Would God's Guidance Be DNA-Detectable?

(John Harshman) #61

You should know that isn’t good enough. Of course it isn’t self-evident, and you should be wary of the pull of the anthropocentric viewpoint.

Yes, as it happens. Didn’t you just show that your conflation is incorrect? I’m confused.

I agree completely. They’re even rare in sequences that are under selection. But I don’t see what that has to do with the relative number of functional differences in species pairs.

Nor am I sure what you were talking about right then.

I’m not sure you do. You have said that it would be very difficult to come up with an example, and I show that it isn’t difficult at all.

The bit about microinversions was a counterexample to the claim that rare changes would not be detectable as intervention. It depends on the background level of changes. Since microinversions are orders of magnitude less common than point mutations, even a comparative few of them would stand out from that background.

I’m sorry, but it doesn’t. At any rate, it’s a counterclaim to divine parsimony. You can justify anything by whipsawing between those two principles.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #62


(John Harshman) #63

Example of what? At this point I have lost all notion of what you were trying to say. Were there words missing in some sentences? Did you misread my original statement?

Did you mentally put a “not” that wasn’t there in the second part of that quote? That’s all I can figure out right now.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #64

Ah I see. I did mis read you the first time. I do not that conflation, but perhaps my text is unclear. I do tend to have consequential typos, which could be creating some problems here. If we do NOT know that X is true, it necessarily means that we do NOT know that X is false.

I think perhaps you misinterpreted my goals here.

I’m NOT in any way arguing from scientific evidence that God did in fact guide evolution. I"m rather just making the case that we DO NOT KNOW based on the genetic evidence we see. I grant up front that atheist will conclude NO, because God does not exist. Christians like myself, however, might reasonably wonder if He did, without fearing that there is evidence out there that demonstrates He did not. That is the simple limited argument I am making. I am not making a positive case for God’s guidance, just making a case for the limits of the evidence here.

(John Harshman) #65

The ironic accompaniment to any confession or accusation of typos.

(John Harshman) #66

I would leave off the computer code analogy. It doesn’t help you understand DNA.

(Eric Michael Holloway) #67

They are the same.

(John Harshman) #68

In case you were asking for an example of you conflating “we don’t know that X is true” with "we do know that X is false, the immediate case is this: “Functional differences is a poorly defined term, but this claim is usually accepted by anti-evolution in regards to Humans and Mice. If you dispute it, go ahead and make your case that humans and chimps are more similar than mice rats.”

The clear implication here is that if I dispute the notion that we know X is true, I must show that X is false.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #69

You misread me. It was an honest invitation.

(John Harshman) #70

You would have a hard time showing this to be true or convincing any biologist that it’s true. I notice that software engineers are for some reason more prone to that belief, though.

(Eric Michael Holloway) #71

They are both symbol strings that are processed by a Turing reducible mechanism to generate a finite, discrete output. No intrinsic difference, unless you claim the ribosome is not Turing reducible.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #72

Are probabilistic machines Turing reducible? I’m not sure…

(John Harshman) #73

I will admit that I don’t know what it would mean for the ribosome to be Turing reducible, so can’t say whether it is or isn’t. But assuming that it is, how does that mean that DNA is like a computer program in any real way? And even if it does, that would apply only to individual processed mRNAs, not to DNA. The parts of the genome that correspond to processed mRNAs are less than 2%.

(Eric Michael Holloway) #74

Probabilistic Turing machine

(Jon Garvey) #75

You hit the nail on the head. Such conclusions, in either direction, belong outside science and in philosophy and theology - which is why if you want to hold coherent views on them, you have to pursue those disciplines in conjunction with your science.

As I said, to avoid mere prejudice, you have to appeal to theology, and/or philosophy. Many people don’t like theology period, which is irrelevant to the question of truth. “I like to believe…” is invalid in both science and theology, which are both about the way the world is, not about how we want it to be.

On the core question, I refer you to the historical doctrine of providence (general and special) that prevailed in Western thought throughout the history of the last two millennia. It even underpinned the mechanical philosophy of the early scientists, who held “Laws” to be the regularities imposed by God on nature, and allowed for God’s special providence in individual events, including human choices - a subject frequently discussed in the early days of the Royal Society. But that’s history rather than science, so may not be an acceptable epistemology to you?

As it happens I recently did a piece on special providence in nature, which alludes to the general sort, and even to free will, here.

The bizarre theological implications I leave to you, but would note that all of them were raised and dealt with in great depth many centuries ago, and for which you may consult a huge body of contemporary work.

(Alan Fox) #76

There’s the problem! Eric thinks computer models are real. :sweat_smile:

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #77

They are as real as thoughts.

(Alan Fox) #78

Touché! A fairy tale story is real in the sense of folklore memory and records, books etc , but the story may only be imaginary. (I like to use the complex number metaphor of reality and imagination: related but orthogonal - but I can’t get the meme to fly)

(John Harshman) #79

Thanks, but at first application I don’t see a lot of meaning in it. Perhaps it was intended for those already expert in the field? And to the extent that there is meaning, it seems a great amount of speculation based on a few words in the bible, and one apparently must start by accepting scripture as authoritative, which I am unable to do. How can you tell if any theological position is correct?

I don’t think it’s the history that renders it unacceptable. It’s the lack of any need or support for that hypothesis. Now, we appear to have agreed that there can be no conceivable empirical support, and I don’t accept scriptural support. So why should I or anyone else entertain such a notion?

(Herculean Skeptic) #80

What would be a good example of some non-functioning function? Or some functional non-function? :slight_smile:

Seriously, what does this mean from the lay perspective??