We Are Mystified by Eric Holloway

I have pointed out I think you are wrong and Kirks analysis agrees with me. You have failed to make and argument that cancer is a function vs a loss of function.

@kirk just discovered a math error. He mistook delta H for KL. We will see now if he is honest or not.


We are missing a clear specification of how to connect empirical data to the model.


The basic theory is that if LoING is > 0 it is the result of conscious intelligence and not chance and determinism. There is no empirical data that violates this that I have seen. If you could model a chance and deterministic model that generates known functional information then you would falsify Eric’s model.

I think he is probably right as information of any length like the argument here lives in almost infinite mathematical space. It seems empirically very unlikely that it can be generated without a mind. Although the design argument is limited it is in itself pretty powerful.

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Have you read an understood this thread? The Law of Information Non Growth

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The behavior of a bacterium cannot be fully explained by chance and determinism. Are you implying that we should consider the bacterium to have conscious intelligence?

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No but I would consider the DNA and Protein structure of the bacteria to be the result of conscious intelligence. On the other hand:
Conscious intelligence creating FI is different then lack of chance and determinism being the result of intelligence.

That seems to miss the point. I’m was not making a point about how bacteria have come to exist. I was making a point about the behavior of a bacterium, which seems difficult to square with just determinism+chance. So I think you are making a huge mistake by insisting that the next thing up from determinism+chance is conscious intelligence.

How about allowing some sort of primitive bacteria-level intelligence that falls short of consciousness?

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I did not make this claim. There could be a lot between determinism plus chance to conscious intelligence. The claim is that conscious intelligence is the only known cause of FI.

That is the claim. It is false.


I think we have to shore up definitions first but for practical purposes it is valid. If you define function loosely I agree you can make the claim false.

Whatever that means.

What we see is an assertion:

To many of us, this assertion seems obviously false. So we need more than an assertion.

I have suggested that a bacterium has some basic intelligence, and I would not call that “conscious intelligence”.

Can you provide an argument that the bacterium is conscious? Or can you provide an argument that bacterial behavior can be fully explained by determinism and chance? To me, both of those seem false.

We are hampered here, because we lack sufficiently precise definitions. And, as I see it, that lack of sufficiently precise definitions has always been the problem with ID.


The problem has been raised to the ID community enough times now I see it as a conscious strategy on their part. By keeping all their buzz-terms as vague as possible they can never be pinned down and have the terms tested and their claims falsified. Remember the goal of the ID camp isn’t to convince the scientific community of ID’s validity. The goal is to sway uneducated laymen into supporting the push to get religious Creationism back into public school science classes.

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This is a difficult claim to accept seriously when the logic has so far been:
Josh: Look at the case of cancer! There is FI, which can be explained mostly due to common descent. No need to invoke intelligence.
Eric: But this FI presupposes pre-existing MI. MI cannot come from determinism and chance, but only intelligence.
Josh (and Stuart): But that is false. MI is produced whenever DNA replication occurs. DNA replication is deterministic.
Eric: But DNA replication is only possible due to intelligence!
Josh: How is that the case?
Eric: Because all order in nature is the result of intelligence!


Basically, since according to Eric’s version of ID, all science is only possible from ID, then any scientific argument against ID also presupposes ID. This is not a mean-spirited parody, this is literally what has been argued here. This reminds me of certain versions of presuppositional apologetics. If I’ve been misrepresenting, please feel free to correct me.


This is your gut feel but you need to show it is false. The reality is until you do it is true as no one has introduced an alternative source for the quantity that evolution requires.

DNA is functional information and long strings of functional information live in almost infinite mathematical space. The problem of generating FI is not trivial.

I pick up a ruler, and measure something. Say I measure the height of my desk. This gives me a symbol, which is part of an information string. Measurement produces a discrete result from a continuum (the continuum of height).

Well sure, as a measurer I count as an example of conscious intelligence.

But now consider a bacterium moving around in a nutrient solution. At some stage it reproduces – replicates. That is a discrete action occurring in an otherwise continuous system. A discrete action, in effect, creates a symbol. There’s one more bacterium in that nutrient medium than before. The amount of information as increased. The bacterium is doing something much like measurement.

This discrete action does not look to be an obvious consequence of determinism an randomness. Perhaps it’s a non-obvious consequence. At the very least, it is a chaotic event. And it seems to have added information.

So is the bacterium conscious? Or is the nutrient conscious? Or is there something wrong with my example?

From the way that I look at it, there is some sort of primitive intelligence even in the bacterium, but there isn’t any consciousness. So the mistake of ID is to insist on conscious intelligence. Evolution can be accounted for in terms of the accumulative effects of the low level primitive intelligence such as we find in bacteria.

Is this the result of reproduction of the first bacteria?

Yes it is.

So the argument becomes is copying functional information the same thing as generating it? Or does two copies of the same information increase to total functional information content. This should be part of Kirk and Joshua’s discussion. You have brought up a very interesting case. My argument is more along the lines of novel information as I see a lot of it is required for life’s diversity. Non the less you have surfaced an interesting case.

Replication does not create MI, since the function has to have reference to A in order to copy A. When we measure MI we have to take into account all the available information to generate the result, and since the replication function has A as input, then it’s essentially MI(F,A:A) which can only be equal to MI(A:A).

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