Thursday, April 12, 2007

Science of Intelligent Design

If after I show the scientific nature of ID in this post, you still disagree with me as to the scientific status of ID, then we are just going to have to agree to disagree on that issue. However, I hope that I have been able to at least articulate and explain how ID and my resulting hypothesis below, as well as the ideas I have postulated on my blog, are logically coherent and consistent ideas with scientific potential. Furthermore, these ideas are a more logically coherent explanation re: cause of information processors than any random, chance, accidental occurrences.

Before I begin, I would like to provide some definitions:

re: scientific method from here
Essential elements of a scientific method:
-Characterizations (Quantifications, observations, and measurements)
-Hypothesis (theoretical, hypothetical explanations)
-Predictions (reasoning including logical deduction from hypothesis and theory)
-Experiments (tests of all of the above)

Data = factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation

Statistics = a quantity (as the mean of a sample) that is computed from a sample

Now, I'c like to include a comment from another blog, Telic Thoughts, to help somewhat clear the fog regarding ID misconceptions.

The comment that I am replying to is centered:

I thought that ID ended with the inference that a particular biological structure was designed.

MY understanding of the issue (how I view ID) is that ID is interested in discovering how to define the phenomenon we understand as "intelligence" and then to discover the relation between intelligence and other natural systems. Furthermore, ID attempts to discover which phenomenon (if any) is a necessary result of or necessarily a result of the phenomenon known as intelligence. This is where informational systems and information theory comes into play. ID deals with so much more than just biological structures; it deals with complete (informational) systems. So far, the math behind articles such as those of Dr.s Trevor and Abel seems to hold that informational systems will not generate themselves through stochastic processes. Furthermore, intelligence has the capacity to generate informational systems. To simplify and make a long argument short, add it up and you just might get a correct answer. There is nothing "mystical" or religious going on here … unless you think that intelligence is inherently religious or "mystical."

To me, the interesting stuff would be when, how, why and of course who designed the structure, but as I understand it all of that is outside the scope of ID.

Well, as far as I am aware, apart from psychoanalysis "why" questions can't be answered scientifically.

As to "when" and "how", those are definitely interesting questions that many scientists have and are working on. Ie: when did the first informational system appear in our universe? As to the how, when it comes to ID there are many opinions … some easier to test than others … all the way from "the universe is programmed to necessarily produce life" all the way to "an outside intelligence had to intervene and seed life." The initial, in my opinion is the more scientific and perhaps testable with mathematical and computer models and simulations, starting with an understanding among many phycisists and cosmologists that the universe itself is the result of the processing of information.

Now, this is where the "who" question comes in. However, I don't know if we can scientifically verify "who" even if a model positing the causal phenomenon as intelligence is the best and most coherent explanation, although that may be further possible ID research (such as the further research which nails the perpetrator after an examination of the forensic evidence posits an intelligent cause).

In addition ...

Here is a cycle that is observed within nature: If previously programmed by INTELLIGENT information processors, INFORMATION PROCESSORS can produce PROGRAMS which cause LAWS which, can produce DESIGNS and further INFORMATION PROCESSORS directly or
through evolutionary means. This observation is the description of the creation of evolutionary algorithms to provide solutions to engineering problems and the creation of virtual intelligent information processors.

There are also two other related phenomenon seen in nature: Natural law itself, which is now seen to be a result of the processing of information which causes the program we know as our universe; and the laws produced by the program of life which results from the replication and processing of information. The relation between these two systems -- our universe and life – and the aforementioned cycle is that they follow the cycle from INFORMATION PROCESSOR to PROGRAM to LAWS to further INFORMATION PROCESSORS. Now, we just need to discover the cause. According to the observed cycle mentioned above, programming by an intelligent information processing system is the most probable (and only observed) cause of this type of cycle, instead of accidental generation of information processors (resulting from nothing but chance and necessity) to begin the cycle.

But, the laws can still create other stochastic processes, such as the pattern created by a leaf fluttering to the ground or the position of where a lightning bolt streaks through the sky, without necessarily being designed to create that exact phenomenon. Stochastic processes will result from any set of laws. If there is matter and laws then there will be stochastic processes which are caused by the laws of attraction between matter.

So, when does this cycle break down, ending at laws and stochastic processes? This occurs when the laws aren’t fine tuned to create further information processors because the starting point information/processing system wasn’t programmed by an intelligent system to cause further information processors. But why must an intelligent system be involved with programming? Because that is the only system which has been observed that can manipulate (program) information. I have defined intelligence in my “definitions” thread, and one should be able to immediately notice that by my definition, the living cell is indeed intelligent, and evolution is merely the cell's process of learning and gathering information. Now, as per the cycle, which intelligent system causes the living cell?

Intelligent Design theorists and proponents operate on the mathematics involved with information theory and on the assumption that the aforementioned OBSERVED cycle is a law of nature, thus EXTRAPOLATING it to related natural phenomenon such as the information processing ability of our universe and life and INFERRING if information exists then previous intelligence (a type of information processor) is the cause.

As an aside, if INFERENCE and EXTRAPOLATION of OBSERVATIONS are not a tool in the
scientists’ methodological kit, then evolution is not a science, even though I do think that evolution from primitive replicating information processing biochemical systems has indeed occurred.

With the above understood ...

-ID Theory: Many features of nature are best explained by an intelligent cause because in our experience intelligence is the sole cause of their informational properties. Because ID has been continually verified by observational statistical data ever since human intelligence began to use language and then even more so when human intelligence began designing computer programs, ID is a theory as opposed to being merely a hypothesis. It is a theory which provides the framework for other hypotheses to emerge.

(Upon a basic understanding and definition of the key terms [information, information processor, and intelligence], which I discuss on my blog, a further hypothesis arises within ID theory. The hypothesis is: information/processing systems are necessarily programmed to arise from previous information processors. This hypothesis contains the same predictions and potential falsification as ID theory.)

-Statistical Data for ID Theory: If we take the sample of all information processing systems in which we know the cause, 100% so far have had an intelligent cause.

-more verifying observations (data): The only observations (data) we have of probabilities being overcome in a direction where further information is being created is through designed programs. One way that ID theory, as it relates to biology and evolution, has already been verified is by these 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. 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.

-A relevant hypothesis: The universe is described as a program resulting from an information processor.
(scroll down to “bits of a bigger picture” – read that section – then read the whole thing)

more data from physics (I wish I could understand the equations)

-Prediction(necessarily arising from ID theory) regarding abiogenesis: Life is a necessary result of and caused by the programming of the information processor which may give rise to our universe (as opposed to life being merely a random, chance, “accidental” occurrence). Of course, millions of dollars are being spent on OOL research and because of the severity of the problem, its gonna take some time to discover if biochemical replicating information processors are a necessary result of the information processor which may give rise to our universe. Discovering if and how life is necessarily caused by the information processor which may give rise to our universe would be further research consistent with ID theory. Here are two peer reviewed published articles discussing abiogenesis and the problem with obtaining an information processor by stochastic processes:

-Prediction (future observation and experiment which will further verify the above hypothesis and ID theory) : ID theory necessarily predicts that information processing systems will not be created by anything other than a previous information processor and thus life will be verified to be the result of a previous information processor (most likely the information processor which causes the program of our universe). I suggest a model (computer simulation) to be developed which shows how the universe, or any information processor, can be programmed to produce life (replicating information processors).

-Falsification (future observation and experiment which will negate the above hypothesis and ID theory): ID theory has the potential to be falsified by the production of an information processing system by any means other than being programmed by a previous information processor, thus showing that intelligence would NOT be the SOLE CAUSE OF INFORMATIONAL PROPERTIES. I suggest an experiment (again, a computer simulation) which shows that information processors can accidentally and randomly self-organize within a program 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 previous programming and a previous intelligence to create further information processing systems.

Clarification on prediction and testability.

As an aside, continual observations DO NOT EVER PROVE any scientific theory, since scientific theories are never absolutely proven. It is the theory, which can potentially be falsified, and which has the most verified observations that is the most likely explanation.

1 comment:

CJYman said...

Here it is from a slightly different angle:

1. Hypothesis: “Functional DNA is complex specified information and as such can not be created by natural law.”
-falsify this by showing one example of which functional DNA is caused by any type of natural law.
Remember that laws are descriptions of regularities and as such can be formulated into mathematical equations. Furthermore, regularities in nature are caused by physical laws of attraction (gravitational, magnetic, voltaic, etc.). So, find a physical law of attraction and its representative mathematical equation or algorithm which causes the functional sequences within DNA and the above hypothesis will be falsified.

2. Hypothesis: “Information processing/semiotic systems do not generate themselves randomly within a program founded on a random set of laws.”
-falsify this by creating a computer simulation which develops programs based on random sets of laws and see if information processing systems randomly self-organize. Of course, if that is possible, then the original information processing system which the simulation is modeling can also be seen as a random production itself, thus eliminating intelligence as a necessary cause of information processing systems.

3. Hypothesis: “Complex specified information can not be generated independently of its compatible information processing system.” Complex Specified Information is defined as such by being converted by its compatible processor and the definition of an information processor is a system which converts information into function. -falsify this by creating two teams of engineers. Without any contact with the other team, one team must create a new language of complex specified information and a message written in the language and the second team must build a new information processing system and program. Then, attempt to run the message through the program. If the program outputs a meaningful message then this hypothesis is falsified.

I have written more that is relevant to the above hypothesis here starting in para 5 beginning with: “Basically, if we look at an information processing system ...” through the next three paras.

4. Data (observation): 100% of the information processing systems in which we know the cause originate in an intelligence. Intelligence can and has produced information processing systems.

5. Conclusion: “Since life contains an information processing system acting on complex specified information, life is the result of intelligence.”