Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

And here we thought there was only one completely ridiculous anti-design article out there …


This one.

But now there’s this from Faye Flam, “What Was the Designer Thinking When He Dreamed up the Human Body?” at the Philly Enquirer (November 1, 2011):

I’d also like to hear the creationist explanation for male nipples. Any good ideas out there?

We are not creationists nor experts at UD News but if, as we are told, nipples get started at a point in embryogenesis when male and female are imperfectly sorted, the obvious thing would be to just let them develop further in females, but not males.

May we add, ahem, that there is no evidence that male nipples have ever prevented a man from finding romantic happiness? Which often fixes the trait in future generations …

We have no idea what the opposite situation would do, were it even feasible.

Any kind of design means working within constraints. But you cannot explain that to someone who has no sympathy with engineering, that is, applied science, where reality matters.

The combox is hilarious, including one commenter’s response to her jibe: “If God created the human body, why did He put the sewer right through the playground? What was He thinking?:

Where would *you* put the sewer? Your finger? Your forehead? Elbow? Foot?

Hmmm. Yeah, we see the problem all right.

Could even God fly that past the mani-pedi/cosmetology industry? They probably lobbied for the sewer to be put some place where – if, like most people, you’re not totally gorgeous – most strangers other than medics don’t  think about, or want to.

Your response suggests to me that you misconstured my post. I was merely pointing out that the metaphor in the article was not new. Dr. Tyson's self described tirade points to how ridiculous his arguments are. I wonder how it would rate if judged as a stand-up comedy routine? All the "Why did God do it this way?" arguments are (anti) theological arguments that avoid the issue of the obvious design in nature. There are certainly some interesting philosophical questions that can be raised regarding the motives of the designer, but I don't see that any of the answers would ultimately refute that the design in nature is real. Design has to be refuted strictly on evidential grounds. And as things now stand, I don't see that happening either. NeilBJ
Fossfur: "Humans yes, Gods no" This is as ridiculous a statement as saying "for humans 1 + 1 = 2, but for God 1 + 1 can equal anything at all. Please explain why a creature designed by God to exist in this universe would not be constrained in the same manner as one designed by humans? SCheesman
Yes, it really is. When you start speaking of a designer with respect to ID then it is obvious that you don't know anything about the subject. That said ID can be tested and falsified as it is based on our knowledge of cause and effect relationships. Joseph
Fossfur: Please. Go: top-page, resources tab. Pull down and read -- don't just skim and dismiss impatiently, actually read. Pay particular attention to the definition of ID and the answers to the sort of weak argument talking point assertions you have been pushing with a fairly snide tone for some little while now. Also, take time to read the NWE article on ID and at least the IOSE survey here, looking at at least the first two vids [I strongly suggest as well the onward bit on sci methods here], and use these to deprogram the NCSE-Wikipedia-NSTA-NAS etc talking points and attitudes you have been indoctrinated with and have accepted uncritically. You doubt this, then kindly take a moment to explain the relevance of inference to best explanation to warrant of scientific knowledge claims, and especially those for origins science where we cannot actually observe the remote past. Then, come back to seriously comment. Otherwise, you are simply parroting talking points and smears. (For just one instance, the Creationist movement knows full well the difference between ID and their Bible based movement, and warn their followers about it. ID traces to those Bible-thumpers, Plato [Gk, C5 BC] and Cicero [Roman, C1 BC], and in our modern era picks up again with that rabid anti-science nut, Newton [C17 - 18 AD] in his General Scholium to Principia and Query 31 to Opticks, those notorious anti-science screeds. Not to mention, the role of that Bible thumping Creationist fanatic, Hoyle [C20, Astrophsyisicist and Nobel Equivalent prize holder], and his remark about the monkeying with the physics of the cosmos that sets up life.Worse, there are those horrid thermodynamicists with their silly notion of the infinite monkeys theorem as a foundation for the second law of thermodynamics. Not to mention that exchange between Shapiro and Orgel on origin of life.) Just for starters, let me clip the opening section of the NWE on ID:
Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection" [1] Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things. Greater clarity on the topic may be gained from a discussion of what ID is not considered to be by its leading theorists. Intelligent design generally is not defined the same as creationism, with proponents maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature [--> cf. David Berlinski]. As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things. ID also is not considered by its theorists to be an "argument from ignorance"; that is, intelligent design is not to be inferred simply on the basis that the cause of something is unknown (any more than a person accused of willful intent can be convicted without evidence). According to various adherents, ID does not claim that design must be optimal; something may be intelligently designed even if it is flawed (as are many objects made by humans). ID may be considered to consist only of the minimal assertion that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent agent. It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy) or in living things (e.g., Darwinian evolution) or that design, though real, is undetectable (e.g., some forms of theistic evolution). Because of such conflicts, ID has generated considerable controversy.
Now, tell us why you differ with the NWE, not just regurgitate talking points and ad hominem laced sneers, explain and warrant your claims with good anchorage in empirical observations and an explicitly explained logical structure of argument. State the limitations of the method of reasoning you use. (Make a particular focus on the term "best explained.") GEM of TKI kairosfocus
H'mm: Isn't it obvious that there is a reason why these parts are in-common PRIVATE parts? And, why are the reproductive [as in covenant of marriage . . . ] organs viewed as "entertainment" -- does that not tell us something very serious about the breakdown of our culture, of family values and structures and stability, etc? GEM of TKI kairosfocus
What can be shown to be more scientifically productive is a pragmatic assumption that everything has a purpose as if an incredibly intelligent designer was responsible. Unfortunately for science, the default assumption of evolutionary junk when anything is poorly understood has hindered progress, and probably originates from an irrational fear that God might be imagined to be the ultimate designer, perish the thought. Thus, Darwinists are quick to rejoice when they find anything that they can assure themselves is "junk" or a design mistake, have a remarkable faith that "living fossils" must have reached relative evolutionary perfection within miraculously enduring, sheltered environments lasting millions of years, gloss over staggering complexity with mythologies based on chance and necessity, and unfurl wildly speculative evolutionary rationalizations for any discovery, even such astonishments as pliable tissue within fossils supposedly scores of millions of years old, which are somehow, emphatically, not recently deceased "living" fossils. This is not science. This is a fool's paradise. In my opinion, biological sciences would advance much more quickly with the admission that, yes, God probably does exist; now get over it; and return to scientific rigor, following the data wherever it might lead. Querius
It really isn't. Fossfur
Fossfur, read up a bit and then report back. Your understanding of ID is quite lacking. Eric Anderson
Oh, goody. Another version of the puerile "bad design" argument. It is astounding how often this line of reasoning gets recycled. A moment's reflection for the person of even average intelligence would be sufficient to conclude that bad design does not mean no design. Further, we virtually never hear an engineering quality explanation of how the allegedly poorly designed system could have been improved upon. Just assertions that it was poorly designed, like Neil deGrasse Tyson's stupid statement referenced above. And to top it off, in most cases when we actually start to understand the system in question (e.g., mammalian eye, non-coding DNA), it turns out to be an example of exquisite design. Eric Anderson
The scientific theory of Intelligent Design does not presume that the origin of life on Earth and/or its subsequent development must be the result of singular extra-universal being. While most (if not all) ID proponents make that metaphysical assumption, the theory itself is agnostic.
Just a couple of points. First, there is no scientific theory of ID. This is the reason why after so much wailing and gnashing of teeth the ID revolutionaries have yet to advance, let alone perform a single experiment that might confirm or falsify the hypothesis. All they have are criticisms of evolutionary theory (e.g. irreducible complexity) that even if valid would not confirm the design hypothesis in any way. Second, the 'theory' is studiously and self-defeatingly coy about proffering any useful information about the Designer. Nevertheless it is a logical consequence of their argument that the Designer must be, in Dembski's own words, "not strictly physical". For if CSI (or anyone of its equally ill-defined variants) is a reliable marker of intelligent design then it's obvious we're going to run out of designers as we regress back through history. Fossfur
It's uncanny how people can, with a straight face, presume to second guess a being that lives outside time and space
Three related points: 1. The scientific theory of Intelligent Design does not presume that the origin of life on Earth and/or its subsequent development must be the result of singular extra-universal being. While most (if not all) ID proponents make that metaphysical assumption, the theory itself is agnostic. Thus ID theory permits the hypostheses that the origin of male nipples could be the accidental byproduct of one or more mortal aliens, the deliberate choice of a supreme being, or even the result of darwinian evolution (provided it doesn't cross the CSI threshold). 2. Evolution theory is really a very large group of suppoting theories that offers explanations for various developments in the history of life. In contrast, Intelligent Design theory is very small in scope. ID does not offer an explanation for this or any other feature as it (currently) only attempts to discern design (via the existence of a particular biological structure/operation highly improbable to have been found as a result of a random, exhaustive search). 3. I suppose it might be possible to determine if the suppression of nipples in male embryos has unintended consequences in later development, and if so, if there are any design alternatives. I've read that male horses and at the males of least one species of rat do not possess nipples, so designing/altering the human species to allow for healthy males to be sans-nipples may very well be possible. Where that leaves ID proponents, I haven't a clue. rhampton7
notes: For many years materialists predicted much of human anatomy was vestigial (useless and leftover evolutionary baggage) very much like they do now with supposed 'junk' DNA. Yet once again, they were proven completely wrong in this prediction.
“The thyroid gland, pituitary gland, thymus, pineal gland, and coccyx, … once considered useless by evolutionists, are now known to have important functions. The list of 180 “vestigial” structures is practically down to zero. Unfortunately, earlier Darwinists assumed that if they were ignorant of an organ’s function, then it had no function.” "Tornado in a Junkyard" - book - by former atheist James Perloff
Moreover, the vestigial organ argument, just like the 'Junk DNA' argument, is basically a 'Bad Design' argument which is used by materialistic evolutionists. But the 'Bad Design' argument is clearly a theological argument that quickly leaves the field of empirical science and enters squarely into the field of a Philosophical, and even a Theological, debate.
Refuting The Myth Of 'Bad Design' vs. Intelligent Design - William Lane Craig - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIzdieauxZg
In fact, it has been pointed out, by many people besides Dr. Craig, that the whole neo-Darwinian argument is, at its core beneath all the rhetoric, a theological argument:
On the Vastness of the Universe Excerpt: Darwin’s objection to design inferences were theological. And in addition, Darwin overlooked many theological considerations in order to focus on the one. His one consideration was his assumption about what a god would or wouldn’t do.
Here are peer-reviewed papers which point out the fact that many arguments for Darwinian evolution, even in Darwin's original book, turn out to be primarily theological arguments at their core:
The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning http://www.springerlink.com/content/n3n5415037038134/ Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin's Use of Theology in the Origin of Species - May 2011 http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/05/charles_darwin_theologian_majo046391.html Evolution and the Problem of Evil - Jay Richards - video http://www.idthefuture.com/2011/06/evolution_and_the_problem_of_e.html From Philosopher to Science Writer: The Dissemination of Evolutionary Thought - May 2011 Excerpt: The powerful theory of evolution hangs on this framework of thought that mandates naturalism. The science is weak but the metaphysics are strong. This is the key to understanding evolutionary thought. The weak arguments are scientific and the strong arguments, though filled with empirical observation and scientific jargon, are metaphysical. The stronger the argument, the more theological or philosophical. http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/05/from-philosopher-to-science-writer.html Peacefulness, in a Grown Man, That is Not a Good Sign - Cornelius Hunter - August 2011 Excerpt: Evolution cannot even explain how a single protein first evolved, let alone the massive biological world that ensued. From biosonar to redwood trees, evolution is left with only just-so stories motivated by the dogma that evolution must be true. That dogma comes from metaphysics, http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/08/peacefulness-in-grown-man-that-is-not.html
And the theological 'bad design' argument, which Darwinists unwittingly continually use to try to make their 'scientific' case, is actually its own independent discipline of study within Theology itself called Theodicy:
Is Your Bod Flawed by God? - Feb. 2010 Excerpt: Theodicy (the discipline in Theism of reconciling natural evil with a good God) might be a problem for 19th-century deism and simplistic natural theology, but not for Biblical theology. It was not a problem for Jesus Christ, who was certainly not oblivious to the blind, the deaf, the lepers and the lame around him. It was not a problem for Paul, who spoke of the whole creation groaning and travailing in pain till the coming redemption of all things (Romans 8). http://www.creationsafaris.com/crev201002.htm#20100214a “If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.” – CS Lewis God in the Dock, page 52 What about Suffering and the Existence of God – William Lane Craig – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTdjHOcaew4
Verse and Music:
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Kerrie Roberts - No Matter What – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA3MSqufJP4
Re: [W]hy did He put the sewer right through the playground? I first heard this metaphor some years ago from Neil deGrasse Tyson. He was one of the presenters at a conference of evolutionary scientists. In a presentation he described as a fast tirade on stuipid design, he asked the following question. "What's this going on between our legs?" He said we have an "entertainment complex in the middle of a sewer system." That quote comes at the very end of the following video. Warning: There are also pictures of aborted fetuses. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhPnuMb1PrU&amp NeilBJ
We are not creationists nor experts at UD News but if, as we are told, nipples get started at a point in embryogenesis when male and female are imperfectly sorted, the obvious thing would be to just let them develop further in females, but not males.
The "obvious thing to do"? It's uncanny how people can, with a straight face, presume to second guess a being that lives outside time and space! Please, please tell us more about this previously unknown designer and how his/her/its mind works! What else is the obvious thing to do for this Designer and how do you know?
Any kind of design means working within constraints.
Humans yes, Gods no. Fossfur

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