Scientific hypotheses make empirical predictions


#21

The methodology used to detect an act of unknown intelligence in the cosmos is used to detect an act of unknown intelligence at the origin of life.

What on earth is “an act of unknown intelligence”? Your website appears be a word salad. Did you know that colorless green ideas sleep furiously?


(George Brooks) #22

WHOA THERE!!! I’m pretty sure that furious sleeping is an exaggeration … it’s more like SLEEPING SPECIFICALLY!


#23

I am wondering how much you applied yourself Beaglelady.

What do you think it could mean?. An act by an unknown intelligence in the deep unobservable past. What could that possibly mean? Maybe it means that no one knows the source of the intelligence, and that is why we call it an “unknown intelligence”. So something was done by an unknown intelligence, so we might say “It’s an act of an unknown intelligence”.

good grief.

really people?


(Benjamin Kirk) #24

Hello George,

The emphasis is on DISPROVING. The empirical tests don’t constitute proof, merely support.


(George Brooks) #25

Bio… my jaw grows slack … I have no idea what you think you are proving or disproving …


(Benjamin Kirk) #26

Hello Bio,

It’s not solid science.

Hypothesis: Extraterrestrial intelligence exists.
Prediction: Radio signals will exhibit regular patterns.

Do you see that “regular” is an extremely weak empirical prediction because it a) requires analysis and is therefore one large step away from a truly empirical prediction, and b) that even if such patterns are detected, recursive analyses by multiple methods would need to be performed to give nonrandom results, again and again, because this hypothesis does not predict something that we directly observe?

Now, how about if you state a real hypothesis with real empirical predictions?


#27

Wait just a minute. Under Authenticity, you refer to “an act of unknown intelligence .” Do you see it?
I don’t see much intelligence here. I think I’ll go read Jabberwocky.


#28

Beaglelady,

In December I received a letter from a 12 year old girl in San Mateo California. She told me that her older brother had showed her Biosemiosis.org, and that she really liked it. She said that she had won a school science award when she was nine, and had since always been interested in things to do with nature and space. She then basically repeated back to me the entirety of what is written on the site. She is a really sharp kid at just 12 years old.

I look at your patent dismissal, and I think of the letter from that 12 year-old girl – as well as the other encouraging letters I’ve received – and I have a new appreciation for the tremendous issue that outfits like Biologos face. I recognize that by pointing this out, I only invite more of the same by the members here, but so be it. Imagine pretending not to know what an “unknown intelligence” might mean in context of ID. It is just remarkable.

Core Commitments:

  • We seek truth, ever learning as we study the natural world and the
    Bible.

  • We strive for humility and gracious dialogue with those who hold
    other views.

  • We aim for excellence in all areas, from science to education to
    business practices.


#29

benkirk,

It’s not solid science.

NASA, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the British Royal Society, and universities around the world all disagree with you.

Hypothesis: Extraterrestrial intelligence exists.
Prediction: Radio signals will exhibit regular patterns.

Wrong on both counts. The working hypothesis is that life emerged elsewhere in the cosmos besides earth. The prediction is that in some of those instances of life, advanced civilizations will arise, exhibiting an advanced intelligence which can be detected from earth.

But they cannot directly detect intelligence from billions miles away, so they use an unambiguous correlate of intelligence – radio signals – and they search for those in the cosmic radio spectrum. And it is not “regular patterns” they look for; it is specifically narrow band radio-signals. They look for narrow-band radio signals because it is our universal experience that narrow-band radio signals are only produced by radio transmitters, and by no other means. The ability to produce narrow-band radio signals therefore serves as the operational definition of intelligence in a test of the prediction.

Therefore, if they receive an extraterrestrial narrow-band radio signal, they will then be empirically justified in inferring the existence of a radio transmitter, which in turn, allows them to infer an act of intelligence in the construction of that transmitter. The ability to infer the predicted intelligence from the presence of narrow-band radio signals supports the hypothesis that life emerged elsewhere in the cosmos.

This scenario is replicated in the test for intelligence at the origin of life. The working hypothesis is that life is the product of intelligence. The prediction is that an act of intelligence can be detected in the origin of the living cell.

But we cannot directly detect intelligence from billions of years in the past, so we use an unambiguous correlate of intelligence – semiotic memory – and we search for that in the organization of the cell. And it is not merely semiotic memory, but a very specific type of memory, one that uses spatially-oriented representations and a reading frame code. We look for this because it is our universal experience that spatially-oriented memory and reading frame codes are only produced by intelligence, and by no other means. The ability to produce spatially oriented representations and a reading frame code therefore serves as the operational definition of intelligence in a test of the prediction.

Therefore, if we find a semiotic system using spatially-oriented representations and a reading frame code, we will then be empirically justified in inferring an act of intelligence. The ability to infer the predicted intelligence from the detection of this specific type of semiotic memory supports the hypothesis that life was the product of intelligence.


Of course, all of this is directly interpretable from the text on the linked page, but I understand when people are threatened by new information, we often seek solace in any number of defensive mechanisms. In science, as in some other concerns, people often look for reasons (such as rules violations) to ignore the new information being presented.

There are also those who will float these types of questions merely because they are interested in maintaining proper procedure, but you can virtually always tell the difference between that and those responding in a defensive strategy. First, the tone is entirely different, but most importantly, those who are merely dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s can be satisfied and move on, whereas the defensive strategists a) can never be satisfied, and b) never engage the actual evidence.


#30

Do you see that “regular” is an extremely weak empirical prediction because it a) requires analysis and is therefore one large step away from a truly empirical prediction, and b) that even if such patterns are detected, recursive analyses by multiple methods would need to be performed to give nonrandom results, again and again, because this hypothesis does not predict something that we directly observe?

This entire passage is bafflegab. They search for a 100% directly-measurable thing – a narrow-band radio signal that is just a few cycles wide. “Regular”, whatever that means, has nothing to do with it.


#31

Perhaps she has Savant syndrome. Does she memorize license plates also?


#32

Perhaps she has Savant syndrome. Does she memorize license plates also?

Beautiful. Biologos should be proud to have you here.


(Benjamin Kirk) #33

I think we’d agree that it’s the best anyone can do.

The hypothesis you stated is no different from mine, just more wordy.

The prediction you state is not at all empirical. It is an interpretation. Do you know the difference?

As for regular vs. narrow-band, fine. You’re probably right.

Where you abandon science to try to create a phony analogy is when you state “allows them to infer an act of intelligence in the construction of that transmitter.” They won’t stop there, whereas you do far, far less and pretend that you’re done.


#34

The hypothesis you stated is no different from mine

You should read it again. And note the difference. Its important.

The prediction you state is not at all empirical. It is an interpretation. Do you know the difference?

Yes I am quite certain I do. They cannot empirically measure life from billions of miles away, but they predict that some life forms will be intelligent, so they use an unambiguous correlate of intelligence that they can indeed empirically measure from billions of miles away - a narrow band radio signal. A narrow band signal is empirically detected by a frequency analyzer. Either it is narrow, or it is not. If you have a problem with scientists using operational definitions in their methodologies, then you are free to pursue changing the practice.

As for regular vs. narrow-band, fine. You’re probably right.

That is the distinction within their operational definition, allowing them to infer the existence of a physical transmitter, and an intelligent life form to create it.

Where you abandon science to try to create a phony analogy is when you state “allows them to infer an act of intelligence in the construction of that transmitter.”

If a narrow-band signal is received, it will have required a transmitter to create it. Building a radio transmitter capable of sending signals detectable from earth requires an act of intelligence. And if such a signal is received, SETI will initiate a program to verify that they have not accidentally measured an terrestrial signal. SETI: “Once an artificial signal is confirmed as being of extraterrestrial intelligent origin, the discovery will be announced as quickly and as widely as possible.”

They won’t stop there, whereas you do far, far less and pretend that you’re done.

Your objection has been answered.


(Benjamin Kirk) #35

[quote=“Biosemiosis.org, post:34, topic:4328”]
Me: The prediction you state is not at all empirical. It is an interpretation. Do you know the difference?

Bio: Yes I am quite certain I do.[/quote]
Yet nothing you write suggests that you do know.

No, they HYPOTHESIZE intelligent extraterrestrial life. You’re all mixed up.

That’s the empirical prediction. Full stop. Not “The prediction is that in some of those instances of life, advanced civilizations will arise, exhibiting an advanced intelligence which can be detected from earth.” You are unable to distinguish between the hypothesis and the prediction. Why not?

Define “narrow” empirically.

[quote] If you have a problem with scientists using operational definitions in their methodologies, then you are free to pursue changing the practice.
[/quote]I’m sure that they don’t suffer from your problem.

So where’s your ID hypothesis (there’s no theory) and its empirical predictions? There’s nothing of the sort on the web page you cited.


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #36

I realize you may not have experienced others’ reactions here as particularly gracious either, but I might add just as an observer not involved in the conversation that the tone in your responses does not particularly strike me as gracious. If you’re aiming for gracious, try for less in the way of being shocked at how dumb people seem to be.


(George Brooks) #37

Bio…

So maybe we can “back into” a better understanding of your goals. What would you like to be able to accomplish on the BioLogos fora ?

Do you support the BioLogos mission, of teaching Christians, especially Young Earth Creationists, that one can hold to the Evolution of humanity over millions of years, and the Bible is can be spiritually efficacious ?

George


#38

Well then, I would like to hear your explanation of why a 12-year-old kid would repeat back to you the entirety of your web site in a letter.


(sy_garte) #39

I took a look at the Biosemiotics web page, and here is my reaction.

If the ID concept had existed in the 1940s, the hypothesis would state, “abiogenesis was the result of design on the part of an intelligent entity.” A test or prediction of the hypothesis would be “At the heart of biological systems, there will be found a semiotic code that reflects symbolic meaning and that can be translated into the phenotype of all cells”. If such a hypothesis and prediction had been made, then the subsequent findings of molecular biology would strongly have confirmed the hypothesis.

At this point, with the data already well known, there is no further requirement for confirmation of the ID hypothesis. BUT, post hoc hypotheses still need defense. If no further supporting data is required, (as in this case) than what is needed are rigorous tests to exclude other explanations (or failed attempts to falsify the hypothesis).

What is being asked by the other commenter here, Bio, is what if any such tests can be made? The first obvious one is to determine if it is indeed true that only intelligent systems can produce a semiotic code. There are no known instances of such codes outside of biology, but biology contains many things that are not found elsewhere in the universe. It is formally possible that a chemical system could under certain circumstances produce some form of evolutionary process that would work to perfect very rudimentary codes into what we now have.

I tend to agree that this is very hard to imagine. But the task for ID is not to simply state that such natural development of the genetic code seems to be impossible, but to show it. That is what is being asked for here. And such demonstration cannot be done by use of statistical improbability, since evolution is immune to probability concerns by and large. What is needed is a formal demonstration (probably by chemical arguments) that semiotic codes cannot arise by any natural means, including any selective chemical mechanism.


#41

Sy Garte,

Thank you for your thoughtful observations. I am traveling just now, and will comment later.