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 Post subject: Doug Axe “Undeniable”
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:30 pm 
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It’s been awhile since I last read an Intelligent Design book.
I was big into it for sometime, but Edward Feser knocked most of my interest in it out (not that I don’t think there’s an intelligent designer)...

But Doug Axe was a guy I had heard much about back in my ID days. As erudite as a scientist could be, he did research in a lab headed by the foremost scientist in protein folding (Dr Alan Fersht).

Places that tried to criticize Doug Axe (Panda’sThumb) did a mumbled job of it....primarily because they didn’t seem to really understand what Axe was saying.

So a book by Doug Axe was enough to rekindle my interest.
The book covers the issue of post-transcriptional protein folding. And how unlikely it is that a mutation in a gene segment will yield a protein that will be able to cleanly fold in on itself (opposed to being broken down and tossed out by the cellular machinery that takes care of unfolded amino acid sequences).

The bigger issue: how does an unguided process even give us gene sequences that would be able to yield any functional protein when most of that potential protein sequence space is full of dead ends (proteins that can’t properly fold in on themselves)?

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 Post subject: Re: Doug Axe “Undeniable”
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:44 pm 
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One thing I forgot to add:
His writing style is incredibly easy to digest.
The topic, though heady, is explained in ways that can reach the understanding of the non-specialist.

Whether they’re ultimately right or wrong many of these ID authors (specifically Behe, Stephen Meyer, and Axe) are very good at writing clear and engaging books.

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 Post subject: Re: Doug Axe “Undeniable”
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:37 pm 
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I have thought for some time that Feser is too harsh on ID. I grant his point that it is not conclusive evidence, but it certainly is enough to make a materialist go, "Hmmmm."

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 Post subject: Re: Doug Axe “Undeniable”
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:40 pm 
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There are a number of problems with undirected processes that conserve the best mutations. On the other hand, the most recent blunder in Biology has to do with 'Junk DNA," supposedly left over material from an allegedly long evolutionary period/time scale. More and more, scientists are finding that the junk, or more properly, non-coding (for proteins) regions do have function that can affect other parts of the genome. Reading through the science journals, scientists are still at the trial and error stage regarding individual switches that control the flow of materials in cells. A switch, for example, stays on for a given period of time and shuts off. This in concert with other switches.

In the document Communion and Stewardship, the Church provides precise language regarding science and God, which is something science cannot do. It is critical information.

"But it is important to note that, according to the Catholic understanding of divine causality, true contingency in the created order is not incompatible with a purposeful divine providence. Divine causality and created causality radically differ in kind and not only in degree. Thus, even the outcome of a truly contingent natural process can nonetheless fall within God’s providential plan for creation. According to St. Thomas Aquinas: “The effect of divine providence is not only that things should happen somehow, but that they should happen either by necessity or by contingency. Therefore, whatsoever divine providence ordains to happen infallibly and of necessity happens infallibly and of necessity; and that happens from contingency, which the divine providence conceives to happen from contingency” (Summa theologiae, I, 22,4 ad 1). In the Catholic perspective, neo-Darwinians who adduce random genetic variation and natural selection as evidence that the process of evolution is absolutely unguided are straying beyond what can be demonstrated by science. Divine causality can be active in a process that is both contingent and guided. Any evolutionary mechanism that is contingent can only be contingent because God made it so. An unguided evolutionary process – one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence – simply cannot exist because “the causality of God, Who is the first agent, extends to all being, not only as to constituent principles of species, but also as to the individualizing principles....It necessarily follows that all things, inasmuch as they participate in existence, must likewise be subject to divine providence” (Summa theologiae I, 22, 2).'


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 Post subject: Re: Doug Axe “Undeniable”
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:52 pm 
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I really like this book but here’s an example of more philosophic reasoning that Feser took exception with. From the book:

Quote:
According to the Oxford dictionary, a whole is “a thing that is complete in itself.” Spiders and pool robots are wholes in this sense, whereas piles of sand and thunderstorms are not. Conditions that shorten a thunderstorm or actions that divide a sand pile leave us with things that are comparable to the original, though smaller. By contrast, dissection of a spider or disassembly of a pool robot leaves us with remnants or pieces –things that aren’t at all comparable to the wholes from which they came.

The same can be said of a carbon atom or of the sun – both have characteristics that don’t come from a simple sum of their parts- yet neither of these objects manifests intent the way a spider and a pool robot do. We therefore have in the spider and the pool robot examples of a special kind of whole-the kind that manifests intent by undertaking and completing a project.



The problem is with Axe’s comment on “intent”…. That there’s a special kind of intent on the part of a spider that a star lacks. But in the context ‘intent’ is simply the ‘final cause’ of a thing. Its directedness towards a particular end. Axe comments on the end/final cause of a spider because it’s very apparent in the case of weaving a web. But a star, an atom, a thunderstorm, sand all have an end as well. They all have a final cause or a range of ends that they are directed towards.

Axe is bringing this concept into the discussion to start his talk on “common science”, a type of science that even a non-technical person can engage in. But it’s founded on shaky groundwork with his incomplete understanding of intent. Which again, is no different than final cause or end that a thing is directed towards.

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 Post subject: Re: Doug Axe “Undeniable”
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:04 pm 
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p.falk wrote:
I really like this book but here’s an example of more philosophic reasoning that Feser took exception with. From the book:

Quote:
According to the Oxford dictionary, a whole is “a thing that is complete in itself.” Spiders and pool robots are wholes in this sense, whereas piles of sand and thunderstorms are not. Conditions that shorten a thunderstorm or actions that divide a sand pile leave us with things that are comparable to the original, though smaller. By contrast, dissection of a spider or disassembly of a pool robot leaves us with remnants or pieces –things that aren’t at all comparable to the wholes from which they came.

The same can be said of a carbon atom or of the sun – both have characteristics that don’t come from a simple sum of their parts- yet neither of these objects manifests intent the way a spider and a pool robot do. We therefore have in the spider and the pool robot examples of a special kind of whole-the kind that manifests intent by undertaking and completing a project.



The problem is with Axe’s comment on “intent”…. That there’s a special kind of intent on the part of a spider that a star lacks. But in the context ‘intent’ is simply the ‘final cause’ of a thing. Its directedness towards a particular end. Axe comments on the end/final cause of a spider because it’s very apparent in the case of weaving a web. But a star, an atom, a thunderstorm, sand all have an end as well. They all have a final cause or a range of ends that they are directed towards.

Axe is bringing this concept into the discussion to start his talk on “common science”, a type of science that even a non-technical person can engage in. But it’s founded on shaky groundwork with his incomplete understanding of intent. Which again, is no different than final cause or end that a thing is directed towards.



There is a difference between the intent of living things and the end result or set of possible outcomes for non-living things.


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 Post subject: Re: Doug Axe “Undeniable”
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:06 pm 
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I agree... but in the passage quoted it would be hard to see it other than Axe talking about the end of various things; and end in the sense of a final cause.

The book is still good, I just wish he wouldn’t have made this point.
It just reminds me of Feser’s criticisms of similar thinks Dembski was saying.

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 Post subject: Re: Doug Axe “Undeniable”
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:01 am 
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Either the universe and all the things in it, follow mechanistic patterns or not. A human being, for example, is not just a biological device.


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 Post subject: Re: Doug Axe “Undeniable”
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:01 pm 
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I’m almost done with this book and I hate to say it, but it’s been a letdown.

I was really thinking the main focus of this book would be Axe’s work with protein folding, but that was only discussed minimally.

This feels like a very basic introduction into intelligent design. Resting on his idea of “design intuition” which when spelt out feels not very different from Behe’s “irreducible complexity”... there are differences but still saying essentially the same thing.
And I like Behe’s notion..... but I didn’t get this book for another ID primer.
Considering that all of the hubbub surrounding Axe was his work with protein folding.

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 Post subject: Re: Doug Axe “Undeniable”
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:29 am 
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This book.... I can’t finish it soon enough.
Axe will actually say something like “this simple thought experiment of mine ‘should convince everyone’ that materialism is false.” Then he goes on to give a groan inducing hypothetical dialog between the rational, level headed theist and some ignorant, imperious scientist who’s a materialist.

How his book went from an extrapolation from the work he did on proteins to wrist flicking away the philosophical support for materialism with corny examples is impressive.

I don’t want to argue for materialism, but ham fisted approaches like this just grind my gears.

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Last edited by p.falk on Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Doug Axe “Undeniable”
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:47 pm 
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Here’s an example of how highly Axe thinks of himself.
He gives a very brief argument as to why the brain is more than a computer.
He says that even more impressive than this is the fact that the brain is “arguably the most outstanding physical invention ever to exist”.

Then word for word he says: “Take a moment to let the significance of this send shivers down your spine”.

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