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Monday, December 09, 2013

Fred meets evolutionists, wins

After his long article expressing his fundamental skepticism towards the cult of TENS, a number of Neo-Darwinists didn't hesitate to try to inform Fred that his skepticism was misplaced. This was a tactical error, as Fred responded to their various attempts to correct his heretical thinking..
The Argument from Time
Even a Federal Bureaucrat Can Get A Job Done, Given Forever

A staple of evolutionary evasion is time, lots of it. This is particularly applied to the putative formation of the OC (Original Critter). One intones “billions and billions and billions of years,” the implication being that with so very, very, very much time, so many billions of gallons of sea water, surely an OC would have to form. Why, it could hardly help it.

Not necessarily. Probabilities can be more daunting than one might expect. Things that seem intuitively likely sometimes just flat are not. To illustrate the point:

We've all heard Sir James Jeans' assertion that a monkey, pecking randomly on a typewriter, would eventually produce all the books in the British Museum. This may sound reasonable, even obvious, at first glance. But would the monkey in fact ever get even one book?

No. Not in any practical sense.

Consider a thickish book of, say, 200,000 words. By the newspaper estimate that there are on average five letters per word, that's a million letters. What is the likelihood that our monkey, typing continuously (we ignore upper case and punctuation), will get the book in a given string of a million letters?

He has a 1/26 chance of getting the first letter, times a 1/26 chance of the second, and so on. The chance of getting the book in a million characters is therefore one in 26 to the millionth power. I don't have a calculator handy, but we can get an approximation. Since 26 = 10(log 26), then 261,000,000 = 10(log 26 x 1,000,000). Since log 10 = 1 and log 100 = 2, log 26 has to be between, somewhere on the low end. Call it 1.2.

The monkey thus has one chance in 1 followed by 1,200,000 zeros. That is what mathematicians call a GBH (Gret Big Honker). For practical purposes, one divided by that rascal is zero. If you had a billion billion monkeys (more monkeys than I want) typing a billion billion letters a second, for a billion billion times the estimated age of the universe (1018 seconds is sometimes given), the chance of getting the book would still be essentially zero.

Well, you might say, that is asking a lot of our monkey. How about the chance that the monkey would get the mere title of a book—say, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the  Struggle for Life, the original title of Darwin´s book. If my finger count was correct, that´s 117 letters and spaces. Then the probability is 1 in 26117, or 10(log 26 x  117), giving 10140 and change. Now, again taking the age of the universe as 1018 seconds, our monkey would have, sigh, essentially zero chance of getting even the title. Ain´t gonna happen.

Does the chance formation of an Original Critter involve such forbidding numbers? I don´t know that it does. Nor that it doesn´t. It is difficult to calculate the probability of an unknown process of unknown complexity under unknown conditions.
As we have repeatedly observed, biologists are reliably inept when it comes to math. This is why they repeatedly turn to the LOTS AND LOTS OF TIME argument, which is nothing more than an appeal to their own credulity. What they forget to account for properly is the even more extraordinary numbers that are required in order to account for the probabilities of the necessary mutations a) happening and b) proving to be of superior fitness.

It has been asked before why so many economists, whose own "science' is entirely debatable, tend to be skeptical of evolution by natural selection. The answer is twofold. First, if you don't get the math right in economics, the error will be immediately obvious even in theory. No economists will blithely carry on with his model if it produces 10,000 percent unemployment or an estimated 8 billion unmarried households in America. Second, every economics major has seen an awful lot of theoretical bullshit. So, we recognize it when we see it.

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252 Comments:

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Anonymous RedJack December 09, 2013 9:10 AM  

Very good arguement. If you go to genetic expression, you still have a problem. In the "Hopeful Monster" therory, you are still left with one animal that can't mate into the main line.

Anonymous Edjamacator December 09, 2013 9:23 AM  

Feh. Obviously, if you knew anything about science, the counterargument most valid is simply "lots and lots and LOTS of time." See there, what say you now?

Blogger IM2L844 December 09, 2013 9:23 AM  

“Ford!" he said, "there's an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they've worked out.”

Anonymous Manatee's Thumb December 09, 2013 9:24 AM  

Well, if you are going to use the typing monkeys as an analogy for TENS then the Monkeys will need to have some mechanism to SELECT the correct keys on the typewriter

Blogger tz December 09, 2013 9:30 AM  

There is a second flaw. In order to know when you come up with the title, the title already has to be there in the system (I have to assume you recycle ink and paper since there is not enough in the Universe). You need someone to stand over the monkey swapping sheets of paper a=who can say "success". But that is an intelligence - he js designing what the monkeys are producing.

The minimal system is dna with ribosomes and trna and a few enzymes. You can put all those fully made parts of that into a flask, and... nothing. Ever. It won't self-assemble, it has to already be assembled to work.

Blogger tz December 09, 2013 9:32 AM  

You could try coercion - you have to break a few legs to make a Hamlet.

Blogger Nate December 09, 2013 9:37 AM  

"Well, if you are going to use the typing monkeys as an analogy for TENS then the Monkeys will need to have some mechanism to SELECT the correct keys on the typewriter"

Oh really?

What mechanism would that be?

Anonymous AlteredFate December 09, 2013 9:39 AM  

Well, math is hard!

Anonymous Salt December 09, 2013 9:42 AM  

Forget math. How about X^n monkeys attaining the pole position at some y Daytona 500. Proponents of the long time theory might conclude Danika Patrick did it, but she does look good in a swimsuit.

Blogger tz December 09, 2013 9:43 AM  

This does not negate evolution completely - a designer organism may have evolved but not be recognizeable to us. But the carbon-based lifeforms here on earth show more engineering than the chips in a computer. And that is the parallel I use. Computers communicate in microseconds, we communicate in seconds - what if SETI needs to listen for centuries or millenia?

That is my non-theistic speculation but being a Christian and an engineer, I speculate God delegated to the angels - it is not hard to imagine them using bug-tracking for more than insects and trying different things like the dinosaurs. Even men and women - men are the powerful but faulty prototype, and women are the thrifted production model where things are fixed like milk production.

Anonymous Wendy December 09, 2013 9:43 AM  

Math hates science.

Well, if you are going to use the typing monkeys as an analogy for TENS then the Monkeys will need to have some mechanism to SELECT the correct keys on the typewriter

Here I was thinking it was generous by allowing the monkeys the typewriters rather than insisting they invent and build the typewriters.

And I second Nate's question.

Anonymous Cryan Ryan December 09, 2013 9:43 AM  

There once was a fellow named Fred,
Who 'splained it all when he said,
I've listened to lots
Of atheist's thoughts...
And most of them are brain dead.

Anonymous Eric Ashley December 09, 2013 9:44 AM  

It is not required that we aim at one specific book, but that we arrive at a A book. Any book or title in the British Library will do.

/one argument I've heard.

OpenID cailcorishev December 09, 2013 9:51 AM  

Yep. They claim that Big Number X == Big Number Y, but there are big numbers and then there are really big numbers. "Billions" is not a big number at all, compared to the kind of probabilities you can get into when you start multiplying the odds of unlikely things happening in sequence.

The monkey-typewriter-book thing assumes an infinite number of monkeys. That would be fine if they assumed an infinitely old planet; but by limiting the planet to a relatively small number of years, the monkey argument actually works against them.

That's why some like the idea of a multiverse of infinite universes, but that's just stupid. Not that there couldn't be such a thing, but the existence of other universes doesn't change the probability of life developing in this particular universe, any more than past coin flips affect the probability of the next one. But as you say, math is hard.

Anonymous 691 December 09, 2013 9:51 AM  

He was even being generous and left off 200,000 zeros. Log_10 (26) is about 1.4

Anonymous Starbuck December 09, 2013 9:52 AM  

Evolutionists have another problem. Lets say the impossible happened and abiogenisis occured and poof(lightning?) a single cell life form came to life (isn't this how evolutionists insist it happened?). What on earth does it eat? Will it starve to death before it can replicate?! Poof life... arrrgh.. dead for lack of food.

No evolutionists ever tried to explain that one to me. Not even teachers. They just told me to quit being an idiot. Am I being an idiot?

OpenID cailcorishev December 09, 2013 9:57 AM  

It is not required that we aim at one specific book, but that we arrive at a A book. Any book or title in the British Library will do.

If you've heard that argument, I hope you laughed in the speaker's face. A quick search tells me there have been an estimated 130 million books written in all of history. Let's be generous and round that up to an even 1 billion -- that brings Fred's "1 followed by 1,200,000 zeros" down to "1 followed by 1,199,991 zeros."

Not a dent.

Anonymous Manatee's Thumb December 09, 2013 10:00 AM  

Nate & Wendy; to be a better analogy, the monkeys would be able to select any letters they previously (randomly) got correct and use those in future attempts.

Ohhdwbml htscbl
Okorwnk biiyytgjk
Osdgytedjj oinjhyytff
Obwgut utter jkoooiyrf
Orggmp ghyrdbmloutr
Origex bhgjpoeqnnj
Origin yikjgbnnoouytr

This is not meant to represent the actual probability of how oft monkeys would get the correct letters, but you can see that overall it would be significantly more probable if they can select the letters that work.

And to be clear, we're talking about a flaw in Fred's not whether evolution is true or not.

Anonymous Stephen J. December 09, 2013 10:01 AM  

I think the argument from probability is more useful for what it reveals about its adherents than for any actual correctness.

The odds of life spontaneously arising and achieving its current complexity by pure accumulative random chance *may* be so low as to be effectively zero. However, that assessment is always kicked in the teeth by the fact that *life exists*. As the gag insurance commercial says, when two brokers watch a guy race by riding an ostrich, one of them asks, "What are the chances of that happening?" and the other says, "100% -- now." As long as the chance of spontaneous abiogenesis and development is not *absolute* zero, then it is always *possible* to contend life occurred randomly since we know that *it did in fact occur*, and we don't need to worry about the plausibility because we don't have access to an alternate universe for comparison.

The question then becomes: What mindset are you bringing to the table that you find an infinitesimally random but material chance a preferable hypothesis to purposeful intervention, and why? And how does that preference affect your willingness to admit, examine and interpret evidence?

Blogger Nate December 09, 2013 10:02 AM  

"Nate & Wendy; to be a better analogy, the monkeys would be able to select any letters they previously (randomly) got correct and use those in future attempts. "

You didn't answer the question. You explained your comment further. Now how about you answer the question.

Anonymous Manatee's Thumb December 09, 2013 10:04 AM  

Starbucks, there are bacteria that eat minerals. So there you go.

Anonymous Manatee's Thumb December 09, 2013 10:09 AM  

Nate, see the last sentence on my comment addressed to you and Wendy.

There may be disagreement about the mechanism, but I think we can all agree that our off spring weren't a random jumble of nonsensical biomass, as implied by Fred's critique.

Anonymous Krul December 09, 2013 10:10 AM  

Manatee - the monkeys would be able to select any letters they previously (randomly) got correct and use those in future attempts.

That assumes that natural selection is already underway, but Fred is talking about the first reproducing organism. The "Original Critter" must be completely assembled and functional without the aid of natural selection.

Anonymous Giraffe December 09, 2013 10:10 AM  

This is not meant to represent the actual probability of how oft monkeys would get the correct letters, but you can see that overall it would be significantly more probable if they can select the letters that work.

I would grant you that, once you have a certain level of complexity. For example, you can select for Chapter one of "Origin of the Species blah blah blah blha" once you have the title.

Good luck with that.

Anonymous E> PERLINE December 09, 2013 10:11 AM  

Regarding evolution, the human mind has a lot to deal with. How could enough time pass to give rise to biologic improvements? Well, I observe that even one generation is not adjusted to the ways of the next generation. For that reason--I hate to say it--the death of the older generation is necesssary.

There may be another factor explaining why man is so advanced among all the other species. In the hundreds of thousands of years of unrecorded history, aliens visited this planet and improved the primates DNA. When I read this explanation is sounds kind of zany, but how else can you account for stone construction that is beyond the capabilities of modern contractors with electric power?

Anonymous Salt December 09, 2013 10:12 AM  

Nate & Wendy; to be a better analogy, the monkeys would be able to select any letters they previously (randomly) got correct and use those in future attempts.

This either supposes that the monkeys know their previously random letters were correct or that an external inteligence was guiding them.

How the monkeys could possibly know their previous choices were correct unless they could get it right the first time.

Anonymous Manatee's Thumb December 09, 2013 10:17 AM  

How the monkeys could possibly know their previous choices were correct unless they could get it right the first time.

How could there possibly be a billion monkeys typing for a billion years?

A...n...a...l...o...g...y...

Blogger IM2L844 December 09, 2013 10:18 AM  

you can see that overall it would be significantly more probable if they can select the letters that work.

Seriously? Of course it would. It would also be significantly more probable if monkeys had IQ's 120+, but they don't. In this instance, they're intended as exemplars of random event generators with a charitably perfect selection pool.

Anonymous Manatee's Thumb December 09, 2013 10:21 AM  

don't. In this instance, they're intended as exemplars of random event generators with a charitably perfect selection pool.

Which is why it's a bad analogy

Anonymous Krul December 09, 2013 10:22 AM  

Re: Salt,

If I read the analogy correctly, when a monkey gets some letters right, its attempt is "preserved" whereas those attempts with incorrect letters "die", so if a monkey got a letter right in a previous attempt, that letter will automatically be right in subsequent attempts.

This mechanism simulates the effect of natural selection: those attempts with correct letters (favorable mutations) "survive" to "reproduce" so that their traits are carried by future generations, while those with incorrect letters (deleterious mutations) "die" and their traits are not preserved in future generations.

Anonymous John Regan December 09, 2013 10:25 AM  

I've been pointing out for years that one glaring weakness in evolution theory is the requirement of unimaginably large amounts of time:

http://strikelawyer.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/evolution-is-as-evolution-does/

It would be one thing if all these billions and billions of years they keep talking about was unarguable. But it's surprising how capable of being questioned those figures are.

Anonymous Andrew December 09, 2013 10:31 AM  

Vox, how do you reconcile the age of the earth with your belief in God? I don't really believe in Evolution, I am not a Christian, but I do believe in God, good and evil and generally hold favorable opinions towards Christians.
Do you believe the age of the earth is in the thousands of years rather than billions of years?

Blogger IM2L844 December 09, 2013 10:31 AM  

Which is why it's a bad analogy

Yes. We should include 20 or so extra keys that do not contribute in any sort of helpful way toward the production of anything even remotely grammatically coherent (Page Up, Page Down, Tab, Esc, Num Lock, Print Screen, F1- F12, etc.).

Anonymous Salt December 09, 2013 10:31 AM  

Understood Krul. Problem is, what mechanism allows for that an attempt is preserved at all? Per the example, the O is of no value unless one, a priori, knows an r comes next.

Anonymous Eric Ashley December 09, 2013 10:35 AM  

Thanks, Calicorshev.

StephenJ, my response to 'its here' is 'well, yes, see Odin killed Ymir the Frost Giant, and wadded up his body to make the Earth....'.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 09, 2013 10:41 AM  

Salt December 09, 2013 9:42 AM
Danika Patrick did it, but she does look good in a swimsuit.



dude, you're broken.

she's not fat and her face isn't bad. but she has NO body. Milk'and'Donuts has a body. Danica looks like a 10 year old boy from the neck down.



Starbuck December 09, 2013 9:52 AM
Am I being an idiot?



look into archea. many variants are extremophiles which exist in environments which don't support any other organic compounds. one, for instance, breaks hydrogen peroxide down into hydrogen and oxygen for energy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemolithotrophic

archea aren't considered part of our evolutionary tree, though.

also, even once you've bridged the 'organic feeding on inorganic' problem, the mechanisms INSIDE the cell are still hideously complex.

it's not that it's a bad question, it's just that there's already an answer for it.





Stephen J. December 09, 2013 10:01 AM
The question then becomes: What mindset are you bringing to the table that you find an infinitesimally random but material chance a preferable hypothesis to purposeful intervention, and why? And how does that preference affect your willingness to admit, examine and interpret evidence?



yah, pretty much.

Anonymous Krul December 09, 2013 10:43 AM  

Salt, I think it's a way to simplify the complex conditions that determine whether a given organism will reproduce or not. In reality those organisms that happen to get lucky in the combination of the genes they're born with and the environments they encounter will reproduce.

In the analogy, all these complex considerations are simplified to one question: "Is it closer to the standard than all the others?" In reality there is no "standard" for a "completely evolved" organism, unlike the standard for a completed book, but there is the selective pressure of danger that all organisms encounter. One can imagine how this pressure would select for different organisms in different envronments - not by design, but by accident.

Anonymous Josh December 09, 2013 10:47 AM  

Do you believe the age of the earth is in the thousands of years rather than billions of years?

Now where does the Bible say the earth is only thousands of years old?

Anonymous Salt December 09, 2013 10:52 AM  

Krul, can that be done? Simplify the conditions that determine whether a given organism will reproduce or not, whereby answering the question, from the complex conditions necessary for such to actually happen? I think you'd have to agree the answer to that is no.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 09, 2013 10:55 AM  

E> PERLINE December 09, 2013 10:11 AM
When I read this explanation is sounds kind of zany, but how else can you account for stone construction that is beyond the capabilities of modern contractors with electric power?



hydraulics capable of thousands of psi are WAY more important to modern heavy equipment than electricity is. you can run a hydraulic pump off of a mechanically injected diesel engine and control the machine with valves and not have any electronics on the thing at all.




Krul December 09, 2013 10:22 AM
This mechanism simulates the effect of natural selection:



yes. the problem being that you are now assuming that the abiogenesis problem has ALREADY been met and that the monkeys have a feedback loop.

UNTIL that first organism there IS NO feedback loop possible. you just have random agglomerations of amino acids in the soup. there is no reason why a random combination which has occurred a billion times previously ( and accomplished nothing useful towards the origin of life ) will not be repeated a trillion trillion trillion more times subsequently.

and that's the abiogenesis problem that Fred's monkey hypothesis is addressing and that manatees thumb is trying to avoid.

Blogger wrf3 December 09, 2013 10:57 AM  

Eric Ashley wrote: It is not required that we aim at one specific book, but that we arrive at a A book. Any book or title in the British Library will do.

That's exactly right. It doesn't have to be Hamlet, The Origin of the Species, or any other pre-specified target. It just has to be a self-replicating object. To figure out meaningful probabilities, we'd have to have an idea how many self-replicating objects there are and go from there.

cailcorishev wrote: If you've heard that argument, I hope you laughed in the speaker's face..

Except that your rebuttal depends on wildly improbable things not ever happening. Wildly improbable things can happen.

We're either a fluke of nature or the result of a miracle. How you view it depends on how your brain is wired.

Blogger IM2L844 December 09, 2013 11:04 AM  

For a more thorough treatment of the subject, I recommend:

The Mathematics of Monkeys and Shakespeare or "Monkey Claims Copyright on Hamlet: Film at 11."

Followed up with:

More Monkey Business: Answers to questions about mathematics and monkeys that may well have been asked.

Anonymous Jake December 09, 2013 11:04 AM  

"Except that your rebuttal depends on wildly improbable things not ever happening. Wildly improbable things can happen."

So... it's a matter of... faith?

You either believe in the wildly improbable (though that's hardly doing justice to just how improbable it is) or you believe that life was created by some higher power.

Which is more rational?

Anonymous Athor Pel December 09, 2013 11:05 AM  

Something that Fred didn't state but it would have been nice to put a little more perspective on those large numbers. For example, simply stating the estimated number of atoms in the universe.

The following from Wikipedia. Because formatting differences I'm inserting the ^ symbol to indicate exponent or power of.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe

"Matter content - number of atoms

Assuming the mass of ordinary matter is about 1.47×10^53 kg (reference previous section) and assuming all atoms are hydrogen atoms (which in reality make up about 74% of all atoms in our galaxy by mass, see Abundance of the chemical elements), calculating the estimated total number of atoms in the universe is straight forward. Divide the mass of ordinary matter by the mass of a hydrogen atom (1.47×10^53 kg divided by 1.67×10^−27 kg). The result is approximately 10^80 hydrogen atoms."


So, 10^80 hydrogen atoms worth, that's 80 zeroes in that number. That's all we have to work with, that we know about.


Now for how much time available for the randomness to take place. Again from the same Wikipedia article above.

"The age of the universe is estimated to be 13.8 billion years. While it is commonly understood that nothing can accelerate to velocities equal to or greater than that of light, it is a common misconception that the radius of the observable universe must therefore amount to only 13.8 billion light-years. This reasoning would only make sense if the flat, static Minkowski spacetime conception under special relativity were correct. In the real universe, spacetime is curved in a way that corresponds to the expansion of space, as evidenced by Hubble's law. Distances obtained as the speed of light multiplied by a cosmological time interval have no direct physical significance."


That's 4.35x10^17 seconds. That's 17 zeros.


Now look at the numbers Fred finds by calculating simple probabilities. For example.
"The monkey thus has one chance in 1 followed by 1,200,000 zeros. "


There simply isn't enough time much less enough atoms in the universe to randomly assemble what we see in ourselves and the world around us.

Anonymous Salt December 09, 2013 11:06 AM  

We're either a fluke of nature or the result of a miracle.

Or even yet, as a 747 is the result of intelligent, purposeful, engineering and not miraculous at all, intelligently designed.

Blogger JaimeInTexas December 09, 2013 11:14 AM  

The typewriters, for the analogy to get a little more "real," would need a backspace and delete. Also, some sequences, I guess the ink, would disappear or degrade over time.
Then, if the miraculous thing happen we will back at asking, where did the typewriters, the monkeys and the bananas come from? What? Yo think the monkeys will work without bananas?

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus December 09, 2013 11:24 AM  

"Even a Federal Bureaucrat Can Get A Job Done, Given Forever"

I'm sorry guys, I just don't have enough faith to believe that.

Anonymous Josh December 09, 2013 11:27 AM  

"Even a Federal Bureaucrat Can Get A Job Done, Given Forever"

I'm sorry guys, I just don't have enough faith to believe that.


Porky and Civil servant find your lack of faith disturbing

Anonymous TWS December 09, 2013 11:28 AM  

Manatee -
And we are talking fucking monkeys. What are the odds that even if there is some magic key lock that keeps the right keys in the right order (assuming they get there in the first place). Again, I repeat they are monkeys. What are the odds that a given monkey will not eat the keys or the paper or bang the keyboard into smithereens? Let's assume they are using an old selectric because those fuckers are solid. Again, he's got to plug it in. That monkey is screwed and so are the rest of us if we wait for the monkey.

Is only _one_ way of making life possible? Because if there are more, there ought to be evidence (I don't know some weird shit called fossils, something like that, or a chemical signature like alternate DNA) that there are/were other families of life.

Bacteria eat minerals? Convenient that however why don't they eat unicorn droppings because either is as likely when they evolve. How do you get from being _nothing_ to eating _anything_? Not only do they need to evolve, they need to evolve in ways that allow all those processes and activities that sustain life. They have to get it right the first time and not miss a beat because if you fuck it up you're done.

And we know those destructive monkeys are out there. Too much heat, too cold, solar radiation, deadly chemical soups, vacuum, I am sure you can think of more 'destructive monkeys' that would have derailed the first life forms.

Not only do we need to keep the first life form alive, we have to keep each of his children (how does it reproduce anyway?) alive. And why, if life is so easy to organize and produce have we never, ever produced it ourselves after decades of trying? If the letters are somehow locked in after Bobo gets it right, why don't we see those letters lock in and start producing life and no soap bubbles don't count. If you're counting on soap bubbles as your go to cell wall you're in trouble from the jump.

That's just the cell wall. Since we don't start from RNA/DNA how do we lock in the right keys? I would just as likely throw all the parts at my El Camino and hope I could drive it to the Texaco.

Anonymous Starbuck December 09, 2013 11:28 AM  

Starbucks, there are bacteria that eat minerals. So there you go.

Oh wow. i never thought of that. Wow. Maybe I should denounce God and worship at the alter of darwin.

This is the last thing I ever say on evolution because it is now beneath me.

You can believe in evoltion all you want. it's your right. But it is also the right of another person to worship a rock. Who are you to say he is wrong? But you still know he is an idiot. That is how I feel towards evolution. It's idiocy. And no I don't have to prove it, nor do I have to listen anymore.

Freedom!

Anonymous GG December 09, 2013 11:41 AM  

"There may be another factor explaining why man is so advanced among all the other species. In the hundreds of thousands of years of unrecorded history, aliens visited this planet and improved the primates DNA."

I dispute the allegation that man is more advanced among all the species. "Advanced" is somewhat subjective, but we haven't got any fur to keep warm with and without weapons we can be seriously injured by an 8 pound house cat. Combine this with our idiotic and often willfully self destructive behavior, and you do not have a good argument for survival of the fittest. It's actually humankind's stupidity and incompetence that leads me to believe in God. Without Divine Intervention, I suspect evolution would have left us behind long ago.

We are indeed intelligently designed which in a twist of irony, some of us "intelligently" dispute, proving we either believe ourselves to be so intelligent we are qualified to challenge our Creator, or proving ourselves to be so stupid we simply provide blatant evidence of the need for His existence.

Blogger wrf3 December 09, 2013 11:47 AM  

Jake asked: So... it's a matter of... faith?

All truth eventually boils down to faith. Reason can't get off the ground without things held to be true without proof. For example, that the universe exists is a matter of experience. The how and and why of its existence are another matter entirely.

You either believe in the wildly improbable (though that's hardly doing justice to just how improbable it is) or you believe that life was created by some higher power.

Humans are pretty good pattern matching engines; however, we know that we have a tendency to assign meaning to purely random artifacts. So if we're going to answer the how's and why's, we have to make sure that we eliminate our subjective biases. Furthermore, our ability to communicate with one another depends, in part, on our brain's tendency to anthropomorphize. All other things being equal, it isn't irrational to say that a lot of the arguments from design are our projection of ourselves onto nature.

Which is more rational?

I'm going to channel C. S. Lewis and reply that the question isn't "which is more rational?" but "which is more true?"

Blogger Kentucky Packrat December 09, 2013 11:50 AM  

If I read the analogy correctly, when a monkey gets some letters right, its attempt is "preserved" whereas those attempts with incorrect letters "die", so if a monkey got a letter right in a previous attempt, that letter will automatically be right in subsequent attempts.

In some cases of natural selection, random selection is looking to "improve" pre-existing code. In that case, yes, some of the current document is preserved in the chase for a "better" fit.

Now, here's the fun part: there is no valid theory of the origin of life. None. Nada. Zilch. Zero.

Some people have theorized that in some portion of Earth's history, there was an environment conducive for DNA to form randomly, generating a self-replicating machine. Behe details the math stronger in his Black Box book, but that's generally the same as this analogy: if DNA forms fully randomly, the monkeys are typing and ripping, and not referring back to the last page when writing this page. Even if this environment is possible (and no one has ever shown how it could exist), and even if there was an external mechanism that would copy the DNA (ditto), it would take longer than the life of the Earth by orders of magnitude to get a functioning program out of DNA. Therefore, this theory isn't valid.

Some people have tried to add "scaffolding" to the theory (some fossils have cell-like microstructures life could have formed in, DNA (or RNA) replaced other precursor molecules, etc.), but this just adds complexity to the system, not simplicity.

Most TENS believers break down into a bubbling pile of "but we KNOW it had to work this way" at this point, and I just walk away shaking my head.

Anonymous Manatee's Thumb December 09, 2013 11:52 AM  

Starbuck: Oh wow. i never thought of that. Wow. Maybe I should denounce God and worship at the alter of darwin.

Not sure about all of that, but did it answer your question?

Anonymous Josh December 09, 2013 11:54 AM  

I dispute the allegation that man is more advanced among all the species. "Advanced" is somewhat subjective, but we haven't got any fur to keep warm with and without weapons we can be seriously injured by an 8 pound house cat.

Define advanced.

Provide 10 species that are more advanced than humans according to that definition.

OpenID cailcorishev December 09, 2013 11:57 AM  

Except that your rebuttal depends on wildly improbable things not ever happening. Wildly improbable things can happen.

Of course they can. But we're talking here about TENS believers specifically calling on big numbers to hand-wave away far bigger improbabilities. They make the specific claim that "billions of years" is enough time to make any happenstance, no matter how improbable, probable, and that's just not the case. The improbability here is so large that it's not much more likely to happen in a span of a billion years than it is to happen this afternoon during teatime.

Anonymous Randy M December 09, 2013 11:57 AM  

Don't get hung up on whether the analogy fits properly; that's beside the point. The point is that ANY non-infiite amount of time is insufficient for certain improbable things to be likely, and the evolutionists have not shown their work in arguing that abiogenesis is not one of these things. A few billion years is not that long compared to the chain of improbable events that seem to be needed.

Anonymous Rex Little December 09, 2013 11:58 AM  

Now where does the Bible say the earth is only thousands of years old?

The way I understand it, if you follow the timelines given (or at least hinted at) in the Bible from the birth of Christ back to Adam and Eve, you get something less than 10,000 years. Genesis states that the creation of the Earth predates Adam and Eve by less than a week.

Lots of the regulars here know the Bible a lot better than I do; someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Anonymous Annalitic December 09, 2013 12:03 PM  

I dispute the allegation that man is more advanced among all the species.

Shut up, GG.

Anonymous zen0 December 09, 2013 12:03 PM  

Where are you going to get enough bananas?

Logistics, people.

Anonymous Krul December 09, 2013 12:09 PM  

Salt - Krul, can that be done? Simplify the conditions that determine whether a given organism will reproduce or not, whereby answering the question, from the complex conditions necessary for such to actually happen? I think you'd have to agree the answer to that is no.

At this point the monkey typing metaphor is officially overextended. I'd say to really test the plausibility of the theory, you'd have to make a self reproducing robot with a short lifespan whose program has a chance to randomly change with each build and release it into a junkyard. Come back in a few years and see what you've got.

bob k. mando - yes. the problem being that you are now assuming that the abiogenesis problem has ALREADY been met and that the monkeys have a feedback loop.

UNTIL that first organism there IS NO feedback loop possible.


That's exacly what I pointed out at 10:10 M. My purpose was to clarify the analogy for Salt, not to defend it.

Blogger wrf3 December 09, 2013 12:10 PM  

caloricshev wrote: Of course they can. But we're talking here about TENS believers specifically calling on big numbers to hand-wave away far bigger improbabilities.

AFAIK, TENS believers aren't using probabilities to explain abiogenesis; but to explain what happens after abiogenesis occurs. All calculations of probabilities that use a specific target are wrong. The end result isn't a specific configuration, but any configuration that maintains replication.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 12:13 PM  

If there are an infinite number of universes, Fred's argument doesn't wash. In that case, we just happen to live in the universe where the monkeys got lucky. And even if there aren't an infinite number, the monkey's still could've gotten lucky. As a couple of others have already pointed out, that raises the question of whether it's more fantastic to believe in infinite universes and lucky monkeys, or to believe in an omnipotent deity. Either way it's a matter of faith.

But the bottom line remains, there's no way for reason (or math) to discern the difference between a Strong and a Weak anthropic universe. You can have faith in one or the other, but you can't prove either. Not on this side of death anyway. Reason can, however, help us understand how the rules work in whatever sort of universe we live in. If we're going to give people math lessons, teaching them about budget deficits would be more useful. God and Lucky Monkeys both hate budget deficits...

Anonymous Incurvatus December 09, 2013 12:17 PM  

Where is all of this Deep Time? Intact dinosaur tissues were written about in the '20s, plus the dozens of modern examples (<10 years) of intact tissues, blood vessels, etc. The T-rex poop with intact muscle fibers. The fresh (non-permineralized) dino bones in Alaska. Carbon14 in coal and diamonds. Observed recession of the moon. etc etc

Anonymous GG December 09, 2013 12:25 PM  

"(I dispute the allegation that man is more advanced among all the species.) -Shut up, GG."

Thank you, I will now, but I'll just point out that you yourself are currently investing your time in a discussion about.... billions of typing monkeys. Did you ever consider the amount of fecal matter you are going to encounter during this little experiment?

As to creatures more advanced then humans, today I'd have to go with most of our single cell organisms, some of our algae, bacteria, fungi. These things were apparently so perfectly designed the first time, they have required no evolutionary intervention at all.

Anonymous Josh December 09, 2013 12:29 PM  

As to creatures more advanced then humans, today I'd have to go with most of our single cell organisms, some of our algae, bacteria, fungi.

Define advanced.

OpenID cailcorishev December 09, 2013 12:33 PM  

If there are an infinite number of universes, Fred's argument doesn't wash. In that case, we just happen to live in the universe where the monkeys got lucky.

No, the existence or lack thereof of other universes doesn't change the probability of a particular event happening in this one in the time available. Whatever the odds of life happening on our Earth in the conditions at hand in a certain number of years, those are the odds regardless of what's happening somewhere else. If there are 100 universes, that makes it 100 times more likely that an event will happen somewhere, but no more likely that it will happen in any one of them.

If we're going to talk probabilities and we're assuming infinite universes, then the likelihood is that we would be living in a universe where the odds of life appearing spontaneously were far better than here -- perhaps a much older Earth, for starters. That we're here, in a universe where the odds are so low as to be practically zero, would be ridiculously improbable in itself, given that there would be an infinite number of universes where it would be more likely.

To put it another way: if the single universe model means that an intelligent creator is X times more likely than abiogenesis, then assuming infinite universes just means we're X times more likely to be living in a universe with an intelligent creator than in one where abiogenesis happened.

Anonymous the bandit December 09, 2013 12:33 PM  

> The way I understand it, if you follow the timelines given

One problem is that genealogy was not always given directly, but rather given in highlights -- particularly in the older sections. So it's hard to reconstruct timelines from the genealogies with any certainty. Some people also interpret a gap between the creation in Genesis 1:1 and the events in the rest of the chapter. The most interesting and compelling synthesis between Genesis 1 and current knowledge of the universe that I've heard -- from the recommendations of others on this blog -- involved the interactions between time dilation and the expansion of the universe during the Big Bang.

Anonymous VD December 09, 2013 12:34 PM  

Vox, how do you reconcile the age of the earth with your belief in God? Do you believe the age of the earth is in the thousands of years rather than billions of years?

I see no problem there whatsoever. I have absolutely no idea exactly how old the Earth is. I do not believe in Bishop Ussher's timeline.

OpenID cailcorishev December 09, 2013 12:36 PM  

AFAIK, TENS believers aren't using probabilities to explain abiogenesis;

I don't know if they all do, but I've certainly heard them use that argument: over billions of years, eventually something as improbable as inorganic compounds coming together with the help of lightning or whatever and becoming the first organic life was bound to happen. That's certainly what I was taught in school, and it's the argument Fred's responding to.

Anonymous Krul December 09, 2013 12:40 PM  

Jack Amok - If there are an infinite number of universes, Fred's argument doesn't wash.

"Infinite universes" is a contradiction in terms. There can only be one universe by definition.

Anonymous bw December 09, 2013 12:42 PM  

or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

HaHa! The cognitive dissonance, Eugenic backhand!

There is very little that is more amusing than when people start to realize what they have believed and enabled.

Anonymous the bandit December 09, 2013 12:42 PM  

> AFAIK, TENS believers aren't using probabilities to explain abiogenesis; but to explain what happens after abiogenesis occurs.

This is correct and incorrect. When you bring up the impossible probabilities of abiogenesis or environment, they bring up typing monkeys and then switch the goal posts into post-abiogenesis TENS so that it becomes arguable. Notice that's exactly what Manatee's Thumb did here, from his very first post.

OpenID cailcorishev December 09, 2013 12:44 PM  

Now where does the Bible say the earth is only thousands of years old?

If you add up the genealogy from Adam down to Jesus, taking the lifetimes stated in the Bible as fact, you get several thousand years. And if you take "7 days" of creation literally, that doesn't add much. One thing I've never heard discussed, though, is how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden before sinning. There was no death before then, so perhaps they lived millions of years, watching the dinosaurs come and go, before eating the apple? I may just be showing my ignorance of scripture here.

Anonymous physics geek December 09, 2013 12:45 PM  

This thread reminds of "Been a long, long time" by R. A. Lafferty, an under appreciated short story by an under appreciate author. A hapless immortal named Boshel introduces randomness into creation and is punished by having a team of monkeys attempt to randomly produce the works of Shakespeare. Suffice it to say that the universe has imploded and re-exploded many times by the story's end, without complete success.

Blogger Nate December 09, 2013 12:51 PM  

"I dispute the allegation that man is more advanced among all the species. "Advanced" is somewhat subjective, but we haven't got any fur to keep warm with and without weapons we can be seriously injured by an 8 pound house cat."

you have a curious definition of "serious".

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 12:56 PM  

No, the existence or lack thereof of other universes doesn't change the probability of a particular event happening in this one in the time available...

Sure, but it gives the even more chances to happen. What are the odds of rolling boxcars on two dice? 1 in 36, right? Would you bet me $1,000 even money I won't roll boxcars on one single roll of the dice? Of course, that's an easy bet. Now, would you bet me $1,000 even money I won't roll boxcars any time today, unlimited number of dice rolls? No, that would be a sucker's bet for you, I'm almost guaranteed to roll a 12 at some point today if I just keep rolling the dice until it happens. Your only real hope of winning that second bet is if the dice don't have sixes on them. "Practically zero" isn't good enough. Unless the probability is actually zero, the event will happen given enough repetitions.

Math is indeed hard. Low probability events become high probability events when you increase the sample size.

To put it another way: if the single universe model means that an intelligent creator is X times more likely than abiogenesis, then assuming infinite universes just means we're X times more likely to be living in a universe with an intelligent creator than in one where abiogenesis happened.

Irrelevant. We are living in the universe we are living in. Either it is one where God created us, or one where abiogenesis happened. Math can't prove either side of the argument. You believe one or the other based on faith, don't be ashamed of that or think it's inadequate.

@Krul:

Fine, call it something else if you like, but you grasp the concept right?

Anonymous Krul December 09, 2013 1:09 PM  

Jack Amok - Fine, call it something else if you like, but you grasp the concept right?

I'm not sure. Try this on:

What we call "the universe" is actually a relatively small cloud of galaxies located in infinite space, and there are an infinite number of other clouds of galaxies which are currently unknown to us because they're too far away to be observed, but are nevertheless in the same universal space as we are - like disparate islands in one ocean. Is that the concept?

Or is the concept that the "space" we observe is actually one (possibly infinite) space filled with galaxies, but there exist an infinite number of other "spaces" that could also be infinite themselves, could be filled with galaxies like ours, but could not interract with ours?

Anonymous LL December 09, 2013 1:10 PM  

I don't even gamble because of all the probabilities I had to take, so this somehow seemingly magical confluence of perfect conditions in order to create life is ridiculous to me.

Anonymous Josh December 09, 2013 1:11 PM  

you have a curious definition of "serious".

And "advanced", although we haven't seen it yet.

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 1:17 PM  

AFAIK, TENS believers aren't using probabilities to explain abiogenesis; but to explain what happens after abiogenesis occurs. All calculations of probabilities that use a specific target are wrong. The end result isn't a specific configuration, but any configuration that maintains replication.

They're in the right ballpark, and if TENS was mathematically sound, it'd have a decent statistical model showing that TENS is able to overcome the probablistic hurdles.

A brief overview of the relationships involved reveals why they avoid it. For every working configuration of parts, there are many many more non-working configurations. As you add more parts, the number of non-working configurations grows faster than the number of working configurations.

So for example - instead of the monkies trying to specifically type Hamlet, let them write any type of literature in any alphabet based on alphanumeric characters. Someone upthread quoted 130million books in human history, let's round to 1 billion. Let's toss in 1 billion possible valid languages based on alphanumeric characters. (eg, if the monkey types Hamlet is English or French or German or Engrish, score a sucess!)

You may have added 18 zeroes to the chance of it happening - but that's still nothing compared to 1.2million zeroes of chances of it not happening.

Honest evaluation of the numbers, or faith in evolution - TENS believers have picked faith over truth.

Anonymous Krul December 09, 2013 1:19 PM  

The former is conceivable to me, but the latter is not. I mean if there were infinite spaces, where would you put them?

Also a third possibility - is the concept of an infinite series of universes, one after the other? So the universe is born, expands, shrinks, implodes, and is born again ad infinitum, so that each sequential universe is another chance to make life?

Anonymous bob k. mando December 09, 2013 1:21 PM  

Kentucky Packrat December 09, 2013 11:50 AM
it would take longer than the life of the Earth by orders of magnitude to get a functioning program out of DNA.



NO IT WOULDN'T.

in a statiscal projection, you might expect a time scale several orders of magnitude longer than the ( supposed ) several billion years of the earth's existence.

but
IF you admit that there is any possibility whatsoever, no matter how remote or absurd
THEN there is NO REASON why that combination couldn't happen on the first roll of the dice.

all you've done is explain why the SETI program can't find any signals.

and i'm saying this as a Creationist.



Nate December 09, 2013 12:51 PM
you have a curious definition of "serious".




she isn't advanced enough to adequately defend herself from a housecat. i think her definition of 'serious' is textbook.

i, on the other hand, can immobilize a cat without harming it using only my two hands. one hand up under the neck with the forelegs splayed between the thumb and pinky, other hand grasps both rear legs, stretch the cat out. that cat isn't 'comfortable', but ain't nobody getting hurt. if you try this, you'd best use a VERY firm grip.

now, if i don't care about the well being of the cat i could simply splatter it on the wall and that would only take a couple of seconds.

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 1:25 PM  

Math is indeed hard. Low probability events become high probability events when you increase the sample size.

When you have to appeal to an unobserved infinite number of universes to compensate for the observed finite universe we inhabit, your pet theory has already lost.

It's like claiming that a lottery has an EV > 1 if you start off with enough, or even an infinite number of tickets. That's nice, but no lottery is going to sell out tickets at a price to give you an EV > 1.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 1:40 PM  

The former is conceivable to me, but the latter is not. I mean if there were infinite spaces, where would you put them?

Some people can't imagine God. Some people can't imagine lucky monkeys in infinite universes. Some people can imagine both and prefer one to the other (which preference, as Stephen J said, maybe reveals something about them). Other people shrug their shoulders and say "eh, God or Lucky Monkeys, either way it seems like a bad idea to live your life like Lindsay Lohan..."

Also a third possibility - is the concept of an infinite series of universes, one after the other? So the universe is born, expands, shrinks, implodes, and is born again ad infinitum, so that each sequential universe is another chance to make life?

Serial or parallel, no matter. Parallel takes more "space", serial takes more time. Which do we have more of? What kind of hardware does this computer simulation* we live in run on anyway?

* and it should be obvious, the Lucky Monkeys aren't writing War and Peace, they're writing an Operating System. Which would make us the Application programmers. Progressives appear to be writing Microsoft Bob.

Blogger IM2L844 December 09, 2013 1:41 PM  

The existence of life does not prove, beyond any doubt, that God exists, but it is strong evidence for His existence. The origin of life is just another piece of evidence among a multitude of others that requires unobserved and absurdly unlikely materialistic explanations to avoid conceding the existence of God.

It shouldn't be considered as an isolated exhibit in vacuum, but as an integral contribution to the expanding abundance of evidence indicating the existence of the Christian's God.

The practicability of the ever growing alternate explanations collective has evolved into a preposterously unconvincing embarrassment.

Blogger JaimeInTexas December 09, 2013 1:45 PM  

The Bible, the Old Testament to be more specific, only gives enough information to account for a minimum number of years. There are gaps in genealogies and undetermined periods of time in some of the narratives. I read somewhere, a long time ago, that the calculation was around 20,000+, even with a literal 6 day creation period. God rested after the 6th day.

The Bible is clear that God created man, that man sinned, that God executed judgment, that there is a period of time until redemption and the judgement are satisfied. As long as the idea of long ages is not used to undermine our need to be saved by Christ, all is well.

On the issue of faith. A long time ago I had a discussion with someone on the internet, who objected to my equating faith with trust. Recently, I read Carl Sagan's Contact. I was surprised that I enjoyed it and at Sagan's take on religion in general. Some wide paintbrush strikes, sure, to be expected in a short book, but it seemed to me that he was warning the scientists, like H. G. Wells Food Of The Gods, that the scientists have a story to tell to people who have to take them at their word, as well.

Whom do you trust? On whom do you rest your faith?

Every day, every thing that we do, involves the exercise of trust/faith in some way or another. Do you trust that the car approaching you from the opposite direction, on a two lane road, both doing 65MPH, will stay in his lane? I deal with it when I drive a total of 70 miles, going and coming to work in Houston, Texas.

Blogger James Dixon December 09, 2013 1:52 PM  

> That's nice, but no lottery is going to sell out tickets at a price to give you an EV > 1.

Have you ever asked them? I suspect they would make the arrangements if you made a serious offer. And with the MegaMillions currently projected to be about $330M, and the total number of tickets costing only about $80M, it would seem like an ideal time.

Anonymous Krul December 09, 2013 2:00 PM  

Some people can't imagine God. Some people can't imagine lucky monkeys in infinite universes.

I think it's a bigger problem than that. When you say that another "space" exists "parallel" to our own, are you actually saying anything meaningful, or is it just gibberish? How can there be another "space" that exists in the same way and with mostly the same content as ours without being part of ours or interracting with ours in any way?

Serial or parallel, no matter. Parallel takes more "space", serial takes more time. Which do we have more of?

I'd say the problem with the "series" option is that the energy for all those transformations has to be coming from somewhere. There has to be an infinite pool of energy; otherwise the universe would have run out and dissipated by now.

As for "parallel", I still don't see how it's a meaningful notion.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 2:00 PM  

When you have to appeal to an unobserved infinite number of universes to compensate for the observed finite universe we inhabit, your pet theory has already lost.

And people with no faith in God merely respond that "when you have to appeal to an unobserved omnipotent deity..."

You're not grasping it. Both sides of the fence are predicated on faith. Nobody has pure reason on their side. Trying to use math to prove the existence of God smacks of mid-wittery. As does trying to use it to prove God doesn't exist.

The fact is, we live in a literally fantastic* universe. It exists as it is, and we exist in it, because of the fantastic creation of God, or the fantastic existence of multiple universes, or the fantastic luck of the monkeys in our universe. All three possibilities require belief in something other people will - understandably - find unbelievable.

* from merriam-webster.com: Fantastic (adj) 1-c: so extreme as to challenge belief

Blogger Kentucky Packrat December 09, 2013 2:01 PM  

Math is indeed hard. Low probability events become high probability events when you increase the sample size.

Probability is obviously so hard that you don't get it. The low probabilities we're talking about are so infinitesimally low that throwing 4 billion years at the problem barely raises the probabilities into the near-infintesimal; they get nowhere close to high. You are like a person buying 1000 lottery tickets, knowing that they are sure to win the lottery now, when mathematically they have barely changed the odds at all.

Moreover, even if DNA somehow beat the odds and self-combined, that's not the only problem. The only known environments where DNA can randomly combine are artificial, high-solvent environments where DNA immediately break down. Before you can say DNA randomly combined and then stayed stable long enough to self-replicate, you have to posit a way it could happen. To quote our analogy: you have to provide the monkeys. (This is why some scientists are desperate to make DNA extra-terrestrial. It pushes the question out of reach.)

Then, even if somehow, somewhere, you get DNA to form, you have no way to make it duplicate itself. The rest of the cell is created by the DNA after all. Moreover, all known (and at this point theoretical) environments in which DNA can self-combine would dissolve cell-like chemical structures, so you have to come up with a novel pre-existing structure that was not preserved and randomly occurred itself. Back to the analogy: you have to explain the typewriters, and the problem that the monkeys would rather destroy the typewriters than write Shakespeare.

So now, let's go back and summarize the TENS creation story for the first self-replicating DNA strand: By some method that we can't explain and can't demonstrate ever existed on Earth, a random strain of viable DNA somehow beat impossible odds and formed, and then replicated itself using some method we can't explain and can't demonstrate ever existed.

It doesn't matter if there are infinite multiverses, Jack, impossible events can't occur. TENS believers must create a theory for the creation of the first self-replicating organism that actually COULD occur, or they are blowing faith-based smoke.

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 2:04 PM  

Have you ever asked them? I suspect they would make the arrangements if you made a serious offer. And with the MegaMillions currently projected to be about $330M, and the total number of tickets costing only about $80M, it would seem like an ideal time.

That this particular jackpot has a >1 EV is based on previous jackpots not paying out at all. Since the lottery operates at a profit from the sale of lottery tickets, my statement holds true when you look at the total numbers.

That retail stores can have items sold at a loss doesn't negate their underlying business model of selling items at a profit.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 2:07 PM  

Probability is obviously so hard that you don't get it. The low probabilities we're talking about are so infinitesimally low that throwing 4 billion years...

So you'll take my bet on rolling boxcars then? Should be easy money for you since I'm so bad at probability.

OpenID cailcorishev December 09, 2013 2:09 PM  

Sure, but it gives the even more chances to happen. What are the odds of rolling boxcars on two dice? 1 in 36, right? Would you bet me $1,000 even money I won't roll boxcars on one single roll of the dice? Of course, that's an easy bet. Now, would you bet me $1,000 even money I won't roll boxcars any time today, unlimited number of dice rolls?

Gladly, as long as each roll takes place in a different universe, and the only one I have to pay off is the one you roll here.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 2:10 PM  

How can there be another "space" that exists in the same way and with mostly the same content as ours without being part of ours or interracting with ours in any way?

You can only ask that question if you are willing to let an atheist ask you in return to explain where God came from. Neither one of you can answer the question to the satisfaction of the other.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 2:11 PM  

Gladly, as long as each roll takes place in a different universe, and the only one I have to pay off is the one you roll here.

Sure, if by "here" you mean the one where I roll boxcars, since according to our analogy, that's the only universe were we exist...

Anonymous Impraxical December 09, 2013 2:12 PM  

TENS doesn't say anything about abiogenesis, and rational people don't feel compelled to believe something when insufficient information is available. When a supporter of evolution says he doesn't know how the first DNA molecules formed, he is not evading the question. He is giving the only rational response possible.

Any proposed scientific explanations for abiogenesis are just hypothesis at this point. Anyone claiming differently can be justifiably called out on it.

Anonymous Krul December 09, 2013 2:17 PM  

You can only ask that question if you are willing to let an atheist ask you in return to explain where God came from.

This is a false statement. Moreover if one hypothesis is meaningless, it doesn't make the other meaningful, let alone correct.

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 2:23 PM  

And people with no faith in God merely respond that "when you have to appeal to an unobserved omnipotent deity..."

Jesus claimed to be God and was most definitely observed on earth, considering how much of an impact he's had on human history. If his claim to be God is true, he is indeed an observed omnipotent deity.

"Unobserved" indeed. Start over with a true premise.


You're not grasping it. Both sides of the fence are predicated on faith. Nobody has pure reason on their side. Trying to use math to prove the existence of God smacks of mid-wittery. As does trying to use it to prove God doesn't exist.

Who's using math to prove the existence of God? This is a discussion on math and TENS. The math that supports TENS should have been hashed out ages ago - but it has not, and will not, because it shows the intellectual bankruptcy of the theory.

"Billions and billions of years" is a handwave.

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 2:34 PM  

So you'll take my bet on rolling boxcars then? Should be easy money for you since I'm so bad at probability.

Pay me $1000 for every roll that does not come up boxcars, and I'll pay you $1000 for every roll that does come up boxcars.

If you want me to pay you $1000 on the chance that you will not roll a single boxcar in an unlimited number of rolls, well, you'd have an expected EV of 480 boxcar rolls in a single day rolling non-stop every 5 second.

But your appeal to a scenario where EV >> 1 does not demonstrate that you can reasonably expect the occurence of a scenario where EV <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< 1.

The belief that you'll never roll boxcars in an unlimited number of rolls in a day is what TENS is. The statistically impossible happens, somehow.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 2:37 PM  

You can only ask that question if you are willing to let an atheist ask you in return to explain where God came from.

This is a false statement.


Bullshit, it's a perfectly true statement. You can't challenge someone else to explain the part of their belief system that you don't buy if you aren't willing to let them challenge the part of your belief system that they don't buy. To do so is simply to say that their opinion doesn't count because they don't agree with you. And of course you are free to do that, but don't be offended if the other side does it back to you.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 2:40 PM  

Pay me $1000 for every roll that does not come up boxcars, and I'll pay you $1000 for every roll that does come up boxcars.

Ah, but that's not the bet my friend. To insist that it is, is to misunderstand the analogy.

Blogger Nate December 09, 2013 2:50 PM  

" Now, would you bet me $1,000 even money I won't roll boxcars any time today, unlimited number of dice rolls?"

I will bet you $1000 even money that you will not roll boxcars 3 times in a row with an unlimited number of rolls.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 2:51 PM  

The belief that you'll never roll boxcars in an unlimited number of rolls in a day is what TENS is. The statistically impossible happens, somehow.

Now this is a more reasonable line of thinking. The impossible cannot happen. The merely improbable is guaranteed to happen given unlimited opportunity. So the dice roll analogy, if the dice have no sixes, then boxcars is impossible no matter how many rolls there are. If they do have sixes, then boxcars is guaranteed to happen eventually if I keep rolling, and even if I don't have unlimited rolls, it still could happen on the first roll.

So to prove that life must have been created by God requires proving that abiogenesis is indeed impossible, not merely improbable. Saying that you believe life was created by God requires merely believing in God, or alternatively believing abiogenesis is unlikely. A lot of people don't understand the difference between the two.

Faith is not proof, but if you have faith, why do you need proof? Don't break your pick on something that doesn't matter.

Blogger Nate December 09, 2013 2:53 PM  

"Bullshit, it's a perfectly true statement. You can't challenge someone else to explain the part of their belief system that you don't buy if you aren't willing to let them challenge the part of your belief system that they don't buy."

Yes.

You can.

its called falsification mate and the validity of my hypothesis is totally irrelevant. Frankly its just atheist pouting. Oh noes! We came up with an idea and the meanies are shooting holes in it!

Yes.

That's called science. That's what science IS. Its shooting holes in theories.

Anonymous Krul December 09, 2013 2:54 PM  

Jack Amok - You can't challenge someone else to explain the part of their belief system that you don't buy if you aren't willing to let them challenge the part of your belief system that they don't buy.

Yes you can. Your personal consistency doesn't affect the validity of your criticism on a given issue. Also you're assuming that one of those two possibilities - God or multiverse - must be true, which is far from certain.

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 2:56 PM  

Ah, but that's not the bet my friend. To insist that it is, is to misunderstand the analogy.

I know it isn't. You only had to read past that first sentence to know that I knew.

But I've pointed out that you've picking an event with an EV of 1+ to support the belief of the occurrence of an event with EV <<<< 1. Those are not remotely equivalent.

Reverse the positions, and you've come to a closer equivalency. Treat rolling boxcars as extinction, and everything else as survival and reproduction - the chance of continuously not rolling boxcars such that life goes from bacterium to human being is so minute that it's not a serious proposition when the math is analyzed.

OpenID cailcorishev December 09, 2013 2:57 PM  

Sure, if by "here" you mean the one where I roll boxcars, since according to our analogy, that's the only universe were we exist...

This is the only universe in which we're trying to estimate the probability of life having come into existence spontaneously. If you're going to multiply the numerator by the number of universes, you have to multiply the denominator by the same thing.

Let's say we could determine through experimentation that the odds of life having spontaneously occurred on Earth are 1-in-1000. Ok, fine, that's not great odds, but it's certainly possible. I've had less likely bridge hands.

Now, let's say you discover a dimensional portal, and find that it leads to 999 other similar universes. Does that change the odds of life having occurred spontaneously in this one? No, it's still 1-in-1000. The odds of life having occurred somewhere have increased (to your knowledge), but not the odds here. Likewise, if your dimensional portal finds that there are no other universes, the odds here haven't changed. They are what they are.

Three doors, one prize, two man-eating tigers. You pick a door, and your odds of finding the prize are obviously 1-in-3. Now I point to one of the other doors and tell you it conceals a tiger. Have the odds of your door concealing the prize changed?

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 3:02 PM  

So to prove that life must have been created by God requires proving that abiogenesis is indeed impossible, not merely improbable. Saying that you believe life was created by God requires merely believing in God, or alternatively believing abiogenesis is unlikely. A lot of people don't understand the difference between the two.

Who here in this thread is trying to prove life must have been created by God? Why are you swinging at non-existent arguments?

On the flip side, if you don't believe life has been created by God, you're a fool, because you've put your faith in a miracle after trying to eliminate the miraculous. Logical incoherence.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 3:03 PM  

I will bet you $1000 even money that you will not roll boxcars 3 times in a row with an unlimited number of rolls.

Took me 82,916 rolls the first time, 95,273 the second, 46,521 the third time.

Here's the python script (LuckyMonkey.py):
------------------------------------
import random

i = 0

boxcars = 0

go = True
while (go):
i = i + 1
x = random.randint(1,6)
y = random.randint(1,6)
z = x + y
if z == 12:
boxcars = boxcars + 1
else:
boxcars = 0

if boxcars == 3:
print "Lucky Monkey took " + str(i) + " rolls to roll 3 straight

boxcars"
go = False

----------------------------------------------

here's the output:

C:\Users\John\Documents>python -m LuckyMonkey
Lucky Monkey took 82916 rolls to roll 3 straight boxcars

C:\Users\John\Documents>python -m LuckyMonkey
Lucky Monkey took 95273 rolls to roll 3 straight boxcars

C:\Users\John\Documents>python -m LuckyMonkey
Lucky Monkey took 46521 rolls to roll 3 straight boxcars


Don't send me the money. Buy $1k worth of ammo and teach some kids how to shoot instead.

OpenID cailcorishev December 09, 2013 3:05 PM  

Faith is not proof, but if you have faith, why do you need proof?

Faith is, to quote Thomas Aquinas, "an act of the intellect assenting to divine truth." It's not, as is commonly thought, mindless belief. Proof may not be necessary (or available), but evidence is always welcome when applying one's intellect.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat December 09, 2013 3:05 PM  

So you'll take my bet on rolling boxcars then? Should be easy money for you since I'm so bad at probability.

Only if you'll agree to roll 500 dice at the same time, and pay me $1000 if it takes you more than 24 hours to get all 500 to face 1 each time.

Not fair? I'm giving you a lot better odds than DNA has.

The smallest genome we know of in a self-replicating creature is 160Kb long, and it isn't even self-sufficient (the longest in a self-sufficient organism is 491Kb, so I'm giving you most of the odds for free). Since DNA is a four-character language, the odds of getting this right are 4^160k. Since multiple combinations are valid, I'll even cut you another break: let's pretend that your odds are 4^80k.

Basically here, you need to roll 80k 4-sided dice 10^48160 times. That's a 1 with almost 50000 zeros after it. If you roll 1 set a second, that's 10^6250 years. The universe is about 10^9 years old.

I do not have the time to swizzle the numbers to convert this into the exact number of 6 sided dice you need to roll in 1 day to have the same odds of hitting all 1s, but it's clearly well above 500. Perhaps someone with access to Mathematica or better skills with logs than I could check it out.

Anonymous Krul December 09, 2013 3:07 PM  

Jack Amok - You can only ask that question if you are willing to let an atheist ask you in return to explain where God came from.

Another thing... claims about God are religious. You can appeal to "faith" or something other than reason in support of your assertion. You can say you're a prophet, and that God has granted you special knowledge for example. "Multiverse" claims have no such recourse - they stand or fall by reason and evidence.

I'm not saying that's valid, but I am pointing out that there is a qualitative difference between these types of claims.

Anonymous Starbuck December 09, 2013 3:10 PM  

Not sure about all of that, but did it answer your question?

Nope, not in the least. Evolution requires much faith in random happenings for it to work that it is impossible. literally.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 3:12 PM  

Also you're assuming that one of those two possibilities - God or multiverse - must be true,

No, I'm assuming either God or abiogenesis must be true. Or rather, that either life was intentionally created or else happened by accident, which is a tautology. But it's not a question I'm particularly interested in. The only reason it comes up is the attempt to "prove" the existence of God (intentional creation) by disproving the possibility of abiogenesis.

Who here in this thread is trying to prove life must have been created by God?

Everyone trying to prove abiogenesis couldn't possibly have happened.

On the flip side, if you don't believe life has been created by God, you're a fool, because you've put your faith in a miracle after trying to eliminate the miraculous. Logical incoherence.

Ah, now you're getting somewhere. That is exactly what I meant when I said we live in a literally fantastic universe.

Blogger Nate December 09, 2013 3:13 PM  

"Don't send me the money. Buy $1k worth of ammo and teach some kids how to shoot instead."

Sorry sugar tits... but you're not actually rolling dice... and you will recall that the bet was limited to 1 day... which is just over 86,400 seconds. Given that the average dice roll is going to take you over 3 seconds... rolling continually you will still only get to 28,000 or so rolls in a 24 hours.

Thus...

Fail.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 09, 2013 3:16 PM  

to give the atheists something to think about:
all we're talking about above is simply the probability of a valid DNA strand randomly occurring.

let's stipulate that, shazam, lightning hit the pool of amino acids and you've got a biologically viable strand of DNA. do you have a living organism?

no. you've got sweet fuck all.

have you any conception of HOW MUCH back end biological machinery is REQUIRED in order to do ANYTHING with that strand of DNA?

here, watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqESR7E4b_8

in point of fact, DNA is *too complicated* as an origin point for life. useable DNA stipulates an already extant biological factory capable of using it and it's products.

DNA doesn't do anything to solve the problem of abiogenesis.

best get to work on conceptualizing something that will.

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 3:18 PM  

Basically here, you need to roll 80k 4-sided dice 10^48160 times. That's a 1 with almost 50000 zeros after it. If you roll 1 set a second, that's 10^6250 years. The universe is about 10^9 years old.

I do not have the time to swizzle the numbers to convert this into the exact number of 6 sided dice you need to roll in 1 day to have the same odds of hitting all 1s, but it's clearly well above 500. Perhaps someone with access to Mathematica or better skills with logs than I could check it out.


You're looking for 1/4 ^ m == 1/6 ^ n
As log(x^y) = y * log(x), transform that into

m/n = log (1/6) / log (1/4)

Mathing it out, the ratio of n:m ends up being ~0.77, meaning for every 4-sided dice you use, you need 0.77 6-sided dice to have the same probability. (100 4-sided dice rolling 1s roughly equivalent to 77 6-sided dice rolling 1s)

So you need 61.6k 6-sided dice to be equal to the 80k 4-sided dice.

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 3:22 PM  

Sorry sugar tits... but you're not actually rolling dice... and you will recall that the bet was limited to 1 day...

"I will bet you $1000 even money that you will not roll boxcars 3 times in a row with an unlimited number of rolls."


You may have forgotten to qualify your bet is limited to an unlimited number of dice rolls in one day.

:P

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 3:22 PM  

Sorry sugar tits... but you're not actually rolling dice... and you will recall that the bet was limited to 1 day

Ah you're just quibbling, I already proved it's possible. Besides, you know you'd have fun shooting. You can pretend I'm the zombie on the target.

Anonymous flyfreshandyoung December 09, 2013 3:28 PM  

"no. you've got sweet fuck all."

Was about to jump in a say the same. Even if we grant the absurb probability of DNA actually forming, the monkeys now have to go back to the typewriters to see how the DNA now goes onto becoming a cell, and then a bacteria with a flagellum, and so on.

Did the evolutionists say billions of years? I think they meant trillions

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 3:31 PM  

Faith is, to quote Thomas Aquinas, "an act of the intellect assenting to divine truth." It's not, as is commonly thought, mindless belief. Proof may not be necessary (or available), but evidence is always welcome when applying one's intellect.

The question is, evidence of what? The origin of life seems to be a rather dry well to plumb for reason, being so far out of our experience. I think there are better questions to apply one's intellect to. For example, is a community of mostly Christian people in general a better place to live than a community of pagan Baal worshipers?

Anonymous Noah B. December 09, 2013 3:32 PM  

It seems that most who oppose the theory of evolution aren't considering the possibility that, in the chemical environment of the early earth, abiogenesis could have been a highly probable result. Obviously, we don't know what exact conditions would have been needed, or how likely abiogenesis would be even under the most favorable conditions. But it's yet another possibility in addition to either life being directly created by God or arising despite astronomical odds against it.

Anonymous Giraffe December 09, 2013 3:38 PM  

rolling continually you will still only get to 28,000 or so rolls in a 24 hours.

In other words, you are many orders of magnitude simpler than creating the simplest DNA, and the probability is already creeping distressingly close to zero.

And once you have the DNA, you have only solved part of the problem, as you need the equipment to replicate the DNA, and protect it from the environment.

And your are like

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMRrNY0pxfM

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 3:42 PM  

Did the evolutionists say billions of years? I think they meant trillions

Trillions of years only buys you 3 extra zeroes. The order of magnitudes we're dealing with eclipse a googol googols.

googol = 10e100, or 10e(10e2)

googol googols = 10e100 * 10e100 = 10e200 = 10e2(10e2)

1 followed by 1.2 million zeroes = 10e1.2million = 10e(10e9)

Trillion? 10e12, or 10e(10e1.08)? Peanuts.

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 3:47 PM  

It seems that most who oppose the theory of evolution aren't considering the possibility that, in the chemical environment of the early earth, abiogenesis could have been a highly probable result.

Absent evidence that any such environment exists, this is special pleading based on faith.

Cells expend considerable energy to maintain the internal environment that allows them to continue to function. The idea you can get this for free in an external environment with natural processes is ... improbable. (Sunlight is not good for biological chemicals; that's why you get sunburned, and why it's good for your skin to block the damage instead of your internal organs)

Yes, everyone has faith; it's just funny how absurd the evolutionist faith is while most evolutionists mock faith as a general concept.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 3:50 PM  

Yes.

You can.

its called falsification mate and the validity of my hypothesis is totally irrelevant...


Not talking about the validity of your hypothesis, merely the validity of challenging it From an intellectual honesty standpoint, you can't claim your hypothesis is immune to challenge while you are challenging your opponent's. Certainly you can claim their challenge was insufficient, but when you're dealing with cosmological questions, that's a dicey area to get into.

Frankly its just atheist pouting.

Nate, you disappoint me. You were about the last one I'd expect to be confused about the difference between an atheist and an agnostic.

Let me ask this question of Nate, cailcorishev, SirHamster, KP and Krul: What is the argument I am actually making in this thread? What claim am I making?

Anonymous Krul December 09, 2013 3:58 PM  

Re: Jack,

I believe the argument you're making is something like this: We are living in the universe we are living in. Either it is one where God created us, or one where abiogenesis happened. Math can't prove either side of the argument. You believe one or the other based on faith, don't be ashamed of that or think it's inadequate.

Inasmuch as this is boring, I have elected to focus on the interesting question of whether/how a "multiverse" scenerio is conceivable.

Anonymous Noah B. December 09, 2013 4:00 PM  

"Absent evidence that any such environment exists, this is special pleading based on faith."

Faith and religious belief are at the core of all of us. We can attempt to deny it, but we can't escape it.

Blogger pilgrim4life December 09, 2013 4:52 PM  

"One thing I've never heard discussed, though, is how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden before sinning. There was no death before then, so perhaps they lived millions of years, watching the dinosaurs come and go, before eating the apple?"

The Bible doesn't say how long this period was. However, take a look at Genesis 5:3-5:

"When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died."

So Adam lived 930 years total, and Seth (born after Cain and Abel) was born when he was 130 years old. Years (or decades) could have passed prior to the Fall, but not centuries or millions of years.

It is difficult to calculate an exact number of years since creation. However, the geneologies listed in Genesis 5 and 10 are very specific, as are the geneologies listed for Christ in Matthew and Luke. Unless these lists contain significant gaps or errors there is no way to account for "millions of years" in biblical history.

Interpreting Genesis 1 days as being more than 24 hours each doesn't help (from an evolutionary perspective) unless you also ignore the order in which these were created (i.e. plant life on earth existing before the sun and stars).

Also, if all the fossils found around the earth are primarily from evolution which pre-dates Adam and Eve (instead of from Noah's flood), then theological problems arise as death would have existed for millions of years prior to man's sin.

Anonymous Isaac Newton December 09, 2013 5:23 PM  

You are correct, Vox, Ussher had it wrong. He was off by about 4 years.

But we can't all be right all of the time. I mean, look at you and I when it comes to the Trinity.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 09, 2013 5:28 PM  

I put a million monkeys in a room with a million typewriters and told them to type "Hamlet". But the stupid fucks only wound up typing "Titus Andronicus".

The really interesting thing about the whole TENS debate (it isn't interesting, really, but bear with me) is the furious will-to-believe of the so-called scientists. They seem to have precious little regard for the actual history of science as actually experienced by the actual human race.

Why are they so ferociously committed to believing their little Darwin story and spitting on Christians? Some part of TENS may be viable as a piece of a larger and weirder explanation, in the way that Kepler anticipated Newton without realizing it, but both were trumped by Einstein and Heisenberg, who, for all we know, may also be trumped in turn... I see Darwin's thought as sitting someplace analogous to Kepler's -- useful and interesting, and may help to lead, in some small way, to clearer perceptions in the fullness of time. But holy writ? The thing is absurd. But they want their holy writ, dammit, and more than anything else in the whole wide world, they want to be able to spit in the eyes of Christians. Not in the eyes of Muslims or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists or Jains or Odin-worshipers. They specifically and gleefully want to spit on Christians. Tells you all you need to know about them, really.

Here's a thought experiment: let a TENS nutcase rail and rail all day long about how Darwin Good, Jesus Bad, and let him explain to his heart's content how Christianity is TEH EVIL and TEH STUPID and so on. Then ask him to repeat his rant verbatim to the nice old black lady from the black Baptist church.

Anonymous DT December 09, 2013 5:34 PM  

I've said before that believing in TENS is equivalent to believing that heat can spontaneously reverse direction and move from a cold to a hot object. Some people do not understand why I say this. They know there is a Second Law of Thermodynamics. But they do not understand WHY there is a Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics exists because the number of high entropy energy configurations of the universe vastly exceed the number of low entropy energy configurations. The difference is so great that any change involving energy will move the universe as a whole towards a high entropy configuration. The Second Law is a consequence of statistics.

Know what else follows the same law for the same statistical reasons? Any information system. Hard disk, genome, radio signal...blank pages being fed into typewriters for monkeys to type on. In every one the possible noise configurations so vastly exceed the possible signal configurations that any random interaction will move the system as a whole towards a configuration of meaningless noise.

The universe started...and still exists...in a relatively low entropy energy configuration. I believe this points to a creator. Evolutionists assume it to be a natural consequence of the Big Bang. Let us assume for the sake of argument that it was a natural consequence. We have the energy living systems need.

But where did the information come from? Raw physical energy is randomizing. Bombarding Earth with radiation does not solve the problem of the first genome. It does not change the statistical reality, the same reality which we accept as law when it comes to energy. Any random interaction will move an information system towards noise, not towards information. Bombard a soup of randomly arranged chemicals with raw energy and you will get...a soup of randomly arranged chemicals.

Existing life forms can use energy to replicate (DNA) or create (i.e. human works) information. But there has to be an initial state of information guiding a machine that can use energy to do the work. Absent that the statistical realities determine an outcome of random noise.

I actually knew someone who once thought that a particular perpetual motion machine was possible. I remember just shaking my head at this person. I have the exact same reaction to anyone who tells me that abiogenesis is possible. Or that random mutations can result in new information. In our universe these things are no more a possibility then perpetual motion machines.

The information of life had to come from outside of this universe because the laws and configuration of this universe preclude its spontaneous formation here.

Anonymous TWS December 09, 2013 5:44 PM  

Rolling boxcars means nothing rolling yatzee means nothing. People have rolled boxcars and yatzee. No one has ever created life. Lets see the dice all come up on their corners and start spinning like tops. Let us know when that happens

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 December 09, 2013 5:48 PM  

Sir Isaac, I thought I'd heard a lot/ most of the YEC arguments.

Yet missing fulgarites was a new one on me. Erosion rates I knew about, missing corpses, but never heard about fulgarites.



Yes, I'm saying it again: In summary, Jesus is who He said He is. Missing fulgarites, erosion rates, moon regress, ocean salinity, helium in rocks etc, etc, etc,

Stomatal densities in fossil leaves utterly sinks global warming BTW.

Heathens aren't merely wrong in any normal sense of the word. They personify wrong.

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 5:59 PM  

Let me ask this question of Nate, cailcorishev, SirHamster, KP and Krul: What is the argument I am actually making in this thread? What claim am I making?

That with an infinite number of tries, even a ridiculously improbable event as "TENS causing life as we know it" can happen with EV >= 1.

A true statement of sorts, but useless. With an infinite number of tries - a lot of other ridiculous events are not just possible, but expected. Such as the following:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/kk4sfhc

Anonymous Boetain December 09, 2013 6:10 PM  

In regards to erosion rates, I am always reminded of the young age of the earth as I drive around the southwestern US. I see mesas and canyons all over the place with flat tops and sharp drop-off edges. Logic tells me that if they had been eroding for gazillions of years then the edges would be rounded instead of sharp. Basically, all of the mesas would have become hills by now and all of the canyons would have long, gently sloping sides.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 09, 2013 6:21 PM  

Krul wins the reading comprehension over SirHamster, though I think SirHamster at least realizes I'm not arguing in favor of TENS (though I'm not positive about that).

Surprisingly though, like Krul I too find the debate boring, which is odd when you consider that I am saying whoever is right, Creationists or Darwinians, we live in a universe predicated on something fantastic having caused us to be. Both the Strong (God created man) and the Weak (man created God) Anthropic principles require something hard to imagine happening, though each think is hard for a different set of people to imagine.

But my real question, the real point I'm trying to get across, is why on Earth would you want to argue something so fundamentally un-provable as Creation when you can instead argue far more provable points like whether it's better to live in a predominantly Christian society or a frickin' Ba'al worshiping madhouse?

Anonymous kh123 December 09, 2013 6:37 PM  

"why on Earth would you want to argue something so fundamentally un-provable as Creation when you can instead argue far more provable points like whether it's better to live in a predominantly Christian society or a frickin' Ba'al worshiping madhouse?"

Depends on the personality at times. Some folks thrive knowing their lineage, family and parentage is without question; some survive despite it; some fall apart upon knowing it; others feel it better never to know given it may be in question... and soldier on.

Granted, goes without saying one has better odds being adjusted and functional when one knows they're not a bastard.

Anonymous kh123 December 09, 2013 6:46 PM  

...Also revolves around the whole idea of there being a point to anything one does, destination and all. Some dig on the freedom of no underlying purpose or structure and, like Indiana Jones, enjoy making it up as they go; others won't budge until they've got some idea that, yes Virginia, there is ultimately a purpose that transcends eat, sh*t, mate, and die.

To paraphrase a prisoner: "Your brain is preoccupied with vain calculations - survive at any price! - that cut you off from those around you and from the heavens... and tomorrow are worth nothing."

Anonymous Noah B. December 09, 2013 6:56 PM  

"I actually knew someone who once thought that a particular perpetual motion machine was possible. I remember just shaking my head at this person. I have the exact same reaction to anyone who tells me that abiogenesis is possible."

If you have the same reaction to both beliefs, you have no logical basis for it. A proof that a perpetual motion machine is not possible is simple and straightforward, based on the First Law. There is no analogous negative proof in the case of abiogenesis.

Your claim that a random process cannot produce information is without basis, since the distinction between information and noise is dependent on the selection of sender and receiver, which is to say, entirely subjective.

Blogger Eric December 09, 2013 7:03 PM  

Two things. One, evolution in the popular sense is really two different theories. One is how things change over time as a result of natural selection. There's quite a bit of evidence for this part - it explains why penicillin doesn't work any more, and you can demonstrate it pretty easily if you have enough petri dishes. The second part is how life started in the first place, something for which (on the scientific side, at least) we have nothing but speculation. Even if you could find a process that's within the realm of possibility, without a time machine you can't really say that's what actually happened. There's just no evidence.

In reference to Fred's really big number, the comparison isn't valid. There may have been only 130 million books ever written (at least 129 million too many), but what you have to compare it against is all possible books that could be written, which is a much, much bigger number. Because biogenesis has happened as soon as you have any cluster of atoms that can replicate, not a specific cluster.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 December 09, 2013 7:15 PM  

Because biogenesis has happened as soon as you have any cluster of atoms that can replicate, not a specific cluster.

talk to your crystals then, snow flakes, water conjugates - they are "alive". All alone you are surrounded by living stuff.

Torture language to give words any meaning you want.

Spinal Tap"s "I know for I told me so" - is an intellectually rigorous as anything from a biology department.

But Spinal Tap knew that it was a parody; biologists and global warmers are utterly clueless/ hands on the steering wheel driving the economy off a cliff.

Anonymous DT December 09, 2013 7:16 PM  

If you have the same reaction to both beliefs, you have no logical basis for it. A proof that a perpetual motion machine is not possible is simple and straightforward, based on the First Law.

Perpetual motion machines violate the First and Second Laws.

Your claim that a random process cannot produce information is without basis, since the distinction between information and noise is dependent on the selection of sender and receiver, which is to say, entirely subjective.

In the case of life the sender and receiver are not subjective. You need a genome (sender) that can direct chemical processes (receiver) to maintain and replicate itself.

But your counter is irrelevant in any case. No matter what sender receiver pair you choose, the number of configurations representing information is infinitesimally small compared to the number of configurations representing noise. This is the same situation as with the potential energy configurations of the universe. Information and communications systems have been found to rigidly obey the Second Law and follow its predictions because the same statistics are in play.

To accept the Second Law is to accept the underlying statistics that are the cause of the Second Law. To accept those statistics is to accept that randomness cannot yield information any more then heat can go from cold to hot.

Anonymous DT December 09, 2013 7:28 PM  

In reference to Fred's really big number, the comparison isn't valid. There may have been only 130 million books ever written (at least 129 million too many), but what you have to compare it against is all possible books that could be written, which is a much, much bigger number.

The Second Law operates in the physical universe despite the fact that the number of potential low entropy configurations is a very large number, not just the number of configurations we observe or the number of configurations the universe has gone through from the Big Bang until now. The universe will never be in the vast majority of potential low entropy configurations.

This does not change the relationship to the potential number of high entropy configurations. One is still so small as compared to the other that any random interaction will always result in the universe moving towards the larger category.

It's no different for the potential configurations of a self replicating life form vs. the potential configurations of the matter making up said life form. Any random interaction will always move the matter towards the larger category.

Anonymous Noah B. December 09, 2013 7:29 PM  

"In the case of life the sender and receiver are not subjective."

They most certainly are. A mutation that is beneficial to one organism may be quite detrimental to another, and may have little noticeable effect in a third. There is no universal metric for determining what is information and what is noise, even in this case. This is where your argument fails.

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 7:34 PM  

Krul wins the reading comprehension over SirHamster, though I think SirHamster at least realizes I'm not arguing in favor of TENS (though I'm not positive about that).


I'm not sure why you're bringing up infinite universes and trying to treat both possibilities as equal. We can observe reason and order and hiearchies and come to a rational conclusion that we occupy a lower rung in the grand scheme of things. Concluding that it's all an illusion and a product of chemicals and wishful thinking by the human brain is to reject reason itself.

Both the Strong (God created man) and the Weak (man created God) Anthropic principles require something hard to imagine happening, though each think is hard for a different set of people to imagine.

But my real question, the real point I'm trying to get across, is why on Earth would you want to argue something so fundamentally un-provable as Creation when you can instead argue far more provable points like whether it's better to live in a predominantly Christian society or a frickin' Ba'al worshiping madhouse?


Nothing historical is "provable" - but one still believe that some series of historical events has taken place. It comes then to evidence. Perhaps all history is wrong - inaccurate in some detail or another; but some answers are less inaccurate than others.

When it comes to the matter of creation - some answers are so far wrong that they reveal a flawed mental thought process - like a calculator showing 1+1 = 3.

That we are a creation is self-evident. Skipping past that truth to address some other more "urgent" issue isn't likely to be any more fruitful.

Blogger Eric December 09, 2013 7:43 PM  

talk to your crystals then, snow flakes, water conjugates - they are "alive". All alone you are surrounded by living stuff.

And you're accusing me of torturing the language? The point is the fact that life is what it is today doesn't mean there aren't a large number of different (and heretofore unseen) chemical schemes displaying the characteristics we associate with life.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 December 09, 2013 7:46 PM  

Noah, people don't even know what mutation is.
What is unexpressed latent potential for speciation/ adaptation/ epigenetically triggered expressions.
Mutation involves as much hand waving as every other origins speculation.

Biological sciences are very much empirical when it comes to deciphering the genome. It is not a language read in any normative sense at all. It is a dynamic being watched. Boundary conditions are hopelessly vague. It defies explanation/ reduction/ deductions or induction. You watch it and wait.

The mantra is mutation is good! But real losses seem to be mounting. Information is degenerating. Entropy increasing. Is it designed to fail! The implications of that are too profound for here it would seem. Designed to wear out. Designed to break.

Mutation? It's teleological for hands in the air, beating out points.



Anonymous Noah B. December 09, 2013 7:47 PM  

"To accept those statistics is to accept that randomness cannot yield information any more then heat can go from cold to hot."

This is simply an assertion without proof of any kind.

Anonymous Noah B. December 09, 2013 7:55 PM  

"To accept the Second Law is to accept the underlying statistics that are the cause of the Second Law. To accept those statistics is to accept that randomness cannot yield information any more then heat can go from cold to hot."

This is simply an assertion without proof.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 December 09, 2013 7:55 PM  

Eric, simple life simply must exist. That is apriori in heathen biology. It is just that no-one has seen anything vaguely resembling simple living things. Then there is an environment for them to live in. Right pH, right oxidation potential, right temperature, concentrations, turbidity etc. etc. etc. Then there is some reason for them to upwardly increase in complexity.

The most successful organism on earth for example is a yeast. The question is, given its success, why aren't all living things, devolving to be yeasts. Their success means we should all be emulating them - going to where success resides.

Blogger TontoBubbaGoldstein December 09, 2013 8:03 PM  

@ Josh
Now where does the Bible say the earth is only thousands of years old?


"Take that and rewind it back, Usher got the voice to make ya booty go (clap) "



Re: probabilities.
Many years ago an old hunting buddy (now deceased) bet me he could make an *almost impossible* shot. One shot, freehanded, big puff of mist/dust and the buck dropped like a wet dishrag. He looked at me, smiled, took my $20 and said, "My daddy always told me, 'The bullet's got to land somewhere.'."

Blogger Beau December 09, 2013 8:54 PM  

In unrelated news, four of us cleared a mentally ill hoarder's home of a chest freezer, dishwasher, desk, hospital bed, two tables and eight pianos. Dropped rudely in a row in the man's backyard for later disposal, we realize we'd created the Cadillac Ranch of pianos.

Blogger tz December 09, 2013 9:20 PM  

Fred does get one thing wrong. OK, you have DNA. Lets say you have DNA for every creature that ever existed. Turning it into an organism isn't simple. Think bout finding a DVD but no player.

Blogger Nate December 09, 2013 9:24 PM  

"Nate, you disappoint me. You were about the last one I'd expect to be confused about the difference between an atheist and an agnostic. "

I don't really care. Its a difference of semantics. Atheist or Agnostic is irrelevant to the fact that falsifying your claim has no relevance to my claim.

That is the only part of the discussion I commented on.

Anonymous SirHamster December 09, 2013 9:29 PM  

They most certainly are. A mutation that is beneficial to one organism may be quite detrimental to another, and may have little noticeable effect in a third. There is no universal metric for determining what is information and what is noise, even in this case. This is where your argument fails.

Those aren't even the same mutation, unless you're talking about expression - which is different than interpreting the same message as information/noise.

Language is arbitrary, so for any given "noise", you can find a language for which it can be information. But pick a specific language, and what is information/noise is no longer arbitrary. A quality of information is that it is specific. A word that reperesents/describes everything means nothing.

If there is no receiver - how can information be acted upon? DNA is an actual language that reliably and specifically builds and maintains the various lifeforms we observe. All of life is systems of information systems acting upon environmental inputs.

The only observed source of information is intelligence; all other theorized sources are speculative and have no evidential support.

Blogger wrf3 December 09, 2013 9:30 PM  

TWS wrote: No one has ever created life.

That's not true.

Anonymous kh123 December 09, 2013 9:40 PM  

"...we realize we'd created the Cadillac Ranch of pianos."

Quick, get some monkeys on that action. Some new Chopin by the next ice age. Chop chop.

Anonymous Anonymous December 09, 2013 9:40 PM  

TWS wrote: No one has ever created life.

That's not true.


Wrong.

They need to use their own dirt for it to count...

Blogger Kentucky Packrat December 09, 2013 10:40 PM  

Both the Strong (God created man) and the Weak (man created God) Anthropic principles require something hard to imagine happening, though each think is hard for a different set of people to imagine.

The problem here is that you've been redefining terms left, right, and center, as well as showing a nearly-complete lack of understanding of the subject. You argued for abiogenesis because the odds were on your side. Once shown completely wrong, you've tried to goal post back and claim that you don't care about abiogenesis and to never have cared in the first place. Furrfu.

Even the Anthropic Principles don't mean what you say they mean. Strong Anthropic Principle means that the constants that appear to have randomly self-selected to allow human life are really constrained to these values (or ranges, or whatever_, and that the infinitesimally small chance event is actually not random at all. The Weak Anthropic Principle basically says that the constants were selected randomly, and we're just seeing the universe because we're lucky.

Atheists don't mind the Strong Anthropic Principle because it leaves little room for God: the Universe is this way because it has to be. There's just one problem: every attempt to constrain the constants fail. Since it doesn't make any testable predictions, it's not scientific.

The Weak Anthropic Principle scares Atheists so bad that they're willing to cough up the unscientific string theory and multiverses rather than admit that this universe is an infinitesimally low-probability event. Why? Because religion starts having predictive and emotional power, and their scientistry has no tools to counter it.

This is back to Vox's original post: Atheists are desperate to say "we know abiogenesis", because without abiogenesis, they have no scientific argument against intelligent design. They're stuck with "Of course it can't be true. Physicists are really smart."

Blogger Kentucky Packrat December 09, 2013 10:54 PM  

TWS wrote: No one has ever created life.

That's not true.


Someone took a PC, removed the hard drive with Windows, and stuck in a flash drive with a quicky clone of Minux. Not that impressive.

The experimenters didn't create a new cell; they created a virus. They took over a working cell and kept it from dying right off the bat. All this experiment did was show that an intelligent designer could write a working program in DNA. That's never been argued.

Come back and boot a cell from "scratch", and we'll start talking.

Blogger Eric December 09, 2013 10:58 PM  

Eric, simple life simply must exist. That is apriori in heathen biology. It is just that no-one has seen anything vaguely resembling simple living things.

I dunno. Nanobes are pretty simple.

Then there is an environment for them to live in. Right pH, right oxidation potential, right temperature, concentrations, turbidity etc. etc. etc. Then there is some reason for them to upwardly increase in complexity.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.

The most successful organism on earth for example is a yeast. The question is, given its success, why aren't all living things, devolving to be yeasts. Their success means we should all be emulating them - going to where success resides.

If the world is covered in yeast you'd like to be a yeast-eating creature of some variety. Natural selection implies a never ending biological arms race, so of course you'd expect to see specialization rather than devolution into conformity.

Anonymous Noah B. December 09, 2013 11:59 PM  

"Those aren't even the same mutation, unless you're talking about expression..."

If three different organisms with varying genomes have a common gene, and all of them have that gene changed in the same way, they could each could experience different outcomes resulting from that mutation, as a result of the new protein behaving a bit differently in each chemical environment.

"But pick a specific language, and what is information/noise is no longer arbitrary."

It is most definitely still arbitrary, because it depends on context, and for our purposes here, context is infinitely variable. For example, in binary coding, is the sequence 01111011 information, or is it noise? In a DNA sequence, is the sequence ATAGGCAG information, or noise? In the English language, how many possible meanings can be assigned to the statement, "It is?" Context is key, and is determined by the particular selection of sender and receiver in a communication system. The sender in the case of DNA coding for proteins may not be highly variable, but the receiver -- the chemical environment of its parent organism -- most certainly is.

"The only observed source of information is intelligence; all other theorized sources are speculative and have no evidential support. "

Just plain wrong, and intelligence (in the sense that you've used the term) simply has no place in information theory. As just one example, the magnetic declination at every point on the surface of the earth and each particular moment in time can be considered to be information. We are constantly bombarded by information from the physical world, and we have no choice but to ignore the vast majority of it.

Anonymous Noah B. December 10, 2013 12:15 AM  

"Those aren't even the same mutation, unless you're talking about expression..."

If three different organisms with varying genomes have a common gene, and all of them have that gene changed in the same way, they could each could experience different outcomes resulting from that mutation, as a result of the new protein behaving a bit differently in each chemical environment.

"But pick a specific language, and what is information/noise is no longer arbitrary."

It is most definitely still arbitrary, because it depends on context, and for our purposes here, context is infinitely variable. For example, in binary coding, is the sequence 01111011 information, or is it noise? In a DNA sequence, is the sequence ATAGGCAG information, or noise? In the English language, how many possible meanings can be assigned to the statement, "It is?" Context is key, and is determined by the particular selection of sender and receiver in a communication system. The sender in the case of DNA coding for proteins may not be highly variable, but the receiver -- the chemical environment of its parent organism -- most certainly is.

"The only observed source of information is intelligence; all other theorized sources are speculative and have no evidential support. "

Just plain wrong, and intelligence (in the sense that you've used the term) simply has no place in information theory. As just one example, the magnetic declination at every point on the surface of the earth and each particular moment in time can be considered to be information. We are constantly bombarded by information from the physical world, and we have no choice but to ignore the vast majority of it.

Anonymous Noah B. December 10, 2013 12:20 AM  

Atheists are desperate to say "we know abiogenesis", because without abiogenesis, they have no scientific argument against intelligent design.

But -- we're all saying abiogenesis happened. We're just debating how.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 December 10, 2013 12:22 AM  

I agree with you. You 'dunno'.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 10, 2013 12:49 AM  

I don't really care. Its a difference of semantics. Atheist or Agnostic is irrelevant to the fact that falsifying your claim has no relevance to my claim.

But that's not what I called bullshit on. The bullshit is saying denying the other guy the chance to falsify your claim. Here's the exchange:

Krul: How can there be another "space" that exists in the same way and with mostly the same content as ours without being part of ours or interracting with ours in any way?

ME: You can only ask that question if you are willing to let an atheist ask you in return to explain where God came from.

Krul: This is a false statement.

ME: Bullshit. it's a perfectly true statement. You can't challenge someone else to explain the part of their belief system that you don't buy if you aren't willing to let them challenge the part of your belief system that they don't buy.

Nate: yes, you can.

Now, I suppose if you don't care about an honest exchange and are willing to hold the other guy's argument to a different set of rules than your own, you technically can do that, and if you want to carry the argument on that technicality, you're welcome to it.

But the heart of the matter is, how - with a straight face and untroubled heart - do you claim to have falsified abiogenesis because of how improbable it is while ignoring an atheists claim about the probability of God existing. I mean, if it's highly unlikely for human beings to suddenly spring into existence without any outside help, how likely is it for God to do so? I mean, talk about improbable... If abiogenesis is tough, how much tougher is atheogenesis? (or would it be adeogenesis?).

You can poke all the holes you want in TENS. You just can't poke them with an argument based on probability.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 December 10, 2013 12:58 AM  

Quote to Noah: "no universal metric for determining what is information"

to call sensory inputs, information then is disingenuous. You assume language; an all together self referential closed system to make any statement about perceived experience. Watching a sunrise might "inform" you that it is no longer night but to report information is to assume irreducible complexity of thought form. Language requires syntax, semantics, pretext, context, text, sender and receiver. A sunrise only exists as information if their is an entire information system called language to support the proposition.

If you are "informed" that it is no longer night by a sunrise; you have proven the existence of God.

How much information does a 'rock' contain - is meaningless without meaning itself.

ergo: I communicate therefore we are"
ergo: God [acausal cause - irreducible complexity]

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 December 10, 2013 1:05 AM  

Moreover trying to express consciousness as an expression of quantized thought presupposes a language system. Words are you and made you. No-one has any conceptions of life without them.

Which is interesting to me because John, Jesus' disciple said, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and was God.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 10, 2013 1:13 AM  

The problem here is that you've been redefining terms left, right, and center,

What terms have I redefined?

You argued for abiogenesis because the odds were on your side

No, you haven't been paying attention. I made no argument for abiogenesis. I made an argument against the claim that probability could be used to falsify abiogenesis.

Once shown completely wrong,

By who? I cleaned Nate's clock on that one. Of course he'll never admit it, and I'd lose respect for him if he did, but still...

So, I'm not quite through your first paragraph, and you've made an unsupported allegation, a cognitive error, and an naked assertion. We're not off to a very good start here.

I'm not arguing for TENS or abiogenesis or against the existence of God. Never have been. You are the one assuming that. My goalposts have always been the same, and they're simply that you can't use probability to reject abiogenesis. You can't claim God must exist because it's so improbably that life exists without Him.

And if you'll re-read it, you may notice that I've also been saying atheists can't claim they're more rational than Christians because either way, something seemingly irrational happened. God or Lucky Monkeys, everybody's got to pick one, but laughing at the other guy for being gullible enough to believe in something so incredible is a bit... obtuse.

Anonymous Noah B. December 10, 2013 1:33 AM  

"to call sensory inputs, information then is disingenuous."

The only disingenuous thing here are your half-witted accusations. Are you truly incapable of comprehending that what one person may consider valuable sensory input may simply be extraneous to another?

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 December 10, 2013 1:56 AM  

I can't read Mandarin. That's not extraneous.
What is happening is Saturn is not extraneous.
Noise, but implication, is the absence of information/ language.
But like trying to prove any negative .................

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 December 10, 2013 1:59 AM  

on Saturn and by implication
[read the post - note to myself]
ie. If you know what is noise/ you can prove there is no language in it.

Blogger Eric December 10, 2013 2:05 AM  

I agree with you. You 'dunno'.

Very well. Let me rephrase - you are wrong. Nanobes are simple enough to qualify as "simple".

Anonymous map December 10, 2013 4:00 AM  

It's even more ridiculous than that.

The will argue that, given enough time, eventually a man and a woman will give birth to a baby that is a completely different species from the parents. And that this event of speciation will some how duplicate itself across millions of parents.

Blogger Brad Andrews December 10, 2013 4:32 AM  

how else can you account for stone construction that is beyond the capabilities of modern contractors with electric power?

Because we descended from perfection after the Fall. We did not ascend from a pre-human animal. Imagine being functional over a 500-1000 year lifespan. That would allow much more productivity than we have today as you could work on things much longer.

Credit aliens if you want, but I will believe what is Written instead.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 December 10, 2013 4:38 AM  



Moreover, to refer to DNA as containing information is to anthropomorphize DNA - Dawkins of course championed that,

It is there and enormously complex, but does it contain, a language? really

Quite right map Haldane's problem restated.

Blogger Brad Andrews December 10, 2013 5:01 AM  

Genesis states that the creation of the Earth predates Adam and Eve by less than a week.

Note that it is unclear exactly how long Adam and Eve lived in a sinless state prior to the fall, so the exact time of that is uncertain. It is unlikely to be very long (unless God stopped reproduction prior to the Fall), but we have no idea from what is written.

The age of Adam at death could very well be from his creation, though it also could be from the Fall, given the context. I would go with the former.

I would ask those who don't believe what is written how you decide what to believe and what to not believe? How are you different from any Biblical critic who discards whatever he/she doesn't like?

Nanobes are simple enough to qualify as "simple".

So are some rocks. And your point is? Nanobes have not been proven to be life and I would question how simple they really are if they ever reach that qualification.

Sounds like reaching for anything that might work to me.

Anonymous George of the Hole December 10, 2013 7:52 AM  

PhilipGeorge: It is there and enormously complex, but does it contain, a language?

It is a technological language. A code. A highly advanced code which was programmed to utilize highly advanced nanoscale protein machinery.

Moreover, to refer to DNA as containing information is to anthropomorphize DNA - Dawkins of course championed that

What it contains... is instructions. Instructions for the construction of highly advanced nanoscale protein machinery.



Blogger Andre B December 10, 2013 7:54 AM  

People that have read Genesis and think they know exactly how Creation happened surely have never bothered to read Job.

Blogger wrf3 December 10, 2013 7:55 AM  

PhillipGeorge(c)2013 wrote: Noise, but implication, is the absence of information/ language.

Noise, being random, contains maximal information. Don't confuse information with meaning. They aren't the same thing.

Blogger Andre B December 10, 2013 8:00 AM  

Anyway, I'd really love to read what someone like VD, who's a history enthusiast, analyze the apparent contradiction between the Bible's adamic genealogy and actual documented history.

Anonymous George of the Hole December 10, 2013 8:25 AM  

Noise, being random, contains maximal information

That's not even wrong.

Blogger Brad Andrews December 10, 2013 8:44 AM  

People that have read Genesis and think they know exactly how Creation happened surely have never bothered to read Job.

I have and I didn't see any disagreement. Care to clarify?

Blogger Brad Andrews December 10, 2013 8:45 AM  

Noise is not information, by definition.

Blogger wrf3 December 10, 2013 8:53 AM  

George of the Hole and Brad Andrews neither know what information is.

"The amount of information conveyed by the message increases as the amount of uncertainty as to what message actually will be produced becomes greater. A message which is one out of ten possible messages conveys a smaller amount of information than a message which is one out of one million possible messages. The entropy of communication theory is a measure of this uncertainty, and the uncertainty, or entropy, is taken as the measure the amount of information conveyed by message from a source. The more we know about what message the source Will produce, the less uncertainty, the less the entropy, and the less the information." -- An Introduction to Signal Theory: Symbols, Signals and Noise. John R. Pierce, pg. 23.

Anonymous E. PERLINE December 10, 2013 9:43 AM  

I suggested that anient aliens visiting earth may have may have given us a breakaway intelligence. Instead they discussed the "monkeys typing randomly" hypothesis. Mathematically, that is possible but it is not real.

Blogger Brad Andrews December 10, 2013 10:00 AM  

@wrf3,

It is called a "signal to noise ratio" for a reason....

I think you are the one who is lacking some comprehension.

Your quote seems to be on a different tangent, though I would need to see the source to know exactly what is covered there. More noise just means more noise. Some technologies may produce more noise with more signal, but that is the technology, not anything inherent to signal and noise.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 10, 2013 10:16 AM  

wrf3 December 10, 2013 7:55 AM
Noise, being random, contains maximal information.




between this and your assertion that Venter has 'created' life ( when he did no such thing, his org barely plagiarized an existing DNA structure, AT MOST ), if this blog had an ignore function i would apply it to you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_%28electrical_engineering%29
"is a function that conveys information"

there is a reason why it's called SNR.

and even IF you want to pervert the language and say that background noise is simply a bunch of information that we aren't interested in, it's still not 'maximal' in any way. you can always crank up the amplitude on backgound noise.

Blogger wrf3 December 10, 2013 10:17 AM  

Brad Andrews wrote: I think you are the one who is lacking some comprehension.

On the contrary. Both signals and noise are information. You are confusing "information" with "meaning" (aka "signal").

Anonymous Eric Ashley December 10, 2013 10:41 AM  

If you were Michael Jordan and lived to be five hundred years old, you'd be Heracles, able to slay the great-grandfather of the Lions, Tigers, Sabertooths, and Cheetahs, the Original King of the Beasts, with your bare hands.

How skilled could a champion shot be with two hundred years of practice? And with no age related decline?

The pagan gods were not gods, but our ancestors from shortly after the Flood. And evolution continues to happen, but its the falling apart kind, as Entropy throws her havoc at the human genome.

Anonymous George of the Hole December 10, 2013 10:49 AM  

On the contrary. Both signals and noise are information.

Please look up Shannon's equation and get back to us.

Blogger wrf3 December 10, 2013 11:16 AM  

George of the Hole wrote: Please look up Shannon's equation and get back to us.

Don't have to. Information is just a string of bits. Signals are bits that you want, noise is bits that you don't. Shannon's equation just tells how fast you can transmit bits you want in the presence of bits that you don't.

Blogger Brad Andrews December 10, 2013 11:47 AM  

Change the definitions and you can claim anything. I see what you did there....

Anonymous SirHamster December 10, 2013 12:04 PM  

If three different organisms with varying genomes have a common gene, and all of them have that gene changed in the same way, they could each could experience different outcomes resulting from that mutation, as a result of the new protein behaving a bit differently in each chemical environment.

Evidence please. The fact that you use "if" and "could" shows that you're speculating.

Why use the unknown (DNA) to understand the concept of information? That's backwards when computer information is equivalent, simpler, and will demonstrate any information principles in an easier to understand manner.

[i]It is most definitely still arbitrary, because it depends on context, and for our purposes here, context is infinitely variable. For example, in binary coding, is the sequence 01111011 information, or is it noise? In a DNA sequence, is the sequence ATAGGCAG information, or noise? In the English language, how many possible meanings can be assigned to the statement, "It is?" Context is key, and is determined by the particular selection of sender and receiver in a communication system. The sender in the case of DNA coding for proteins may not be highly variable, but the receiver -- the chemical environment of its parent organism -- most certainly is.[/i]

To pick a language is to pick a receiver, which makes the signal/noise distinction no longer arbitrary. Your monitor with only VGA inputs simply cannot understand digital video outputs. Your HDTV without analog inputs cannot understand digital outputs. If I start typing my responses to you in Japanese/Chinese/Latin; my words become noise to you if you can't decode the language.

The "ATAGGCAG " DNA sequence is information/nolise based on the DNA decoding proteins that translate it into an amino acid string. Whether that amino acid string is functional or not is NOT arbitrary, but determined by laws of physics/chemistry and that particular protein.

Without a working DNA "receiver", there's no life. Try this mathematical analysis - given an arbitrary string, what is the chance of randomly assembling the receiver that understands it? Arbitrary language means there are an infinite number of languages that do not understand it. That doesn't bode well for randomly assembling a string AND the receiver that happens to decode it


[i]Just plain wrong, and intelligence (in the sense that you've used the term) simply has no place in information theory. As just one example, the magnetic declination at every point on the surface of the earth and each particular moment in time can be considered to be information. We are constantly bombarded by information from the physical world, and we have no choice but to ignore the vast majority of it.[/i]

Sorry, over-stated that. Note however that that is information only to a receiver equipped to interpret it.

All receivers are themselves encoded information - and the only known source/cause of receivers is intelligence. Your computer is a receiver of electrical signals and interprets them into 1s and 0s.

Blogger Andre B December 10, 2013 12:32 PM  

Sir, use <>, not [].

Anonymous SirHamster December 10, 2013 12:47 PM  

"The amount of information conveyed by the message increases as the amount of uncertainty as to what message actually will be produced becomes greater.

You failed to understand what this means.

If I can only send you a single message, "A", you don't even need to receive the message from me to know what I will say. It's going to be "A".

On the other hand, if "A" is 1 of 10,000 possible messages, the fact that you received message "A" transmits more information than a language/context where "A" is only 1 of 1 or 1 of 10 possible messages.

The key point here is that information is specific. Its ability to carry meaning is inversely proportional to the number of other messages that exist within that language/context.

The more vague the message, the less information it contains. It's the difference between "some day" to "next Tuesday" to "December 18th, 2013, at 6pm".

"LSIDjjgpaijdgjasdoigj" may have a similar length to those date strings, but it does not contain the same or even "maximal" information. It's minimal information - it's noise.

Blogger SirHamster December 10, 2013 12:53 PM  

Sorry, habit from other blogs.

Blogger wrf3 December 10, 2013 12:57 PM  

Brad Andrews wrote: Change the definitions and you can claim anything. I see what you did there....

Really? What definitions did I change?

Since the unit of information is the bit, here's a bit string: 110111

Which bits are signal and which are noise?
What does the signal mean?

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