Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Positive Argument for Intelligent Design Creationism

 
I've often been critical of the arguments made by IDiots Intelligent Design Creationists. They consist mostly of claims that evolution can't happen.

It's only fair that I point you to a rebuttal of this point of view by none other than Casey Luskin [Misrepresenting the Definition of Intelligent Design].
Scott Minnich and Stephen Meyer also explain the positive argument for design:
Molecular machines display a key signature or hallmark of design, namely, irreducible complexity. In all irreducibly complex systems in which the cause of the system is known by experience or observation, intelligent design or engineering played a role the origin of the system … in any other context we would immediately recognize such systems as the product of very intelligent engineering. Although some may argue this is a merely an argument from ignorance, we regard it as an inference to the best explanation, given what we know about the powers of intelligent as opposed to strictly natural or material causes. (“Genetic analysis of coordinate flagellar and type III regulatory circuits in pathogenic Bacteria,” in Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Design & Nature, Rhodes Greece (2004).)
Let's see if I've got this right. We know about lots of irreducibly complex systems, such as the Krebs cycle and the bacterial flagella, that could easily have arisen by evolution. Nevertheless, according to the IDiots, we have to conclude that all such systems can only have been created by God.

That's what passes for a positive argument for Intelligent Design Creationism. I assume it's the best they've got.


21 comments:

  1. There are only two ways, at least as I see it, that ID could be scientific. One is to postulate an advanced alien species that engineered us. It stays with the realm of nature, but the evidence is rather hard to come by. The other is something I'm toying with at the moment, if I ever manage to get it together I'll send it to you for a look-see. My idea stays entirely natural but doesn't involve things like aliens, time travelers, or Atlantis.

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  2. "There are only two ways, at least as I see it, that ID could be scientific. One is to postulate an advanced alien species that engineered us"

    The other one : inspired by
    Isaac Asimov's scifi classic
    "the last question " ?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Question

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  3. If the only known intelligent designer is humans then isn't it a more logical inference that humans were responsible for design in nature? This, to me seems to be the only way forward with their 'DNA is like a computer code' argument. If they want to follow this up then suggest a human in a time machine did it rather than a God that has no confirming evidence.
    The other problems with the ID design argument are that human designed items (the watch for example) are the result of multiple designers and finally the awkward question of 'how do you tell if something in nature is NOT designed'?

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  4. In all irreducibly complex systems in which the cause of the system is known by experience or observation, intelligent design or engineering played a role the origin of the system... given what we know about the powers of intelligent as opposed to strictly natural or material causes.

    FAIL! All the cases of intelligent design or engineering for which the cause of the system is known have strictly natural and material causes. We have zero examples of supernatural intelligent design for which the cause is known.

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  5. "Molecular machines display a key signature or hallmark of design, namely, irreducible complexity."

    Molecular machines display a key signature or hallmark of design, namely, ORGANIZATION.

    Living systems are unevolvable for this reason. Living systems are made up of structures and processes integrated in such a way that they not only support each other, but they contribute to the overall function of the living system. This type of organization, in which means are adapted to ends and multiple structures and processes perform multiple functions, all of which contribute to the overall functioning of the organism are unattainable by any kind of random process or chance occurrence. It requires insight and insight means intelligence. There's simply no way to get around that basic point.

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  7. "We know about lots of irreducibly complex systems, such as the Krebs cycle and the bacterial flagella, that could easily have arisen by evolution."

    Show me how these systems could have arisen by "evolution." Many people have tried, but to my knowledge, none have succeeded.

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  8. Many people have tried, but to my knowledge, none have succeeded.

    therefore Jesus Christ

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  9. I've always been struck by the ID chicken and egg problem. Life is too complex, so what we need is an even more complex designer that somehow was able to come into existence on it's own... er.... wait a minute.

    Reminds me of...

    Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,

    And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.

    And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on;

    While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.

    [1872 A. De morgan Budget of Paradoxes 377]

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  10. Whaat? Argument from ignorance is of course "negative argument", but their reasoning is "it looks similar, and my feelings says it is" AND "not by natural laws".

    And this "elimination process" is actually crucial. So I can say we argue that this is mainly negative argument.

    There is more "positive argument" than this - to use honest words - "shitty" analogy. Which truthvalue is not tested. Only test they can show us is "not by natural law". So mainly their feelings are the proof?

    And when they are questioned, they use only ignorancearguments like "show me how it can raise through evolution!" They have to prove it if it is "positive argument". The question pegging tells only that they have only "negative theories", not by X therefore it must be Y.

    And where they prove that it is so. So there is not anything else than laws, random and design. They must prove that first. Otherwise they can not do "total elimination". Before that the elimination filter is like murdermystery in closed island. There is many visitors and you eliminate only copule of them. Not Annie and not Henry. Therefore it must be Mike. But there can be Harry, Dick and Sal in the island too.

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  11. Show me how these systems could have arisen by "evolution." Many people have tried, but to my knowledge, none have succeeded.

    At the end of the day, if there's no designer, then all of your arguments are wrong. Also you can't use logical arguments to prove the exitence of an object (like God).

    Someone once said, If Intelligent Design creationism is true, then how come only evolutionists can make successful predictions?

    Here's an analogy. Imagine two guys who both claim they're mathematicians. They're both given the same math test; one of them answers all the questions successfully, while the other leaves most of the questions blank and the few answered questions turn out to be wrong.

    Who is more likely to be the mathematician?

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  12. "We know about lots of irreducibly complex systems, such as the Krebs cycle and the bacterial flagella, that could easily have arisen by evolution."

    right. when has a mutation ever created a molecular machine? I need to see that.

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  13. Rat said: "there are only two ways, at least as I see it, that ID could be scientific. One is to postulate an advanced alien species that engineered us. It stays with the realm of nature, but the evidence is rather hard to come by. The other is something I'm toying with at the moment..."


    ok...show me that chance or randomness as an originator is scientific.

    won't hold my breath.

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  14. "...show me that chance or randomness as an originator is scientific."

    Randomness exists, get over it. Random mutations are the basis of evolution, but they mean nothing until natural selection works with them and weeds out that which doesn't confer any advantage.

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  15. Re: the randomness comment... Echoing Rat's comments, you are just proving you sheer ignorance by claiming that all of evolution is random.

    Chance plays a very important role. But selection - positive or negative - is not random.

    New Scientist already provided an easy to read smack-down of this argument.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13698-evolution-myths-evolution-is-random.html

    If you really want anyone to take ID as seriously, at least quit recycling old arguments based on ignorance, especially when the problems have long been explained to you.

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  16. um..."natural selection" is just a term meaning the best-fitting random/chance mutation is the one who is a more successful breeder.

    It's all about luck, losers.

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  17. "Show me how these systems could have arisen by "evolution." Many people have tried, but to my knowledge, none have succeeded."

    Take a comparative anatomy course, and it will become pretty fracking clear how complex organisms evolved.

    I wouldn't be bragging about your inability to absorb basic biology concepts if I we5re you, BTW.

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  18. Robert wrote:

    "Who is more likely to be the mathematician?"

    Come now Robert - that is elitist!

    Surely you understand that all opinions have equivalent value....

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  19. Here's an analogy. Imagine two guys who both claim they're mathematicians. They're both given the same math test; one of them answers all the questions successfully, while the other leaves most of the questions blank and the few answered questions turn out to be wrong.

    Who is more likely to be the mathematician?


    Depends if you are Steve Fuller or not.

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  20. I happened across this blog looking for info on fruit.. but as for the design argument, I don't think there's a need to ridicule people, calling them IDiots. It just makes you look over defensive.

    An aggressor ridicules their enemies because you can't subdue it logically; if someone in the playground calls a kid a big fat potato, wrestling with the insult using logic just ties him closer to the absurdity in everyone's mind.

    What is curious about the evolution of life is that at every stage there is a change in nature between one level and the next. The atoms are one thing, behaving in a certain way, but when they form amino acids, they have the appearance not of random conglomerations, but components with specific traits. They appear in proteins in consistent ways: proline for example has a rigid backbone introducing a 75 degree angle. Phenylalanine, like Tryptophan, lets molecules pass the blood brain barrier. Each has something useful to a larger structure and a connectivity, forming molecules which themselves have specific traits not present in any single amino acid: these proteins are not long hashes of things which do a bit of one thing and other - they are themselves specifically functioning components.

    They even snap into a useful shape in a fraction of a second with cross links, pivots, and other consistent properties. Any symmetrical match has to be co-ordinated in the 2-d layout of the DNA, which itself is a strange conversion of a 2-d form into a 3-d form. Again you have a product at the next level which does not at all resemble the stages before it. And together they form wheels, walking machines, tollbooths - again we see a discrete functioning component which fulfills a certain role.

    The cell is a different thing again, a city whose nature does not appear in the proteins; with porters, customs officers, tollbooths, isolation cells, shredders, error checkers, stenographers, duplication machines and even a triad of molecules who judge and sentence a cell to death if need be, cutting the pieces up in an orderly fashion. Where are all the incremental steps from a protein, to a cell? It is like saying a teacup slowly becomes a restaurant: they are different entities. The restaurant is nowhere to be found in the teacup!

    But beyond that, the living being, is another level with behaviour that does not exist in any lower level. Even the organs are discrete: a heart does not slowly morph into a lung and become half a rib. They are separate, distinct, and this is the pattern all through life.

    The pre Cambrian explosion shows the same problem: there seem to be no gradual ancestors to these life forms. No doubt they exist but not in the form we expect. These differences should form their own field of study; perhaps they do, I don't know.

    The long and the short of it is that all these stages show not a slow gradual continuum, but discrete jumps in complexity. Our names mirror this trend: we define each state as a discrete pattern. A protein is not 2 or 3 but at least 150 aminoacids - some are 29,000! A cell is all very well, but large collections behave in a way beyond that of any one cell. The idea that life is a series of tiny expansions doesn't agree with the facts, which is why the origin of life has posed a puzzle: it shows we don't yet understand everything.

    So it doesn't seem like a time for smugness and insults towards those who disagree - the simplest form we know of - a reproducing, reacting, motor-powered bacteria, in a world of molecules where the least motor failure means freezing solid, helpless where you are in a fraction of a second - is not simple but horrendously complex. And insulting people who try to reason about it differently than you doesn't make the problems go away..

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