Cell biology Design inference

Why nanomachines are considered designed only if they are built by humans

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Sir J. Fraser Stoddart
J. Fraser Stoddart, Nobelist, Chemistry 2016

From David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views:

The 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry recognized the intelligent design (what else would you call it?) of artificial molecular machines. These “nano” machines are impressive as technical achievements. Yet they are also exceedingly simple, “cute” but “useless,” as Nature reported that “some chemists” say. “We need to convince [researchers] that these molecules are really exciting,” as one scientist remarked.

Writing at CNSNews, Discovery Institute biochemist Michael Behe makes the point that Darwin advocates don’t want to hear. If scientists need to be “convinced” that nano machines are “exciting” and useful, the same is surely not true when it comes to the molecular machines familiar to biologists. That’s the nanotechnolgy that make continuing existence possible for chemists, Nobel Laureates, and every living creature on the planet: …

No one needs to labor to convince anybody that kinesins (walking transport proteins) are useful. It sounds like he’s headed in a dangerous direction: More.

Let’s spell out the danger: It is okay to talk about design in nature as long as we are referring to human artifacts (because humans are not special, evolved so as to be unable to understand reality, and consciousness is an illusion.

The question of how all that information got built up somehow is circumvented by assuming that we would not know if there was information anyway. That is the message of naturalism: Not that the evidence supports it but that we can’t know. Which means evidence does not matter.

The conflict between fine-tuning and the multiverse turns precisely on that point: The multiverse is an attempt to circumvent the evidence for fine-tuning on principle because the evidence does not matter.

A naturalist theory can, of course, be imposed without evidence, and imposing the theory is what matters.

Except for artificial intelligence, of course. Which, in such a framework, is considered real intelligence. Because there isn’t any real intelligence anywhere. 0 = 0

If you believe it.

See also: Terminology watch: Hidden “intelligence” in our cells?

People say that “intelligence” is just a word. No one means it. But that is their mistake. It is becoming harder all the time to pretend that Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutation) explains what we see. Eventually, as here, writers must start using terminology that makes sense if they are to understand the story themselves, never mind conveying it accurately.

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8 Replies to “Why nanomachines are considered designed only if they are built by humans

  1. 1

    Great headline. I guess atheists/materialists believe in human exceptionalism after all. Too funny.


    “It is becoming harder all the time to pretend that Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutation) explains what we see.”

    True indeed!

  2. 2
    J-Mac says:

    The answer is simple: It is what the great majority of scientists want to believe along with the quite large majority of people who don’t what to hear otherwise. Yup. that’s pretty much the society we live in, more or less.
    Simply put, the majority of people not only can’t handle the truth. They don’t want to hear it!

  3. 3

    Go to a couple of prominent atheist/evolutionary web sites such as http://NCSE.com and http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com
    and then do searches on a few terms such as ‘kinesin’, ‘nanomachines’, ‘systems biology’, ‘computational biology’, ‘intelligence’ and others you may be aware of.

    I think you will find a dearth of articles dealing with the ‘machines’ that working scientists encounter on a regular basis. See my report of an encounter a few years back at https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/interesting-people-i-have-met-e-michael-ostap-ph-d/

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    ayearningforpublius @3:

    Searched for ‘Consciousness’ in the NCSE page and got this:


  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    ayearningforpublius @3:

    Searched for ‘Chalmers’ in the NCSE page and got this:

    Here in UD got this:

    Radically different results.

    The NCSE site shows more non-science comments in the above cases. Why?
    Aren’t they for science?

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    It is interesting to note that many leading Darwinists will readily admit to the ‘appearance of design’.

    “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
    Richard Dawkins – The Blind Watchmaker (1996) p.1

    “The real core of Darwinism,,,, the ‘design’ of the natural theologian, by natural means.”
    Ernst Mayr

    “Darwin’s theory of natural selection accounts for the ‘design’ of organisms, and for their wondrous diversity, as the result of natural processes,”
    Francisco J. Ayala – Darwin’s greatest discovery: Design without designer – May 2007

    “Organisms appear as if they had been designed to perform in an astonishingly efficient way, and the human mind therefore finds it hard to accept that there need be no Designer to achieve this”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 30

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 138 (1990)

    living organisms “appear to have been carefully and artfully designed”
    Richard C. Lewontin – Adaptation,” Scientific American, and Scientific American book ‘Evolution’ (September 1978)

    “This appearance of purposefulness is pervasive in nature…. Accounting for this apparent purposefulness is a basic problem for any system of philosophy or of science.”
    George Gaylord Simpson – “The Problem of Plan and Purpose in Nature” – 1947

    Yet, Darwinists hold that the ‘Designer substitute’ of Natural Selection is fully capable of explaining that pervasive ‘appearance of Design’:

    Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought By Ernst Mayr – November 24, 2009
    Excerpt: Every aspect of the “wonderful design” so admired by the natural theologians could be explained by natural selection.

    “Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.”
    Richard Dawkins – “The Blind Watchmaker” – 1986 – page 21
    quoted from this video – Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design – 2010 – video

    “Darwin’s theory of natural selection accounts for the ‘design’ of organisms, and for their wondrous diversity, as the result of natural processes,”
    Francisco J. Ayala – Darwin’s greatest discovery: Design without designer – May 2007

    But Natural Selection is found to be grossly inadequate as the supposed ‘Designer substitute’:

    “Darwinism provided an explanation for the appearance of design, and argued that there is no Designer — or, if you will, the designer is natural selection. If that’s out of the way — if that (natural selection) just does not explain the evidence — then the flip side of that is, well, things appear designed because they are designed.”
    Richard Sternberg – Living Waters documentary
    Whale Evolution vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg and Paul Nelson – (excerpt from Living Waters video)

    And when looking at Natural Selection from the physical perspective of what is actually physically going on, it is very easy to see exactly why Natural Selection is ‘not even wrong’ as the explanation for the ‘apparent design’ we see pervasively throughout life:

    The abject failure of Natural Selection on two levels of physical reality – video (2016) (princess and the pea paradox & quarter power scaling)

    Many Darwinists who are aware of the falsification of Natural Selection by population genetics, as the supposed ‘Designer substitute’, will appeal to Neutral theory. William J Murray succinctly points out the fallacy inherent in that line of thinking by Darwinists:

    (With the adoption of the ‘neutral theory’ of evolution by prominent Darwinists, and the casting aside of Natural Selection as a major player in evolution),,,
    “One wonders what would have become of evolution had Darwin originally claimed that it was simply the accumulation of random, neutral variations that generated all of the deeply complex, organized, interdependent structures we find in biology? Would we even know his name today?
    What exactly is Darwin really famous for now? Advancing a really popular, disproven idea (of Natural Selection), along the lines of Luminiferous Aether?
    Without the erroneous but powerful meme of “survival of the fittest” to act as an opiate for the Victorian intelligentsia and as a rationale for 20th century fascism, how might history have proceeded under the influence of the less vitriolic maxim, “Survival of the Happenstance”?”
    – William J Murray

    Moreover, besides Natural Selection being falsified as the supposed ‘Designer substitute’ by population genetics, and as Pauli and Talbott point out in the following articles, ‘random chance’, at least how Darwinists use the term ‘random chance’, is ‘more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle’:

    Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science – Harald Atmanspacher
    Excerpt: “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”
    Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28)

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: The situation calls to mind a widely circulated cartoon by Sidney Harris, which shows two scientists in front of a blackboard on which a body of theory has been traced out with the usual tangle of symbols, arrows, equations, and so on. But there’s a gap in the reasoning at one point, filled by the words, “Then a miracle occurs.” And the one scientist is saying to the other, “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.”
    In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”

    Thus humorously in conclusion, the grossly inadequate ‘Designer substitute’ of natural selection is itself found to be dependent on ‘miracles’ in order to implement the overwhelming ‘appearance of design’ in life.

    And given the fact no one can seem to find truly beneficial ‘miracle’ mutations that are on their way to creating novel functional information,,

    podcast: “A Billion Genes and Not One Beneficial Mutation”

    Then I would say that the grossly inadequate ‘Designer substitute’ of natural selection is quite an inept ‘miracle worker’ at that.

    Moreover, exactly what was that critique by Lewontin against allowing God into one’s science since miracles may happen?

    Billions and Billions of Demons – Richard C. Lewontin – January 9, 1997
    “To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.”

  7. 7
    ppolish says:

    There is a TV commercial in my neck of the woods for an exercycle “Peloton”. The ad’s slogan for the stationary bike is “This is fitness Evolved”.

    Ok – as long as “evolved” means intelligently designed or redesigned. Actually, whenever you hear “evolved” in an advert it means intelligently designed or redesigned.

    Evolution = Inteligent Design on Madison Avenue. Oh they are sneaky.

  8. 8
    ppolish says:

    The “Latest Evolution” of the sports car. Intelligent Design cough Inteligent Design:


    Give a Blind Carmaker a few trillion trillion trillion years and you won’t get squat. Not even a Yugo. Not even close.

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