You Can’t Measure Intelligent Design

The Pixie

Well-known member
Cisco Qid linked to an article by the DI's Casey Luskin, Answering an Objection: “You Can’t Measure Intelligent Design”. The article is here:

The casual observer might imagine that the counter to that objection is to show how intelligent design can be measured. The problem Luskin has is that the objection is spot on. You really cannot measure ID. So he has to spin quite the story to hide this embarrassing truth.

The answer to these objections is that we test intelligent design in the same way that we test all historical scientific theories: by looking in nature for known effects of the cause in question (in this case, intelligent agency), and showing that this cause (again, intelligent agency) is the best explanation for the observed data. If that answer seemed a little bit technical or unclear, let me explain so that it makes more sense. We’ll see how precise quantitative measurements can in fact help us to detect design.
This is not actually how science is how. In real science, you need to make predictions - that is, necessary consequences of the hypothesis - and show that those predictions are bold (not trivial and different to the competition) and right.

ID does not do that. It is impossible for ID to do that because ID is committed to hiding who the designer is and so is unable to make predictions. So Luskin has to fall back on something that sounds like science but is not.

Well, okay, we can play his game. What is the best explanation? How, exactly, are we measuring the "best" here?

This brings us back to the title: how are you measuring Intelligent Design?

Luskin discusses other examples, before coming back to ID:

The theory of intelligent design employs scientific methods commonly used by other historical sciences to conclude that certain features of the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Intelligent agency is a cause “now in operation” which can be studied in the world around us. Thus, as a historical science, ID employs the principle of uniformitarianism. It begins with present-day observations of how intelligent agents operate, and then converts those observations into positive predictions of what scientists should expect to find if a natural object arose by intelligent design.
So again, he is looking for the "best" explanation, but still no suggestion of how he measures that. But then we get:

For example, mathematician and philosopher William Dembski observes that “[t]he principal characteristic of intelligent agency is directed contingency, or what we call choice.” According to Dembski, when an intelligent agent acts, “it chooses from a range of competing possibilities” to create some complex and specified event. Thus, the type of information that reliably indicates intelligent design is called “specified complexity” or “complex and specified information,” “CSI” for short.
Okay... So how are we measuring "complex"? He does not say.

How are we measuring "specified"? He does not say.

How are we measuring "information"? He does not say.

He then goes into estimating the probability of an amino acid sequence (a functional beta-lactamase enzyme) forming spontaneously for some reason. This is neither evolution nor ID, so what he imagines the relevance to be I cannot imagine. But he is absolutely NOT measuring ID.

This is very odd. This is an article specifically about measuring ID, and he has neglected to say how it is measured!

It is almost like he has no clue. It is almost like the entire ID movement has no clue!
 

Komodo

Well-known member
[. . .] In real science, you need to make predictions - that is, necessary consequences of the hypothesis - and show that those predictions are bold (not trivial and different to the competition) and right.
I'll quibble somewhat here. In trying to infer the best explanation for past events, you aren't typically making predictions (at least not in the usual sense). The example I gave in the IBE thread was on the question, "Was Homer's Iliad an oral composition or a written composition?" and the case for it being an oral composition was that it contained a number of features -- like the variable "heroic epithet" -- which appear all the time in undoubted oral compositions, but never, so far as we can tell, in written compositions. This doesn't involve "prediction" so far as I can tell.

Now this is a good argument in part because it is possible to define a heroic epithet pretty unambiguously: it's an multisyllabic adjectival phrase which comes repeatedly before the name of one of the poem's protagonists, like "the swift-footed Achilles," and in oral poems one character will have different such epithets applied in different lines, because one fits the verse better than the other. It would be a very poor argument if the claim was something like "oral poetry is more spontaneously energetic than written poetry," because who knows how to tell whether a line is "spontaneous" or "energetic"?

Which is basically the problem, as you say, with claims about how designed things have more specified complex information than undesigned things:

Okay... So how are we measuring "complex"? He does not say.

How are we measuring "specified"? He does not say.

How are we measuring "information"? He does not say.
 
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The Pixie

Well-known member
Your phone contains a code that is put to use in many ways..does that not indicate it was intelligently designed?
You previously said we can measure intelligent design by counting codons. Just three hours later you have changed your tune.

Now, how about you think a little bit more and see if you can come up with an answer you are prepared to stick with - at least for 24 hours. Can you do that?
 

CrowCross

Well-known member
You previously said we can measure intelligent design by counting codons. Just three hours later you have changed your tune.

Now, how about you think a little bit more and see if you can come up with an answer you are prepared to stick with - at least for 24 hours. Can you do that?
I haven't changed my tune...I'm broading the conversation. You arn't doing very well in demonstrating your point.
 

evoguy313

Active member
Cisco Qid linked to an article by the DI's Casey Luskin, Answering an Objection: “You Can’t Measure Intelligent Design”. The article is here:

The casual observer might imagine that the counter to that objection is to show how intelligent design can be measured. The problem Luskin has is that the objection is spot on. You really cannot measure ID. So he has to spin quite the story to hide this embarrassing truth.


This is not actually how science is how. In real science, you need to make predictions - that is, necessary consequences of the hypothesis - and show that those predictions are bold (not trivial and different to the competition) and right.

ID does not do that. It is impossible for ID to do that because ID is committed to hiding who the designer is and so is unable to make predictions. So Luskin has to fall back on something that sounds like science but is not.

Well, okay, we can play his game. What is the best explanation? How, exactly, are we measuring the "best" here?

This brings us back to the title: how are you measuring Intelligent Design?

Luskin discusses other examples, before coming back to ID:


So again, he is looking for the "best" explanation, but still no suggestion of how he measures that. But then we get:


Okay... So how are we measuring "complex"? He does not say.

How are we measuring "specified"? He does not say.

How are we measuring "information"? He does not say.

He then goes into estimating the probability of an amino acid sequence (a functional beta-lactamase enzyme) forming spontaneously for some reason. This is neither evolution nor ID, so what he imagines the relevance to be I cannot imagine. But he is absolutely NOT measuring ID.

This is very odd. This is an article specifically about measuring ID, and he has neglected to say how it is measured!

It is almost like he has no clue. It is almost like the entire ID movement has no clue!
Typical click-bait-and-switch garbage from the guy who is co-author on a single paper for his 'PhD'...
 

rossum

Well-known member
I haven't changed my tune...I'm broading the conversation. You arn't doing very well in demonstrating your point.
While you are doing very well at demonstrating the No True Scotsman fallacy. "When I said "codons" I meant 'either codons or code'."

You should have realised by now that if you make obvious errors, one of us will pick up on them.

You need to do better.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
I haven't changed my tune...I'm broading the conversation. You arn't doing very well in demonstrating your point.
Your original answer as to how we can measure intelligent design was:

"Count codons"

Are you saying you are sticking with that? My phone has zero codons, and your response to that comment suggested you had changed your position. Do please clarify:

Are you still saying the way to measure intelligent design is to "Count codons"?
 

evoguy313

Active member
Your original answer as to how we can measure intelligent design was:

"Count codons"

Are you saying you are sticking with that? My phone has zero codons, and your response to that comment suggested you had changed your position. Do please clarify:

Are you still saying the way to measure intelligent design is to "Count codons"?
He has no idea what information is or what a codon is, most likely. Just another creationist desperate to prop up his 'faith'.
 

CrowCross

Well-known member
Count the number of sequences from the 64 different sequences which are part of the 3 consecutive nucleotides in the DNA that code for a specific amino acid.
 
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