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

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

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

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

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

    What credibility do you have?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  3. Jdnafl

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

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

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

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

  4. junkdnaforlife,

    I’m replying to your points in reverse order.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    KF

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

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

     

     

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Joe

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

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

    2- ID is OK with the system evolving by design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  13. Mike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  15. kairosfocus surprises me with his courage.

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

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

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

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

    Pray hard for some strength Barry.

     

     

     

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

  20. Post #129, UBP

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

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

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

    and 2) that is the way we find it.

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

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

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

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

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

  21. Allan:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  25. Joe breaks it down for us.

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

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

    But hey all three groups can sure pound the table!

    Thumbs high big guys! All science so far…

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

  26. Upright Biped

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thumbs high big guy.

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

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

  31. Upright declares victory at UD:

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

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

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

    Pitiful.

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

  33. keiths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Joe:

    CLAVDIVS-

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

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

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

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

    Semiotic states require knowledge — knowledge of what symbolizes what.

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

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

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

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

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

    Clearly, we’re not afraid of debate.

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

  40. Well here it is.

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

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

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

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

  42. dr who,

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

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