# Creating CSI with NS

Imagine a coin-tossing game.  On each turn, players toss a fair coin 500 times.  As they do so, they record all runs of heads, so that if they toss H T T H H H T H T T H H H H T T T, they will record: 1, 3, 1, 4, representing the number of heads in each run.

At the end of each round, each player computes the product of their runs-of-heads.  The person with the highest product wins.

In addition, there is a House jackpot.  Any person whose product exceeds 1060 wins the House jackpot.

There are 2500 possible runs of coin-tosses.  However, I’m not sure exactly how many of that vast number of possible series would give a product exceeding 1060. However, if some bright mathematician can work it out for me, we can work out whether a series whose product exceeds 1060 has CSI.  My ballpark estimate says it has.

That means, clearly, that if we randomly generate many series of 500 coin-tosses, it is exceedingly unlikely, in the history of the universe, that we will get a product that exceeds 1060.

However, starting with a randomly generated population of, say 100 series, I propose to subject them to random point mutations and natural selection, whereby I will cull the 50 series with the lowest products, and produce “offspring”, with random point mutations from each of the survivors, and repeat this over many generations.

I’ve already reliably got to products exceeding 1058, but it’s possible that I may have got stuck in a local maximum.

However, before I go further: would an ID proponent like to tell me whether, if I succeed in hitting the jackpot, I have satisfactorily refuted Dembski’s case? And would a mathematician like to check the jackpot?

I’ve done it in MatLab, and will post the script below.  Sorry I don’t speak anything more geek-friendly than MatLab (well, a little Java, but MatLab is way easier for this).

## 529 thoughts on “Creating CSI with NS”

1. KYTSPVDMLG VVLAKKCQAL VSDADYRNYL HQWTCLPDQN DVIQAKKVYE LQSENMYKSD LEWLRGIGWS PLGSLEAEKN
KRASEIISEK KYRQPPDRNK FTSIPDAMDI VLAKTNAKNR

Could you explain what this is? It’s clearly not a DNA sequence….

2. madbat089: Could you explain what this is? It’s clearly not a DNA sequence….

Ok. I figured it out. You moved goalposts. This is no longer a DNA sequence, it is an amino acid sequence. Either way – you are suggesting that this snippet of the amino acid sequence of Nebulin is accurately described by: *Regulates thin filament length in mice*. Are you seriously suggesting this?

3. Patrick:

I do hope the ID proponents appreciate that crossover (SEX!) generates CSI even faster than asexual evolutionary mechanisms.

Hee hee! I knew it would! What is interesting is that here we have what is effectively a single gene, not multi-gene combinations, yet even here recombination explores the space much more efficiently. By combining the front and back of genes whose fitness has already been ‘proven’ (well, they are still in the population), recombination generates novelty in a way that avoids the deleterious load that mutation alone suffers.

There are numerous other things going on, too, in a recombinant population. Let’s hear it for Recombination! The best idea evolution ever had.

4. Allan Miller:
Patrick:

Hee hee! I knew it would! What is interesting is that here we have what is effectively a single gene, not multi-gene combinations, yet even here recombination explores the space much more efficiently. By combining the front and back of genes whose fitness has already been ‘proven’ (well, they are still in the population), recombination generates novelty in a way that avoids the deleterious load that mutation alone suffers.

There are numerous other things going on, too, in a recombinant population. Let’s hear it for Recombination! The best idea evolution ever had.

I always use recombination for anything I really want a solution for. I deliberately eschewed it for this, on the grounds that recombination itself is an evolved capacity.

5. OK, well, my last run got stuck at a local maximum so I aborted it at 274725 generations, at which point its product was 7.5751e+59.

The first 500 generations looked like this (Heads white, Tails black):

And the last 500 generations looked like this:

6. Patrick you say on your site:

“That being said, based on Dr. Liddle’s interpretation of Dembski’s paper, this exercise clearly demonstrates that a simple subset of known evolutionary mechanisms is more than capable of generating sequences of bits that exhibit what he seems to be claiming is CSI.”

// Based on Dr. Liddle’s interpretation indeed. You provide a string, I’ve taken the first two lines of it and included them in the following three examples to examine specificity.

What exactly do you mean by “examine specificity”? Dr. Liddle has already provided a specification as part of her problem description.

7. This is sort of fun: as well as point mutations, I’ve now introduced a mutation type in which I randomly select a short sequence (length drawn from a Poisson distribution), delete, it, then insert it randomly elsewhere (to keep the genome the same length).

That makes the search space much better connected. It’s still running, but in only a few thousand generations (population N=100) I’ve got to within spitting distance of the jackpot:

8. Take-home message: the connectedness of the search space is a function of the types of mutation possible.

I never thought of that before.

9. how very cool – this has been very enlightening – thanks for thinking up this great little experiment, Liz, and sharing it with all of us!!!

10. Elizabeth: Take-home message: the connectedness of the search space is a function of the types of mutation possible.

Exactly. To reach the jackpot, a sequence has to get its tails shuffled around so that they become equidistant. Single-bit mutations become deleterious: they introduce extra tails or remove existing ones, decreasing the fitness.

11. Elizabeth: Take-home message: the connectedness of the search space is a function of the types of mutation possible.
I never thought of that before.

Chemists and physicists have known for a long time that transitions from one form of molecule to another form take place with higher probability than what one would expect from just plucking an atom from one location and tacking it on somewhere else.

In recent years, femtosecond chemistry experiments using lasers have shown the kinds of things that happen that make this possible.

As it turns out, the process of adding enough energy to break bonds often brings a molecule close to its melting temperature. That then distorts the molecule radically enough to change the shapes of the mutual potential wells connecting the various atoms together.

The distortions are enough to pull down barriers between otherwise energetically isolated configurations that allow atoms to sort of “slip-slide” into new positions without having to make large jumps in energy as they do so.

The results are not especially surprising since we often see examples of this occurring macroscopically; such as when we untangle a mess of stuff by giving it a gentle shake.

But it is nice to see examples from the chemistry of molecular formation that shake us out of the habit of thinking in terms rigid molecular diagrams that are energetically “impossible” to go between.

how very cool – this has been very enlightening – thanks for thinking up this great little experiment, Liz, and sharing it with all of us!!!

Well, thanks to all who have contributed their far superior mathematical and coding skills to the project!

13. Elizabeth:
What is strange is Dembski’s claim that Darwinian processes are inadequate to account for CSI.

If he was claiming that Darwinian processes must be initiated by an intelligent agent, that would be a different argument (readily rebutted, but my demonstration would not be a rebuttal).

So here, he actually gives, as the specification the “evolutionary pathway that brings about the pattern”:”a bacterial flagellum”.Mine is defined as: “a sequence of coin-tosses in which the product of the runs-of-heads is very large”.And we’ve calculated the search space for such sequences above a certain threshold, and confirmed that the “probabilistic resources”.I don’t know why he thinks that his H “takes into account Darwinian and other material mechanisms”, but he does.However, it is clear, from my example, that “Darwinian and other material mechanisms” are capable of hitting the target pattern.And it is also clear, from the fitness plots, that some of the intermediate patterns in the evolutionary pathway in my example are “IC” – they are not reached by consistently advantageous steps and frequently involve deleterious steps.The AVIDA examples show the same thing.

Dembski is simply wrong in his claim.His only defense, that I am aware of, is this story about “smuggling in” information via the fitness function.

If any ID proponents would like to discuss this, I’d be delighted to hear from them

There ya go- just go into a lab and have a flagellum evolve via darwinian processes- heck Behe even supports that:

In fact, my argument for intelligent design is open to direct experimental rebuttal. Here is a thought experiment that makes the point clear. In Darwin’s Black Box (Behe 1996) I claimed that the bacterial flagellum was irreducibly complex and so required deliberate intelligent design. The flip side of this claim is that the flagellum can’t be produced by natural selection acting on random mutation, or any other unintelligent process. To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure (for mobility, say), grow it for ten thousand generations, and see if a flagellum–or any equally complex system–was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.(1)

How about Professor Coyne’s concern that, if one system were shown to be the result of natural selection, proponents of ID could just claim that some other system was designed? I think the objection has little force. If natural selection were shown to be capable of producing a system of a certain degree of complexity, then the assumption would be that it could produce any other system of an equal or lesser degree of complexity. If Coyne demonstrated that the flagellum (which requires approximately forty gene products) could be produced by selection, I would be rather foolish to then assert that the blood clotting system (which consists of about twenty proteins) required intelligent design.

Let’s turn the tables and ask, how could one falsify the claim that, say, the bacterial flagellum was produced by Darwinian processes? (Professor Coyne’s remarks about a Precambrian fossil hominid are irrelevant since I dispute the mechanism of natural selection, not common descent. I would no more expect to find a fossil hominid out of sequence than he would.) If a scientist went into the laboratory and grew a flagellum-less bacterial species under selective pressure for many generations and nothing much happened, would Darwinists be convinced that natural selection is incapable of producing a flagellum? I doubt it. It could always be claimed that the selective pressure wasn’t the right one, or that we started with the wrong bacterial species, and so on. Even if the experiment were repeated many times under different conditions and always gave a negative result, I suspect many Darwinists would not conclude that the claim of its Darwinian evolution was falsified. Of complex biochemical systems Coyne himself writes “we may forever be unable to envisage the first proto-pathways. It is not valid, however, to assume that, because one man cannot imagine such pathways, they could not have existed.” (Coyne 1996) If a person accepts Darwinian paths which are not only unseen, but which we may be forever unable to envisage, then it is effectively impossible to make him think he is wrong.

14. I do hope the ID proponents appreciate that crossover (SEX!) generates CSI even faster than asexual evolutionary mechanisms.

Great, sexual reproduction requires CSI- you are are great at starting with the very stuff that needs explaining.

Asexual reproduction is irreducibly complex:

Peering into Darwin’s Black Box:
The cell divsion processes required for bacterial life

So yes, if you start with CSI you can design a program that can do interesting things.

15. Elizabeth:
Did you mean to write that sexual reproduction is irreducibly complex?

No, but sexual reproduction is also IC. Read the article I linked to- it makes the (positive) case for asexual reproduction being irreducibly complex.

16. Great, sexual reproduction requires CSI- you are are great at starting with the very stuff that needs explaining.

Great, intelligence requires CSI – you are great at starting with the very stuff that needs explaining.

17. Great, sexual reproduction requires CSI- you are are great at starting with the very stuff that needs explaining.

Great, intelligence requires CSI

Right and your position can’t explain either- intelligence nor CSI.

– you are great at starting with the very stuff that needs explaining.

We make observations and so far CSI comes from intelligence that also has CSI. And, as per Newton’s First Rule, materialism has all the power because if someone could demonstrate that intelligence and therefor CSI can be produced by matter, energy, necessity and chance, materialism wins.

18. Joe G: Right and your position can’t explain either- intelligence nor CSI.

We make observations and so far CSI comes from intelligence that also has CSI. And, as per Newton’s First Rule, materialism has all the power because if someone could demonstrate that intelligence and therefor CSI can be produced by matter, energy, necessity and chance, materialism wins.

So, where did the ‘intelligent designer’ get its CSI and intelligence?

It’s not about winning, except to those of you who think it’s only about winning (control). To scientists it’s about exploring and understanding nature.

19. We make observations and so far CSI comes from intelligence that also has CSI. And, as per Newton’s First Rule, materialism has all the power because if someone could demonstrate that intelligence and therefor CSI can be produced by matter, energy, necessity and chance, materialism wins.

Dear Joe. Intelligence certainly can’t be explained by Intelligent design, can it? And as observation tells us that “CSI” is a prerequisite for intelligence, then we should look at the theory of variation and selection of chemical self-replicators that I suggested on the other thread, as it’s in chemical self-replicators that we observe intelligence of all levels, giving it the appearance of a phenomenon that can gradually emerge.

Veering back to the topic of this thread, you can see illustrations in the models people have made here of how such a process might work to build up CSI.

20. So, where did the ‘intelligent designer’ get its CSI and intelligence?

ID is not about the designer. The only way to say anything about the designer is by studying the design and all relevant evidence.

To scientists it’s about exploring and understanding nature.

And that is exactly what Intelligent Design is all about.

21. Intelligence certainly can’t be explained by Intelligent design, can it?

I never said that. I said that your position can’t explain it and you confirm my claim with every one of your posts. Thank you.

And as observation tells us that “CSI” is a prerequisite for intelligence, then we should look at the theory of variation and selection of chemical self-replicators that I suggested on the other thread, as it’s in chemical self-replicators that we observe intelligence of all levels, giving it the appearance of a phenomenon that can gradually emerge.

Your position can’t explain self-replicators nor how self-replicators became living organisms.

The OP of this thread is a strawman.

22. Joe G: I never said that. I said that your position can’t explain it and you confirm my claim with every one of your posts. Thank you.

Your position can’t explain self-replicators nor how self-replicators became living organisms.

The OP of this thread is a strawman.

Joe, you are applying double standards here. You insist on limiting ID to the detection of design and not the investigation of the designer. Fine, scientific theories have a limited scope. They focus on one particular aspect of nature. Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory assumed the existence of electric charges without explaining their origin. Newton’s theory of gravitation dealt with the effects of gravity without explaining its origin.

In the same vein, Elizabeth is investigating whether CSI can arise through natural selection without asking where the fitness landscape came from. I think this is an entirely reasonable approach. For some reason, however, IDers dismiss such studies as trivial. Well, they aren’t.

23. olegt: Joe, you are applying double standards here. You insist on limiting ID to the detection of design and not the investigation of the designer. Fine, scientific theories have a limited scope. They focus on one particular aspect of nature. Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory assumed the existence of electric charges without explaining their origin. Newton’s theory of gravitation dealt with the effects of gravity without explaining its origin.

In the same vein, Elizabeth is investigating whether CSI can arise through natural selection without asking where the fitness landscape came from. I think this is an entirely reasonable approach. For some reason, however, IDers dismiss such studies as trivial. Well, they aren’t.

oleg- if we could study the designer then we wouldn’t have a design inference as design would be a given. And Elizabeth’s example has nothing to do with natural selection. And it has nothing to do with anything Dembski has claimed.

BTW you are the one applying double-standards as yiou constantly ask of ID what your position can’t produce.

24. Joe G: I never said that. I said that your position can’t explain it and you confirm my claim with every one of your posts. Thank you.Your position can’t explain self-replicators nor how self-replicators became living organisms.The OP of this thread is a strawman.

My position? My position for the purposes of this discussion is “non-intelligent design”, just as yours is “intelligent design”.

My position of non-telic chemistry is clearly the better general explanation for self-replicators, as observation tells us that self-replicators are a prerequisite for all known intelligent designers. Surely you must agree with this observation?

The fact that we don’t yet know the details of how the first self-replicators came about certainly does not warrant an intelligent designer of the gaps argument. You I.D. guys are hardly in a position to complain about lack of detail, are you?

Anyway, you informed me on the other thread that I.D. makes no claims about the OOL, so we should have agreement on the best explanation for self-replicators.

25. My position for the purposes of this discussion is “non-intelligent design”, just as yours is “intelligent design”

You don’t have any evidence for “non-intellignet design”

My position of non-telic chemistry is clearly the better general explanation for self-replicators

What self-replicators?

as observation tells us that self-replicators are a prerequisite for all known intelligent designers.

Good luck providing evidence for that.

The fact that we don’t yet know the details of how the first self-replicators came about certainly does not warrant an intelligent designer of the gaps argument.

LoL! So because we cannot figure out how nature built Stonehenge we shouldn’t call on the “designer of the gaps”.

But anyway there was an experiment pertaining to the self-sustained replication of RNAs, but it doesn’t come close to supporting anything you have claimed.

Anyway, you informed me on the other thread that I.D. makes no claims about the OOL,

Obvioulsy you misread what I said- ID is all about the OoL

26. Joe G: oleg- if we could study the designer then we wouldn’t have a design inference as design would be a given. And Elizabeth’s example has nothing to do with natural selection.

Of course it does. It’s a straightforward demonstration of natural selection, and how, when self-replicating variants differ in their reproductive success, you will get vast increases in CSI, sufficient to breach Dembski’s chi threshold.

And it has nothing to do with anything Dembski has claimed.

It’s a direct refutation of his claim in that paper.

27. Elizabeth:

I always use recombination for anything I really want a solution for. I deliberately eschewed it for this, on the grounds that recombination itself is an evolved capacity.

Well … yes. Nonetheless, all the kind of complexity that really impresses us occurs in recombinant sexual species (or their asexually-reverted descendants). OK, some people regard the bacterial flagellum as the acme of design, but there are more things in heaven and earth than dreamt of in their philosophy. Recombination also impacts Behe’s error in the ‘CCC’ in malaria – the chances of a CCC arising are greatly enhanced by recombination, even though it sometimes breaks them apart again.

Joe characterises asexual reproduction as ‘CSI’, but asexual reproduction simply goes back to the OoL (where we always seem to end up!). A simple replicator is nothing more than an asexually-reproducing species. Sex itself is not irreducibly complex – indeed, it is a classic example of a system asserted to be irreducibly complex that is not. In the modern version with which we are most familiar, we have two sexes and (frequently) multicellular bodies possessed of a division between germ line and soma, and homologous recombiination. But these are derived states – they are not essential for characterising the basic sexual process, which is simply cyclic syngamy and division. Such a cycle must start with syngamy, not division – you have to have a diploid to divide. Anyone who thinks of sex as being irreducible is thinking of genders, and multicellular diploid organisms with recombinant meiosis. But they only exist because of sex, not as a precursor.

But even recombination is an optional extra in the basic cycle. It’s not there in order to speed up searches, disrupt local maxima, distribute processing in a parallel manner, or any other of the myriad consequences it has for evolution. It just happens to do all those things, and its raison d’etre is likely to be much more prosaic – it stabilises bivalents in meiosis for one thing, and is a potential response to ‘chromosome-killer’ genes for another.

The same goes for transposition – and, indeed, mutation. They aren’t there in order to make evolutionary ‘searches’ more efficient, they just do. At least, if recombination was the Designer’s idea, it took him 2 billion years to hit upon it.

28. Joe G: Obvioulsy you misread what I said- ID is all about the OoL

So why are so many ID proponents so anti-Darwin, then?

29. Joe G: You don’t have any evidence for “non-intellignet design”What self-replicators?Good luck providing evidence for that.LoL! So because we cannot figure out how nature built Stonehenge we shouldn’t call on the “designer of the gaps”.But anyway there was an experiment pertaining to the self-sustained replication of RNAs, but it doesn’t come close to supporting anything you have claimed.Obvioulsy you misread what I said- ID is all about the OoL

Stonehenge is not a prerequisite for the existence of intelligent designers. Life, if we follow observations and evidence, is.

30. Elizabeth: Of course it does.It’s a straightforward demonstration of natural selection, and how, when self-replicating variants differ in their reproductive success, you will get vast increases in CSI, sufficient to breach Dembski’s chi threshold.

It’s a direct refutation of his claim in that paper.

You don’t understand natural selection. It is just a result. Also self-replication is a pipe-dream. the current science says that the RNA world did not exist, and that there had to be a ribonucleoprotein world- IOW the stakes have been increased.

And I say you are misrepresenting the papaer.

31. Elizabeth: So why are so many ID proponents so anti-Darwin, then?

As I have told you- Darwinism has nothing to say about evolution if it is silent on the OoL because if the ooL was designed then evolution was designed.

That and there isn’t any evidence that differential reproduction can construct new, useful multi-protein configurations.

32. Allan Miller2:
Elizabeth:Well … yes. Nonetheless, all the kind of complexity that really impresses us occurs in recombinant sexual species (or their asexually-reverted descendants). OK, some people regard the bacterial flagellum as the acme of design, but there are more things in heaven and earth than dreamt of in their philosophy. Recombination also impacts Behe’s error in the ‘CCC’ in malaria – the chances of a CCC arising are greatly enhanced by recombination, even though it sometimes breaks them apart again.

Joe characterises asexual reproduction as ‘CSI’, but asexual reproduction simply goes back to the OoL (where we always seem to end up!). A simple replicator is nothing more than an asexually-reproducing species. Sex itself is not irreducibly complex – indeed, it is a classic example of a system asserted to be irreducibly complex that is not. In the modern version with which we are most familiar, we have two sexes and (frequently) multicellular bodies possessed of a division between germ line and soma, and homologous recombiination. But these are derived states – they are not essential for characterising the basic sexual process, which is simply cyclic syngamy and division. Such a cycle must start with syngamy, not division – you have to have a diploid to divide. Anyone who thinks of sex as being irreducible is thinking of genders, and multicellular diploid organisms with recombinant meiosis. But they only exist because of sex, not as a precursor.

But even recombination is an optional extra in the basic cycle. It’s not there in order to speed up searches, disrupt local maxima, distribute processing in a parallel manner, or any other of the myriad consequences it has for evolution. It just happens to do all those things, and its raison d’etre is likely to be much more prosaic – it stabilises bivalents in meiosis for one thing, and is a potential response to ‘chromosome-killer’ genes for another.

The same goes for transposition – and, indeed, mutation. They aren’t there in order to make evolutionary ‘searches’ more efficient, they just do. At least, if recombination was the Designer’s idea, it took him 2 billion years to hit upon it.

What simple self-replicator? And unfortunately for you, the evidence says sex is IC and asexual reproduction is IC.

33. Joe G: ID is not about the designer. The only way to say anything about the designer is by studying the design and all relevant evidence.

And that is exactly what Intelligent Design is all about.

Same old same old.

If it’s not about “the designer”, then what’s the point of studying “the design”? Is it to try to figure out all the parts and processes in nature? Do you really think that scientists aren’t already doing that? What EXACTLY do you think that studying “the design” would change in the way that scientists go about their research into biological evolution? What new equipment would be needed and developed? What new scientific methods would be employed? What new scientifically testable and useful hypotheses and theories would be necessary and developed? How exactly would it positively change anything and exactly what would applying the ID label to biology and evolution and the theory of evolution do that isn’t already being done?

You say that ID is all about origins (and you IDists don’t all agree on that) but you can’t make up your mind about which origins. It’s the origin of life, or the origin of the universe, or the origin of the Earth, or the origin of CSI, or the origin of IC, or the origin of morals, or the origin of worldviews, or the origin of particular religious beliefs, or the origin of evil, or the origin of philosophies, or the origin of atheism, or the origin of side loaded programming/information, or the origin of humans or other species, or the origin of ‘laws’, or the origin of geological features, or the origin of forces, or the origin of molecules, or the origin of cells, or the origin of intelligence, or whatever origin is convenient at the time, but it’s way out of line for people to question you about the alleged source of the origins, the so-called “intelligent designer”, and the source of the “intelligent designer”. And if ID is all about ultimate origins then why are you attacking the theory of evolution? Science has plenty of other hypotheses and theories about particular origins.

Oh, and the (biological) theory of evolution isn’t “about” religion, or atheism, or Darwin, or Wallace, or Lewontin, or Alinsky, or Sagan, or Dawkins, or moral grounding, or absolute truths, or the origin of life, or the origin of the universe, or Hitler, or Stalin, or Pol Pot, or politics, or abortions, or evil, or genocide, or a long list of other things that you IDists erroneously combine it with in order to smear it and the people who accept it. You IDists are conveniently nitpicky when it comes to ID but not when it comes to the theory of evolution, except of course that you’re conveniently nitpicky when you’re attacking real or imagined gaps in the theory of evolution.

And that’s what your arguments are really all about, gaps, whether real or imagined. You only go for the origins claim because you know that science hasn’t (yet) completely figured out the ultimate origins of life, the universe, and some other things. The more that science does figure out about evolution and the history and processes of nature the more you go for the origins argument. It’s your fall back safety net. As the gaps get smaller you IDists get more nitpicky about which gaps you think (and demand) have to be filled. Believe it or not, scientists want to fill all of the real gaps and are working hard to do so. Just because you’re impatient and want to force your religious beliefs into the gaps doesn’t mean that science is ignoring the real gaps or the realities of nature. Real science takes time and work, unlike “God-did-it”.

34. Joe G: You don’t understand natural selection.

Yes, I do. Rather well.

It is just a result.

Yes it’s the result of differential reproductive success, according to some fitness criterion, as in my demonstration. The result is of those variants that best match the fitness criterion.

Also self-replication is a pipe-dream. the current science says that the RNA world did not exist,

No, “the current science” does not say that. We do not yet know how our earliest ancestors got started, but there are some promising ideas generating testable hypotheses.

and that there had to be a ribonucleoprotein world- IOW the stakes have been increased.

Yes, there are a number of theories. We don’t know the answer.

And I say you are misrepresenting the papaer.

How?

35. Joe G: As I have told you- Darwinism has nothing to say about evolution if it is silent on the OoL because if the ooL was designed then evolution was designed.

Joe, this makes no sense. It’s like saying that chemistry has nothing to say about molecules if it is silent on Big Bang. Darwinian evolution is the mechanism postulated to account for the evolution of life from the simplest proto-life forms to now. It is not the mechanism postulated to account for the emergence of teh simplest proto-life forms. If you want to infer an ID from the fact that Darwinian evolution requires a starting population of self-replicators capable of self-replicating with differential reproductive success, fine. But then don’t knock Darwin for his huge insight in understanding how we got from proto-cell to now.

That and there isn’t any evidence that differential reproduction can construct new, useful multi-protein configurations.

Well, yes, there is.

36. CSI – Life shows evidence of complex, aperiodic, and specified information in its key functional macromolecules, and the only other example we know of such function-specifying complex information are artifacts designed by intelligent agents. A chance origin of life would exceed the universal probability bound (UPB) set by the scope of the universe; hence design is a factor in the origin and development of life. Contrary to a commonly encountered (and usually dismissive) opinion, this concept is neither original to Dr Dembski nor to the design theory movement. Its first recognized use was by noted Origin of Life researcher, Leslie Orgel, in 1973:

37. Well, there you go, Joe. You have two references there, except that Dembski specifically addresses the probability of an evolutionary search reaching such a target. He is wrong about that.

38. Yes it’s the result of differential reproductive success, according to some fitness criterion, as in my demonstration.

Umm, in the real world, the “fitness critereon” is differential reproduction due to heritable random variation. That is it.

Point 2- There isn’t any evidence for a “RNA World”, nor is there any evidence for self-replication.

Point 3- re misrepresentation- you are starting with CSI by starting with replication.

39. Elizabeth:
Well, there you go, Joe.You have two references there, except that Dembski specifically addresses the probability of an evolutionary search reaching such a target.He is wrong about that.

Liz- the reference says origin of life….

40. As I have told you- Darwinism has nothing to say about evolution if it is silent on the OoL because if the ooL was designed then evolution was designed.

Joe, this makes no sense.

maybe not to you. But even dawkins said we would be looking at a totally different type of biology- meaning we would ahve to reconsider the stuff we think we know.

And again it ain’t darwinian evolution if there are active targets being searched for

That and there isn’t any evidence that differential reproduction can construct new, useful multi-protein configurations.

You said there was yet refused to provide it.

41. It’s like saying that chemistry has nothing to say about molecules if it is silent on Big Bang.

You have to keep in mind the various and sometimes conflicting agendas within the ID movement.

There’s the YEC agenda, which is still going strong, although it will never be the public face of ID. It’s still acceptable at UD. We may have been banned for defending quantum theory, but no one will ever be banned from UD for defending biblical literalism. In principle this is the interventionist agenda.

There’s the No Kin To Monkeys agenda, which has been held by many respectable people. A lite version of it lives in the Catholic church in the form of ensoulment. Noam Chomsky has even toyed with it in the form of the irreducible complexity of human language.

There’s the OOL agenda that accepts evolution after the origin of life, but not for the origin itself. Front loading could be embedded in OOL.

There’s the fine tuning agenda, which can be indistinguishable from mainstream science.

I don’t know that any one person embraces all of these, but no one in the ID movement ever criticizes anyone who defends any of them.

42. Elizabeth:
Well, there you go, Joe.You have two references there, except that Dembski specifically addresses the probability of an evolutionary search reaching such a target.He is wrong about that.

No, dembski was not referring to an evolutionary search- but a search based on blind and undirected processes.

43. Yes, Joe, and I am not addressing Orgel’s argument, whatever it was, I am addressing Dembski’s.

Also as far as I know, Orgel coined the term “specified complexity”. I’m not aware that he made Dembski’s argument about the UPB.

But that’s irrelevant anyway. I am specifically demonstrating that Dembski’s argument that if we observe a specied pattern, whose probability under some null renders it unlikely to have occurred in the history of the universe, then we must infer non-Design.

It’s a silly argument, and, clearly, wrong, as my example shows. Such a pattern indicates that something like natural selection is going on, not that something intelligent is going on. Now, if you want to make the argument that natural selection requires self-replicators, and they require an intelligent designer, then feel free.

But that is not Dembski’s argument. If it were, why would he have bothered with No Free Lunch? Why would he even have bothered with any of that math at all, if he could have just said: hey, biological things self-replicate! They must have been designed!

44. I don’t think people like Szostak think life originated by chance. I think they believe it is inevitable given the laws of chemistry.

45. <span id="comment-8733-unapproved" class="tc_highlight">Joe G</span>: Umm, in the real world, the “fitness critereon” is differential reproduction due to heritable random variation. That is it.

No. Heritable random variation may not lead to differential reproduction. When it does, i.e. where something in the environment means that some variants have a better chance of reproducing successfully than others, we call it “natural selection”, and the environmental criterion, when incorporated in a computer algorithm, is called a fitness function.

Point 2- There isn’t any evidence for a “RNA World”, nor is there any evidence for self-replication.

I don’t understand your second clause.

Point 3- re misrepresentation- you are starting with CSI by starting with replication.

Show me evidence (or argument) that a self-replicator must have a CSI value of chi>1.

46. Umm, in the real world, the “fitness critereon” is differential reproduction due to heritable random variation. That is it.

No. Heritable random variation may not lead to differential reproduction.

Hello? The only way to determine fitness is when heritable random variation leads to differential reproduction.

When it does, i.e. where something in the environment means that some variants have a better chance of reproducing successfully than others, we call it “natural selection”, and the environmental criterion, when incorporated in a computer algorithm, is called a fitness function.

Whatever survives to reproduce, ie whatever is “good enough”. And usually a change in behaviour is enough to do the trick, and that is much easier than waiting for some mutation that may never come.

Show me evidence (or argument) that a self-replicator must have a CSI value of chi>1.

Show me evidence of a self-replicator. And then show me the evidence that said self-replicator can “evolve” into something more via darwinian processes.

47. Now, if you want to make the argument that natural selection requires self-replicators, and they require an intelligent designer, then feel free.

What self-replicators? We make the argument that the OoL requires a designer and therefor evolution is a design mechanism- ie organisms were designed to evolve.

But that is not Dembski’s argument.

It is in “No Free Lunch”.

If it were, why would he have bothered with No Free Lunch?

You didn’t read the book.

48. petrushka:
I don’t think people like Szostakthink life originated by chance. I think they believe it is inevitable given the laws of chemistry.

Yes, that is what they believe. And if someone actually demonstrates such a thing then ID will be falsfied.

49. Show me evidence (or argument) that a self-replicator must have a CSI value of chi>1.

At the same time, Joe could show me evidence that a non-living intelligent designer with a lower CSI value than the simplest possible self-replicator could possibly exist.