified complexity. I couldn’t really understand why. Since I speak English, I recognize it. What if I didn’t? It wouldn’t make any more sense to me than the 2nd string, which might actually mean something in Armenian. So, when we see a string like GATTACA, I am still without a way to test that string for design. The other serious shortcoming is that applying the criteria can lead to illogical conclusions. If you have criteria for determining design, they should be consistent. However, any test that I have ever seen proposed for specifying design concludes that the designer must also have a designer. The designer is obviously very complex, and would seem to fulfill all the criteria of a designed entity. So we have an illogical argument. HELEN Some responses here -- A lot of people have the ID and YEC groups confused. This is largely due to the deliberate attempt by several groups to promote that confusion. I'm glad I've been able to help clarify at least one thing for one person here! Again, the concept of ID being falsifiable is a wrong concept altogether. When I take test strips out to the pool or the spa to check chlorine levels, no matter what the reading, it is not a matter of 'falsifying' the use of the test strip. And because the test strip will not test for bacteria levels does not mean it is a bad test strip. It has a limited use, and it's good for that use. Now if it could be shown that the test strips I buy at the store don't really test for chlorine at all, then I would certainly be using the wrong thing. ID is sort of like that. It is not designed to test EVERYTHING that occurs in nature. It can't! It has never claimed to. How far the testing concept can be extended is still a matter of debate among the leading men and women. Cellular structures certainly qualify, as do living organisms in total, or even parts of them. Regarding the anthrax, they are using the same sort of tests ID uses to determine where the anthrax came from and whether it can be found naturally or is, indeed, artificially modified. There are tests for this kind of thing, based upon the knowledge of the people involved. ID is no different. It is perfectly fine to disagree with the use of this kind of test altogether, but that only says something about your opinion of the test, not about whether or not it is actually valid. I think what fries a lot of people is something from a philosophical/theological level. If there is ANYTHING in nature that can be said to be intelligently designed, then the reality of some kind of Intelligent Designer must be seriously considered. It is not ID itself which bothers those who are against it from what I can see, but what it implies if only one thing shows clear evidence of ID. This is why so many will not attack the method itself, but the results or the 'optimality' of the design. But neither of these things invalidate ID itself -- only someone's acceptance of the possible results. I posted before regarding the elements of the test which would make something 'un-natural' -- the Dembski filter in conjunction with specified complexity are the pretty commonly accepted methodologies involved. The Dembski filter asks first if the phenomena is the result of natural law. If not, is it the result of probability? If not, then does it exhibit specified complexity? If the respective answers are no, no, and yes, then intelligent design can be concluded. Those of us who are YEC in the ID movement are not desperately grabbing for anything. In fact, the YEC members are quite apart from the bulk of the YEC world from what I have read. ID gets attacked by the majority of YEC's for stopping short of identifying the designer, so ID is accused by many YEC's of copping out. The evolutionists see ID as some kind of front for YEC, in the meantime, and accuse them of being deceptive. It's an interesting thing to see -- fights all based on ignorance! As a YEC myself, I can look at ID and say, "But of course!" concerning intelligent design. I have never had a problem with it. Since they are dealing with natural phenomena using the same tests available to archaeologists and forensics and such, they should not go beyond what those tests can indicate. As ID, they don't. As individuals, the conversations can get hot and heavy, as ID includes people with many different philosophical and theological views. Nevertheless, the approach that ID takes is supported by them all. On the other hand, I don't feel any attempt to dissociate from me personally by any of those involved in the movement. The fact that ID is NOT YEC is something, however, both groups are trying to get through to people, despite the howlings of Eugenie Scott et al. However you hit the nail on the head, perhaps accidently, regarding the reason the evolutionist apologist groups are so eager to have ID confused with creationism. That way they can keep it out of the schools as something 'religious,' which it is not. I don't know how long they will be able to continue their hysterical chants about ID and creationism, or even YEC, being the same, but it is a known lie. Do they know it? Yes, they do. Regarding complexity: Bill Dembski equates complexity with probability, actually. I disagree with his use of this because I think it involves some avoidable circularity. This summer, one presenter at the Discontinuity Conference presented a measurable definition of complexity by dealing with ratios concerning how many input connections are made and how many output connections exist. This was a computer engineer, I think! But there is a much older and more standard way to quantify complexity, and one which I personally prefer: how many different internal parts are there and how many interconnections between these parts? Both are matters of simple counting in the long run, with the higher numbers defining the greater complexity. I have seen arguments regarding the weighting of interconnections vs. number of different parts, but I leave that up to the experts! The fact is, though, there are several ways to quantify complexity so it can be worked with, depending on what the discussing parties agree upon. About the Paley's watch issue... the reason we know it is designed is because we have experience to rely on. If a toddler were to run across a shiny rock and a watch, there is a good chance both would be equal in her eyes. Design is something experience teaches us to recognize. So if someone who was totally unfamiliar with watches or timepieces in general, but old enough to have experienced the idea of purposeful design in other parts of his life were to look at a shiny rock and a watch, design would certainly be inferred regarding the watch. In that scenario, Paley's argument is certainly a good one. One of the points regarding checking for design in anything is that is depends on the experience of the 'checker' as much as anything else. It is sort of along the lines of the fact that certain things were described as 'chaotic' until a design was finally recognized. I'm not talking about ID here, but simply the recognition of design as being dependent upon the knowledge and experience the observer already has. So ID has to tread carefully in many ways. But that, as well, does not invalidate it. The 'designer requiring a designer' is a false argument unless the first designer can be identified and observed. ID depends on both. That is why it does not do more than infer a designer by identifying intelligent design. It is the same idea at the scene of a murder. The investigators look to see if it was an accidental death or a murder. Identifying it as a murder does not identify the murderer, but it does mean there IS a murderer. Now one can judge the murderer as smart or dumb or clumsy or sharp or whatever. That is an opinion entirely apart from the fact of the murderer. One does not look at a crime scene and say, "This couldn't be murder -- it was not done the way I would have done it." And yet that is precisely the argument many are making in opposing ID -- "It can't be designed, it's sub-optimal!" That, actually, has nothing to do with whether it was designed or not! That is a judgment about the designer if it was designed. Does any of that clear anything up? JIMMY HIGGINS Helen, thanks for those helpful comments. It puts the ID into a more understandable light. The Dembski filter asks first if the phenomena is the result of natural law. If not, is it the result of probability? If not, then does it exhibit specified complexity? If the respective answers are no, no, and yes, then intelligent design can be concluded. So it appears that the underlying, and most vulnerable, part of ID study is the knowledge of natural law. So what has ID determined to be needful of a creator based on our current and meager understanding of natural law? HELEN So it appears that the underlying, and most vunerable, part of ID study is the knowledge of natural law. So what has ID determined to be needful of a creator based on our current and meager understanding of natural law? I think it is fair to say that ID folk, like scientists everywhere, can only deal with the laws we are aware of now! By the criteria we have to deal with, as I mentioned above, cells and living organisms certainly qualify for being judged as intelligently designed. There is another criteria I have played around with myself, but it's still in a thinking stage -- could one say that ID might be considered (only considered, please!) if one were to see elements doing what they do not do naturally? For instance, rocks naturally just sort of lie around or fall down from cliffs and such. When one sees a cemented pile of rocks with water coming out the middle, one infers someone designed a fountain. The rocks are not 'doing' what they normally do. The verbiage is bad there, but can you see what I am playing with? JIMMY HIGGINS Well, if you think cells are intelligently designed, there is no need to move to larger things such as organisms that consist of ID'ed cells. But why is a cell ID'ed? FROGGIE I have a couple of question about intelligent design. 1) How DO you falsify it? Do any of us really know or understand God well enough to be able to make statements about how and why He created everything? Is there some type of observation that if we saw it, we would say, "Oh, that's so dumbly designed, God must not exist?" To me, that seems like a rather silly argument for the existence of an intelligent designer. How do we know what God intended, or thought was hard or easy? Would God mean less to people if creating life was simple? 2) If we prove a designer exists, how do we go about studying His motivations? For instance, can we really say, "God gave us an appendix for this reason?" For sure, there are many biological structures that seem designed to us, because they are so intricate and complex and marvelous (I am a biologist after all ). But there are also things we see in nature that seem to be a big waste--our appendix, our wisdom teeth, our junk DNA. Why would God give us a worthless organ like an appendix thats only purpose seems to be to employ abdominal surgeons? To me, the mechanisms of intelligent design seem to be philosophical debates, and not scientific ones. Any ideas out there on this subject? 3) I think about the blind watchmaker or the tornado in a junkyard, and I wonder, are humans making a huge arrogant error by using these analogies? First of all, we KNOW that humans did not create life. So can we really use human invention as an analogy for Gods (or natures) inventions? I have a feeling we can't. I've heard the probability arguments. But let's say that the probability of making DNA from the elements was really high. Would people then turn away from God? Why do people seem to evoke God as an explanation only because it seems hard to make life? Even if creating life was really easy to us, does that mean God didn't make it? MR BEN [Regarding Dembski’s filter:] This filter works quite well.. it just doesn't come up with the answer Dembski would prefer. For example, we apply the filter to an evolved organism... 1. Is a biological organisms the result of a natural law. Answer: Yes, evolution by mutation plus natural selection. 2. Is it the result of probability. Answer: Yes, the laws of probability generate the random mutations which are the raw source of the information produced in genetic and evolutionary systems. The entire body of chance mutations is then culled by natural selection, leaving only those which reflect positive replication traits for a given environment. 3. Does a biological organism show "specified complexity" (in creationist parlance. Answer: Yes, by retaining only the parts of 'random' information which permits a replicator to continue to replicate, the set of information describing the replicator's survival environment is coded into the genome. This is an automatic result of having a replicator, mutations, and culling of purely natural selection, and has been experimentally verified. So biological and artificial genetic organisms fail Dembski's test.