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. Toronto

    Joe:”What do you think the whole debate is about? “

    The debate is about not allowing a non-literal interpretation of the Bible to stand.

    Dembski found that out when he questioned a literal Noah’s Flood story.

     

  2. Allan Miller

    UBP:

    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.

    Oh, flippin’ ‘eck! You realise it doesn’t matter to ANYBODY in biochemistry? What is compulsory about DNA-specified protein catalysis for Life? 

    The peptide bond is formed by RNA. The amino acid is carried by an RNA that docks to another RNA within the peptide-bond-forming RNA. In essence it remains an RNA system – right down to peptide bond catalysis.

    Of course you cannot take protein out of the system NOW – once we got to a many-acid system, these useful little catalysts became embedded throughout the process, most notably in ‘charging’ tRNA. But, quite obviously, when I propose a single-acid system, I am not proposing a single-acid system that can make protein catalysts. As I think I made abundantly clear. The ‘system’ is one of RNA catalysts, making protein for non-catalytic purposes. There are many functional non-catalytic proteins in cells – including some very rich in single amino acids such as the simplest: glycine. 

    A mixture of hydrophilic and hydrophobic residues is required to make folded catalytic proteins – reasonable estimates suggest a library of about 6-8. Until such a library builds up, in service of the non-catalytic protein function, protein catalysis is not a viable reason for the existence of peptide synthesis. No-one is proposing that this was the future toward which the system was evolving – it is simply fortuitious that it did. Present benefit was sufficient – non-catalytic proteins allow for structural, nutritional, signalling, contractile roles, among others.  

    But then protein catalysts appeared on the scene – particularly protein aaRSs. These are clearly related to each other – gene duplication events, on the ‘materialist’ paradigm, a clear signal that the 64-element matrix has become increasingly subdivided to expand the acid set. I know how a design enthusiast would explain the similarities, but this remains a scenario by which ‘semiosis’ can appear without active choices, answering the fundamental challenge: “its origin will require a mechanism capable of establishing a semiotic state.” This is such a mechanism. 

    I am amazed that biochemistry seems not to matter to them. It is sufficient to assert “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’.”, and that puts it to bed – biochemists are supposed to scuttle back to their holes, gnashing teeth that such an obvious ‘oversight’ on their part had to be pointed out by a non-specialist.

    There is an enormous literature on the evolution of the genetic code. It is hardly conclusive, because it is probing a ‘dark ages’ with no material available for direct or comparative study. But none of it throws in the towel and declares that a subdivided triplet matrix (ie multi-acid, ‘semiotic’) cannot evolve from nonspecific binding of a single carrier species (essentially uncoded) because the system cannot make protein catalysts. Give them some bloody credit!

  3. Reciprocating Bill

    UB at UD:

    In fact, the final conclusion of this Semiotic Argument is that a) genetic information observably demonstrates a semiotic system, and b) it therefore will require a mechanism capable of establishing a semiotic state.

    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.

    Lastly, if your theory has nothing to say on causation – if the entire output of your efforts is “it will therefore require a mechanism capable of establishing a semiotic state” yet semiotic theory is silent on mechanism/causation – what good is it?

  4. Patrick

    “In fact, the final conclusion of this Semiotic Argument is that a) genetic information observably demonstrates a semiotic system….”

    That’s not a conclusion.  If I remember correctly, Upright BiPed defined protein synthesis as a semiotic system (or, equivalently, defined “semiotic system” in such a way as to obviously include protein synthesis).

    What a surprise that his conclusion would match his definition.
     

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