Is science just another religion? (and so much more..)

#21
I know there is hostility. It's all over science, just like every human endeavor. I've seen some good hostility from IDers against their critics, too. I haven't seen much hostility against NDE researchers, but perhaps it's there.


I think you are oversimplifying the situation. There are plenty of scientists working on the problem of consciousness. I read papers on the subject monthly. It is a difficult problem. If some renegade scientist comes along with a nonmaterialist framework that covers all our observations about consciousness without requiring us to toss out half of physics, people will pay attention. For example, if panpsychism is true, we should see some new physics that describes whatever new fundamentals are proposed.

~~ Paul
NDEs get completely dismiss on the doorstep. Most patients reporting NDEs get ignore by nurses. When the subject comes up in scientific discussions and debates, people use derogatory remarks and insult the NDE researchers are attention/money seeking charlatans, are they not aware talking a non materialist view is career suicide? What about the skeptics/science writers who never did any original research, and ride the mainstream's **** for their career and fame? I've seen this first hand many times.

Yes there are people working on consciousness, I don't keep up with the subject but I think most people are going in the direction of consciousness=computational complexity? I haven't seen many derogatory comments from professional researchers, but they still dismiss non materialist approaches without even looking at the evidence. And Koch frauds being a reductive materialist when his approach assumes consciousness is a new fundamental substance, it does show the amount of pressure the materialists themselves feel. And why do you think non materialism contradicts half of physics? The only thing it seems to violate is conservation of energy, or even just entropy. And there are materialist explanations for things like telepathy, Michael Persinger believes the brain can emit and receive photons like radios. Sean Carroll always remark about how telepathy is impossible because the brain needs to receive photons, how does he know it can't? And if you take an idealist view like Bernardo Kastrup, you don't even have to violate anything (since everything happens backstage and the material world is just what things look like). To me it's the dogmatic line of thinking in the mainstream, some of them even regard consciousness itself as "ill defined" and a better definition will do away the hard problem (Dennett, eliminative materialism etc), this feels to me like they are even calling consciousness itself woo woo pseudoscience. Like somebody else said, anything that can't be put into a petri dish is regarded as pseudoscience.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massimo_Pigliucci

While Pigliucci is an atheist himself,[20] he does not believe that science necessarily demands atheism because of two distinctions: the distinction between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, and the distinction between value judgements and matters of fact. He believes that many scientists and science educators fail to appreciate these differences.[9] Pigliucci has criticized New Atheist writers for embracing what he considers to be scientism (although he largely excludes philosopher Daniel Dennett from this charge).
If you want answers to moral questions then you don't ask the neurobiologist, you don't ask the evolutionary biologist, you ask the philosopher."[22]
This guy knows what he's talking about, the difference between methodological materialism vs metaphysical materialism. This guy knows exactly how science should proceed. But then you get people like this https://www.amazon.com/Moral-Landscape-Science-Determine-Values/dp/143917122X
 
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#22
The fight over ID is due to science encroaching on a religious question? You really don't think it's the other way around?
I think macro-evolution by natural selection is decidedly implausible for all the reasons we have discussed before. The more steps where selection cannot operate, the less plausible macro-evolution by natural selection becomes. Claims that this theory is 'proved' are just unreasonable.
The idea that consciousness is all in the brain is a religious idea that science shouldn't tackle? Why?

Science shouldn't try to explain NDEs?
I chose my words carefully - the problem has been that science has become dogmatic, so it has felt compelled to refute the idea that NDE's might be telling us something important, by inventing extremely implausible alternatives. For example, the idea that people lying waiting for their hearts to be restarted, are listening to everything the doctors are doing - and seeing the scene from above. That is just insane - people faint even in situations where their blood pressure has merely dropped!

By all means let science explore as far as it can, my objection is when this spills over into using any old explanation to explain stuff that clearly isn't explicable conventionally.

It is not as though saying, "There is no known scientific explanation for X", would be so difficult, and it would not preclude finding an explanation in the future.

David
 
#23
As far as the people fainting and passed out and possibly not being able to hear anything. I read a story of a kid in a come for a decade who heard his mom and dad speaking too him while he was in the coma
 
#24
As far as the people fainting and passed out and possibly not being able to hear anything. I read a story of a kid in a come for a decade who heard his mom and dad speaking too him while he was in the coma
"For example, the idea that people lying waiting for their hearts to be restarted, are listening to everything the doctors are doing - and seeing the scene from above."
 
#25
By all means let science explore as far as it can, my objection is when this spills over into using any old explanation to explain stuff that clearly isn't explicable conventionally.
And there's the rub. "Any old explanation" is not any at all - it must comply with the dogma of materialism. For "conventionally" again read according to materialism. Whether an ideology counts as a religion is debatable. Whether most of those who practice science are wedded to that ideology is beyond question, IMHO.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#27
I think macro-evolution by natural selection is decidedly implausible for all the reasons we have discussed before. The more steps where selection cannot operate, the less plausible macro-evolution by natural selection becomes. Claims that this theory is 'proved' are just unreasonable.
Yes, we have discussed this before. Why do you think there are steps where selection cannot operate?

I chose my words carefully - the problem has been that science has become dogmatic, so it has felt compelled to refute the idea that NDE's might be telling us something important, by inventing extremely implausible alternatives. For example, the idea that people lying waiting for their hearts to be restarted, are listening to everything the doctors are doing - and seeing the scene from above. That is just insane - people faint even in situations where their blood pressure has merely dropped!
You're saying these suggestions are implausible compared to to the idea that people are getting glimpses of an afterlife?

~~ Paul
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#28
"For example, the idea that people lying waiting for their hearts to be restarted, are listening to everything the doctors are doing - and seeing the scene from above."
Does anyone have an example of someone hearing the doctors while their heart was not beating?

Visualizing the scene from above doesn't seem to be a big deal. When I picture my childhood home, it is from above, from a position I was never in.

~~ Paul
 
#29
Yes, we have discussed this before. Why do you think there are steps where selection cannot operate?
Because to mutate DNA from an existing protein to another with distinct functionality almost always involves many steps - but you know that already - the proteins are typically say 100 amino acids long, and the DNA three times as long (excluding promoter regions etc). The in-between steps offer no advantage at all to the organism. Even if they do offer some low level functionality of some sort, there is no reason why this should lead evolution to a high functionality protein. Remember that proteins typically fold to form their final, active form. Until a protein sequence gets close enough to a useful protein to fold the same way, it will not resemble the 'end result' in terms of functionality at all.

David
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#31
Because to mutate DNA from an existing protein to another with distinct functionality almost always involves many steps - but you know that already - the proteins are typically say 100 amino acids long, and the DNA three times as long (excluding promoter regions etc). The in-between steps offer no advantage at all to the organism.
Why would you assume this?

Even if they do offer some low level functionality of some sort, there is no reason why this should lead evolution to a high functionality protein.
Why not?

Remember that proteins typically fold to form their final, active form. Until a protein sequence gets close enough to a useful protein to fold the same way, it will not resemble the 'end result' in terms of functionality at all.
So what? A useful protein could mutate to a slightly different configuration that confers slightly more benefit. This can happen multiple times, leading to a protein significantly different from the original. And if this protein started with a duplication event, the original protein is still around to perform the original function.

Another possibility is that the second copy mutates into something no more useful or even possibly less useful, but piggybacks on the original copy. So the copy can undergo various changes without needing to be useful immediately. It can be relatively free from selection pressure for awhile.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neofunctionalization

~~ Paul
 
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Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#32
It often seems to be a big deal to those persons who recall an OBE which includes visual scenes apparently of their resuscitation on the operating table.
Right, I'm just suggesting that they have seen images of operating tables before and can elevate the imagined view so it appears they are seeing the table from above.

~~ Paul
 
#33
Right, I'm just suggesting that they have seen images of operating tables before and can elevate the imagined view so it appears they are seeing the table from above.
The research shows we do tend to recall older memories from a third person perspective, where as new memories still tend to be first person.

If you pick at the phenomena bit by bit, it's easy to pull it apart... but it's unsatisfactory as an explanation as far as I'm concerned... it doesn't address why anesthetized patients on the operating table who recall an OBE... often apparently recall information from the period of their resuscitation.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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Member
#34
If you pick at the phenomena bit by bit, it's easy to pull it apart... but it's unsatisfactory as an explanation as far as I'm concerned... it doesn't address why anesthetized patients on the operating table who recall an OBE... often apparently recall information from the period of their resuscitation.
You have to be careful about this period of resuscitation. Claims are made for recalling something when flatlined that actually occurred before or after. Also, it's really tough to control for what the patient hears afterward and then conflates with memories during the procedure. Not to mention the memories of the other people relaying the story.

(If you've never had a clear experience of conflating unrelated memories, you might take your memories a bit too literally.)

~~ Paul
 
#36
Why would you assume this?


Why not?


So what? A useful protein could mutate to a slightly different configuration that confers slightly more benefit. This can happen multiple times, leading to a protein significantly different from the original. And if this protein started with a duplication event, the original protein is still around to perform the original function.

Another possibility is that the second copy mutates into something no more useful or even possibly less useful, but piggybacks on the original copy. So the copy can undergo various changes without needing to be useful immediately. It can be relatively free from selection pressure for awhile.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neofunctionalization

~~ Paul
Well notice how small the change in function was in those examples - one antifreeze protein with some secondary enzymatic activity, transformed into another antifreeze gene without the enzymatic activity!

https://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/01/problem_3_rando/

In 2000 and 2004, protein scientist Douglas Axe published experimental research in the Journal of Molecular Biology on mutational sensitivity tests he performed on enzymes in bacteria.36 Enzymes are long chains of amino acids which fold into a specific, stable, three-dimensional shape in order to function. Mutational sensitivity experiments begin by mutating the amino acid sequences of those proteins, and then testing the mutant proteins to determine whether they can still fold into a stable shape, and function properly. Axe’s research found that amino acid sequences which yield stable, functional protein folds may be as rare as 1 in 10^74 sequences, suggesting that the vast majority of amino acid sequences will not produce stable proteins, and thus could not function in living organisms.
The problem isn't tweaking proteins that already perform a desired function, it is creating some new functionality. Protein space is clearly very sparsely populated with useful stuff!

Darwin's concept of incremental improvement by natural selection absolutely requires a space (of whatever molecules are relevant) that is pretty dense with functionality - otherwise you can't get from one island of functionality to the next. Indeed, I think he wrote something to that effect.

I find there is a strange process here of shuffling a pea around under shells - where the pea is the fact that a space that is very sparsely populated with functionality is essentially impossible to navigate by natural selection.

Let's try to get at this by an analogy. Suppose you take a car with an anolog radio inside of it. The radio isn't essential, and it kind of piggy backs on the car. Does this make it any more feasible to get the analog radio to morph into a digital one by successive changes - no it doesn't!

The problem is that however you cut and dice this problem, you still end up with a combinatorial nightmare (with numbers like 10^74) at some point in the process!

David
 
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#37
Paul,

Following on from the above, I think there is a wonderful parallel between DNA and binary computer code.

1) The code consists of a linear sequence of bits or bytes (which is equivalent, but makes the code slightly less boring to think about).

2) The relationship between the code and the 'phenotype' can be incredibly complex, and for example a change at any one place can affect zero, one, many, or every aspect of the phenotype).

3) Let's assume that most/all jump instructions are relative to the instruction pointer (as they are in PC's) because this makes random block code movements a little bit more viable than they otherwise might be.


Now imagine evolving a piece of binary code using natural selection. You can use any of the classical DNA mutational processes, random point mutation, random deletions, random copying of sections of code, and any others that you like to specify.

If you wish you can try out what happens, but I think I can guess what would happen.

1) A lot of mutations would appear to do nothing because the tests you use on the program didn't happen to require that bit of code (so these deleterious changes would accumulate over time.

2) Of the others, essentially all would cause the program to fault (die) before completion.

3) None would actually improve the code.

If on the other hand, you find this process is useful, feel free to use it to develop the next version of whatever you are working on!

David
 

Bart V

straw materialist
Member
#38
Well notice how small the change in function was in those examples - one antifreeze protein with some secondary enzymatic activity, transformed into another antifreeze gene without the enzymatic activity!

https://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/01/problem_3_rando/



The problem isn't tweaking proteins that already perform a desired function, it is creating some new functionality. Protein space is clearly very sparsely populated with useful stuff!

Darwin's concept of incremental improvement by natural selection absolutely requires a space (of whatever molecules are relevant) that is pretty dense with functionality - otherwise you can't get from one island of functionality to the next. Indeed, I think he wrote something to that effect.

I find there is a strange process here of shuffling a pea around under shells - where the pea is the fact that a space that is very sparsely populated with functionality is essentially impossible to navigate by natural selection.

Let's try to get at this by an analogy. Suppose you take a car with an anolog radio inside of it. The radio isn't essential, and it kind of piggy backs on the car. Does this make it any more feasible to get the analog radio to morph into a digital one by successive changes - no it doesn't!

The problem is that however you cut and dice this problem, you still end up with a combinatorial nightmare (with numbers like 10^74) at some point in the process!

David
Maybe time to update your sources, David:

How much of protein sequence space has been explored by life on Earth?

3. Discussion
Protein sequence space is often viewed as a limitless desert of maladjusted sequences with only a few oases of working sequences linked by narrow pathways (Axe 2000, 2004). The navigation over this space by natural selection is difficult and could take many different routes thus resulting in organisms with largely different protein compositions. This idea of contingency, if taken at the level of species, led Gould to suggest that if one was to rerun the ‘tape of life’ then evolution would take a totally different path and we, as a species, would only appear as a highly improbable accident (Gould 1991; Luisi 2003; de Duve 2007a,b). However, if there is any merit to our simple calculation then protein sequence analysis provides no support for the idea of contingency at a molecular level and it provides strong support for the ideas of convergence (Conway Morris 2000, 2004; Dawkins 2005; Vermeij 2006; de Duve 2007a,b).
If one was to rerun the tape, then the protein composition of organisms would be similar. Our calculation removes the almost impossibly unrealistic pressure on natural selection to navigate through protein sequence space avoiding the vast number of functionless sequences by simply indicating that most sequences have been tried are useful in some way, and that there are many possible routes to obtain proteins with desirable functions (Nagano et al. 2002; Anantharaman et al. 2003; Holliday et al. 2007).
Finally, we conclude that the number 20100 and similar large numbers (e.g. Salisbury 1969; Maynard Smith 1970; Mandecki 1998; Luisi 2003; Carrier 2004; de Duve 2005) are simply ‘straw men’ advanced to initiate discussion in the same spirit as the ‘Levinthal paradox’ of protein folding rates (Levinthal 1969; Zwanzig et al. 1992). 20100 is now no more useful than the approximate 2×101 834 097 books present in Borges' (1999) fantastical ‘Library of Babel’ and has no connection with the real world of amino acids and proteins. Hence, we hope that our calculation will also rule out any possible use of this big numbers ‘game’ to provide justification for postulating divine intervention (Bradley 2004; Dembski 2004).
Bolding mine.

Of course, since i am to stupid to understand what they are saying, i leave it to your incredible depth of multidisciplinary knowledge to judge if this has any relevance to what the DI says about this subject.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#39
Now imagine evolving a piece of binary code using natural selection. You can use any of the classical DNA mutational processes, random point mutation, random deletions, random copying of sections of code, and any others that you like to specify.

If you wish you can try out what happens, but I think I can guess what would happen.

1) A lot of mutations would appear to do nothing because the tests you use on the program didn't happen to require that bit of code (so these deleterious changes would accumulate over time.

2) Of the others, essentially all would cause the program to fault (die) before completion.

3) None would actually improve the code.

If on the other hand, you find this process is useful, feel free to use it to develop the next version of whatever you are working on!
Multiple evolution simulators use this technique with interesting results.

http://avida.devosoft.org/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/sci...simulated-life-forms-evolve-intelligence.html


~~ Paul
 
#40
Of course, since i am to stupid to understand what they are saying, i leave it to your incredible depth of multidisciplinary knowledge to judge if this has any relevance to what the DI says about this subject.
Be careful - this is a place for discussion, not sneering. You haven't really veered in this direction before, and I do want to keep discussion on this forum civil.

I suspect your link is a bit out on a limb. Here are some estimates based on actual data.

https://boammaaruri.blog/2016/12/26...in-sequence-space-for-genetic-novelty-part-1/

https://boammaaruri.blog/2017/01/15...in-sequence-space-for-genetic-novelty-part-2/

In your link, they got a really low estimate of 10^10 by assuming that amino acids could be coarsely grouped into hydrophilic ones and hydrophobic ones! Well, I am sure you could reduce the number of amino acids slightly (if starting life all over again), but those amino acids vary in a whole variety of ways - for example their bulk, and whether they contain SH groups etc. The shape of the amino acids is critical because the protein has to fold twice, to become active (there may be exceptions, I don't know).

David
 
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