Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

Incl. intelligent design, belief in divine creation

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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#41  Postby pcCoder » Jul 25, 2010 4:55 pm

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The rock located partially underneath the leaf stands out to me. The curves on the left side of the rock seem to be cut marks or something. :dunno:
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#42  Postby Onyx8 » Jul 25, 2010 4:56 pm

Can someone put the answer in a spoiler? That would save the pm-ing.

(or failing that, pm me) :grin:
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#43  Postby Animavore » Jul 25, 2010 4:57 pm

Onyx8 wrote:Can someone put the answer in a spoiler? That would save the pm-ing.

(or failing that, pm me) :grin:


But then the ID/creationists would know.

I'll PM you now.
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#44  Postby Atheist PhD » Jul 25, 2010 4:58 pm

Interesting post, I do have a lot of notions on ID versus Evolution, but not using rocks, per se. I like to argue from the position of biological evolution versus biological design. If that makes sense. I would like to know which one though.
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#45  Postby Animavore » Jul 25, 2010 5:04 pm

Atheist PhD wrote:Interesting post, I do have a lot of notions on ID versus Evolution, but not using rocks, per se. I like to argue from the position of biological evolution versus biological design. If that makes sense. I would like to know which one though.



Biological evolution.

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Biological design.

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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#46  Postby Rumraket » Jul 25, 2010 5:11 pm

I'm SO glad you said that. I'm an architect. I design things. When I see a good design, I recognize and appreciate the hand of the designer. I see a good design in the universe, which implies a designer.

Here we simply disagree. I don't see good design in the universe, seeing good design implies you know what it was designed for, among other things. I often see the claim that the universe was fine tuned for life, and I have to respond "how do they know it was for life?". I mean, it could be fine tuned... for planets, galaxies, sand and molten rock. There is a lot more of that. It could even be fine tuned to expand forever, regardless of it's material contents. Indeed, it is entirely possible that it is not finetuned at all.

When it comes to the gods of all the religions, I'm atheist, mainly because those gods are just too dumb. But when it comes to Spinoza's designer, I have to be agnostic. There is the possibility that the universe itself has the mechanism of design built into itself. A type of universal DNA, if you will.

Yes on a fundamental level regarding the ultimate origin of the universe, I agree that in the absense of evidence to the contrary, the honest approach is technically agnosticism. Regarding the specific religious claims, I'm an atheist. I see no reason to think there are any gods and I find all the arguments unconvincing. The same applies for the fine tuning argument, It's unimpressive to me.

The argument about whether or not there is a god/designer and whether or not the truth claims of a particular religion are valid are two completely different arguments.

Yes but I think Cali's question here is specifically regarding the assertion that specific molecular biological entities are designed. And the obvious question is : how do they falsifiably infer design? Give us a rigorous, scienficic metric for detecting design.
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#47  Postby DaveD » Jul 25, 2010 5:38 pm

Although I don't know the answer, I can't help wondering why some people think a man-made rock should look man-made. Perhaps it was designed to look like a rock. :dunno:
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#48  Postby Ubjon » Jul 25, 2010 5:42 pm

DaveD wrote:Although I don't know the answer, I can't help wondering why some people think a man-made rock should look man-made. Perhaps it was designed to look like a rock. :dunno:


The natural processes that rocks are normally subject to must differ significantly enough from a rock which has been modified by humans for a specific purpose for the difference to be noticable.
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#49  Postby katja z » Jul 25, 2010 5:45 pm

Animavore wrote:
Onyx8 wrote:Can someone put the answer in a spoiler? That would save the pm-ing.

(or failing that, pm me) :grin:


But then the ID/creationists would know.

I'll PM you now.

Can you PM me too, please? I want to see if I'm any good at detecting design! :grin:

EDIT: I was right!!! :dance:
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#50  Postby willhud9 » Jul 26, 2010 12:19 am

Calilasseia wrote:
willhud9 wrote:I do not understand the question for IDists. If you would be so kind and explain it to me, I may be able to address the question more specifically.


Here you go.

IDists claim that entities in the biosphere are "designed". Furthermore, many of them erect the assertion that "design" is obvious to see in the biosphere. I'll leave aside for the moment the vast array of scientific literature establishing that magic entities aren't needed, as this is actually irrelevant from the standpoint of the question I'm posing.

Now, if it is "obvious" that certain entities are "designed", then it should be a simple matter for those erecting the "design" assertion to tell us WHY it is "obvious". They should have to hand a set of criteria allowing them to establish whether or not any given entity is "designed" or not. In short, they should have a reliable method of separating entities into one of two classes, "designed" and "not designed". Furthermore, this method should yield appropriate results when applied to entities of known provenance. In short, if I hold up two rocks, one that has been subject to shaping by human action, and one that has not, IDists should be able to apply their metric and return the correct answer in a repeatable and reliable fashion, regardless of how many pairs of such rocks I hold up.

If they cannot do this, then either:

[1] They don't have such a method to begin with, in which case their assertion that "design" is "obvious" falls flat on its face, because all that they have in the absence of such a method is a blind assertion that certain entities are "designed", or;

[2] Any method that they are using is unreliable, in which case, once again, their assertion falls flat on its face.

Without a universally applicable metric that returns reliable results in a repeatable fashion, one that has been tested upon entities of known provenance and found to work via such testing, and, moreover, a metric that involves elementary examination, without tediously involved computations or recourse to measurements of exotic phenomena, IDists have no basis upon which to assert that "design" is purportedly "obvious". Indeed, in the absence of an appropriate metric as defined above, they have no basis upon which to assert that "design" applies to entities of unknown provenance at all.


Ah. Logical and very hilarious because there would be IDists who would attempt to answer your post and sound completely idiotic, unless of course they could provide evidence for a metric design system. The only argument I could possibly think of is the "Universe is 'just' right" which is very illogical from a scientific standpoint because we do not know if the universe is 'just' right.
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#51  Postby MrGray » Jul 26, 2010 12:39 am

Calilasseia wrote:
willhud9 wrote:I do not understand the question for IDists. If you would be so kind and explain it to me, I may be able to address the question more specifically.


Here you go.

IDists claim that entities in the biosphere are "designed". Furthermore, many of them erect the assertion that "design" is obvious to see in the biosphere. I'll leave aside for the moment the vast array of scientific literature establishing that magic entities aren't needed, as this is actually irrelevant from the standpoint of the question I'm posing.

Now, if it is "obvious" that certain entities are "designed", then it should be a simple matter for those erecting the "design" assertion to tell us WHY it is "obvious". They should have to hand a set of criteria allowing them to establish whether or not any given entity is "designed" or not. In short, they should have a reliable method of separating entities into one of two classes, "designed" and "not designed". Furthermore, this method should yield appropriate results when applied to entities of known provenance. In short, if I hold up two rocks, one that has been subject to shaping by human action, and one that has not, IDists should be able to apply their metric and return the correct answer in a repeatable and reliable fashion, regardless of how many pairs of such rocks I hold up.

If they cannot do this, then either:

[1] They don't have such a method to begin with, in which case their assertion that "design" is "obvious" falls flat on its face, because all that they have in the absence of such a method is a blind assertion that certain entities are "designed", or;

[2] Any method that they are using is unreliable, in which case, once again, their assertion falls flat on its face.

Without a universally applicable metric that returns reliable results in a repeatable fashion, one that has been tested upon entities of known provenance and found to work via such testing, and, moreover, a metric that involves elementary examination, without tediously involved computations or recourse to measurements of exotic phenomena, IDists have no basis upon which to assert that "design" is purportedly "obvious". Indeed, in the absence of an appropriate metric as defined above, they have no basis upon which to assert that "design" applies to entities of unknown provenance at all.


Calilasseia, I bow to thee. I've read so many of your posts, yet it awes me that each new one succeeds in delivering the point as concisely and elegantly as the last one.
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#52  Postby Shrunk » Jul 26, 2010 11:24 am

DaveD wrote:Although I don't know the answer, I can't help wondering why some people think a man-made rock should look man-made. Perhaps it was designed to look like a rock. :dunno:


I raised a similar point in one of Polanyi's threads. He's fond of using Mt. Rushmore as an example of "design". I mentioned that a mountain we believe to be naturally formed, like the Matterhorn, would instead be seen as a result of intelligent design if we found an exact replica of it on another planet (at least one of the "Matterhorns" would have to have been deliberately created.) This would be the case even if we had no evidence, such as tool marks, that one or the other was artificially created. This just to illustrate my position that design can only be detected in reference to other objects, not by examining an object in isolation.
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#53  Postby Calilasseia » Jul 26, 2010 12:42 pm

Which of course is the point of my statement about a suitably rigorous metric. In order for such a metric to work, you have to have in existence entities belonging to two classes, one class comprising entities that were "designed" by another entity, and one class comprising entities that were not the product of such activity. This immediately destroys the apologetics of those who wish to claim that the entire universe and all its contents were "designed" by their magic man, because if this is the case, we have no rigorous means of determining this. "Design" becomes a blind assertion under such apologetic conditions.

As for those who accept that some entities were not "designed" by their magic man, we are once more back to the basic question of how one separates entities into the two classes in a reliable and repeatable manner. Moreover, given the vast scope of IDist assertions, any such rigorous means of separating entities into the relevant classes has to be universally applicable. The fact that scientists have never alighted upon such a means, despite assiduous searches for such a means, tells us that this is a far from trivial problem, and consequently, any assertions that "design" is "obvious" are fatuous in the light of that simple fact. Another fact that worsens the situation for those erecting the "design" assertion, is that the means by which humans detect the activity of other humans engaging in "design" activities are different in different fields, because the entities being examined are subject to different physical processes. The idea that a simple metric can encompass all of these differences, barring some gigantic leap of genius that would make Einstein look like a primary school child, is a non-starter.

Science is diverse and complicated because the real world is diverse and complicated, which is why scientists specialise from an early point in their careers - there is simply too much complexity and diversity for one human being to assimilate in sufficient depth to make advances in multiple fields. This of course omits consideration of the rare example of the genius polymath, but these are becoming fewer and fewer with the passage of time, because the body of knowledge required to be assimilated has grown enormously since the first days of the Enlightenment. Back in Newton's day, it was possible for a single human being to know all that there was to know about the world, and have that knowledge to hand in a personal library. Nowadays, the sum total of scientific knowledge is so vast that it would fill millions of DVDs with the text alone. The idea that any simple metric for detecting "design" can encompass all of the diverse phenomena that scientists have alighted upon, and rule out all testable natural processes regardless of the class of entity being considered, is frankly a non-starter.

This, of course, is a gigantic problem to be overcome simply with respect to the business of detecting "design" at the hands of humans - humans have pressed into service so many different physical phenomena over the past 300 years, that any universal metric intended to detect human design alone would be a baroque, rococo edifice whose bureaucratic complexity would be positively Byzantine. This is before we try applying any such metric to blind assertions about the purported handiwork of invisible magic men. Which itself is problematic precisely because the "design" assertion erected about supernatural magic entities and their purported handiwork is qualitatively different in a hugely substantive manner from the "design" processes that humans are known to bring to bear upon a problem. Human "design" involves much trial and error, much learning from mistakes, the discarding of failures and building upon successes, and as such is actually far closer algorithmically to evolutionary processes, than to any magic act of all-knowing bolting together of components with perfect foreknowledge of their interactions. Indeed, precisely because there is such a vast difference between the two "design" processes, which are duplicitously conflated in a bait and switch operation by IDists, any metric that would detect "design" by humans or human-like entities operating entirely within the laws of physics, would almost certainly be useless for detecting purported "supernatural design". As a consequence of this, IDists are treading quicksand.
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#54  Postby Shrunk » Jul 26, 2010 1:18 pm

Calilasseia wrote:As for those who accept that some entities were not "designed" by their magic man, we are once more back to the basic question of how one separates entities into the two classes in a reliable and repeatable manner. Moreover, given the vast scope of IDist assertions, any such rigorous means of separating entities into the relevant classes has to be universally applicable.


That would be the position of someone like Micheal Behe, who accepts that common ancestry and some form of evolution thru mutation and natural selection exist. He just thinks certain things, like the flagellum, defy such naturalistic explanations. (Because he's an imbecile, I hasten to add.)

I know you' ve often discussed design methods that use computer algorithms based on evolutionary principles to produce technological devices such as radio antennae. Would there be any way to determine which objects were produced by such a process, as opposed to traditional deliberate human design, just by examining the end products? My guess is there is not, but ID would predict there would be.
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#55  Postby Calilasseia » Jul 26, 2010 1:32 pm

Actually, since human "design" itself bears much closer relation to an evolutionary process than it does to any magic "design" process involving perfect foreknowledge of the interaction of assembled parts, I would say that separating traditional human "design" from the modern use of evolutionary algorithms on computer would be a seriously non-trivial matter.

That's another reason to reject magic "design" - we simply have no evidence that such a process even exists. We have no evidence whatsoever to support any instance of deliberate, intentional integration of components with perfect foreknowledge of how those components will interact, because no humans have ever acquired such a level of knowledge. Mature technologies that bear the appearance of this to the naive observer, are simply taking advantage of the long period of time over which humans produced comical errors, learned to discard them, and learned to build something successful. Those old film clips of early attempts to build flying machines are a case in point. Some of those early attempts are as far removed from "perfect foreknowledge" as it's possible to be, and the only reason Boeing and Airbus industries can roll out sleek new airliners is because they've taken advantage of a century's worth of incremental development, involving discarding of failures and building upon successes, which is exactly what evolution does.

All that we're doing, when we press evolutionary algorithms into service, is offload the hard labour of generating failures, discarding them, and learning from this, onto a computer, while we sit back and fire up a cappuchino. Separating instances of the use of evolutionary algorithms from traditional human "design" is therefore going to be a seriously hard task. Likewise, it's going to require some ingenuity, in the absence of documentation of the relevant experimental work, to separate some of the biotechnology products being generated by the use of in vitro evolution in the laboratory, from natural products of living organisms in the wild. All of which simply demonstrates once again that IDists haven't bothered actually thinking about the problem they're attacking, and instead have simply decided that blind assertions dictate how reality works.
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#56  Postby PhiloKGB » Jul 26, 2010 2:28 pm

amused wrote:I'm SO glad you said that. I'm an architect. I design things. When I see a good design, I recognize and appreciate the hand of the designer. I see a good design in the universe, which implies a designer.

You have an awfully inflated view of the extent of your skill. How does expertise in terrestrial architecture qualify you to detect "good design in the universe"?
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#57  Postby Shrunk » Jul 26, 2010 3:01 pm

PhiloKGB wrote:
amused wrote:I'm SO glad you said that. I'm an architect. I design things. When I see a good design, I recognize and appreciate the hand of the designer. I see a good design in the universe, which implies a designer.

You have an awfully inflated view of the extent of your skill. How does expertise in terrestrial architecture qualify you to detect "good design in the universe"?


For that matter, what does a poorly designed, or undesigned universe look like?
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#58  Postby amused » Jul 26, 2010 3:25 pm

Shrunk wrote:
PhiloKGB wrote:
amused wrote:I'm SO glad you said that. I'm an architect. I design things. When I see a good design, I recognize and appreciate the hand of the designer. I see a good design in the universe, which implies a designer.

You have an awfully inflated view of the extent of your skill. How does expertise in terrestrial architecture qualify you to detect "good design in the universe"?


For that matter, what does a poorly designed, or undesigned universe look like?


I don't really know, but a cold universe filled with nothing but a little dust would qualify as a universe that is poorly designed to support life. Yes, I added a qualifier, sue me.

A lot of people take the built environment for granted, like it's always been here. It takes a lot of very hard work by a lot of people to put it in place. I wonder if that same attitude affects these arguments against any possibility for design in the universe.

The universe we find ourselves in does work extremely well.
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#59  Postby Rumraket » Jul 26, 2010 3:30 pm

amused wrote:
Shrunk wrote:
PhiloKGB wrote:
amused wrote:I'm SO glad you said that. I'm an architect. I design things. When I see a good design, I recognize and appreciate the hand of the designer. I see a good design in the universe, which implies a designer.

You have an awfully inflated view of the extent of your skill. How does expertise in terrestrial architecture qualify you to detect "good design in the universe"?


For that matter, what does a poorly designed, or undesigned universe look like?


I don't really know, but a cold universe filled with nothing but a little dust would qualify as a universe that is poorly designed to support life. Yes, I added a qualifier, sue me.

A lot of people take the built environment for granted, like it's always been here. It takes a lot of very hard work by a lot of people to put it in place. I wonder if that same attitude affects these arguments against any possibility for design in the universe.

The universe we find ourselves in does work extremely well.

For what, exactly... life? No. We only know of one place where life exists, the surface of this planet. The interior of the planet will instantaneously kill any lifeform we know of, and so will stars, interstellar and intergalactic space.
The only thing that seems to work pretty well is it's ability to keep expanding.
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Re: Question For "Design" Assertionists ...

#60  Postby MrGray » Jul 26, 2010 3:36 pm

amused wrote:
Shrunk wrote:
PhiloKGB wrote:
amused wrote:I'm SO glad you said that. I'm an architect. I design things. When I see a good design, I recognize and appreciate the hand of the designer. I see a good design in the universe, which implies a designer.

You have an awfully inflated view of the extent of your skill. How does expertise in terrestrial architecture qualify you to detect "good design in the universe"?


For that matter, what does a poorly designed, or undesigned universe look like?


I don't really know, but a cold universe filled with nothing but a little dust would qualify as a universe that is poorly designed to support life. Yes, I added a qualifier, sue me.

A lot of people take the built environment for granted, like it's always been here. It takes a lot of very hard work by a lot of people to put it in place. I wonder if that same attitude affects these arguments against any possibility for design in the universe.


You know what? That's horseshit right there. I'll claim that in a perfectly designed universe there would be life on every planet, in one form or another, and hence a great deal of biological variety. I'll also claim that in that perfectly designed universe all the planets would have habitats such that they allow beings from one planet to live on another, while at the same time maintain a level of difference to allow diversified evolution. There, everyone can put shit out of their posteriors.

The universe we find ourselves in does work extremely well.


Now do we? How many other non-designed universes have you visited to claim that?
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