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April 01, 2011

Comments

Yeah.... I can't think of an empericial, reproducible scientific methodology that will predict the occurence of the Incarnation. It is wholly opaque to the physical sciences. The way I look at it is that the Spirit is the Primary (this is from Lennox), or the Underived, or the Greater, while the Physical is the Created, or Derived, or Secondary, or Lesser. The Underived will always house more "ways" or "stuff" then the Derived, and will therefore, should It impinge upon the Derived, seem to us Odd, or out of place, or hectic, or unpredictable; as in the Incarnation. I would add the ressurection here too..... and His Faithfulness and Love, and His rescue of me, offers us the counter-weight of the Divine: the Predictable. We can count on Him.... Despite His frightening size.

Hi Malebranche,

I'm sorry i missed your comment earlier.

You quoted me and then responded:

Well I think that in her original post, Amy actually is trying to convince us that we can predict what God would likely do if God designed a universe.

This is no answer to what I had said:
Seeing that God, or in the case of ID, the designer, acted in specific ways in history does not imply in any way that all of His actions are predictable, apparent, or amenable to testing.

You then go to lay out your charge against Amy:

The Design Prediction: If God exists and designed living organisms, then it is likely that God would have an all-things-considered reason to produce those organisms in such a way that all of their biological features are biologically useful.

But even quote that what she actually said is:

But if, on the other hand, one predicts that because DNA was designed, then one can discover what each part of DNA is meant to accomplish, would that not prompt further research and discovery of a kind that would have been suppressed by a random evolutionary view?

Her prediction: DNA was designed.
Her prediction is not that every bit will have biological utility. Amy believes in the Fall.
And, predicting that the DNA is designed, she expects, as quoting Luskin, that it will not give the appearance of having been cobbled together by random trial and error, i.e., being almost entirely useless and parasitic.
Thus, we can expect to find what it is currently used for and, even in the cases where it may have lost function, we may still be able to infer its original use. As she points out, this heuristic, though not an article of dogma, is more likely to inspire further investigation than is the idea that the DNA is likely 98+% useless.

So your iteration here does not seem to bear much resemblance to how Janney portrayed your objections (which I have not read) when he said the dichotomy was between a personal agent and an abstract concept. It seems we have all kinds of competing objections looking for any kind of foothold here.

Amy seems pretty confident in her ability to predict what DNA would be like if God existed and designed life.
Not necessarily. She is making a prediction of what designers normally do and something we can look for. God could have done differently, and I think if you ever politely engaged Amy on the issue you would find that to be part of her prediction as well. But God did, afterall, say that His Creation was good, indeed, very good. So it kind of leads us to predict that we could find that goodness at various layers, I would think.

In fact, it is this very type of prediction that led to the scientific endeavour in the first place. It is exactly because our fathers predicted that God operates in a logical, responsible and decipherable way that Christendom was able to birth science. Because He is a Mind we can predict some of His intentions because we, too, are minds and have been made in His image.

And just what is the problem with predicting what a person will do, knowing full well that because of free will that prediction might fail? This is certainly the case with all of our predictions of people. Forensic sciences know that sometimes we can predict and determine the actions of willful agents and sometimes, either because they hide them intentionally or because their methods are not amenable to discovery, we can't.
What is supposed to be the problem with this?


And as for predictions, you make them yourself. ID theorists predict what the designer might have done based upon what we know designing agents do.
In the same way, you predict that God would not let even an unrepentant Stalin languish in Hell based upon what you think a loving agent would do.

LoveHimselfRescuedMe, Daron,

You are both perfectly willing to talk as though God were beyond the reach of scientific inquiry: "Science cannot contain the divine. Science has a ceiling," and "God's ways are not our ways... they are greater than and beyond our ways." Done!

But you both hedge this admirably simple position with irreconcilable nuances, like: "He is both unsearchable and inscrutable as well as being perceptible and knowable," and

...God, if there is one, could easily enter into the Unpredictable of the Incarnation, thus breaking all the rules, and, at the same time, He may be faithful to love, and save, or, as in my case, rescue.

Why hedge at all? An "inscrutable" God is not "knowable," in any straightforward sense of those terms. A God who observes the rules, so to speak, right up to the point where He breaks them, is not a God whose behavior can be predicted on the basis of those rules. Clearly, nothing about such a God can be derived, with any certainty, from mere observation and inference in this world. Why not simply say so?

When Jesus multiplied loaves were there more loaves than before? Could one not count them?

I think we're having two different conversations.

Hey guys,

I'll try this....

I'm not sure which one we need to just-say-so on:

1) Unpredictable? I did. (as in the incarnation, which is opaque to science having a reliable method to peer into the future and predict).

Predictable? I did. He faithfully loves.

We have no methodology which can predict the incarnation.

He faithfully loves.

I consider both statements to be true and fairly self-explanatory.

You must, I think, I may be wrong, want us to say that b/c of the incarnation we must then say He is not faithful to love; which is not so.

Or, you must, I think, I may be wrong, want us to say that because He is faithful to love then we must say that science can predict the incarnation. Clearly it can't. He can inject life into a womb at will. He's allowed. He can break (our) rules. Not (His), but (ours)....

I'm not sure which statement is wrong? Can science predict the Incarnation? No. Is God faithful to love? Yes.

You seem to think the two are counter-canceling, that both can't be true. But clearly, in fact very clearly, they are both true.

Or perhaps this will help:

Just b/c God can break (our) rules doesn't make Him a monster. It just makes Him bigger than the Physical Universe. Being bigger than the Physical Universe does not "necessarily" make us afraid of some Hectic out of control trajectory....it would.... if He were not faithful to love. But, despite His frightening size, He is faithful to love. Hence the occurence of the "unpredictable" incarnation: to love us. He will break every rule in (our) book for, well.... us, you and I.

The two realities are not mutually exclusive....I think that is where you are going wrong. We, you and I, lack the intellectual power to predict the Incarnation --- and here you feel that this must be a flaw in Him...that it makes Him the bad guy...the 'potential monster', when all it is is our limit exposed. It doesn't mean God will be a monster: It could, except for the second "predictable" aspect of Him: He is faithful to love.

Both are in fact true.

But it gets worse: these "two" facets of Him are, I offer (in sheer quesswork) merely "two" of but billions more "facets" He could unmask to us. In fact we are told just that in Corinthians. This whole thing gets WAY more multi-faced in the future....in that Other City not made with hands.......In Love's Kingdom, where Love's rules are never broken.

Hope that is somehow helpful....

Hi Janney,
I guess that is why I wanted to know if you were familiar with the topic and what, exactly, your concerns were.

Hi Janney;

Any thoughts on my previous post? Also, I think Janney is offering that because the Theist states there are things outside of homosapiens ability to predict by pure physical science, then the Theist ought to label science as futile in ever allowing us any real utility in understanding the physical universe or even God himself. Is this correct Janney?

Hi LHRM,
Good point/question.

Daron,

Her prediction is not that DNA was designed. Her prediction is that there will not be junk DNA, and she makes that prediction on the basis of the hypothesis of design.

Hi Malebranche,
You are correct, to a degree. I didn't like that part of my comment, mostly because I don't like that sentence of Amy's. Design is the hypothesis and the prediction is about the utility of the DNA. No, however, she does not predict that there is no junk DNA.

Since you've only responded to one sentence of the comment I am going to bring the rest of it down here again.


Her prediction is not that every bit will have biological utility. Amy believes in the Fall.
And, [edit] hypothesizing that the DNA is designed, she expects, as quoting Luskin, that it will not give the appearance of having been cobbled together by random trial and error, i.e., being almost entirely useless and parasitic.
Thus, we can expect to find what it is currently used for and, even in the cases where it may have lost function, we may still be able to infer its original use. As she points out, this heuristic, though not an article of dogma, is more likely to inspire further investigation than is the idea that the DNA is likely 98+% useless.
So your iteration here does not seem to bear much resemblance to how Janney portrayed your objections (which I have not read) when he said the dichotomy was between a personal agent and an abstract concept. It seems we have all kinds of competing objections looking for any kind of foothold here.


Amy seems pretty confident in her ability to predict what DNA would be like if God existed and designed life.

Not necessarily. She is making a prediction of what designers normally do and something we can look for. God could have done differently, and I think if you ever politely engaged Amy on the issue you would find that to be part of her prediction as well. But God did, afterall, say that His Creation was good, indeed, very good. So it kind of leads us to predict that we could find that goodness at various layers, I would think.
In fact, it is this very type of prediction that led to the scientific endeavour in the first place. It is exactly because our fathers predicted that God operates in a logical, responsible and decipherable way that Christendom was able to birth science. Because He is a Mind we can predict some of His intentions because we, too, are minds and have been made in His image.

And just what is the problem with predicting what a person will do, knowing full well that because of free will that prediction might fail? This is certainly the case with all of our predictions of people. Forensic sciences know that sometimes we can predict and determine the actions of willful agents and sometimes, either because they hide them intentionally or because their methods are not amenable to discovery, we can't.
What is supposed to be the problem with this?


And as for predictions, you make them yourself. ID theorists predict what the designer might have done based upon what we know designing agents do.
In the same way, you predict that God would not let even an unrepentant Stalin languish in Hell based upon what you think a loving agent would do.

Nope, I take that back. The hypothesis is not that DNA is/was designed, but that the design is scientifically detectable. A test of this hypothesis entails the risky prediction of minimal junk in the genome.
This predictive test clearly separates the design hypothesis from the Blind Watchmaker Hypothesis as it is exactly opposite the "prediction" used to verify the BWH, that of DNA being primarily junk.

Malebranche, Daron,

Long post here...but I think useful to the last few by you guys, as I think this conversation is rather mis-focused:

I would offer that "if" Amy predicted there would be "no" or "zero" "broken-ness" or "sliding-off-track" in this physical universe, from the molecule to the consciousness, then she is extrapolating beyond what is implied in the New Testament, and, even against it.

That said, I think Darons assessment of her "general" offering shows that she does not imply "zero" garbage.

As to Garbage:

Everything in The-Now breaks down, wears out, dies. The "ultimate" ID offering SHOULD be if God made The-Now then NOTHING would EVER "break down" "wear out" or "die". THAT would reflect "Life Himself".

Anything short of THAT, in my mind, is mere pontification and gamesmanship. If you want to prove "Life Himself" made The-Now, then one must erradicate ALL wearing-out, all breaking-down, and all death.

But, oddly, THAT is precisely what the New Testament, and Love Himself, tell us this Physical-Now not only "is" laden with, but in fact will become "even more laden with" as This-Now comes to it close.

If I were an Atheist, I would argue that if there is ANY broken-ness, or wearing-out, or death, or garbage, then clearly Life Himself did NOT "design" such a world. Wouldn't YOU argue THAT?

But, the counter to that it is God Himself, who, Himself, has told us this entire Universe, then World, then Continent, then City, then Family, then Man, then Mind, then Soul, and then Spirit is in a process of decay, death, and there are thus physical and spiritual mechanisms we ought to expect to find which verify this.

There is One who defeats death. But that is a whole other story.

I offer that "well there is a little junk DNA so God didn't make it" is very short sighted. The Atheist SHOULD be offering that if there is ANY broken-ness, or decay, or death, then cleary "Life Himself" did not make it.

But He has. And some say that, given the epicenter of a Fall light years away, the Now is "meant" to "die". And, thus, we can "predict", even "expect" all of what we find: "that which breaks us down" from the molecular all the way up to the cosmos. THAT is Scriptural. THAT is God's own words on "design".

The more Junk DNA there is, the more the New Testament is confirmed. Jesus told us the weather itself, summer, winter, fall, and all that, will change. 2000 years ago that was "nonsense". But, the Now will "break down". Not just in the DNA, but "from" the DNA, all the way "up" to the Cosmos. THAT is God's own words.

And ID "theory" ought to "predict" physical mechanisms which support this.

Even the Heaven and Earth wear out like a garment.

Daron, or better yet, Amy,

Luskin says


Much so-called "junk DNA" will turn out to perform valuable functions.

How did it get to be called 'junk DNA' in the first place?

RonH

Google broken, RonH?

I tried to catch up on this conversation having missed most of it as it was happening. At this point, I believe some degree of focus is showing that science is ill equipped to say anything in an ultimate sense-about anything-even what it purports to know{?}. It [the scientific method] cannot speculate on motive toward design, or design inferences toward designer, because of its rules of investigation-i.e. what qualifies as observable, repeatable, etc...

By trying to trump the place that philosophy[which teaches what constitutes knowledge in the first place] and theology [which teaches men about his place in God's world] have as legitimately higher sciences, the naturalistic scientific community has ceased any honest pursuit of truth. Is ID welcome in that community{?} and does it belong{?}, no and rightly so in my opinion. This doesn't mean it is of less value as a science, it just doesn't fit the narrow definition of modern science. No big loss.

Daron,

Fair enough. There's a history here.

Is it acceptable to you?

If so, would you say a fair summary of it is that people assumed that if a stretch of DNA didn't code for a protein it was non-functional and therefore "junk"?

RonH


For clarity Daron,

I'm not asking if the whole post I linked to is acceptable to you; I'm just asking about part that deals with 'how it got to be called "junk DNA"' in the first place.

RonH

Brad B,

As you catch up with the comments, you might find it interesting to occasionally go back to the OP and see which comments are most closely related to it.

The OP is about 'predictions' of ID with a focus on ID's 'predictions' about "junk DNA".

RonH

RonH,

This will take you four minutes to read. If that is too much effort on your part, I apologize in advance....it's a flaw of mine I know:

I think you are being short sighted; if there is ANY garbage, or wearing-out, or death, or pain, or decay, then, if I were an Atheist, I would offer that such is "proof" that "Life Himself" did not "design" this Place.

Would God make a place full of decay, or pain, or broken-ness, or death, or wearing-out? You have to answer that to have any theological right to even enter this discussion b/c you are claiming to counter "God's Design".


Junk DNA is like hair, it has no apparent utility to reproducing. Or eyebrows, or legs, or fingers, or bellybuttons, none of which have any apparent utility, in themselves, to foster reproduction. The legless and the armless do pretty well in perpetuating their genes. Hair is nice to look at, and perhaps "beautiful" (whatever that means), but has no utility: Bald people do just fine...Is Hair "junk"?

By your defintion, it is. (I know, this is bordering on the innane, but this is your arguement)

Everything in The-Now breaks down, wears out, dies. The "ultimate" ID offering SHOULD be if God made The-Now then NOTHING would EVER "break down" "wear out" or "die". THAT would reflect "Life Himself".

Anything short of THAT, in my mind, is mere pontification and gamesmanship. If you want to prove "Life Himself" made The-Now, then one must erradicate ALL wearing-out, all breaking-down, and all death.

But, oddly, THAT is precisely what the New Testament, and Love Himself, tell us this Physical-Now not only "is" laden with, but in fact will become "even more laden with" as This-Now comes to it close.

If I were an Atheist, I would argue that if there is ANY broken-ness, or wearing-out, or death, or garbage, then clearly Life Himself did NOT "design" such a world. Wouldn't YOU argue THAT? You would, because even if the "problem" of Junk DNA is resolved, there will simply be yet another "problem" to solve, which shows that this "problem" will solve nothing regardless of how it is answered.


On the presence of Decay, or Garbage: God Himself has told us this entire Universe, then World, then Continent, then City, then Family, then Man, then Body, then Mind, then Soul, and then Spirit is in a process of decay, death, and there are thus physical and spiritual mechanisms we ought to "expect" to find which verify this.

(There is One who defeats death. But that is a whole other story.)

I offer that "well there is a little junk DNA so God didn't make it" is very short sighted of you. The Atheist SHOULD be offering that if there is ANY broken-ness, or decay, or death, then cleary "Life Himself" did not make it.

But He has. And some say that, given the epicenter of a Fall light years away, the Now is "meant" to "die". And, thus, we can "predict", even "expect" all of what we find: "that which breaks us down" from the molecular all the way up to the cosmos. THAT is the New Testament's words on "Design".


ID "theory" ought to "predict" physical mechanisms which support this.

But again, Hair, by your defintion, is Junk. Bald people do great. It has no direct utility to reproduction. There is Junk DNA, and Junk Hair, and decay, and wearing-out, and all the rest from the highest to the lowest, which falls perfectly in line with the New Testament. Nobody seems to have a problem with this. I'm not sure why you do. Or do you? I could be wholly mistaken.


But again: Would God make a place full of decay, or pain, or broken-ness, or death, or wearing-out? You have to answer that to have any theological right to even enter this discussion b/c you are claiming to counter "God's Design".


To be fair I guess I should answer this same question openly:

"Love Himself" made this place we wake to find ourselves in? Really? This place full of addiction centers, trauma centers full of physical train wrecks, prisons, wards for the insane, and all the rest? "Yes" is what my own subjective and objective journey leads me to answer.

Brad,

The OP doesn't matter: Junk Hair and Junk legs and Junk DNA and Death and Decay and Wearing-Out and other such "Nonsense" clearly exist. The New Testament has no issue with this, and even predicts this on levels we are only now beginning to realize. What has the OP to do with the New Testament? I woudn't worry too much about it if your time is limited.....

RonH,

In case four, or six, minutes was too much effort (I can't imagine it would be as you asked Brad to read the whole OP, which was about a ten minute read)

Would God make a place full of decay, or pain, or broken-ness, or death, or wearing-out, or other such "nonsense"? You have to answer that to have any theological right to even enter this discussion b/c you are claiming to counter "God's Design", which, according to the New Testament, fully houses "This Place" we wake to find ourselves within (it houses more which then gives it perspective but that's another discussion).

To talk about "God's Design" you have to talk about God's Design. If you can't answer this basic question, then what Design are you speaking towards?

LHRM,

You would, because even if the "problem" of Junk DNA is resolved, there will simply be yet another "problem" to solve, which shows that this "problem" will solve nothing regardless of how it is answered.
Indeed. When ENCODE claimed that almost all DNA, contrary to junk-proponents' claims, is transcribed the problem was immediately moved over; well, the RNA product is junk-RNA. Soon after that, junk protein.

And, of course, today's junk-DNA is only the vestigial organ of yesteryear.
BTW, RonH, I know how vestigial is defined but I also know what the claims are/were.

Beauty, Thanks for that link, RonH. It is the exact one I had saved in case you insisted I do the Googling for you.
So yes, as far as your summary goes, that comports with my understanding.

Daron,

Beauty, we google alike. And Beauty, it seems we agree on terms.

Do you agree that an incorrect assumption on the part of some people is different from a deduction from the theory of evolution?

RonH

Agreed again, RonH.
Do you agree that this so-called incorrect assumption was used as evidence of evolution?
In fact, it still is. While making all kinds of excuses about why "junk" didn't mean "junk", internet BWT proponents still jump at and publish widely any news that "junk" might still be "junk".
And when ENCODE showed that almost all DNA is transcribed many leapt to the idea that the RNA, then, must be junky for just the same reason; that evolution is a tinkerer, discarding the useless, and playing with NS-invisible mutations in order to generate novelty.
Indeed, virtually no findings are logical deductions from the BWT, they are all just rolled into it, accommodated, and then called "predictions" or "proofs" (recall our ERV discussion). As Dawkins, and then Crick, said, it is just a parasite, a useless hitchhiker on the genome.

All that said, in response to these arguments it is an ID position that the junk will not turn out to be, by and large, junk. It is always the argument from ignorance that supports these claims of the BWT - when we don't know what it does we say it does nothing and then we say this is evidence for evolution. But the more we learn the more we find that these claims do not hold up. Sternberg states there is virtually no such thing as junk DNA. I, without knowing even the pittance I now know, claimed on a site 8 years ago that there will one day be NO junk DNA. Every last piece of it will have a use. Of course I was talking brashly and I don't quite hold to this any longer, but I was far closer to being right than those who said the opposite. Like bacteria, viruses, mosquitoes, etc., in God's good Creation everything has a proper use. Then the Fall, and then these uses can go bad.

But that doesn't support the BWT. As Dawkins and even Christian, francis Collins, would ask, why would a designer make so much useless junk? Well, if it is not useless junk, as it is more and more showing itself not to be, this argument has no teeth. Of course, that won't stop the apologists from changing tack and claiming that "no-junk is evidence for evolution as well".

Speaking of Collins, one time head of the HUman Genome project, anti-IDist and pro-BWT, here is the difference a few short years will make.

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/03/has_francis_collins_changed_hi044601.html

Daron,

I will stipulate 'junk' has, is, and will be again used incorrectly as evidence of evolution. But I don't rule out its valid use as evidence. Do you agree here too?

It took me a minute work out BWT. (It's Blind Watch Maker in case others had the same problem.)

Why do you call it a 'so-called' incorrect assumption? Is it not incorrect? Is it not an assumption?

Rarely does one piece of evidence serve as proof of anything. Did I say ERV's prove evolution? Then I was brash.

We have good reason to think ERV's are result of ancient infections: we brought an ERV back to life by extracting it from its host genome.

A family tree of primates based on which ERV's each primate genome contains looks like a family tree of primates based on other characteristics.

A family tree based on the mutations included in the shared ERV's again looks like a family tree based on other characteristics.

If the fossil record were full of Haldane's Precambrian rabbits and their analogs, then the ERV situation would not save evolution.

It sounds like you'll accept some actual junk because you think ID should accept it. Why is that?

I was going to say I can't go to your link because it's not all there. I just discovered, however, that I can select more than I can see! Cool.

Anyway, do you know about this?

Collins is saying there's no where near as much junk as you might have heard. Agreed?


RonH


Hi RonH, I think I've seen Daron hyperlink before, but I may be mistaken. Thanks for the link though.

The limited scope of what science can prove is a point that Daron made that is what was meant by my earlier post. It's not that science is unable to give useful information, specifically in the phenonemal realm, but it's limited in it's ability to sense, and then what it does sense[even accurately sense] it doesn't, nor can it interpret accurately enough to classify as true knowledge. This is why any new discovery has the potential of being a paradigm shifter that can change the understanding of mans knowledge of what we think we know.

By ignoring the substantial rules of engagement in pursuit of knowledge that theology and philosophy provides, modern science has exalted itself beyond its ability to perform and is no better than any other common braggart. I'm speaking in generalities of course since there are scientists in every field that dont fit this description.

It's this limitation that seems to escape the notice of the haughty scientific community when it claims knowledge beyond it's ability. And it's this attitude that will undo this communities reputation as being honest scientists. Only an unknowing, unwise populace will follow their false comfort when it tells the willing ignorant that there is no God. What we think we know apart from special revelation is and always be limited by our broken sense perception and general noetic effects of the fall of man in Adam.

Hi RonH,

It sounds like you'll accept some actual junk because you think ID should accept it. Why is that?
I'll accept actual junk if that's what the evidence shows. ID doesn't tell me what to think.
I think it is highly likely that somewhere along the line DNA gets duplicated and somewhere along the line it then mutates into something useless. Sometimes.
I don't accept the presumptions built into the claims of either, though, and think they are reported far more widely than they occur. In fact, that is exactly what we are finding out.
As we saw with the ERV situation, the types of presumptions made are contradicted by further investigation (primates sharing ERV at the same loci but without inheriting them from a common ancestor).

====
No, I don't agree that junk-DNA (in general) is a valid evidence for evolution - although I'm sure there are individual cases that can be presented to me where my ignorance will not allow me to show why it fails. There are too many presumptions built-in. The first, of course, being that the material is junk, functionless, useless, etc.
If it is not, then the primary argument (how do you account for the same mistake at the same loci ?) goes away. If it is not a mistake then its location may have a very good explanation with regard to the protein-coding gene with which it is associated.

=====

Actually, I've long since forgotten how to create links and never bothered to find out again.

And now, Ron, do you agree that "no-junk" DNA would fit better with the ID paradigm than it does the BWT?
Since 98% junk makes perfect sense in a neo-Darwinian world, a la Dawkins, would not a diminishment of this percentage, especially as/if it approaches zero, favour ID?

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2007/10/a_response_to_dr_dawkins_the_i004292.html

http://www.evolutionnews.org/science/junk_dna/

Ok, I'll try those in a link for you.

Here's Dawkins discussed on Junk DNA.

Sorry for all the evolutionnews material, it's just the handiest right now.

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