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Author Topic: How Do We Know That Something Is Designed?  (Read 2242 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: November 03, 2009, 12:44:01 AM »

This is sort of a companion question to the thread about the existence of God. If you believe that the argument from design (or argument to design from order) is persuasive, then I have a question. What criteria can be used to say that something is designed? Or put another way: how exactly do people recognize that which is designed, and differentiate it from that which is just naturally occuring?
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2009, 01:09:54 AM »

Personally, I think it's a matter of intuition rather than reason. The mechanisms of biology are exquisitely ordered and regulated and appear to be finely tuned to the habitat in which it lives. When I was in college, one of my professors caught himself saying designed--scientists are supposed to deny teleology, remember?-- with regards to how tightly regulated metabolic processes are.

Despite the fact that I do not consider myself a young earth creationist, I found the explanations for the beginnings of life on earth as equally wild and ludicrous as the idea that an Intelligent Designer made everything. The Cambrian explosion was explained in a rather haphazard way and the famous Miller-Urey experiment opened up more questions than it sought to answer--such as "how do you know for sure that primitive earth was a reducing environment" among others.

In the end, it's all about point of view. The atheist and theist look upon the same structure of life and the former says, "It looks nice, but the idea that it was designed is a delusion" and the latter says "It looks nice because it proceeds from the Creator from whom all good things come."

Personally I think the idea that "the appearance of design is an illusion" is just a modern day version of Docetism.
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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2009, 03:10:40 AM »

Logic and intuition. It is the same when we look at an automobile and realize that the various car parts couldn't possibly have been assembled the way they are just by chance.
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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2009, 10:59:45 AM »

I think that Dr. Behe talks about design being necessary for irreducibly complex order.
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2009, 03:12:25 PM »

Personally I think the idea that "the appearance of design is an illusion" is just a modern day version of Docetism.
Docetism is the belief that Jesus didn't really take on human flesh, that He only appeared to do so.  He only appeared to be human.  He only appeared to suffer.  He only appeared to die.  Docetism is fundamentally a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God--the attribution of Christ's appearance as man to mere illusion is only one of many ways heretics have used to deny the Incarnation.  How is belief that "the appearance of design is an illusion" a denial of the Incarnation?
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« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2009, 03:51:30 PM »

How is belief that "the appearance of design is an illusion" a denial of the Incarnation?

I think he's extending Docetism to be a encompass all beliefs that what God has done (whether it be the Incarnation or Creation) is merely an illusion.
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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2009, 04:04:26 PM »

Fr. George has it on the mark. What the two have in common is regarding that which "is" as an illusion. The Incarnation/Death/Resurrection of Christ as illusion in the original, the "appearance of design or purpose" as illusion in the modern.
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2009, 08:06:14 PM »

Logic and intuition. It is the same when we look at an automobile and realize that the various car parts couldn't possibly have been assembled the way they are just by chance.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. I can see the name of the company that built the automobile, and therefore I know that company built it. I don't have to guess at whether it's natural or not, because that information is already given to me.
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2009, 08:10:23 PM »

I guess I'm wondering if there are any criteria for determining whether something is designed beyond the rather subjective "I'll know it when I see it".  Behe attempted to provide an answer to this, but it's my understand that the things he claimed were irreducibly complex (bacterial flagellum, blood clotting, etc.) were shown to not be irreducibly complex.
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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2009, 11:08:38 PM »

I guess I'm wondering if there are any criteria for determining whether something is designed beyond the rather subjective "I'll know it when I see it".  Behe attempted to provide an answer to this, but it's my understand that the things he claimed were irreducibly complex (bacterial flagellum, blood clotting, etc.) were shown to not be irreducibly complex.

Yes, that is my understanding, too.

It was Paley who suggested the watchmaker analogy; that as a watch implies a watchmaker, so life requires a designer. There are several reasons that this is a naive statement.

1.According to the definition of design, we must determine something about the design process in order to infer design. We do this by observing the design in process or by comparing with the results of known designs. The only example of known intelligent design we have is human design. Life does not look man-made.

2.Nobody argues that life is not complicated. However, complexity is not the same as design. There are simple things that are designed and complex things that originate naturally. Complexity does not imply design; in fact, simplicity is a design goal in most designs.

3.In most cases, the inference of design is made because people cannot envision an alternative. This is simply the argument from incredulity. Historically, supernatural design has been attributed to lots of things that we now know form naturally, such as lightning, rainbows, and seasons.

4.Life as a whole looks very undesigned by human standards, for several reasons:

•In known design, innovations that occur in one product quickly get incorporated into other, often very different, products. In eukaryotic life, innovations generally stay confined in one lineage. When the same sort of innovation occurs in different lineages (such as webs of spiders, caterpillars, and web spinners), the details of their implementation differ in the different lineages. When one traces lineages, one sees a great difference between life and design. (Eldredge has done this, comparing trilobites and cornets; Walker 2003.)

•In design, form typically follows function. Some creationists expect this (Morris 1974). Yet life shows many examples of different forms with the same function (e.g., different structures making up the wings of birds, bats, insects, and pterodactyls; different organs for making webs in spiders, caterpillars, and web spinners; and at least eleven different types of insect ears), the same basic form with different functions (e.g., the same pattern of bones in a human hand, whale flipper, dog paw, and bat wing) and some structures and even entire organisms without apparent function (e.g., some vestigial organs, creatures living isolated in inaccessible caves and deep underground).

•As noted above, life is complex. Design aims for simplicity.

•For almost all designed objects, the manufacture of the object is separate from any function of the object itself. All living objects reproduce themselves.

•Life lacks plan. There are no specifications of living structures and processes. Genes do not fully describe the phenotype of an organism. Sometimes in the absence of genes, structure results anyway. Organisms, unlike designed systems, are self-constructing in an environmental context.

•Life is wasteful. Most organisms do not reproduce, and most fertilized zygotes die before growing much. A designed process would be expected to minimize this waste.

•Life includes many examples of systems that are jury-rigged out of parts that were used for another purpose. These are what we would expect from evolution, not from an intelligent designer. For example:

•Vertebrate eyes have a blind spot because the retinal nerves are in front of the photoreceptors.

•On orchids that provide a platform for pollinating insects to land on, the stem of the flower has a half twist to move the platform to the lower side of the flower.

•Life is highly variable. In almost every species, there is a spread of values for anything you care to measure. The "information" that specifies life is of very low tolerance in engineering terms. There are few standards.

5.Life is nasty. If life is designed, then death, disease, and decay also must be designed since they are integral parts of life. This is a standard problem of apologetics. Of course, many designed things are also nasty (think of certain weapons), but if the designer is supposed to have moral standards, then it is added support against the design hypothesis.

6.The process of evolution can be considered a design process, and the complexity and arrangement we see in life are much closer to what we would expect from evolution than from known examples of intelligent design. Indeed, engineers now use essentially the same processes as evolution to find solutions to problems that would be intractably complex otherwise.

7.Does evolution itself look designed? When you consider that some sort of adaptive mechanism would be necessary on the changing earth if life were to survive, then if life were designed, evolution or something like it would have to be designed into it.

8.Claiming to be able to recognize design in life implies that nonlife is different, that is, not designed. To claim that life is recognizably designed is to claim that an intelligent designer did not create the rest of the universe.

9.As it stands, the design claim makes no predictions, so it is unscientific and useless. It has generated no research at all.

References:
1.Morris, Henry M. 1985. Scientific Creationism. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, pg. 70.
2.Walker, Gabrielle, 2003. The collector. New Scientist 179(2405) (26 July): 38-41.
Further Reading:
Aulie, Richard P., 1998. A reader's guide to Of Pandas and People http://www.nabt.org/sub/evolution/panda1.asp

Isaak, Mark, 2003. What design looks like. Reports of the National Center for Science Education 23(5-6): 25-26,31-35.

Miller, Kenneth R., n.d. Of pandas and people: A brief critique. http://www.kcfs.org/pandas.html

Pennock, Robert T., 1999. Tower of Babel. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Perakh, Mark, 2003. Unintelligent Design. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.


http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI100.html
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« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2009, 11:47:12 PM »

Quote
in fact, simplicity is a design goal in most designs

This is, by far, the best principle of design yet put forth. Vast regions of DNA with little or no use, the majority of a brain being entirely unused, organs (e.g. the appendix) with little value but still requiring resources to maintain...these are not expected in design but are expected in evolution, whenever you run an evolutionary algorithm you expect to see anomalies from the evolutionary process that parallel this, you rarely if ever get a perfect solution to a problem, but it's often the best solution available.

Complexity, especially unnecessary complexity, is an argument against design, not in favour of it. If someone with the capabilities were to design the universe, ecosystems, and life and this was the best solution they came up with, they should be fired because they did a pretty crappy job.
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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2009, 12:00:10 AM »

Riddikulus

Thank you, very interesting Smiley


GiC,

I agree with your main point, but I think the part about "the majority of a brain being entirely unused" is actually a myth.
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« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2009, 12:09:20 AM »

Riddikulus

Thank you, very interesting Smiley


GiC,

I agree with your main point, but I think the part about "the majority of a brain being entirely unused" is actually a myth.

Yes, the old ten percent adage is a myth, but last studies I read (there was one in Scientific America a while back) suggest only 20% of midbrain neurons (the ones that form memories) are actually utilized.
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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2009, 02:25:51 AM »

I had no idea. I guess I better get readin' more. Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2009, 04:26:51 AM »

Quote
in fact, simplicity is a design goal in most designs

This is, by far, the best principle of design yet put forth. Vast regions of DNA with little or no use, the majority of a brain being entirely unused, organs (e.g. the appendix) with little value but still requiring resources to maintain...these are not expected in design but are expected in evolution, whenever you run an evolutionary algorithm you expect to see anomalies from the evolutionary process that parallel this, you rarely if ever get a perfect solution to a problem, but it's often the best solution available.

Complexity, especially unnecessary complexity, is an argument against design, not in favour of it. If someone with the capabilities were to design the universe, ecosystems, and life and this was the best solution they came up with, they should be fired because they did a pretty crappy job.
So the observation that something is designed imperfectly is an argument against design?  ISTM that you're focusing too much on the adverb "imperfectly" and forgetting the verb, "designed", that it modifies.
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« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2009, 04:28:41 AM »

Quote
in fact, simplicity is a design goal in most designs

This is, by far, the best principle of design yet put forth. Vast regions of DNA with little or no use, the majority of a brain being entirely unused, organs (e.g. the appendix) with little value but still requiring resources to maintain...these are not expected in design but are expected in evolution, whenever you run an evolutionary algorithm you expect to see anomalies from the evolutionary process that parallel this, you rarely if ever get a perfect solution to a problem, but it's often the best solution available.

Complexity, especially unnecessary complexity, is an argument against design, not in favour of it. If someone with the capabilities were to design the universe, ecosystems, and life and this was the best solution they came up with, they should be fired because they did a pretty crappy job.

GiC!! Good to see you! Welcome back!
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« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2009, 04:42:08 AM »

Riddikulus

Thank you, very interesting Smiley


GiC,

I agree with your main point, but I think the part about "the majority of a brain being entirely unused" is actually a myth.

The same with the "appendix" argument, our appendix does have a use/purpose. I think just as creationists had a problem when it came to the "God of the Gaps". Noncreationists have a problem when it comes to this sort of thing. Just because we haven't found the purpose of something or just don't know the purpose of something doesn't mean it doesn't have a purpose. All it means is that at this point in time, we don't know the purpose of such and such.










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« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2009, 04:50:28 AM »

Quote
The same with the "appendix" argument, our appendix does have a use/purpose.

I knew something was wrong with me for the last 17 years!  Wink  But seriously, maybe the appendix really isn't a vestigial organ, I dunno.
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« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2009, 04:51:35 AM »

The same with the "appendix" argument, our appendix does have a use/purpose. I think just as creationists had a problem when it came to the "God of the Gaps". Noncreationists have a problem when it comes to this sort of thing.
Some do, but some don't.

Just because we haven't found the purpose of something or just don't know the purpose of something doesn't mean it doesn't have a purpose. All it means is that at this point in time, we don't know the purpose of such and such.
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« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2009, 04:52:41 AM »

It took him 35 years to modify the design argument that Wilberforce used in his debate with what's his name back in the 19th century........I forgot his name, but it took Dr. Smith 35 years to modify it in order to answer something he had a hard time answering for decades.

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« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2009, 04:57:19 AM »

Quote
The same with the "appendix" argument, our appendix does have a use/purpose.

I knew something was wrong with me for the last 17 years!  Wink  But seriously, maybe the appendix really isn't a vestigial organ, I dunno.

I could be wrong because it's been weeks or months since I read the news about it, but I think it has something to do with the immune system. I gotta find the article again to make sure.








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« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2009, 05:11:58 AM »

It took him 35 years to modify the design argument that Wilberforce used in his debate with what's his name back in the 19th century........I forgot his name, but it took Dr. Smith 35 years to modify it in order to answer something he had a hard time answering for decades.

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« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2009, 08:21:52 AM »

Quote
The same with the "appendix" argument, our appendix does have a use/purpose.

I knew something was wrong with me for the last 17 years!  Wink  But seriously, maybe the appendix really isn't a vestigial organ, I dunno.

I can't remember if the article was posted here, but the one I bumped into indicated that some scientists who are studying the appendix believe it to serve two purposes: a breeding ground for useful bacteria (the kind that typically live in the digestive system) to use for replacement in case the digestive bacteria get wiped out by something, and as a training area for white blood cells.  These same scientists are speculating that because we've had so many advancements in medicine and hygiene, the body is exposed to far fewer threats and the white blood cells are needed less than they were even a hundred years ago, and thus the appendix is needed less now than before.  As this process has progressed, the "training ground" is frequently left with no urgent work, and it is this "down time" that turns into occasional "problem time."
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« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2009, 08:50:11 AM »

As this process has progressed, the "training ground" is frequently left with no urgent work, and it is this "down time" that turns into occasional "problem time."
As a teacher, I can attest to the truth of this statement.
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« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2009, 12:00:19 PM »

Quote
in fact, simplicity is a design goal in most designs

This is, by far, the best principle of design yet put forth. Vast regions of DNA with little or no use, the majority of a brain being entirely unused, organs (e.g. the appendix) with little value but still requiring resources to maintain...these are not expected in design but are expected in evolution, whenever you run an evolutionary algorithm you expect to see anomalies from the evolutionary process that parallel this, you rarely if ever get a perfect solution to a problem, but it's often the best solution available.

Complexity, especially unnecessary complexity, is an argument against design, not in favour of it. If someone with the capabilities were to design the universe, ecosystems, and life and this was the best solution they came up with, they should be fired because they did a pretty crappy job.
So the observation that something is designed imperfectly is an argument against design?  ISTM that you're focusing too much on the adverb "imperfectly" and forgetting the verb, "designed", that it modifies.

It's impossible to definitely determine, after the fact, if something is designed or evolved with 100% certainty. I've come across data before that I would have sworn was directly calculated, but was actually evolved. I've also seen people design circuits so poorly that they looked like the result of evolution, but the simplicity of the circuit's function let me know that it wouldn't even be worth the time to set up the evolutionary algorithms necessary to design it and that the designer was just an idiot. However, based on the level of unnecessary complexity you can determine probabilistically if something was designed or evolved, I'm sure a system could be designed to quantify it, but why bother? It's easier and more useful to just have people document their research methodologies. So while it's impossibly to say definitively one way or the other, one can be absolutely shocked at the innovation of an evolutionary algorithm but, also, there are no limits to the depths of incompetence, IF the world was designed, it was not designed by the wise men amongst the gods, but rather by the village idiot.
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« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2009, 06:04:30 PM »

how exactly do people recognize that which is designed, and differentiate it from that which is just naturally occuring?

For those who believe that God is Maker of Heaven and Earth, I'm not sure there is a difference between "designed" and "naturally occurring". I certainly can't see one.
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« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2009, 12:33:22 AM »

It took him 35 years to modify the design argument that Wilberforce used in his debate with what's his name back in the 19th century........I forgot his name, but it took Dr. Smith 35 years to modify it in order to answer something he had a hard time answering for decades.

The link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdLrXPnp0zs


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« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2009, 12:44:37 AM »

This is sort of a companion question to the thread about the existence of God. If you believe that the argument from design (or argument to design from order) is persuasive, then I have a question. What criteria can be used to say that something is designed? Or put another way: how exactly do people recognize that which is designed, and differentiate it from that which is just naturally occuring?


If you didn't know anything about the existence of dog breeders, would you be able to tell the difference between the work of someone who breeds dogs from what natural selection does to dogs in the wild?









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« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2009, 12:54:22 AM »

I'm sure if someone saw the modern pug, they would know natural selection didn't cause that.  laugh
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« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2009, 02:22:54 AM »

I'm sure if someone saw the modern pug, they would know natural selection didn't cause that.  laugh
What benefit does a flat face confer to a pug, anyway?  It certainly works to their disadvantage when they need to release body heat through panting.
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« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2009, 02:36:43 AM »

Ok, lets use produce. How can one tell the difference between genetically engineered produce from one of natural selection?










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« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2009, 02:49:33 AM »

how exactly do people recognize that which is designed, and differentiate it from that which is just naturally occuring?

For those who believe that God is Maker of Heaven and Earth, I'm not sure there is a difference between "designed" and "naturally occurring". I certainly can't see one.

I agree, but "design in nature" is controversial in within scientific circles. I stumbled across this on the Darwin Correspondence Project.

The question of design in nature is highly controversial today, in part because of heated debates over the science curriculum in US schools. Darwin remains central to much of this debate. The theory of evolution by natural selection is often the main target of education reforms that seek to introduce alternative 'theories' in biology courses. His work also provides the opponents of creationism with a decisive naturalistic alternative to design. Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, and other 'neo-Darwinians' have claimed to be following the principles of Darwin's theory in their insistence on the randomness of evolutionary change. Yet other evolutionary theorists, such as Simon Conway Morris, emphasise directionality or convergence in biological processes. Such directionality, they argue, may not be evidence of design, but it leaves the question of ultimate purposes open, and so allows room for religious belief.

Darwin discussed design at length in correspondence. His letters reveal that his views on design were subtle and changed significantly over time. The letters also show that many of Darwin's supporters, as well as some of his critics, continued to view evolution as purposeful, and as directed toward the improvement of species and individuals. The correspondence contains lively and long-running conversations on related issues, such as the meaning of 'natural selection', which some of Darwin's readers regarded as an intelligent agent.


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« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2009, 01:12:31 PM »

how exactly do people recognize that which is designed, and differentiate it from that which is just naturally occuring?

For those who believe that God is Maker of Heaven and Earth, I'm not sure there is a difference between "designed" and "naturally occurring". I certainly can't see one.

I agree, but "design in nature" is controversial in within scientific circles. I stumbled across this on the Darwin Correspondence Project.

The question of design in nature is highly controversial today, in part because of heated debates over the science curriculum in US schools. Darwin remains central to much of this debate. The theory of evolution by natural selection is often the main target of education reforms that seek to introduce alternative 'theories' in biology courses. His work also provides the opponents of creationism with a decisive naturalistic alternative to design. Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, and other 'neo-Darwinians' have claimed to be following the principles of Darwin's theory in their insistence on the randomness of evolutionary change. Yet other evolutionary theorists, such as Simon Conway Morris, emphasise directionality or convergence in biological processes. Such directionality, they argue, may not be evidence of design, but it leaves the question of ultimate purposes open, and so allows room for religious belief.

Darwin discussed design at length in correspondence. His letters reveal that his views on design were subtle and changed significantly over time. The letters also show that many of Darwin's supporters, as well as some of his critics, continued to view evolution as purposeful, and as directed toward the improvement of species and individuals. The correspondence contains lively and long-running conversations on related issues, such as the meaning of 'natural selection', which some of Darwin's readers regarded as an intelligent agent.


I think there's a false dichotomy here, the mechanism of evolutionary change is random genetic mutation; however, natural selection ensures that only those random changes that are beneficial to such things as survival, procreation, and survival of one's offspring will endure, greater intelligence and genetic disease are both the result of genetic mutation, but as the former aids survival and the latter hinders it, the former is obviously much more likely to spread to the entire population as a common trait whereas the latter is much more likely to die out. (Now, genetic diseases that affect people late in life may have, at one point, actually been beneficial because by removing members of the social unit that are not productive but consume resources, the social unit is actually strengthened; this is probably not the case in the modern era where knowledge collected over a lifetime is invaluable, but has been the case for 99.999%+ of our evolutionary history).
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« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2009, 11:26:20 PM »

how exactly do people recognize that which is designed, and differentiate it from that which is just naturally occuring?

For those who believe that God is Maker of Heaven and Earth, I'm not sure there is a difference between "designed" and "naturally occurring". I certainly can't see one.

I agree, but "design in nature" is controversial in within scientific circles. I stumbled across this on the Darwin Correspondence Project.

The question of design in nature is highly controversial today, in part because of heated debates over the science curriculum in US schools. Darwin remains central to much of this debate. The theory of evolution by natural selection is often the main target of education reforms that seek to introduce alternative 'theories' in biology courses. His work also provides the opponents of creationism with a decisive naturalistic alternative to design. Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, and other 'neo-Darwinians' have claimed to be following the principles of Darwin's theory in their insistence on the randomness of evolutionary change. Yet other evolutionary theorists, such as Simon Conway Morris, emphasise directionality or convergence in biological processes. Such directionality, they argue, may not be evidence of design, but it leaves the question of ultimate purposes open, and so allows room for religious belief.

Darwin discussed design at length in correspondence. His letters reveal that his views on design were subtle and changed significantly over time. The letters also show that many of Darwin's supporters, as well as some of his critics, continued to view evolution as purposeful, and as directed toward the improvement of species and individuals. The correspondence contains lively and long-running conversations on related issues, such as the meaning of 'natural selection', which some of Darwin's readers regarded as an intelligent agent.
Either way, whether by "intelligent design" or purely "natural selection", evolution is "purposeful", so I don't think that "purpose" can be used as a criterion for deciding what is "designed" and what is "naturally occurring". What I am saying is that for those who believe in God as Creator of the Cosmos, there is no distinction between "naturally occurring" and "designed" since everything which is naturally occurring is designed in the sense that everything which exists comes into being and continues to exist because God wills it so, and everything that happens happens because either God wills it or because He permits it. Earthquakes and devastating hurricanes occur naturally, but I believe that even these could not happen without God's permission and are therefore part of a design rather than simply "randomly violent acts of God" or "natural". Now I know that some people will claim to know the full reason for these disasters (eg claiming they are retributions for sins etc), but this is simply stuff and nonsense. Here where I live in the Blue Mountains, there are some species of plants such as the Banksias which cannot release their seeds unless the plant is burned in a bushfire. Clearly then, bushfires are a required event in the Australian landscape. We can say that the plant has adapted to a frequently occurring event in Australia (bushfires), but also, I can say that bushfires are a necessary part of the Australian environment (which indeed the Indigenous People's seemed to understand and therefore used deliberate burning for tens of thousands of years in order to manage the Australian bush). So there is a "design" behind a "natural disaster" here which is perhaps a bit more obvious. Now, whether this design is a result of natural selection (e.g. the plants adapting to the environment, the fires managing the bush by clearing undergrowth) or whether this design is the result of God's activity is a question of faith, but either way, there is a "design".
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« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2009, 04:31:19 AM »

Logic and intuition. It is the same when we look at an automobile and realize that the various car parts couldn't possibly have been assembled the way they are just by chance.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. I can see the name of the company that built the automobile, and therefore I know that company built it. I don't have to guess at whether it's natural or not, because that information is already given to me.

This isn't about foreknowledge, it is about recognition of complexity and order. The question is: is such a thing rationally conceivable, and if not, then how can we possibly think that something much more complicated than an automobile (such as human DNA) could arrange itself by chance?
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« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2009, 04:32:51 AM »

I'm sure if someone saw the modern pug, they would know natural selection didn't cause that.  laugh
What benefit does a flat face confer to a pug, anyway?  It certainly works to their disadvantage when they need to release body heat through panting.

the poor pug...they sure are cute though!  Kiss
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« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2009, 09:44:17 AM »

Logic and intuition. It is the same when we look at an automobile and realize that the various car parts couldn't possibly have been assembled the way they are just by chance.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. I can see the name of the company that built the automobile, and therefore I know that company built it. I don't have to guess at whether it's natural or not, because that information is already given to me.

This isn't about foreknowledge, it is about recognition of complexity and order. The question is: is such a thing rationally conceivable, and if not, then how can we possibly think that something much more complicated than an automobile (such as human DNA) could arrange itself by chance?
You're making false assumptions: first, that the processes by which automobiles and DNA are created are similar; second, that the theory of evolution states that DNA is arranged by chance; and third, that simpler things can be designed, whereas more complex things must be natural. I don't believe any of these assumptions are true.
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« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2009, 11:26:57 AM »

"Design" (or "Dei-sign"?) is rejected by modern science simply because it usually implies a supernatural designer. Non-supernaturalist design hypotheses are perfectly fine. Francis Crick proposed a type of directed panspermia done by extra-terrestrial intelligences (of the purely natural variety) to explain how life appeared on earth. Even Behe admitted that he could not exclude the possibility that aliens beings are the "designers" of irreducibly complex biomechanisms. If pugs are the product of artificial selection, who's to say that humans are not the product of selective breeding of hominids by ETs?
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« Reply #38 on: November 07, 2009, 04:07:28 PM »

Logic and intuition. It is the same when we look at an automobile and realize that the various car parts couldn't possibly have been assembled the way they are just by chance.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. I can see the name of the company that built the automobile, and therefore I know that company built it. I don't have to guess at whether it's natural or not, because that information is already given to me.

This isn't about foreknowledge, it is about recognition of complexity and order. The question is: is such a thing rationally conceivable, and if not, then how can we possibly think that something much more complicated than an automobile (such as human DNA) could arrange itself by chance?
You're making false assumptions: first, that the processes by which automobiles and DNA are created are similar; second, that the theory of evolution states that DNA is arranged by chance; and third, that simpler things can be designed, whereas more complex things must be natural. I don't believe any of these assumptions are true.

I'm not saying that these things are designed similarly.  I am merely recognizing the similarities of complexity and order of arrangement in their underlying structure. If not probability and chance, then what is the driving force behind evolution? All the right things had to line up at the right time and place for such things to "evolve" the way they did.  That is purely statistics and probability. I don't understand the distinction that you make here between designed and natural in this sense. I am saying that both of these were designed and fabricated by a manufacturer, (in the case of nature, both of these roles are fulfilled by God) and such observations are clearly evident by examining their underlying structure and properties.
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« Reply #39 on: November 07, 2009, 11:06:42 PM »

Okay, I misunderstood you. You haven't used post hoc ergo propter hoc; you've used a straw man argument. You have stated that because an automobile could not appear out of thin air, that neither could DNA--which is true. But what you don't seem to understand is that the creation of DNA is not by random chance, and in fact the theory of evolution is quite explicit as to its cause: natural selection.
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