Re: >RE: What does ID mean?

Glenn Morton (
Mon, 20 Apr 1998 19:55:48 -0500

At 08:02 AM 4/20/98, E G M wrote:
>An I disagree, Entropy has to do with EVERYTHING. If you have matter
>and energy involved in some process you have ENTROPY.

The thing that wone Prigogine the Nobel was the discovery that the classical
2nd law didn't really apply to living systems. And I am using it in the
sense that Dr. Harvey mentioned. I didn't mean to inadvertently imply (as
could be read from my statement) that entropy didn't exist for such a

>> That is the problem that the anti-evolutionists miss entirely. Looking at
>> the DNA chain, it is IMPOSSIBLE to tell whether or not it was created by
>> design or created randomly. This is not to say that this means that Will's
>> position wins. It is to say that we cannot beat that position via >this
>I undrstod your point, we may not be able to tell "mathematically",
>but we can tell .............

If "we can tell....." it is because of a subjective feeling, not an
objective measure. But then this also applies to the anti-design person such
as Will Provine. He can't tell that the universe isn't designed and the
lack of design he sees is also a subjective feeling.

>> >Could mathematics ever be able to tell?
>> never.
>I agree here as today.
>> Consider this though. Some very quite complex things appear to have arisen
>> without design. Who designed the world's economy? No one. It just
>> happened as the result of all the individual people trying to better their
>> personal condition.

The key to complexity is in reproduction. Once one has a reproductive
system, an iterative system, complexity can be generated. Molecules
performing a function which are also capable of reproducing, are able to
improve their performance given two conditions, 1) random mutation during
the reproduction and 2) selection for the most efficient molecules at
performing the function. Such design is now used in labs to search through
large polymer spaces looking for molecules to perform a given function.
Andrew Ellington and Jack W. Szostak
"used small organic dyes as the target.
They screened 10 13 random-sequence RNAs and found molecules that bound tightly
and specifically to each of the dyes.
"Recently they repeated this experiment using random-sequence DNAs and
arrived at an entirely different set of dye-binding molecules.
"That observation reveals an important truth about directed evolution
(and indeed, about evolution in general): the forms selected are not
necessarily the best answers to a problem in some ideal sense, only the best
answers to arise in the evolutionary history of a particular
macromolecule."~Gerald F. Joyce, "Directed Evolution," Scientific America,
Dec. 1992, p. 94-95.

Now, before you give the standard reply to such an experiment, that it took
lots of planning etc. The fact is that the molecules with random mutation
were able to be improved by a mutation plus selection operation. Thus,
while I would fully agree that the actual origin of the iterative system may
very well have required the design and input from God, once an iterative
(reproductive) system is in place in which reproduction is not exact, one
can greately increase the complexity. Thus, God may very well have started
the iterations (reproduction) going, but then evolution took over.

And before one says that this means that God loses control and can't
therefore be all knowing, I would contend that God was the one who created
the functional spaces which the various sequences occupy in sequence space
(if someone wants to know what a sequence space is I will explain it if
asked). The functionality mapped onto the sequence space gives the
appearance of caverns with small passages between different molecules which
perform the same function. In this way, random mutation can "find" novel
solutions to old problems. After enough iterations, a locally very efficient
molecule is found and it is hard to find one that is better. At that point
mutations generally become harmful to function.

If you want to see some programs that perform this kind of search see the
Computer Programs on my web page. There are picture examples as well as
executable code.
>Again, as I said last year, this is a very bad example Glenn. People
>designed the world economy and they still do everyday with zillions of
>Mindful and needful decisions. Think of it as a Distributed
>(Adaptive/Learning Smart Control) Parameter System with multiple
>inputs and multiple outputs (MIMO).

Yes but that does not mean that there was an overarching plan for the
economy anymore than there was an overarching plan for each individual
molecule in the biological systems which is what I read Behe and other IDers
to be arguing for. If as described above, each molecule reproducing
imperfectly, was able to improve its descendant's efficiency, it would leave
more offspring. And since the molecule has no "intention" about anything,
this process (like the one looking for dye cutters noted above) will lead to
improved complexity with no overarching "design" other than the design that
went into the system initially.

My computer programs start out making very simple forms and then complexify.

>> No one set down 10,000 years ago and drew out a plan or
>> gave information for the interacting parts of the economy.
>Wrong, they all "work" and "trade".

No, all they do is work locally. No one provides the over all direction to
the economy. No one. That is why it is exactly a good example. The people
who discovered farming were not planning an agricultural revolution, they
were simply


>> Complexity can arise on its own and it very well might be that God used this
>> trait of nature to create us.
>I don't deny that, but as behind the economy we have "intelligent
>agents" so behind nature we have ............

All we have are agents trying to improve their efficiency at making money.
We also try to maximize our offspring's ability to make money by sending
them to college. This is no different than the molecules "trying" to improve
their offspring's efficiency at some chemical function. And if men are so
"intelligent" how come so many lost their shirts when the stock market
crashed in 1929? How come most businesses fail in the first 5 years?


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