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Thread: Specified complexity

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    tWebber
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    Specified complexity

    Is specified complexity a circular concept? A friend of mine said so.

    Leslie Orgel said: ''Living things are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals such as granite fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; mixtures of random polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity''.

    My friend: ''ABSOLUTELY WRONG!

    Living things are distinguished by their autonomy, since they are autonomous agents that present their own active processes such as growth, reproduction, locomotion, regeneration, etc. Although living beings are indeed complex, this is not theoretically crucial to their recognition as such. If simple entities like crystal spheres moved on their own, grew up, reproduced, etc., we would have to recognize them as living or totally change the way we understand life.

    To make matters worse, note that there is no definition of what such a specification is, which, without surprise, is more of a begged question, for it is obvious that what they understand as this specificity is precisely the result of a intelligent information, which would explain the appearance of design''.

    Do you agree with this? What's your take on specified complexity?
    Last edited by Seeker; 01-07-2019 at 12:45 AM.

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    tWebber Roy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    Do you agree with this? What's your take on specified complexity?
    That it's a con because the things IDers claim have specified complexity aren't actually specified anywhere.
    Jorge: Functional Complex Information is INFORMATION that is complex and functional.

    mikewhitney: What if the speed of light changed when light is passing through water? ... I have 3 semesters of college Physics.

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Welcome to TheologyWeb!

    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker's friend View Post
    If simple entities like crystal spheres moved on their own, grew up, reproduced, etc., we would have to recognize them as living or totally change the way we understand life.
    Yes, that would involve a different definition of life. But life as we know it involves specified complexity.

    To make matters worse, note that there is no definition of what such a specification is, which, without surprise, is more of a begged question, for it is obvious that what they understand as this specificity is precisely the result of a intelligent information, which would explain the appearance of design.
    Well, the idea of a specification requires some explanation:

    Source: Intelligent Design, by William Dembski

    For a pattern to count as a specification, the important thing is not when it was identified but whether in a certain well-defined sense it is independent of the event it describes. … to count as specifications, patterns must be suitably independent of events. I refer to this relation of independence as detachability … For side information to detach a pattern from an event, it must satisfy two conditions, a conditional independence condition and a tractability condition. … the tractability condition requires that the side information enable us to construct the pattern D to which [event] E conforms.

    © Copyright Original Source



    So this is not merely a circular definition.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    Last edited by lee_merrill; 01-07-2019 at 12:42 PM.
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Welcome to TheologyWeb!


    Yes, that would involve a different definition of life. But life as we know it involves specified complexity.


    Well, the idea of a specification requires some explanation:

    Source: Intelligent Design, by William Dembski

    For a pattern to count as a specification, the important thing is not when it was identified but whether in a certain well-defined sense it is independent of the event it describes. … to count as specifications, patterns must be suitably independent of events. I refer to this relation of independence as detachability … For side information to detach a pattern from an event, it must satisfy two conditions, a conditional independence condition and a tractability condition. … the tractability condition requires that the side information enable us to construct the pattern D to which [event] E conforms.

    © Copyright Original Source



    So this is not merely a circular definition.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    It is not science and a circular definition to justify Intelligent Design, which has no basis in theories nor hypothesis that can be falsified by scientific methods. There is no independent justification for this that is falsifiable beyond the assertion of the statements themselves.

    If anything(?) the laws of nature determine the specificity of all the outcomes of events and patterns of events in in nature. There is no falsifiable theory, hypothesis nor theorem that could separate any event from the natural causes of the overall pattern of events.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 01-07-2019 at 01:37 PM.
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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    It is not science and a circular definition to justify Intelligent Design, which has no basis in theories nor hypothesis that can be falsified by scientific methods. There is no independent justification for this that is falsifiable beyond the assertion of the statements themselves.

    If anything(?) the laws of nature determine the specificity of all the outcomes of events and patterns of events in in nature. There is no falsifiable theory, hypothesis nor theorem that could separate any event from the natural causes of the overall pattern of events.
    True, shunyadragon.

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    It is not science and a circular definition to justify Intelligent Design, which has no basis in theories nor hypothesis that can be falsified by scientific methods.
    But there is forensic science, which can be used to detect design, as in the SETI project.

    There is no independent justification for this that is falsifiable beyond the assertion of the statements themselves.
    Certainly this is falsifiable, not-design (chance, etc.) is the conclusion of events that do not pass this filter.

    If anything(?) the laws of nature determine the specificity of all the outcomes of events and patterns of events in in nature.
    But now I think you're misunderstanding the concept of specificity, it is not any pattern that corresponds to the laws of nature that is called specified.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    tWebber TheLurch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    But there is forensic science, which can be used to detect design, as in the SETI project.
    Forensics focuses on situations where we know the capabilities of the actors. And SETI does not focus on design; it focuses on looking for things that we haven't identified natural causes for.

    So they're not analogous here at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Certainly this is falsifiable, not-design (chance, etc.) is the conclusion of events that do not pass this filter.
    There is no logic in that sentence. How do you falsify specified complexity when there's been nothing proposed that would allow us to objectively measure specification?

  8. Amen shunyadragon amen'd this post.
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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    But there is forensic science, which can be used to detect design, as in the SETI project.
    Oh my! Changing the subject out of desperation.

    No forensic science cannot detect design beyond human and natural causes, and notin the matter you would claim Intelligent design. Ultimately Forensic Science works on the assumption of natural causes within the context of human acts on nature, or human physiology and biochemistry

    The SETI project simply looks for evidence of intelligence in patterns in radio waves, and does not try to conclude that there is Intelligent Design behind the source of the intelligence, any more than we can falsify ID behind our own radio signals.


    Certainly this is falsifiable, not-design (chance, etc.) is the conclusion of events that do not pass this filter.

    But now I think you're misunderstanding the concept of specificity, it is not any pattern that corresponds to the laws of nature that is called specified.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    If not please enlighten us, what are you calling specified? I doubt there is any coherent concept here beyond simple scientific observed cause and effect of events and/or patterns.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 01-08-2019 at 03:32 PM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLurch View Post
    Forensics focuses on situations where we know the capabilities of the actors. And SETI does not focus on design; it focuses on looking for things that we haven't identified natural causes for.
    Yes, we know the capabilities of designers, and the capabilities of nature. With this knowledge, we can detect design. And you just outlined one question of Dembski's explanatory filter! Not-naturally-caused can lead us to the conclusion of design.

    There is no logic in that sentence. How do you falsify specified complexity when there's been nothing proposed that would allow us to objectively measure specification?
    If you mean like a thermometer, the I agree, specification cannot be measured physically. But it is a valid concept, producing a filter that embodies our idea of design.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Ultimately Forensic Science works on the assumption of natural causes within the context of human acts on nature, or human physiology and biochemistry
    And more generally, detects designers, such as unknown designers in outer space.

    The SETI project simply looks for evidence of intelligence in patterns in radio waves, and does not try to conclude that there is Intelligent Design behind the source of the intelligence, any more than we can falsify ID behind our own radio signals.
    But the SETI researchers are looking for patterns that fit Dembski's explanatory filter.

    ...please enlighten us, what are you calling specified? I doubt there is any coherent concept here beyond simple scientific observed cause and effect of events and/or patterns.
    Well, my first post here has an explanation of "specified", an excerpt from the book "Intelligent Design".

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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