Semiotic theory of ID

Upright BiPed has been proposing what he has called a “semiotic” theory of Intelligent Design, for a while, which I have found confusing, to say the least.  However, he is honing his case, and asks Nick Matzke

…these three pertinent questions regarding the existence of information within a material universe:

  1. In this material universe, is it even conceivably possible to record transferable information without utilizing an arrangement of matter in order to represent that information? (by what other means could it be done?)
  2. If 1 is true, then is it even conceivably possible to transfer that information without a second arrangement of matter (a protocol) to establish the relationship between representation and what it represents? (how could such a relationship be established in any other way?)
  3. If 1 and 2 are true, then is it even conceivably possible to functionally transfer information without the irreducibly complex system of these two arrangements of matter (representations and protocols) in operation?

… which I think clarify things a little.

I think I can answer them, but would anyone else like to have a go? (I’m out all day today).

1,027 thoughts on “Semiotic theory of ID

  1.  

    Upright BiPed: “So you don’t have to concede that the transfer of recorded information has observable consequences?”

    Mike Elzinga’s “transfer of recorded information” to Upright BiPed, has had no observable consequences.

     

     

  2. Do you remember enough to answer the question as to whether or not anyone provided instances of recorded information transfer that didn’t also demonstrate the entailments provided in the argument?

    I remember there were several, e.g. human hearing, which you attempted to make fit your definition by way of re-defining. I also don’t see why we should make your argument for you; claims don’t stand by default, they must be established. Over to you.

  3. junkdnaforlife,

    I consider it rude to put words in other peoples’ mouths.  While I suspect that Reciprocating Bill is correct, Upright Biped has steadfastly refused to clarify his position.  Until he does so, I do not, in fact, know what he is claiming.

    As an ID proponent who appears to have some sympathy for Upright Biped’s argument, I would be very interested in hearing your restatement of it.  Perhaps a different presentation would eliminate some of the confusion.  Would you be willing to do that?
     

  4. Upright Biped,

    Once again I see no response to the simple and direct questions that have been repeatedly posed to you.  Is there any reason why one should believe that you are participating in good faith here, given your continued refusal to respond?
     

  5. UB:

    RB on April 28th: The issue is not whether there is “a single way to record information that doesn’t entail the physical roles and dynamic relationships as given in the argument…

    That remains the case. Granting arguendo that the transfer of recorded information is a sufficient cause of “the entailments,” it does not follow that observation of the entailments confirms the transfer of recorded information. There may be other sufficient causes of the entailments that arise from unguided, non-semiotic processes. That you have repeated this factoid as recently as yesterday shows that your muddle vis entailment continues.

    RB on May 3rd:  …you neither understand the word “entailment,” nor understand the entailment relationship described in the simple illustrations we have provided. For that reason, you repeatedly travel the wrong way down a one-way street.

    That also remains the case. As underscored in your Moran and Liddle posts above, you have argued throughout that “A -> B. B, therefore A.” But “B, therefore A” doesn’t work, and is therefore indeed “the wrong way down a one way street.” Your invocation of this reasoning continues to demonstrate your failure to grasp entailment and implication.

    RB on May 4th: Again demonstrating that you don’t grasp the relationship of “entailment.” Entailment may be 100% reliable, yet by itself does not “confirm.”

    As above, that remains the case. Entailment may be 100% reliable, yet by itself fail to “confirm.” Rainstorms may result in wet lawns with 100% reliability. That alone does not justify the conclusion, upon encountering wet lawns, that it has rained.

    RB on May 8th: I assert (not suggest) that you do not understand entailment, and due to your failure to grasp entailment you have constructed an argument beset with a fatal logical flaw.

    The accuracy of this assertion is exhibited beyond sane rebuttal in your Moran and Liddle Posts, examined above.

    BIPED on June 10:  Bill, if a specific thing only exist under specific conditions, then does its existence entail the existence of those specific conditions? RB on June 11th:

    Yes, it does. So that would be a valid use of “entailment.”

    Which was followed by, “Not a very useful entailment, however, as you must already know that a phenomenon has both necessary and sufficient conditions, and what they are, before reaching your conclusion that those conditions obtained.”

    Your repeated omission of this crucial follow-on sentence as you quote my statement does, in fact, reflect dishonest quotemining – particularly given that I have repeated and expanded this point five or six times since, and you find yourself unable to respond to that expansion.  It remains wholly unrebutted.

    The sentence your repeatedly omit from your quotemine remains accurate. Given that you’ve offered no argument other than definitions/assumed conclusions for the claim that “the entailments” represent necessary and sufficient conditions for the TRI/a semiotic state – the very claim at issue in this discussion – this relationship is less than useless for your argument. 

    Further, this observation has no bearing upon, and does not contradict, my earlier quoted points, as the relationship of “necessary and sufficient condition” is different and much more narrow than, the general relationship of entailment or implication that you have so frequently misapplied both prior and subsequent to that point in the conversation. 

    Lastly, your access this form of reasoning requires to to resort to a contradictory and nonsensical simultaneous claims that “the entailments” are both necessary and sufficient conditions for and a reliable result of the transfer of recorded information.  

  6. I see some ad-hominemons dipped in oil and set ablaze here heh. Mike did you wake up on the wrong side of the particle accelerator today?

  7. Your repeated omission of this crucial follow-on sentence as you quote my statement does, in fact, reflect dishonest quotemining – particularly given that I have repeated and expanded this point five or six times since, and you find yourself unable to respond to that expansion. It remains wholly unrebutted.

    To me, this also implies that you have pinpointed the crux of whatever overall argument UB is trying to make. I’m proposing that the overall argument is that this whole business of semiosis, protocols, representations, entailments and so on is intended to support the argument that if we can plausibly claim we observe all this stuff, we are obliged to accept a Designer, because all these characteristics are the very hallmark of Intelligent Design.

    So what Bill continues to point out, and UB has little choice but to pretend he never sees it, is that all of this stuff,even if we grant that it’s all observed and properly interpreted as represented,  nonetheless doesn’t imply that the Designer diddit. If Bill is correct, then this stuff could have other causes, and those causes could be natural, and THAT can’t be allowed.

    So once we clear away all of the bafflegab, we find that if we claim that life shows every property of something designed, and DECLARE that life can get those properties in no other way, we have found the Designer. And UB can’t notice that he is simply assuming his conditions are both necessary and sufficient, because if he DOES notice this, he can’t avoid noticing that he is assuming his conclusions. He’s assuming what he’s trying to determine.

    So I predict, once again, more insult-laden evasions. So far, this is a slam dunk.      

     

  8. On April 28th, Reciprocating Bill was arguing that there may be other ways in which the material consequences noted in the argument could come about without the transfer of recorded information; therefore, those material consequences could serve no use in confirming the transfer of recorded information.

    Bill’s restatement today of his words on April 28th:

    “There may be other sufficient causes of the entailments that arise from unguided, non-semiotic processes.”

    Name one.

    If one cannot be named, then you affirm that there are no instances of X without Y. Or in your terms, B->A.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Bill’s restatement today of his words on May 3rd:

    “As underscored in your Moran and Liddle posts above, you have argued throughout that “A -> B. B, therefore A.” But “B, therefore A” doesn’t work”

    First off, I have never argued “A->B. B, therefore A”. That has always (and entirely) been your formulation, but let us set that aside for the moment. You said “Of course if (IF) the necessary and sufficient conditions of a phenomenon are present, then the phenomenon is present” … and you restated “B is the necessary and sufficient conditions for A. Therefore B -> A.”.

    So exactly what if (IF) the necessary and sufficient conditions are present? Does B->A work in that case? If so, then can this valid reasoning be used to arbitrate the evidentiary claim that a) the use of representations and protocols are a necessary material condition for the transfer of recorded information, and b) the use of representations and protocols can confirm (i.e., are sufficient for) the transfer of recorded information?

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Bill’s restatement today of his words on May 4th:

    Entailment may be 100% reliable, yet by itself fails to “confirm.”

    By itself? So what would be additionally necessary to “confirm” then? Would it be evidence, perhaps? Is that not what you are talking about here – evidence?

    But that wasn’t your position at all, was it Bill? Your claim was that a logical fallacy existed, and this fallacy was absolutely terminal to the argument. You repeatedly described it as “fatal”, and claimed that no evidence was even necessary, and in fact, the evidence did not even matter. Is that not the truth, Bill? Did you not repeatedly demonstrate your point with wildly false and misleading examples about bachelors, dead people, and rain, and then turn around to claim just exactly this?

    When I specifically asked you to provide a single counter-example to my claim, did you not say: My remark above underscores a fatal logical non-sequitur in your reasoning and doesn’t turn on “counter examples.” Did you not also say that “the flaw is lethal whether or not your “entailments” are true or false.”

    So, clearly, you say that the issue doesn’t “turn on counter-examples” and also that it doesn’t matter whether or not my material claim is “true or false”. Am I quote-mining here Bill, or do your words abundantly describe the position you’ve been arguing for? Did you not say:

     “My “position” in this discussion is that your reasoning over the evidence displays fatal logical flaws. The particulars of the evidence have no bearing on a demonstration of your flawed reasoning over that evidence.”

    So the “particulars of the evidence” have no bearing on the claims being made about the particulars of the evidence – particularly in a dispute. Here is a simple and straightforward question: Is this the new standard of empiricism, or are you totally and inescapably dead wrong on this?

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Bill’s restatement today of his words on May 4th:

    The accuracy of this assertion is exhibited beyond sane rebuttal…

    The accuracy of your assertion is dependent upon an example of B without A. Do you have one?

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Bill, what could have possibly motivated you to sit on this forum and re-adopt the same positions which you just conceded were wrong (all the sour grapes notwithstanding)? When you let go of the last of your two objections, I simply thanked you for it, and was completely willing to leave it that. But apparently, you can’t. You keep foraging through your broken argument like it’s all going to suddenly turn around for you. What you’re doing is baffling; it can’t be based upon the evidence (because you never wanted to go there) and it can’t be based upon the logic (because that ship has sailed). Perhaps it’s emotional. In any case, here’s the deal. I made a material claim, and you made a claim of logic against it. This is perfect for both of us, because both sides of our argument are well grounded. The material claim is grounded in empirical observation (either my observations are concurrent with independent observation, or not) and the logical claim is grounded in structure (either your objection is supported by that structure, or not). And, you lost.

    But more than just losing your argument, it’s the position you put yourself in while doing so. Let us reconcile the highpoints of your argument:

    B cannot confirm A” unless B is a “necessary and sufficient condition” of A. To know if it is “true or false” that B is a “necessary and sufficient condition” of A “does not turn on a counter-example” of B without A.

    If that is so, then what does it “turn” on? Of course, you do not say, but the structure of logic to which you appealed does say. It says that you need an example of B that does not also include A.

    Do you have one?

  9. So is it your position that hearing doesn’t involve representations?

    If that is so, then when you hear a dog barking, is it the sound of a barking dog which travels through your auditory system, or is it a material representation of it?

    And for the record, my definiton of a “representation” is just like all the other definitions I have provided, it is explicitly material, and backed up by observation.

  10. Upright BiPed,

    “So is it your position that hearing doesn’t involve representations?”

    Hearing does not involve representations, it involves actual physics.

    It is not a “representation” of acoustic waves hitting your ears, it is the actual wave itself.

    If there was a “representation” involved, an intelligence on the sending end would have to make the “relationship” between the sound and the “semiotic code” and send that “code” instead, but there is no intelligence to make that “representation” when a tree falls.

    While the listener has to make sense of the sound that he cannot prevent from reaching his ears, that is above and beyond the actual “transfer of information”.

    If you yell “duck” in an American restaurant, people might throw themselves on the floor, while in China, they may bring you a duck.

    Can we conclude from this that the Chinese have a hearing problem?

     

  11. Upright BiPed,

    “If one cannot be named, then you affirm that there are no instances of X without Y. Or in your terms, B->A.”

    Sounds like you’re saying we can show proof of a negative.

    Just a few days ago, the news came about the discovery of the Higgs boson.

    Can we conclude a false claim in this case considering that scientists have “proven” for many years that it did NOT exist, based on the fact that they couldn’t find it?

     

  12. Upright Biped:

    Are you proposing an inductive theory? If so, what about this as a “semiotic theory” of I.D.

    Observation: “Recorded information” (as defined by you) is a prereqisite for all known intelligent designers.

    From this, we can reasonably infer that “recorded information” is a necessary condition for intelligence.

    Therefore, intelligent design is very unlikely to be the cause of all recorded information (it can’t cause any RI that it requires in order to exist).

    That seems like a reasonable semiotic theory of I.D. if we’re using your definitions.

  13. Bill’s restatement today of his words on April 28th:
    “There may be other sufficient causes of the entailments that arise from unguided, non-semiotic processes.”

    Name one. If one cannot be named, then you affirm that there are no instances of X without Y. Or in your terms, B->A.

    Sorry, son, claims don’t stand by default. It’s not our job to disprove your claim; it’s your job to establish your claim. Ball’s in your court.

  14. So after hundreds of posts, it boils down to incredulity. If you can’t provide the videotape of origins, goddidit.

    In the spirit of UPB’s method of reasoning, I would like the cite the counterexample he requests. Life is the counterexample. Life itself is the example of a semiotic process that has no designer.

    It’s easy when you can assume your conclusion. 

  15. Upright BiPed on July 9, 2012 at 8:29 amsaid:

    So is it your position that hearing doesn’t involve representations?

    If that is so, then when you hear a dog barking, is it the sound of a barking dog which travels through your auditory system, or is it a material representation of it?

    And for the record, my definiton of a “representation” is just like all the other definitions I have provided, it is explicitly material, and backed up by observation.

     

    Excellent question, Upright BiPed, and one that gets to the heart of the matter, I think.

    (Sorry I’ve been tied up, and will catch up with other posts later today I hope)

    My position is that hearing has both a representational and non-representational aspect, but that both have physical substrates, and that there is a continuum between the two.

    At the non-representational end, we have reflex reponses to certain sounds, the most overt being an eye-blink in response to a sudden onset high intensity sound.  The response is involuntary, even when we know that its origin has no relevance to any action we need to take.

    At the highly representational end is the sound of someone making a complex logical argument in the medium of spoken language , in which the sound patterns represent not just objects and actions and ideas, but the relationships between those objects, actions and ideas – “semantic” representations, in other words.   In between there are “meaningful” sounds that we learn the significance of – the growl of a potential predator, the sound of ice cracking, the tone of voice of someone whose language we don’t happen to know.

    But in all cases, a brain is involved, or at least a neural system.

    Gotta run.  More later.

     

     

     

     

  16. But it’s a cool worldview. If you don’t know how something works, goddidit. It eliminates the need for all that icky research stuff, which is difficult, tedious, frustrating and time consuming.

  17. And for the record, my definiton of a “representation” is just like all the other definitions I have provided, it is explicitly material, and backed up by observation

    ….at this rate a man might as well go into a gravel-pit and count the pebbles and describe the colours. How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service!

    So what is the argument supported by the observation of recorded information? I’m not aware of a single instance where the only known intelligent beings — humans — have designed a biological system from scratch. So unless you can provide and example of such a designed system ( not just tinkering with an established one ) I think we can-assert with finality that such systems cannot be the work of a designer.

    Can’t we? 

     

  18. Upright Biped,

    Since you continue to refuse to answer direct, simple questions about your argument, I can only use what you have written thus far to analyze it.  Based on your own definitions, the terms “semiotic state”, “transfer of recorded information”, and “the use of representations and protocols” are synonyms.  That means your argument is not even complex enough to demonstrate the logical fallacy identified by Reciprocating Bill and others.

    Based on your own definitions, your argument turns out to be A -> A, therefore A -> A.  While logically correct, it lacks a certain . . . import.

    I suspect that if you actually answer the outstanding questions presented to you, you’ll find the circularity of your argument on your own.  Is that why you refuse to do so?
     

  19. Since you continue to refuse to answer direct, simple questions about your argument, I can only use what you have written thus far to analyze it.

    Patrick, two quick questions before you return to the masterminded destruction of material evidence via the nauseating repetition of already-answered questions.

    Q1)
      Why do you think, from the time that Dr Liddle began the conversation with me in May 2011, she waited over a year until June of 2012 to ask “What does this have to do with ID” ?

    Q2)
      Why do you think, that AFTER a contributor to this thread posted the thrust of my answer to that question from another site, none of you (particularly you) attacked that answer, but instead kept on asking the question?

    Now, don’t worry Patrick, I’m just humoring myself. I harbor no expectations of an intellectually honest answer to either of those questions. But I have the answers anyway:  

    A1)
     It was because she knew the answer all along, given that question was how the conversation got started in the first place. She only began to pose the question now (not as an earnest quest for clarity) but as a political means to distract from a conversation she had very obviously lost.

    A2) 
    It is because, as an vocal obscurantist, your goal is to inhibit the free speech of those who discuss things which you see as threats to your ideology. In other words, the specter of an “unanswered question” is more valuable to you than the answer itself.

  20. It’s easy when you can assume your conclusion.

    Petrushka, an abbreviated summary of the definitions and premises of my argument have been posted on this thread, as well as a description of the material events within protein synthesis. Instead of just parroting an assertion, why don’t you cut and paste directly from those definitions and premises, and actually demonstrate where I have assumed the conclusion of the argument (i.e. that protein synthesis is semiotic and requires a mechanism capable of creating a semiotic state). Good luck.

    Definitions

    1. The etymology of the word “information” comes from the Latin verb informare, meaning ‘to give form’, to in-form. To transfer information, it must be recorded in a material medium. To transfer recorded information is to transfer form about something via a material medium. 

    2. Semiosis/semiotic are the appropriate words used to describe a process which includes the use of representations and protocols.

    3. A representation is something that induces a specified effect within a system. Materially, a representation is an arrangement of matter that induces a specified effect within a system.

    4. A protocol is a rule established within a system to facilitate the proper function of that system. Materially, a protocol is an arrangement of matter that physically establishes the otherwise arbitrary relationship between a representation and the thing it represents within a system.

    Premises:

    1. Recorded information exists, and the production of unambiguous function can expose its existence to material observation.

    2. Information (form about something) requires a material medium in order to be recorded and transferred, and therefore has material consequences.

    3. The capacity to transfer ‘form about something’ via a material medium is facilitated by the transfer of an arbitrary representation of that form instantiated in an arrangement of matter.

    4. A representation is arbitrary to the form it represents because the medium the form is transferred in is not the form it represents to the system.

    5. To produce a material effect from the transfer of a representation requires a second arrangement of matter (a protocol) to physically establish the otherwise arbitrary relationship between the representational arrangement and the effect it induces in the system.

    6. The arbitrary relationship between a representation and its effect is maintained throughout the transfer of recorded information; therefore neither the representation nor the protocol becomes the effect.

  21. At the non-representational end, we have reflex responses to certain sounds, the most overt being an eye-blink in response to a sudden onset high intensity sound.

    When an acoustic startle reflex is evoked in an animal, is there a sudden loud sound traveling to the auditory complex, or is it a neural representation of that sound? And when that neural representation reaches the auditory complex, does it magically result in the startle reflex, or is it mapped to that reflex via a physical translation from neural input to motor function?  

  22. JonF

    I have made my case using examples of unambiguous recorded information transfer from humans, animals, insects, and the information processing systems created by intelligence. I established four material consequences of that transfer which are demonstrated in each instance. These material consequences include two physical objects, a physical effect, and a dynamic relationship that exist between the three. I have shown that these same objects and relationships exist in the transfer of genetic information during protein synthesis. The ‘two material objects’ reflected in the criteria of the argument are the nucleic triplets of DNA and aminoacylated tRNA. The ‘effect’ reflected in the argument is the production of functional polypeptides. The ‘dynamic relationship’ reflected in the argument is established by role of aminoacyl synthetase in charging tRNA. Beyond offering the original summary argument, I have also offered the definitions of terms, premises, and conclusions, and have further offered the logical structure behind the claim regarding necessary and sufficient conditions. Each of the observations, definitions, and premises I’ve provided is subject to challenge. However, simply repeating the assertion that it is remains up to me to ‘make my case’, does nothing to engage the case already made, it effectively avoids it instead.

    Since you seem intent on avoiding the case made, I will bring the evidence to you. It is a perfectly legitimate method of evaluating the truth or falsity of a claim by exploring alternatives, such that a researcher may ask if X is the only source of Y, for instance. That being the case, I will ask if you believe it is possible to record and transfer information (i.e. form about a thing) without the use of representations and protocols? If so, how would you accomplish it? To keep it simple, we can use the example of an apple being rounded. How would you convey this form about an apple (its roundedness) without the use of a representation? If you prefer not to use a human example, then we can ask a similar question anywhere within the remaining living kingdom. For instance, deer avoid wolves. If a wolf appears within the range of vision of a deer, can the deer receive and react to this information without the use of a representation? If so, how?    

  23. Mike’s latest: “Honest people don’t insult their hosts and her guests the way you do.”

    Mike’s contribution to the discussion from the very start:

    your effort seem like a naive and pretentious attempt to replace well-understood phenomena with something woo-woo … I find both UBP and WJM excruciatingly boring; and I suspect that the reason is that there is a remarkable similarity to other crackpots … one begins to wonder if there is any thought process there at all.  I would suggest not … they hone their marketing shtick for their presentations to the gullible … There is another frequent correlation one sees among crackpotists; they often quote scripture from the Christian bible … has an instinctive hatred and distrust of science and any other perceived “competing authority” … don’t even appear to understand the question … a familiar characteristic of pseudo-science … you have no idea what you are talking about or what it is that you are attempting … Your obvious distain for age, experience, knowledge, and the female gender … YOU – I repeat – YOU were the one … you don’t have the slightest clue … You have no idea … you really have no clue … You have made no “material observations” … You have never taken a chemistry or physics class … comes from the socio/political culture of ID/creationism … The words don’t matter … bury his reification of ID/creationist misconceptions … an increasingly complex labyrinth of obfuscation and condescension … simply gussies it all up … an air-tight bundle of circular reasoning … Another would be ID “theorist” bites the dust … it too dissolves into nothingness … such lengthy, turgid prose … a quagmire of words … Crackpots never let go voluntarily; they will ride you to death”.

    And what was the undertow of Mike’s pointless hostility? It was potentially several things. First and foremost, as can be seen from his words, he is violently resistant to any novel concepts which might threaten his ideology, so he attacks those who may hold those ideas. More than anything perhaps, is his stagnant refusal of accepted knowledge which he doesn’t like. But do his views represent the totality of knowledge?

    Mike Elzinga: “Is there some point along the spectrum of molecular complexity where “representations and protocols” replace chemistry and physics? … This is a simple question about a continuum of complexity; yet you can’t seem to grasp it. “

    I’ll offer a response from a steadfast materialist (but an obvious idiot in Elzinga’s mind) Marcello Barbieri, writing in a paper regarding the history of semiotics, specifically discussing the distinctions between physical semiotics and code semiotics:

    A substantial contribution to the birth of molecular biology came, in the 1940s and 50s, from physicists who had been seduced by the idea that the study of life would disclose ‘new laws of physics’, a prophecy that had been made by some of the founding fathers of quantum theory like Niels Bohr (1933) and Erwin Schrödinger (1944). By the 1960s, however, any interest in new laws of physics had virtually disappeared, and most biologists were accepting that life is completely accounted for by the known principles of physics and chemistry. The result is that modern biology accepted the concept of information but not the concept of meaning, because meaning does not belong to physical theory. But meaning is inseparable from semiosis, so how can we explain the existence of symbols and codes in the cell by relying only on known physical principles? This is the problem that Pattee set out to resolve, and his starting point was the idea that physical theory does not consists only of physical laws. Influenced by Michael Polanyi, he saw that it consists of laws plus initial conditions and boundary conditions that are often referred to as constraints. This had been known since Newton’s time, but physicists had consistently assumed that laws are fundamental whereas constraints have only an accessory role. The reality, however, turned out to be very different. Murray Gell-Mann (1994) has underlined that “the effective complexity of the universe receives only a small contribution from the fundamental laws. The rest comes from ‘frozen accidents’, which are precisely the result of constraints”. All planets, for example, are formed according to universal physical laws, and yet they are all different. Their individual features are due to the particular constraints of their development, and the distinction between laws and constraints is so important that Wigner (1964) called it “Newton’s greatest discovery”. In this novel theoretical framework, where laws and constraints have equally fundamental roles, Pattee explained that symbols and codes are perfectly compatible with normal physical theory because they have precisely the defining features of constraints. The rules of a code, for example, are limitations that drastically reduce the number of possibilities and can be regarded therefore as true natural constraints. In a similar way, Claude Shannon underlined that information is obtained whenever uncertainty is reduced, and concluded from this that the notions of information and constraint are interchangeable (Shannon 1948). The solution proposed by Pattee, in short, is that signs and codes do not require new laws of physics, because they are a special type of constraints and constraints are an integral part of normal physical theory. The whole argument is developed in three logical steps: (1) life requires evolvable self-replication (a biological principle), (2) evolvability requires symbolic control of self-replication (von Neumann), and (3) physics requires that symbols and codes are special types of constraints (Pattee). This proposal is undoubtedly a form of biosemiotics, because it states that semiosis exists in every living cell, and since it is based on the idea that signs and codes are physical constraints, it can be referred to as physical-constraint biosemiotics, or, more simply, as physical biosemiotics (Pattee himself, in a private correspondence with the author, has accepted that this is an adequate name for his approach). … Howard Pattee has pointed out that biology does not need new laws of physics because physical theory is based on laws and constraints, and entities like symbols and codes can be regarded as special types of constraints. This is undoubtedly true, but it is not the whole truth. Physical theory starts with the definition of fundamental quantities, or elementary observables (time, space, mass etc), and then looks for relationships between them which are referred to as laws and constraints. The basic components of physical theory, in short, are not two but three: laws, constraints, and observables. The important point here is that the history of physics has not been made only by the discovery of new laws and new constraints, but also by the discovery of new observables. In Newton’s physics, for example, the fundamental observables were time, space and mass, but then electricity required the addition of electric charge and thermodynamics required the addition of temperature. If we assume a priori that life does not need new observables, we can limit ourselves to laws and constraints, and that takes us down the road that leads to physical biosemiotics. But that is precisely the point that we cannot take for granted. Life is based on copying and coding and these processes bring into existence entities like sequences and codes (or organic information and organic meaning) which have all the defining characteristics of fundamental observables. This is because the role of observables is to allow us to describe the world and we simply cannot describe living systems without sequences and codes, nor can we regard them as physical quantities because they cannot be measured. Organic information and organic meaning, on the other hand, are as objective and reproducible as physical quantities and belong therefore to the category of the fundamental observables that allow us to describe the world. More precisely, they are a new type of fundamental entities that have been referred to as nominable entities (Barbieri 2003b, 2004). Howard Pattee has repeatedly underlined that “life can only be described in the language of physics as special constraints” and that “there are no fundamental principles beyond laws, constraints and natural selection” (Pattee 2001, 2008). This means that natural selection is regarded as a ‘special’ constraint, but what is it that makes it ‘special’, i.e. different from the ‘ordinary’ constraints that operate in the inanimate world? Physical biosemiotics, furthermore, states that information and meaning are constraints, but it does not say what the difference between them is. Code biosemiotics accepts that information and meaning are constraints, but points out that they are also the result of processes which bring new fundamental entities into existence. And it is precisely these ‘extra’ entities that distinguish the processes in question from ordinary constraints and make them ‘special’. Natural selection, for example, has rightly been ‘added’ to the laws and constraints of physics, but this addition is justified only because natural selection is based on molecular copying, and copying brings a new observable (organic information) into existence.Without a new observable there would be no reason to regard natural selection as a special type of constraint, so it is the new observable that makes the difference. And the same is true for the natural conventions. They too can be regarded as constraints, but what makes them ‘special’ is that they bring into existence new observables like signs, meanings and coding rules. Code biosemiotics, in conclusion, is distinct from physical biosemiotics because it maintains that copying and coding bring new fundamental observables into existence. A second difference is that it describes the cell as a trinity of genotype, phenotype and ribotype, not as a duality of genotype and phenotype (Barbieri 1981). A third difference is that code biosemiotics recognizes the existence of a new mechanism of evolution (natural conventions), and states that the great steps of macroevolution were produced by the appearance of new organic codes (Barbieri 1985, 1998, 2003a).

  24. So what is the argument supported by the observation of recorded information? I’m not aware of a single instance where the only known intelligent beings — humans — have designed a biological system from scratch.

    So the observations made are false/trivial/disposable/lies because mankind has not created life?

    Great.

    Having no person successfully challenge the actual details of the observations, and having witnessed the logical counter-argument summarily defeated by the very structure of logic it appealed to, this conversation has now sunk into the weeds.

  25. UB:

    On April 28th, Reciprocating Bill was arguing that there may be other ways in which the material consequences noted in the argument could come about without the transfer of recorded information…

    Name one.

    (Wait. The entailments are now, once again, “material consequences” of the transfer of recorded information? Not “necessary and sufficient conditions” for the transfer of recorded information? Or is it both?)

    That said: Giulio’s expanded coevolution theory of the origin of the genetic code.

    If one cannot be named, then you affirm that there are no instances of X without Y. Or in your terms, B->A.

    I also can’t name any good restaurants in Paris. Would it follow that I have affirmed that there are no good restaurants in Paris?

    You suck at this logic thing.

    ———–

    First off, I have never argued “A->B. B, therefore A”.

    Your argument has very often had that form, as I demonstrated in your Moran and Lizzie posts above. 

    So exactly what if (IF) the necessary and sufficient conditions are present? Does B->A work in that case? If so, then can this valid reasoning be used to arbitrate the evidentiary claim that a) the use of representations and protocols are a necessary material condition for the transfer of recorded information, and b) the use of representations and protocols can confirm (i.e., are sufficient for) the transfer of recorded information?

    A moot question, as you haven’t begun to show that these “entailments” are in fact the necessary conditions for “the transfer of recorded information.”

    Indeed, that is the very claim at issue in this discussion. You haven’t established the truth of that claim, or even offered evidence in support of it. You’ve only asserted it through definitions and assumed conclusions.

    Reasoning based on what would happen IF you DID have justification for stating that the entailments are necessary and sufficient conditions goes exactly zero distance in actually securing that justification.

    ———–

    So what would be additionally necessary to “confirm” then? Would it be evidence, perhaps? Is that not what you are talking about here – evidence?

    With respect to “A -> B. B, therefore A,” absolutely not.

    What might be helpful is an understanding of how entailment and implication can be used to generate testable predictions that may disconfirm one’s hypothesis.

    Here’s a form that works: “A -> B. Not B, therefore not A.”

    As I stated earlier, wet ground is a 100% reliable entailment of (consequence of) rainstorms, in that wet ground always results from rainstorms. By modus tollens, if I hypothesize that it rained 15 minutes ago, I may test my hypothesis because rain 100% reliably entails wet ground. If I fail to find it, my hypothesis fails. If I do find wet ground my hypothesis is not disconfirmed, and indeed it is strengthened because a prediction that flowed from it has been confirmed. But it could still be wrong.

    You will recognize this as the logic of hypothesis testing. Theoretical utterances, to be useful, must have operationalizable entailments by means of which the theory may be tested. Those must predict the outcome of observations, such that failure make the predicted observation places the theory at risk of disconfirmation. You will also recognize the provisional nature of the support a scientific theory receives from observational success. It could still be wrong. It is by means of this logic of entailment that, in the real world, “judgments are made based on the evidence.” (Remember to recycle).

    A consilience of similar tests, as well as similar tests of competing theories, can result in considerable confidence in one’s theory. That is as close as it gets to “confirmed,” and accounts for the provisional nature of all scientific knowledge.

    OTH, If you can’t get the logic of your argument straight, no evidence can rescue it.

    You repeatedly described it as “fatal”, and claimed that no evidence was even necessary

    What I said was that if your argument employs invalid logic, evidence cannot come into play, because no evidentiary outcome can lead to a conclusion guaranteed to be correct. That’s a toe-tag for your argument.

    Once you’ve gotten the logic of your argument straight, the evidence is once again in play.

    it doesn’t matter whether or not my material claim is “true or false”.

    More accurately, it will remain impossible to say whether your claim is “true or false” until you get the logic of your argument straight first.

    ———– 

    The accuracy of your assertion is dependent upon an example of B without A. Do you have one?

    Sure. The transcription of DNA into proteins.

    Information contained in DNA is acquired through a templating process that does not meet your definition of “the transfer of recorded information.” During cell division DNA unwinds and, by means of non-arbitrary templating, duplicate strands are assembled containing identical information. This information descends from cell to cell and organism to organism, in some instances across hundreds of millions of years through countless replications. Yet no protocols or arbitrary encoding are involved in the descent of these duplicates, the materials involved are not physically separated and there is nothing arbitrary in the templating at any point in this process.

    Therefore DNA does not contain “recorded information,” because there has been no “transfer of recorded information.”

    Further, the transcription of DNA into amino acids/proteins cannot be an instance of “the transfer of recorded information” because no “recorded information” is present in DNA.

    The transcription of DNA into proteins itself therefore exemplifies a process that displays the claimed “entailments” of (necessary and sufficient conditions for) “the transfer of recorded information/a semiotic state,” yet there is no transfer of recored information.

    B without A.

  26. Patrick, for a summary of the argument, the best I can do is simply refer you to Liz for the thrust of how the semiotic argument is one for ID:

    Liz:

    “And so the the ID claim I aim to refute becomes: Chance and Necessity
    cannot generate information, where information consists of arrangements of something that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.”

    Comment 88, from the Cow Squeeze 1 link provided by OMTWO:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/news/james-shapiro-bill-dembski-asks-the-question-weve-all-been-dreading/#comment-414989

    And as far as an operational definition:

    Further, Upright Biped offers an operational definition:

    “…isolate the iterative arrangements/patterns of (virtual) matter, map those patterns to specific output effects, then determine which inert intermediary objects are required by each iterative pattern in order to result in the effect – with the cumulative effect being a copy of the system itself”.

    Liz then accepts the operational definition and agrees to work on the simulation to refute the semiotic argument for ID:

    “Yes, this makes a huge difference. Thank you.

    OK, well, I have a lot of other things on my plate right now, but I will work with this.”

    Comment 99, on August 19, 2011 at 1:12 pm
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/this-is-stunning/

     

    So here you have:

    1. Why the argument is an argument for ID.

    2. An operational definition to refute the claim.

  27. In addition to your difficulty with the concept of implication, you apparently think none of us know anything about the history of the study of emergent properties and emergent phenomena.  You then continue your pattern of insults while dumping a truckload of copy/paste material without even bothering to retain formatting and paragraphs.

    Everyone – except you, apparently – knows that the properties of even the simplest compounds are radically different from their constituent atoms.  One begins to learn about properties of materials in the 8th grade, and then goes on to learn about the periodic table in high school chemistry.  One continues to learn this in physics (especially when learning about condensed matter), and organic chemistry, and biological systems.

    Yet you insist in copy/pasting material you apparently do not have the capabilities to vet or place in historical context, let alone from any understanding of science.

    My assertion stands; if you had something of substance to communicate, you would have done what any intelligent individual would have done; find a way to do it without repeatedly crapping all over everyone and posting long, vacuous comments that deliberately avoid providing any hint of an answer to even a direct yes-or-no question.  Do you really think no one notices?

    Elizabeth has been very gracious in providing you a thread; but all you have done is return the favor with abuse to her and everyone else. This is pure Joe G troll behavior on your part, and you are being called out for it.  You are TRYING to provoke a grudge match with the entire universe. Get over it.

     

  28. Of course no-one has challenged your observations.  We all agree on the observations.  What is bizarre is that you keep saying “no person has challenged these observations” as though your case rests on the truth of those observations.

    What we are disputing is not your observations but your inference from those observations, and you simply have not “witnessed the logical counter-argument summarily defeated by the very structure of logic it appealed to”. You haven’t even mounted an argument yet!

    Or, at least, no argument other than an argument for describing transcription/translation as a “semiotic” process, and many of us have been prepared to concede that.

    What we all want to know is why such a description leads to a design inference.

    But you simply refuse to answer.  So let me ask you one more time:

    Why is your semiotic argument an argument for design?

    If you can’t answer that, then yes, the conversation has indeed “sunk into the weeds”.  But they are your own weeds.

     

  29. junkdnaforlife: that is not an operational definition.

    Moreover, the argument I articulated there for ID has not been claimed by Upright Biped. Indeed, he accused me of misrepresenting his argument.

    But he will not articulate what it actually is.

  30. junkdnaforlife,

    The discussion you reference wasn’t part of the semiotic argument threads, as far as I can tell.  However, you seem to be saying that you believe that Upright Biped’s argument rests on the claim that the DNA transcription process we observe could not arise via chemistry, physics, and evolutionary mechanisms.  Is that a correct statement of your position?

    Also, would you be willing to take a stab at distinguishing between “semiotic state”, “transfer of recorded information”, and “the use of representations and protocols”?  If these are synonyms by Upright Biped’s definitions, then his argument is not just circular but tautological.
     

  31. Upright Biped,

    Since you continue to refuse to answer direct, simple questions about your argument, I can only use what you have written thus far to analyze it.

    Patrick, two quick questions before you return to the masterminded destruction of material evidence via the nauseating repetition of already-answered questions.

    You have not answered any of these questions:

    • From Lizzie: How, exactly, does your semiotic argument support ID?
    • From Reciprocating Bill: What does “a semiotic state” entail that “the transfer of recorded information” does not? If something, then what? If nothing, then why invoke it?
    • From me: Are you using the terms “transfer of recorded information” and “the use of representations and protocols” as synonyms? If they are in any way different, please explain how.

    If you believe you have, please provide links to the comments in which you did so.

    Q1) Why do you think, from the time that Dr Liddle began the conversation with me in May 2011, she waited over a year until June of 2012 to ask “What does this have to do with ID” ?

    I have no idea, you should probably ask Lizzie.

    However, it doesn’t really matter. It’s a legitimate question that you have refused to answer. That is not the behavior of someone interested in discussing his ideas and arriving at a better understanding of reality.

    For my part, seeing that question gave me a bit of an “Aha!” moment. I realized that I had been focusing so much on some of the details of your argument that I had missed the fact that you left out the “Therefore, ID.” bit.

    Q2) Why do you think, that AFTER a contributor to this thread posted the thrust of my answer to that question from another site, none of you (particularly you) attacked that answer, but instead kept on asking the question?

    Please provide a link to this “thrust” and to where you acknowledged it as an accurate portrayal of your views.

    Now, don’t worry Patrick, I’m just humoring myself. I harbor no expectations of an intellectually honest answer to either of those questions. But I have the answers anyway:

    A1) It was because she knew the answer all along, given that question was how the conversation got started in the first place. She only began to pose the question now (not as an earnest quest for clarity) but as a political means to distract from a conversation she had very obviously lost.

    A2) It is because, as an vocal obscurantist, your goal is to inhibit the free speech of those who discuss things which you see as threats to your ideology. In other words, the specter of an “unanswered question” is more valuable to you than the answer itself.

    You are not only violating the “assume good faith” rule of this venue, you are utterly wrong. I, for one, am genuinely interested in seeing the answers to those questions you have repeatedly avoided. I want to understand your argument.

    Unfortunately, without further engagement from you, your argument lies shattered in small, circular pieces. It is logically invalid, definitionally incoherent, and would not support your position even without those flaws.

    Why are you so resistent to answering direct questions and explaining your position in more detail?
     

  32. I make a fearless prediction. Rather than providing a straightforward answer to your question,  UBP will return with accusations  and lists of quotes.

    What we will never get from him is a concise argument, outlining the evidence for design, or even a concise argument outlining why he thinks observations support design.

    I cannot fathom his thinking, but it is my opinion that his entire argument rests on incredulity. He could put this to rest simply by making a clear, jargon free positive argument for design.

  33. Q1) Why do you think, from the time that Dr Liddle began the conversation with me in May 2011, she waited over a year until June of 2012 to ask “What does this have to do with ID” ?

     

    Because I thought I knew.  I assumed his argument was something like: transcription and translation are semiotic, semiosis is the product of minds, therefore transcription and translation is the products of a mind.

    But he has rejected that as his argument.  Hence my 2012 question.

  34. I’d say 90% of the problems that have beset this conversation arise from Upright Biped’s default assumption that I (and others) are trying to avoid his argument, whereas the diametrical opposite is the case.

  35. There’s nothing more enlightening than trying to state one’s own argument in clear, concise language.

    I wonder if UPB will ever experience this moment. 

    For all their faults, Behe and Dembski and Axe have all been able to express their arguments in terms that can be argued openly.

  36. Of course no-one has challenged your observations.  We all agree on the observations. 

    …describing transcription/translation as a “semiotic” process, and many of us have been prepared to concede that.

    Who the heck are you talking about Elizabeth? Is it Petrushka? Toronto? Mike Elzinga? Flint? Madbat? JonF? Alan Fox? Keiths? Patrick? Reciprocating Bill? Is this your reasoned assessment of the events taking place on your blog?

    You’ve got a person like Toronto who repeatedly wants to equivocate on the terms of the argument for the express purpose of saving himself from having to acknowledge the physical realities as they are independently observed to be. He wants to know what protocol is at work when a photon of light hits his eye, and no matter how many times I correct him on the matter (which I think is up to five times now) he refuses to acknowledge the issue. Now he has switched gears, and wants to know what protocol is in action when a sound wave hits his eardrum. He has presented nothing more than an unending stream of obfuscation, and he even has Reciprocating Bill now parroting him, and for exactly the same reason. Is Toronto who you are talking about?

    How about Elzinga and Flint?? They both have done nothing but sling insults and condescension from the moment they hit this thread. Elzinga wants to puff up like his mere presence here really means something to the discussion, yet he can’t seem to produce a single comment that relates directly to the argument at hand. The closest he came was asking the question I highlighted above, but instead of acknowledging the validity expressed in the answer given to him, he slings more insults and wraps them up in a stupid complaint about paragraph formatting for godssakes. And Flint, for all his continuous efforts to insult me, he hasn’t posted a coherent comment yet. Are these the two guys you are talking about? Do they agree with the observations being made, and are jumping at the chance to affirm semiosis in protein synthesis?

    What about Keiths and Patrick? Patrick operates from nothing other than political motivation. He wants to know what “a semiotic state” entails that “the transfer of recorded information” does not. His only purpose is to massage a claim of circularity, and it’s so obvious it can be seen from outer space. The fact that the answer has been given repeatedly simply does not matter. If I repeat (again) that one is “the transfer of form in a material medium” and the other is a description of “a process using representation and protocols”, he (like Bill) simply does not accept the answer. I then try to disambiguate the terms for him/them by relating the distinctions to the existence of a) a fire, b) the material elements required for fire, and c) the naming of that knowledge as a fire tetrahedron. What is his immediate response to this? He blows it off, saying he is not interested in analogies. Clearly, the claim of an unanswered question is rhetorically more valuable to him, while an honest understanding of the terms serves no purpose whatsoever. Is it Patrick who you wish to portray as “prepared to concede” the use of representations and protocols in biology?

    What about Reciprocating Bill? Here is a guy who takes the conversational language of the Moran exchange and applies logical operators to it that DO NOT REFLECT the argument as it was given, to which I immediately objected in a number of different ways over several weeks. Over and over and over again, I objected to the operators he used, as well as to the false analogies of rain, bachelors, and dead people used to sell them. And with each round the entire gallery jumped in (including you) and not one of you acknowledged the problem even once. And now, two months later, after he has been forced to concede the inappropriate application of those operators to the argument, he literally wants to attack me for their use. ?!?!? It has suddenly become my problem that he used the inappropriate relational operators in his formulation, despite my repeated objections which were made for the exact reasons that forced him to eventually concede. Does any of this give him pause? No. He has since sat on this blog and lovingly fondled all the exact same flaws in his original reasoning. Does he take into account even one of the conceptual issues (which I pointed out to him)? No. He foams at the mouth, actually repeating the exact same flawed reasoning over and over again (and all to the same applause from the gallery). Tell me, is it Bill who you think is on the edge of his seat to concede the material observation of semiosis?

    And what about you Elizabeth? Are you prepared to affirm that semiosis exist in protein synthesis? Or are you affirming the material observations, as you seem to suggest, but still playing the silly game of arguendo. Am I supposed to be watching this hand, but not that one? Why did you put scare quotes on the word “semiosis”? Why? Are you leaving yourself a rhetorical escape? Are you leaving yourself a rhetorical escape from material observations from independent sources?

    Or are you, in reality, just speaking for yourself?

    Have you come to a new understanding that didn’t exist in May of 2011? Have you now come to realize that the transfer of recorded information must have material consequences? Do you now see that material representations are required in order to transfer the form of a thing outside of the thing itself? Has the logical necessity of this finally been joined with the demonstrated fact? You certainly didn’t feel that way a year ago. In fact, you even stated that there is “nothing semiotic” about protein synthesis on this very thread just a few weeks ago. Has that changed? Have you come to realize that a material representation must be arbitrary, given that it is not the thing it represents? Have you come to realize that if a representation is required, then it is a logical certainty that a material protocol exist in order to actualize that arbitrary representation back into a meaningful effect? Have you perhaps done a little searching on your own, perhaps a little reading, and come to a new conclusion. After all, these objects and their roles are not only demonstrated to exist, but they are all but a logical necessity to accomplish what must be accomplished.    

    I have no romantic ideas when it comes to internet materialists acknowledging material observations they dislike. And frankly, I have no reason to believe you now. It is too easy to remember how you claimed that no argument of any merit existed for ID, while simultaneously trying to build a simulation in order to refute one. You instead wanted people to believe the stupendous claim that you would be working for months to refute an argument that had no merit. What a ridiculous claim. You also once claimed that there was no definition of “information” that could not be produced by Darwinian evolution. You specifically stated this was to encompass ANY definition of information. Later you admitted that Darwinian evolution required the existence of recorded information prior to coming into existence, but yet you refused to recant your claim. You blatantly obfuscated instead, directly in front of the text of your own comments. And you still do this, as evidenced by your response to being presented today (on this very thread) with your previous acceptance of the operations required to confirm the existence of information transfer. (And need I remind you again that there is no other operation in existence that can confirm the transfer of semiotic content other than the process provided) Yet, you deny it as you read it.

    Let’s face the fact. Your ‘agreement on the observations’, and your “prepared to accept semiosis’ are both pure rhetoric. And your assumption that anyone else here shares these thoughts is utter bullshit.  

    On this front, you have no more of a reasoned bone in your body than Flint or Elzinga, and obscurantist like Patrick could not be happier.    

  37. Upright BiPed,

    I think the biggest argument you have to overcome is Mike Elzinga’s.

    You claim a “semiotic code” but physics restrains your claim of a code to that which is physically possible.

    For instance, if you put two bar magnets in a bag and shake them, you will never end up with a “bit configuration” where two north poles are together.

    Your “semiotic code” theory, treats physics as a slave to “information”, but the exact opposite is true.

     

  38. Upright,

    Exasperation, whether feigned or sincere, is no substitute for a clearly stated argument.

    As far as I can tell, your argument remains exactly as I summarized it six weeks(!) ago:

    keiths on May 21, 2012 at 2:28 am said:

    Upright,

    Your summary is still very murky, so let me attempt to distill it to its essence:

    A1. A system involving representation(s) and protocol(s) is a semiotic system.
    A2. Protein synthesis involves a representation and a protocol.
    A3. Therefore, protein synthesis is a semiotic system.

    B1. All semiotic systems are designed.
    B2. Protein synthesis is a semiotic system (by A3).
    B3. Therefore, the protein synthesis system is designed.

    Having stated it clearly, I can see why you might prefer to keep your argument murky. The problem is with premise B1. Without premise B1, the argument collapses. How do you know that premise B1 is true? What evidence is there that all semiotic systems — that is, all systems involving representations and protocols — are designed?

    If you believe my summary is accurate, then tell us. If you believe that my summary is inaccurate, then modify it while maintaining its clarity and explicitness.

    If you are afraid to state your argument clearly, then continue with your evasions and obfuscations. Everyone here will know exactly why you are doing so.

  39. Upright BiPed,

    Upright BiPed (referring to Toronto): He wants to know what protocol is at work when a photon of light hits his eye, and no matter how many times I correct him on the matter (which I think is up to five times now) he refuses to acknowledge the issue.

    You have attempted to redefine the term “protocol” so that you can use it in support of your argument.

    You have confused a “protocol” with a “process”.

    A “process” is single-ended and may not require any intelligence at all while a “protocol” is a set of pre-defined functions that two or more intelligent nodes have to step through.

    “TCP/IP” is a protocol while the frying of an egg is a “process”.

    You have confused the two, over and over and over and over again.

    By using the term “protocol” you can imply an intelligent agent which you can’t do with a “process”.

     

     

     

     

  40. Upright, I will try to address the whole of your post later, but I have made it absolutely clear that I am happy to accept your definition of semiosis, which is one that covers transcription and translation.

    What I want to know is what your argument is for ID.

    But utterly bizarrely, you refuse to say, despite the fact that you claim that yours is a “semiotic argument for ID”.

  41. In the mean time, I’d be very grateful if you could address keiths’ post.  It gets absolutely to the heart of the matter at issue.

  42. Upright BiPed,

    As far as logic, do you agree that “logically”, “A->B” does NOT conclude, “B->A”?

     

  43. Liz:

    “…and so the the ID claim I aim to refute becomes: Chance and Necessity cannot generate information, where information consists of arrangements of something that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.”

     

    Operational definition offered by Upright Biped and accepted by you:

     

    “…isolate the iterative arrangements/patterns of (virtual) matter, map those patterns to specific output effects, then determine which inert intermediary objects are required by each iterative pattern in order to result in the effect – with the cumulative effect being a copy of the system itself”.

    Accepted by you on August 19, 2011 at 1:12 pm:

    “Yes, this makes a huge difference. Thank you. OK, well, I have a lot of other things on my plate right now, but I will work with this.”

     

    It’s been about a year, how is the simulation progress going? Are you close to refuting the aforementioned ID claim (stated by you) with the operational definition accepted by you?

  44. Hear, hear.

    If you disagree with keiths’ restatement of your argument but can make your actual argument equally clear and concise, this discussion would be much more productive.
     

  45. UB states vis his conversation with RB:

    And now, two months later, after he has been forced to concede the inappropriate application of those operators to the argument…

    UB refers to (and mischaracterizes) this moment:

    Bill, if a specific thing only exist under specific conditions, then does it existence entail the existence of those specific conditions?

    Or is that illogical?

    (I do think that was your best post of the entire exchange. You should drink more and write less.)

    I responded:

    Yes, it does. So that would be a valid use of “entailment.”

    Not a very useful entailment, however, as you must already know that a phenomenon has both necessary and sufficient conditions, and what they are, before reaching your conclusion that those conditions obtained.

    But, I take your point.

    You then stated,

    So a fair and modest recap would be that the term “entailment” was used in a valid manner, and the objection regarding its use is no longer on the table.

    To which I responded, in part,

    Unfortunately, all you’ve done in reserving for yourself this use of “entailment” (using the fire triangle/tetrahedron as an illustration) is express more explicitly the fact that your conclusions are assumed…

    You use “entailment” in the sense that, if A denotes the necessary and sufficient conditions for B, then B “entails” A. That’s a big if, however, because from B it only follows that sufficient conditions for B have obtained, not that that these sufficient conditions are also necessary (and therefore exclusive) conditions. Whether they are also necessary conditions must be established independently…

    (New emphasis).

    As anyone can see, a serious problem with your defense* immediately arises. Specifically, your revised inferences fail because you haven’t even begun to independently establish that your “specific thing exists only given those specific conditions”** – other than supplying mutually reinforcing definitions that assume your conclusions. 

    But that is the question at issue in this debate. Nothing in your argument to date provides either a theoretical or evidentiary basis for that claim. Assumptions and definitions don’t get it. Iterating examples of “the transfer of recorded information” that result in, result from, or are accompanied by “the entailments” doesn’t get it. And nothing you’ve said to date even attempts to support your ultimate claim that “natural” or “unguided” conditions cannot yield phenomena such as observed in the transcription of DNA into proteins.  

    I’ve stated this six or seven times. You’ve ignored it six or seven times. 

    ——-  

    * Beyond its implausibility. In light of your many statements, I simply do not believe you when you claim not to have intended A -> B. B, therefore A, as you resort to that reasoning too many times, in too many ways. Nobody objected because nobody else believes you – not even your one supporter here (Junk), who instead attempts to defend your faulty reasoning just as I have described it by tacking on an additional premise.

    If “A -> B. B, therefore A” is not what you intend, then you’d better get busy revising your argument for the next go-round. Otherwise you’ll remain an inept writer who is incapable of learning from cogent criticism.

    ** And, please, drop the Wormtongue mask for at least one moment: by “specific conditions” you really mean “guided conditions,” “non-natural conditions,” “a deity (a creative force of some type.)”  

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