Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Tribune States it Plain

Yesterday's Chicago Tribune contained this excellent article about the utter vacuity of ID:

To advocates of intelligent design, the human sperm's tiny tail bears potent evidence that Charles Darwin was wrong--it is, they say, a molecular machine so complex that only God could have produced it.

But biologists now are starting to piece together how such intricate bits of biochemistry evolved. Although the basic research was not meant as a response to intelligent design, it is unraveling the very riddles that proponents said could not be solved.

In contrast, intelligent design advocates admit they still lack any way of using hard evidence to test their theories, which many biologists find revealing.

The new insights on evolution at its smallest scale were a major yet little-noticed reason why a federal judge late last year struck down a plan in Dover, Pa., that would have put intelligent design in public school classrooms. The findings the judge cited will provide the ultimate test of ideas about the origins of life, more lasting than court rulings or the politics of the moment.

Most scientists have long rejected intelligent design, or ID, on the grounds that it is a religious proposal not grounded in observation. ID adherents say biochemistry actually supports their view. They argue that many tiny mechanisms--the tails of sperm and bacteria, the immune system, blood clotting--are so elaborate they must have been purposely designed.

Yet biologists have made major strides on each of those phenomena since the first ID books were published in the mid-1990s.

Well said. Go read the whole article.


At 6:10 AM, Blogger Field Agent said...


Having absorbed the entire post-Darwin science paradigm decades ago, I find it quite amusing to see entire sites dedicated to rehashing the arguments of the 1880's.

Forget ID, it was a crock, and has lost in court.Now mend your own mental monkey-bars.

By being strict-evolutionary, or "merely Darwinist", or, if you like Stephen J. Gould-ish on these issues, you enter into a thralldom as limited, as retrograde, as puerile as the "God-in-His-Heaven" paradigm that you believe yourself to be combatting.

The one difference is that you take the white beard of deity off Yahweh, and glue it on to Charles Darwin, or Stephen Gould, before bowing down,and uttering your worshipful "Salaams".

Fully aside from ID, and in direct opposition to it, latest thought attests to the seeming inevitable emergence of complexity, in the form of information, since the first few instants of the big bang. The primeval plasma coalesced into particles, inherently more complex than the plasma, and they in turn coalesced into larger structures inherently more complex than themselves, and so on, right up through biogenesis, and now , if you will, computers.

Seen as a whole, this process seems to be a previously unclassified mathematical chaotic attractor acting in a counter-entropic manner, that is to say, running exactly counter to the expectations one would have in following the laws of thermodynamics.

Not positing an author, but actually seeing the phenomenon as self-induced by an inherency within matter & reality itself, a kind of Tao, or way, or fate, or preference, those who are furthest forward in exploring these matters believe that reality designs itself, without a god, and then hyperorganizes itself at increasing complexities, in pure Darwinian fashion, until reality enters spontaneously into a complexity which is not god, but which in the end cannot be discerned as being any different than what god would have been, had he existed, which he does not.

Get it?
This is known as Teilhardian/Darwinian scientific Pan-entheism, and Stephen J Gould was too stupid to comprehend it.
So get on with it, and read some Freeman Dyson, or some Teilhard de Chardin, you have some catching up to do.

Harry, the Springer Spaniel

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Allen MacNeill said...

Unfortunately, the first sentence in the Tribune article contains a huge error: the tail of a human sperm cell is a eukaryotic flagellum (technically, an undulapodium), and not the bacterial flagellum (i.e. the "butt propellor") so often touted by Michael Behe and Co. as "irreducibly complex." Having an error this big in the very first sentence so compromises the author's credibility that the rest of the article becomes suspect. Don't they have fact checkers at the Trib?

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Jason said...


The first sentence is accurate. Michael Behe used the cilium of a sperm as one of his examples in Darwin's Black Box.

Elsewhere in the article the author does seem to treat the bacterial flagellum and the cilium of the sperm as being effectively the same structure. That is an error, but hardly a major one.

At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But biologists now are starting to piece together how such intricate bits of biochemistry evolved. Although the basic research was not meant as a response to intelligent design, it is unraveling the very riddles that proponents said could not be solved.

In a world where science is approached with a some-things-are-too-complex-to-explain-naturally, science wouldn't even bother investigating such "riddles," much less try to devise testable mechanics to explain them.

A world in which the ID "model" prevailed, curiousity would be diminished. After all, if you concede a priori that something is not explainable, you're hardly going to "waste time" looking for an explanation.

This is the antithesis of scientific inquiry. I just don't understand how people honestly think ID adds anything to science.

At 6:23 AM, Blogger Field Agent said...

Sufficient creativity applied to precise mental modeling from current physics
can bring the inner vision to bear on ANY level of complexity.

It is important that the envisioner NOT be a mere "camp follower",
but actually understand the physics personally.

The koan demands stubborn application to the work, episodes of analysis, synthesis, defeat, rest, and acceptance of autonomously arising solutions.
No more strenuous than the building of a house,
or the memorization of a Shakespeare play,
the work yields fruit typically in weeks to months,
(never hours or days).

The application of the method invalidates the premise of the "Intelligent Design" argument, by unfolding previously unseen complexities & synchronizations
in rigorous physics , to any depth desired.
(No Deus ex Machina has been encountered yet.)

If any tinkering occurred,
it therefore occurred within Planck time
of the initial big bang instant.
Let us issue a call for papers,
or computer modeling realizations
of the first 10^-39 second of existence,
and see whose fingers show up in the cookie jar!

And let us undo Bill Clinton's criminal blunder
in de-funding Superconducting Supercollider.

Do this, and "ID" will blow away
along with Ptolemy's epicircles.

Existence emerges.

The succession of evolutionary eras, different in kind, is the key to envisioning
the universe in toto, start to finish.

Although the same physical laws apply throughout, the emergence of subdomains,
stuck states (potential energy reservoirs), and the interactions of
partial freezing cause later, more entropically ensnared episodes
to have the simplistic underlying physics masked, sapped of directness,
and stored in macro pockets of often daunting complexity.

When a small macro architecture (snippet) becomes potentialized in a mixed phase slurry,
molecular adherences driven by simple static valence attraction can empower
partial phase change domain spreading both enabled by, attracted to, and reproducing
the randomly formed architecture.

Brownian motion is the driver, and yet the localized charge regime in the presence of
the architectural snippet(s) will deform brownian random pathwalks into an apparency
of purpose.

It has arisen randomly. Yet certain arrangements potentialize aggregation more strongly,
and are predominantly reproduced. Had one a counter-entropic hyper-vision, one might
posit a time prior to emergence, when a true mathematical calculation of possible
forms would undoubtedly produce forms that did arise. However, that is not
possible to human scientists at this time. Only the imagining of it, as a model.
However, the near-infinite set of initial conditions precludes a rigorous model at this time,
with the calculational resources available.

Suffice it to say that a correct list of initials, with a correct application of pure physics,
could have no alternate result other than what has actually occurred.
The prior statement, taking no liberties with statistical probability, is equivalent to stating
that the universe, in its initial femtosecond of existence,
contained the attractor determining its final outcome.

Such time-local randomness as is available for speculative inspection may therefore
be termed local, apparent-full-random , in a many-order-of-magnitude-smaller subset
of a globally determined attracted-random universe.

The global attractor , present at time-birth, will of needs be a unity.
It is obvious that a spatial, temporal, physical unity, as was
the random quantum wave anomaly causing reality's emergence,
contained , at that instant, no subsets.

So where have we gone, and what do we have?
The entire post-big-bang universe has been subsiding locally,
even as it has expanded globally.

All local phenomena, anomaly formation, matter's coalescence,
galactic aggregation, star ignition, nuclear transmogrification,
planetary collection, litho, atmo, bio, no-o sphere coalescence,
all are subsidance phenomena.

We are now, and always have been, freezing.
But not a simple freezing, as it turns out.

The almost infinitely varied interaction of mixed phase
crystallization ocurring in all local domains
has as its own global character, the nature of a slurry.
The more mobile, energetic, and gas-like phenomena,
such as light, or neutrino flux,
pervading a space inhabited by less energetic clumped regimes,
responding to the mobiles either weakly (in the open) or strongly
(in the clumps), with gravitic/entropic rundown the be all and end all.

Once the first neutron married the first electron,
architecture existed.
Once universal transparency emerged,
Slurry was.
The simplicity of creation had ended.
Complexification had arisen.
The arc is fully determined.
The local will vary, and can wriggle in its chains,
But not much.
The attractor cannot now be computed, as we have stated above.
Trapped in Einsteinian locality, all investigators to date
lack a sufficient ladder to peek out of the well.
The collection of all-wavelength cosmic maps,
and the building of advanced accellerators must be pursued,
lest we not have our best possible dataset.
Here is hoping my little realization provides a mental rung or two.

While trapped in a potential energy well
can an investigator detect, compute, or reveal
the global attractor?

My own answer would be that nothing ought to prevent it.
However a sufficient sample set, sufficiently distributed,
would be difficult to devise and collect.
My advice is, start working on it now.

While trapped in the Einstein local
ought cosmologists despair of discerning globalities?

Heisenberg notwithstanding, it appears from inside my life,
the most imperative of imperatives, the nature of my nature,
and I advise its continuance, despite personal blindness,
as an ethical mandate, intuitively apprehended.

Because alternative aggregations are easily envisioned,
and partially computable, the existence of reality-bias is proven.
With no bias, all possible permutations would exist in equal portion.
Yet some easily envisioned states and particles have no exemplars.
The logical conclusion is inescapable.

Reality is biased.
Physics is attracted.
The attractor is a unity.
The universal attractor imparts bias throughout all subdomains,
creating in some cases, skewed randomness, an apparency of purpose.

Except in mental models, it cannot be evaded.
In the fashioning of mental models, one might envision
a new physics, embrace all the non-emergent permutations,
unconnect phenomena which are connected in reality,
and therefore fail as modeler, with no apparent consequence,
except isolation from the actual.

The fashioner of isolated, unconnected models,
deceptively seductive in mock completeness, is an enemy of science.
Science is apolitical, we do not model in order to convince.
We model in order to understand.
The misuse of the modelers knife to convince is a perversion of craft,
in pursuit of the partial, the delusional, the dead end of rhetoric,
and ought to be avoided.

What must also be avoided in conscience is the use
of simplistic cartoon reductions of highly conditional realities,
on audiences unable to discriminate reduction from original.
We may dazzle rubes at will, once we abandon this ethic,
and yet it is not the rube corps to whom we owe allegiance,
but rather , the existent all, approachable from our stupidity well,
only by minds of greatest purity,
at occasional moments of greatest clarity.
Question: At big bang, how many degrees of freedom existed? An extremely large, non-infinite number.
What determines this number? The set of all particles empirically resident. This number is commensurate with the totality of wave entanglements resident.
In the tiny spherical spacetime domain in Planck time at big bang, entanglement may be envisioned as total, all to all, and as domain inflation stretches this entangled all spacewise, all particles at some point suffer phase change from 'entangled, spatially co-resident', to 'entangled, spatially separate' to 'uncoupled, spatially separate'. We might term these phase changes as "The emergence of particles"
After big bang, but before particle emergence, what is to be said of light, light speed, and the photon? Frequency, unlike light-travel, has no Einsteinian limit. In a domain easily traversed many times by Einsteinian photons, light itself becomes pure wave resonance, ringing the tiny universe ball with lased reverberations, commensurate in frequency to the total number of photons produced before universe-death a very high frequency, indeed.

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