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SETI and Intelligent Design
space.com ^ | posted: 01 December 2005 | Seth Shostak

Posted on 12/02/2005 8:35:59 AM PST by ckilmer

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To: Sam Cree

The most useful definition that I have run across is:

An inability to predict future outcomes based on previous results.


151 posted on 12/02/2005 8:01:13 PM PST by b_sharp (Science adjusts theories to fit evidence, creationism distorts evidence to fit the Bible.)
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To: ThinkDifferent
Even though you'd expect that sequence to appear *somewhere* in pi, the odds against it occuring so early by "chance" would be astronomical.

Not really. It's only 1 chance in 10**111 that the first digits of Pi are 3. 1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 8214808651. A sequence of 111 zeros would have the same probability (as would a sequence of 111 ones.)

152 posted on 12/02/2005 8:02:34 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Ophiucus

Easily done. Just force them to grow within a box. They'll conform to the shape of the box as they grow.


153 posted on 12/02/2005 8:03:46 PM PST by b_sharp (Science adjusts theories to fit evidence, creationism distorts evidence to fit the Bible.)
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To: Fitzcarraldo
" The fact that the elementary particles could even come together in such a way is support for a Designer."

Hardly. All it needs is a little help from the second law of thermodynamics and a bit of applied energy.

154 posted on 12/02/2005 8:06:38 PM PST by b_sharp (Science adjusts theories to fit evidence, creationism distorts evidence to fit the Bible.)
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To: b_sharp

If he doesn't, the Moon may not have the correct phases next week.


155 posted on 12/02/2005 8:06:58 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: edcoil

As far as I know, SETI is privately funded.


156 posted on 12/02/2005 8:07:32 PM PST by b_sharp (Science adjusts theories to fit evidence, creationism distorts evidence to fit the Bible.)
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To: b_sharp
An inability to predict future outcomes based on previous results.

Outcomes of indivudual events, of course. Averages of future outcomes (and variances, etc.) may be easily predicable. One cannot predict which radioactive atoms will decay, but one can predict how many will decay in a given time.

Likewise, an English actuary can predict how many people will die during the next year, but not which ones; that would take a Sicilian actuary.

157 posted on 12/02/2005 8:10:12 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Doctor Stochastic; RadioAstronomer

Unfair. I clean toilets and he gets to play with the moon.


158 posted on 12/02/2005 8:20:13 PM PST by b_sharp (Science adjusts theories to fit evidence, creationism distorts evidence to fit the Bible.)
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To: Doctor Stochastic
IDists and their groupies are always concerned with individual events, such as the probability of a specific sequence occurring.

I'm sure glad you're here. So much bologna is used in place of realistic probability calculations that having an expert to clear up misunderstandings is priceless. (Your puns need work though).
159 posted on 12/02/2005 8:26:23 PM PST by b_sharp (Science adjusts theories to fit evidence, creationism distorts evidence to fit the Bible.)
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To: Doctor Stochastic
"Likewise, an English actuary can predict how many people will die during the next year, but not which ones; that would take a Sicilian actuary."

I hear that the Russian actuaries aim to displace the Sicilians in that field. (Sorry, that one sank as if it was wearing cement boots)

160 posted on 12/02/2005 8:30:26 PM PST by b_sharp (Science adjusts theories to fit evidence, creationism distorts evidence to fit the Bible.)
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To: Doctor Stochastic; b_sharp
"Not so much 'lack of pattern' as occurence of all patterns with the proper frequency."

I confess to not knowing exactly what that might mean. I'm OK, at this point, with "lack of predetermined purpose, plan or pattern."

161 posted on 12/02/2005 8:31:23 PM PST by Sam Cree (absolute reality) - "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein)
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To: Sam Cree

Oh yeah. Or "predictability" now as well.


162 posted on 12/02/2005 8:32:11 PM PST by Sam Cree (absolute reality) - "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein)
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To: b_sharp
Hardly. All it needs is a little help from the second law of thermodynamics and a bit of applied energy.

If you change the ratios between the physical constants of gravity, electomagnetism, the weak and strong forces, you get situations where nuclei greater than helium aren't stable, etc.

That's what I mean - the basic properties and relationships of elementary particles.

163 posted on 12/02/2005 8:37:26 PM PST by Fitzcarraldo
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To: ckilmer

YEC INTREP


164 posted on 12/02/2005 10:20:29 PM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

Cheez, I was just trying to figure out the male/female brain thing and now you're making me think! ;)


165 posted on 12/03/2005 5:13:30 AM PST by secret garden (bless your heart)
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To: Liberal Classic
I think you make very good points about the fool's errand nature of the search. But to that, I'd argue that the middle ground is that God wants His existence to remain abiguous and, as such, the world can have mysteries and uncertainties that we'll never solve for certain.
166 posted on 12/03/2005 10:03:48 AM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: b_sharp
That would be news to Behe, Dembski and the rest of the Discovery Institute fellows.

For the record, I'm not specifically an advocate of Behe, Dembski, or the Discovery Institute and will happily acknowledge that plenty of what passes for "Creation Science" isn't. That said, I think that the core idea that we can differentiate the created from the natural is science and is a legitimately scientific way to approach the question of whether life is natural or created, even if a particular line of reasoning or study fails to be fully scientific. I think that's the mistake a lot of ID critics are making here. They are attacking specific and often questionable ID claims rather than the core point, which is entirely valid. If life weren't natural, how might we figure that out? And just as we learn things about natural electromagnetic signals via SETI, we can learn about natural evolution via ID. Don't you find it useful for evolutionists to propose natural explanations for complex biological features in response to ID challenges?

167 posted on 12/03/2005 10:17:00 AM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: Physicist
Canard. Those aren't "designed emissions", they're emissions from designed things. Those emissions are incidental to the functions of carpet cleaning and mechanical destruction. "Designed emission" means that the EM signal itself is intelligently designed.

I understand your distinction but the only reason why SETI investigators are looking for "designed emissions" rather than the "incidental emissions of designed things" is that they expect them to be more distinct. Going back to your example from Blade Runner, it's like looking for a serial number on the scale of a snake. It's the low hanging fruit that's easy to differentiate.

But failing to find designed emissions, there is no reason why SETI couldn't look for incidental emissions from created things, where they can be differentiated from natural emissions. If SETI can't find the walkie-talkie or TV transmissions, could they start looking for the parts of a vacuum cleaner's emissions that are distinctive as opposed to a natural source, much as those Fermilab researches can pick a few top quarks out of the background noise? I think they could.

SETI is still looking for the serial number on the snake scale to prove intelligence, despite not having found any. It's pretty clear that ID has moved past the serial number phase, not finding any, and has moved into the realm of picking out a top quark or vacuum cleaner buzz from the background noise. SETI is looking for a needle on a white sheet. ID didn't find their needle on a white sheet so they've moved on to looking in the haystack.

If SETI fails to find it's needle on a white sheet or it's serial number on a snake scale, should it abandon the search to find ET intelligence? Would it be irrational for them to shift to looking for more subtle clues such as possible incidental emissions of technology in the absence of more obvious evidence? Would it still be science? I think it would be, and what it would share with ID is a belief, without any hard evidence, that something is out there worth looking for. A fool's errand? Maybe. Irrational or unscientific? I don't think so.

You said it, right there. The ID proponents are looking for such an effect. But the entire claim of the ID sales force is that such an effect manifestly exists, and they are proposing ID as a candidate explanation! They couch it in terms of "here we have a mystery...oh, look! an explanation!", when in reality it's an age-old supposition in search of some type of evidence that might someday lend it credence. ID has no phenomena, no way to distinguish such phenomena, and gives no reason to expect that such phenomena exist.

I think that, ultimately, both SETI and ID are driven by the same thing -- a gut assessment of odds with respect to a situation with a lot of undefined variables. In the case of SETI, it's the Drake Equation. A lot of the variables are guesses but given certain guesses, it seems highly probable that ET intelligence exists (depite the Fermi Paradox) thus they are looking at it. In the case of ID, it's developing an assessment that chance mutations and natural selection and so on could produce the complexity we see in human beings. In many cases, this is probably colored by a personal experience of God or the divine. But in both cases, the default assumtion depends on one being an optimist or a pessimist, not on any particular evidence. It's a matter of speculation and faith that both God or ET intelligence exists, not evidence. And in the case of ID, at least some ID critics seem to cite this problem as a reason to call ID "not science".

Don't keep on insisting that SETI is the same thing, though. It's different on two key counts. First, SETI has unambiguous examples of both designed and natural signals. Both definitely exist in the universe. By contrast, ID--proposed as an explanation of the origin of life--only has one sort of life to ponder, and it's either all designed, or all natural (except for a growing handful of uninstructive exceptions, easily identified by their patents).

To start with your characterizatoin of ID, outside of Biblical literalists, there are certainly people who believe that life could be a combination of evolution and creation (i.e., "guided evolution"). There are also those who believe that God set the universe in motion from a beginning point with a specific end point in mind, much as we might launch a ballistic projectile at a specific target, confident that it will reach a certain destination even though we exert no control after the launch. My point is that I think the range of opinions about the hand of God in the creation of humans is much broader than it's being characterized as by ID critics. Just because some of the noisiest ID proponents may be loons does not mean that those are the only opinions on the subject. As for your other point...

SETI has potentially unambiguous examples of both designed and natural signals. It would be difficult to argue that their sample size isn't limited and not exhaustive. That known created signals and known natural signals behave in certain ways does not mean that any or all such signals will be created or natural if detected. How such a signal is interpreted will depend on whether one starts out as a skeptic or true believer, a point made pretty strongly in the Contact movie.

ID proposes that if we can find a complex system that can't be explained via gradual evolution because the component parts have no reason to evolve unless all of the components are present, we should consider that evidence of God. SETI proposes that if we find a narrow band EM emission that has no natural explanation, we should consider that evidence of ET intelligence. The ID skeptic assumes that we simply haven't figure out the evolutionary precursors yet. The SETI skeptic assumes that we simply haven't figured out how such a signal could be naturally produced yet. If naturalistic skepticism is demanded of both ID and SETI, both will fail because, ultimately, naturalistic skepticism is asking both to prove a negative -- that the observed "evidence" has no natural explanation.

Second, SETI has a quantitative, testable method of separating the natural from the designed. ID has only subjectivity: "this looks designed to me" and "I don't see how this could have happened naturally" and finally "OK, it could have happened in one of those several ways, but you can't prove that it actually did, and besides, here's this other thing I don't understand..."

This is another example of a favorable characterization and a straw man. SETI doesn't really have a quantitative, testable method of separating the natural from the designed. It has a quantitative, testable method of separating narrow band signals from broad band signals. What they don't have is a way of proving that narrow band signals are created and not natural if one applies the same sort of natural cause skepticism that ID critics apply to ID. Even if SETI finds a narrow-band transmission, it doesn't prove ET intelligence. It simply proves that they've found a narrow band transmission. And why is SETI even looking for ET intelligence? Because their gut assessment of the odds suggests to them that ET intelligence is probable.

In fact, SETI, just like ID, does say the same sorts of subjective things when they say, "I don't believe we are alone in the universe" or "the universe is so big that intelligenct life must have evolved elsewhere". Ultimately this does tie back to the evolution vs. creation debate because the belief that life is a lucky coincidence on Earth makes one assess the odds of such a lucky coincidence having happened as being high enough to have happened elsewhere while the belief that life on Earth isn't a lucky coincidence doesn't oblige someone to believe such a lucky coincidence had to happen anywhere else. When SETI advocates toss out the Drake equation, they are doing the exact same thing that ID advocates are doing when they point to complexity. They are looking at an big equation with a lot of unknown variables and saying "Look at the odds!" That's the only evidence that either one has.

One of the great success stories of science. When the only evidence was "the continents look like they fit together", it was ignored. When the hard evidence came in, it was embraced. It would have been irresponsible to embrace it any sooner than it was. I say the same thing about ID that I say about free energy schemes: get back to me after you make it work.

The problem is that the skepticism not only produced the wrong answer before all the facts where known but it also made people unreasonably skeptical of the correct answer long after they should have been persuaded. My point was that skepticism doesn't always produce the right answer, nor does Occam's Razor. They may be decent default positions but they are often wrong. And ultimately it's the dreamers and those who pose challenges to the established scientific orthodoxy that find the truth. And even when such dreamers and challengers fail, we inevitably learn more about the established theories in the process.

The entire impetus behind ID is that the designer's hand is so obvious, one must willfully avert his gaze not to see it. But no matter: if the designer truly is a deity (as essentially all ID marketeers believe) AND he wishes his seams not to be visible, we don't have a prayer of ever finding them.

And that's certainly a fair criticism. But there are other alternatives between "God wants you to find Him" and "God doesn't want to be found." Among them are "God want's people to struggle to find Him." There is also a matter of default assumptions at work here.

And if the aliens are really tech-savvy and intent on hiding, we won't ever find them, either.

Not everyone who doesn't want to be found can't be found. And, yes, I know that raises all sorts of thorny theological issues with respect to ID even though it should be fairly obvious with respect to SETI.

168 posted on 12/03/2005 11:15:30 AM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: edcoil
Ever notice seti is like all the rest of the government hacks. Spend tons of money and produce nothing.

First thing, SETI is privately funded. Secondly, in projects like the Kepler Mission and others, SETI has made great strides in astronomy (infrared, radio, etc.) discovering and aiding understanding cosmic structures and finding other planets.

169 posted on 12/03/2005 1:28:06 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: Question_Assumptions

First thing, let me say thanks for your posts. They're a breath of fresh air. Philosophically, I would disagree that the Lord wants to remain ambiguous. It is just that science isn't going to reveal the Creator's purpose. To be clear, the fool's errand is to try to use science when the search for the Creator's purpose involves intangibles such as faith. I'm not saying looking for meaning is a fool's errand, and I'm not saying that proving to one's self that the Creator exists is a fool's errand. It is just that science is the *wrong tool* for the job.


170 posted on 12/03/2005 1:39:13 PM PST by Liberal Classic (No better friend, no worse enemy. Semper Fi.)
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To: Question_Assumptions
First, why are they looking for extra-terrestrial intelligence without any evidence that such life exists?

Hypothesis - life exists on one planet thus it may exist on another.
Support - An advanced technological life form exists on Earth, preliminary data requiring more research indicates the possibility that life has or does exist on other planets (Mars, Jupiter and Saturn moons - Titan, Io, Europa, certain meteorites) Study aims - if life exists on another planet and has advanced to a broadcasting technology, it may broadcast signals in a type similar to Earth - powerful, narrow band transmissions that DO NOT exist in nature. Therefore, scanning frequencies may produce a record of such signals.

Second, why do they think it's possible to distinguish evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence from natural signals?

As stated in the article and explicitly at the SETI site, the requirements for artificial signals are specific to narrow band, high energy signals that do not occur in nature.

Third, would finding such a signal really prove the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence?

It would give evidence to an artificial signal source. That would support the hypothesis.

Fourth, why do they choose to look for certain specific types of evidence for extra-terrestrial life?

It's called science - you make a specific prediction and a use very specific conditions for experimentation and data. Otherwise, it becomes unsubstantiated anything goes wishful thinking - like ID.

This is very similar to ID proponents looking at life and finding it improbable that evolution alone can explain everything that we see.

Wrong - as another poster stated, it's like painting a bullseye and firing a bullet at it (scientific research) and firing a bullet and then painting a bullseye around it.

The third answer is that it wouldn't "prove" anything to scientific skeptic. Any signal of the sort being mentioned here could always be the product of some unexplained natural process

It could, which is why there are other projects that take possible artificial signals and do further study. That;s another major difference between science and ID - critical study.

The ID advocates are looking for biological features that are "not natural".

Absolutely wrong - ID assumes that naturally occurring structures are too complex to be natural simply because they are complex. SETI at least compares known artificial signals to natural ones and makes distinction on verifiable and repeatable studies - ID can not claim that. If supporters do - they lie.

So why does SETI get considered science and ID doesn't? Because while SETI involves faith and/or wishful thinking, it doesn't involve God.

No, because SETI uses scientific method. ID does not.

What ID claims is that there are types of complexity that can't be explained naturally.

Every claim by ID can and has been explained by natural causes.ID supporters refuse to acknowledge the mountains of evidence provided by molecular biology, organic chemistry, and physics. Nature continually produces complex forms through the interaction of many natural laws.

Whether it's a search for simplicity or complexity is irrelevant and a red herring.

Not if the "search for simplicity" has explicit requirements formulated before the experiment and before any conclusions are made. ID fails utterly in that the conclusion is made first and the search is non-specific and changing - completely failing any objectivity or reproducibility.

Would that be a fair assessment of SETI in your opinion?

Absolutely not - as stated in many posts and articles, SETI uses the scientific method. ID does not - it has nothing of science to it. It paints a bullseye around it's conclusion. It uses a fallacious method and a fallacious non-conclusion.

171 posted on 12/03/2005 2:14:03 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: antisocial
Can you explain how it has come to be that in a working Krebs cycle all of the necessary enzymes just happen to be being produced in just the correct quantities, yet if they are not there no energy is produced?

They are not produced in "just the correct quantities." Sometimes too much is produced and others, not enough. There is a feedback system of controlling the amount of enzymes and another on their activity that modulates activity within an oscillating range of function. There is no steady state.

Evolution would require that magically just the right mix of proteins and enzymes had to wait to be found in the same location before this could produce energy so it could reproduce. The chances of that happening are so extremely small as to be non existant. The universe hasn't been here long enough for such a remote occurance to have happened in a random fashion

Thinking like this results from a lack of knowledge and a lack of perspective. There are many versions of the cycle existing in nature. Many are not as efficient. This article is one of many investigating the origin of the Krebs cycle. Important is the statement:

Our analysis demonstrates that although there are several different chemical solutions to this problem, the design of this metabolic pathway as it occurs in living cells is the best chemical solution: It has the least possible number of steps and it also has the greatest ATP yielding. Study of the evolutionary possibilities of each one-taking the available material to build new pathways-demonstrates that the emergence of the Krebs cycle has been a typical case of opportunism in molecular evolution. Our analysis proves, therefore, that the role of opportunism in evolution has converted a problem of several possible chemical solutions into a single-solution problem, with the actual Krebs cycle demonstrated to be the best possible chemical design.

Many solutions to the production of ATP (energy for the cell) have been tried and are tried by various organisms. The Krebs cycle is prevalent as it provided an evolutionary advantage in efficiency over others. Key point - many solutions to the problem arose. Krebs isn't even the best - although it saved time by using existing mechanisms in protein production. Organisms using Krebs simply had enough of an advantage to reproduce and survive at a higher rate.

172 posted on 12/03/2005 2:33:08 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Because this group has the same goals and ideals and methods as the PostModernDeconstructionistTextualAnalyzers, to wit: the destruction of scientific inquiry as a method of investigation.

Do you find it odd, considering the brutal damage of the anti-science Dark Ages, that such a destructive fanaticism would arise again?

173 posted on 12/03/2005 2:39:17 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: Doctor Stochastic

"Likewise, an English actuary can predict how many people will die during the next year, but not which ones; that would take a Sicilian actuary."

Very funny.

Don Corleone Inc.

General Insurance and Disposal.


174 posted on 12/03/2005 2:46:01 PM PST by beaver fever
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To: Virginia-American; RadioAstronomer
From how far away could Earth be detected using our present technology? How many stars within that distance?

Consider a sphere with a radius of about 80 light years. That would place many thousands of stars in such a sphere. We've been broadcasting for quite a while.

175 posted on 12/03/2005 2:53:23 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: Liberal Classic
I realize I'm not authoritative, but the planets we've detected through the wobble are all gas giants.

As detection became more sensitive and was combined with spectrographic analysis, reflections from small, rocky planets have been detected.

Cut and paste links for the latest:
http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/large_rocky_planet.html
http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/08/26/new.planet/
http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=104243&org=NSF&from=news
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1031

176 posted on 12/03/2005 2:59:15 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: mad_as_he$$
Veger?

lol..hmmm...probably not.

177 posted on 12/03/2005 3:04:23 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: aimhigh; steve-b
There will never be such a signal.

Never? Big word.

There have been 1000-1400 candidate signals already found. However, those analyzed further have yet to meet the stringent requirements on reproducibility and verification.

Yet another reason why SETI is a scientific endeavor and ID fails utterly to any claim of science.

178 posted on 12/03/2005 3:17:04 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: b_sharp
Easily done. Just force them to grow within a box. They'll conform to the shape of the box as they grow.

lol..no, the crop 'circles' post. (combine - a machine for harvesting crops from a large field - like a really big mower)

The square watermelons I've seen.

179 posted on 12/03/2005 3:23:17 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: Fitzcarraldo; ckilmer
The fact that the elementary particles could even come together in such a way is support for a Designer.

Did you have even a basic course in chemistry, molecular biology or organic chemistry, and physics?

If so, you would understand that the essential governing forces, bond formation, secondary and tertiary structure of compounds naturally resulted in the shape and structure of DNA.

180 posted on 12/03/2005 3:28:31 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: Question_Assumptions; Physicist
In the case of SETI, it's the Drake Equation

SETI acknowledges the weakness of the Drake equation and doesn't use it as a basis. From SETI.org site:

When these various factors are multiplied together one can compute N, the number of transmitting civilizations. Unfortunately, many of the factors are poorly known, so estimates of N range from one (we are alone in the Galaxy) to thousands or even millions.

SETI starts with the premise that as technological life exists on one planet, it might exist on another. Therefor. signals from that other planet might be detected. (with stringent requirements BEFORE THE FACT as to those signals)

ID looks at certain complex structures and says that they must be designed - no stringent requirements before - only a supposition AFTER THE FACT - and no ability to reproduce of verify results, indeed there are absolute no investigative results in ID.

Crucial differences - one is science, the other is not.

SETI doesn't really have a quantitative, testable method of separating the natural from the designed.

Yes, they do - as stated here and one their site.

What they don't have is a way of proving that narrow band signals are created and not natural if one applies the same sort of natural cause skepticism that ID critics apply to ID.

Again, yes, they do. Other projects are in place that take the signals and analyze them as to possible natural sources, reproducibility, and verification.

Another feature that ID lacks - again placing ID outside of science.

ID proposes that if we can find a complex system that can't be explained via gradual evolution because the component parts have no reason to evolve unless all of the components are present, we should consider that evidence of God.

And every time ID is proved wrong, they shift the paradigm or ignore the evidence instead of revising the hypothesis to fit the facts.

Yet another reason ID is not science.

181 posted on 12/03/2005 3:44:44 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: ckilmer

"On April 8, 1960, he aimed a 26-meter radio telescope at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank at two nearby stars. Sweeping his single-channel receiver up and down the microwave band, Drake spent several weeks listening for extraterrestrial signals. Known as Project Ozma, this was the first modern SETI search."

SETI - a 45 year (and counting) waste of money and energy.


182 posted on 12/03/2005 3:54:13 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (outside a good dog, a book is your best friend. inside a dog it's too dark to read)
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To: Ophiucus

No. Unfortunately.


183 posted on 12/03/2005 7:05:10 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Ophiucus
I combined both replies into one reply...

Hypothesis - life exists on one planet thus it may exist on another.

Hypothesis - life exists on earth thus it may be created.

Support - An advanced technological life form exists on Earth, preliminary data requiring more research indicates the possibility that life has or does exist on other planets (Mars, Jupiter and Saturn moons - Titan, Io, Europa, certain meteorites)

Support - An advanced technological life form exists on Earth, some elements that life may not be explainable using the existing naturalistic scientific explanation for the development of life.

Study aims - if life exists on another planet and has advanced to a broadcasting technology, it may broadcast signals in a type similar to Earth - powerful, narrow band transmissions that DO NOT exist in nature. Therefore, scanning frequencies may produce a record of such signals.

Study aims - if life was created, it may contain evidence of that creation in the form of features that could not have arisen via evolution or some other entirely natural process.

I'm sorry but I'm not seeing the difference here. Life exists here so it may also exist on other planets? Why? Evidence that life has or does exist on other planets? If you apply sufficient amounts of wishful thinking not much different than that seen in ID advocates when they look for evidence of creation in flagellum, blood clotting, or other complex biological processes. Of course it's also a very large skip and jump from life to intelligent life, but that's convenient to ignore. But if you can imagine life, why not imagine intelligent life, too, right?

As stated in the article and explicitly at the SETI site, the requirements for artificial signals are specific to narrow band, high energy signals that do not occur in nature.

See below.

It would give evidence to an artificial signal source. That would support the hypothesis.

It would give evidence of a possible artificial source, just as a complex biological system that cannot be explained via evolutionary processes gives possible evidence of creation. All it really proves is that they've found a particular type of signal that no known natural process can explain, just as ID advocates suggest that if they can find biological systems that no known natural process can explain, they've found evidence to support their hypothesis. The difference?

It's called science - you make a specific prediction and a use very specific conditions for experimentation and data. Otherwise, it becomes unsubstantiated anything goes wishful thinking - like ID.

ID is making a specific prediction. SETI is looking for electro-magnetic signals for which there is no natural explanation using known theories under the assumption that such signals would not be natural and, thus, be evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence. ID is looking for biological systems for which there is no natural explanation using known theories under the assumption that such systems would not be natural and, thus, be evidence of a creative intelligence. The difference?

Wrong - as another poster stated, it's like painting a bullseye and firing a bullet at it (scientific research) and firing a bullet and then painting a bullseye around it.

Not at all. When ID picks a specific biological process as a candidate for irreducable complexity, it's the same as picking a particular type of electro-magnetic signal as evidence of an artificial transmission. When evolution finds an explanation for that biological system, it's the same as SETI advocates finding a signal that they think is artificial that turns out to have a natural explanation (e.g., the early detection of pulsars). That ID advocates are currently having no luck finding a specific biological system that evolutionist feel that they can't explain is no different from the deafening silence that SETI advocates hear in their search for narrow band transmissions. If a few failures is an indication of failure, then both should pack it up and give up.

It could, which is why there are other projects that take possible artificial signals and do further study. That;s another major difference between science and ID - critical study.

ID is inviting the same sort of critique. ID claims about flagellum and blood clotting have invited the evolutionists to propose natural explanations for those systems. That ID advocates have so far failed to find the smoking gun that they are looking for is no more a sign of failure than SETI's failure to find electro-magnetic signals for which there is no natural explanation. Both believe something is there yet have no proof of it.

Absolutely wrong - ID assumes that naturally occurring structures are too complex to be natural simply because they are complex.

You are confusing the reason for their skepticism and what they are looking for.

SETI at least compares known artificial signals to natural ones and makes distinction on verifiable and repeatable studies - ID can not claim that. If supporters do - they lie.

And why is SETI even searching for something they can't find in the first place? Because they assume complex biological structures are so likely to occur naturally that they must be popping up all over. Life must be out there. Intelligent life must be out there. Why? SETI and ID are two sides of the same coin which may, as far as we know, really be standing on it's end (life is entirely natural but intelligent life is so unlikely that it exists only on Earth).

No, because SETI uses scientific method. ID does not.

Things don't become true just because you say them often. SETI's search for a specific type of electro-magnetic emission uses the scientific method. ID's attempts to find biological systems that cannot be explained via natural selection uses the scientific method (such a search can be conducted via the scientific method, even if many ID advocates wander from the scientific method). The reason why both are looking for something for which no evidence currently exists is that they have a hunch or belief that it does. If that's not science, then it's not science for either one.

Every claim by ID can and has been explained by natural causes.

And SETI continues to not find the sorts of signals they are looking for. The Fermi Paradox suggests that they should stop trying to waste taxpayer money looking for something that likely isn't there.

ID supporters refuse to acknowledge the mountains of evidence provided by molecular biology, organic chemistry, and physics. Nature continually produces complex forms through the interaction of many natural laws.

That ID advocates include loons that don't understand biology and evolution is as relevant to whether ID is science or not as the loons who claim they were abducted by little green men are to whether SETI is science. Yes, nature continually produces all sorts of things but both SETI and ID claim that it's possible to distinguish the natural from the artificial. Either that's possible or it's not. If it's not possible, then they both need to give up. If it's possible for SETI, then it's possible for ID. That ID has failed to produce an example that has yet convinced the majority of biologists, chemists, and so on is significant, but no more significant than the fact that SETI has failed to turn up the sorts of signals that they are looking for.

Not if the "search for simplicity" has explicit requirements formulated before the experiment and before any conclusions are made.

So does the "search for irreducable complexity". The requirements are that the components of the biological system offer benefit that would explain their selection prior to the completion of the entire system. A + B + C + D offers a biological advantage while any three, without the fourth, offer no biological advantage or possibly even a detriment. Thus the natural processes and natural laws can't explain why it would have evolved naturally.

Yes, you can certainly point out that they haven't produced any such system for which many biologists, chemists, and so on are not satisfied that they can create a plausible natural explanation for. And I can point out that SETI hasn't produced any extra-terrestrial signals that we can't find a plausible natural explanation for. And let's not forget that there have been SETI false alarms in the past, just as there have been ID false alarms. If what either one was looking for was easy to find, they'd have either found it by now or given up.

ID fails utterly in that the conclusion is made first and the search is non-specific and changing - completely failing any objectivity or reproducibility.

SETI has also made several conclusions first. They've concluded, without evidence, that there is a good probability that ET intelligence exists. They've concluded, without exhaustive evidence, that narrow-band signals are artificial and not natural. And if they fail to find narrow band signals and adopt some other test to look for ET intelligence, would they invoke your wrath for being "non-specific and changing"?

What has SETI brought to the table that's objective or reproducable? The claim that narrow-band signals are artificial? That's an educated guess. In the past, they've suspected that pulsars and other signals were artificial, only to have them turn out to be natural. They certainly haven't found any more evidence that's passed scientific scrutiny than ID has. And that's not surprising, because both are looking for evidence of intelligence without knowing anything objective or solid about the intelligence they are looking for. Heck, the universe could be teeming with the equivalent of Niven's Kdatlyno, intelligent ETs blind to the EM spectrum, for whom the universe stops at the top of their atmosphere. Since SETI advocates know nothing about the ETs they are looking for, the could be barking up the wrong tree entirely.

Absolutely not - as stated in many posts and articles, SETI uses the scientific method. ID does not - it has nothing of science to it.

An assertion is not a proof, no matter how many times it's repeated.

It paints a bullseye around it's conclusion. It uses a fallacious method and a fallacious non-conclusion.

You are confusing ID, as the search for signs of intelligent design in biology, with ID advocates, as those who believe that such evidence is obvious. That is like confusing SETI, as the search for ET intelligence, with SETI advocates who believe in pyramids on Mars and aliens at Area 51. I'm not defending ID loons. What I am saying is that the idea that one can look for evidence that life was created within biological systems, regardless of how much of a fool's errand it is, is no less scientific than the idea that one can look for evidence that extra-terrestrial intelligent life forms exist by looking at EM emissions, no matter how much of a fool's errand that is. Both are ultimately a search for the unnatural among the natural.

Further, I find it no more harmful to tell public school students that some people look at life on earth and think it's unlikely that it evolved naturally without a creator than it is to tell public school students that some people look at life on earth and think it's so likely that it evolved naturally that they believe that the same thing has happened on other worlds and the universe may be full of intelligent life. Both are speculative opinions.

SETI acknowledges the weakness of the Drake equation and doesn't use it as a basis. From SETI.org site:

When they claim, "SETI starts with the premise that as technological life exists on one planet, it might exist on another," that's the same basic argument the Drake equation makes without the pseudo-math. The Drake equation was developed to put a number to the odds behind that "might". Of course the SETI sight just tosses another "might" onto the mix. There is one so there might be others. And those others might be detectable. Why bother looking? Because they think those mights are likely enough to find what they are looking for.

ID starts with the premise that intelligence can plan and create things. If such intelligence exists on a human scale, it might exist on a much higher scale that create humans. And we might be able to detect it in systems that are distinctly designed. It's the same two "mights".

ID looks at certain complex structures and says that they must be designed - no stringent requirements before - only a supposition AFTER THE FACT - and no ability to reproduce of verify results, indeed there are absolute no investigative results in ID.

I can argue, in the same way (confusing the advocates with the science, the preconceptions of the believers with the agnostic way in which their search can be carried out as science), that SETI looks at intelligent life on Earth and says that we can't be alone - no stringent requirements before - only a supposition AFTER THE FACT - and no ability to reproduce or verify results, indeed there are absolutley no investigative results in ID. And if you want to point to the false alarms in ID, I can point to false alarms in SETI.

Crucial differences - one is science, the other is not.

Constant repetition does not make something true.

Again, yes, they do. Other projects are in place that take the signals and analyze them as to possible natural sources, reproducibility, and verification.

Even if they analyze the signal and find no possible natural sources, that does not mean that no natural source exists. They can't prove the negative that science demands that they prove unless they know with certainly what did create the signal. Thus SETI could find a narrow band signal for which they have no natural explanation for but also no artificial explanation for. The skeptic would assume that a natural explanation exists while the optimist would assume that it was evidence of an ET intelligence. But the scientific demands placed on ID demand that science default to the skepticism and demand that SETI prove the negative -- that no natural source could possibly explain their transmission. Remember, given an infinite number of monkeys, an infinite number of typewriters, and an infinite amount off time, you will get the works of Shakespeare without any intelligent planning behind them. Thus the plays of Shakespeare, alone, are not proof of Shakespeare.

Another feature that ID lacks - again placing ID outside of science.

ID made claims of irreducable complexity. Biology responded with explanations of how they could have evolved. That some ID advocates lack any interest in such science is as relevant to the scientific nature of ID (as a theory, not as a movement) as those who refuse to believe the natural explanations for the face and pyramids on Mars are to the SETI movement. Seperate ID from the ID advocates. There are plenty of loons among those who believe in ET intelligence, too.

And every time ID is proved wrong, they shift the paradigm or ignore the evidence instead of revising the hypothesis to fit the facts.

You are confusing the validity of a hypothesis with the failure of a test. There have been several cases where SETI advocates detected signals that they thought were artificial, only to be proved wrong. They shifted their test to something different and a certain proportion of loons wearing tinfoil hats continue to believe that the original evidence was really valid and the government is covering it up. That has no bearing on the validity of SETI or whether it's science or not.

ID is looking for a biological system that is not natural as evidence of intelligence in the design of life. SETI is looking for electro-magnetic signals that are not natural as evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence. Both have failed to produce any evidence, so far, that does not have a plausible natural explanation. Should SETI give up because it's come up cold every time? Should ID? What's driving both? The same thing -- gut feeling based on their assessment of the odds that they are right.

Yet another reason ID is not science.

Whatever.

184 posted on 12/03/2005 10:02:48 PM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: Liberal Classic
First thing, let me say thanks for your posts. They're a breath of fresh air.

Thanks. I find myself in the unusual position of being a science fiction fan who has concluded that FTL travel is unlikely, ET intelligence is very improbable (even if ET life is possible), and thinks we'll be lucky to get off the planet in large numbers, never mind out of the solar system. Even when I accept the possibility that intelligent life evolved naturally on Earth, my own version of the Drake Equation suggests that we shouldn't hold our breath finding intelligent life anywhere else, at least not intelligent in a way we'd recognize. In fact, I'm tempted to believe that if we do have a Creator, He doesn't want us to get off the planet. And given how our intelligence seems to work counter to the survival of our species (we actively work to thwart reproduction and many have come to the intellectual opinion that reproduction is unnecessary), I wonder that if we have evolved naturally, if intelligence isn't an evolutionary dead end.

Philosophically, I would disagree that the Lord wants to remain ambiguous. It is just that science isn't going to reveal the Creator's purpose. To be clear, the fool's errand is to try to use science when the search for the Creator's purpose involves intangibles such as faith.

I think it's possible to argue that faith exists in the realm of uncertainty. A God who presented us with a universe that is clearly natural is inviting us to believe that the universe is entirely natural and thus Godless. By creating uncertain evidence, God would ensure that certainty is always a matter of faith rather than science.

I'm not saying looking for meaning is a fool's errand, and I'm not saying that proving to one's self that the Creator exists is a fool's errand. It is just that science is the *wrong tool* for the job.

Well, if one is using "prove" in the scientific sense, then science is the tool to be used. And so long as science doesn't have all the answers, one is invited to look elsewhere for at least some of them.

I'm not saying you are wrong. I think you are making an interesting point that I essentially agree with. My point is simply that I think it could be possible that the purpose of uncertainty is to make faith important.

185 posted on 12/03/2005 10:16:40 PM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: Ophiucus

"Many solutions to the production of ATP (energy for the cell) have been tried and are tried by various organisms."

The connundrum is this: how was any living cell able to survive and reproduce before one of these processes became successful?


186 posted on 12/04/2005 6:12:21 AM PST by antisocial (Texas SCV - Deo Vindice)
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To: All

Joining the party way late. Looks like its been hashed to death already. Sigh.


187 posted on 12/04/2005 11:24:20 AM PST by RadioAstronomer (Senior member of Darwin Central)
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To: Question_Assumptions
some elements that life may not be explainable using the existing naturalistic scientific explanation for the development of life.

Only religion can explain.....

Study aims - if life was created, it may contain evidence of that creation in the form of features that could not have arisen via evolution or some other entirely natural process.

I'm sorry but I'm not seeing the difference here.

There is no experimentation here, no studies, no data. Every example can be explained with known physical processes.

Why? Evidence that life has or does exist on other planets? If you apply sufficient amounts of wishful thinking not much different than that seen in ID advocates when they look for evidence of creation in flagellum, blood clotting, or other complex biological processes. Of course it's also a very large skip and jump from life to intelligent life, but that's convenient to ignore. But if you can imagine life, why not imagine intelligent life, too, right?

That's why it is the "if" statement in the hypothesis. We have one example of intelligent life - could there be another.

ID doesn't even have one example of data.

ID is looking for biological systems for which there is no natural explanation using known theories under the assumption that such systems would not be natural and, thus, be evidence of a creative intelligence. The difference?

As above, ID doesn't even have one data point. Every example ID attempts to use can be explained with known phenomena. ID doesn't even have the predictive ability outside of 'it's too complex to be natural' despite the overwhelming evidence of complex systems occurring naturally.

It would give evidence of a possible artificial source

Exactly, which is why other projects analyze those signals and attempt to verify. That's part of science.

just as a complex biological system that cannot be explained via evolutionary processes gives possible evidence of creation

Except that that data does not exist. 'It is complicated so it must have been created' has no ability to be supported by any experimental data. Again, ID is not science.

That ID advocates have so far failed to find the smoking gun that they are looking for is no more a sign of failure than SETI's failure to find electro-magnetic signals for which there is no natural explanation

Again, ID fails to have any method of regimented study. SETI at least has a well defined protocol for study and internal critique of results. ID jumps from one complex system to another, pointing at it and saying aha! you can't explain that! Oh you can? Darn. Well you can't explain that one! Oh, you can...um, how about this one?

No science again.

Because they assume complex biological structures are so likely to occur naturally that they must be popping up all over. Life must be out there. Intelligent life must be out there. Why?

Not must - might be. Reread, since life exists here, it might exist elsewhere. Like determining gravitational acceleration on Earth - since a bowling ball accelerates at g then another object might do the same. So experimenters drop a bunch of objects and measure. Simple science.

SETI has measured less than 1% of they visible sky - still alot of rocks to drop.

And SETI continues to not find the sorts of signals they are looking for. The Fermi Paradox suggests that they should stop trying to waste taxpayer money looking for something that likely isn't there.

SETI has found about 1400 possible signals meeting the criteria. Most still being analyzed and waiting for reproduction and verification.

Once again, there are no taxpayer dollars being spent. SETI is privately funded.

So does the "search for irreducable complexity". The requirements are that the components of the biological system offer benefit that would explain their selection prior to the completion of the entire system. A + B + C + D offers a biological advantage while any three, without the fourth, offer no biological advantage or possibly even a detriment

The problem is that the idea or tenet of irreducible complexity or A+B+C+D argument has consistently been proven wrong. Multiple times non-essential or non-advantageous processes have been shown to have merged to produce a new A+B+C+D process. Never has there been one positive evidence for ID. SETI at least has had possible positives and zero negatives.

When the central hypothesis has persistently been proven wrong, scientists formulate a new hypothesis. ID dogmatists do not.

SETI looks at intelligent life on Earth and says that we can't be alone - no stringent requirements before - only a supposition AFTER THE FACT

You are inaccurate. There is no "can't be alone" but a hypothesis before the study was made. A hypothesis that changes with new discovery, like pulsars requiring a narrowing of signal requirements. Pulsars are noisy over broadband. The was no after the fact supposition.

And if you want to point to the false alarms in ID, I can point to false alarms in SETI.

And SETI uses the scientific process to analyze and critique it's own data through a regimented process. Again, ID does not.

What's driving both? The same thing -- gut feeling based on their assessment of the odds that they are right.

Again, absolutely incorrect. SETI is driven by the investigation through scientific method for knowledge and understanding. ID is an ideologically driven quest.

188 posted on 12/04/2005 12:31:22 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: antisocial
The connundrum is this: how was any living cell able to survive and reproduce before one of these processes became successful?

Not much of a conundrum. Many organisms use light, heat, anaerobic processes, etc. to produced and use energy through other processes.

189 posted on 12/04/2005 12:37:04 PM PST by Ophiucus
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ET Didit placemark


190 posted on 12/04/2005 4:14:50 PM PST by dread78645 (Sorry Mr. Franklin, We couldn't keep it.)
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To: Ophiucus
If so, you would understand that the essential governing forces, bond formation, secondary and tertiary structure of compounds naturally resulted in the shape and structure of DNA.

The essential governing forces are described by equations that include measured dimensionless constants that cannot deviate appreciably before the current universe becomes uninhabitable. Somehow, these constants appear to have been selected for fitness.

"...The strong nuclear force coupling constant holds together the particles in the nucleus of an atom. If the strong nuclear force were slightly weaker, multi-proton nuclei would not hold together. Hydrogen would be the only element in the universe.

If this force were slightly stronger, not only would hydrogen be rare in the universe, but the supply of the various life-essential elements heavier than iron (elements resulting from the fission of very heavy elements) would be insufficient. Either way, life would be impossible..."

Other examples of this type can be found here:

http://www.reasons.org/resources/apologetics/design.shtml?main

191 posted on 12/04/2005 7:16:56 PM PST by Fitzcarraldo
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To: Ophiucus
The problem is that the idea or tenet of irreducible complexity or A+B+C+D argument has consistently been proven wrong. Multiple times non-essential or non-advantageous processes have been shown to have merged to produce a new A+B+C+D process. Never has there been one positive evidence for ID. SETI at least has had possible positives and zero negatives.

I think we've hit the point where we are just going to go round and round on this but I'll try one last time on this point and the point about having one example to work from.

The idea of irreducible complexity hasn't been proven wrong. Doing so would require proving the negative, that no biological system in nature can't be explained by natural processes. I was not aware that modern biological knowledge was so comprehensive that it could claim that. What's been proven wrong (or at least unpersuasive) are specific candidates of irredicible complexity, not the idea, itself, even if you want to consider it a fool's errand.

No, there hasn't been one candidate of irreducable complexity that's panned out to the satisfaction of evolutionary biologists. But there also hasn't been on candidate of signals from extra-terrestrial intelligence that's panned out, either, and there sure have been negatives. Need I remind you, again, that such signals as those produced by pulsars where originally thought by those hopeful to find signs of ET intelligence to be created signals because of their regularity. They didn't pan out. That's a negative, no matter how much it might pain you to admit it. Yes, SETI has refined their criteria from those experiences and yes SETI has more candidates, but those may turn out to be just like pulsars -- natural emissions that at first look appear to be artificfial. And as our understanding of biological systems increases, ID may find more candidates for irreducable complexity, as well, or may determine some other criteria by which naturally evolved life could be differentiated from created life. That you seem to ignore this process of error and refinement in SETI (as if the entire enterprise has forever been confined to a singular search for a specific type of narrow-band signal) yet consider it damning for ID seems inexplicable to me.

And, yes, we have a single example of intelligent life from which we might wonder if there are other examples. We also don't have a single observable example of many of the processes assumed by evolutionary science because the conditions under which they happened no longer exist, or so forth. That absence of examples lead others to wonder if there might be other explanations to fill in those gaps.

The absence of knowledge or data makes us wonder about what we don't know. You are satisfied that evolution is sufficient to explain the presence of life on Earth so you don't wonder if another process was involved. Other's are not so certain, for a variety of reasons both good and bad, and do wonder. So they look for evidence of those other processes. You might consider that foolish. People who don't wonder whether extra terrestrial intelligence exists think SETI is foolish. Those who believe in global warming wonder how to stop it. Those who don't believe in global warming think they are foolish. By all means criticize the ID advocate, the SETI advocate, or the global warming advocate when they say something stupid or incorrect but this whole obsession over what is or isn't Science® is a bit silly.

192 posted on 12/04/2005 8:01:27 PM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: Fitzcarraldo
What you need to realize is that evolutionist's live in a world where plays are written by monkeys randomly banging on keyboards rather than writers. Since they know that the works of Shakespeare could statistically be produced by an infinite number of monkeys given an infinite amount of time with an infinite number of typewriters, they see no reason to go looking for Shakespeare. That Romeo and Juliet exists is not proof of Shakespeare but proof that the right monkey just happened to bang on the right keys at the right time in the infinite expanse of time. And if we lived in a universe full of monkeys banging away at typewriters and churning out the odd play every now and then, that wouldn't be an unreasonable assumption. The relgious believer wants to find "Shakespeare" among the monkeys because they can actually feel the presence of the writer past the monkeys. For that reason, they are unsatisfied by the explanation of infinite monkeys and, instead, seek to find the presence of the writer in the text. I don't think that's unreasonable, either. But you aren't going to understand the other side unless you understand their perspective. It's not going to make any sense from your perspective.
193 posted on 12/04/2005 8:24:21 PM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: Question_Assumptions
"The idea of irreducible complexity hasn't been proven wrong."

The idea of irreducible complexity IC is just nonsense.
I think now you want a reason why IC is nonsense. Just look at how IC is defined. - Which definition do you have? The IC definition is changing so quickly to adapt to the gaps each earlier definition left. Give me your explicit definition and I show you the nonsense.


"No, there hasn't been one candidate of irreducible complexity that's panned out to the satisfaction of evolutionary biologists."

No wonder by these definitions.

"But there also hasn't been on candidate of signals from extra-terrestrial intelligence that's panned out, either, and there sure have been negatives."

Wrong! Your limitation to extraterrestrial signals is not valid. How loud would the ID crowd cry out if some kind of IC found in bacterias but the scientist will say you still got no prove of IC in more complex organism. The boys and girls at SETI know very well how their "IC" signals look like.

The concept of SETI is:
We got one example. Let's look for others.

The concept of IC is:
We got no example. Therefor our idea is still correct.
194 posted on 12/05/2005 2:47:27 AM PST by MHalblaub (Tell me in four more years (No, I did not vote for Kerry))
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To: Question_Assumptions
"...Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the Old One. I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice..."

Albert Einstein

195 posted on 12/05/2005 8:08:03 AM PST by Fitzcarraldo
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To: MHalblaub
The idea of irreducible complexity IC is just nonsense.

The idea is to distinguish the natural from the created, the exact same objective SETI has when looking at electromagnetic signals.

I think now you want a reason why IC is nonsense. Just look at how IC is defined. - Which definition do you have? The IC definition is changing so quickly to adapt to the gaps each earlier definition left.

And if you look at the early stages of SETI, they were jumping on all sorts of things as signals from extra-terrestrial intelligences. Heck, the SETI scientists who fired off a message in 1974 failed to M13 will miss its intended target because the scientists didn't acount for the movement of the galaxy. Again, I repeat, that IC advocacy includes loons and mistakes has no more bearing on the scientific merit of IC than the loons and mistakes made by SETI advocates has on SETI. Or does real Science® demand 100% perfection these days?

Give me your explicit definition and I show you the nonsense.

A candidate for irreducable complexity will be a biological system made up of components produced by different genes that work together in such a way that the individual parts (and their hypothetical evolutionary precursors) either offer no advantage or a detriment to survival until the entire system is functioning in its entirety.

In simpler terms, find a biological system that can't be explained by natural selection.

No wonder by these definitions.

The early SETI advocates cast a very wide net that caught all sorts of natural phenomena, too. And let's not forget that popular advocacy for the possiblity extra-terrestrial intelligence includes people who hand out at Area 51, believe that little gray men abduct people with their flying saucers, and believe that there are faces and pyramids on Mars (belief in which is widespread enough to make it into mainstream movies). One of the games being played here is to widen the category ID advocacy to include as many loons as possible while narrowing SETI advocacy to a handful of respectable scientists using radio telescopes to look for a single type of evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence.

This is the same game that the mainstream media plays when they cover protest marches, taking effort to show liberal protesters as normal people (despite the fact that their protesters are full of freaks and loons) while showing conservative protesters as loons (despite the fact that most of their protesters are average people). Compare apples and apples, please.

Wrong! Your limitation to extraterrestrial signals is not valid.

And what limit is that?

How loud would the ID crowd cry out if some kind of IC found in bacterias but the scientist will say you still got no prove of IC in more complex organism. The boys and girls at SETI know very well how their "IC" signals look like.

So are you claiming that SETI has already found proof of extraterrestial intelligence? The SETI people know what humans might do if they were sending electromagnetic signals that might be detected by another species of intelligent life. But they really have no clue what any ET intelligent beings are up to because they've never seen one. They are guessing that aliens might solve problems the same way we would.

The concept of SETI is:
We got one example. Let's look for others.

OK.

The concept of IC is:
We got no example. Therefor our idea is still correct.

No. The concept for IC is, "We don't know if we have an example of a natural process or a created process. A lot of people think it's a natural process, but it might not be, so let's look for evidence that it's not.

Apples and oranges, but both are fruit.

196 posted on 12/05/2005 9:04:01 AM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: Fitzcarraldo
Sometimes the inner voice is right and sometimes the inner voice is wrong. Einstein's "inner voice" also helped him puzzle out General Relativity. But I think it's dangerous for scientists to close ranks around mainstream theories and turn them into dogma, by putting down anyone with an inner voice that conflicts with the mainstream.
197 posted on 12/05/2005 9:05:27 AM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: Question_Assumptions
"The idea [of IC] is to distinguish the natural from the created, the exact same objective SETI has when looking at electromagnetic signals."

And I will show you with your definition of IC that it is impossible to differ natur from 'design':
"A candidate for irreducable complexity will be a biological system made up of components produced by different genes that work together in such a way that the individual parts (and their hypothetical evolutionary precursors) either offer no advantage or a detriment to survival until the entire system is functioning in its entirety."

Let's say we have six genes A+, B+, C+ and A-, B- and C- with no advantages or even a detriment to survival. Genes with detriment are no problem within an evolutionary process. The saying 'survival of the fittest' is not a proper definition of an evolutionary process. Maybe A+ and A- formed on an earlier stage a beneficial gene A.
B+, C+, B- and C- formed a useful gene BC.
A and BC may still be working and the others are just some corrupted copies. But A+, B+ and C+ will make together a profitable gene ABC+.

So your definition of IC is a proper subset of evolutionary processes. Therefore we can reach an IC status with just using evolution. So your definition of IC is nice but can in no way lead to any detection of intelligence except you say evolution is intelligent.

"In simpler terms, find a biological system that can't be explained by natural selection."

Well, as I have shown you your IC definition can be explained by natural selection.


Back to SETI:
"So are you claiming that SETI has already found proof of extraterrestial intelligence?"

No, I claim we knew what characteristics we can expect from signals with frequency modulation (FM) or amplitude modulation (AM). The physical characteristics implied by these techniques are observable and therefore very likely intelligent.

"The SETI people know what humans might do if they were sending electromagnetic signals that might be detected by another species of intelligent life. But they really have no clue what any ET intelligent beings are up to because they've never seen one. They are guessing that aliens might solve problems the same way we would."

I think this is quite a good guess because em-signals are the fastest we knew for communication. So if they use em-signals the aliens will leave physical traces. The next step after detecting an ET-signal would be a call back. This step is impossible for IC. Maybe it would take a long time to get an answer.
198 posted on 12/06/2005 5:52:15 AM PST by MHalblaub (Tell me in four more years (No, I did not vote for Kerry))
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To: MHalblaub
Let's say we have six genes A+, B+, C+ and A-, B- and C- with no advantages or even a detriment to survival. Genes with detriment are no problem within an evolutionary process. The saying 'survival of the fittest' is not a proper definition of an evolutionary process. Maybe A+ and A- formed on an earlier stage a beneficial gene A. B+, C+, B- and C- formed a useful gene BC.

A and BC may still be working and the others are just some corrupted copies. But A+, B+ and C+ will make together a profitable gene ABC+. So your definition of IC is a proper subset of evolutionary processes.

All of which may well be the case, once you understand how those six genes work and how they got there. That's why the questions raised by IC are useful to evolution. For every IC candidate that doesn't pan out, you've got a better understanding of an evolutionary process, correct? At the core, IC will go around identifying things that haven't been explained yet, inviting their explanation.

But to focus on your example, instead of begging the question and assuming that the six hypothetical genes have useful precursors in some combination, assume that once their interaction and development is fully understood, science can't figure out the precursors. Suppose there was no useful beneficial "A". Suppose any BC gene combination is always fatally detrimental without the specific mutation of "A" in combination with specific mutations of BC. Whether you believe we'll actually find such a combination or not is irrelevant. Such combinations can be imagined. What's the harm in searching for them?

Therefore we can reach an IC status with just using evolution. So your definition of IC is nice but can in no way lead to any detection of intelligence except you say evolution is intelligent.

What it will detect is "not naturally explainable". Things that are not natural tend to be artificial. Things that are artificial tend to be created. It's a leap, yes, but not an unreasonable one.

Well, as I have shown you your IC definition can be explained by natural selection.

With an example that doesn't allow for the possibility that IC is searching for. All you really said was that you don't believe that a gene combination that can't be explained by natural processes exists. I don't find them all that difficult to imagine, regardless of whether I think anybody will ever find a real example, because I know that all combinations of genes are not viable. Therefore, I don't find it all that difficult to imagine a non-viable path between two combinations of genes. Bear in mind that I'm not saying that I know for certain such a situation exists in nature. I'm simply saying that it could, and that's what ID is looking for with IC.

No, I claim we knew what characteristics we can expect from signals with frequency modulation (FM) or amplitude modulation (AM). The physical characteristics implied by these techniques are observable and therefore very likely intelligent.

Likely but not definitely. Unless they can decode clear message information from such a signal, they'll still have a mystery for which the believers can look to as proof and the skeptics can wave away as an unexplained natural phenomena.

I think this is quite a good guess because em-signals are the fastest we knew for communication.

I don't. Like I said, it's entirely possible that intelligent aliens develop on a planet with lots of interference, develop in the oceans of their world, are blind to the EM spectrum, and so forth. They might not be curious, might not be adventurous, and might not care what happens beyond their own world. For much of their existence on Earth so far, intelligent humans neither sent EM signals nor had the capacity to receive them. If a planet has a dwindling atmosphere like Mars, intelligent life could evolve and die out before they ever discovered how to use electricity. I think that real aliens, if they exist, will likely be so alien that we'll have difficulty finding a common frame of reference in which to communicate. We won't be finding Mr. Spock, ET, or Jar Jar out there.

So if they use em-signals the aliens will leave physical traces.

Suppose SETI searches 100% of the sky and finds no EM signals of the sort they are looking for. Then what? Do they give up or look for something different? Would anything have been proved either way?

The next step after detecting an ET-signal would be a call back. This step is impossible for IC.

I think many religious people would disagree with you on that point. For a religious person, the presence of God can be as real as those signals. If you are an atheist or agnostic, I don't expect you to get it. Just accept that ID advocates don't consider God hypothetical.

I suspect that if they found good IC candidates, they'd try to find "purpose" or "meaning" in those genes just as SETI would look for "purpose" or "meaning" in any signals that they detect. Assuming intelligence, that's the logical next step.

Maybe it would take a long time to get an answer.

There is no guarantee of any answer, even if there were aliens responsible, especially if the signal has travelled for tens of thousands of years and it takes tens of thousands of years for our signal to get back to them. If you don't get an answer, then what? Maybe they wren't looking. Maybe they've died off while the signals were travelling. Maybe it was just a natural signal that looked like a created signal. Suppose SETI get's a good candidate signal, sends a reply, waits the prerequisite number of years, and hears silence. Then what?

199 posted on 12/06/2005 9:52:29 AM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: All; ckilmer

Some wise words from some wise scientists:

"A bacterium is far more complex than any inanimate system known to man. There is not a laboratory in the world which can compete with the biochemical activity of the smallest living organism."—Sir James Gray, chapter in Science Today (1961), p. 21 [professor of Zoology, Cambridge University].

"Now we know that the cell itself is far more complex than we had imagined. It includes thousands of functioning enzymes, each one of them a complex machine itself. Furthermore, each enzyme comes into being in response to a gene, a strand of DNA. The information content of the gene—its complexity—must be as great as that of the enzyme it controls." —*Frank B. Salisbury, "Doubts about the Modern Synthetic Theory of Evolution," in American Biology Teacher, September 1971, pp. 336-338.

"A living cell is a marvel of detailed and complex architecture. Seen through a microscope there is an appearance of almost frantic activity. On a deeper level it is known that molecules are being synthesized at an enormous rate. Almost any enzyme catalyzes the synthesis of more than 100 other molecules per second. In ten minutes, a sizeable fraction of total mass of a metabolizing bacterial cell has been synthesized. The information content of a simple cell had been estimated as around 1012 bits, comparable to about a hundred million pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica."—*Carl Sagan, "Life" in Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropaedia (1974 ed.), pp. 893-894.

"Each of those 100 trillion cells functions like a walled city. Power plants generate the cell's energy. Factories produce proteins, vital units of chemical commerce. Complex transportation systems guide specific chemicals from point to point within the cell and beyond. Sentries at the barricades control the export and import markets, and monitor the outside world for signs of danger. Disciplined biological armies stand ready to grapple with invaders. A centralized genetic government maintains order."—Peter Gwynne, *Sharon Begley, and *Mary Hager, "The Secrets of the Human Cell," in Newsweek, August 20, 1979, p. 48.

http://www.pathlights.com/ce_encyclopedia/08dna05.htm


200 posted on 12/07/2005 12:41:36 AM PST by Sun (Hillary Clinton is pro-ILLEGAL immigration. Don't let her fool you. She has a D- /F immigr. rating.)
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