Life’s Layers of Complexity: When All Isn’t All

@AJRoberts of Reasons to Believe:

@AJRoberts You claim that your read of three Nature papers is that God doesn’t do evolution but instead God does progressive creation. That’s a pretty big leap as I read those same three papers and can’t find any connection nor claims. Is Faith in the Christian God a requirement for coming up with these theological claims from science papers that are neutral on the existence of God?

What constantly amazes me is that if the complexity comes from a recognizably intelligent, direct design, folks like @AJRoberts should have a huge advantage over folks like me in deciphering it. It should lead to testable hypotheses regarding the underlying mechanisms.

The record shows that they are at a disadvantage. That’s because they don’t go very deep. If they did, they and their readers would see that the complexity of life looks like the product of an insanely iterative process built on gene duplications and subsequent functional divergence.

They just go on, claiming, “It’s really complex!” without ever getting into the nature of the complexity.

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Heh. As PZ Myers noted years ago about ID’s only argument: “Complexity. Complexity complexity. Complexity complexity complexity complexity complexity. Therefore Design”. :slightly_smiling_face:

IDers still don’t understand that even simple iterative processes with selection feedback are known to produce amazingly complex structures. Look at the Mandelbrot set for a good example. The amount of complexity is only limited by how long the process runs.

I guess the “it’s complex so it must be designed” fallacious argument still appeals to scientifically untrained laymen which is why ID proponents still use it.

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The hard work of science and deciphering the mechanisms of living organisms and their complexity is independent of one’s explanatory interpretation of the origin of the complexity. Advantage to the one who does the hard work of science, not to the one who speculates on advantages or disadvantages. What record favors one philosophical researcher over another philosophical researcher if both accept the tenants of experimental research and the reproducibility and reliability of nature? Both must approach it through empirical data, experimentation and proper controls. To merely speculate and state speculations with authority, e.g. “complexity of life looks like the product of an insanely iterative process built on gene duplications and subsequent functional divergence.” doesn’t win an advantage or equate to disadvantage. The ground is neutral.

This is a nice speculation that explains and demonstrates nothing relevant to what we actually observe in networks of extreme informationally rich systems. This is where I find the repetition of these types of “explanations” growing in incredulity. It is not merely the same argument from complexity that can be merely ridiculed and brushed aside. But go ahead and reply that way. It builds no credibility on the naturalistic explanation side.

I disagree completely. Show me a single example of a creationist even acknowledging the problems posed by partially-overlapping functions within gene families, a problem created by known evolutionary mechanisms.

I believe that of the two of us, that one would almost certainly be me.

Pretty much all of them. Embracing ID or creationism routinely causes scientific productivity to plummet, despite the existence of dedicated journals.

What’s a tenant of experimental research? Is there a landlord?

You forgot hypotheses. That was predictable.

Yet creationist and ID research productivity is very close to zero. You’re denying the evidence.

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Good thing that concept isn’t speculation but rather is based on 150+ years of consilient scientific positive evidence from dozens of different scientific disciplines.

On the other hand “my preferred Deity went POOF to create life” is 100% evidence free speculation.

ID-Creationists really need to learn the difference.

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It beautifully explains why IDcreationists don’t formulate and test ID or creationist hypotheses, but instead produce massive amounts of rhetoric aimed at credulous laypeople.


You are perfectly free to reject 150+ years of positive scientific evidence due solely to your religious beliefs. Science is perfectly free to ignore your personal incredulity based objections.

Your interpretation of my blog [quote=“Patrick, post:1, topic:4073”]
that God doesn’t do evolution but instead God does progressive creation .
[/quote] is not very accurate or careful. That’s not my conclusion. My conclusion is that a progressive creation paradigm is congruent with the underlying complexities observed in nature. And that I find naturalistic evolutionary claims that this complexity simply arose rather vacuous.

“A supernatural Being did it” can be congruent with any observation made in nature. It has the same explanatory power as saying “MAGIC!”. That’s why MAGIC! and POOF! are completely worthless to science.

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I am not ignoring the science, but you are appealing to interpretations, stating forgone conclusions not necessitated by the evidence. This comes as no surprise to me. Just keep saying “you’re religious, so you ignore the data.” That carries so little credibility in actual meaningful and worthwhile dialogue where people listen and consider the point that is trying to be discussed. Did you even read the blog? I doubt it. Do you even care about real dialogue here? I also doubt it, because the evidence that you do not is grossly in my favor on this point. But go ahead, and ignore the data. Feel free,

But you pointed to no evidence other than the existence of complexity, which is perfectly consistent with what we know from evolutionary biology.

My point is that your analysis is strategically shallow. You can’t explain the nature of the complexity by progressive creation, so you ignore it.

He didn’t write that. Is it ethical for you to manufacture quotes? In written English, quotation marks are used to denote what was actually said or written.

I’m religious, and I’m accusing you of ignoring the data you can’t explain. Timothy isn’t accusing me of ignoring the data. It’s false even as a paraphrase.

Well yes, you are. You’re offering the same old argument from ignorance based personal incredulity we’ve seen from Creationists for decades. If you had any solid scientific research to back your supernatural Creation claims you’d publish it and become rather famous. But you don’t so you won’t.

He said “You are perfectly free to reject 150+ years of positive scientific evidence due solely to your religious beliefs. Science is perfectly free to ignore your personal incredulity based objections.” Close enough to my suggested summary. I did not say he said that exact quote, my quotes are proper use of grammatical punctuation that are not to be construed as a direct quote. Thanks for trying an ad hominin attack. Doesn’t take long to get some to devolve in the conversation.

OK, explain why so many members of protein families have partially-overlapping functions.

Explain why so many different receptors feed into a tiny number of second-messenger pathways.

Evolutionary biology explains both of them.

He didn’t say anything resembling that, and ethical people only put what was actually said or written, not a summary, between quotation marks.

Timothy is quite aware that many religious people follow the evidence.

“Did too.”
“Did not.”
What a waste of time.

I think your attempt to defend your fabrication of a quote speaks volumes.