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   How to write a riddle
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Slane
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How to write a riddle  
« on: Mar 30th, 2003, 7:23am »
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Well i need help for my english poject we have to have 10 poems they coudl be are own or someone elses's but if we write are own we get extra credit i have wrote 7 so far but i want a riddle one to. So how exaclty is the proper way to write a riddle. I am completly lost on how to write one. I know that u write it keeping the answer a secert identity but everytime i try i tell what it is. Does it have to have a rhyme scheme.
 
Thanks in advance for all your help.
 
P.S. the riddles at the site are cool.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #1 on: Mar 30th, 2003, 11:03pm »
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The great thing about riddles is that they follow no conventional form.  If you want some help in writing riddles as poetry I suggest you look at the examples posted in the "What Am I" section for pointers.  Rhyme, if any, is up to you.
 
One possible way to approach it is to start with the answer, anything you want.  Here I will use paper.  Then, think of aspects of it other than the way it is currently imagined.  It comes from trees.  You can even then lay in a second level of trickery by thinking of an obscure way to refer to that:
 
Child of towers that cover the land.
From their carcass I am taken.
 
OK, now lets approach it from another angle.  They are part of books, which you could refer to as volumes.  Can't think of a good way to approach volumes, but we have:
 
Bearer of knowledge.
Stained with blackness to give meaning.
 
Maybe a third direction.
 
Holder of frozen thought.
Repository of adventures.
 
Now lets try and put them together and include some rhyme (because I happen to like that).
 
 
A child of towers that cover the land,
from who's murder I'm born, a crime unpunished by man.
 
Stained in dark blood with careful design,
holder of knowledge that now becomes mine.
 
Though thoughtless I am I can tell you a tale,
to chill you or thrill you in minute detail.
 
 
Done.  Took about ten minutes start to finish.  Of course it sucks, but you get what you put in.  Maybe with some reworking and a lot of changes with the first stanza who's meter is currently nonexistent it would be a decent riddle.  Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: Mar 30th, 2003, 11:05pm by aero_guy » IP Logged
Selina
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #2 on: Oct 4th, 2005, 10:17am »
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I have a math project due and I need help on how to write a Mystery Number Riddle It has to have 3-5 clue and 4 prime time words and the riddle has to lead the reader to one number the clues are
 
1. Mulitable of 2-7
 
2. Number has to be less than 100 bigger than 50
 
3. The number product has to be 3 primes and none are the same
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #3 on: Oct 4th, 2005, 7:29pm »
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Okay, I have some questions:
(1) What do you mean by "prime time words"?
(2) What do you mean by "the number product"? And how can it be 3 different numbers?
(3) Do you mean that the number has to be a multiple of some number between 2 and 7, or that it is can be written as the product of numbers between 2 and 7, or perhaps something else?
(4) Are you saying that the riddle has to include these three clues, plus some others to make the answer unique? Or are these three clues an example of such a mystery number riddle, and you are to create another one?
 
Until you clarify these matters, all the help I can give you is to say that your riddle will be much better received if you clearly explain it (as will anything else you write).
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #4 on: Oct 4th, 2005, 11:28pm »
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hey selina.
Afraid I'd have to agree with Icarus on this one.  
Although, you could polish this and enter it as your riddle...
 
What I make of it is:
The answer has to be a multiple of 2,3,4,5,6,7
(ignoring the 5, then 84 would work.)
 
50<84<100, so that's okay on the second one.
 
The number product... am guessing that is the number produced  has 3 prime factors? (but that's just another way of saying the first clue. Infact, a better way of saying the first clue- there's more understanding required.
Incidently, that's where 84 falls down (possibly, depending on your rules) because you could say it has four factors 2, 2, 3,7.. .and the 2 2's are the same...
 
Problem I don't know if I'm helping or hindering, and if I am helping whether that's helpful?
« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2005, 11:32pm by Noke Lieu » IP Logged

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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #5 on: Oct 7th, 2005, 8:14pm »
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im kinda wondering also how to write a riddle.
not the ryhming sphinx type of riddle but a nice almost mathy riddle/problem. how is it that most of the ones on this site are so elegant and logical? i mean, its simple to make up riddles that require only complicated math and a Ti 84+ silver edition calculator but how do you get a problem where the solution is just so... bueatiful? like the pirates and gold one and the suicidal monks and the egg dropping... I guess you can tweak the problems a little but they would be still the same problem.
 
What is the thought process required to create a original riddle?
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #6 on: Oct 8th, 2005, 5:06am »
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on Oct 7th, 2005, 8:14pm, sheep wrote:
im kinda wondering also how to write a riddle.
not the ryhming sphinx type of riddle but a nice almost mathy riddle/problem. how is it that most of the ones on this site are so elegant and logical? i mean, its simple to make up riddles that require only complicated math and a Ti 84+ silver edition calculator but how do you get a problem where the solution is just so... bueatiful? like the pirates and gold one and the suicidal monks and the egg dropping... I guess you can tweak the problems a little but they would be still the same problem.
 
What is the thought process required to create a original riddle?

In my opinion, the key point is the moment where you go "That's interesting" about some result you encounter - for example, if you make the following diagram: start with the 4 corners and the center of a square with side length 2, and draw circles of unit raidus round each of those points, then fit the largest possible circle into one of the four corner circles without it overlapping the central circle, and then calculate the area of that corner circle that doesn't overlap with any of the other circles, you get quite a nice result - the region in question is known as Leonardo's Claws after Leonardo da Vinci
 
In other words, one way to construct a good puzzle is to start with the answer and work out what you need to offer for someone to be able to find the answer - without giving it away or allowing (too many) other answers. And most of the more elegant maths puzzles on this site were in circulation elsewhere before they were posted here - in most cases long enough to polish the wording.
 
Other people may have other approaches to creating puzzles, but mine is definitely to start with the answer, construct a puzzle that (only) leads to that answer, and then try it out on people until the rough edges get smoothed out.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #7 on: Oct 8th, 2005, 10:25am »
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ah! starting with the answer.
but the hard thing is that if you have a solution in mind, its hard to find just the right hints to give. like who would have thought that having smart and greedy pirates think of ideas would yield to the first pirate giving all the even pirates gold ?
how do you come up with that?
i have to think about other riddles i've seen to generate clues but i want to get away from that. it's boring to see a hundred "pirates and gold" problems and ...
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #8 on: Oct 8th, 2005, 6:35pm »
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I think those riddles are more commonly created by noting an unexpected result in mathematics - one that seems to twist in ways that defy your intuition, and then figuring out how to express that result in a puzzle. That at least is how I created my "Trianglia II" puzzle (which is not nearly as good as the ones you mentioned), and I am sure is true also of the "Trianglia" puzzle that preceeded it (that someone else came up with). The same is true of my "For the Honor of Hufflepuff", whose first part is just a rewrite of someone else's "Impish Pixie" puzzle (posted here by Thud & Blunder, but invented by someone else). [I mention my own puzzles because I know how they were created, and thus can speak with authority about them. I only wish I were good enough to come up with something like "Red Eyes, Brown Eyes".]
 
Often a puzzle will start life as an intriguing variant of a previous puzzle, such as my Honor of Hufflepuff, which I created after noting a way around the situation in Impish Pixie. In the Pirate puzzle, I originally misinterpreted the wording, and realized that my interpretation was intriguing in its own right. That one I posted within the same thread (which I now regret!) as a variant of the same puzzle. But it would have been better if I had been inventive enough to come up with a new puzzle about the same idea. I have seen several puzzles that were probably invented from others in this fashion.
 
Another source, for simple puzzles in particular, is from everyday confusions. I would be entirely unsurprised if the "3 Men and a Hotel Room" puzzle came from a real life event wherein someone was trying to add something up and kept coming up short because he made the same mistake as is given in that puzzle.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #9 on: Oct 10th, 2005, 7:25am »
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i like ur signature.
and ur riddles. thx!
arg! i dont see the mistake in the three men hotel thing Angry
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #10 on: Oct 10th, 2005, 3:11pm »
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Thanks. I admit I was inspired to add that by your signature, though the idea has been in my head for quite a while. I have noticed people accepting the most ludicrous ideas because "you have to keep an open mind". The way that so many people interpret the phrase "open-minded", it is not something desirable at all, but rather a way to turn your head into jelly.
 
Others interpret "keeping an open mind" as "accepting everything I tell you". You can recognize these because they like to complain about how close-minded others are. It never seems to occur to them to apply the same standards to themselves.
 
Therefore I prefer to be "critical-minded". I.e., I examine each idea presented to me (and those I already hold), to see if it makes sense and is supported, and will not accept it unless it is. (At least, that's the theory...Roll Eyes)
 
Concerning the 3 men and a hotel room puzzle, ignore the puzzle's summation and track where the money goes yourself. Once you have that figured out, it should be clear what the mistake was. What makes it a good puzzle is that it sounds so reasonable that it leads you right into making the same mistake.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #11 on: Oct 10th, 2005, 4:24pm »
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ha! i see. i shouldnt have kept my mind like an open trash can. yay i finally solved the hotel men puzzle.
 
there's two types of fools in the world - open minded fools and close minded fools. I do agree with you about processing the information before accepting it (something im obviously not great at)
but also, open minded can mean being WILLING to look at things from multiple perspectives and after thinking over everything, picking one.  
Closeminded people or narrowminded people can mean stubbornly sticking to an idea without any justifiable reason.
when people accept "ludicrous ideas" i think they Usually mean accepting them as ideas/theories and allowing others to believe them. I mean, FSM for example. I call my self a pastafarian just to make a point about openmindedness... and Dover PA.
the notion of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is ludicrous, if anything is but its not any more so than Intellegent Design (to an athiest anyhow).  
but i see what you mean
anyhow, your sig is really cool. would you mind if i stole it?... and gave credit to you?  Smiley
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #12 on: Oct 10th, 2005, 9:57pm »
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glad you got the riddle. Feel free to make any use of the signature that you wish. Attribution is not necessary.
 
Note that I said the interpretation of "open-minded" that I object to is that of "some people". Open-mindedness is supposed to be very much what I describe as "critical minded". I.e., it doesn't mean accept everything. But I have seen the concept abused so much that I no longer care for the term, as there are many people who tend to view it by these misconceived notions.
 
But you are falling for the other trap I mentioned. "open-minded", "close-minded", and "narrow-minded", are grossly misused terms in political debates, and particularly for the issue you mention. Rather than being honest judgments, "narrow-minded" and "closed minded" are used as whips to attack opponents because they do not agree with you.
 
Have you even tried to understand the other side's point of view? Quite frankly, if you think the "Spagetti Monster" is apropos, then you have not. The spagetti monster is merely an attempt to mock ID. It does not in any way address the actual issues of ID. If you have simply accepted what one side has said of the other in a debate, and made no attempt to understand the arguments of the other side, then it is you, not them, who is being narrow-minded. Note that you do not have to agree with the other side, just make an honest attempt to see where they are coming from.
 
In case you haven't noticed, you have just hit a hot button for me. Because science and scientific reasoning is under serious attack, but not from those who are portrayed as attacking it. Rather, the true enemy are those who are most vocal in its "defense". They have prevented any hope of real science education, opting instead for a dogmatic system in which high priests ("Scientists") deliver holy doctrine through indoctrination centers ("schools"), that must not ever be examined or questioned.
 
You think I am exaggerating? Not at all. This establishment is arguing that not only is such heresy as I.D. not to be mentioned, but even the suggestion that evolution is theory and not established fact is not to be allowed. Evidence that might call evolution into question must not be mentioned in the classroom.
 
THIS IS NOT SCIENCE!

 
Real science accepts only directly observed phenomena as facts. Real science not only allows questioning of every idea, IT DEMANDS IT! Real science judges ideas strictly on the basis of evidence. These people reject I.D. because "it invokes the supernatural". Thereby, they attempt to entrench a strictly religious concept ("supernatural") as science! Exactly what they (falsely) accuse their opponents of!
 
When confronted with this hypocrisy, they claim "there is not one shred of evidence for I.D.", thereby revealing a couple things about themselves:
  • They have paid no attention to what their opponents are saying, as any I.D. supporter can give you plenty of evidence (see the next point).
  • They do not understand the nature of evidence. I can give you evidence that the earth is in fact the back of a giant turtle. In particular, it is curved just like a turtle back. Yes, this is evidence. Just because there is an alternate explanation that explains not just this observation, but many more besides, does not change the fact that this is also evidence for the giant turtle theory.

 
You almost certainly think at this point that I am an Intelligent Design supporter. Well, you are wrong. I am a science supporter. My only interest in the intelligent design debate is that true science is not destroyed. I.D. can sink or swim on its own scientific merits, but it should be on scientific merits that is judged. The reasons I.D. opponents have been giving for their opposition have not been scientific at all.  
 
I love the one about how "No credible scientist supports I.D.". Of course not! By their definition, anyone found supporting I.D. is not considered credible! In fact, the basics of I.D. has been accepted by the vast majority of scientists both historically, and in the present. Even atheistic scientists (Edward Teller, for example) have accepted the central idea (that our existance had some sort of guiding intelligent principle), though they do not think of it as I.D., and certainly not as the action of a god.
 
Even more interesting to me is how so many I.D. opponents actually advocate I.D. while arguing against it: "Why can't they accept that God created mankind by evolution?", apparently never realizing that guided evolution falls within the realm of I.D. This once again demonstrates how I.D. opponents have never even listened to find out what the theory they are so actively fighting is about.
 
Yet, they insist that I.D. supporters, who are generally well-versed in evolutionary theory, are narrow or closed minded.
 
Once again, am I advocating I.D.? No - there is not one argument for I.D. in the above. The arguments I gave are all against I.D. opponents who pretend to be open-minded and scientific, when in fact they are being close-minded and religious.  
 
If you want to stand against I.D., stand against it as a scientific theory (please nobody repeat the ridiculous mantra about it not being a scientific theory - all that does is demonstrate once again your failure to understand what a scientific theory is - just about anything can be offered as a scientific theory). How do you do that? First, FOUND OUT WHAT THE THEORY IS! (If you don't know the basic ideas of the theory you are opposing, SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN!) Second, find out what evidence supporters are offering in support. Third, show how this evidence can be explained by your theory. Fourth, find evidence for your theory that cannot be explained (or not easily) by the opposing theory.
Fifth (and best), make predictions for future observations based on your theory and the opposing theory. Perform the observations to see which best matches the results.
 
A good scientific theory needs to satisfy two criteria:
(1) It explains past observations, and
(2) It allows successful prediction of future observations.
 
The more successful a theory is at meeting both of these criteria, the more accepted it should be. If you want to argue that I.D. should not be taught, then show that it performs miserably as compared to evolution in explaining past observations. (DON'T JUST SAY THAT IT DOES! Find out what it actually says and SHOW that it does!) And/or show that evolution does a far better job of predicting future observations.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #13 on: Oct 10th, 2005, 11:28pm »
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on Oct 10th, 2005, 9:57pm, Icarus wrote:
Real science accepts only directly observed phenomena as facts.
In how far that's true depends on what you accept as directly obeserved. Just look at the amount of instrumentation we need to put between some phenomena and us to observe them.
And there is usually interpretation between observation and fact (in fact, there must be, because we cannot otherwise describe the facts).
 
Quote:
A good scientific theory needs to satisfy two criteria:
(1) It explains past observations, and
(2) It allows successful prediction of future observations.
What about falsifiability?
Or Occam's razor?
You can add God, or FSM or kittens to any theories without changing the predictions made. But that doesn't make it an equally good theory, imo.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #14 on: Oct 11th, 2005, 6:45am »
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Fair point about falsifiability, Towr. Generally, if a theory or explanation cannot be falsified through empirical testing, it should not be considered a scientific theory/explanation. Most people either suggest I.D. is false due to the lack of evidence for God, or true based on the same evidence, suggesting that empirical evidence is insufficient to verify or falsify such a claim. Hence, I would not consider I.D. a scientific theory, but a religious theory instead.
 
As for Occam's razor, while it is a good principle, it is not always correct to invoke it - sometimes the "simplest" explanation is not the correct one, assuming you can determine which is the "simplest" explanation. But yes, adding unrequired factors in an explanation does not improve the position - and can in fact weaken the initial claim.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #15 on: Oct 11th, 2005, 11:57am »
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Falsifiability is embedded in the requirement to make (detailed) predictions.
 
OK, if you neglect the requirement for the predictions to be detailed, you get theories like "the universe is run by an incomprehensible being" which make predictions like "something will happen tomorrow", but explain the past in great detail by analysing the supposed moods of this hypothetical being - but that's an issue to do with the quality of predictions rather than an entirely separate requirement.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #16 on: Oct 11th, 2005, 4:27pm »
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rmsgrey is correct: Falsifiability is built in to the second condition. Pardon that I did not elaborate on these points, but a theory that successfully makes detailed predictions is more successful at predicting than one which only makes loose, general predictions, regardless of whether those predictions bear up.
 
on Oct 11th, 2005, 6:45am, Three Hands wrote:
Generally, if a theory or explanation cannot be falsified through empirical testing, it should not be considered a scientific theory/explanation. Most people either suggest I.D. is false due to the lack of evidence for God, or true based on the same evidence, suggesting that empirical evidence is insufficient to verify or falsify such a claim. Hence, I would not consider I.D. a scientific theory, but a religious theory instead.

 
Most people either suggest that Evolution is false due to the lack of evidence for intermediate forms, or true based on the same evidence, suggesting that empirical evidence is insufficient to verify or falsify such a claim. Hence, you should also not consider Evolution a scientific theory, but a religious theory instead.
 
I.e., Three Hands, your argument doesn't hold water. The fact is, most people (more particularly, most scientists), are not really aware of what evidence there is for or against the existance of God. Very few have ever tried to examine the issue from an evidential point of view, and most of those who claimed to, in fact started with a predetermined position, and unsurprisingly end by claiming that the evidence supported the position they held at the start (I have seen a number of examples of this on both sides). I am aware myself of only one person who started with a predetermined position on one side of the issue, but was convinced by the evidence that the other side was correct. There probably are others, though.
 
However, even though few have ever examined God on the basis of evidence, many have been quite vocal about their beliefs on the matter, and like to claim there is no evidence, or that evidence abounds. That they come to different conclusions based on ignorance does not in any way mean that I.D. is not falsifiable.
 
In fact, I.D. makes a prediction that is as specific as any made by Evolution, and is just as much addressable by evidence: That there should exist biological structures too complex to have happened simply by chance and the mechanisms of Evolution. Structures that do not have simpler versions leading up to them that would provide any sort of evolutionary advantage to the creatures possessing them.
 
The existance of such a structure would be extremely difficult to explain by unguided evolution. The failure of such a structure to exist, while not entirely disproving I.D., does cast strong doubt on it. I.D. advocates put forth the eye as such a structure. I have not heard a reply to this, but I am doubtful that it qualifies.
 
-----------------------------------
 
Both falsification (the ability to disprove the theory) and Occam's razor are guides to selecting between theories, but are not requirements for a scientific theory. Numerous theories are accepted in science that are not falsifiable. Archeology is filled with them. When true falsifiability is present, it is an desirable trait, but it's absence does not mean the theory should be rejected. Rather, its overall ability to explain and predict are what it is judged by.
 
Occam's razor will actually mislead you. When there is no other way of judging between two theories, Occam's razor is a good choice. But only if both theories explain current evidence equally well and do equally well at predicting new ones. And even then, the conclusion of Occam's razor should not be given great confidence.
 
Too see why, suppose someone had come up with the concept of special relativity back in the 16th or 17th century. It would have explained all observable phenomena just as well as Newtonian mechanics did - it predictions would be the same, to within measurement error. Since there was no means of determining which was correct, Occam's razor would tell you to go with the simpler Newtonian mechanics. Yet we now know that relativity is true.
 
--------------------------------------------------------
 
towr is of course correct about observations needing to be interpreted. Even your sensory perceptions are subject to the question of how accurately do they represent reality. (For schizophrenics, they sometimes do not. For the rest of us, we can only assume that they do.) But this is hair-splitting to the side of my main points.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #17 on: Oct 12th, 2005, 3:07am »
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on Oct 11th, 2005, 4:27pm, Icarus wrote:
I.D. advocates put forth the eye as such a structure. I have not heard a reply to this, but I am doubtful that it qualifies.
One of the appeals of evolution is that you can apply it easily in many domains. It's quite popular in computer science, as you may know.
So it shouldn't surprise you that people took the effort to see if they could evolve an eye, selecting only on actual positive improvements (which really isn't required by evolution; as long as the bearer reproduces his traits may survive). And the proto-eye did evolve to a 'real' eye in some 2500 steps, I think.
Admittedly I don't know all the details, there's probably many points where you can detract from the result.
 
I don't know enough about ID to say how applicable it is. If human-quided evolution counts as ID, then it's certainly applicable (although that particular example falls equally well under normal evolution. It doesn't actually matter what does the selection)
 
Quote:
Both falsification (the ability to disprove the theory) and Occam's razor are guides to selecting between theories, but are not requirements for a scientific theory.
That depends on what philosopher of science you ask. For Feyerabend everything goes, but for Popper falsification is a must. Kuhn and Lakatos even argue for some dogmatism in science.
 
Of course you may also need to make a distinction between what realm of science you're dealing with as well. There are some fundamental difference between exact sciences and social sciences for example. For instance there's ethical concerns with the kind of experiments you can do.  
And you can't exactly repeat history either (although you can wait to see if something happens again). There must be some leniency in the face of impossibility.  
 
Quote:
towr is of course correct about observations needing to be interpreted. Even your sensory perceptions are subject to the question of how accurately do they represent reality. (For schizophrenics, they sometimes do not. For the rest of us, we can only assume that they do.) But this is hair-splitting to the side of my main points.
It's not meant to be. It's just to say that people may take fundamentally different views at the same evidence. Both taking it as supporting their worldview and disclaiming the others.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #18 on: Oct 12th, 2005, 3:24pm »
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I don't believe I ever suggested that Evolution does count as a scientific theory, but with evolution, it at least posits the existence of intermediate forms (detailed prediction), which would arguably strengthen its case, but not necessarily verify it - another thing I never claimed should be required for a scientific theory. As far as I know, ID makes no similar predictions about what further evidence might be discovered, beyond proof of God existing (something I doubt is ever going to be achieved).
 
I was generally following the view proposed by Popper as to how science should conduct itself, due to the problems outlined by Hume in actually determining things such as causation and the inability to really trust inductive reasoning. This approach to science seems to be the only way around such issues, and seems to me a sensible way of viewing science, if possibly overly sceptical about the possibility of accurate predictions.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #19 on: Oct 13th, 2005, 3:08pm »
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on Oct 11th, 2005, 4:27pm, Icarus wrote:
In fact, I.D. makes a prediction that is as specific as any made by Evolution, and is just as much addressable by evidence: That there should exist biological structures too complex to have happened simply by chance and the mechanisms of Evolution. Structures that do not have simpler versions leading up to them that would provide any sort of evolutionary advantage to the creatures possessing them.
 
The existance of such a structure would be extremely difficult to explain by unguided evolution. The failure of such a structure to exist, while not entirely disproving I.D., does cast strong doubt on it. I.D. advocates put forth the eye as such a structure. I have not heard a reply to this, but I am doubtful that it qualifies.

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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #20 on: Oct 14th, 2005, 12:47am »
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But how can you test this prediction?
 
There are a few examples of complex structures that come from an increddibly simple rule.  Think of  the Mandelbrot set or the Game of Life.
 
And and intelligent design doesn't have to be complex.  So it isn't even a criteria to disprove ID.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #21 on: Oct 14th, 2005, 8:06pm »
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You can test it by looking for such structures. The harder and longer you look without finding such, the less likely it is that they exist. This is the nature of science. Seldom is there ever a smoking gun that gives it all away. Instead you have to be slow, methodical, and build up evidence to make alternatives to your theory unlikely. But you can never disprove them entirely.
 
And no, such a structure is not an absolute necessity for I.D. to be true. But then, can you name me one bit of evidence that is an absolute necessity for evolution to be true? Evolution has had spectacular failures amonst its predictions. For example, shortly after Charles Darwin popularized the idea, it was predicted that organisms would have vestigial organs, left over from earlier stages in their evolution, and still in the genetic programming, but no longer serving any purpose in the modern organism. With this prediction, a selection of 120 organs (not just major organs but numerous small ones) in the human body were identified as being vestigial. But as medical science progressed, we kept learning what these so-called vestigial organs were for. That supposed vestigial tail? Should never have been on the list in the first place. If you should lose yours, you will quickly discover the important role it plays as a muscle anchor (which was known at the time). The Laranx? A part of your imune system. You can get along without it, but you are better with it. The appendix? Loads of excess capacity, yes, but our failure to need it is only because our diet is unhealthy.
 
Slowly that list of 120 has dwindled down to 0. Did this failure mean the end of Evolution? Obviously not. Instead the prediction was re-examined, and the theory adapted to account for it.
 
Do not set a different standard for I.D., or for anything other theory. Rare is the scientific theory that has what you are demanding from I.D.. The lack does not make it untestable. It just means that no test is 100% sure. But that is almost always the case.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #22 on: Oct 16th, 2005, 7:17am »
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What is ID?
What does it actually entail.  
 
Obviously if I implement evolution on a computer to optimise some solution, I may be tempted to prod here and there myself to speed improvement (which may or may not actually be beneficial, mind you). Does that qualify as ID rather than evolution?
 
For that matter, what are we talking about evolution wise. Diversification of species? Or just the proces itself.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #23 on: Oct 17th, 2005, 4:02pm »
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Good questions, and ones that I cannot particularly answer. I said before that I am not advocating I.D., just that it be approached scientifically. My rant is because I keep seeing people, including many who should know better, argue against I.D. with arguments that either obviously ignorant of what I.D. is, or that amount to attempting to pass off the the person's own religious views as being "science" (usually while strongly condemning I.D. supporters for doing this, when the I.D. supporters weren't).
 
And in particular, because I keep seeing people insulting the intelligence and objectivity of I.D. supporters, when they themselves are not aquainted with either.
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Re: How to write a riddle  
« Reply #24 on: Oct 19th, 2005, 1:54am »
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on Oct 11th, 2005, 4:27pm, Icarus wrote:

 
I.D. advocates put forth the eye as such a structure. I have not heard a reply to this, but I am doubtful that it qualifies.
 

 
I don’t want to (and probably can’t) go into the ID dispute. I do want to mention, though, that in “the blind watchmaker”, Richard Dawkins addresses the eye issue. He discusses it at length, but I will try to describe what he said in short:
 
Let’s try to answer these 2 questions:
1.Could the human eye appear in a single step from no eye?
2.Could the human eye appear from something slightly different (which we will call X)?
 
The answer to 1 is definitely “no”. However, Dawkins claims that for 2 it’s a “yes” given the modern eye and X are close enough. If you don’t think the eye could appear from X, think of a different X from which it could.
 
Having found X, ask the same about X itself – could it appear from another, slightly different something – X’? And from X’ to X’’, etc. Thus, we can ask a third question:
 
3.Is there a series of X’s connecting the human eye to no eyes at all?
 
Again, Dawkins claims it’s a “yes”, given enough length for the series of X’s. Of course, since each generation could only (at most) give a single step in the series, the actual question is if there was enough time to develop the eye. Since (he says) there had been thousands of millions of generations between us and our earliest ancestors, we should answer that with “yes” as well.
 
So, he continues, there could be a hypothetic series of X’s leading from no-eyes to modern human eyes. The 4th question is:
 
4.Examining each member of the X series, is it likely each could be a random mutation of its earlier member??
 
Given the changes are small enough, it is possible.
 
So, a final question is:
 
5.Is it likely that each member of X helped in the survival of the relevant animal?
 
Here Dawkins quotes from a book “the giraffe neck, or where Darwin was wrong” (I re-translate from Hebrew, I hope it’s the right name). The quote says that the eye is such a complex organ, composed of so many elements, it is unlikely to function at all if any of these elements go wrong. And there is no survival value to an eye that can’t see.
 
Here, Dawkins becomes rather cynical, asking for example if a person wearing glasses, who happens to lose them, should walk with his eyes closed rather than seeing unfocused images.
 
Inferior vision, he writes, is better that no vision at all. 1% vision is better than blindness. 6% is better than 5%, etc. Like in dark night, compared to bright noon – you go in stages from not seeing anything to seeing 100% of your ability, in conscious stages, each better than the former.  
 
Moreover, he continues, there are modern animals with intermediate vision that actually word. For example, some low-form animals (unicell?) have a light-sensitive dot, with a small pigment screen on the back blocking the light from that direction – thereby allowing the creature a sense of the direction of the light. Other animals have similar arrangement, where light-sensitive dots are located in a small concave structure – a better solution. Now, make this concave structure deep enough, folding the ends inside, and you get a camera obscura. The Nautilus have similar eyes. Now, if you add a slightly convex slightly transparent material in front, and you get a primitive lens, that may get better over the generations.  
 
Talking about the eyes, he also points a peculiar “design” – the optical nerves in the eyes  point toward the light, instead of the more “sensible” backward in order to avoid blocking the light. It seems to me that it kind of showing lack of design, not ID…
 
 
 
 
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