Relevant extracts from my posts of April 1999

Re: Phillip Johnson interview (Communiqué, Spring 1999)

"So, there were political currents that were unique to that particular time, but more than that, if you want to think of what the College of Cardinals of Galileo's day was like, the analogy today, the equivalent body today, is not the College of Cardinals in Rome, it's the National Academy of Sciences in Washington.

See, that's our College of Cardinals--the official government and power-wielding leaders of the intellectual world. And they will always crack down on heresy that threatens their position. So, the Darwinists are the College of Cardinals today. They're the ones who are trying to keep their belief system going by censorship and the use of their power. And they're analogous to the Aristotelian professors whom Galileo got in trouble with."

Re: Phillip Johnson interview (Communiqué, Spring 1999)

Without reproduction neither selection nor mutation is possible. That reproduction is a concept based on finality is another inconsistency of modern Darwinism.

... the creative power must be attributed rather to selection than to mutation. Random mutation could create at most 'Shannon-like' information (the more random, the more informative), but certainly not the information needed for a human body.

... one always should choose the most coherent interpretation of a text, even if the text is written by a person one does not agree with!

... one must not confuse science itself with the concrete scientific theories or hypotheses such as Darwinism.

I do not reject the fact of a continuous evolution or creation, but I reject the prevailing theories, because they are based on many erroneous and even absurd premises.

The bias you recognize in Johnson's opinions is primarily a consequence of your own biased view on Johnson. Please try to understand that the 'scientific view itself' is not identical with the currently prevailing scientific world view. Such an identity has never existed in history, why should it exist now?

Re: Phillip Johnson interview (Communiqué, Spring 1999)

> "Guided evolution isn't evolution at all."

Here evolution is used as a synomym of Darwin's theory (based on purely random mutations). Guided Darwinism is logical nonsense. A guided development of life can be seen as some form of a continuous creation.

Compare: Einsteinian quantum mechanics, not based only on pure chance, is no (orthodox) quantum mechanics at all.

Neo-Darwinism is a logically impossible explanation of the evolution of life, therefore it is a matter of faith.

In the same way, orthodox quantum mechanics (a theory as absurd as neo-Darwinism) wants to get determinism or other order-creating principles out of the picture, regardless of the evidence.

If there were no final (order-creating) laws of nature, the second law would reign over the world and complex life would be impossible.

Darwinism can not even explain a continuous evolution of life, much less the fast appearence of new forms, such as for instance modern aeroplanes, tanks, telecommunication, computers and so on.

> "I am amused by self-styled 'skeptics,' who invariably seem able to believe the wildest nonsense if it supports Darwinism."

I fully agree with that! Also the wildest nonsense about HIV is believed by most 'skeptics'.

Re: Phillip Johnson interview (Communiqué, Spring 1999)

I garantee you: the assumption that random changes can create humans from simple matter is very similar to the assumption that a mechanical perpetuum mobile can provide huge amounts of usable energy.

Re: Mutation and NS add information (was Re: Phillip Johnson interview)

But "random mutation AND selection" certainly cannot explain the emergence of biological information. There must be reproduction and inheritance. And these principles are based on finality, a principle incompatible with neo-Darwinism.

In a sound evolution theory as my own there is no such artificial distinction as between abiogenesis and evolution.

Neo-Darwinism states that reductionist causal laws can explain the evolution of life (no teleology, no souls, no God, no purposefulness and so on).

But "pure chance" is the 'basic principle' not only of neo-Darwinism but also of orthodox quantum mechanics, the basis of chemistry and biology. (Such 'basic principles' are used to characterize theories or to distinguish them from other alternative theories.)

Furthermore, the first system capable of undergoing reproduction, mutation and selection must have appeared by pure chance according to neo-Darwinism. Do you know one single non-living thing undergoing reproduction, mutation and selection. Computer simulations are not convincing. Convincing, however, would be self-replicating machines.

Re: Phillip Johnson interview (Communiqué, Spring 1999)

Computer languages have both syntax and semantics. Any useful computer program must have not only information but also semantics (interpretation of information). Information without semantics is useless also as biological information. So Eric's common sense definition is much better in the context of abiogenesis and evolution than Shannons 'the-more-random-the-better' or similar 'uncommon sense' and 'common nonsense' definitions.

Re: Phillip Johnson interview (Communiqué, Spring 1999)

> Now, you can't do that with a line of computer code so cease making the very fallacious analogy between a living system and computers.

It's not me who makes the analogy. In my opinion living systems are totally different from mechanical systems.

And it's not me who compares living organisms with machines and brains with computers. I fight for a panpsychist view of life.

You know, according to the Shannon definition a text has the more information the more characters the text contains and the more random they are distributed in the text. But it is completely absurd to use such an information definition in the context of abiogenesis and evolution.

Re: Theory of Natural Selection VS Reality

It's an empirical fact that living things preserve characteristics across generations. But how do you explain the emergence of reproduction and inheritance? The only possibility you have: physical and chemical laws and chance.

> If, in fact, we had a single monkey typing on a computer which already had the works of Shakespeare in its memory, and which locked in every correct "hit" at each repetition, the situation would be very different from above.

Are you serious? That's circular reasoning of the worst kind: you explain the emergence of the works of Shakespeare by assuming the existence of the works of Shakespeare. A program printing the works directly instead of waiting until the monkey types a correct character would be even simpler than such a selection program.

The improbability lies not in a particular outcome such as humans but in the emergence of any kind of highly complex systems.

Re: Phillip Johnson interview (Communiqué, Spring 1999)

In general, higher forms of life need more (base pairs of) genetic information than lower forms, isn't it?

The question of the information contained in a computer program is quite similar. The more complex a program, the more bytes are needed. Nevertheless, you cannot judge the complexity of computer programs from their code lengths.

Re: Phillip Johnson interview (Communiqué, Spring 1999)

I don't see why a sound definition of biological information should be less fuzzy than the definition of the information which is needed to build a modern aeroplane. I suppose you agree with me that Shannon's definition cannot help in this case.

In order to produce a fully-functioning HIV, the protease must cut an HIV super protein at *EIGHT* different sites. In order to cut, the protease must move and (allosterically) change its own form. Also animals and humans cannot work without moving their bodies.

I'm sure that it is logical nonsense to assume that chemical and physical laws as formutated by the prevailing theories can lead to such a complex behaviour of enzymes. Not even the folding process is understood by orthodox science.

Re: Phillip Johnson interview (Communiqué, Spring 1999)

So, at least in humans, nature shows that there is some form of "creative power" which cannot be explained only by random changes (errors in thinking, in copying data and similar happenings) and selection.

I would subscribe Johnson's statement. The College of Cardinals of today would correspond to some kind of a Heathen College of Galileo's day.

Censorship has evolved too. It is much more sophisticated today than it was at the times of Galilei. The immense quantity of scientific output is a very good means to hide criticism of the prevailing belief system.

Imagine: something is published, but nobody notices.

Re: Theory of Natural Selection VS Reality

But it never has happened in the history of earth that such "natural (and again, non-biological and non-sentient) processes" which "can concentrate such materials" remained unchanged for millions of years. If such a 'primordial pond' dried up, all the progress was lost according to Darwinism, but not according to my psychon theory.

What is considered 'natural' or 'supernatural' depends on one's own word view. For me, reincarnation is a provable (even proved) scientific fact, for you it seems to be something supernatural. You cannot take seriously my theory (apart from the fact that it always needs a lot of time and effort to assimilate new ideas) for the same reasons the contemporaries of Copernicus could not take seriously a moving earth.

You show here the typical behaviour of past flat-earthers.

The demographic evolution of mankind is enough to prove or refute the psychon theory.

Humans are part of nature!

The surviving capacity of some living cells is very astonishing. Is this no evidence of some form of intelligence?

Re: Theory of Natural Selection VS Reality

1) Condition: the works of Shakespeare are in a computer memory. Result: the works appear on a printer (whether with or without the help of a monkey does not matter)

2) Condition: a planet without complex molecules at all. Result: an extremly complex ecosystem including different forms of life, cities, cars, computers, aeroplanes and so on.

Do you really think that the first situation has an explicative value for the second?

Re: Mutation and NS add information (was Re: Phillip Johnson interview)

For me, the assumption that behaviour patterns (e.g. the sucking instinct of babies, the flight or fight response, the instinct to build a usable nest at the right time in order to hibernate) need at least some bytes (several base pairs of genetic code) is self-evident.

I bet away my life that relativity theory and QM are both inconsistent. When I studied at university computer science, I was interested primarily in theoretical disciplines. I recognized that the more complicated, 'scientific', or obscure theories or even definitions are, the more questionable, absurd and even inconsistent.

And after having dealt intensively with theoretical physics I cannot be impressed any more by complicated formulas and theories. Instead, the nearer to common sense and the simpler, the more impressive!

Re: Mutation and NS add information (was Re: Phillip Johnson interview)

Against your dogmatic faith in QM I can recommend you: 'Constructing Quarks', 'A Sociological History of Particle Physics', Andrew Pickering, 1984.

Here an extract (page 68):

"Beta decay, the emission of electrons and positrons from unstable nuclei, was one of the principal themes of radioactivity research in the early decades of the twentieth century. It was an especially puzzling phenomenon that electrons were emitted over a range of energies; their energy spectrum was contiuous, rather than discrete as expected for transitions ocurring in a quantised system. Amongst the fathers of quantum mechanics, Bohr, Heisenberg and Pauli each proposed radical explanations for this observation - Bohr, that energy was not exactly conserved; Heisenberg, that space-time was not continuos - but it was Pauli's proposal that won the day."

Re: Mutation and NS add information (was Re: Phillip Johnson interview)

"They had been monitoring 140 tons of iron for 131 days and had observed around 200 events. Almost all of these could be ascribed to the passage through their apparatus of muons, generated by neutrino interactions in the overlying rock, but the experimenters concluded that three events could not be so explained."

The experiment of the 'existence' of neutrinos should be repeatable. Before one carries out the experiment, it should be possible to calculate the result (but there are so many types of neutrinos with the possibility of changing into other types, that I am not sure). The confirmation of this result by the experiment is considered a scientific conclusion of the existence of neutrinos.

But at least in such and similar cases, the conclusions depend much more on a theoretical framework and even on ad-hoc-hypotheses than on the experimental data.

Experiments and interpretation of the experimental data based on the neurtino hypothesis had evolved parallelly until finally (i.e. decades later) a repeatable experiment could be interpreted as a proof of neutrinos.

So "the later discovery of this particle" is not the consequence of its existence but the consequence that Pauli once had "won the day".

In a similar way, HIV causes AIDS not because HIV has any measurable negative effect worth a mention, but because Robert Gallo once "won the day".

Re: 'Mutation and NS' is ambiguous (was Re: Phillip Johnson interview)

Interesting! You critize me for characterizing neo-Darwinism by "random mutation", the most controversial property and the one by which neo-Darwinism can be distinguished from Intelligent Design or my own theory. On the other hand you feel authorized to characterize neo-Darwinism by "random mutation and selection" without mentioning the really complex and problematic concepts of Darwinism.

That finalism has been discarded in modern mainstream biology is not very convincing. Also the heliocentric world view of Aristarchus of Samos had been discarded for almost twenty centuries.

In general, a principle is called finalistic if it is defined not by some kind of mechanism but by a result. And reproduction is without doubt defined by a result: the copy (with minor changes) of the original.

It is perfectly natural that you must deny the fact that reproduction is a finalistic principle, because this fact refutes not only neo-Darwinism but modern mainstream biology as well (as far as this principle is used without being itself reduced to causal principles).

So in order to explain a continuous evolution of life, reproduction and mutation (i.e. difference of the copy from the original) must be connected in a very special (and therefore apriori in a very improbable) way that entails inheritance of the mutation.

Mutation without reproduction and inheritance is a very simple principle which can be compared with random errors in a written text or in a digitally transmitted message, but it is not very helpful for explaining evolution.

Mutation with reproduction and inheritance is an extremely complex principle: it entails the whole ontogenesis until fertile age, and therefore even depends on protein folding.

Neo-Darwinism as a simple theory needs this ambiguity of 'mutation'. Therefore it is not exaggerated to conclude that neo-Darwinism is founded on a well-known philosophical fallacy.

Re: Phillip Johnson interview (Communiqué, Spring 1999)

> I've long had the suspicion that Eric and Wolfgang are the same person, playing some Creationist variation of the good-cop bad-cop routine.

I must disappoint you in the same way, Eric did.

I was born in Austria on July 1, 1961 (almost at the same time as Lady Di) and apart from studies in Zurich and Lausanne and some voyages, I have always lived in the principality of Liechtenstein (between Austria and Switzerland).

Re: Neo-Darwinism is self-contradictory (was Re: Phillip Johnson interview)

Insofar as neo-Darwinism is supposed to explain the appearence of new properties, information must be created. But the information cannot depend on more than just a few one-step-mutations. (If the probability of one such mutation is 10^-6, the probability of three one-step-mutations is already 10^-18.)

It is, however, illogical (against reason) to assume that the information needed for the new property can be produced by one, two or three point mutations corresponding to less than 1 byte.

In a mathematical treatment one can assume any values one likes for mean number of descendents, mutation rate, survival rate and so on.

Instead of explaining that a highly complex organism is able to create a very similar copy, it is only postulated that an organism has a certain number of descendents.

Under such (finalistic) premises it is certainly possible to get reasonable and instructive models of how new characteristics can be propagated in a population.

So it is up to neo-Darwinists to show that reproduction with inheritance can be explained in a purely causal way ( chemical and physical laws combined with chance events) and not up to the critics to show that mutation and natural selection are not enough to explain the continuous evolution or creation of life.

Re: what is doing the evolving? Psychon?

According to panpsychism, not only humans but also simpler organisms have in addition to the material also a vital aspect, i.e. they have souls.

According to my theory the psychons (souls) of humans, animals, living cells and enzymes evolve by reincarnation. For instance the information for the complex behaviour of many enzymes is not stored in the amino acid sequence but in psychons (which are limited in number).

A species depends on the existence of a certain number of psychons with a common history. Essentially psychon is only a synonym of 'soul'. But it sounds strange to speak of the soul of an elementary particle.

I don't know whether evolution has any other goal than to lead to more and more complex and conscious systems.

> The question 'what is doing the evolving?' we draws a blank stare from Neo-darwinists. Is your answer: psychon?

Yes. At least to me this answer seems to be much more plausible and testable than the one of Richard Dawkins: selfish genes.

Re: what is doing the evolving? Psychon?

I think that my conception of soul (or psychon) is more Aristotelian than Platonic. The conception of soul which comes closest to mine seems to me the one of Baruch Spinoza.

A psychon is not using matter (or energy) as a driver uses a car. This can best be seen in the case of photons. It is impossible to have a photon without a corresponding psychon, because not only the passive principle mass/ energy but also an active one is needed. For a photon to appear, a psychon must act on a certain quantum of mass/energy.

(That the behaviour of photons can be explained by quantum mechanics is a big exaggeration.)

In the same way, it is impossible for an animal or a human to appear and act without a corresponding soul.

I explain the increase in order in nature by final laws of nature. Such laws can be 'explained' by some kind of causal effect from the future. Maybe they even can be interpreted in accordance with your principle: "A thing cannot give what it does not have".

Re: Creiten, and HIV

The probability that HIV does not exist seems to me much much lower than 0.000'001. One must not confuse these HIV-non-existentialists with opponents of the HIV AIDS dogma such as Peter Duesberg. Whereas Duesberg is a much better scientist and logician than the average, all HIV-non-existentialists are at least very bad logicians, but maybe also below-average scientists.

Re: Theory of Natural Selection VS Reality

How can non-functional amino acid sequences survive and even replicate? Normally complex molecules decay and do not show a desire to build up copies of themselves.

The probability that a substantial quantity of correctly chained amino acid sequences formed by chance is almost zero. See for instance:

What justifies your hypothesis that proto-cells without functional proteins would have appeared and would survive and replicate?

Even if the impossible (that enough amino acid chains with useful functions would have appeared by chance) were possible, a big problem remains: there is no mechanism by which the sequence information of such amino acid chains can be transformed into RNA or DNA. Therefore according Darwinism all such amino acid chains must have disappeared without leaving a trace in modern proteins which must have evolved in a much more complex way, i.e. in symbiosis with RNA (or DNA) molecules.

It is especially puzzling that the genetic code is a prerequisite for such a parallel evolution of proteins and RNA.

Does life violate scond law of thermodynamics?

Therefore, if we can show that living organisms can create order by cooling down the surrounding area (i.e. thermal energy is transformed into energy of chemical bonds), then the second law is invalidated for living systems even in its original sense. Possible examples:

  1. Fruits ripening in dark rooms
  2. Mushrooms
  3. Seeds growing underground
  4. Developing chicks

Re: Science Versus Reason

Re: Phillip Johnson interview (Communiqué, Spring 1999)

> 1) Life exists now. 2) There is a time in the past when life did not exist (run back to the Big Bang, if you want). These two observations lead to the conclusion that at some point life came into existence, and before that point there was no life. Hence, abiogenesis.

What you write and intend to say here is an an excellent example of the very principle of dogmatic reasoning (which Phillip E. Johnson criticizes over and over again).

Would you also call the creation of the first replicating proto-cell by God abiogenesis?

Unlike neo-Darwinism, the explanation by God is at least logically consistent. Furthermore, on what evidence is your distinction between life and dead matter based on? This distinction also entails a mysterious appearance of consciousness billions of years after 'big bang'.

Re: Does life violate scond law of thermodynamics?

Re: Does life violate scond law of thermodynamics?

Normally when posting an URL or a reference, I also post relevant quotations of the text, because I know how tiring it is to search the relevant parts of a text oneself.

I'm careful and cautious enough not to conclude from one reason to such a serious accusation as censorship. But I cannot exclude that all circumstantial evidence for my suspicion could have been the result of coincidences. In that case, however, because of the low probability the whole story could be an example of how persons (in this case myself) can find their prejudices confirmed by final laws of nature.

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