Does gpuccio’s argument that 500 bits of Functional Information implies Design work?

On Uncommon Descent, poster gpuccio has been discussing “functional information”. Most of gpuccio’s argument is a conventional “islands of function” argument. Not being very knowledgeable about biochemistry, I’ll happily leave that argument to others.

But I have been intrigued by gpuccio’s use of Functional Information, in particular gpuccio’s assertion that if we observe 500 bits of it, that this is a reliable indicator of Design, as here, about at the 11th sentence of point (a):

… the idea is that if we observe any object that exhibits complex functional information (for example, more than 500 bits of functional information ) for an explicitly defined function (whatever it is) we can safely infer design.

I wonder how this general method works. As far as I can see, it doesn’t work. There would be seem to be three possible ways of arguing for it, and in the end; two don’t work and one is just plain silly. Which of these is the basis for gpuccio’s statement? Let’s investigate …

A quick summary

Let me list the three ways, briefly.

(1) The first is the argument using William Dembski’s (2002) Law of Conservation of Complex Specified Information. I have argued (2007) that this is formulated in such a way as to compare apples to oranges, and thus is not able to reject normal evolutionary processes as explanations for the “complex” functional information.  In any case, I see little sign that gpuccio is using the LCCSI.

(2) The second is the argument that the functional information indicates that only an extremely small fraction of genotypes have the desired function, and the rest are all alike in totally lacking any of this function.  This would prevent natural selection from following any path of increasing fitness to the function, and the rareness of the genotypes that have nonzero function would prevent mutational processes from finding them. This is, as far as I can tell, gpuccio’s islands-of-function argument. If such cases can be found, then explaining them by natural evolutionary processes would indeed be difficult. That is gpuccio’s main argument, and I leave it to others to argue with its application in the cases where gpuccio uses it. I am concerned here, not with the islands-of-function argument itself, but with whether the design inference from 500 bits of functional information is generally valid.

We are asking here whether, in general, observation of more than 500 bits of functional information is “a reliable indicator of design”. And gpuccio’s definition of functional information is not confined to cases of islands of function, but also includes cases where there would be a path to along which function increases. In such cases, seeing 500 bits of functional information, we cannot conclude from this that it is extremely unlikely to have arisen by normal evolutionary processes. So the general rule that gpuccio gives fails, as it is not reliable.

(3) The third possibility is an additional condition that is added to the design inference. It simply declares that unless the set of genotypes is effectively unreachable by normal evolutionary processes, we don’t call the pattern “complex functional information”. It does not simply define “complex functional information” as a case where we can define a level of function that makes probability of the set less than 2^{-500}.  That additional condition allows us to safely conclude that normal evolutionary forces can be dismissed — by definition. But it leaves the reader to do the heavy lifting, as the reader has to determine that the set of genotypes has an extremely low probability of being reached. And once they have done that, they will find that the additional step of concluding that the genotypes have “complex functional information” adds nothing to our knowledge. CFI becomes a useless add-on that sounds deep and mysterious but actually tells you nothing except what you already know. So CFI becomes useless. And there seems to be some indication that gpuccio does use this additional condition.

Let us go over these three possibilities in some detail. First, what is the connection of gpuccio’s “functional information” to Jack Szostak’s quantity of the same name?

Is gpuccio’s Functional Information the same as Szostak’s Functional Information?

gpuccio acknowledges that gpuccio’s definition of Functional Information is closely connected to Jack Szostak’s definition of it. gpuccio notes here:

Please, not[e] the definition of functional information as:

“the fraction of all possible configurations of the system that possess a degree of function >=
Ex.”

which is identical to my definition, in particular my definition of functional information as the
upper tail of the observed function, that was so much criticized by DNA_Jock.

(I have corrected gpuccio’s typo of “not” to “note”, JF)

We shall see later that there may be some ways in which gpuccio’s definition
is modified from Szostak’s. Jack Szostak and his co-authors never attempted any use of his definition to infer Design. Nor did Leslie Orgel, whose Specified Information (in his 1973 book The Origins of Life) preceded Szostak’s. So the part about design inference must come from somewhere else.

gpuccio seems to be making one of three possible arguments;

Possibility #1 That there is some mathematical theorem that proves that ordinary evolutionary processes cannot result in an adaptation that has 500 bits of Functional Information.

Use of such a theorem was attempted by William Dembski, his Law of Conservation of Complex Specified Information, explained in Dembski’s book No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence (2001). But Dembski’s LCCSI theorem did not do what Dembski needed it to do. I have explained why in my own article on Dembski’s arguments (here). Dembski’s LCCSI changed the specification before and after evolutionary processes, and so he was comparing apples to oranges.

In any case, as far as I can see gpuccio has not attempted to derive gpuccio’s argument from Dembski’s, and gpuccio has not directly invoked the LCCSI, or provided a theorem to replace it.  gpuccio said in a response to a comment of mine at TSZ,

Look, I will not enter the specifics of your criticism to Dembski. I agre with Dembski in most things, but not in all, and my arguments are however more focused on empirical science and in particular biology.

While thus disclaiming that the argument is Dembski’s, on the other hand gpuccio does associate the argument with Dembski here by saying that

Of course, Dembski, Abel, Durston and many others are the absolute references for any discussion about functional information. I think and hope that my ideas are absolutely derived from theirs. My only purpose is to detail some aspects of the problem.

and by saying elsewhere that

No generation of more than 500 bits has ever been observed to arise in a non design system (as you know, this is the fundamental idea in ID).

That figure being Dembski’s, this leaves it unclear whether gpuccio is or is not basing the argument on Dembski’s. But gpuccio does not directly invoke the LCCSI, or try to come up with some mathematical theorem that replaces it.

So possibility #1 can be safely ruled out.

Possibility #2. That the target region in the computation of Functional Information consists of all of the sequences that have nonzero function, while all other sequences have zero function. As there is no function elsewhere, natural selection for this function then cannot favor sequences closer and closer to the target region.

Such cases are possible, and usually gpuccio is talking about cases like this. But gpuccio does not require them in order to have Functional Information. gpuccio does not rule out that the region could be defined by a high level of function, with lower levels of function in sequences outside of the region, so that there could be paths allowing evolution to reach the target region of sequences.

An example in which gpuccio recognizes that lower levels of function can exist outside the target region is found here, where gpuccio is discussing natural and artificial selection:

Then you can ask: why have I spent a lot of time discussing how NS (and AS) can in some cases add some functional information to a sequence (see my posts #284, #285 and #287)

There is a very good reason for that, IMO.

I am arguing that:

1) It is possible for NS to add some functional information to a sequence, in a few very specific cases, but:

2) Those cases are extremely rare exceptions, with very specific features, and:

3) If we understand well what are the feature that allow, in those exceptional cases, those limited “successes” of NS, we can easily demonstrate that:

4) Because of those same features that allow the intervention of NS, those scenarios can never, never be steps to complex functional information.

Jack Szostak defined functional information by having us define a cutoff level of function to define a set of sequences that had function greater than that, without any condition that the other sequences had zero function. Neither did Durston. And as we’ve seen gpuccio associates his argument with theirs.

So this second possibility could not be the source of gpuccio’s general assertion about 500 bits of functional information being a reliable indicator of design, however much gpuccio concentrates on such cases.

Possibility #3. That there is an additional condition in gpuccio’s Functional Information, one that does not allow us to declare it to be present if there is a way for evolutionary processes to achieve that high a level of function. In short, if we see 500 bits of Szostak’s functional information, and if it can be put into the genome by natural evolutionary processes such as natural selection then for that reason we declare that it is not really Functional Information. If gpuccio is doing this, then gpuccio’s Functional Information is really a very different animal than Szostak’s functional information.

Is gpuccio doing that? gpuccio does associate his argument with William Dembski’s, at least in some of his statements.  And William Dembski has defined his Complex Specified Information in this way, adding the condition that it is not really CSI unless it is sufficiently improbable that it be achieved by natural evolutionary forces (see my discussion of this here in the section on “Dembski’s revised CSI argument” that refer to Dembski’s statements here). And Dembski’s added condition renders use of his CSI a useless afterthought to the design inference.

gpuccio does seem to be making a similar condition. Dembski’s added condition comes in via the calculation of the “probability” of each genotype. In Szostak’s definition, the probabilities of sequences are simply their frequencies among all possible sequences, with each being counted equally. In Dembski’s CSI calculation, we are instead supposed to compute the probability of the sequence given all evolutionary processes, including natural selection.

gpuccio has a similar condition in the requirements for concluding that complex
functional information is present:  We can see it at step (6) here:

If our conclusion is yes, we must still do one thing. We observe carefully the object and what we know of the system, and we ask if there is any known and credible algorithmic explanation of the sequence in that system. Usually, that is easily done by excluding regularity, which is easily done for functional specification. However, as in the particular case of functional proteins a special algorithm has been proposed, neo darwininism, which is intended to explain non regular functional sequences by a mix of chance and regularity, for this special case we must show that such an explanation is not credible, and that it is not supported by facts. That is a part which I have not yet discussed in detail here. The necessity part of the algorithm (NS) is not analyzed by dFSCI alone, but by other approaches and considerations. dFSCI is essential to evaluate the random part of the algorithm (RV). However, the short conclusion is that neo darwinism is not a known and credible algorithm which can explain the origin of even one protein superfamily. It is neither known nor credible. And I am not aware of any other algorithm ever proposed to explain (without design) the origin of functional, non regular sequences.

In other words, you, the user of the concept, are on your own. You have to rule out that natural selection (and other evolutionary processes) could reach the target sequences. And once you have ruled it out, you have no real need for the declaration that complex functional information is present.

I have gone on long enough. I conclude that the rule that observation of 500 bits of functional information is present allows us to conclude in favor of Design (or at any rate, to rule out normal evolutionary processes as the source of the adaptation) is simply nonexistent. Or if it does exist, it is as a useless add-on to an argument that draws that conclusion for some other reason, leaving the really hard work to the user.

Let’s end by asking gpuccio some questions:
1. Is your “functional information” the same as Szostak’s?
2. Or does it add the requirement that there be no function in sequences that
are outside of the target set?
3. Does it also require us to compute the probability that the sequence arises as a result of normal evolutionary processes?

1,971 thoughts on “Does gpuccio’s argument that 500 bits of Functional Information implies Design work?

  1. colewd: I am happy for you that you believe in Neo-Darwinism. It all looks really obvious to you. It doesn’t look obvious to me and other people.

    It is readily apparent that you have issues with these explanations. One of the problems is it seems you can’t allow yourself to admit that evolution can explain these things even in principle.

    I could understand if you were to say something like “I think the evidence for X having evolved is insufficient/lacking”. But you frequently say things like “evolution doesn’t have an explanation for X” when it patently does. That makes it very difficult to have this argument with you.

    Take the example with the tree of life drawing I made earlier. That is an explanation for a pattern of sequences, a hypothesis that is supposed to account for the pattern of sequences. You might think it is a bad explanation, or it lacks evidence, or it is based on unjustified assumptions and so on, but you can’t really say (and be reasonable) that it doesn’t explain the pattern of sequences. And we can discuss why that is if you want.

    I think some of your explanations are beyond naive like the spliceosome was created by massive gene duplications. Or so was the ubiquitin system. How about the circulatory system or the central nervous system or the muscle skeletal system. All by separated populations and reproduction. Give me a fucking break.

    Here one of the problems with our discussion is on display: You don’t even make arguments. Here you just list some opinions.

    “I think it’s beyond naive…”
    “Give me a fucking break.”

    These aren’t arguments Bill, and they aren’t evidence. You just declare your emotional states here.

    Every time we try to dig into what the problem you think is with the evolutionary explanations, it turns out there’s some assumption you’ve made that you can’t let go of, or you just completely fail to get how something works.

    I could go on but there is no point as you are committed to the evolutionary story.

    Anyone can make up that excuse for why the “other side” don’t find you persuasive. You don’t get evolution because you’re deeply biased towards IDcreationist theism.

    Do you find that persuasive? I suspect not. Then why should I?

  2. Rumraket,

    You might think it is a bad explanation, or it lacks evidence, or it is based on unjustified assumptions and so on, but you can’t really say (and be reasonable) that it doesn’t explain the pattern of sequences. And we can discuss why that is if you want.

    I can see why you think this evidence is interesting and I can completely see why you and I come at this differently. I have a clear bias here but it is not mostly religious it is also mathematical.

    I don’t see given the size of the sequence space of the genome any mechanism that can produce FI. Of anyone who has got me to pause and think differently it is you because you tenaciously back up your claims and are very resourceful at that. So I do feel bad when I through cold water on your efforts.

    I am thinking about the case you are trying to make with bacteria but I see some obstacles that would require you to show compelling evidence that there is an evolutionary path. The first problem is that the sequence becomes more resistant to mutation as we get closer to man. We are seeing optimized sequences for many vertebrate protein/protein complexes. How did they get here? The islands of function is not well developed yet for a variety of proteins.

    Lets take PRPF8 for instance this is a preserved 2500 AA protein. It is part of a complex that binds several hundred proteins. To me this is a show stopper for RMNS. There are 20^2500 possible ways to arrange this guy and it must bind to at least 5 different substrates. How many selectable sequences could do the job? If I can get to 2350 which is a monster number I still have 500 plus bits of random space to navigate. Is 2350 reasonable, I don’t think so given the size of the protein and the amount of binding it has to do.

    This is where I through up my hands and say the only way we known how to get to this sequence is conscious intelligence. If I were to say maybe x or maybe y I am only 1/200th of the way of explaining one monster protein complex that has only a few prokaryotic precursors.

    For this and trying to explain introns, the nuclear pore complex and chromosome structure this looks like a separate origin event.
    Now I feel over whelmed that you can’t explain this without conscious intelligence so the situations that you think you can explain my bias is toward design.

    I know I am rambling but I hope I have shared some thoughts the help you to understand my view.

  3. colewd:

    I have a clear bias here but it is not mostly religious it is also mathematical.

    What you have is a combination of religious nutjobbery and incompetence in science, math, and logical thinking.

    Though you hate to think of yourself that way, it’s the truth, Bill. Those are severe handicaps, and they disqualify you from making a rational case for ID. You’re simply not capable of it.

    Rumraket has your number:

    I think Bill has managed to convince himself that we are arguing with him because he’s making good points worthy of debate (“they’re responding to me, that must mean I’m on to something”), rather than the actual reason: We’re trying to teach him concepts he keeps proving he doesn’t understand.

    You keep treating your objections as if they had some value. They don’t. They’re simply endless repetitions of the same mistakes. Stop wasting time on them.

    Most of your opponents here are far brighter and better-versed in these topics than you. Set your pride aside and learn from them instead of wasting time on your inept challenges.

  4. colewd: I can see why you think this evidence is interesting and I can completely see why you and I come at this differently. I have a clear bias here but it is not mostly religious it is also mathematical.

    Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuullshit!

    Your standards towards creationist bullshit are non-existent, while for anything nature, you’re unreasonably skeptical. That’s not mathematical Bill. That’s just nonsensical. Do you really not see the problem? Are you really unaware of this?

  5. keiths to Bill: Most of your opponents here are far brighter and better-versed in these topics than you. Set your pride aside and learn from them instead of wasting time on your inept challenges.

    If only.

  6. colewd: I am thinking about the case you are trying to make with bacteria but I see some obstacles that would require you to show compelling evidence that there is an evolutionary path. The first problem is that the sequence becomes more resistant to mutation as we get closer to man. We are seeing optimized sequences for many vertebrate protein/protein complexes. How did they get here? The islands of function is not well developed yet for a variety of proteins.

    No, this is a misunderstanding. But to see why we have to think about trees, divergence times, generation times, and mutation rates.

    This list of facts should make it apparent why we see the pattern we see and why if you understand these facts, the pattern makes total sense on evolution:

    1. Bacteria generally have a higher pr. nucleotide mutation rate than vertebrates.

    Okay so already here we can see that for every X number of nucleotides replicated for bacteria, more mutations will have happened for bacteria in those X number of nucleotides, than will have happened in vertebrates.

    2. Bacteria generally have much shorter generation times than vertebrates.

    Okay so for any amount of time T, generally more bacterial generations will have passed during that time T, than will have passed for vertebrates. And more generations means more replication events, which carry with them that small chance of mutation.

    3. Many of the different bacterial clades split off from each other much much longer ago, than even the deepest branch of vertebrates.

    So basically the clocks have not been running equally long for bacteria and vertebrates. The oldest fossil evidence for life goes back several billion years and it is exclusively single-celled bacterial fossils for almost the first ~3 billion years of life’s history. That means the first splittings of a lineage in the bacterial clade have had about 3 billion years worth of divergence before multicellular life began. So there’s already 3 billion years worth of divergence having ticked along, with mutations happening every few generations in those oldest bacterial lineages.
    Then multicellular life came along something like 1.2 billion years ago, but even then it would still take another ~800 million years before vertebrates evolved. Okay, so that’s another 800 million years of the mutational clock to tick in the bacteria, so the deepest branches continued to independently accumulate mutations for those 800 million years, and vertebrates didn’t even exist yet.
    Finally vertebrates came to exist about 600 million years ago, and they started mutating, and eventually we’d see reproductive isolation so different vertebrate lineages would accumulate mutations independently. This goes on for about 600 million years. But remember, the vertebrate mutation rate is generally lower than the bacterial mutation rate, and the vertebrate generation time is generally longer than the bacterial mutation rate. And for the next 600 million years where vertebrates mutate and diverge, so do bacteria, and they suffer more mutations pr nucleotide replicated, and they have more generations happen every year, than the vertebrates.

    That’s it, that completely explains why (to you) it “looks like” sequences become more “resistant to mutation as we get closer to man”.

  7. colewd: I can see why you think this evidence is interesting and I can completely see why you and I come at this differently. I have a clear bias here but it is not mostly religious it is also mathematical.

    “interesting”, heh.

    Rumraket’s complaint is not about bias, but about your reluctance to examine your opponent’s arguments. Consider this: Rum’s example was that several people have suggested that the greater variation in the bacterial clade, as compared to vertebrates, is best explained by the bacterial clade being more ancient. That is a simple and parsimonuous explanation (even without the pictures). Yet none of the arguments in your lenghty post address that explanation or even acknowledge it. Instead, you heap a massive amount of unrelated arguments in your post to counterbalance it. This tends to make the discussion unfocused and rather tiresome.

  8. colewd: Lets take PRPF8 for instance this is a preserved 2500 AA protein. It is part of a complex that binds several hundred proteins. To me this is a show stopper for RMNS.

    Okay, let’s see if we can figure out why that is.

    There are 20^2500 possible ways to arrange this guy and it must bind to at least 5 different substrates. How many selectable sequences could do the job?

    I don’t know. What can we conclude about what is possible, or likely, from our ignorance? Nothing.

    If I can get to 2350 which is a monster number I still have 500 plus bits of random space to navigate. Is 2350 reasonable, I don’t think so given the size of the protein and the amount of binding it has to do.

    I have no idea what any of this means. You don’t think a protein 2500 amino acids in length could evolve. Okay, why? I’m missing an explanation for why you think it is so difficult.

    So far you have managed to say “it looks like a show stopper”, and you have been able to state the total size of sequence space for L = 2500. And you have stated that some gigantic number is still a small fraction of the total space.

    I’m still missing what the problem here actually is. Sequence space is vast? Sure, so what? What follows from that?

    If I were to make a guess, you seem to think something like “sequence space is vast, and selectable functions must be so rare that finding them would be practically impossible”. Right?
    So if there were 20^2350 possible sequences for that protein, that would still mean only 1 in 20^150 sequences are functional.

    Or perhaps alternatively, that they are very far apart, so even if one function could be found, it is hopeless to connect it to another.

    This is what it comes down to, right? So why do you think that? Why do you actually think that selectable functions must be so rare that finding them, or connecting them, would be practically impossible? From what did you get that assumption? How did you come to conclude that this must be the case?

    Another issue is the assumption that the 2500 amino acid protein began being that size. Is it possible it was smaller and/or had fewer jobs to begin with? I don’t know. But once again, what can we conclude from our ignorance? Nothing.

    If you say no it isn’t possible it evolved from something smaller, what justifies that claim? How do you know? You’d be making another assumption. On what basis?

    This is where I through up my hands and say the only way we known how to get to this sequence is conscious intelligence.

    … because you have an unstated assumption you can’t let go of. The assumption that selectable functions are either practically impossible to find, or that they are completely disconnected from each other.

    I think this assumption you’ve made is what your problem is. Maybe you should take a closer look at it? Where did you get it from? How do you really know that this assumption is the case?

    If I were to say maybe x or maybe y I am only 1/200th of the way of explaining one monster protein complex that has only a few prokaryotic precursors.

    I have no idea what this maybe X or maybe Y thing is, or what “1/200th of the way” to explaining some protein complex means.

    For this and trying to explain introns, the nuclear pore complex and chromosome structure this looks like a separate origin event.

    I don’t see why, at all. You just decare that is how it looks to you, but there is no supporting reasoning or evidence given that should cause us to think this conclusion of yours must follow.

    Now I feel over whelmed that you can’t explain this without conscious intelligence so the situations that you think you can explain my bias is toward design.

    I know I am rambling but I hope I have shared some thoughts the help you to understand my view.

    I think I have understood your view from day one. You came to the table with a couple of assumptions you just can’t let go of.

    If you don’t have very good evidence for those assumptions (a good reason to assume them), shouldn’t you let go of them? What happens if you do?

    Is it not at least possible that the assumptions are wrong?

  9. colewd:
    Alan Fox,

    Sure.I have read both and I have read Hunt’s paper.

    I now have a PDF of Axe’s 2004 paper

    Axe was very careful to explain his experimental methods. Art Hunt acknowledges this in his paper.

    Fine, but that’s not the issue. The issue is whether Axe’s conclusions are supported by his experimental methods and results.

    Rumraket tries to make a genetic argument like you do with the pebbles but this is not relevant when evaluating gpuccio’s work as FI measures a specific function.

    Well, I don’t think so. Gpuccio is drawing conclusions from known genotype sequences. Function is a separate, though related, property of organisms, their phenotype. Bacterial flagella and Archaean flagella have the same function but share no genetic sequences.

    The most talked about is the beta chain of ATP synthase. Rumraket is making the “any function” argument.

    As I was trying to point out, strolling across a beach of variable pebbles, you might stumble across a better pebble to replace the one you have but you may also stumble across a pebble you can use in an entirely new way.

    Rumraket compared Axe’s work with other experiments on different proteins.This is comparing different functional information.

    Homologous sequences that are sufficiently similar will have similar functional parameters. Similar functions can be achieved by completely unrelated sequences (as eg in the flagellum example)

    Hunt accepted Axes results as in the ball park of other experiments.

    As I said, Professor Hunt does not query Axe’s methods. He queries the conclusions. And to be fair, in his article at Pandas Thumb, he criticises ID proponents for spinning those conclusions.

  10. Corneel,

    Rumraket’s complaint is not about bias, but about your reluctance to examine your opponent’s arguments. Consider this: Rum’s example was that several people have suggested that the greater variation in the bacterial clade, as compared to vertebrates, is best explained by the bacterial clade being more ancient.

    I will look at Rum’s argument in detail today. What I need you to do is give me an argument on how the spliceosome evolved. Start with PRPF8.

    If you can’t solve this problem the rest of the discussion is mute. All you have is a “naturalism of the gaps” argument which Entropy can regurgitate with flair.

  11. Alan Fox,

    As I said, Professor Hunt does not query Axe’s methods. He queries the conclusions. And to be fair, in his article at Pandas Thumb, he criticises ID proponents for spinning those conclusions.

    Thats right. Hunt’s criticism is with the ID interpretation of Axe’s paper.

    Ok now lets take Hunts most conservative number which is 10^10 for around 100 AA protein. You can assume that these are the odds of Protein A successfully binding with Protein B. With these tools show me how a spliceosome evolved. Start with the big protein PRPF8. I am giving you a huge number of needles in the haystack.

  12. Rumraket,

    No, this is a misunderstanding. But to see why we have to think about trees, divergence times, generation times, and mutation rates.

    This list of facts should make it apparent why we see the pattern we see and why if you understand these facts, the pattern makes total sense on evolution:

    You may be right. It is also possible you are seeing what you are seeing because you are indoctrinated in the evolutionary paradigm. I will take a serious look at your post today.

  13. Alan Fox: Bacterial flagella and Archaean flagella have the same function but share no genetic sequences.

    Using RumLogic, it must be twice as easy then to evolve a flagellum!

  14. colewd:

    I will look at Rum’s argument in detail today. What I need you to do is give me an argument on how the spliceosome evolved. Start with PRPF8.

    If you can’t solve this problem the rest of the discussion is mute [sic].

    Bill’s desperation is palpable.

    Not willing to give Jesus a job? Then you must explain, to Bill’s satisfaction, how the spliceosome evolved. Why? Because Bill says so. He’s desperate. He doesn’t want to see Jesus in the unemployment line.

    Where is Bill’s detailed explanation of how the spliceosome was designed and implemented? He doesn’t have one.

    If Bill likes a hypothesis, no evidence is needed. If Bill doesn’t like a hypothesis, he’ll raise the evidential bar again and again to exclude it.

    It’s pure emotion, without a scintilla of rationality.

  15. colewd: indoctrinated in the evolutionary paradigm

    Every scientist would love nothing more then to prove the current paradigm incorrect. That’s kind of why they are scientists in the first place.

    And by doing, by showing a new better way, you ensure your name will live in science’s hall of fame for ever.

    And you have genuinely convinced yourself that indoctrination just must be the reason evolutionists are not rolling over in favour of Intelligent Design?

    Pretzel logic at it’s finest. Unable to even consider that you are mistaken you twist and warp the world around your mistake.

    Such hubris. If ID was more productive it would be adopted. If it as a conceptual framework advanced science faster then alternatives it would be used.

    The fact it’s not demonstrates it is not. The proof of the pudding etc.

    Out of interest, who indoctrinated the theistic evolutionists? On what basis are they toeing the evolutionist line?

    These are of course rhetorical questions. I’m not interested in your answers, colewd, because I already know what they are.

  16. keiths: Where is Bill’s detailed explanation of how the spliceosome was designed and implemented?

    If “design” is a mechanism then saying “it was designed” is equivalent to saying “it evolved”.

    More pretzel logic.

  17. colewd: What I need you to do is give me an argument on how the spliceosome evolved. Start with PRPF8.

    Aye aye Captain!

    colewd: If you can’t solve this problem the rest of the discussion is mute. All you have is a “naturalism of the gaps” argument which Entropy can regurgitate with flair.

    *snort*

    Care to explain first why this one thing would suddenly cause the fate of the whole of modern evolutionary biology to hang in the balance?

  18. Rumraket: Finally vertebrates came to exist about 600 million years ago, and they started mutating, and eventually we’d see reproductive isolation so different vertebrate lineages would accumulate mutations independently.

    What about new bacteria? No new bacteria in the last 600 million years?

  19. Corneel,

    Care to explain first why this one thing would suddenly cause the fate of the whole of modern evolutionary biology to hang in the balance?

    If you can’t get past this hurdle then universal common descent is falsified.

  20. colewd:

    If you can’t get past this hurdle then universal common descent is falsified.

    Then ID is falsified, since you can’t give a detailed explanation of how the spliceosome was designed and implemented.

    Christ, Bill, you are fucking hopeless.

  21. keiths,

    keiths: Common descent fits the evidence trillions of times better than creationism.

    Ok; Go for it boy wonder.

  22. colewd: Ok; Go for it boy wonder.

    It really does do what it says on the tin. It’s logical and demonstrable. And you won’t be able to make a single valid criticism. I’m taking bets right now via PM’s. The odds I’m giving are amazing.

    You will have to concede, as you have no other choice. This cannot be refuted by you.

  23. Mung: Using RumLogic, it must be twice as easy then to evolve a flagellum!

    That’s just plain logic. If you think something is unlikely, yet you see it often, chances are you’re wrong about it being unlikely.

  24. DNA_Jock: You claimed that the process Rumraket described was not an evolutionary process, and then, when he corrected you, you pretended that you had not made such a claim…

    OMG. You really are not following along. I never pretended that I had not made such a claim. That’s your over-active imagination at work.

    I argued my case for why it was not an evolutionary process, which is pretty much the exact opposite of pretending like I never made such a claim.

    Did you just not read those comments of mine?

    Anyways, thanks for the reply.

  25. Rumraket: That’s just plain logic. If you think something is unlikely, yet you see it often, chances are you’re wrong about it being unlikely.

    I thought you didn’t like arguments from ignorance.

  26. colewd: Ok; Go for it boy wonder.

    He won’t even define what he means by creationism. Definitions don’t matter.

    ETA: Did keiths change his post? Because the post you link to doesn’t contain the quote you used.

  27. colewd: I will look at Rum’s argument in detail today. What I need you to do is give me an argument on how the spliceosome evolved. Start with PRPF8.

    We’ve been over this and it started all the way back here.

    I even explicitly address the PRPF8 protein here.

    Here’s a paper dedicated entirely to dissecting the evolutionary history of that single protein:
    Mensur Dlakić and Arcady Mushegian (2011): Prp8, the pivotal protein of the spliceosomal catalytic center, evolved from a retroelement-encoded reverse transcriptase. RNA. 2011 May; 17(5): 799–808. PMID: 21441348

    Round and round and round it goes.

    If you can’t solve this problem the rest of the discussion is mute. All you have is a “naturalism of the gaps” argument which Entropy can regurgitate with flair.

    It is ironic that you’re the one making a gaps argument here. How did PRPF8 evolve? Well if we can’t show you in a way you find convincing, then in your view there’s a gap in the evolutionary model, and so you feel justified in concluding that it must have been designed. Textbook gap-reasoning.

  28. Mung:

    ETA: Did keiths change his post? Because the post you link to doesn’t contain the quote you used.

    No, I didn’t change the comment. Bill is just trying to change the subject away from the awkward failure of his that I pointed out:

    colewd:

    If you can’t get past this hurdle then universal common descent is falsified

    Then ID is falsified, since you can’t give a detailed explanation of how the spliceosome was designed and implemented.

    Christ, Bill, you are fucking hopeless.

    Of course, the new subject won’t go any better for him than the old one did. He’s a walking failure.

  29. keiths:

    Common descent fits the evidence trillions of times better than creationism.

    colewd:

    Ok; Go for it boy wonder.

    Been there; done that. You won’t fare any better than Mung did in trying to refute the argument.

    As a bonus, the argument shows not only that creationism is hopeless, but that ID of the “guided evolution” kind fails just as badly, for similar reasons.

  30. colewd: If you can’t get past this hurdle then universal common descent is falsified.

    And we thank resident ID mascot Bill for manifesting yet another basic error in reasoning and misconception about the philosophy of science.

    Failure to confirm X is not success at disconfirming X. Whether on evolution or on design. The Wright brother’s years of failure at making a flying machine wasn’t proof that flying machines were impossible to make. After all, they did eventually succeed.

    Failure to prove that OJ Simpson was guilty was not proof that he was innocent.

  31. Mung: Rumraket: That’s just plain logic. If you think something is unlikely, yet you see it often, chances are you’re wrong about it being unlikely.

    I thought you didn’t like arguments from ignorance.

    Please spell that one out. How is having priors, then getting data and updating your priors with the new data, an argument from ignorance?

  32. keiths,

    No, I didn’t change the comment. Bill is just trying to change the subject away from the awkward failure of his that I pointed out:

    I am just seeing if you can do anything more then make assertions. You changed the subject from the falsification of universal common descent.

  33. Rumraket,

    Failure to confirm X is not success at disconfirming X. Whether on evolution or on design. The Wright brother’s years of failure at making a flying machine wasn’t proof that flying machines were impossible to make. After all, they did eventually succeed.

    And they had evidence it could be done by observing birds.

    We also have evidence that conscious intelligence can create lots of FI which is a fundamental requirement of building a spliceosome.

  34. Rumraket,

    It is ironic that you’re the one making a gaps argument here. How did PRPF8 evolve? Well if we can’t show you in a way you find convincing, then in your view there’s a gap in the evolutionary model, and so you feel justified in concluding that it must have been designed. Textbook gap-reasoning.

    I showed the failure of your mechanism. Conscious intelligence can create a complex sequence. This is not a gap argument at all.

  35. colewd,

    I am just seeing if you can do anything more then make assertions. You changed the subject from the falsification of universal common descent.

    I didn’t change the subject, and I wasn’t just asserting. I showed that your “logic” amounted to a foot shot:

    colewd:

    If you can’t get past this hurdle then universal common descent is falsified

    Then ID is falsified, since you can’t give a detailed explanation of how the spliceosome was designed and implemented.

    Christ, Bill, you are fucking hopeless.

    Brighter folks can see the (obvious) problem. Find a nice, quiet place, free of distractions. Close your eyes and really concentrate. My hopes aren’t high that it will sink in even then, but you should at least give it a try.

    You’re making a fool of yourself, Bill.

  36. keiths,

    I didn’t change the subject,

    Sure you did.

    And if you read more posts then your own you will see the failure in your subject changing assertion.

  37. colewd:

    Sure you did.

    Where? You made the argument. I showed that it was an inept foot shot.

    On-topic and true, though embarrassing for you.

  38. keiths:

    You’re making a fool of yourself, Bill.

    colewd:

    I have been trying my best 🙂

    I doubt that. It obviously rankles you to be a TSZ laughingstock.

  39. colewd: And they had evidence it could be done by observing birds.

    Sure, but even if they had not, that would not mean their initial failures were proof that it couldn’t be done.

    We also have evidence that conscious intelligence can create lots of FI which is a fundamental requirement of building a spliceosome.

    Conscious intelligence can create FI, sure. Did it in this case? You can’t jump straight to the conclusion that it did just because you might happen to not find evidence that X evolved.

    Though there actually is evidence that it evolved as explained and presented to you before multiple times.

  40. colewd: Rumraket,

    It is ironic that you’re the one making a gaps argument here. How did PRPF8 evolve? Well if we can’t show you in a way you find convincing, then in your view there’s a gap in the evolutionary model, and so you feel justified in concluding that it must have been designed. Textbook gap-reasoning.

    colewd: I showed the failure of your mechanism.

    Where did you do that? Been halluscinating again Bill?

    Conscious intelligence can create a complex sequence. This is not a gap argument at all.

    Conscious intelligence can also decide to NOT create a complex sequence. You can’t just jump from IT CAN to THEREFORE IT DID. It just doesn’t follow.

  41. Rumraket: You can’t just jump from IT CAN to THEREFORE IT DID. It just doesn’t follow.

    I find that less egregious than the evolutionists with their, “you can’t prove that it could not have happened, therefore it did happen.”

  42. Rumraket,

    Though there actually is evidence that it evolved as explained and presented to you before multiple times.

    You have not shown you can overcome the probabilistic barriers using Hunt’s paper as a reference.

    Conscious intelligence can also decide to NOT create a complex sequence. You can’t just jump from IT CAN to THEREFORE IT DID. It just doesn’t follow.

    Conscious intelligence is an inferred cause from the evidence.

  43. keiths: No, I didn’t change the comment. Bill is just trying to change the subject away from the awkward failure of his that I pointed out:

    Naughty Bill.

  44. Mung,

    Naughty Bill.

    Finally made it into Jock’s naughty club with you. Need to get a beer and celebrate 🙂

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