## Saturday, October 30, 2010

### Finding: Bees Solve The Traveling Salesman Problem

It is a classic problem in the field of computer science: In what order should a salesman visit his prospects? The traveling salesman problem may appear simple but it has engaged some of the greatest mathematical minds and today engages some of the fastest computers. This makes new findings, that bees compute their route before pollinating flowers, all the more remarkable.

Zerah Colburn’s greatest achievement may have been defeating William Rowan Hamilton in feats of calculation. Colburn was a nineteenth century American child prodigy. As a young boy he could multiply large numbers in an instant, compute square roots of large numbers, and determine the number of hours or seconds between distant dates. Colburn’s father capitalized on his son’s astonishing mental capabilities, taking him on tours across the country and in Europe for others to see, and sometimes to compete with the lightning calculator.

But the local talent was not always a walk-over. While in Dublin, Colburn went up against the twelve year old Hamilton. While Colburn mostly was victorious, the older Irish boy was sometimes the faster of the two. The matchup was probably the first time that Hamilton, who knew a dozen languages by that time, had been shown up in anything intellectual and it may have motivated him.

Hamilton went on to become one of the greatest mathematicians in history. He is probably most famous for his reformulation of Newtonian mechanics and today the Hamiltonian operator is well known to physicists everywhere. Hamilton also discovered quaternions while on a Sunday stroll with his wife. The fundamental relationships

came to him in a flash and he immediately carved them into the Brougham bridge so as not to forget them. Though quaternions have rather narrow applications today, where used they are quite valuable in providing faster and more robust computations. For instance, from molecular dynamics to computer graphics to spacecraft navigation, coordinate transformation algorithms are required. Quaternion-based transformations both minimize the number of multiplications and avoid singularities.

Hamilton also was interested in early forms of the traveling salesman problem. The problem was well known to salesmen of the day, but had not yet been formalized in mathematics. Hamilton invented a mathematical puzzle called the icosian game in which the objective was to create a path that visits twenty points without doubling back on itself.

The traveling salesman problem is interesting, and important, because the seemingly obvious strategy of simply moving to the next closest location after each visit does not generally work. The traveler’s objective is to minimize the total distance traveled, or more generally the total cost. The cost may be directly proportional to the distance traveled, or it may be more complicated. For instance, the cost of travel may vary by location and direction of travel (going uphill versus downhill, for instance).

In computer science the problem is known to be what is called NP-hard. It's complexity is thought to increase exponentially with the number of locations to be visited.

All of this makes new findings, that bees regularly solve their own routing problem, rather remarkable. As one report explained:

Bees can solve complex mathematical problems which keep computers busy for days, research has shown. The insects learn to fly the shortest route between flowers discovered in random order ... Bees manage to reach the same solution using a brain the size of a grass seed.

Dr Nigel Raine, from Royal Holloway’s school of biological sciences, said: “Foraging bees solve travelling salesman problems every day. They visit flowers at multiple locations and, because bees use lots of energy to fly, they find a route which keeps flying to a minimum.”

Using computer-controlled artificial flowers to test bee behaviour, his wanted to know whether the insects would follow a simple route defined by the order in which they found the flowers, or look for the shortest route.

After exploring the location of the flowers, the bees quickly learned to fly the best route for saving time and energy.

How does the bee, with a brain the size of a grass seed, optimize its route?

“Despite their tiny brains bees are capable of extraordinary feats of behaviour,” said Raine. “We need to understand how they can solve the travelling salesman problem without a computer.”

Indeed, we do need to understand the amazing feats of bees. The bee’s routing problem is much less complex than the problems today’s computers solve. But the bee does solve its routing problem. Did random mutations just happen to construct what our greatest minds have been unable to conceive (no, natural selection doesn’t help)? Perhaps, but this certainly is not a fact as evolutionists insist it is. Far from it. Religion drives science, and it matters.

1. Lihoreau, Chittka & Raine, Travel Optimization by Foraging Bumblebees through Readjustments of Traplines after Discovery of New Feeding Locations, The American Naturalist.

It seems the popular press has grossly overstated the findings. Bees do rearrange the order of flower visitation to reduce travel time, but only for relatively small numbers of flowers that do not "keep computers busy for days, and not necessarily the best possible path, but one that is flexible.

One of my comments over there is still awaiting moderation - though it fits here, too.

3. From the Guardian:

"Bees can solve complex mathematical problems which keep computers busy for days, research has shown."

We're talking about 4 flowers here. What kind of computer would take days to compute the optimal route for 4 flowers? An abacus operated by Joe G perhaps.

Did you read the original AmNat paper, Cornelius?

4. Cornelius,

Had you read the actual research paper instead of relying on the overblown press release, you would learn that the problem solved by bees was not hard at all.

There were a mere four flowers in the experiment. There are 24 possible routes starting from the nest and visiting each flower once. Finding the shortest among these requires log_2(24) = 4.6 bits of information. Not exactly rocket science.

5. In this case it looks like it was the researcher himself who was guilty of over-hyping the study, rather than the reporter.

6. Good Lord CH, are you really that dense?

This ridiculous sensationalistic blurb

"Bees can solve complex mathematical problems which keep computers busy for days, research has shown."

...was not written by a scientist but by a Guardian reporter hyping the article. Bees haven't solved traveling salesmen problems that keep computers busy for days. TSP problems that 'keep computers busy for days' are ones finding a specific optimum solution for problems with 50,000 - 100,000 nodes.

What the bees did in the experiment was find a practical (not optimum) solution to the TSP for FOUR flowers by using a brute-force approach and memorizing the results.

Here is the actual paper

Travel Optimization by Foraging Bumblebees through Readjustments of Traplines after Discovery of New Feeding Locations
Lihoreau et al
Am Nat 2010. Vol. 176,

Abstract: Animals collecting resources that replenish over time often visit patches in predictable sequences called traplines. Despite the widespread nature of this strategy, we still know little about how spatial memory develops and guides individuals toward suitable routes. Here, we investigate whether flower visitation sequences by bumblebees Bombus terrestris simply reflect the order in which flowers were discovered or whether they result from more complex navigational strategies enabling bees to optimize their foraging routes. We analyzed bee flight movements in an array of four artificial flowers maximizing interfloral distances. Starting from a single patch, we sequentially added three new patches so that if bees visited them in the order in which they originally encountered flowers, they would follow a long (suboptimal) route. Bees’ tendency to visit patches in their discovery order decreased with experience. Instead, they optimized their flight distances by rearranging flower visitation sequences. This resulted in the development of a primary route (trapline) and two or three less frequently used secondary routes. Bees consistently used these routes after overnight breaks while occasionally exploring novel possibilities. We discuss how maintaining some level of route flexibility could allow traplining animals to cope with dynamic routing problems, analogous to the well‐known traveling salesman problem.

Once again in your blind panic to find anything to throw at evolutionary theory you didn't bother to read the actual paper, or do the slightest bit of research, or make the slightest attempt to understand the actual experiment.

Pitiful, pitiful, pitiful CH.

7. Actually, the problem is even simpler than I said: there are two shortest paths that differ from each other by time reversal, so the amount of information is log_2(24/2) = 3.6 bits.

The problem can be easily solved by brute force, i.e. by exploring all 24 routes.

8. DiEb:

===

One of my comments over there is still awaiting moderation - though it fits here, too.
===

You should restate your comment here.

9. oleg:

===
the problem solved by bees was not hard at all.
There were a mere four flowers in the experiment.
===

I see, it was a low-order problem, therefore no problem for random mutations.

10. This post shows once again that IDC-ers typically are not really interested in science - or they would have taken the trouble to read the original research paper. It's all about the propaganda for the rubes.

Thanks for making this point for us, Cornelius!

11. Mutations? What the heck do mutations have to do with this?

12. I did like the historical bit of the OP though...

Thanks for that!

13. oleg:

"Mutations? What the heck do mutations have to do with this?"

Good point. Silly me, thinking mutations have something to do with evolution.

14. Cornelius, you're rather confused. The traveling salesman problem is most certainly "deterministic", contrary to your claim, and it has NOT yet been proven that the optimal algorithm for it is "exponential", although this is widely believed.

15. I don't see what random mutations have to do with this either. From the paper:

"Our findings suggest that traplining animals can find (or approach) optimal solutions to dynamic traveling salesman problems (variations of the classic problem where availability of sites changes over time) simply by adjusting their routes by trial and error in response to environmental changes."

Learning by trial and error.

16. Jeffrey Shallit:

===
Cornelius, you're rather confused. The traveling salesman problem is most certainly "deterministic",
===

===
contrary to your claim, and it has NOT yet been proven that the optimal algorithm for it is "exponential", although this is widely believed.
===

Agreed, of course it has not been proven. Wording fixed.

17. troy:

===
I don't see what random mutations have to do with this either. From the paper:

"Our findings suggest that traplining animals can find (or approach) optimal solutions to dynamic traveling salesman problems (variations of the classic problem where availability of sites changes over time) simply by adjusting their routes by trial and error in response to environmental changes."
===

How did the bee's algorithm to solve the problem arise?

18. Cornelius,

You can rant about evolution all you want, but this post is completely silly. Finding 2 shortest routes out of possible 24 is not a hard problem. Much easier than, say, finding a flower.

So forget about the traveling salesman problem. Write about the amazing ability of bees to find flowers. Or how a banana fits perfectly in a human hand. No need to read any papers, not even a press release.

19. My comment at UD (still in moderation) was directed to PaV: he jumped to conclusions similar to yours, extrapolating from the Grauniad's article. So, here it is:

PaV: "By just doing something over and over again, with little changes accumulating, a ‘computer,’ better than any we have, somehow comes into existence. "

Abstract: "We analyzed bee flight movements in an array of four artificial flowers maximizing interfloral distances."

This shows again how careful one should be when reading an blog entry on an article in a newspaper which was itself based on the press release on the actual scientific research (which was most probably not written by the scientists themselves, but by the press office of their institute): it is like a play of grapevine where each player is a little bit more sensationalist than the previous one.

20. Cornelius:

"How did the bee's algorithm to solve the problem arise?"

I don't know.

21. oleg:

===
You can rant about evolution all you want, but this post is completely silly.
===

Completely?

===
Finding 2 shortest routes out of possible 24 is not a hard problem. Much easier than, say, finding a flower.
===

Next time you build a bee to do either one please let us know.

===
So forget about the traveling salesman problem. Write about the amazing ability of bees to find flowers.
===

So we can't question theories unless we have the most difficult problems?

22. Have a look at this earlier paper by Kazuharu Ohashi, James D. Thomson, and Daniel D’Souza: Trapline foraging by bumble bees: IV. Optimization of route geometry in the absence of competition (Behavioral Ecology, September 29, 2006). Here, the authors use 10 artificial flowers and show that bees generally don’t follow the optimal path, but seem to be able to memorize a few simple traplines used earlier.

And that's what the experiments are about: Earlier, it was thought that bees don't remember anything about traplines they used before, but followed just a couple of simple rules.

Something typical is happening here: the biologists borrow a term (TSP) from another discipline as a kind of shorthand - without using it with the same rigor as mathematicians or computer scientists. The ensuing confusion allows for word games which transgress the boundaries (toward a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity)...

23. DiEb:

"he jumped to conclusions similar to yours"

Thanks for your comment, but I'm unclear what conclusion it is I made that object to. Evolution is a religiously mandated theory that drives science to unlikely conclusions. In this research, we have findings that would force us to conclude that random mutations constructed the means for bees to solve for lower cost routings. Possible? Sure, but evolutionists insist this is an undeniable fact.

If you are searching for objectionable conclusions I suggest you look at evolution.

24. I don't build organisms, Cornelius, but I know a guy who does.

Richard Lenski has developed Avida, a program that creates a virtual world where digital organisms evolve various functions through random mutations subject to selective pressure. I will bet you \$100 that digital organisms in Avida can easily solve the traveling salesman problem with four flowers.

Wanna bet against it?

25. DiEb:

===
Something typical is happening here: the biologists borrow a term (TSP) from another discipline as a kind of shorthand - without using it with the same rigor as mathematicians or computer scientists. The ensuing confusion allows for word games which transgress the boundaries (toward a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity)...
===

Agreed--good example. But I think you are reading more into my post than is there. I thought I've written enough that it is obvious, but perhaps I need to reiterate more often: the problem is with the notion that the world must have arisen as a fluke. It must be true, and all findings must fit into that narrative. This is a religious idea and it has infected science.

Just how efficient is the bee's routing algorithm, how many flowers they can include in their solution, and so forth is not at issue. Evolution is nowhere close to explaining (beyond the usual hand-waving) how the various biological structures and machines arose. As Oleg points out, this post is merely one of many examples. Here's another example from bees:

http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/09/mammalian-like-clockwork-in-honey-bee.html

But the objection that "This is an exaggeration and isn't the real TSP" is merely an excuse for evolutionists to avoid the issue.

26. troy:

===
"How did the bee's algorithm to solve the problem arise?"

I don't know.
===

And of course we could repeat this exercise for a great many other examples. You don't know how they arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact.

27. Cornelius Hunter said...

troy:

===
"How did the bee's algorithm to solve the problem arise?"

I don't know.
===

And of course we could repeat this exercise for a great many other examples. You don't know how they arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact.

Ah dear, the cry of the pitiful Creationist:

"Science doesn't know everything, so that means science doesn't know anything!"

28. "You don't know how they arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."

And here is the creationist's plea. You don't know everything, therefore you know nothing, therefore special creation. Explain to me how the failure to have an explanation in hand that explains every biological feature in intimate detail falsifies evolution? What logic is this?

So, I guess we could give up. Or we could cast Darwinian hypotheses for testing.

Like here:

Evolution of Adaptive Behaviour in Robots by Means of Darwinian Selection

29. RobertC:

===
"You don't know how they arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."

And here is the creationist's plea. You don't know everything, therefore you know nothing, therefore special creation.
===

Except I'm not a creationist and I didn't say that. Otherwise perfect.

30. Cornelius Hunter said...

RobertC:

===
"You don't know how they arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."

And here is the creationist's plea. You don't know everything, therefore you know nothing, therefore special creation.
===

Except I'm not a creationist and I didn't say that. Otherwise perfect.

Then what did you mean by

"You don't know how they (bee's algorithms) arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."

...since the first statement has nothing to do with the scientific evidence for the second.

31. Thorton:

===
Then what did you mean by

"You don't know how they (bee's algorithms) arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."

...since the first statement has nothing to do with the scientific evidence for the second.
===

This is one of the amazing things about evolutionists. They don't know how biology arose, insist evolution must have done it for religious reasons, claim it is an undeniable fact, and call anyone who doesn't go along with their logic a creationist science-stopper.

"You don't know everything, therefore you know nothing" is how they caricature the criticism. After years of seeing this it still amazes me.

32. Your complete avoidance of my question noted CH.

Here it is again, in case you decide you want to quit 'witnessing' and engage in honest dialog for a change:

===
Then what did you mean by

"You don't know how they (bee's algorithms) arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."

...since the first statement has nothing to do with the scientific evidence for the second.
===

How stupid do you think someone would look if they claimed "You don't know Jesus' shoe size, therefore all of Christianity is false"?

Now guess how your above claim makes you look.

33. Thorton:

===
How stupid do you think someone would look if they claimed "You don't know Jesus' shoe size, therefore all of Christianity is false"?

Now guess how your above claim makes you look.
===

So first they say your criticism is too strong ("you say we don't know anything") and when the absurdity of that is pointed out they say your criticism is too weak ("you say we merely don't know little things"). Ah, to be an evolutionist. Protectionist devices are always handy, just pick one.

We don't know how the first cell evolved, we don't know how the DNA code evolved, we don't know how replication evolved, we don't know how RNA polymerase evolved, we don't know how transcription evolved, we don't know how genes evolved, we don't know how translation evolved, we don't know how hemoglobin evolved, we don't know how the electron transport chain evolved, we don't know how ATPase evolved, we don't know how eukaryotes evolved, we don't know how multicellular organisms evolved, we don't know how the vision cascade evolved, we don't know how hearing evolved, we don't know how mammals evolved, we don't know how bio sonar evolved, we don't know how photosynthesis evolved, we don't know how turtles evolved, we don't know how consciousness evolved, we don't know how altruism evolved and, let's see, did I miss anything? Oh yes, we don't know how bees evolved.

Ever complex fossils appear abruptly in the strata followed by stasis. Profound differences are found in species within the same genus, striking similarities are found in distant species. Adaptation occurs via complex mechanisms that respond to environmental challenges.

But those are all just scientific details. We know evolution is true, our religion mandates it.

34. Your complete avoidance of my question for a third time noted CH.

I'll assume that means you have no answer and are embarrassed you made the ridiculous statement in the first place.

===
Then what did you mean by

"You don't know how they (bee's algorithms) arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."

...since the first statement has nothing to do with the scientific evidence for the second.
===

Did you secretly wish you'd been a preacher CH? Is that why you like talking right past those who are trying to get you to clarify your statements?

BTW, for every last one of things you posted in your big 'laundry list' science has plausible hypotheses that are being tested with evidence being gathered even as I write this. It's obvious you no longer follow the primary scientific literature any more. Sadly, you seem to get your "science" like the 'bees are faster than Cray computers' nonsense only from popular press articles. No wonder you're so uninformed, and why you keep evading all the technically knowledgeable folks who keep asking you questions.

35. Thorton:

#####################
Your complete avoidance of my question for a third time noted CH.

I'll assume that means you have no answer and are embarrassed you made the ridiculous statement in the first place.

===
Then what did you mean by

"You don't know how they (bee's algorithms) arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."

...since the first statement has nothing to do with the scientific evidence for the second.
===

Did you secretly wish you'd been a preacher CH? Is that why you like talking right past those who are trying to get you to clarify your statements?
#####################

The "they" is not in reference to the bee's algorithm. That was your insertion. It was in reference to all of bioilogy, which evolution says just happened to arise, somehow. They have no idea how, but they are sure it happened.

#####################
BTW, for every last one of things you posted in your big 'laundry list' science has plausible hypotheses that are being tested with evidence being gathered even as I write this.
#####################

Really? So evolution is true after all ... ?

36. oleg:

===
I don't build organisms, Cornelius, but I know a guy who does.

Richard Lenski has developed Avida, a program that creates a virtual world where digital organisms evolve various functions through random mutations subject to selective pressure. I will bet you \$100 that digital organisms in Avida can easily solve the traveling salesman problem with four flowers.

Wanna bet against it?
===

No, but I'll bet it wouldn't happen by itself.

37. Cornelius,

Dismissing Thorton's question following up on my analysis is telling.

"You don't know how they (bee's algorithms) arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact." is your plea that because a theory doesn't already provide all answers to all possible questions, it is false.

You follow up this astounding logic with a laundry list of things you think "we" don't know. I think all you reveal here is your own ignorance, or refusal to fairly evaluate the literature.

A google search for any of these would turn up articles outlining working hypotheses and data supporting each.

For example the modular nature of ATP synthase and hypotheses regarding its origin, and diversification can be found going back to Walker and Cozens' 1986 paper. Some reviews:
http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.biochem.66.1.717
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15473999

And Eukaryote and mammalian evolution? Wikipedia, man.

Now, I suppose we could get into a debate about what it means to 'know' things that happened in history. Do we know these are the exact pathways? No. Can we present reasonable mechanisms, based on available data? Sure. Have these been presented for many of the big problems you list? Yes. Will you acknowledge them, or fairly critique the literature? I think not. It is much easier to pick an overstated piece in the pop literature, and say "AHA! Explain that one evolutionists!!!"

Then when research into the evolution of complex behaviors by Darwinian mechanisms comes along, you'll already be onto your next AHA! blogpost.

Evolution of Adaptive Behaviour in Robots by Means of Darwinian Selection

38. T: "BTW, for every last one of things you posted in your big 'laundry list' science has plausible hypotheses that are being tested with evidence being gathered even as I write this."

CH: "Really??"

Yes, really. If you had read anything more technical than the Guardian in the last 10 years you'd know that.

CH: " So evolution is true after all ... "

Yep. Based on the consilience of all our evidence, to the best of our ability to determine evolution is true.

Bummer for the YECs, but oh well.

39. Thorton said:
"Good Lord CH, are you really that dense?"

One word: thylacine.

40. RobertC:

===
You follow up this astounding logic with a laundry list of things you think "we" don't know. I think all you reveal here is your own ignorance, or refusal to fairly evaluate the literature.
===

No, I'm fairly evaluating the literature. In fact I'm giving evolution every benefit of doubt there is. When I say we don't know how biology just happened to happen, I'm representing what science is telling us. If you're concerned about inaccurate evaluation of the literature I would suggest to consider the evolutionists who claim evolution is an undeniable fact -- a fact as much as is gravity. There is no scientific justification for that claim.

===
A google search for any of these would turn up articles outlining working hypotheses and data supporting each.
===

Do the contradictory data count? Robert don't fall for this shifting of the goal posts. It is a standard argument of evolutionists. They claim evolution is an undeniable fact like gravity, and then when you look at the details and see how unlikely it is, out comes the "we're working on that -- why are you so unreasonable" argument. You can't have it both ways Robert. Either evolution is an undeniable fact, or it isn't. From a scientific perspective, it isn't. But that's not the evolutionary perspective.

41. No explanations and experimentation for evidence on origins which has a direct impact on evolutionary natural processes.

How did the bees evolve with such an amazing tiny brain? Standard answer with circular reasoning and faith: it's an indisputable fact which will be answered as soon as the science gets good enough, just do a Google search in the meantime. In reality, the data gets better, but the questions increase rather than the answers. It's a pattern that has existed with evolution for many years and it will continue to do so as the science gets better.

42. Hunter:

Either evolution is an undeniable fact, or it isn't.

Is there any fact that is not deniable? Like all facts, evolution is deniable. The issue is not deniability, it’s weight of evidence. You think that there isn’t enough evidence for evolution for anyone to consider it a useful paradigm. Yet biologists disagree and persist in working productively within that paradigm.

If a more useful paradigm becomes available, biologists will embrace it in a heartbeat.

43. Doesn't a system that optimimzes travel need several components at a minimum to work? It needs a map, a compass, a way to measure distances, memory, a calculator and a way to turn the reuslts into behavior. All the parts have to show up at the same time, or it won't work. Adn if the parts of the system were coopted form prexisting components, they would hve to cjhange in very specific ways all at once, or it won't work.

44. Is this a surprise? This is but one example of many that is mis-classified as incredible abilities defined as 'nature.' How do bees know how to build a hive? The examples are infinite. Saying this knowledge comes from nature is the same as saying it evolved, IOW, a gross delusion intended to minimize our reliance on God. It is God the creator which imbued these creatures with their knowledge, not 'nature.' The theophobic can believe anything, no matter how irrational: life came from random forces, instinct comes from nature, and the universe created itself out of nothing. Truly a sad reflection on the mental capabilities of the materialists.
.

45. didymos said...

Thorton said:
"Good Lord CH, are you really that dense?"

One word: thylacine.

LOL! I'd forgotten about that little gem.

Thanks for reminding me of the level of scientific competence we're dealing with here.

46. Cornelius Hunter said...

If you're concerned about inaccurate evaluation of the literature I would suggest to consider the evolutionists who claim evolution is an undeniable fact -- a fact as much as is gravity. There is no scientific justification for that claim.

What you really mean is no scientific justification that you will personally accept for that claim, even though virtually everyone else in the scientific community thinks the evidence is overwhelming.

But we understand. When your religion and reality clash, you have to deny reality.

47. Cornelius,

What concerns me is that I see no evaluation of the literature.

I see a reference to pop spin from a press release from a paper that doesn't actually demonstrate bees algorithmically solve the traveling salesman problem.

http://www.geekosystem.com/bees-havent-solved-traveling-salesman-problem/

From this, we arrive at your logic for the falsification of evolution: "You don't know how they (bee's algorithms) arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."

Then, presented with some actual data to critique, you lecture me on moving goalposts. I've never claimed evolution is an "undeniable fact." No fact is undeniable. All science is falsifiable. For example, we know our current theory of gravity is incomplete, destined to be replaced.

If we subject ID to the "undeniable fact or it isn't" rubric criticism, what do we arrive at? Is is undeniably true? Is it a work in progress, or does it answer all queries at present? I'd like a copy of that voluminous tome describing all details of the world across all time. Perhaps a creationist cosmologist has described the nature of a graviton and I missed it? Or is that also work in progress, falsifying religion? Silly.

48. You do know the traveling salesman is a Genetic Algorithm benchmark?

But anyway, here is a demonstration that a few dozen synthetic neurons under Darwinian selection produce complex behaviors, including homing! FYI, bees have 850,000 or so neurons.

Evolution of Adaptive Behaviour in Robots by Means of Darwinian Selection

"These examples of experimental evolution with robots verify the power of evolution by mutation, recombination, and natural selection. In all cases, robots initially exhibited completely uncoordinated behaviour because their genomes had random values. However, a few hundreds of generations of random mutations and selective reproduction were sufficient to promote the evolution of efficient behaviours in a wide range of environmental conditions. The ability of robots to orientate, escape predators, and even cooperate is particularly remarkable given that they had deliberately simple genotypes directly mapped into the connection weights of neural networks comprising only a few dozen neurons."

Anyone want to debate this paper?

49. Robert,

Judging by his previous this reaction, Cornelius will reply something along these lines: No, no, no. You go get your own dirt!

50. RobertC:

If we subject ID to the "undeniable fact or it isn't" rubric criticism, what do we arrive at? Is is undeniably true? Is it a work in progress, or does it answer all queries at present? I'd like a copy of that voluminous tome describing all details of the world across all time. Perhaps a creationist cosmologist has described the nature of a graviton and I missed it? Or is that also work in progress, falsifying religion?

Robert, this is classic. I also would like a copy of that tome.

51. CH wrote:

Evolution is a religiously mandated theory that drives science to unlikely conclusions. In this research, we have findings that would force us to conclude that random mutations constructed the means for bees to solve for lower cost routings. Possible? Sure, but evolutionists insist this is an undeniable fact.

CH,

As usual, it's difficult to know where to begin, as you've covered a lot of ground in a very short time.

First, science is driven by the goal to explain phenomena. The pursuit of this goal occurs via application of the scientific method. As a supposed scientist, you should be well aware of this. However, you seem to suggest this we should deny the results of this method when it conflicts with your particular religious views. While you are free to apply alternative methods or appeal to different explanations beyond those presented by the official theory of ID, you are not free to misrepresent this approach as science.

Second, you seem to be conflating the odds that a particular outcome would occur with the likelihood that a particular mechanism was responsible for that outcome. For example, the likelihood that a series of numbered balls are used to choose willing lottery number is different than the likelihood of any one particular set of numbers being chosen during a draw. Despite being two separate things, this appears to be a common tactic by the ID community.

Third, just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, the scientific explanation of biological complexity does not change based on one's particular theological view regarding a designer's goals or means used to achieve them. Evolution represents the best explanation of the biological complexity we observe because theological beliefs about a designer's intervention vary by religion and personal interpretation.

While you might smuggle in a particular personal explanation as to why a designer might create the concrete biological complexity we observe, this is absent from the theory ID supposedly presents as science. It's this lack of explanation for concrete complexity which causes ID to be discarded as a theory competing with evolution.

Should ID start to present explanations for concrete biological complexity, this will change. However, I don't expect this to occur for reasons which are obvious. The designer you have in mind is cannot be explained nor can his methods be understood. As such, the designer must always remain abstract.

To summarize, what's undeniable is the that the scientific method leads us to a particular conclusion. Not that the conclusion must be undeniably true in realty. Again these are two separate things which you're attempting to conflate.

52. Well, Cornelius, you said you wanted to learn more, so here goes:

With respect to the term "deterministic", this is a characterization of *algorithms* not *problems*. So it makes no sense to say that the traveling salesman problem is "not deterministic".

An algorithm is "nondeterministic" if can make choices, *and* if acceptance of the input is based on whether *some* choice succeeds. However, is known and an easy exercise, that, for example, a nondeterministic Turing machine can always be simulated by a deterministic one.

The traveling salesman problem can be solved by a nondeterministic polynomial-time algorithm. It is not known if it can be solved by a deterministic polynomial-time algorithm - but it can also be solved by a deterministic algorithm taking exponential time.

53. Peter said...

Is this a surprise? This is but one example of many that is mis-classified as incredible abilities defined as 'nature.' How do bees know how to build a hive? The examples are infinite. Saying this knowledge comes from nature is the same as saying it evolved, IOW, a gross delusion intended to minimize our reliance on God. It is God the creator which imbued these creatures with their knowledge, not 'nature.' The theophobic can believe anything, no matter how irrational: life came from random forces, instinct comes from nature, and the universe created itself out of nothing. Truly a sad reflection on the mental capabilities of the materialists.

=========================

Excellent point

54. "saying it evolved, IOW, a gross delusion intended to minimize our reliance on God. It is God the creator which imbued these creatures with their knowledge, not 'nature.'"

I'll add my kudos too--this is truly an excellent summary of the ID position in all its unevidenced, religious glory!

But, Cornelius, is this science, your "rugged empiricism?" Do the cries of metaphysics apply to one side, and one side only? Perhaps you'd like to correct this poster, in addition to answering my questions above?

55. Jeffrey Shallit:

56. RobertC:

===
From this, we arrive at your logic for the falsification of evolution: "You don't know how they (bee's algorithms) arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."
===

Please explain how that constitutes "logic for the falsification of evolution." Of course, it doesn't, and that is the problem with attempting a rational discussion with evolutionists.

===
Then, presented with some actual data to critique, you lecture me on moving goalposts.
===

So evolutionists claim evolution is a fact, and when you point out the monumental problems with the idea they respond that they have plenty of ideas and hypotheses for those problems. Sure, of course evolutionists have plenty of speculative hypotheses for the problems. So what? You cannot claim an idea is a fact, and then backup the claim with speculation. That is moving the goalposts. When the coast is clear they make their high claims, but when questioned about it then suddenly mere speculation is all they meant.

===
I've never claimed evolution is an "undeniable fact."
===

So for centuries evolutionists make all manner of high claims about it being a fact, true, undeniable, beyond a shadow of a doubt, perverse to question, irrational to question, etc, etc. Then when questioned suddenly its "who me?, I never said that."

===
No fact is undeniable. All science is falsifiable. For example, we know our current theory of gravity is incomplete, destined to be replaced.
===

In driving home the point that evolution is a fact, evolutionists are crystal clear on what they mean by "fact." Over and over, they insist evolution is a fact, and they make it abundantly clear they are using the term in a strong sense. Evolution is, they claim, every bit as much a fact as the fact the earth is round, that fact of heliocentrism, the fact of gravity, and so forth. Then, when questioned, suddenly the term "fact" becomes ever so malluable.

But of course, as always, what it really boils down to is this:

===
If we subject ID to the "undeniable fact or it isn't" rubric criticism, what do we arrive at? Is is undeniably true? Is it a work in progress, or does it answer all queries at present? I'd like a copy of that voluminous tome describing all details of the world across all time. Perhaps a creationist cosmologist has described the nature of a graviton and I missed it? Or is that also work in progress, falsifying religion? Silly.
===

As always evolution is underwritten by design and creation.

57. Scott:

===
First, science is driven by the goal to explain phenomena. The pursuit of this goal occurs via application of the scientific method. As a supposed scientist, you should be well aware of this. However, you seem to suggest this we should deny the results of this method when it conflicts with your particular religious views.
===

No, that would be the evolutionists who are inserting their religious views, remember? My religious views can go either way.

===
While you are free to apply alternative methods or appeal to different explanations beyond those presented by the official theory of ID, you are not free to misrepresent this approach as science.
===

Even though I'm an MNer, evolutionists cannot escape their theological and philosophical arguments. In this case we have the centuries old naive demarkation claims of which evolutionists never seem to tire, oblivious that it reveals their ignorance of the philosophy of science and that fact that, even if true, the argument doesn't get them anywhere. Silly, religiously-motivated, theories are still silly, religiously-motivated, theories, regardless of what other ideas lurk in the background.

===
Second, you seem to be conflating the odds that a particular outcome would occur with the likelihood that a particular mechanism was responsible for that outcome. For example, the likelihood that a series of numbered balls are used to choose willing lottery number is different than the likelihood of any one particular set of numbers being chosen during a draw. Despite being two separate things, this appears to be a common tactic by the ID community.
===

No, I'm pointing out that religion and metaphysics, not science, motivate and justify evolution. The claims are silly and cannot be protected with the evolutionary argument the problem merely boils down to one of particulars. The problem here is not merely that we cannot know precisely how or why our particular biological world arose, as opposed to other conceivable worlds, but that in any case the evolution of one of these worlds is an obvious no-brainer.

The problem rather is that evolution is not an obvious, compelling, fact, regardless of the particular solutions we find in the biological world.

continued ...

58. Scott:

Continuing ...

===
Third, just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, the scientific explanation of biological complexity does not change based on one's particular theological view regarding a designer's goals or means used to achieve them. Evolution represents the best explanation of the biological complexity we observe because theological beliefs about a designer's intervention vary by religion and personal interpretation.
===

Whether one labels oneself as a baptist, buddhist, catholic, anglican, methodist, atheist, lutheran, agnostic, etc, makes very little difference. Yes evolutionists argue with each other, but the common thread is their metaphysics. Hume and Dawkins make the same arguments as Burnet and Collins. It really doesn't matter where or if they go to church on Sunday.

===
While you might smuggle in a particular personal explanation as to why a designer might create the concrete biological complexity we observe, this is absent from the theory ID supposedly presents as science. It's this lack of explanation for concrete complexity which causes ID to be discarded as a theory competing with evolution.
===

So evolution is a fact. Again, evolutionists are oblivious that these philosophical arguments do them no good. You can count on evolutionists to continue to make these centuries-old arguments again and again.

===
To summarize, what's undeniable is the that the scientific method leads us to a particular conclusion. Not that the conclusion must be undeniably true in realty. Again these are two separate things which you're attempting to conflate.
===

And you can count on evolutionists locating their own failures in the thinking of those who point them out. Evolutionists almost to a person fail to reckon with the problems of completeness and realism that their rationalism erects. And then incredibly they blame you when you point it out. I say "almost" simply to be safe, but I know of no exceptions. Furthermore, I've raised the problem many times on this blog, and always get the same responses of denial.

59. Hunter:

So evolutionists claim evolution is a fact, and when you point out the monumental problems with the idea they respond that they have plenty of ideas and hypotheses for those problems.

More typically, as on this blog, they point to the factual evidence for evolution, which is their strongest suit.

You cannot claim an idea is a fact, and then backup the claim with speculation.

The word “evolution” can refer to an hypothesis (idea) or to a sequence of observed events involving genetic variation and selection, as in the evolution of influenza viruses. Do you deny that influenza viruses have been observed evolving since 1918?

So for centuries evolutionists make all manner of high claims about it being a fact, true, undeniable, beyond a shadow of a doubt, perverse to question, irrational to question, etc, etc. Then when questioned suddenly its "who me?, I never said that."

Is this claim factual? Is there evidence to warrant it? Will you provide quotations and sources to these “high claims” that go back centuries? And to the denials by these same persons when challenged? Please start with the earliest historical examples.

60. Hunter:

The problem rather is that evolution is not an obvious, compelling, fact, regardless of the particular solutions we find in the biological world.

That appears to be a problem shared by physics, chemistry, etc., etc.

61. Pedant:

"The word “evolution” can refer to an hypothesis (idea) or to a sequence of observed events involving genetic variation and selection, as in the evolution of influenza viruses."
=====

I thought the word "evolution" was the theory and hypothesis were the various ideas that might explain or prove evolution to be a fact by use of the "Scientific Method" (which certainly requires observation) ???
Unfortunately most of the lab experiments which are done inside away from the natural world use artificial selction. Now the question is, do you allow human influence and selective intelligence to be part of the definition for nature , since we all suppossedly came from the same Patriarchal one celled organism ???
Since humans are often regarded as nothing more than animals anyway by many evolutionists, then perhaps you find it ecceptable to include humans and their influence as part of the Natural Selection" definition ???
But then again there's that intelligence question again. In this case human intelligence. If humans are not allowed to be part of what we call nature, and natural selection is defined as all selection occuring apart from human intelligent or intervention, then what does the Scientist conducting and manipulating the experiment represent in the experiment ??? Does he represent intelligent design or blind undirected forces ???

And no it's not a loaded question to be avoided. It's actually very rational and logical in the purest sense.

62. RobertC:

===
From this, we arrive at your logic for the falsification of evolution: "You don't know how they (bee's algorithms) arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."
===

CH: Please explain how that constitutes "logic for the falsification of evolution." Of course, it doesn't, and that is the problem with attempting a rational discussion with evolutionists.

+++++++++++

Robert: I agree there is no logic, but this is your statement! Are you NOT saying that because evolution lacks all the answers at present, that it is wrong? Why this posts? Why follow that statement with the following laundry list and conclusion if that is not your intent?

"We don't know how the first cell evolved, we don't know how the DNA code evolved, we don't know how replication evolved........ ....

But those are all just scientific details. We know evolution is true, our religion mandates it."

So, is something a fact because all current data support it, or because it answers all open questions across all time and is unfalsifiable? When scientists say evolution is a fact, we mean the former. Here you try to say it is not a fact by arguing the latter!!!

Worse, you argue, without reference, that evolutionists argue the latter.

63. ===
Robert: If we subject ID to the "undeniable fact or it isn't" rubric criticism, what do we arrive at? Is is undeniably true? Is it a work in progress, or does it answer all queries at present? I'd like a copy of that voluminous tome describing all details of the world across all time. Perhaps a creationist cosmologist has described the nature of a graviton and I missed it? Or is that also work in progress, falsifying religion? Silly.
===

CH: As always evolution is underwritten by design and creation.

++++++++

A non-reply. You can't justify this treatment of evolution, when applied to ID. Evolution stands on its own. I bring in ID creationism here ONLY to demonstrate the failure of your logic. Either theory X must explain A-Z is a fair rubric to use, or not. I simply apply your criteria to ID.

64. "Sure, of course evolutionists have plenty of speculative hypotheses for the problems. So what? "

An easy way to disregard scientific progress! Hypotheses? So what?
Data? Who cares?

A demonstration of the ability of Darwinian mechanisms to produce complex behaviors? Go to hell.

Evolution of Adaptive Behaviour in Robots by Means of Darwinian Selection

"These examples of experimental evolution with robots verify the power of evolution by mutation, recombination, and natural selection. In all cases, robots initially exhibited completely uncoordinated behaviour because their genomes had random values. However, a few hundreds of generations of random mutations and selective reproduction were sufficient to promote the evolution of efficient behaviours in a wide range of environmental conditions. The ability of robots to orientate, escape predators, and even cooperate is particularly remarkable given that they had deliberately simple genotypes directly mapped into the connection weights of neural networks comprising only a few dozen neurons."

65. Pedant:

Do you deny that influenza viruses have been observed evolving since 1918?"
=====

Really ??? So what other organism or creature have they turned into ??? You first need to understand that anti-biotic resistance of a virus (or any other organism) adapting it's environment through purposed goal driven mechanisms for survival are not the same as the unproven blind undirected without purpose or intent "evolution" which just happened to give planet Earth all of it's biodiversity. Any other view is faith-based opinion.

To illustrate (and using your Spanish Influenza example), take your immune system. It's the best way to illustrate just what the viruses DNA goes about doing to help itself survive.
Your immune system's bone marrow just doesn't spit out antibodies go go fight the war. They're young and inexperienced. They have to be trained at a military school academy of sorts. This takes time. The instructors and researchers of this school need to identify the enemies strong points and weaknesses and then arrange and rearrange the information for designing a weapon against this enemy. In the interest of time you might read the book, "The Body Victorious" on how your immune system works. Here's a quote:

“By the age of two or three months, ... weapon manufacturers in the red bone marrow and thymus are working flat out. When the child is ten years old, the human immune system is at its strongest, armed to the teeth. Thereafter, its powers gradually deteriorate.”–The Body Victorious, pages 34-5.

I may run out of space here, so continuing below:

66. Pedant

In that same book it describes the T-Cells and B-Cells which go to school and even M-Cells which are the memory cells which carry that brilliantly divised software weapon against which, and in this case "Spanish Influenza", are carried throughout the life span of the survivor of the attack for life.

This actually just recently came up earlier this year when that bogus "Swine Flu" pandemic was going to possibly obliterate a larger percentage of mankind than it actually did. One study of still alive "Spanish Influenza" surivors who I imagine are possibly in their 90s, still actually carry around inside their immune system those memory cells weapons developed as a result of that experience.

It should also be noted that the environmental circustances for which fascillitate the developement of Spanish Influenza was as a result of human stupidity coupled with greed and selfishness which we call the first world war. After any war, pestilence, disease and foodshortages are all the drivers for such things to explode because of environmental imbalances. This is the same cause and effect imbalance mechanism which gives us plant and animal invasive species problems across our globe today. Hardly any of it is celebritory partying for imagined evolutionary wonders. But of course, never underestimate the power of blind faith to overlook these causes as anything BUT human failings.

67. Eocene,

"anti-biotic resistance of a virus" is an oxymoron. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial, not viral infections.

68. RobertC:

"You can't justify this treatment of evolution, when applied to ID. Evolution stands on its own. I bring in ID creationism here ONLY to demonstrate the failure of your logic. Either theory X must explain A-Z is a fair rubric to use, or not. I simply apply your criteria to ID."
=====

I don't believe you've paid close attention to what he's been pointing out in this blog. To be sure, first off, he is NOT an IDer or a Creationist. He's repeated this so often. Otherwise he'd be quoting scripture to support his IDism or Creatioism.

Secondly, IDism and Creationsim are NOT the officially sanctioned text books found in all of various forms of modern academia today, your worldview is, hence it's the main target. I agree with him on this point that neither ID, Creationsim or Evolutionism should be corrupting pure naturalistic explanations of raw observed scientific data. Evolution today is loaded with fabricated stories where gaps are obvious and rational explanations are wanting.

All three could perhaps be taught separately as a philosophy regarding science, but should be admitted as such where physical observation is lacking and not tauted as a FACT because one side or the other wants to win arguements. Science is supposed to be neutral to all of this idealogical infection, but sadly it's not.

69. Nothing but typical evolutionist reactions to down-play the capabilities of living organisms. It doesn't fit their framework well. It is interesting how evolutionists are so quick to jump on the inefficency of nature bandwagon with nothing more than a guess based on ignorance. Theirs is a case study in how not to conduct science.

70. Oleg:

"Eocene,

"anti-biotic resistance of a virus" is an oxymoron. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial, not viral infections."
=====

Yes Oleg I understand that and it also includes fungus, but everyone gets the point here about adapting to environment. The POINT being that on all these forums antibiotic resistance, changing to adapt and survive is tauted as an evolutionary wonder when it's nothing of the sort. Especially in late 2009 when Swine FLU was tauted as an evolutionary wonder, when it's actual cause were imbalances brought on by human idiocy.

The mechanisms for surival are directed by other brilliant mechanisms. Take for example the article in early 2009 about white blood cells which walk on legs to a location of the damaged area. They seem so well trained and effective, it looks like they do what they do on purpose.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090504094424.htm

My my, purpose ??? What a concept.

71. Cornelius Hunter dsaid...

So evolutionists claim evolution is a fact, and when you point out the monumental problems with the idea they respond that they have plenty of ideas and hypotheses for those problems.

"Not knowing all the details" does not equal "has monumental problems". Not to people who actually understand the science and don't have a religious agenda to push, anyway.

72. Thorton:

"Not to people who actually understand the science and don't have a religious agenda to push, anyway."
======

Isn't that the point ??? Religious agenda ??? You need to look up the definition of FAITH again. As far as I've observed, Cornelius has never once quoted scripture, but attempts to make science as neutral as possible. What you don't like is the pointing out of religious faith where real world rational naturalistic explanations are absent.
At least your faith remains intact in the presence of falsifications for it's supposedly infalibilites ??? I'm sure you take comfort in that knowledge.

73. Eocene-

I chose ID as another theory to apply Hunter's misguided rubric to. I also mentioned creationism, and others have mentioned gravity.

As for Hunter's beliefs, here are what some friendly book reviews state:

"... Hunter proposes a better way--moderate empiricism--and shows how Intelligent Design fits into such a method. Science's Blind Spot provides food for thought for anyone interested in the intersection between scientific and religious thought."

http://www.amazon.com/Sciences-Blind-Spot-Scientific-Naturalism/dp/158743170X/ref=pd_sim_b_1

"Unfortunately, most of the text is bogged down in a welter of arguments, argument fragments and biological facts whose relevance to Hunter's overall message is too often unclear. Sporadic duplications and inconsistencies of tone (for example, switching between a posture of religious neutrality and outspoken conservative Christianity) contribute to the impression of hasty or unfinished composition."

http://www.amazon.com/Darwins-Proof-Triumph-Religion-Science/dp/1587430568/ref=pd_sim_b_2

So forgive me for being mistaken about a Fellow of the DI, who advocates ID and Conservative Christianity in his books, and avoids advocacy out of convenience.

74. eocene said...

The mechanisms for surival are directed by other brilliant mechanisms. Take for example the article in early 2009 about white blood cells which walk on legs to a location of the damaged area. They seem so well trained and effective, it looks like they do what they do on purpose.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090504094424.htm

My my, purpose ??? What a concept.

Sorry Eocene, but I can't find the word "purpose" anywhere in that article. Can you please point it out to us? Thanks!

75. Tedford the idiot said...

Nothing but typical evolutionist reactions to down-play the capabilities of living organisms. It doesn't fit their framework well.

What, specifically, about the observed bee behavior doesn't fit the evolutionary framework?

It is interesting how evolutionists are so quick to jump on the inefficency of nature bandwagon with nothing more than a guess based on ignorance.

How specifically is the particular experiment described and other research being done a "guess based on ignorance"?

Theirs is a case study in how not to conduct science.

Please give us the proper way for bee researchers like Lihoreau to conduct science. Be specific.

76. Why bother to be specific, when casting unsupported aspersions is so easy - and so satisfying.

77. CH wrote:
No, that would be the evolutionists who are inserting their religious views, remember? My religious views can go either way.

Logical possibilities are not the same as a rigorous application of the scientific method based on our current observations.

Even though I'm an MNer, evolutionists cannot escape their theological and philosophical arguments.

Just because person X claims that phenomena Z could be caused by a supernatural agent does not necessitate all statements about phenomena Z are metaphysical. If this were the case, then any statement could be deemed metaphysical on an ad-hoc or even post-hoc basis. Nor would it be limited to evolution. Yet, you keep repeating the same argument as if this is somehow unique to the ToE.

Specifically, you seem to be confusing the fact that ID doesn't present a expiation as to why a designer would design the concrete biological complexity we observe with a claim that it's logically impossible for a designer to design the concrete biological complexity we observe.

Again, you might fill in his gap with a personal or religious explanation, but this changes based on one's religious views about God's goals and the way he brought them about. We we take a neutral stance in regards to the theory that ID actually attempts to present as science, we have no reason to expect a designer to design was we observe, in comparison to some other result.

For example, why would out of all of the species that ever existed, why would over 98% of them have gone extinct? That's just what the designer must have wanted.

The problem rather is that evolution is not an obvious, compelling, fact, regardless of the particular solutions we find in the biological world.

Which is only problematic if one makes the fallacious assumption that the real world consist of obvious facts that we will always find compelling. The history of science has clearly shown this is not always the case. Why should biological complexity be any different?

78. Whether one labels oneself as a baptist, buddhist, catholic, anglican, methodist, atheist, lutheran, agnostic, etc, makes very little difference.

Again, I'm referring to the supposed goals of these designer and how these goals were supposedly brought about in reality. These concepts vary greatly depending on the particular doctrine and personal interpretation of that doctrine. Furthermore, it's possible that none of the conceptions of God are actually correct, which means that some completely non-intuitive goal could have been reach by some non-intuitive means.

In case it's not clear, I'm referring to the idea that God could have been hands off in regards to what form of biological complexity arose, just as he is supposedly hands off in regards to our ability to make free choices.

Should we attempt to be truly objective, it's unclear why anyone would find the later palatable, but not the former. Choosing one over the other is faith.

However, if we work from the theory that ID attempts to present as science, rather than smuggle in popular or personal explanations one might hold, the scientific method undeniably leads us to a particular conclusion.

And you can count on evolutionists locating their own failures in the thinking of those who point them out.

You can count on IDist's hand waving over limits of science that have been known for centuries and have an impact far beyond evolutionary theory.

http://bit.ly/dnHcMW

I'm not a realist merely because of philosophical arguments or because it suits my intuition. I'm a realist because all other competing theories are bad explanations, which I discard. Despite being a logical possibility, Solipsism fails to explain why object-like facets of my internal self obey laws of physics-like facets of my internal self. As such, Solipsism is a convoluted elaboration of reality.

In other words, I'm suggesting there really is such a thing as a bad explanation, which can be quantified and apply to theories. ID fails as it represents a concluded elaboration of neo-darwinism.

79. RobertC:

"So forgive me for being mistaken about a Fellow of the DI, who advocates ID and Conservative Christianity in his books, and avoids advocacy out of convenience."
=====

The bottom line here Robby is that none of the three dogmas, Creationism, Intelligent Designism OR Evolutionism should be taught as fact under the strict definitions of scientific method. At best they should be taught as separate philosophical courses if need be.

80. Thorton:

"So forgive me for being mistaken about a Fellow of the DI, who advocates ID and Conservative Christianity in his books, and avoids advocacy out of convenience."
=====

Read it again Thorton. Or better yet, show me where they gave credit to undirected chaos without purpose or intent or any goals as mandated by your church. Show us how luck got the job done.

81. Scott:

"Again, I'm referring to the supposed goals of these designer and how these goals were supposedly brought about in reality."

"I'm referring to the idea that God could have been hands off in regards to what form of biological complexity arose, just as he is supposedly hands off in regards to our ability to make free choices."
=====

This is interesting because of all the Atheistic posters here, you without fail always fall into the metaphysical trap of which Cornelius is often refering. It's even more interesting because Cornelius by habit here never (at least as far as I've seen here) quotes scripture or credits God with anything. Other than he's admitted he is christian, but beyond that he's been fairly neutral sticking to the definitions of what scientific method actually means as far as purely naturalistic explanations which fail badly.

Just interesting that's all. Your predictable that way.

82. Eocene:

"The bottom line here Robby is that none of the three dogmas, Creationism, Intelligent Designism OR Evolutionism should be taught as fact under the strict definitions of scientific method."

The fact that evolution happened and happens is not a dogma. The vast majority of scientists who studied biology consider the evidence for evolution so strong that evolution is the default assumption now. That is not to say that we know with great confidence the relative importance of the various postulated mechanisms causing evolution, and probably there are important mechanisms we missed so far, but the multiple independent lines of evidence for the nested hierarchy of life are sufficiently strong to consider evolution a fact.

In contrast, there is no evidence whatsoever for, and much evidence against, the other two positions that really are dogmas. Your belief in the "kinds" of Genesis has been disproved to such an extent that your opinion simply cannot be taken seriously anymore. I consider you mentally ill.

83. Robots: Um, let's see, something designed by a creative intelligence (human) to adapt does in fact adapt. Does that prove that an undirected process works or that a directed one does? Hmm, let me contemplate that . . . if I don't induldge in category or level mistakes . . .

It is more than passing strange, given the very fast reproduction rates of bacteria, that we don't continually find intermediates from bacteria.

regards,
John I.

84. #John1453 said...

It is more than passing strange, given the very fast reproduction rates of bacteria, that we don't continually find intermediates from bacteria.

What would an 'intermediate' single celled fossil animal look like? How would you know one if you found it?

DNA studies have shown measurable genetic changes in certain species of bacteria over time. The Lenski Long term E coli experiment is a classic example. Why don't those with changes count as 'intermediates'?

85. "Robots: Um, let's see, something designed by a creative intelligence (human) to adapt does in fact adapt."

"In all cases, robots initially exhibited completely uncoordinated behaviour because their genomes had random values. However, a few hundreds of generations of random mutations and selective reproduction were sufficient to promote the evolution of efficient behaviours in a wide range of environmental conditions"

Is "completely uncoordinated behaviour because their genomes had random values" design? Completely random=designed? Lol.

Maybe so-a spade is a spade, but with no criteria to distinguish design from non-design, so is everything else! How do you determine if a system is designed? Where is that design detection algorithm?

86. This comment has been removed by the author.

87. I don't think this is a particularly good example against evolution. You are surely not claiming that the bees use supernatural powers to solve the problem. Thus they obviously solve the problem with their brains. Since it is known that you can train neuronal networks to solve different problems it seems not far fetched that the bees could have acquired such an ability.

So I don't quite see how this is any different from the problem how neuronal networks evolved in the first place.

88. This is interesting because of all the Atheistic posters here, you without fail always fall into the metaphysical trap of which Cornelius is often refering.

Eocene,

Cornelius, on multiple occasions, has claim that evolution is metaphysical because supposedly asserts what God would or would not do. I'm merely pointing out the fallacy in this claim.

Whether God does or does not exist is independent of his supposed goals or the supposed means by which he achieves them. Apparently, you're oblivious to this fact because you cannot think outside your particular theological box.

We see the same sort of irrational thought regarding life after death. While I think it's highly unlikely given what we currently know about neurobiology, I cannot exclude a possibility that we may live on in some form after we die. However, most theists assume this could only occur if God exists. While this is a culturally accepted belief, it's logical possible that God, should he exist, never indented us to live eternally. Or that we might experience some for of afterlife even if God doesn't exist.

In other words, I'm a strong agnostic because I'm far more open regarding the logical possibilities of what God might want and how he might achieve it, rather than assuming God fits neatly in any of the conceptual boxes presented in any of our current religions, if any.

Furthermore, It's incredibly narrow minded to assume that our concepts of God in the far future will look exactly like those we hold today; just as our current day conception of God's supposed role has changed dramatically in just a few thousand years.

So, if we take ID at face value, an abstract designer could, at best, be attributed to the abstract act of design, rather than the concrete design we observe. And if we bring some sort of supernatural being into the picture, you have to make rather specific assumptions about goals and the means by which they are achieved, which vary based on cultural, personal beliefs which are changing right before our eyes. Concrete examples are theistic evolution and even open theism. In the absence of such assumptions, it's unclear how you can detect design.

89. RobertC:

##################

===
From this, we arrive at your logic for the falsification of evolution: "You don't know how they (biological designs) arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."
===

CH: Please explain how that constitutes "logic for the falsification of evolution." Of course, it doesn't, and that is the problem with attempting a rational discussion with evolutionists.

+++++++++++

Robert: I agree there is no logic, but this is your statement! Are you NOT saying that because evolution lacks all the answers at present, that it is wrong? Why this posts? Why follow that statement with the following laundry list and conclusion if that is not your intent?

##################

No Robert, that is not my statement. Unfortunately such overstatements of the position of those who look at the science is typical of evolutionists. You may never say evolution is false. You may never say it is wrong. You may take pains to explain that it could conceivably be true. And I do all these things. And yet, it seems evolutionists never cease with their strawmen renditions.

Here the evolutionist insists: "but this (that evolution must be false) is your statement! "

Um, no, that is not my statement. Not here, not anywhere else.

This is typical, and some may think these evolutionists aren't very sharp, but that would miss an important point which I wrote about in *Science's Blind Spot.* Evolution is very much a rationalist approach to science, and here we see an excellent example of how this manifests itself in evolutionary thought.

Rationalists strongly tend to think in terms of ideas being true or false. They eschew uncertainty (remember Descartes' war on doubt). Hence their unswerving truth claims about everything from theology and philosophy to science, including of course their hard-over claims about evolution.

Secondly, rationalists have a difficult time thinking outside the box of rationalism. When they hear an empiricist, they project their rationalism onto his position. They have very little ability to engage uncertainty, and instead interpret an empiricists objective evaluation of a theory as representing an underlying truth claim. Here it is, straight from the evolutionist:

"Are you NOT saying that because evolution lacks all the answers at present, that it is wrong?"

Of course I'm not saying this. In fact I've taken pains to be crystal clear that I am, in fact, *not* saying this. But it goes in one ear and out the other. In fact, when you point out you are *not* saying this, evolutionists imagine ulterior motives at work. This is where all the motive mongering comes from in evolutionary thought.

But the evolutionist is none the wiser. He concludes:

"Why this posts? Why follow that statement with the following laundry list and conclusion if that is not your intent? "

Why these posts? To try to shed some light on a topic that evolutionists have done their best to obfuscate for centuries. Are we not allowed to point out the absurdity of your thinking? Must we take rationalistic positions like you do? Of course not.

Why the laundry list? Because it reveals the rationalism behind evolution, of course. Evolutionists claim evolution is an undeniable fact, in spite of the science. Evolutionary thought is preposterous. That may sound like hyperbole, but it is not. I'll repeat yet again, evolution may be true, or it may be false, or somewhere in between. That's another matter. What is abundantly clear is that there is no scientific basis for the claim that evolution is an undeniable fact. That claim is a religious / metaphysical claim that has infected science.

But evolutionists will never get it. Like a drunk, their metaphysics leaves them in a stupor. Though otherwise smart people, they write idiotic books and articles revealing nothing but the depths of their rationalism. It is frankly embarassing but hey, we all do dumb things sometimes.

90. The bees are following the scent i.e. the space deerivative of maximum intensity. That makes it look as if they are solving a traveling salesman problem. In the actual problem of the traveling salesman with N points, we have to find the shortest trajectory among N! trajectories. In the process some eliminations are possible to make things go quicker and avoid the making of N! sums. In the case of the beea, if it is a biological necessity for them to save flight energy and if the scent factor was properly accounted for, it is possible that by some trial and error process they solve the problem for small values of N. Animals can do tricks. My dog learned to open the door using the handle, after I coached him a little.

91. Hunter:

Evolutionists claim evolution is an undeniable fact, in spite of the science. Evolutionary thought is preposterous. That may sound like hyperbole, but it is not. I'll repeat yet again, evolution may be true, or it may be false, or somewhere in between. That's another matter. What is abundantly clear is that there is no scientific basis for the claim that evolution is an undeniable fact. That claim is a religious / metaphysical claim that has infected science.

So for centuries evolutionists make all manner of high claims about it being a fact, true, undeniable, beyond a shadow of a doubt, perverse to question, irrational to question, etc, etc. Then when questioned suddenly its "who me?, I never said that."

Is this claim factual? Is there evidence to warrant it? Will you provide quotations and sources to these “high claims” that the fact of evolution is "undeniable" going back centuries? And to the denials by these same persons when challenged? One or two of the earliest historical examples would be a helpful start on supporting your case.

92. Evolutionary thought is preposterous.

By what standard?

93. This comment has been removed by the author.

94. Cornelius' Postion:

1) Evolution has "problems," so great that they would lead us to conclude it is not a fact:

"You don't know how they arose, and yet you insist evolution is a scientific fact."
"We don't know how the first cell evolved, we don't know how the DNA code evolved, we don't know how replication evolved, we don't know how RNA polymerase evolved..... (time many more)...We know evolution is true, our religion mandates it."

These "problems" are clearly just unknowns. When pressed with actual data on ATP synthase and behavioral evolution, Hunter ignores it. (Strange behavior for a pure 'empiricist,' but we'll get there later).

95. 2) The philosophy dodge. No, I wasn't making that point! Stupid Rationalist! Its all about your rationalism-which I, Cornelius Hunter, boldly transcend by not advocating anything including ID, despite being a DI fellow.

"Rationalists strongly tend to think in terms of ideas being true or false."

I'm not sure why we're reduced to "you're Descartes, I'm Bacon, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks on you." I think I've consistently advocated thinking in terms of evidences brought forward to falsify hypotheses, or lend strength to others. No one is saying evolution is complete and indisputable. It, like our understanding of gravity will change. Incompleteness is not falsifying.

While were on the subject, olease do tell us how your 'moderate empiricism' of ID operates without thinking ideas are true or false. Are we really to believe ID, in practice, doesn't involve hypothesis testing? Or maybe it is just moderately rationalist.

You try to state a tabula rosa moral high ground, but what a joke this is in practice. Where have you ever evaluated the data in support of evolution? For example, here, you conclude: "Did random mutations just happen to construct what our greatest minds have been unable to conceive (no, natural selection doesn’t help)? Perhaps, but this certainly is not a fact as evolutionists insist it is."

I suppose the 'perhaps' sets you free? What a joke. The (no natural selection doesn't help) states a conclusion-natural selection does not produce such behaviors, despite data to the opposite. Does your non-rationalist moderate empiricism cause you to conclude unknowns (some only in your own mind) are 'problems' that would lead us to conclude evolution is a theory to discard? Does it allow you to ignore data showing Darwinian processes allow the evolution of complex behaviors (link above).

I'd like you to evaluate that paper for us, from a moderate empirical standpoint.

There is a mile between the moral high ground you stake, and the trenches you fight in. Hypocrite.

96. 3) Insult.

"This is typical, and some may think these evolutionists aren't very sharp, "

"But evolutionists will never get it. Like a drunk, their metaphysics leaves them in a stupor."

Ahh yes....the last refuge of a poor debater. No your honor-opposing counsel is mentally ill! I hear this refrain so often from you ID types, and indeed, members of my own family. I expect it is part of your curricula? No, little Timmy, the scientists are all wrong. They are like drunks, in a stupor, unable to see the true light (TM). So hateful.

97. This comment has been removed by the author.

98. Cornelius Hunter said...

You may never say evolution is false. You may never say it is wrong. You may take pains to explain that it could conceivably be true. And I do all these things

Of course that's not true, and you know it's not true.

You may say evolution is false all you want. You may say it is wrong. But until and unless you can demonstrate it to be false and wrong, no one in the scientific community will take you seriously. Nor should they. Until then you're just another anti-science Creationist churl blowing hot air.

And for the record, "science doesn't know all the details" still doesn't equate to "evolution is false and wrong". Maybe if you stopped equivocating between the observed fact of evolution and the theory of evolution which explains the observed fact you might get somewhere.

99. Zachriel said, "Now that we have drawn the distinction between a tree and a nested hierarchy, let's see if we can move forward.

Do the leaves on a tree, when arranged into sets by branch and stem, form a nested hierarchy? Of course they do! Once you understand this, we can move on. ...

...
By biological classification, we're discussing parsimonious and objective classification according to traits. Are we okay with that?

------

I'll assume that you are talking about the phylogenetic tree. We both agree and clarified the structure of the nested hierarchy not being a tree structure. Good.

The phylogenetic tree is imaginary as far as I'm concerned, but for the sake of moving forward in your explanation, I'll agree that the way that evolutionists have arranged the "leaves" on the tree is in large measure by traits and that based on traits they can be arranged into biological classification groups or "sets". Please continue.

100. Troy:

"Your belief in the "kinds" of Genesis has been disproved to such an extent that your opinion simply cannot be taken seriously anymore."
=====

No it hasn't since the expression was given to the common people. It denotes order, not the chaos evolution denotes. The historical order found and observed in nature, [which BTW is sadly failing as a result of human error and stupidity] , contradicts the undirectedness and chaos demanded by the Evolutionism doctrine. What science has found inside the intricately complex systems of DNA and the nanomachines it controls is that amazing accomplishments are preceeded by already present goal oriented information inside a library they have only barely scratched the surface in understanding, despite the bold claims of some of the more well known Scientific celebrity darlings.

Go back to the start and explain how unguided blind directionless forces of physics and chemicals developed these goal oriented codes, then we can talk examples of evolutionary wonders which for the moment are merely speculation without foundation.

You cannot insist on a tree without roots. The best thing you have is a giant ORCHARD with hundreds, perhaps thousands of trees. Once again for the record, the biblical "Kind" was not meant for the approval of modern day intellects who pride themselves on their so-called higher criticism on sites like TalkOrigins or Infidels. It was written for the common man who would understand the simple expression about things replicating "according to their kinds".

One of the biggest problem is that sometimes even those claiming to believe in the Bible often forget themselves that the import of it's being written in the first place had nothing to do with any type of Creation Theology. It's not a material/fleshly view, but rather a spiritual one. This is why even in attempts to stop Global Warming/Climatic Change, most of the so-called experts working on supposedly Eco-Solutions & Green Technologies can't get past the materialists thinking to understand it's not a material FIX that is needed, but rather a spiritual one. By spiritual, I mean people all doing the right things. Having the same proper motivation, respect for others and conscience when making descisions in life. We just simply don't live in a world like that. So any ECO ideas are doomed long before that are even thought of.

101. Oleg:

"Richard Lenski has developed Avida, a program that creates a virtual world where digital organisms evolve various functions through random mutations subject to selective pressure. I will bet you \$100 that digital organisms in Avida can easily solve the traveling salesman problem with four flowers."
=====

And the modern computer age has been a godsend (oops) for modern evolutionary theory. With animation set up by an intelligent designer, anything is possible. Why do you think Walt Disney was so successful getting audiences so wrapped up in almost believing science fiction could actually be true ???

BTW, in the experiment/invention, does Dr Lenski himself represent undirected forces without purpose or goals in mind or an intelligent designer manipulating a type of world reality he creates in his own image ???

102. Eocene:

"Why do you think Walt Disney was so successful getting audiences so wrapped up in almost believing science fiction could actually be true ???"

Good question. Especially considering that Disney isn't particularly famous for science fiction films, but mostly for animated, anthropomorphic animals and/or adaptations of fairy-tales. I mean, sure, Tomorrowland and whatever, but that's just a bunch of "futuristic" rides. Space Mountain is pretty awesome though. But Captain Eo sucked. And why was there never a decent Tron ride? What the hell, Disney? I blame Darwinism.

103. Troy, so what's the problem with Biblical "kinds"?

104. Lenski's Avida programme does not accurately simulate evolution because the Avida programme has a search orientation or function built into it, as well as a predetermined goal. That is, Avida is not blind and nondirectional like evolution. Darwinian evolution via genetic mutation is blind to survival and fitness.

John I.

105. Zachriel: Do the leaves on a tree, when arranged into sets by branch and stem, form a nested hierarchy? Of course they do! Once you understand this, we can move on. ...

Neal Tedford: I'll assume that you are talking about the phylogenetic tree. We both agree and clarified the structure of the nested hierarchy not being a tree structure.

You didn't answer the question. Is there a reason why you are having such a difficult time making a direct response?

Go outside and look at a tree growing in the yard. You will see that the leaves on an arbitrary stem are a subset of the leaves on the branch to which the stem is attached, and that the leaves on the branch are a subset of the leaves on the limb to which the branch attaches, and that the leaves on the limb are a subset of all the leaves on the tree.

Neal Tedford: The phylogenetic tree is imaginary as far as I'm concerned, ...

The word is *posited*. We can discuss its relationship to biology, but only once you understand the pattern under discussion.

Neal Tedford: ... but for the sake of moving forward in your explanation, I'll agree that the way that evolutionists have arranged the "leaves" on the tree is in large measure by traits and that based on traits they can be arranged into biological classification groups or "sets".

Try to be precise. That's not the claim. It's not that they can be arranged into nested sets—anything can be arranged into sets—, but that there is a singular, objective biological classification based on the panoply of traits (as pertains to many taxa of interest). For instance, there is only one reasonable way to biologically classify trout, dolphins, cats and lions.

{trout, {dolphins, {cats, lions}}}

106. Re Thornton on Nov. 1, who wrote, "What would an 'intermediate' single celled fossil animal look like? How would you know one if you found it?

DNA studies have shown measurable genetic changes in certain species of bacteria over time. The Lenski Long term E coli experiment is a classic example. Why don't those with changes count as 'intermediates'? "

**

Gee, I was kinda hopin' that you all scientific evolution types would know how to spot an intermediate form. If you don't know what one looks like, how do you know when you've seen evolution? Is it kinda like porn, you can't describe it but you know it when you see it?

Lenski's bacteria experiment was an abject failure as far as evolution. With a number of generations and offspring that is multipliers higher than that in any mamalian evolutionary tree, he did not observe the creation of any new structures in the bacteria, nor the evolution of a bacteria into something that was not a bacteria or at least only quasi bacteria.

How is one supposed to believe that whales (much more complex than bacteria), who produce only one, and sometimes two, offspring per year could evolve over a few thousand generations from a swimming quadruped when bacteria can't accomplish anything even remotely similar with far more generations and offspring?

What Lenski revealed was the improbability of genetic mutation as a viable pathway for extensive macro evolution.

John I.

107. Zachriel:

"Go outside and look at a tree growing in the yard."
======

Yes, I'm interested in it's roots which are it's foundational structure. Without them the entire organism dies. It's the very first thing to appear from a seed.

More importantly, I find the Orchard more interesting with hundreds of different varieties and unrelated "kinds".

108. #John1453 said...

Gee, I was kinda hopin' that you all scientific evolution types would know how to spot an intermediate form. If you don't know what one looks like, how do you know when you've seen evolution? Is it kinda like porn, you can't describe it but you know it when you see it?

They're pretty easy to spot in multi-cellular life forms by doing comparative morphological studies. You're the non-scientific creationist type who thinks they should be seen in single celled bacteria. So tell us how you would do that.

Lenski's bacteria experiment was an abject failure as far as evolution. With a number of generations and offspring that is multipliers higher than that in any mamalian evolutionary tree, he did not observe the creation of any new structures in the bacteria, nor the evolution of a bacteria into something that was not a bacteria or at least only quasi bacteria.

"EVILUTION sez bacteria should evolve wings and fly away!!!"

Will any of you creationist clowns ever bother to learn even the most rudimentary aspects of the theory you're attacking? Ever?

109. Neal Tedford said...

Troy, so what's the problem with Biblical "kinds"?

Nothing if you're trying to explain the concept of animal groupings to a three year old.

For scientific use it's worthless, since you can't define a kind, or give an objective way to determine what 'kind' an animal species belongs to, or provide any evidence for your claim that one 'kind' can never evolve into another 'kind'.

110. Eocene: More importantly, I find the Orchard more interesting with hundreds of different varieties and unrelated "kinds".

That's nice. While each branch of a tree does form its own nested hierarchy, the evidence supports monophyly.

111. "That's nice. While each branch of a tree does form its own nested hierarchy, the evidence supports monophyly."

Actually there is no evidence against the polyphyletic view, you choose monophyly because fits to Darwinistic evolution(RM+NS).

112. Zachriel said, "You will see that the leaves on an arbitrary stem are a subset of the leaves on the branch to which the stem is attached"

Perhaps you mistyped, but the leaves on a stem are not "subsets" of leaves on a branch. They have an indirect relationship. They are a subset of the branch. Of course the leaves on a stem are grouped on a branch, which can led to a larger branch, etc.

You said, "but that there is a singular, objective biological classification based on the panoply of traits (as pertains to many taxa of interest"

That's not true. It is a difficult task to group many species. Sometimes it is so difficult that a whole new classification has to be invented for it. Thousands of classifications exist because there are so many differences in life forms. The singular view is an after the fact illusion.

For example, Archaea organisms used to be classified with bacteria, but was later split into its own domain because biologists thought that they were unique enough to do so. Archaea and Prokaryotes are very challenging for biologists to classify and pretty much a nightmare for evolutionists to put them into a nice branching phylogenetic tree.

Your thinking under a whole framework based on evolution assumed to be a fact. Things fit to you because you are so accustomed to thinking within that framework. But your argument for biological classification being the strong evidence for evolution is circular in reasoning.

113. Zachriel:

"You say you want the entire tree, but refuse to consider evidence that the branches are part of a larger tree. Indeed, the nested hierarchy of the individual branches are subsets of the nested hierarchy of the entire tree."
=======

This once again is faith based statement making. Give us one example of a naturally occuring code. You can't.

114. Eocene said...

Give us one example of a naturally occuring code. You can't.

DNA. Now give us one example of a naturally occurring code that uses abstract symbols for information transmission like human designed codes do. You can't.

115. Thorton:

"DNA. Now give us one example of a naturally occurring code that uses abstract symbols for information transmission like human designed codes do. You can't."
=====

Still not having much luck playing follow the leader aren't you ???

The atheist approved "Urban Dictionary" has several entires for the definition of the word "CODE". I'm banking on the first and possibly the fifth entry as being submitted by you. Hmmmmmmmmm!!!

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=code

116. Wow. That makes Youtube comments look like models of salience, clarity and all-round effective prose.

117. didymos:

"Wow. That makes Youtube comments look like models of salience, clarity and all-round effective prose."
======

Well, it is the most often referenced definitions (champoin of truth) book refered to on Cornelius Blog comments section and most Evolutionists blogs I've viewed here and on the usual better known debated forums.

118. Yeah...I wasn't talking about the Urban Dictionary.

119. didymos:

"Yeah...I wasn't talking about the Urban Dictionary."
=====

Yeah, sure, didy, sure.

120. Zachriel: You say you want the entire tree, but refuse to consider evidence that the branches are part of a larger tree. Indeed, the nested hierarchy of the individual branches are subsets of the nested hierarchy of the entire tree.

Eocene: This once again is faith based statement making. Give us one example of a naturally occuring code.

The nested hierarchy is an observation. It doesn't go away because you pose a strawman or refuse to consider the evidence. Even if the original life form were designed, the scientific evidence strongly supports common descent.

121. It's hard to believe we're still stuck on these two very simple ideas, the relationship between a tree and a nested hierarchy, and whether or not we can objectively classify many taxa of interest into a nested hierarchy.

Zachriel: You will see that the leaves on an arbitrary stem are a subset of the leaves on the branch to which the stem is attached

Neal Tedford: Perhaps you mistyped, but the leaves on a stem are not "subsets" of leaves on a branch. They have an indirect relationship. They are a subset of the branch. Of course the leaves on a stem are grouped on a branch, which can led to a larger branch, etc.

When we point at a branch and say "Look at the leaves on that branch," we are talking about all the leaves on all the stems of that branch. If we then say "Look at the leaves on that stem on the branch," then we are talking about a subset of the leaves on that branch. (The stem, in this case, refers to a daughter of the branch.)

Neal Tedford: That's not true.

Neal Tedford: It is a difficult task to group many species.

Of course. Most difficulties concerning resolving the details of branchings of the most ancient transitions. That doesn't mean the nested hierarchy doesn't exist across a wide variety of taxa of interest.

Neal Tedford: Archaea organisms used to be classified with bacteria, but was later split into its own domain because biologists thought that they were unique enough to do so.

Not because they were "unique enough," but because rRNA phylogenetic analysis indicated that they formed their own domain separate from bacteria.

Neal Tedford: Archaea and Prokaryotes are very challenging for biologists to classify and pretty much a nightmare for evolutionists to put them into a nice branching phylogenetic tree.

Let's start with vertebrates. Do vertebrates largely form a discernable, singular and objective nested hierarchy when classified by their panoply of traits?

By the way, is it reasonable to say that the Earth an oblate spheroid?

122. Thorton said "DNA. Now give us one example of a naturally occurring code that uses abstract symbols for information transmission like human designed codes do. You can't. "

Do you mean it is impossible that a code of abstract symbols can occur naturally?

123. Zachriel,

Your statements about the nested hierarchy are misleading. I will not agree to your "singular and objective nested hierarchy" statement... biologists are not in unity over classification and taxonomy.

You are over reaching with the nested hierarchy as evidence for evolution.

http://sysbio.oxfordjournals.org/content/22/4/338.abstract

"Griffiths, G.C.D. (Department of Entomology, University of Alberta, Edmonton 7, Alberta, Canada) 1974. Some Fundamental Problems in Biological Classification. Syst. Zool. 22:338–343.—Difficulties in the theory of each of the three main contemporary schools of systematic philosophy are discussed. If categories of taxa are identified with age classes, as proposed by phylogenetic systematists, then changes must be made in the traditional form of the Linnaean hierarchy. The central problem of evolutionary classification is that no satisfactory general measure of evolutionary differentiation has yet been found. The unit character hypothesis in numerical taxonomy is unlikely to be valid, since the logical atomist programme in philosophy proved a failure. Modifications may be expected in the theoretical positions of all schools."

Your probably thinking, well that's the way science is supposed to work... its a work in progress, they haven't figured out all the details, etc, etc.

Okay, but then you can't accurately talk about "singular and objective nested hierarchy" like it is some kind of hard fact. So you have a provisional hypothesis, not a confirmation.

124. Zachriel , apparently interpreting the tea leaves:

"The nested hierarchy is an observation. It doesn't go away because you pose a strawman or refuse to consider the evidence. Even if the original life form were designed, the scientific evidence strongly supports common descent."
======

No, what you are attempting is to take a "Huskvarna" chain saw, cut all the hundreds of trees in life's Orchard and refitting them where you feel comfortable. Singular tree invention is nothing more than a unscientific excuse making fit because your religious worldview does not explain all those large GAPS between the kinds of trees. Your problem is not the leaves and twigs(that's easy, a child gets that), it's those junctional structural crotches supporting large branch limb structures which have been conveniently modified to fit your theory and they're simply not going to hold all that weight. Your nested hierarchy/common descent obsession is nothing more than materialist faith based statement chanting in that proverbial echo chamber. Say it loud, long and hard enough and just maybe you'll convince someone.

This was the same stupid stunt pulled by Dr Lovejoy in that PBS.org documentary where he used a power saw and grinder to force fit an ape hip into his biased anthropological worldview and justifying his irresponsible action by fabricating some absurd asinine story of that mysterious Mythical deer that stepped on the hip joint, so he, promoting himself as the responsible scientist, took it upon himself to make the fix where needed. Suddenly we get what's called a FACT ???

Maybe you should take up a business of fashioning and selling lifesize smokey bears figurines from logs for a living somewhere up in Alaska where they have some old growth forest left (maybe). At least it would be more honest than this philosophy gig.

BTW, where's that natural code example ???

125. Neal Tedford:

"Your statements about the nested hierarchy are misleading. I will not agree to your "singular and objective nested hierarchy" statement... BIOLOGISTS ARE NOT IN UNITY OVER CLASSIFICATION AND TAXONOMY."
=====

Your last point is right on track. Despite their insistance on scientists all being on the same page with everything, this is a flat out lie. They are not. His Church has as many disagreeing and differing religious denominations as anything seen and observed in all of Christendom, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, etc, and even all the multiple animistic religions of which evolution is extremely closely linked.

126. Neal Tedford: Your statements about the nested hierarchy are misleading. I will not agree to your "singular and objective nested hierarchy" statement... biologists are not in unity over classification and taxonomy.

As you are making an appeal to authority, the vast majority of biologists agree that there is a strong signal for the nested hierarchy across many taxa and traits of interest, including eukaryotes and genes. Not only are there entire fields of study involved in resolving phylgenetic relationships, but the vast majority of biologists strongly support evolutionary theory. Authoritative expert opinion rejects Intelligent Design.

Or, we could look at the evidence instead.

Neal Tedford: You are over reaching with the nested hierarchy as evidence for evolution.

The Griffiths' 1973 paper does not support your position. It has to do with resolving differences between Linnaean classifications and other ranking classifications, with cladistics. You certainly don't think that Griffiths is rejecting the existence of clades, do you?

Neal Tedford: Okay, but then you can't accurately talk about "singular and objective nested hierarchy" like it is some kind of hard fact.

We could look at the evidence instead. Let's start with a simple example. Which two of these three are more alike when considering the panoply of biological traits; dolphin, cat, fish?

127. Eocene: ... Say it loud, long and hard enough and just maybe you'll convince someone...

In other words, you have no argument, and refuse to consider the evidence.

128. Zachriel:

"In other words, you have no argument, and refuse to consider the evidence."
=====

In other words your still sitting cross legged, eating an organically grown banana and chanting towards Galapagos ??? That's NOT science. It's religion.

129. This comment has been removed by the author.

130. Eocene: In other words your still sitting cross legged, eating an organically grown banana and chanting towards Galapagos ???

We've tried to engage you on the evidence, but you have repeatedly refused to talk about it. It has to do with patterns we observe in nature. For instance, if an organism has a lower jaw comprised of a single bone and heterodont dentition, we can predict that the organism has mammary glands and a complex cell structure with a nucleus and mitochondria. These correlations are called patterns, and those patterns exist regardless of any amount of handwaving.

131. Zachriel said, "These correlations are called patterns, and those patterns exist regardless of any amount of handwaving."

Whose handwaving? Whose denying similarity or patterns? Creationists were the first to identify these patterns and they didn't need Darwinism to do it. If fit very well into design by a common designer.

Prediction: when I buy a computer I expect it to have a power button. Therefore, computers are not designed if we follow your logic about patterns.

So, all you have is evidence for small changes that no one debates, a huge assumption of change across all levels, and a speculative historical record.

132. Zachreil:

"We've tried to engage you on the evidence, but you have repeatedly refused to talk about it."
======

WE ??? What's with all this WE ??? What are you a Trinity ???
------

Zachreil:

It has to do with patterns we observe in nature. For instance, if an organism has a lower jaw comprised of a single bone and heterodont dentition, we can predict that the organism has mammary glands and a complex cell structure with a nucleus and mitochondria."
======

Looking at patterns ??? You can look all you want and let your imagination run as wild and in what ever direction you choose, but you still have to look DEEPER beneath the just the shallow material surface substrate. You are employing the eye of faith like no one I've ever met. Stop reading into things what is not close to being there.
-------

Zachriel:

" These correlations are called patterns, and those patterns exist regardless of any amount of handwaving."
======

Then why are you handwaving and drawing imaginative attention to things that aren't there ???

Carl Sagan had a beautiful opening line when trying to illustrate the difference between Astronomy and Astrology. It's the perfect illustrative fit for your vision of a nested hierarchal tree. It went like this:

"There are two ways to view the stars. The way they really are. Or the way we wish them to be."

133. Neal Tedford: Whose denying similarity or patterns?

So you acknowledge that there is a discernable, objective nested hierarchy across many taxa and traits? In other words, that when we group organisms with hair and vertebrae, it turns out that we have also grouped them by number of ossicles.

We can discuss that, but you had previously agreed to follow the argument. Amazingly, we're still stuck on whether the leaves on a tree form a nested hierarchy when grouped by branch and stem, and on whether or not objective classification of biological traits leads to a discernable nested hierarchy.

What's important is that most people can understand those two basic facts. The former quite obviously follows from the definition of a nested hierarchy. The latter is determined by actually classifying organisms, such as dolphin, cat and fish.

134. This comment has been removed by the author.

135. Zachriel,

I thought I already agreed that biological classification is a nested hierarchy.

136. Neal Tedford: I thought I already agreed that biological classification is a nested hierarchy.

You said they *can* be classified into nested hierarchies. We can classify anything into nested hierarchies, but with artifacts, there are usually a large number of equally consistent classifications schemes, such as Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress Classifications for books. With fish, dolphins, cats and lions, there is only one reasonable classification scheme that parsimoniously categorizes by biological trait. And it forms a nested hierarchy: {fish, {dolphin, {cat, lion}}}.

137. Zachriel,

So you have a problem with the word "can"? I said, "Biological classification is a nested hierarchy"... I don't see "can" in that.

But you have bigger problems with your explanation...

Your example {fish,{dolphin,{cat,lion}}} is NOT a nested hierarchy. What are you thinking? Go back to what I originally asked you to remember about the definition of a nested hierarchy. You gave the definition correctly and now you use it incorrectly. Subsets must be contained completely within the parent set. Cats and Lions are not contained with dolphins. You have something else going on there.

138. Neal Tedford: So you have a problem with the word "can"? I said, "Biological classification is a nested hierarchy"... I don't see "can" in that.

That doesn't answer the objection to your hedge. The question is whether there is only one reasonable way to biologically classify fish, dolphins, cats and lions.

Neal Tedford: Cats and Lions are not contained with dolphins.

No. For clarity, here are the sets:

A = {cats, lions}
B = {dolphins, cats, lions}
C = {fish, dolphins, cats, lions}

A is contained in B which is contained in C.

139. Neal Tedford:

"Your example {fish,{dolphin,{cat,lion}}} is NOT a nested hierarchy. What are you thinking?"

What are you thinking? If you are too stupid and/or uneducated to grasp a simple concept like nested hierarchy, then you have no business criticizing the thinking of others.

I see that a lot among internet-IDCers: a lack of ability to think abstractly. I wonder if it's another symptom of the brain damage caused by religious upbringing.

140. Troy:

"If you are too stupid and/or uneducated to grasp a simple concept like nested hierarchy, then you have no business criticizing the thinking of others. I see that a lot among internet-IDCers: a lack of ability to think abstractly. I wonder if it's another symptom of the brain damage caused by religious upbringing."
======

I'm not understanding something here. "ability to think abstractly" ??? Then why doesn't your side do so ??? Then why all the diliberate injection of "Metaphysical Speak" where actual abstract data is clearly lacking in all your scientific reporting ??? Call it both ways. Otherwise you have no business criticizing others anymore than you say he does.

141. Eocene,

The ability to think abstractly also includes the ability to think outside your particular theological box about what God's goals are and how he might obtain them, should he exist. When we approach the subject in this light and take ID at face value (an abstract designer only), the gap in data / explanation widens significantly in the case of ID. This is why evolution is the best explanation for the specific biological complexity we observe.

142. Zachriel said, "No. For clarity, here are the sets:

A = {cats, lions}
B = {dolphins, cats, lions}
C = {fish, dolphins, cats, lions}"

----

Arranging them together with group names like this renders an obvious nested hierarchy. Your previous example: {fish, {dolphin, {cat, lion}}} was not because cats and lions have features that are not in dolphins.

Grouping them together is not simply for luxury or clarity to show a nested hierarchy... it is a necessity. A nested hierarchy structure follows standard rules. Showing abstract elements falls outside of the standard rules.

Cat > Felidae > Mammalia > Chordata > Animalia

This is the standard biological classification and it is a nested hierarchy.

But, I don't think this is what you mean by your example. Your ABC sets above are arbituary from a purely hierarchical view. You see relationships, but technically anything can be grouped together in this ABC manner and then represented by a nested hierarchy.

When you talk about "one reasonable way to biologically classify fish, dolphins, cats and lions" you did not mention which classification system you are using. Linnaeus? Haeckel? Chatton? Copeland? Wittaker? Wosse, Cavalier-Smith? Other?

143. Zachriel: For clarity, here are the sets:

A = {cats, lions}
B = {dolphins, cats, lions}
C = {fish, dolphins, cats, lions}

Neal Tedford: Arranging them together with group names like this renders an obvious nested hierarchy.

Yes.

Neal Tedford: You see relationships, but technically anything can be grouped together in this ABC manner and then represented by a nested hierarchy.

Of course, but we're not discussing arbitrary groupings.

Neal Tedford: When you talk about "one reasonable way to biologically classify fish, dolphins, cats and lions" you did not mention which classification system you are using.

Yes, we did mention the classification system: the most parsimonious grouping based on observable biological traits.

Neal Tedford: In what meaningful way are lions and cats fully contained within dolphins?

{dolphins, {cats, lions}}

That doesn't mean that cats and lions are contained within dolphins. It means F = {cats, lions} is contained within M = {dolphins, {cats, lions}}. (A pedant would point out that {cats} is not actually an element of set M, but it's a nested hierarchy in either case.)

Please use the wordy version for clarity.

-
Which two of these three group form the most parsimonious grouping based on observable biological traits; fish, dolphin, cat?

Do the leaves on a tree when grouped by branch and stem form a nested hierarchy?

144. Scott:

"The ability to think abstractly also includes the ability to think outside your particular theological box about what God's goals are and how he might obtain them, should he exist."
=====

I think outside the box all the time. The biggest problem is which religious theological box are you talking about ??? Baptist, Mormon, Islamic, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindi, Tribal Animism or various forms of Atheism ??? Which theology Scott ???

Did you know that the Bible reported on Epigenetics or genomic imprinting long before Marcus Pembrey and his fellow geneticists stumbled upon it and offended the Scientific Religious Orthodoxy who consider him a heretic ???

Did you know scientists have found and are unable to explain that the minerotrophic hydrological cycle mentioned in Genesis 2:5,6 and 10-14 actually existed before that extinction event which changed the processes which operated it indefinately ???

Did you know that discovery of the model by which this cycle operated could lead to free energy ???

Did you know that the earthquakes mentioned in the list of things as part of a composite sign that would mark the last days mentioned at Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:9-11 are strictly a human caused phenomena and have zero to do with God or a mere freak of nature ???

The time is reduced Scott. You need to start thinking outside the Materialist box. Seriously!!!
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Scott:

" This is why evolution is the best explanation for the specific biological complexity we observe. "
=====

Hardly. Evolution has it's own so-called GAPS. Junk DNA , Vestigial Organs, Unexplained gaps in the crotches of that mythical tree, information is only fractals and patterns, and the list is endless. Evolution is nothing more than a philosophy to justify failed behavior and nothing more ???

145. Neal
if you agree with:
Cat > Felidae > Mammalia > Chordata > Animalia
and I assume that you would agree also with:
Lion > Felidae > Mammalia > Chordata > Animalia
Dolphin > Mammalia > Chordata > Animalia
Fish > Chordata > Animalia

why you disagree with:
{fish, {dolphin, {cat, lion}}} ?

Instead of blocking the tread on this point, why don't you challange Zachriel continuing the exercise adding e.g. a sparrow, a frog, a lizard (maybe a penguin, a bat or a snake)? The discussion could be very interesting about the unique "most parsimonious grouping based on observable biological traits".

146. For some reason, the topic has apparently been moved here.

147. interesting article,, thanks for sharing .. I am glad to read it because it adds to my knowledge

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