Friday, March 16, 2007

A summary

First, for the purpose of this blog post, I am going to define “faith.” Faith = trust based on a rational reflection which causes corresponding belief and action.

Now, as I begin, I want to make it clear that the theory of intelligent design is not an argument against evolution. It merely asks the question “can the result of intelligence (design) be scientifically detected and if so what is necessarily designed?" ID is a scientific inference which may negate the materialistic view that everything which exists is ultimately an accident arising from some type of eternal material and laws which arise before any intelligence and/or consciousness. “But science is materialistic in nature,” you say? That is incorrect. Science is the discipline which attempts to explain phenomenon in terms of laws of cause and effect, which is not equal to materialism. Since the information within an information processor is not defined in terms of physical laws (see here), ID theory is interested in the question “what is the law of cause and effect which produces information and its compatible processor?”

ID then postulate an extrapolation from the verifiable fact that information processors (effect) have only ever been scientifically verified to be the result of intelligent action (cause) to the hypothesis that information processors are necessarily the result of intelligence, either through direct intervention or indirectly arising from a designed program.

Here is where the faith comes in. The materialist has faith that information processors can be accidentally self-organized, and that the biological replicating information processor’s (life’s) ability to evolve is an accident, that further information processors (ie: the brain) are accidents, informational structures (ie: protein systems and molecular machines) are accidents, further laws (genetic laws, and logic) are accidents, and that the universe’s fine-tuning to allow genetic
information to be translated, allow proteins to fold, and allow life to exist and evolve is also an accident.

I view that as illogical as based on the same ideas contained in these two peer reviewed articles (here and here) and expounded by myself (see the first link in this post) and on the fact that there is no scientific inference of information processors accidentally generating themselves. Basically, if we look at an information processing system, we see that the function resulting from the information processor is not the result of only natural laws. Why is this so? Because the function results from the information which is not created in accordance with any physical laws of attraction. Information is the result of a seemingly random sequence of units, which are not sequenced in accordance with any law. If it was, then it would merely be a repeating sequence without the ability to code for multiple interrelated parts which together provide function. The only reason that information isn’t random is because specific sequences are converted into specific functions as future goals but only when acted upon by an information processing system. The only law that defines information is its future function as converted by a compatible information processor. However, you need the information first, before you can arrive at the function – the law which defines the information.

Thus, information is described neither by randomness nor by natural laws. It is described by an information processing system. Without a system to process it, information does not exist. Furthermore, without information to process, one can not have an information processing system. Now, of course, the information does not have to be immediately present, but it is at the least present in the designer’s mind in the form of a future goal so that he can create the correct information processing system in the present. Because of this, neither information nor its processing system can exist on their own. You either have both or you have none.

In order for random events to actualize information, it would also have to accidentally create a compatible information processing system at the correct place in space and time. However, this process can not slowly evolve. If you have information, without a processing system, there is no resulting function, no benefit to a larger system’s survival success, and thus nothing to preserve. Obviously an information processing system without information to process is useless. And, actually, without a replication system, even if you already had information and its processing system, there would be no evolution and when the system breaks down as information systems do on their own without corrective measures; then the whole information storage and processing system would have to be randomly and accidentally formulated from scratch again.

I, as an ID proponent, have faith that science will show the idea that consciousness is fundamental to natural law (ie: caused by or cause of quantum occurrences) to be the best explanation for consciousness. This would then place consciousness, or quantum intelligence, as I view it, as a candidate for the creation of the information processor of the universe, the relationship and fine tuning between natural laws and the information processor known as life, and an indirect cause of
the development of further information processors and laws within the universe.

So far, Paul Davies has hypothesized that consciousness may be derived from quantum occurrences.

Also, many neurosurgeons are discovering that the brain behaves as if it were merely acting as a transmitter of consciousness, as opposed to generating consciousness. Here is a blog following this controversy.

Cyril Burt (British neurologist):
"A comparison of the specific micro-neural situations in which consciousness does and does not arise suggests that the brain functions not as a generator of consciousness, but rather as a two-way transmitter and detector, i.e., although its activity is apparently a necessary condition, it cannot be a sufficient condition of conscious experience."

Furthermore, David Chalmers and Angus Menuge, in their books “The Conscious Mind" and “Agents Under Fire” respectively, create a hypothesis which treats consciousness as a given, which is the opposite of treating material and law as a given, as the materialistic worldview does.

Moreover, law has never been seen to be a given. It arises from an information processor. This is why the universe is now viewed as a computer, with an informational base founded in quantum occurrences; intelligent processes, in my view possibly conscious intelligence.

However, I must clarify that a specific candidate is not necessary in order to infer design. The only scientific knowledge necessary is that intelligence precedes information. For example the inference that ID makes, as it relates to SETI, is that intelligence is the best explanation for information rich signals and the only assumption is that intelligence possibly exists outside of life on earth. Similarily, ID as it relates to biology makes the same inference and the only assumption is that intelligence possibly exists before life on earth. The discovery of attributes or the type of intelligent cause is merely an example of further scientific investigation consistent with ID theory after design has been verified by the discovery of information. Not knowing specific attributes of the intelligent
cause, other than that it is indeed intelligent, in no way negates the scientific inference to design as the best explanation of information, since lack of extraneous knowledge of the intelligent cause does not provide a better explanation for the cause of information.

As Dr. Dembski states: “"Design-theoretic explanations are proximal or local explanations rather than ultimate explanations. Design-theoretic explanations are concerned with determining whether some particular event, object or structure exhibits clear marks of intelligence and can be legitimately ascribed to design. Consequently, design- theoretic reasoning does not require the who-designed-the-designer question to be answered for a design inference to be valid. There is explanatory value in attributing the Jupiter Symphony to the artistry [design] of mozart, and that explanation suffers nothing by not knowing who designed Mozart. Likewise, in biology, design inferences are not invalidated for failing to answer Dawkin's who-designed-the-designer question." - Dr. Dembski

Designed to Evolve

Evolution was supposed to do away with the concept of design, or at least explain how to get the appearance of design for free without intelligence, but how could evolution itself be anything other than designed?

The relevant question is: “Do replicating information processors (life) have to be programmed with the ability to evolve in order to evolve or is evolution a necessary result of a replicating information processor?” If life has to be programmed with the ability to evolve, then evolution is not an accidental byproduct of life, however, if life has no choice but to evolve – if the law of evolution is a necessary result or effect of the program of life – then evolution is only accidental if life is accidental. Furthermore, if the program of life harnesses, or directs evolutionary processes in any way, then evolution is not completely random. Instead it would be programmed to occur by the laws that result from the initial conditions of the system of life. So, in order to discover if the law of evolution is ultimately accidental, we should look into whether or not its cause -- the program of life -- is accidental. So, where does the system of life come from? This is where the cause of abiogenesis comes into play.

If life is a biological replicating information processor, then abiogenesis is obviously the creation of replicating biomolecules which form a system of information storage and information processing. Evolution itself has nothing to do with this process, as I have explained in "A Summary."

Science attempts to explain phenomenon in terms of laws, but where do laws come from? Laws are always seen to arise from a program with information at its base. For example, the information and its processor which creates a computer program also creates the laws within that program, just as the genetic information within life creates the laws of life. So, it is scientifically verified that laws arise
from information processors, however there are no examples nor is there any logical or scientific inference behind the idea of laws giving rise to information processors without intelligent programming. "A Summary" and these three posts are my arguments as to why that is the case. Information comes before law and isn’t defined by law, yet is defined by its compatible information processor which has always been seen to be the result of teleological programming.

If the creation of replicating information processors can be the result of random, accidental occurrences, then the laws of evolution that result from life are also accidental, as are the laws of life itself, the laws of protein folding, the laws of genetics, the laws of reason, the laws of science, and if consciousness arises from evolution then the laws of consciousness as well. Furthermore, the scientific fact that the natural laws of our universe were fine tuned to support all of the aforementioned laws before they were ever “accidentally” realized would also be accidental. How many layered and intricately connected, informational accidents are allowed before we wonder if there is any design behind it all?

For example: If I have an operating system installed on my computer and a program written on a CD and the program on the CD is compatible with the OS on my computer, I have four options that relate to the design question. Either the OS was designed to be compatible with future written programs and the program on the CD is one such program, or the OS was designed to be compatible only with that program on the CD, or the program on the CD was designed to be compatible with the OS in question, or its just an accidental coincidence that the CD is compatible with the OS. Furthermore if that program, once it is running, begins to evolve other programs and those programs
evolve yet more programs upon programs as a result of interaction with the OS on the computer, would I be wise to wonder if the program on the CD was designed to compatibly evolve with the OS on the computer? In fact to scientifically test this concept, all one needs to do is design a simulation of the above scenario and see if it is possible to design such a feat.

Now, let’s quickly examine the flip side. If biological replicating information processors were purposefully programmed to exist within the larger, overarching program of the universe, then most likely the laws and structures that evolve from the program of life were also designed by fine tuning the laws of the universe and the law of life to compatibly evolve the subsequent laws and structures.

The first design question as it relates to science is: “Can you scientifically detect design?” Well, if science is testable, repeatable, and generates predictions, then science must deal in terms of laws. Thus science is the discipline which attempts to explain phenomenon in terms of laws of cause and effect.

So what options of cause and effect do we have as options for the creation of biological replicating information processors (life). Well, I have been told that self-replicating non-informational molecules have been discovered. I’ll take this as granted without checking into it for now since it doesn’t deal with the generation or cause of information processors. However it is a verified fact and thus a valid scientific inference that information processors are caused by intelligence. Are
there any other options for the creation of information processors?

An extremely relevant question in regard to this is: “can information processors be accidentally created?” and if this were the case, then what implications would this have upon the fact that the universe would then be fine tuned to support an unforeseeable accident? That would seem completely illogical, since the natural laws of physics are fine tuned to support, yet do not define and therefore do not create information processors, which is also why natural laws of attraction do not created information. Furthermore, the universe IS fine tuned to support life, and I have laid out some reasons why I believe it is unscientific and unreasonable to think that accidental occurrences would ever create information processors.

Therefore, in light of these arguments, the answer is “yes, design can be detected. If you wish to discover if a phenomenon was indeed programmed by intelligence, search for information within the phenomenon, since an information processing system is necessarily an effect of intelligence.”

Of course, at first it seems that the trunk of this reasoning can be easily split in two by one fell swoop of the “multiple universe” axe. However, the multiple universe provides further unnecessary and arbitrary complexity (an infinite multiple universe birthing “field” which guarantees an infinite number of universes and guarantees that each universe will have a different set of natural laws and that everything that can logically happen, no matter how high the improbability will happen in one of these universes). However, this still does not explain the existance of information/processing systems, especially that on which our universe is founded, since information is defined by its already existing compatible and interdependent processor and is not defined by physical laws of attraction.

At least we can see the link between information and its processor and previous intelligence so that we can infer “if information processor then intelligence” and there are major problems, as linked above, with any accidental explanation (aside from the fact that random, accidental, miraculous explanations in the face of all odds are unscientific).

Here ...
(Scroll down to Atom's translation of the Spanish article.)

... and here ...
(Scroll down to where I quote Prof. Hasofer)

... are brief points made re: probabilities of random generation of information processors.

"The formation within geological time of a human body, by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field, is as unlikely as the separation by chance of the atmosphere into its components.” -- Godel

The previous statement packs the most punch when considering that the generation of an information processor is the first step toward any subsequent evolution.

Now, back to the main topic of this post...
I would appreciate it if anyone could post comments with links re: biological processes controlling which aspects of life evolve or harnessing evolution in any way. Thanks.


These are my definitions and extra comments for the concepts I have been using to explain the theory of Intelligent Design. If I have borrowed definitions from elsewhere, the reference will be linked.

-Intelligent Design theory = the study of patterns in nature, which are best explained as the result of intelligence. from here

"ID theory states that many features of nature are best explained by an intelligent cause because in our experience intelligence is the sole cause of their informational properties."

"Design-theoretic explanations are proximal or local explanations rather than ultimate explanations. Design-theoretic explanations are concerned with determining whether some particular event, object or structure exhibits clear marks of intelligence and can be legitimately ascribed to design. Consequently, design- theoretic reasoning does not require the who-designed-the-designer question to be answered for a design inference to be valid. There is explanatory value in attributing the Jupiter Symphony to the artistry [design] of mozart, and that explanation suffers nothing by not knowing who designed Mozart. Likewise, in biology, design inferences are not invalidated for failing to answer Dawkin's who-designed-the-designer question." - Dr. Dembski

-Life (if law of evolution is a necessary result of the program of life) = replicating information processor which is able to mutate existing and generate novelle structures through changes and addition to its informational programming.

Hubert P. Yockey provides his description of life: "“The existence of the genome and the genetic code divides living organisms from non-living matter. There is nothing in the non-living physico-chemical world that remotely resembles the reactions that are determined by a sequence (i.e., the genome) and codes between sequences (i.e., the genetic code) that occur in living matter.” here

-Life (if law of evolution is not a necessary result of the program of life) = replicating information processor which may or may not be able to mutate existing and generate novelle structures through changes and addition to its informational programming.

Information on life and quantum mechanics, Paul Davies style.

-Micro-evolution = changes to an existing structure within a population which may cycle through variations in accordance with natural selection and basic genetic principles. The classic finch beak example fits perfectly as an example of micro-evolution. Micro-evolution has the same effect as breeding, with the environment as the selector (natural selection).

-Macro-evolution = often said to be a production of new information, it is a change to the informational programming of life which causes a novelle system of interaction producing a novelle function. Ie: the generation of a few new genes which code for new proteins which interact to create a function would be an example of the production of new information and thus a clear cut case of macro-evolution.

-Natural Selection = Not to be mistaken for a cause, natural selection is a scientific term used to describe the over all effect seen when some programs and functions become extinct within a certain environment because they can’t reproduce effectively within it while others survive and reproduce effectively within that same environment. Natural selection only kills off those programs which are not suited for their environment, and “selects” those which survive and continue to propagate and thus continue to survive. It is a type of “weed whacker,” whacking those organisms which possess programs and functions which are detrimental to survival and reproduction within their respective environment. Indeed, natural selection is not the creator of novelty, nor is it a driving force. “Using” the environment, it only selects between different organisms which are driven by the program of life. Natural selection is merely a passive scavenger, picking apart those programs and organisms that have been left behind in the race of life.

Basically, natural selection is a description of the effect of matching an organism with the environment (incl. other organisms) in which the organism continues to survive and reproduce. However, natural selection itself is not what causes the organism to possess the ability to survive and reproduce in its environment.

I think the most obvious case and example of natural selection is: Put a fish on land and it will be naturally selected not to survive. Put a fish in water, and it will be naturally selected to survive.

However, as far as I understand, natural selection can become horribly more complex when dealing with minor variations which affect survival within a population or when dealing with virus/host interactions. I think this is where population genetics and other disciplines come into play.

-Science = the discipline which attempts to explain phenomenon in terms of laws of cause and effect. As such, a scientific theory is testable, repeatable, and generates predictions. A scientific theory should also be falsifiable, however this is a point of contention, since a problem in a theory may not falsify it as the problem may be solved at a later date upon obtaining more information. However, a theory which states that “x” will not happen can be easily falsified by showing “x” occurring. Moreover, as I understand it, scientific theories are usually replaced when a competing theory is able to explain more data, has less problems, and provides a better explanation with predictions that come to pass. However, until man knows all, scientific theories will be provisional and subject to further revision/updating and replacement.

I am referring to “laws” of cause and effect as synonymous with the use of “laws” as in “laws” of nature, therefore defining “laws” as “unbreakable rules.” The assumption of unbreakable rules (or laws) of cause and effect is the only way that
science can proceed. Science ATTEMPTS to set up a law (unbreakable rule) of cause for a specific effect in question, in the form of a hypothesis or theory. Science aims at explaining phenomenon “x” in terms of laws of cause and effect. A law of cause and effect is one which lends itself to testability and repeatability. If there are no laws of cause and effect within nature, then there is no repeatability of phenomenon and thus no science. Therefore, science begins by assuming that there exist laws of cause and effect. Science is the search for these laws of cause and effect.

-Information = (complex specified information) a seemingly random, yet also non-repetitive arrangement of units, in which the complex arrangement, not defined by natural laws of attraction, produces specific function. In other words, the sequence and therefore the function is not described by the physical properties of the units. The reason this arrangement is not random is because it must also conform to an independently given pattern, the pattern (similar to a password) being that which unlocks the function. The relation between the code and the independant pattern is known as "specificity," which results from an information processor acting in accordance with the pre-set laws of the system in which it is contained; and the term "complexity" is a measurement of the quantity of information and a description of the fact that information is aperiodic.

So what is the difference between information and naturally occurring complex patterns? Information either has specific meaning (the code of language as used orally and in writing) or it produces specific function (genetic code produces specific proteins that, together, produce specific functions) as based upon non-repetitive sequences of symbols or units. However, conversely, when units of water are frozen together they form a repetitive pattern (snowflake or ice) that is a result of natural laws of attraction between its units H and O. There is simply no code based upon non-repetitive units that either communicates meaning or produce specific units that act together to create specific functions.

As previously stated, information is completely independent of physical or chemical laws. There is no physical or chemical relation to how the units in a code are organized, be it ABCs on a piece of paper or A-C-T-Gs on a string of DNA. I'm NOT SAYING that there are no chemical or physical properties that combine the letter to the paper or the base to the DNA backbone. What I am saying is that in all codes there is no physical or chemical law apart from a combination of intelligence and evolution that causes the specific ordering and non-repetitive sequencing of these letters or bases to produce specific effects.

-Information processor = An arrangement of parts which …

1. reads, (interacts with or transcribes)
2. converts (translates), and
3. assembles information into further interrelated systems with function (meaning/usefulness)

An information/processing system is truly irreducibly complex (in the sense that Dr. Behe uses the term IC; not in the sence of an IC computation) and is not attainable by evolutionary means, if evolution is the process of producing new information. The evolution of life = the duplication and mutation of pre-existing information to generate and assemble new informational systems. Moreover, I’ve previously shown that information and its compatible processor can not exist independent of each other; therefore, you need information and its processor already functioning in order to begin any evolutionary process. As to irreducible complexity, remove any step within the above definition and the information/processing system ceases to provide any method whereby the evolution of information may occur. Furthermore, if you remove any of these steps the information and its processing system ceases to exist.

Also, taking into account that information is not defined by physical laws of attraction (there is no physical law relating the units within complex specified information) and that information processors convert PRESENT specific coded information into a FUTURE specific goal in the form of function (thus constituting a goal oriented, although NOT necessarily conscious, process -- in the same way that computer programs are goal oriented but not conscious), it makes absolutely no logical sense, nor is there any scientific inference or validity in thinking that information and its compatible processor will randomly actualize no matter the chemical reactions by which it is preceeded.

-Intelligence = a system (not necessarily conscious) which generates new and useful (able to produce function) information by harnessing random occurrences, pre-existing information, and natural laws to plan or engineer a specific route to a pre-meditated or programmed end goal. Thus intelligence is defined, basically, as an information processor which meets the above criteria. In fact, this causes intelligence, information processing, and information to be inseparable, since neither of them randomly self-organize without pre-existing guidance (information processors or intelligence) and neither information nor its compatible processor can exist without each other. So, it may be that these phenomenon are to be treated as a given, arising from a more fundamental level than natural law, as the case may be with quantum intelligence – my view of consciousness. I do believe that Paul Davies views consciousness as possibly arising from quantum occurrences (I'm looking into this).

Furthermore, it is true that once a physical program is built and is running, physical laws of attraction do take over. The rest of the process is blind and involves repeatable natural interactions within the pre-existing code. Indeed, while the program is “looking into the future,” planning, engineering, or achieving a pre-meditated/pre-programmed end, natural laws are blindly following the repeatable interactions set up by the program. However, it is the information processor itself, of which the coded information it contains is not the result of physical laws of attraction, that harnesses these physical laws for that specific programmed end.

However, the same may not be able to be said of consciousness, or quantum intelligence, as I view it. Consciousness may not be so blind, see:

"The Conscious Mind" by David Chalmers


"Agents Under Fire" by Angus Menuge

-God of the Gaps argument = “I don’t know any scientific laws of cause and effect to create the phenomenon in question, so it must have *poof* appeared via divine intervention.”

-Chance of the Gaps argument = “I don’t know any scientific laws of cause and effect to create the phenomenon in question, so it must have appeared via random, accidental, chance processes."

I have two more important points that I believe must be made.

1. Just because we discover how a system works, it does not follow that it was not designed. Just because you are discovering the natural laws and decoding the code that makes a computer program work, it does not follow that the program itself is a result of physical laws of attraction without intelligent guidance. Just because we know how life replicates does not mean it was not designed. As stated by ID theory, complex specified information is the evidence of intelligent design.

2. Just because we see certain “nodes” (HT: Dr. Behe) of information develop at different points in time, it does not follow that these nodes are a result of random chance. Nor does it necessarily follow that there was an interaction between a designer and matter/energy at that specific node. While there may have been an interaction between designer and matter at the time that the information is first seen, the node of information could also have been the result of a larger program that produced that specific node of information at that specific time. Of course, in this case the designer would have designed the program any time before that node of information first appeared.

My view of ID verification

One way that ID, as it relates to the universe’s origin, will begin to be verified scientifically is by a model which shows how the universe, or any information processor, can be programmed to produce life (replicating information processors). The discovery of the fine tuning of the universe is the first step toward this.

One way that ID, as it relates to the universe's origin, has begun to be verified is in the understanding that the universe operates as if it where a program resulting from an information processor.

One way that ID, as it relates to biology and evolution, has already been verified is by evolutionary programs which are intelligently and purposefully designed to converge upon a solution to a specific problem, through the process of controlled random searches acting within the parameters of fine tuned information.

The only scientific verification we have of probabilities being overcome in a direction where further information is being created is through designed programs. Thus, evolutionary algorithms (which in our experience must be designed with a goal with which to generate and converge information) are one major verification of ID theory.

My view of ID falsification

One way ID can be falsified is if anyone shows that information processors can accidentally, and randomly self-organize no matter the laws of the system within which the information processor is generated. This will show that any set of laws can accidentally and randomly generate information processing systems, thus negating the concept of the necessity of fine tuning and previous intelligence to create further information processing systems.

ID predictions and further information

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Is TRUTH an accident

“If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents - the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts - i.e., of Materialism and Astronomy - are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk-jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.”

–C. S. Lewis

If the concept of truth is only that which has been created by accidental natural laws and natural selection why does it matter for any purpose other than reproductive success and survival? Surely the concept of truth can't be TRUE, since it itself is an accidental shape of "spilled milk" (in keeping with the analogy). Our ability to think and reason, in order to grasp truth, is thus an accidental by-product of a supposedly accidental process which only preserves that which accidentally gains survival advantage. Therefore, our reasoning can only logically be trusted to provide survival advantage and nothing more. However, this previous logical statement is the result of reasonable thought and thus we begin to attempt to prove the validity of logic and that which it may affect by using logic -- an amazingly circular argument.

The reason I don't see the concept of Truth as the result of natural laws is because that would seem to be self-defeating. The concept of that which is True as played out by elecro-chemical interactions within our brains would then be subjective to whichever natural laws (random mutations and natural selection for the "purpose" of survival and reproductive success) created it, and would thus loose its definition as being the mark of objective reality. Truth, as an accidental survival bestowing concept which is observed by logical beings, would then only be able to guide us toward that which helps us to survive. Truth thus looses its mark as THE objective reality to which we seek. TRUTH becomes unknowable.

The relavance of this to ID? ID theory presumes that purpose can indeed exist and that truth may not be merely subject to random occurences and selection by survival advantage. ID theory's aim is to scientifically filter the accidental from the purposeful (ie: programmed on purpose). This would then help us to discover if the concept of truth is truly an accidental by-product of accidental occurences, or if there is at least something within our universe that is the result of purpose.