Kitzmiller, the Universe, and Everything

so if someone will create a PC that can grow by its own that PC cant be used as evidence for design?

How would a PC grow by its own without needing any external agency to accomplish this? Does it walk in a field, grazing on grass? Or does it eat other computers (Apples maybe)?

say that for the sake of the argument it can do these things. will you conclude design about that PC? second question: why do you think that a regular plastic PC need design?

What is the null hypothesis? Which objects have no FI, and why?

Do individual atoms have FI? For example, we can describe atoms using their electron orbitals, such as carbon: 1s2 2s2 2px1 2py1. Is that functional information?

If a cloud looks like a dragon, is it a dragon?

I just wanted to comment on the argument that is alleged to show that there has been a jump in FI in evolution from fishes to humans. Can’t you just flip branches left-to-right at one fork on the phylogeny, so that the sarcopterygians, including the tetrapods, are on the left and the actinopterygians, including the teleosts, are on the right? It’s still the same evolutionary tree. But now measure how similar the sequences of each group are to a fish sequence, say one in a minnow. We will find that “FI” measured that way will be low in starfish, tunicates, lampreys, lungfish, amphibians, lizards, birds, and mammals. But it will jump up in the teleosts, with tuna, salmon, etc showing high “FI” when FI is measured that way. Do we need some special explanation for that jump?


It doesn’t.

Without adequate sampling from that time period, can you even say that there was a jump? It’s as if you have two movie frames that are 30 minutes apart, and from just those two frames you make the conclusion that there was a huge jump, ignoring everything that could have happened in the intervening 30 minutes of film. It reminds me a bit of Linnaean taxonomy, where the families and orders are more a reflection of extinction than they are of evolutionary change. It is the die off of lineages that can exaggerate the differences between groups of species.

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I find your first question a really far-fetched scenario, some kind of cross between something living and something manufactured. I can’t say anything sensible about this entirely hypothetical construct and I don’t think pursuing it will lead to much useful insight.

Your second question is easy: plastic is manufactured, it doesn’t grow on trees. It won’t exist without humans producing it.

Can you point to coils of wire or metal pistons in the flagellum?

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why? we already have something similar in nature. but instead of a PC we have a spinning motor (flagellum) and gears.

so? maybe there is a process that can make a plastic? we cant know for sure. we even know that a metal can be created naturally. does it means that a metal statue can evolve naturally?

if someone will make a spinning motor without these things do you agree that it willl still be a motor?

I was thinking of the supposed jump that their methodology is argued to find. I was pointing out that the same method would find a leap upwards in fishes when everything was compared to the noble minnow.

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No. We have biological objects which superficially resemble human designed motors and gears. As soon as a deeper analysis is done the similarity completely vanishes.

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That screeching sound you hear is the goalposts you are dragging across the field.

if its looks like a motor and act like a motor and even called a motor its a motor:

(image from

It’s just not an intelligently designed motor. You need to look beyond the superficial similarities to human designs.

It doesn’t look like a motor. Where are the coils of wires, metal pistons, and screw-type propeller?

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No. Rumraket isn’t giving you a criterion for the inference of design. He is pointing out that an unexplained origin for a thing is unexplained. It does not default to “design.” If one finds a UFO (which then devolves to being a “FO”) then one would evaluate it for such things as the signs of manufacture. If the methods used by aliens to manufacture it were akin to those used by humans to manufacture objects, one might be able to make a very persuasive argument for design. If they were nothing like our methods at all – if, say, aliens have figured out how to grow spaceships out of the ground – then the case might be more difficult.

But even if he does say that, you will have demonstrated that such a process is one possible cause of a flagellum. That would be a tremendous advance for your argument, which currently rests upon no showing that what you propose is even possible.

Definitions obviously WILL help, as you are trying to smash a bunch of things that are highly unlike each other into one word for the purpose of making an argument that they are the same thing. A “motor” in the one sense that you use the term is clearly a manufactured object made by humans. A “motor” in the other sense that you use the term is not manufactured but is grown by a biological organism, and is never seen to arise other than by being grown in this fashion. The two uses of “motor” do not have any parts or methods of construction in common.

Groan. Palm-slap to forehead.

No. I do not expect that we will. One does not “prove” an observation, however.


Exactly! As a has-been linguist, I call foul (as well as “neither fish nor fowl”) on this ongoing equivocation fallacy which pretends that the flexibility of nouns in human languages represents anything fundamental and Platonic which somehow makes the anti-evolution offender innocent of equivocation fallacies.

The fact that English language speakers (and other languages speakers who share a similar scientific education using particular translation traditions and word choices) may choose to call both rotary electromagnetic motors and their flagellating rough-analogs by the same English noun, motor, does absolutely nothing to make them equivalent! Even in linguistics we don’t pretend that a shared name for a labelled object and some analog likened to it in some way and somehow automatically puts them in all of the same categories and classifications. Please! Don’t do this, @scd.

(Sometimes I want to scream when I hear this argument! Actually, I just did but you can’t hear me.)


By the way, another example of this same kind of equivocation fallacy of confusing a noun and the analogies which happen to “borrow” that noun is the classic overplay of “DNA is the genetic code of life.” The statement is fine as long as one does not over-interpret it beyond its original meaning and one starts falling into equivocation. Is every template a “code”? Is every chemical formula a “code”? Is every set or “look-up table” describing and associating pairs a “code” in a cryptographic sense, for example? No.

(OK. I’m sorry. I just screamed again.)

I know the feeling.

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