Semiotic argument for ID: penguin rules version

I’d like to continue discussion of Upright Biped’s Semiotic Argument for ID here, but under a fairly strict interpretation of the rules of this site. Violating posts will be moved to the old thread [ETA: which will remain open].  Feel free to C&P posts from that thread to this.

I’d like to kick off with what junkdnaforlife wrote here:

Not speaking for Upright, but in my own rogue offering:

 

A1.Chance and Necessity cannot generate a semiotic system, whereas the necessary and sufficient conditions of a semiotic system consist of arrangements of matter that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.
A2. The necessary and sufficient conditions of a protein synthesis system consists of arrangements of matter that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.
A3. A protein synthesis system is a semiotic system
A4. Therefore Chance and Necessity cannot generate a protein synthesis system.

B1. Chance, Necessity and intelligent causation can generate a semiotic system, whereas the necessary and sufficeint conditions of a semiotic system consist of arrangements of matter that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.
B2. Chance and Necessity cannot generate a semiotic system, whereas the necessary and sufficient conditions of a semiotic system consist of arrangements of matter that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.
B3.Therefore the origin of a semiotic system is best explained by chance, necessity and intelligent causation.

 

The challenge of premise 1 (A1) was made over a year ago:

http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/?p=659&cpage=14#comment-14814

Results not in.

I replied:

Thanks! I think we could condense that:

 

P1.Chance and Necessity alone cannot generate an semiotic information transfer system where “semiotic information transfer” is defined as arrangements of matter that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.
P2. A protein synthesis system requires semiotic information transfer
C. Therefore Chance and Necessity alone cannot generate a protein synthesis system, and we must infer Intelligence in addition.

 

If you are happy with this, I would readily grant P2, but would dispute P1. P1 was what I was prepared to refute with my proposed simulation.

So, best sherry-in-the-senior-common-room manners, guys.  See you later.

205 thoughts on “Semiotic argument for ID: penguin rules version

  1. Upright,

    Does this accurately summarize your argument?

    He’s arguing instead that 1) all semiotic systems are irreducibly complex (and therefore designed), 2) that the protein synthesis system is a semiotic system, and 3) that the protein synthesis system is therefore designed.

    Expanding my earlier synopsis:

    X1. All irreducibly complex systems are designed.
    X2. All semiotic systems are irreducibly complex.
    X3. Therefore, all semiotic systems are designed.

    Y1. A system involving representation(s) and protocol(s) is a semiotic system.
    Y2. Protein synthesis involves a representation and a protocol.
    Y3. Therefore, protein synthesis is a semiotic system.

    Z1. All semiotic systems are designed (by X3).
    Z2. Protein synthesis is a semiotic system (by Y3).
    Z3. Therefore, the protein synthesis system is designed.

    If you think this is an accurate summary, then tell us. If you don’t, then please make corrections while maintaining the explicit and concise format of the summary.

  2. Looking back at that early exchange here, I see that Upright Biped rather missed the point of my example.

    I completely agree that the state of the intrusion does not in itself amount to information transfer – that happens when the geologist looks at it.

    However, information was transferred, earlier, from the varves to the intrusion.  And I can’t see any intelligent designer being involved in that process.

    It’s very similar to my snow table of course.  But Upright Biped has not provided (IIRC) a response to that, apart from dismissing it out of hand.

    I think this conversation is probably at an end, given UB’s lengthy absence from it.

    Which is a bit ironic, given the number of times he accused me of bailing, coupled with the number of simple questions waiting here for answers from him.

    But he is of course welcome to return to it at any time.

    Time for a new topic I think :)

  3. It’s quite possible that at the time UPB composed his ‘state’-not-’information’ schtick, he may have sincerely believed that he’d provided a genuinely valid answer to the question of why your varve example did not constitute a counter-example to his initial claim. Alas, sincere belief is no guarantee of correctness…

  4. UBP swung by a UD thread recently, within which commenters were indulging in head-shaking at the incapacity of ‘evos’ to see what was as plain as the nose on one’s face. His contribution was to point up their inability to see the importance of information, and information transfer. A massive blind spot; how can ‘they’ not get it?

    I think our respective brains just play by different rules. To me, the anticodon is no more ‘representative’ of the amino acid that gets glued on the other end than one end of a stick is ‘representative’ of the other, or a lock is symbolised by its key.

    Even if there is a consistent linkage between what is found at one end and that at the other … so what? The fundamental linkage mechanism is a pair of binding sites in aaRS, one for the acid and the other the anticodon (or rather the anticodon and/or some of the sequence distal to the Acceptor Stem). Enzymatic lock-key relationships can evolve and functionally subdivide, and multiple binding sites can co-evolve in an ‘independent’, if coupled, manner. Unless you really, really, want it to believe they can’t.

  5. It still boils down to whether it could have evolved, and you can’t decide that without doing the chemistry.

    ID advocates are terrified of that, assuming they have any sense.

    But considering the recent swerve into creationism – Adam and Eve, YEC stuff — I shouldn’t assume much of that.

    I’s quite interesting to see how quickly the facade  of sciencism has dropped away.

    We should have a thread just to document and discuss the recent changes in the focus of the ID movement. 

  6. I agree, Cubist.  In fact, I’d go further in that I believe that Upright Biped created his whole semiotic argument in good faith.  Unfortunately, he demonstrates two problematic behaviors.  First, his unnecessarily dense and complex writing style obscures his intended meaning.  It’s almost like cargo cult philosophy — it’s hard to read so it must be meaningful.

    Second, he seems unable to take any criticism, no matter how constructive or logically supported.  His goal in the discussion doesn’t appear to be to figure out what is true, because he already knows that goddidit.  Being wrong is simply not an option for him.

    Nonetheless, points to him for stepping out from behind Barry “Free Speech” Arrington’s skirts.  Here endeth my armchair psychoanalysis.
     

  7. I agree, Cubist.  In fact, I’d go further in that I believe that Upright Biped created his whole semiotic argument in good faith. 

    I think the irreducibility argument is the only “scientific” approach to ID. Unfortunately for them it is Paley’s argument and is the very thing that evolution addresses.

  8. It still boils down to whether it could have evolved, and you can’t decide that without doing the chemistry.

    That sounds a bit Joe, if I may say – step up and demonstrate that nature, operating freely … ! That’s an issue in both camps. I don’t expect them to demonstrate it can’t, given that I couldn’t demonstrate it can. Nonetheless, what stops it, in principle, in this particular system? Certainly not the ‘semiotic’ argument. My point is that there is nothing going on in the genetic code apparatus that isn’t going on everywhere else – ligation reactions inevitably involve two binding sites, one for each element being joined. All of them, whether they are charging a tRNA or whatever else. And the ‘code’ is implemented by these paired binding sites – the one, however, in no way ‘represents’ the other.  

    But I agree, the science mask has slipped. Their ‘published creationist’ Todd Wood doesn’t need to worry about the OoL, he says, because he can just open Genesis. Can’t help thinking he’s a little incurious about how, though. And God said: let replication get going, and lo, replication did get going, and it was dead good.

    But the genetic code is not an OoL issue in my view. Shame there’s not a bit in there about how a multi-member tRNA library evolved!

  9. I can’t see how the genetic code could not be an OOL issue. Not having a history or plausible scenario does not support ID, any more than the failure for several centuries to have a completely successful predictive account of gravity supported angels.

    It was and still is the task of science to look. 

    It’s just my opinion, but the difference between science and ID is precisely the difference between looking and not looking. 

  10. I can’t see how the genetic code could not be an OOL issue.

    OK, strictly speaking perhaps it is an Origin of LUCA issue. But Origin of Life – not necessarily. LUCA is a bottleneck, a singularity behind which comparative methods cannot go.

    But as I’ve attempted to portray, the current scenario could plausibly arise from a replicating precursor whose metabolism was based upon non-protein catalysis. Or, was based upon a different mechanism for generating protein catalysts. The origin of [whichever one, or something else I have not thought of] pushes us further back towards the origin of life, but there is no fundamental requirement to say that a ribosome, or anything like it, was available at or shortly after the first tentative OoL steps towards replication (and hence, Darwinian evolution). 

    The genetic ‘code’ is specifically about rRNA, tRNA and some mechanism of charging the latter with amino acids such that they can be condensed by the former. It’s a way of specifying protein catalysts, but not the only way of specifying some form of catalyst, nor is catalytic protein the only ribosomal product. Initially, I would argue, catalytic proteins could not be produced by this mechanism. But there are plenty of other roles for proteins, and that came first IMO.

    What I think we see are the sparks from an explosion – once stumbled upon, protein catalysis was so successful that Life went ballistic. The fuse was lit by the benefits of specifying non-catalytic proteins, which have less of a requirement for a large amino acid library at the start. Once protein catalysis took hold, prior, non-ribosomal life went extinct, probably in pretty short order. 

  11. Biped on the ultimate output of his semiotic theory:

    the conclusion is only that some mechanism is required that can create a semiotic state.

    I asked nicely:

    Upright Biped, please tell us what class of mechanisms you, or semiotic theory, assert is required to create (result in, cause) the entailments/the TRI/a semiotic state.

    Also, please tell us what class of mechanisms you, or semiotic theory, claim cannot create the entailments/the TRI/a semiotic state.

    UB exits. So it goes. 

  12. Upright BiPed has appeared at UD and provided the shortest summary of his argument I’ve seen thus far:

    . . . using nothing more than logic and reason, it can be demonstrated that the transfer of recorded information (which makes all biological life possible) requires an irreducibly complex core of symbolic representations and rules. Given that these observations are made only at the level of matter, they can be performed without the slightest deviation from garden variety materialist reductionism. Having in hand these logical necessities, you can then turn to the material evidence, and lo and behold, again without the slightest ambiguity, are the aforementioned logical necessities fully instantiated in matter, operating just exactly as they must in order to accomplish what must be accomplished.

    Hopefully he’ll return here to continue the discussion. Frankly, I need some help parsing this to make it non-circular.

  13. I could use some help also. If I understand this, ALL matter can be said to BE “recorded information”. If that matter does anything, then we have the “transfer of recorded information.” This is so general I don’t see the purpose offhand

    But the “symbolic representation” is harder to interpret. When hydrogen and oxygen combine to form water, we surely have the transfer of recorded information as defined, but where are the symbols? If molecules are symbolic representations of themselves, this does real insult to some otherwise useful ideas.

    Then he concludes that by doing what it does the way it does it, matter does what it must do to accomplish what it does. Whatever that means. Apparently the “aforementioned logical necessities fully instantiated in matter” are that that matter is recorded information, that matter is a symbolic representation of itself, and that chemistry is the transfer of recorded information which is reductionist, unambiguous, and irreducibly complex.

    Now, from all this we can conclude…what? That if we use excessive blurry and ill-defined verbiage, we’re justified in making otherwise unsupportable assertions? Perhaps so, considering that if nobody can figure out what’s being said, nobody can dispute what’s being said.     

  14. I’d like to ask UPB a series of questions.

    1. In doing translation, does matter do anything that doesn’t follow known rules of chemistry?

    2. Does mutation (all two dozen known types) violate any known rules of physical chemistry?

    3. Does the fact that some variants resulting from mutation hae differential reproductive success — for whatever reason — violate any rules of physics or chemistry?

    4. What specifically in the history of life violates the rules of physics and chemistry?

    5. If there are areas in the history of life that remain unknown, which is the more probable explanation: that the history follows known chemical and physical rules, or that they violate known rules. In other words, is there an incident in the history of life that is best explained by magic?

  15. UB asserts: . . . using nothing more than logic and reason, it can be demonstrated that the transfer of recorded information (which makes all biological life possible) requires an irreducibly complex core of symbolic representations and rules.

    It’s probably useless to try to make any sense of UB’s word salads – and I am not going to waste time on it; however, this excerpt may be a clue.

    Scanning over the maudlin kvetching, persecution complexes, and self pity that emanate continuously from the crowd over at UD, one gets the impression that they believe things like the origins of life and evolution are solely ideological positions taken by “materialists” (read evil, god-hating atheists here) trying to avoid the sectarian god of the ID/creationists. It’s a sectarian war in their minds, and it has to be won with “logic” and “reasoning” (word gaming) only; evidence is irrelevant.

    Every important scientific concept in every field of science is mangled beyond recognition in order to “reason” against science; and all this is done with a pretentious air of superior knowledge of science (witness the enormous, copy/paste word-salad dumps by kairosfocus and BA77, for example).

    In their minds secular science obviously can’t be right. Secular evidence must be irrelevant. They are allowed to reject anything they wish on the flimsiest of excuses. They apparently believe that they can arrive at a “superior” philosophical position that is TRUE based on “reason and logic” and “correct definitions” alone. This apparently eliminates any need to learn any real science or weigh any real scientific evidence. And anybody who can’t follow ID/creationist “reasoning and logic” is, a priori, intellectually inferior and morally bankrupt.

    It’s a boring mantra that has been going on for something like 50 years now.

  16. It’s a boring mantra that has been going on for something like 50 years now.

    Boring, but still potentially politically dangerous.  I’m hoping my kids live to see the day when the IDers and other creationists are as safe to ignore as the flat-earthers.
     

  17. Upright BiPed August 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    For Shapiro, “random” means that all combinatorially possible recombinations should be equally probable. For most biologists, “random” means that the recombination are not biased toward producing beneficial variants.

    Wrong.

    For Shapiro, the specific loci along the sequence where recombination may occur is controlled in order to avoid “bad outcomes” and promote specifically beneficial outcomes. He uses terms like “this benefits” and “is advantageous” in order to illustrate his point.

    Which, of course, would mean that control is “biased toward producing beneficial variants”.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/genetics/james-shapiro-genetic-recombination-is-not-random/#comment-429620

    Shapiro explicitly denies that the variants are the product of foresight.or that there is any mechanism that has knowledge of future need. What he does assert is the that the mechanism creating variants is more adaptive than just waiting around for point mutations. He compares it with the immune system.

    Maybe off topic, but it illustrates something about the way ID proponents misread things, even when the author has taken the trouble to exclude the ID interpretation.

  18. I’m not sure why people think random = equiprobable. The summation of two fair dice is random, but not equiprobable.

  19. I’m forming a conspiracy theory regarding UD. They are touching the third rail in the “Science of God” thread, and Kariosfocus hasn’t posted in days. and BA77 hasn’t posted on the thread either. and Joe is not on that thread either.

    I’m wondering with the demise of Hunter’s blog, whether UD is evolving into something more “respectable.” So far it’s just a bump in the road. If it holds for a week I will suspect a trend. 

  20. I spent a long time arguing against the motion ‘evolution is random’ elsewhere. Eventually, the penny dropped, but not before I had made myself look pretty dumb (in hindsight). I was strangely reluctant to drop my conception of what ‘random’ meant, and I encounter the same in others from my post-Damascene standpoint.

  21. What Shapiro means by nonrandom is that large scale genomic rearrangements are more likely to be survivable an useful than a bunch of point mutations. Some system is editing them and tending to keep them aligned. The tendency for more of them to occur during times of stress is adaptive and “intelligent”. Much like the activity of the immune system.

  22. This is discussed at position 2675 of Shapiro’s book in case UPB wants to check it (kindle). The book was free for several days. If UPB looks he well also find the statement that cells do not have foreknowledge of adaptive needs. What they have is a method of generating variants that are more likely to be useful than point mutations. Or in the case of duplications, make it possible to test point mutations in a way that is less likely to be fatal.
    Shapiro obviously considers this to be a kind of intelligence.

  23. UB sneaks back to the drawing board:

    UB: 

    Good grief. The argument doesn’t claim the entailments cause information transfer; it says they are the necessary material conditions of information transfer.

    RB:

    So, then, the entailments do not cause the transfer of recorded information/a semiotic state. They are the necessary and sufficient material conditions of (for?) the transfer of recorded information/a semiotic state, yet they are not the cause of the TRI/a semiotic state…

    Semiotic theory is therefore silent on the causes of the phenomenon it purports to explain – the events observed in the transcription of DNA into proteins.

    UB to Steve Fuller at UD, yesterday:

    Our existence (as intelligent agents) leaves a physical footprint in matter. It has very unique material characteristics. We can observe them.

    Those physical characteristics are the same ones that are observed to be the proximate cause of all the molecular organization in every living thing on earth.

    (My emphasis).

    The “very unique material characteristics” being “the entailments,” of course. 

    Retreat noted, UB.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/philosophy/id-as-science-of-god-aka-theology/#comment-429791

      

  24. That is a peculiar thread to try to read.  It appears “rational” and “intelligent” on its surface; but it also repeats dramatically what the entire history of ID/creationism has always done, namely, misunderstand and misrepresent basic scientific concepts at the most elementary level.

    Much of the discussion focuses on “philosophical” and socio/political issues in attempting to find some program that will legitimize ID/creationist notions as well as a pogrom to eliminate “materialistic” and “atheistic” science.  Yet never once in that entire thread does there seem to be any awareness of the fact that they get the basic science wrong all the way down to basic physics and chemistry.  They still want to frame the interpretation of scientific evidence as a war against a stubborn atheistic and philosophical world view.

    Some of the participants over there want very much to distance themselves from the socio/political history of ID/creationism; but they fail to recognize that those very misconceptions and misrepresentations inherited from the sectarian ideologies of the “scientific” creationists still tie them forever to those sectarian anti-science roots.

    No matter how much they try to give lip service to the notion that they are not motivated by narrow sectarian beliefs about a particular deity, they nevertheless can’t seem to hide their intense hatred of the “evils” of secular science and the science community.  Their distain for secular science arises as much from those inherited misconceptions about science as it does from their own sectarian beliefs.

    There are thousands of religions in the world.  To which is science supposed to pander?  They seem to think it has to be theirs.  It is unthinkable to them that science has outgrown the need to pander to any given sectarian belief.  Scientists come from all kinds of religious, non-religious, political, and ethnic backgrounds.  Why should that be a problem?

  25. Their distain for secular science arises as much from those inherited misconceptions about science as it does from their own sectarian beliefs.

     I’m not sure how to distinguish these. After all, these misconceptions are necessary entailments of their sectarian beliefs. They could not both correct the misconceptions and retain the beliefs, because the two cannot be decoupled.

  26. Yeah, they are very likely coupled in a way that the resulting pseudoscience “justifies” their sectarian beliefs; the scientific concepts were originally – and continue to be – bent and broken to do gussy up their sectarian world view.  But then they turn it around and assert that their pseudoscience is right because of their “superior,” more flexible and inclusive world view.  They see themselves as the true defenders of “following the evidence wherever it leads.”

    Despite the many times I have observed it over the years, I still shake my head at how certain ID/creationists are that secular scientists are such stupid dupes of group-think that they can’t see what is glaringly obvious to a mere layperson.

  27. Well, as always, when you start out knowing the Truth, then anything that can be construed to support it counts as evidence, and anything else cannot be evidence. After all, we’ve watched for a long time as individual bits and pieces have been “explained” with countless mutually exclusive special pleadings, which makes sense in a universe inflicted with miracles, where consiliance is irrelevant.

    The nice thing about having a hotline to Absolute Truth is, you are never in doubt as to what’s Untrue. And if the entire scientific enterprise holds to Untruths, what else CAN they be but stupid dupes of group-think?

    The plea at the top of the page (“I beseech you…”) is most marvelously ironic, considering that it requests something so unthinkable it’s beyond comprehension, unable to register. Meaningless specifically to those being addressed.   

  28.  

    Evolution requires the existence of heritable recorded information, as well as the existence of a mechanism to transfer that information. Recorded information is properly disambiguated as form (i.e. the form of a thing) instantiated in a material medium. As such, it demonstrates material requirements. Our confidence in the existence and validity of these material requirements is supported by both their logical necessity, as well as their direct observation during the transfer.

    These physical requirements include two arrangements of matter; one acting as a representation of form in order to evoke an effect within a system (where the arrangement is necessarily arbitrary to the effect it evokes), and the second arrangement which serves as a transfer protocol (to materially establish the otherwise non-existent relationship between the representation and the effect). These two arrangements of matter form an (empirically and logically validated) irreducibly complex core which is fundamentally required in order to transfer recorded information (i.e. one is entirely useless without the other). These physical requirements also include the dynamic relationship between the two material arrangements just mentioned; that is, neither of them becomes the effect(i.e. the necessarily arbitrary relationship between the representation its material effect is preserved within the transfer by the protocol). Finally, the requirements include the production of unambiguous function in order to be identified (i.e. an arrangement of matter that does not produce a functional effect cannot be validated as ‘containing information’).

     Upright Biped’s honed version of his irreducibly complex argument. Here

  29. In that comment, Upright says:

    Evolution requires the existence of heritable recorded information, as well as the existence of a mechanism to transfer that information…
    People can say that such an irreducibly complex system (one that produces every single instance of biofunction observed on Earth) “does not have a purpose”, but then again, people can say anything…
    …the long and short of it is this: This system is not the product of evolution because evolution itself requires the system in order to exist.

    No wonder he’s afraid to make that argument here. He wouldn’t last five minutes.

    Upright,

    Sure, evolution depends on an inheritance mechanism, but who ever argued that the inheritance mechanism didn’t change over time? Do you really think we’re claiming that the modern protein synthesis system sprang into existence with the very first lifeform? OOL researchers recognize that heritability is a prerequisite for evolution, and that the first mechanism of inheritance must therefore have arisen without the aid of evolution. Indeed, a good deal of OOL research is directed at finding simple replicators that could have arisen spontaneously given conditions on earth at the time.

    Crack a book or two, will you?

  30. Upright BiPed,
    Do you mean the origin of life?

    mphilips seems to have the measure of Upright Biped. I wonder where (s)he is getting the info.

    Once you have provided the relevant citations for your many claims then perhaps I’ll engage you, once I know what it is you are actually talking about. Until then, if you are looking for a conversation why not go over to TSZ where you have left the conversation unfinished.

    Here

  31. Upright BiPed repeats his flawed understanding of the discussion here, at UD:

    After all, you’ve already stated that I have “fled” a conversation, leaving that conversation “unfinished”. I would, of course, take immediate issue with that particular positioning statement, given that I was one person defending my argument against 8-12 opponents, non-stop for a period of 130+ days (surmounting well over 1100 comments in the process), while not a single person there actually demonstrated that any of the material observations I had made were false.

    For the nth time, Upright BiPed, this isn’t about any “material observations.”  The problem is that you have failed to answer simple questions about both the logic of your argument and its applicability to ID.

    If you could start by directly addressing the summary provided by keiths, we could make progress immediately.

  32. UB at UD:

    I argue that the transfer of the recorded information contained within the genome demonstrates a semiotic state, and therefore will require a mechanism capable of creating a semiotic state.  That’s it. 

    Which brings him to the above request. From which he indeed did flee:

    Upright Biped, please tell us what class of mechanisms you, or semiotic theory, assert is required to create (result in, cause) the entailments/the TRI/a semiotic state.

    Also, please tell us what class of mechanisms you, or semiotic theory, claim cannot create the entailments/the TRI/a semiotic state.

    How about it, UB? Of what value is your “semiotic theory” if its only conclusion concerns causation, yet you remain steadfastly silent on its implications for causation?

  33. UB at UD:

    This was eventually conceded during the Skeptical Zone conversation by the main proponent of the argument, and that concession (as well as one other) precipitated my leaving that argument after two months:

    ”Of course if the necessary and sufficient conditions of a phenomenon are present, then the phenomenon is present”. – Reciprocating Bill

    Addressing and misrepresenting the significance of statements I’ve made here from behind the skirts of UD is sheer intellectual cowardice, UB.

  34. I think UB is claiming that his semiotic transfer of recorded information is necessary and sufficient for his entailments. This is, after all, what you conceded, and why he considers it useless to continue. I think he is frustrated that you simply refuse to SEE this.

  35. Actually, he has claimed both: most recently that the entailments are necessary and sufficient material conditions for the transfer of recorded information. 

    It’s a hopeless muddle. That I do see.

  36. Assume that UB saw the logical error at last. Do you seriously expect him to admit that his case rests on a logical fallacy? After all that effort? Better to close that loophole, I guess. I would speculate that UB’s thinking is as muzzy as his writing; generally clear thinking and clear writing go together.

    I also speculate that he dropped out when the questions became so clear and so pointed that they could no longer be obfuscated around. And they couldn’t be given clear answers without chucking his whole thesis. 

  37. It appears that they are trying to keep the “logic” going over at UD, here and also here.

    Note in the “ARRRG!” post the assertion that “chance and necessity” cannot produce “semiotic” systems.

    There are at least two major problems, both assertions: (1) living systems are semiotic (that is simply an arbitrary designation) and (2) “chance and necessity” – which, according to them, is simply a random search using a uniform sampling distribution – cannot produce order and/or “function” (the hackneyed monkey/typewriter argument).

    The first assertion assumes the consequent in order to say that living organisms are designed. There is a further underlying assumption that anything that can be cast in a language that suggests a semiotic system is therefore semiotic. Well, the scattering of two electrons off each other can be described as a semiotic system, therefore scattering electrons is semiotic and therefore – according to their argument – requires intelligence for it to happen.

    The second assertion is simply dead wrong; as anyone can check by just looking. Matter condenses, and it has been doing so for the entire history of the universe. We know the rules from several centuries of taking matter apart.

    All ID/creationist misconceptions about evolution and the origins of life are based on fundamental misconceptions about basic physics and chemistry. Henry Morris set them on this path, and they have never deviated from it in any of their deliberations and writings. The behaviors of scrambled letters and numbers are nothing like the behaviors of atoms and molecules. ID/creationists never notice this.

    Arrington’s “ARRRG!” post contains every fundamental misconception and misrepresentation. After something like fifty years of watching this stuff, I don’t think it is possible to teach them otherwise. They don’t want to know.

  38. Mphillips will not live to see Monday. I’ve saved the big thread as it is now, but anyone who can should save copies over the weekend.

  39. heh I see some cross tribal fire from UD and TSZ. UB has been on the road forever (east of Omaha), I don’t blame him for enjoying a little home field.

  40. Some time back, someone asked them whether they found it plausible that for 150 years tens of thousands of the brightest and most knowledgeable people on earth, from every society and nearly every faith, had not only ALL somehow got it wrong, but they all got it wrong in exactly the same way.

    This question, as I recall, brought out the groupthink conspiracy theorists who attributed this to secret atheist cabals, internationally poor education, biased research, and on down the list.

    So this might explain Barry’s touchy frustration at the suggestion that all these people doing all that research for all that time might have actually learned anything. And in all that time, not one of them can prove he’s stopped beating his wife.   

  41. Your characterization of this discussion as “tribal” implies a false equivalence.  Upright BiPed’s argument has been utterly destroyed logically and never was shown to support the assertions of ID.

    The science that ID proponents rail against is based on more than fifteen decades of research by tens of thousands of highly educated individuals, and represents the best current explanation for all the empirical evidence that has been observed.  The results of this research are derived by the only method we know of for testing explanations against reality.

    There is no objective empirical evidence that ID purports to explain, there  is no scientific theory of ID, there are no testable predictions that could serve to falsify it.  ID is not science and the views of the denizens of UD are not equal in any way to those of the scientists they denigrate.

    If Upright BiPed’s argument were solid, he wouldn’t need a home field advantage.
     

  42. When all of the impressively impenetrable verbiage is stripped away, UPB’s arguments are not empirical despite all his repetition about “material entailments”. The argument has been clarified: biology is very complicated. People design very complicated things because they’re intelligent. Therefore intelligent things MUST have been designed by people-substitutes. And sure enough, if we SAY this is true, we just for the life of us can’t find a single example where it is NOT true.

    Life itself can’t be an exception, because we SAID it’s designed. If we SAY everything was designed, then we have defined away any possible exceptions. And THEN we can say there are no exceptions, and therefore everything is designed. Circular reasoning needs no evidence. 

  43. I had rarely looked at the UD site until about nearly a year ago when Elizabeth’s comments caught my attention.

    In many ways, that website is hilarious; the pretentious posturing of the people who live over there is a sight to behold.  The kairosfocus and BA77 characters are among the funniest, with their repeated boatloads of copy/paste crap that they pretend to understand.  Joe G is merely pathetic, and Arrington appears to be the Supreme Lord of the Inquisition.

    It appears that these characters have developed a shtick that attempts to give the impression of high intellectualism and vast knowledge of just about any topic you can name.  They clearly have large reserves of copy/paste material they can dump on anyone, especially an intelligent layperson who can easily back them into a corner.  It’s the old Gish Gallop bundled into a mass-produced package of copy/paste references and rhetorical bullying; and not a bit of substance to any of it.

    It is somewhat amusing to have a window that looks into the pristine habitat of such an earnest bunch of ID/creationists going on about their “serious business” as though there is no other universe out there.  While it is occasionally instructive to see how they think, I tend to lose interest after reading a couple of threads. I don’t find anything that is really new over there.

    This “semiotic” argument is just another pretentious attempt to justify rejecting science without ever having to learn anything about science, especially chemistry and physics.  They try to lock in their sectarian dogma by “reason and logic” alone.  Evidence from the real world remains, as always, irrelevant.

    Petrushka may be right; mphillips probably won’t last very long over there.

  44. Flint:

    UPB’s arguments are not empirical despite all his repetition about “material entailments”.

    That’s the bottom line. Somewhere along the way UB learned the word “entailment” and saw it in discussions of the (non)scientific status of ID pressed at UD. In those discussions, the request was made countless times (I know because I made it) for advocates of ID to describe an entailment of ID theory that predicts unique observations, such that failure to make those observations places ID or a tenet of ID at risk of disconfirmation. This was a request for an implication that enables testing of ID by means of modus tollens, the heart of empirical science. There was much writhing, speaking in tongues and serpent handling, but no one supplied such an entailment (and I was banned to boot – this on the thread announcing UD’s then new open moderation policy. It doesn’t get any better). 

    Subsequently – but prior to these TSZ discussions – UB began using “entailment” in his argument, although not in the scientifically useful sense that enables the generation of testable predictions. I pointed to his peculiar use of “entailment” (peculiar in a discussion of scientific empiricism) at the outset of these threads. It is absolutely clear that his early formulation took the wholly logically defective form (A -> B [the entailments]. B, therefore A – which only works if you assume the consequent) – and later morphed into a very different argument: A (his “entailments”) represents the necessary and sufficient conditions for B. B, therefore A.

    Perhaps (to be charitable) the latter is what UB intended to convey from the outset, an intention obscured by his dense, idiosyncratic writing, but I don’t believe that. Rather, it seems inescapable that he didn’t understand the (il)logical implications his own assertions, which eventually evolved in response to withering selective pressures applied here.

    Regardless, his new (or clarified) use of “entailment,” however compatible with Philosophy by Dictionary, does NOT enable the generation and testing of useful empirical implication by modus tollens. Yes, one can say “if A represented the necessary and sufficient conditions for B” that “B ‘entails’ A,” but this is a useless, “cargo cult” application of the term that omits the heart of what is scientifically useful about entailment and implication. Indeed, it works, once again, only by means of an assumed conclusion (that A does, indeed, represent the necessary conditions for B).

    The most recent upshot of all this is that, although UB claims that his only conclusion is that semiotic systems must be caused by something capable of creating semiotic systems (has there ever been an emptier statement?), his theory is silent on causation.

    Also equally clear is the fact that UB ran from this discussion at the moment he was asked to discuss causation.

  45. I followed UPB’s logic, I think, though Barry summed it up quite nicely.

    1)Let us assume that all complex systems, and especially biological systems, are semiotic as we define the word.

    2) Let’s assume that semiotic systems can arise only through intelligent design.

    3) By assuming our conclusions as our postulates, we arrive at our conclusions. QED.    

  46. They seem to have run out of convincing arguments that living organisms are “obviously” designed, so now they are asserting that they are “semiotic” from which it is supposed to “logically follow” (i.e., proof by assertion) that semiotic systems are always the result of intelligent design.  Air tight (and circular)!  (“In other words, you evilutionists, no counter-evidence from science can help evolution, so don’t offer any; we don’t need to look at no stinkin’ science.”)

    This line of “argument” is particularly childish (“I’m standing in the middle of the room with my eyes closed; therefore I am invisible and invincible.”)

  47. patrick, If this isn’t tribal i don’t know what you would consider tribal at this point. I don’t think a requirement for tribal warfare is that the sum of the squared difference of tribal elements is 0. I would
    also argue that utterly destroyed is a bit optimistic. To destroy the argument, one would need to:

    1) Demonstrate that a non-teleological process can generate a semiotic system.
    2) Demonstrate that a teleological process cannot generate a semiotic system.

     

  48. junkdnaforlife:

    junkdnaforlife: “I would
    also argue that utterly destroyed is a bit optimistic. To destroy the argument, one would need to:

    1) Demonstrate that a non-teleological process can generate a semiotic system.
    2) Demonstrate that a teleological process cannot generate a semiotic system.”

    Patrick: ” Upright BiPed’s argument has been utterly destroyed logically and never was shown to support the assertions of ID.”

    junkdnaforlife: Patrick was referring to the logic in UPB’s position, which is flawed before any data is analyzed.

    The statement A = (~A) is “logically” flawed. There is no reason to assign the value “Jupiter” to A in this case. The flaw exists without regard to any input data.

    The same goes for the statement “A concludes B” THEREFORE “B concludes A”. It is simply flawed from the point of view of the logic only.

     

  49. I’m with keiths on this one. Really; are you serious?

    Try The Theory of Intelligent Scattering in a post on the previous page of this thread.

    There is an important point that you are apparently not willing to grasp; many processes in physics, chemistry, and biology can be restated in teleological and/or “semiotic system” language. It sometimes makes for efficient metaphor as long as one understands the underlying processes.

    All of chemistry, physics, and biology point unmistakably to the conclusion that life emerges from physics and chemistry. There are literally thousands of lines of evidence pointing to the same conclusion. So it is justifiable that scientists search for the “recipe(s) of life.” You don’t make this evidence go away by simply refusing to learn anything about chemistry, physics, and biology.

    Can you make the same claim about sectarian dogma? How do you explain centuries of bloody sectarian warfare that splinters sectarians into increasingly more numerous and mutually suspicious factions? Why would anyone take the “semiotic theory” of proteins seriously; coming as it does from a history of sectarian warfare on science and public education?

    What credibility do you have?

    What makes you think chemistry and physics aren’t up to the task? What do you know about chemistry, physics, and biology that those who spend their entire lives working in these fields don’t know?

    Perhaps you can explain better than UB can just why a “semiotic” description is required for proteins but not for other complex molecules.

    Where along the spectrum of complexity in atoms and molecules do physics and chemistry cease to function and get replaced by semiotic system that is “intelligently designed?” Why is UB’s intelligently designed semiotic system description necessary?

  50. I would take issue with this (junkdna’s claim). The claim that biology is a “semiotic system” requires doing some considerable insult to the concept of semiosis, which refers to signs and symbols. Biological processes, as amply documented here, simply are not symbolic processes. So your first requirement (demonstrate that a non-teleological process can generate a semiotic system) is irrelevant in the case of biology.

    I’m fine with the claim that semiotic systems as per the commonly understood meaning of the term, are teleological. CALLING a non-semiotic process semiotic in order to FORCE it to be teleological is dishonest argumentation.

    Someone asked Abraham Lincoln, if a dogs tail were called a leg, how many legs would a dog have. And Lincoln answered “Four. A tail is not a leg.” The same principle holds here. Calling biology semiotic does not make it semiotic.

    What UPB has done is added a superfluous step to the ID “reasoning”. Instead of just saying “it looks designed, therefore it must be designed”, he is saying “it looks semiotic, semiotic systems are designed, therefore it must be designed.” Who does he think he’s fooling? A tail is not a leg.     

  51. Jdnafl

    1) Demonstrate that a non-teleological process can generate a semiotic system.

    2) Demonstrate that a teleological process cannot generate a semiotic system.

    As for (1), it can certainly be demonstrated that what Upright Biped calls a semiotic system can be generated by a non-teleogical process. It’s been directly observed in the lab. 

    As for 2), what’s that got to do with it?

  52. junkdnaforlife,

    I’m replying to your points in reverse order.

    patrick, If this isn’t tribal i don’t know what you would consider tribal at this point. I don’t think a requirement for tribal warfare is that the sum of the squared difference of tribal elements is 0. I would also argue that utterly destroyed is a bit optimistic. To destroy the argument, one would need to:

    1) Demonstrate that a non-teleological process can generate a semiotic system.

    2) Demonstrate that a teleological process cannot generate a semiotic system.

    As dr who has already noted with respect to your last two claims, the first has already been demonstrated, using Upright BiPed’s own definition of “semiotic”, and the second has nothing to do with his argument.

    That is purely irrelevant, though, in the face of the fact that serious logical flaws have been identified in Upright BiPed’s argument and he has failed to address them, despite several different participants here pointing them out repeatedly.  His argument is, indeed, utterly destroyed.

    My response to your comment on tribalism was intended to point out the unjustified equivalence you presume exists between ID proponents and those who have some understanding of science.  Unless and until someone elucidates a clear ID hypothesis that results in at least one testable prediction that, if true, would uniquely support ID, there is no reason to consider ID a scientific proposition.  After this many years of nothing but pseudoscientific nonsense from ID’s leading lights, I don’t expect such a prediction to be forthcoming.

    The only reason that anyone with any understanding or respect for science engages ID arguments is because of the political power of the willfully scientifically illiterate religious fundamentalists who hunger for the veneer of scientific respectability for their irrational beliefs provided by the leaders of the ID movement.  These people want to destroy science education.  They must be stopped.

    Absent that political threat, ID proponents and other creationists would be treated like flat-earthers and bigfoot hunters — ignored, for good reason.

  53. I ask you to correct yourself, before I have to take stronger measures in correction.

    KF

  54. Kairosfocus: “You are refusing to address the foundational issue of how we can reasonably infer about the past we cannot observe, by working back from what causes the sort of signs that we can observe. “

    Here’s KF with his own version of “A concludes B” THEREFORE “B concludes A”.

     

     

     

  55. Minor correction. Barry Arrington starts it for him. There is, of course, no reference to the questions that were brought up here.

  56. Someone who is still able to comment at UD should link to the relevant threads here at TSZ.

  57. When I read that, I see someone who has never had a course in physics or chemistry, let alone biology.  He seems to be trying to invent a new vocabulary which, as near as I can tell, is constructed to let in the conclusion of “intelligent design.”  The uses of words like “evoke” and “instantiate,” and then suddenly slipping in the word “protocol” are all anthropomorphic characterizations that clearly presume what is eventually going to be concluded with a Grand QED.

    How are “effects evoked” in this description?  What is the mechanism?

    I didn’t find the original discussion over at UD sufficiently interesting to bother to follow it; but wasn’t that supposed to be a “semiotic theory of ID” at some point?  I don’t see ID mentioned in this version, but the setup for the conclusion is pretty obvious.

  58. I predict that they will continue to confuse this argument with the argument from irreducible complexity – “you can’t make protein without protein” (really? Is that impossible, either logically or physically?). And one wonders why it continues to be rehearsed in blogs, if it is so devastatingly inescapable.

    And much interminable discussion about “arbitrary”. There is little that is ‘arbitrary’ about base pairing, nor the manner in which enzyme binding sites interact with their substrates. The peptide bond, the hydrogen bond, the phosphate bond … care to explain their multiple roles in protein synthesis, in terms of ‘arbitrary’ representations and protocols, UB? The codon-amino acid linkage may well be substitutable – but this is precisely why it can evolve into a ‘code’ from a simple polyX-synthetic ribozyme.

  59. I see Joe has linked to my above comment from the thread. We can wave at each other across the barricades. Coo-ee, Joe! And everyone else! Anyone fancy considering some physics and chemistry in amongst all the engineering/informatic/logical pontificating? Why do y’all think that protein is essential for making protein, as either a logical or a physico-chemical necessity?

    Joe

    1- Your position can’t even get a simple ribozyme

    Why would it need to? It’s ‘your position’ that reckons they can be designed. I haven’t seen the semiotic argument framed as “make a ribosome (whether by design OR ‘chance’) or we win”.

    2- ID is OK with the system evolving by design

    Bully for ID. It can also evolve without design, because the ‘representation’ is not a rigid, inflexible one-for-one assignment.

  60. I predict that they will continue to confuse this argument with the argument from irreducible complexity – “you can’t make protein without protein”

    I’m not sure if I can claim a prediction fulfilled, as I don’t know the time difference between the SZ clock and the UD one, but here is gpuccio on the thread at 3.30 am UD-time:

    IF we consider that no translation is possible without the 20 synthetases, and that each synthetase is a very complex protein, translated from its DNA gene, we have a very beautiful case of “chicken and egg” problem: IOWs, a beautiful example of irreducible complexity.

    That IF is an enormous one. We are asked to consider an argument based mostly upon logic, but with one essential observational input: there is no known living system that produces proteins using fewer than 20 aa synthetases. But there is absolutely no obligation on anyone to accept that it is therefore impossible to synthesise protein (meaning, simply, generate the peptide bond) without 20-acid proteins involved. All you need, in principle, is ONE form of the monomer, and a non-protein catalyst. You can’t make protein catalysts that way, but you can make proteins, and why do people (non-chemists) think that proteins only have one function?

    Further, the 20 aa synthetases are clearly related to each other, in 2 broad families. So the suggestion that this library built up by subdivision of a simpler system is entirely in accord with the observational facts – and, as importantly, answers the basic challenge. The code comes to ‘represent’ different acids in a triplet-relationship, it does not have to start off doing so. Therefore, however semiotic we perceive the modern system, there is no essential requirement for that semiosis to be devised by intelligence, since stepwise substitution by gene duplication can achieve the same end by ‘natural’, known mechanisms.

    The Joes of this world, of course, require that this actually be done, or intelligence wins. But … show some evidence that designing minds were around at the time, beyond ‘the existence of complexities’, else ‘materialism’ is the only game in town.

  61. Mike

    I didn’t find the original discussion over at UD sufficiently interesting to bother to follow it; but wasn’t that supposed to be a “semiotic theory of ID” at some point? I don’t see ID mentioned in this version, but the setup for the conclusion is pretty obvious.

    Heh. UB has been in discussions with a physicist with a better attitude than yours! He leaves us hanging as to what this physicist says (for perfectly legitimate reasons of discretion, I guess), but does offer this snippet:

    “I agree with everything you say, although I often use different terms. I try to stick with the vocabulary of physics as much as possible. This is just one example of the arbitrariness …”

    But … the arbitrariness of what? We are left hanging, gasping for more. Yes, the assignments are ‘arbitrary’, in that you could swap the binding sites on tRNA synthetases and mix ‘n’ match codon-acid assignments to your hearts’ content. The acids are probably fairly ‘arbitrary’ too – you could probably create a 35-acid code, or other 20-acid codes taken from a different subset of the universe of all possible amino acid side chains. They would almost certainly be capable of producing functional peptides. But THAT can’t be important! It can’t be the fact there are a squillion different ways of composing the library!

    So, it’s the fact that there is a library at all, not that it is ‘arbitrary’. There is nothing in the codon that directly links into something in the amino acid – but that is trivially true of each and every two-binding-site catalyst. Start with one two-binding-site-catalyst, and you can build a library of ‘em.

    As to the ‘setup for the conclusion’, UB signs off that post with “Anyone who has ever read David Berlinski’s book “The Devils Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretentions” will recall the preface of that book where David talks about a public feeling oppressed by an ideology which has co-opted the institutions of science as their means.”. I really wasn’t aware that the disciplines relevant to the operation and evolution of protein synthesis had been so co-opted. But I would say that.

  62. UD is directing a lot of links in this direction. They are implementing my publicly published secret plan to make this site into the comments section of UD. Since Joe killed Cornelius Hunter’s site, this is one of the few places where you don’t risk being banned for expressing opinions.

  63. kairosfocus surprises me with his courage.

    To actually post about me “over there”, where I can’t reply, …because they banned me.., takes  a little courage, not a lot of courage, but enough for kairosfocus to actually be able to dig up.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/he-said-it-toronto-of-tsz-etc-on-abductive-inference-to-best-explanation-in-science/

    Maybe one day Barry Arrington will show a “little” courage too and come over for a “little” discussion about logic and where Upright Biped’s goes wrong.

    That will take a “little” more courage than kairosfocus, but it still won’t take a “lot”.

    Pray hard for some strength Barry.

     

     

     

     

  64. Bydand, indeed.  What do you suppose KF’s ancestors would think, seeing him hide behind Barry’s skirt at UD?

  65. KF does seem to see TSZ as a sister ‘hate site’ to AtBC. I really can’t see where that comes from, other than that some people post at both places. I expect if I dug hard enough I could find someone saying something mean here. But the mood and tone are very different, and certainly no worse than UD itself. Does disagreeing, even vigorously, count as hate, these days? I look forward to appearing on my own poster. We have the very odd situation where Barry invites ‘Darwinists’ (banned there) to comment there on UB’s ideas, while Joe (banned here) cat-calls comments made about that discussion over here …

  66. UPB has just dealt a blow to his own “semiotic ID” argument.

    UPB:”So when you step on the ground and leave a footprint (or cast a shadow for that matter) that footprint is nothing more than the state of the ground after being stepped on. For that state to become recorded information – for its form to become instantiated in matter which can in-form a receiver of that information – requires a mechanism capable of bringing that information into being. “

     

    UPB claims a footprint is NOT recorded information, until another mechanism acts on it.

    In that case, a cell, (and its DNA), is also NOT recorded information until another mechanism acts on it.

    What mechanism outside of a footprint or outside of a cell is required?

     

  67. Elsewhere, kairosfocus has been busily arguing that deer footprints provide the information that deer have been present. Deer, of course, do not intelligently design their footprints, so it appears that new information can be made without intelligent design.

    What I’d like to know is: do 501 deer footprints constitute more than 500 bits of information?

  68. Post #129, UBP

    My argument will be displaced from the UD front page today. I appreciate UD posting it, and also the responses that came forward.

    No one provided a demonstration that the observations are false, or that the logic is flawed. Indeed quite the opposite, the observations are completely valid, and the logic is entirely coherent with regard to those observations. Genetic information transfer demonstrates a semiotic state, and any mechanism proposed to be the origin of that system must have the capacity to establish a semiotic state for two intractable reasons: 1) because the transfer of recorded information is logically impossible without it,

    1) DNA/RNA is recorded information? Not just replicated? Sticking an amino acid on one end of a molecular stick and dabbing it onto a growing peptide chain in a ribosome is semiotic, simply because the other end docks consistently with particular mRNA triplets? And this is logically impossible without ID? Because protein synthesis without protein catalysis is asserted to be physically impossible? Ground-breaking stuff.

    and 2) that is the way we find it.

    2) Therefore that is the way it must always have been.

    This evidence demonstrates a central prediction of ID – that the genome is a semiotic process.

    I look forward to seeing this written up and formally published, then. ID predicted that the genome would be semiotic? And it is? Absolutely remarkable.

    It also demonstrates the most prolific example of irreducible complexity in the natural world. And also that, using Darwin’s own standard, evolution is incapable of establishing that process.

    Despite evolutionary scenarios having been proposed, evolution is incapable of building IC systems because all proposed pathways are hypothetical, pending actual demonstration? Therefore design, no demo required.

  69. Allan:

    “1) DNA/RNA is recorded information? Not just replicated?”

    Either it is, in which case recorded information can be transferred absent protocols (as DNA is replicated), or it isn’t, in which case the transcription of DNA into proteins does not represent the “transfer of recorded information” because there is no “recorded information” in DNA.

    UB’s response to problems like this is to accuse others of equivocating. 

  70. Well … replication is a protocol of sorts! And I actually think that DNA does contain a kind of ‘recorded information’ – “how to survive in recent environments”, courtesy of selective filtration. But this is different from saying that a particular AUG is a recorded instruction to make methionine, for example. If translation/transcription happens to pass through the region containing it, and it is in the triplet frame, it will result in methionine. If methionine is harmless or better at that position, it may be passed down the replication line.   

    But this is, as you say, simply semantic. A single DNA or RNA strand presents a stacked pattern of atomic orientation and charge density in space at the protruding ‘edges’ of the four bases. Each edge has a complementary spatial charge pattern which matches one of the other bases 180o rotated, carried by an antiparallel xNA backbone. This property can be used to either add or bind the complementary base/backbone segment. This could be DNA, or RNA, or the bottom end of a charged tRNA molecule. It doesn’t make any sequence mean either its complement or any downstream consequence of the chain of causality.

  71. It also demonstrates the most prolific example of irreducible complexity in the natural world. And also that, using Darwin’s own standard, evolution is incapable of establishing that process.

    What UB defines as semiotic systems are not irreducibly complex, and can evolve. There are many examples throughout the life system, and the parts of the systems do not have to appear simultaneously. Whenever an organism recieves a sign from another organism and reacts to that sign in a way that is not the sign itself, that’s a UB semiotic system. Any lab experiment with bacteria in which the bacteria evolve a change in the way in which they behave towards each other that involves chemical signalling between organisms would be the arrival of a new sign/protocol/translation-into-action combination in UB terms.

    An example would be an experiment I remember reading about some years ago when a parasitic phage was introduced into a culture of bacteria. Over time, the bacteria evolved the tendency to form into simple colonies which helped to protect them from the phage. That would have to involve chemical signalling between individuals, and a new reading of an existing signal, or even a new signal. The signal isn’t the action of moving together into colonies, so it’s “recorded information” read and translated by “protocol”.

    Another problem for UB is his unsupported claim that Darwinian evolution cannot take place without the systems he considers semiotic. I asked him whether he considered self-replicating molecules to be semiotic systems, and he eliminated them on the basis that they are templates for themselves, and therefore don’t contain recorded information. Whatever. Self-replicating molecules that replicate with variation would be subject to Darwinian evolution, and this directly contradicts UB’s claim, using his own definitions. All of which seems rather a pity after all that verbosity. But never mind. Back to the drawing board.

  72. Yep. As I said right at the start of TSZ UBP Thread 1, conflation of the origin of protein synthesis machinery and the OoL is the fundamental error. If replication is possible without protein (and it is not logically impossible), then that is a logical ‘way in’. The ribosome/tRNA/mRNA system is still complex, but if such a system could operate without protein, or any protein components were specified in a different way, then it could make peptide bonds in much the same way it does now, barring the current means of charging tRNA.

    RNA certainly has peptidyl transferase activity, right now. Which is all it has to do, to get the ball rolling. The fact that proteins made by that process have become embedded in the process is no more remarkable than the fact that CAD has become embedded in the design of computers. It does not make computers logically impossible. Once you allow the possibility of non-protein mechanisms of replication, and of adding charged amino acids to tRNA, then objections on grounds of logic fall away. If one wants to call peptide bond formation through tRNA charging/orientation stabilisation by mRNA semiotic, then yeah, it’s semiotic. Meh. There is, nonetheless, a logical route by which this apparently IC, semiotic-if-you-like system could come into being. One does not have to actually do it to refute the logical argument.

    What remains, attaching amino acids to a carrier and creating peptide bonds between them, is still a ‘protocol’ in UBP terms, but much more reducible without the baggage of the modern protein component.

  73. Joe breaks it down for us.

    For all this blah, blah, blibbidy-blibbidy blah, no one has put forward any evidence that blind and undirected processes can produce the transcription/ translation system we observe in living organisms. And no one even knows how we could test such a premise.

    The objectors at TSZ can’t do such a thing, evolutionary biologists can’t do such a thing and the objectors here can’t do such a thing.

    But hey all three groups can sure pound the table!

    Thumbs high big guys! All science so far…

    Joe, of course, has a non-DNA-built designer on hand to intelligently, semiotically build a chemical transcription/ translation system from scratch, thereby demonstrating the evidential superiority of his position. I will pull up a chair. 

  74. Upright Biped

    This evidence demonstrates a central prediction of ID – that the genome is a semiotic process.

    Why is this a central prediction of I.D.? Why are the intelligent designers constrained to employ semiotic processes in their designs? By what are they constrained? If physical laws constrain life to necessarily involve a semiotic process, then a semiotic process would be a prediction of all OOL hypotheses (except presumably those which involve supernatural designers capable of breaking those laws). But if physical laws do not constrain life systems to necessarily involve a semiotic process, then why would the designers be obliged to use one?

  75. Unsupported claims of irreducibility are the most prolific non sequiturs in the argument regarding design. This is why UPB wouldn’t continue his argument here or answer Elizabeth’s questions. After all those wasted months and hundreds of posts he simply asserts that chicken and egg systems can’t evolve. It’s not even disappointing, because it was anticipated from the outset.

  76. So afer all the reams of bullshit, the “evidence” is that UPB has assertet irreducibility. The argument scrapheap is right over there, next to the edge.

  77. Unsupported claims of irreducibility are the most prolific non sequiturs in the argument regarding design. This is why UPB wouldn’t continue his argument here or answer Elizabeth’s questions. After all those wasted months and hundreds of posts he simply asserts that chicken and egg systems can’t evolve. It’s not even disappointing, because it was anticipated from the outset.

    I think keiths may have been the straw that broke Upright BiPed’s ability to pretend he had a viable argument, sending him back to UD where he could claim victory knowing that very few of the IDCists would bother to read the threads here.  By restating Upright BiPed’s definitions, claims, and logic with extreme clarity, keiths made the flaws identified by everyone else readily apparent.

    It is telling that the summary of the argument presented recently at UD lacks that clarity.  Upright BiPed seems to have learned that obfuscation allows him to continue the discussion longer without having to recognize the problems with his position.  In addition, having the likeness of a dense philosophical treatise makes it appealing to his target audience who lack the ability and inclination to distinguish it from quality writing.  I am reminded again of the cargo cultists.
     

  78. Oh, wait … this just in … Joe feels it necessary to interrupt the discussion on UD with this response to my little dig:

    And Allan Miller continues to prove that he isn’t interested in science:

    Joe, of course, has a non-DNA-built designer on hand to intelligently, semiotically build a chemical transcription/ translation system from scratch, thereby demonstrating the evidential superiority of his position.

    Wow, a strawman and a total lack of understanding of how scientific inferences are arrived at, in one sentence. Nicely done Allan.

    But that is to be expected when the materialists can’t support their own position with a testable hypothesis and supporting evidence.

    Thumbs high big guy.

    Inter-site communication is now through the medium of thumbs, apparently.

    You don’t think competing hypotheses should be subject to equivalent evidential demands, Joe? No-one else really thinks science proceeds solely by direct demonstration of causes in action, but given that you appear to (when not relying on ‘inference’), it is perfectly reasonable to expect equivalence. What’s the strawman? What options other than non-DNA designers are available to ‘design’ DNA?

  79. Upright declares victory at UD:

    After two weeks, there hasn’t been a single opponent able to provide a flaw in either the material observations themselves, or in the logic of the conclusion. At this point I am left with one objector who cannot help but manage to add his own mess to the argument, and a shadow boxer who can’t even manage that.

    Upright, You might also want to mention your performance here at TSZ, where you made elementary reasoning errors, refused to answer straightforward questions, ignored requests to clarify your position, choosing instead to obfuscate, and then ran away entirely when you found yourself backed into a corner.

    Or would you prefer to keep the folks at UD in the dark?

    Pitiful.

  80. I look forward to the publication of his paper. Perhsps ENV would publish it. They did such a good job of vetting Dembski’s opus on probabiliy theory. News at 11. You can’t have a chicken without an egg. No intermediate genetic codes. Amazingly, no one ever thought of this before.

  81. keiths

    If you had time, you could put up a post that would be a bit more visible. To my mind, UB has appeared to have studiously ignored your summary and request for clarification and it deserves emphasizing.

    He also ignores, as far as I can tell, Allan Miller’s cogent remarks on the biochemistry of RNA translation and whether “semiotics” has any meaning with regard to protein synthesis.

    Oh, and what does UB’s argument have to do with a theory of “intelligent design”? 

  82. The back end of the UD thread is amusing. UB has managed to get in a few swipes at the inferiority of his opponents, and CLAVDIVS has been reminded that the argument is as stated in the OP:

    The conclusion of the argument is that the transfer of recorded information from the genome demonstrates a semiotic state, and therefore its origin will require a mechanism capable of establishing a semiotic state

    So (muses CLAVDIVS) “So what? You are merely observing that if system X has property Y, then – however system X came about – it must have involved at some point the introduction of property Y. This is almost tautological.

    What is it about semiotic states that is supposed to make this conclusion interesting? What does it tell us that we didn’t know before?

    Then some amusing byplay as Joe pours Joe-by-numbers scorn this way, and KF asks his TSZ correspondent whether anyone has answered the 18 (count ‘em!) questions he finally go to after half a post on poster children, amounting to “don’t you think our inferences are right, and God gave us morality too?” … no, sorry – can’t be bothered!

    Joe:

    CLAVDIVS-

    Semiotic states require knowledge- knowledge of what symbolizes what. In this case knowledge of what codon represents which amino acid. Knowledge that blind molecules just do not have.

    And yet molecules are blindly transcribing and translating, right now worldwide. Where does this ‘knowledge’ live? If you answered ‘in molecules’, you were correct.

  83. What is it about semiotic states that is supposed to make this conclusion interesting?  What does it tell us that we didn’t know before?

    This is very close to the “How does your argument support ID?” question that was repeatedly asked but never answered here.  Where will Upright BiPed run away to next?

    Semiotic states require knowledge — knowledge of what symbolizes what.

    It’s important to remember that Upright BiPed provided a definition of semiosis that was broad enough to include protein synthesis.  This definition was accepted ad arguendo to progress the discussion here.  As I recollect, that definition did not include any reference to knowledge.  I’m sure no UD denizen wants to accidentally commit the fallacy of equivocation — perhaps some kind Zoner can set them straight over there.

  84. Joe: “They did toy with your post for a while but I guess they gave up. “

    We have never given up showing our common onlookers the flaws in ID/creationist arguments.

    UprightBiPed’s “semiotic theory” was the gift that never stops giving.

    Also, our common onlookers can see the very obvious difference in the freedom of opinion shown on our side and the censorship on UD.

    Clearly, we’re not afraid of debate.

     

  85. This is very close to the “How does your argument support ID?” question that was repeatedly asked but never answered here.  Where will Upright BiPed run away to next?

    I think he’s already asserted that a semiotic system can’t evolve.. That’s the meat of his argument, but it’s a premise rather than a conclusion.

  86. I think he’s already asserted that a semiotic system can’t evolve.. That’s the meat of his argument, but it’s a premise rather than a conclusion.

    Of course he won’t operationalize his definitions to allow that assertion to be tested, so we’re back to where we were months ago when Lizzie was offering to perform the test for him.
     

  87. Semiotic states require knowledge — knowledge of what symbolizes what.

    That’s a lot of bits to store and access, if you are talking about knowing what sequence codes what. Even more interesting if you toss in regulation. Sounds a lot like magic.

  88. Well here it is.

    They also want me to respond to Allan Miller’s challenge that there is nothing stopping a system comprised of a single amino acid from becoming a two amino acid system, and then a three amino acid system, etc. I already pointed out that a single amino acid system does not have the information carrying capacity to code for itself, and therefore it is physically unable to become ‘a system’. That didn’t seem to matter to them.

  89. Petrushka: I think he’s already asserted that a semiotic system can’t evolve.. That’s the meat of his argument, but it’s a premise rather than a conclusion.

    Well, fellow poster child, he’s certainly wrong there. If he wants to claim that for semiotic systems as a whole, he’s in immediate trouble. This is why it’s puzzling that he’s making such a big deal about semiotics. He would have been better off merely claiming irreducible complexity for a specific system.

    I bet he doesn’t mention the example I gave further up the thread of a UB semiotic system evolving by mutation and selection in bacteria in a lab.

  90. dr who,

    I Googled, but didn’t find your example.  Could you please provide a pointer, both for myself and those peering over the UD wall?
     

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