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Video Presentation: Why the Debate Over Intelligent Design Really Matters

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I have recently posted a new video presentation on my YouTube channel. In the video I talk about some of the reasons why I think the debate over Intelligent Design and biological origins is of great significance. Aside from just being a fascinating area, it has many implications in several areas of life.

This video, while far from perfect, is a big step up from my last few videos. I’ve done a fair amount of editing on this one, and took time to make it a little more professional, with music, slides, and photos. I hope you enjoy it, and it gets you thinking a little about why this topic is of importance to you also.

Why the Question of Biological Origins Really Matters

20 Replies to “Video Presentation: Why the Debate Over Intelligent Design Really Matters

  1. 1
    MikeW says:

    It’s clear that Darwinists commit the logical fallacy of unwarranted extrapolation from micro-evolution to macro-evolution. But ID advocates may be committing a similar fallacy. Even if humans are capable of designing linguistic codes and computer codes, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the astronomically complicated codes and structures of life were intelligently designed. Rather, we simply don’t know how they came about. We can’t say whether a progression of intelligence from plants to insects to mammals to humans can be extrapolated to a level of intelligence that is capable of designing life. Indeed, we don’t know if the capability to produce life involves anything that could be described as “intelligence” or “design”. It may be that some kind of higher capability is required that doesn’t even resemble intelligence as we understand it (Isaiah 55:9). Since abductive reasoning requires a cause that is known to produce the effect, it may be invalid to infer that intelligent design caused life.

    So IDers have certainly disproven Darwinism. But, strictly speaking, they haven’t completely proven ID. So James Tour’s position may be the safest, namely that we simply don’t know how life originated, or in his words, “We’re clueless.”

    The design inference explanatory filter may be committing a similar fallacy. In the logical flow, after an object is found to be contingent and complex/specified, it may be invalid to immediately conclude “Design”. Rather, a third decision point could be added that asks, “Is the observed object known to be designable by a known intelligence”. If the answer to that question is “Yes”, then it is valid to infer design. If the answer to that question is “No”, then we simply don’t know, and cannot make any valid inference to a best explanation.

  2. 2
    mahuna says:

    It only matters if YOU are interested in whatever CURRENT debate is going on.

    The Intelligent Design guys are gonna win. It’s just a matter of how many Commies and Darwinists have to die before Intelligent Design is accepted widely enough. I can’t imagine going through the hassles of arguing such a trivial point with any of my friends.
    If ya wanna argue about something IMPORTANT, argue about whether Socialism is the ASSURED future of human government.

  3. 3
    Sandy says:

    Even if humans are capable of designing linguistic codes and computer codes, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the astronomically complicated codes and structures of life were intelligently designed. Rather,we simply don’t know how they came about.

    If you don’t know “how” that means must be a Mind out there smarter than you who knows “how” because ALREADY done it long time ago and you still don’t have a clue . When you know “how” that means something dumber than you (a random natural event) did it or a mind comparable to your mind(another human) did it for example an arrow , jewelry , a sword found in a tomb or a hurricane/earthquake damage of a house or how an engine/satellite function.
    It’s out of discussion that a single cell can appear by chance let alone a complex organism. We don’t know “how” because a technology more advanced than we can imagine did it. We can call that technology a miracle because is beyond our understanding but is not beyond our understanding that a single cell is a cibernetic machine with regulatory and purposive systems.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    How did coded language come to form the basis of life

    If Science is wrong about Darwin, they are wrong about life.

    Darwin is about protein formation, only a small part of life and no one knows what makes life life or how life outside of protein formation happens or is controlled. Stephen Blume is incredibly perceptive about this..

    They don’t care

    Absolutely right on. People don’t care because they see that their lives would not change one bit whatever the answer turned out to be.

    debate is wide spread

    Sorry it isn’t. An indication is the 25 people who populate this website represent a minuscule part of the population. About the size of a protein compared to the size of the body.

    what’s happen in science

    Few care about science. They are interested in technology not science. There’s a huge difference between them. When science becomes an immediate concern such as C19, they are relatively clueless and let the experts determine their beliefs even if experts are at odds with each other. Everybody has their own experts.

    The ID literature has almost zero effect on the world. Most believe it is nonsense. Hopefully that will change but the trend is going in the opposite direction at the moment.

    One solution is to keep religion out of the debate. Wont happen here as religion is all most want to talk about even the atheists. For example, just see the thread on Lewontin, an atheist, that turned into a discussion on religion.

  5. 5
    MikeW says:

    Sandy@3, you’re committing a “god of the gaps” fallacy (or in your case a “technology of the gaps” fallacy) where you argue from ignorance to conclude a more advanced technology caused the phenomena. That’s the historical fallacy that our ancestors fell into when they, for example, didn’t understand thunder and lightning, so they attributed them to the whims of the gods of thunder and lightning. In the case of codes, we do know that minds like ours can create codes of varying complexity, so we can extrapolate that ability to infer that a more advanced technology could create the biological codes, but it’s still an extrapolation. The question is whether it’s a warranted extrapolation. The biological codes and structures are so astoundingly complex that it seems to me the inference is like saying that as Olympic high jumpers continue to set records that one day they will be able to jump over the moon. In fact, that extrapolation requires a paradigm shift where “jumping” is replaced by “rockets”. Similarly, a paradigm shift might be required for biological codes, where “mind”, “design” and “technology” are replaced by something we can’t even imagine.

  6. 6
    MikeW says:

    Jerry@4, your assertion that “the ID literature has almost zero effect” is incorrect. In fact, the ID literature has spawned a significant amount of research and results, from William Dembski’s theoretical breakthroughs in information theory, to Doug Axe’s and Ann Gauger’s ground-breaking work on protein folds, to the ID-confirming results of the ENCODE project, to Michael Behe’s insights on Darwinian devolution, to Stephen Meyer’s Return of the God Hypothesis. In any new scientific paradigm shift, the most significant early progress is achieved by a tiny fraction of the scientific community. This small group leads the way until the rest of the community eventually sees the light and catches up.

  7. 7
    jerry says:

    your assertion that “the ID literature has almost zero effect” is incorrect

    I wish you were correct but I see little if anything in the outside world to contradict my assessment. A few people are writing some books but I have seen nothing in the culture to reflect their insights.

    Instead we have the media, academia, popular culture, big business and politics all reflecting the opposite. And the average educated person responds to these inputs unthinking and doesn’t want to hear anything contrary. They don’t believe it makes much difference in their lives.

    Read the tweet summary I posted a couple days ago that nailed what people are about.

    https://uncommondescent.com/ud-newswatch-highlights/breaking-president-trump-mrs-trump-ms-hicks-are-positive-for-cv-19/#comment-733954

    Beliefs always trump evidence and logic. Rocking the boat is a no-no.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    MikeW:

    In the case of codes, we do know that minds like ours can create codes of varying complexity, so we can extrapolate that ability to infer that a more advanced technology could create the biological codes, but it’s still an extrapolation.

    There isn’t any evidence that nature can produce coded information processing systems. There isn’t even a way to test the claim that nature can. So the claim can be dismissed.

    However, there is ONE and only ONE known cause for producing coded information processing systems and that is via intelligent agency volition. So using our knowledge of cause and effect relationships in accordance with Newton’s four rules of scientific reasoning, we infer the coded information processing systems that rule living organisms were intelligently designed.

    And yes, if someone manages to demonstrate otherwise then the design inference is falsified. Science 101.

  9. 9
    jerry says:

    the design inference is falsified

    No.

    If just one instance of design was falsified, the entire thesis is not falsified. The design inference is a continuum; starting with the universe and the incredibly unlikely characteristics of particles and forces, to life to the protein creating machinery to cellular complexity to multi-cellular organization to complex systems to consciousness. And then there is the Earth.

    The theistic evolutionists accept much of this, just not the protein making part. Somehow that relatively small part became central with Watson’s and Cricks discovery when it is actually peripheral.

    It’s a long chain that is not falsified by just one instance of falsification. So far there is not even one link in the chain falsified. All are too complex and unlikely for happenstance for anyone to figure out how it could have happened.

    Unfortunately only a small fraction of the people realize this.

  10. 10
    ET says:

    I was talking about the genetic code. And if you falsify that then you falsify the claim that life needed an intelligent designer. So all of biology falls.

  11. 11
    jerry says:

    So all of biology falls.

    Not even close. The genetic code is a side show. It’s important to life. Makes good theater but it not close to what life is about.

    As Stephen Blume shows, it is an illusion.

  12. 12
    MikeW says:

    Evidence is growing that it is impossible to synthesize life from inanimate matter by any process (Darwinism, design, etc.) in our 3-dimensional universe. (See, for example, James Tour’s video series on Abiogenesis.) So if we allow speculation and extrapolation, perhaps life evolved in higher dimensions, in such a way that some of it was projected into the lower dimensions of our universe. If it did evolve in higher dimensions, perhaps the search space up there is simple and linear, such that it evolved in a Darwinian manner. How do we know if it did or didn’t? We don’t know. In fact, we don’t have a clue.

  13. 13
    Nonlin.org says:

    @Jerry,

    Don’t despair. Science an thinking in general has always been a minority enterprise. It’s for the lucky minority that can afford to and is capable of deep thoughts. ‘Afford’ includes those that renounced all worldly possessions.

  14. 14
    doubter says:

    MikeW@5

    “The biological codes and structures are so astoundingly complex that it seems to me the inference is like saying that as Olympic high jumpers continue to set records that one day they will be able to jump over the moon.”

    I think the design inference is just fine. An analogy: from the known ability of a human to learn and play tic-tac-toe you can abductively reason that in principle playing a master class chess game could probably also be accomplished by a human. It’s a matter of very greatly extrapolating the same basic mental abilities to strategize with a goal, visualize, predict, remember, logically reason, etc. Surely the gulf between known codes of life like DNA and the actual extremely greater complexity codes isn’t any greater than the gulf in required cognitive powers between tic-tac-toe and master class chess.

  15. 15
    doubter says:

    MikeW@12

    So if we allow speculation and extrapolation, perhaps life evolved in higher dimensions, in such a way that some of it was projected into the lower dimensions of our universe. If it did evolve in higher dimensions, perhaps the search space up there is simple and linear, such that it evolved in a Darwinian manner. How do we know if it did or didn’t? We don’t know. In fact, we don’t have a clue.

    This reminds me of the idle speculation that that pinhead over there supports a host of invisible angelic beings. Sure, we don’t have a clue whether that is true or not. But is your speculation anything other than similarly a straight out exercise of the almost infinite ability of the human imagination and ability to appeal to magic?

    I’ll go with the hoary old design inference, like Paley’s watch found in a forest. A person knows instinctively that it was designed by an intelligence of some kind.

  16. 16
    MikeW says:

    Doubter@14, I agree that proficiency in a simple game like tic-tac-toe can be extrapolated upwards to proficiency in a complex game like chess. But that’s because both games are part of a similar paradigm. So a machine like Deep Blue can be programmed to be proficient at both.

    But when the paradigm shifts, all bets are off. For example, Deep Blue can never be programmed to be a mechanically competitive NBA basketball player. That would require a completely different technology, if it’s possible at all.

    So until an intelligent design process can be formulated that could actually produce life, at least theoretically, the extrapolation remains unproven. And since we are so clueless at this point on how to even start any such design process, I think the extrapolation is unwarranted.

  17. 17
    MikeW says:

    Doubter@15, I agree that the higher dimensional story is speculation, but I don’t think it’s any more speculative than the ID extrapolation. The person in the forest correctly infers design because he knows there are design processes currently in existence that can produce watches. That’s the point of abductive inference. But I don’t know of any valid abductive inference in which the conclusion references a completely unknown and unimaginable process. That’s because it’s possible that “unknown” and “unimaginable” may translate to “non-existent”.

  18. 18
    doubter says:

    MikeW@17

    So, the OOL may be impossible as a physical process obeying the Standard Model of physics? Maybe so, and a speculative no intelligent design required higher dimensional story just might be possible.

    But what about all the lower-level irreducibly complex molecular machines and subsystems of the cell – like the famous bacterial flagellum, the cilia which may be even more complex, the ribosome, and even ATP synthase? And what about the Cambrian Explosion of complex new animal body plans? None of these cases and many others can be explained by undirected Darwinistic processes. They are apparently engineered systems that appear to be within the area of exceedingly intricate mechanisms that in principle could have been intelligently designed given a high enough level of intelligence. There is no need for magical speculations invoking no mind whatsoever. The design inference applies in these cases, which are the bulk of the phenomenon of the evolution of life since the OOL.

  19. 19
    MikeW says:

    Doubter@18, I definitely agree with you that none of the cases you cite can be explained by undirected Darwinian processes. So if we allow “Intelligent Design” to encompass any process other than “undirected Darwinian”, then I must logically agree with you there, also. However, I leave open the possibility that the creation of life may involve an ability that goes even beyond what we would define as “design”. So I also agree with Paul’s comment to the Corinthians that “the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom”.

  20. 20
    doubter says:

    MikeW@10
    You quite evidently doubt that intelligent design is the creator of life’s very many irreducibly complex biological machines, mechanisms and subsystems and systems of subsystems.

    To create an intricate irreducibly complex biological machine requires a complex and creative intelligent mind of some sort. A mind that can envision the need for each of the many parts or components as part of the overall purpose of the system, what possible designs to accomplish these purposes might consist of, what the optimum tradeoff of designs consists of including how they must work together to achieve what the overall design is required to do, and judge whether the overall design meets the requirements (which include not interfering with the other existing functions of the cell or other organism). A mind that can realize, for instance in the flagellum example, that a whip-like “propeller” requires a hub and bearing assembly and also a “motor”, and a system to respond to environmental stimuli, and also a system to manufacture the overall system of subsystems.

    Such a biological mechanism represents a large amount of complex specified information which cannot originate by itself. It cannot create itself. It’s creation necessarily requires focused conscious intelligence. If you disagree, you need to show exactly how, and not simply by an appeal to some speculative magical process.

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