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Ban the very concept of design!

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Zool Syst Evol Res doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0469.2008.00505.x

W. J. Bock

Design – an inappropriate concept in evolutionary theory*

Abstract

The concept of accident in evolution refers to causes which are stochastic with respect to selective demands arising from the external environment and acting on the organism, while the concept of design refers to causes which meet the requirement of these selective demands. The condition _with respect to selective demands_ is generally forgotten so that evolutionary changes are described as being design modifications. Design is an invalid synonym for adaptation. Further it implies a designer and has been used by some authors since before Darwin to argue that design in organisms demonstrates the existence of a designer and hence a plan. Yet if evolution depends on two simultaneously acting causes, one of which is accidental, then the process of evolution and all attributes of organisms are accidental. The concept of design is inappropriate in biology and should be eliminated from all biological explanations.

Get this: “Yet if evolution depends on two simultaneously acting causes, one of which is accidental, then the process of evolution and all attributes of organisms are accidental.”

Try to apply that to daily life: You set out to clear snow of the sidewalk, which is not accidental, and you skid and fall, which is. So everything that happened was accidental! Case closed … or … Well, now you see why they have to ban the concept.

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8 Replies to “Ban the very concept of design!

  1. 1
    Upright BiPed says:

    This is another instance where a false idea is shoehorned into being acceptable, and in doing so, the contradictory statements begin to cast shadows upon themselves in the pile.

    “…the process of evolution and all attributes of organisms are accidental”

    So how does that square with the 1,654,975,835 times we’ve heard on UD that “evolution is NOT a random process” ?

    Oh thats right, there’s the equivocation that even though variation is random, evolution isn’t random because natural selection is not random in relation to blah blah blah.

    Much like the theory of gravity, of course.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    Only, selection processes ARE significantly random. Starting with the odds that you catch a germ, or get hit by a rock, or are in the wrong place and time for a predator, etc.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Where, at the extreme, an asteroid impact counts as getting hit by a rock.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    BTW, see why it is important to assess the causal story across chance, necessity and design, per aspect of an object, process or phenomenon?

  5. 5
    Joseph says:

    There STILL isn’t any evidence that genetic accidents can accumulate in such a way as to give rise to new, useful multi-part systems.

    And as a matter of fact there isn’t any evidence that all genetic change is due to genetic accidents.

  6. 6
    fmarotta says:

    “The concept of design is inappropriate in biology…”

    Is the concept of design inappropriate when discussing genetically modified organisms? Or are these of no interest to the biologist?

  7. 7
    Petrushka says:

    Genetically modified organisms could be distinguished by future biologists by having genes that don’t fit the nested hierarchy.

    As designers and engineers, humans don’t observe common descent when making useful changes to plants, for example. They force horizontal gene transfer.

    They copy genes across families in ways that aren’t observed in nature. Even across kingdoms.

  8. 8
    fmarotta says:

    Thank you for responding. Is what you describe always the case? Or are some genetic modifications subtle? Say if we have a potato that is resistant to a certain disease. The gene is identified and a potato that does not possess resistance is modified with the gene from the other potato. Is that as obvious as putting a luminescence gene from a fire-fly into a plant? Forgive my ignorance; I am hoping to learn something!

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