Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

“Can we find any stupid design among intelligent design?”


That was the question a commenter asked at the ID Facebook page.

He added,

Since I work in a medical field, I come across lot of stupid design due to which patients are suffering quite a lot.

and asked “Can a intelligent designer make a mistake too?” Good question.

The obvious answer is yes, of course. One problem is that we use the term “stupid” in different senses. Government policies are often designed by intelligent people (the bullet train no one rides or the bridge to nowhere come to mind). These policies get called “stupid” if they cost a lot and do little good.

But the reasons they turned out that way do not boil down to simple stupidity. Indeed, the Machiavellian machinations that go into creating some of the epic messes politicians have gotten us into today would require a genius to comprehend as a whole. So yes, it is stupid, and yes it is design.

However, our commenter wishes to talk about medicine. He didn’t spell out what he regarded as stupid (or no) design, so I must make do with situations that have been considered such, the two most obvious being “vestigial” organs and junk DNA, neither of which turned out to be what was claimed.

Of course, the commenter might also mean that defects happen, hostile life forms attack, and things wear out and die, but that is the nature of the universe we live in. Or he may mean that designs are, at best, not perfect but only optimal. Optimal in the sense of the best available package, not one that meets every possible need or want (which usually doesn’t exist).

Given what the human body must do over something like 75 or more years, I wouldn’t have picked it to argue a case for stupid design. Thoughts? – O’Leary for News

Since I work in a medical field, I come across lot of stupid design
Does the brain that was used to make this judgement count as one of them? The problem with undermining the design in nature is that your intelligence capacity is part of this design too. Shogun
I have over 20 years' experience in the medical field, and I'd like an example of what the commenter refers to as "stupid design." Because I certainly haven't seen any. If he wants to address the problem of human suffering, then study and read the Bible. It's clearly explained in there. But let's look at the human body and evidence of design: 1. Our upright stance is very energy efficient, for it demands little muscle action to sustain the vertical alignment of our body. In fact, we ‘use only 7% more energy standing than when lying down,’ says neuroscience researcher John R. Skoyles. He adds that a dog uses about 70 percent more energy when standing (on all fours) than when lying down. 2. When you were born, your kidneys were ready to filter your blood supply—removing toxins and excess water but retaining useful substances. Your two kidneys, if healthy, filter the water in your blood—about five quarts [6 L] in an adult—every 45 minutes! Your kidneys also help control the mineral content of your blood as well as its acidity and pressure. They perform many other vital functions, such as converting vitamin D to an active form necessary for proper bone development and producing the hormone erythropoietin, which stimulates red blood cell production in your bones. No wonder the kidneys have been called “the master chemists of the body”! 3. Consider, for example, the human brain. Some have called it the most complex object yet discovered in the universe. It contains some 100 billion nerve cells—about as many as the number of stars in our galaxy. Each of those cells branches off into thousands of connections with other cells. Scientists say that a human brain could contain all the information in all the world’s libraries and that its storage capacity may, in fact, be unfathomable. Despite decades of studying this “wonderfully made” organ, scientists admit that they may never fully understand how it works. 4. The human hand with its opposable thumb is a remarkably versatile tool. Without the hand, how would you write a letter, take a photograph, hammer a nail, use a telephone, or thread a needle? Thanks to the hand, pianists play exquisite pieces, artists paint beautiful pictures, and surgeons perform delicate operations. “The apes, having short thumbs and long fingers, are handicapped in relation to delicate manual dexterity,” states he New Encyclopædia Britannica. There is another important difference between the hand of a man and that of an ape. About a quarter of the motor cortex in the human brain is devoted to the muscles of your hands. The human motor cortex, explains Professor Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology, “is quite different from that of lower animals” and makes possible “an exceptional capability to use the hand, the fingers, and the thumb to perform highly dexterous manual tasks.” 5. The retina is a small membrane that fits over the back of the eye. As thin as paper, it contains over a hundred million neurons arranged in different layers. “The retina,” states the book The Living Body, “is one of the most remarkable pieces of tissue in the human body.” It is “the envy of the computer scientist, performing approximately 10 billion calculations every second,” states Sandra Sinclair in her book How Animals See. "The versatile sensitivity of the retina” is due, in part, to 125 million rods. These are sensitive to small amounts of light, making vision possible at night. Then there are about 5.5 million cones that respond to brighter light and make possible detailed color vision. Some cones are most sensitive to red light, others to green and others to blue. Their combined response enables you to see all the colors in this magazine. When all three types of cones are excited equally, the color you see is pure white. Most animals are limited in their ability to see in color, and many do not see color at all. “Colour vision adds immensely to the joys of life,” says surgeon Rendle Short, adding: “Of all the organs of the body not absolutely essential for life, the eye may be considered the most wonderful.” Barb
The argument from "poor design" is a terrible argument from a logical standpoint. Nevertheless, I also call BS on this kind of statement from an evidentiary standpoint:
Since I work in a medical field, I come across lot of stupid design due to which patients are suffering quite a lot.
Despite a century and a half of complaints by Darwinists about suboptimal design (the "backwards" wiring of the mammalian eye, the panda's thumb, junk DNA, the appendix, etc.), not once -- not once -- has any of them offered an engineering-level, detailed explanation about how the system could be improved. Indeed, nearly all of the cases of alleged poor design, when examined more closely (think of the mammalian eye), have turned out to be examples of exquisite design. People who make statements about all the "poor design" in nature, don't know what they are talking about. And when they further use the alleged poor design to "prove" some point about the absence of design generally, then they manifest not only an embarrassing lack of understanding, but their philosophical biases. Eric Anderson
It is interesting to note how quickly Darwinists are to point to supposedly 'stupid Designs' as a 'proof' that unguided processes created all life on earth, in all its intricate and wondrous complexity, when they have yet to demonstrate the origination of a single protein by Darwinian processes: i.e. What we see Darwinian processes do,,,
“The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010 Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain. http://behe.uncommondescent.com/2010/12/the-first-rule-of-adaptive-evolution/ Michael Behe talks about the preceding paper in this following podcast: Michael Behe: Challenging Darwin, One Peer-Reviewed Paper at a Time – December 2010 http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/player/web/2010-12-23T11_53_46-08_00
as compared to what needs to be explained by Darwinian processes:
Human brain has more switches than all computers on Earth - November 2010 Excerpt: They found that the brain's complexity is beyond anything they'd imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief, says Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and senior author of the paper describing the study: ...One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor--with both memory-storage and information-processing elements--than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth. http://news.cnet.com/8301-27083_3-20023112-247.html
And even that comparison is found to be a severe underestimation:
Could the Internet ever be conscious? Definitely not before 2115, even if you’re a materialist. - Dr. Torley - December 7, 2012 Excerpt: So there you have it. A microprocessor with around 1 billion transistors is in the same mental ballpark as … a worm. Rather an underwhelming result, don’t you think? “What about the Internet as a whole?” you might ask. As we saw above, the number of transistors (N) in the entire Internet is 10^18, so log(N) is 18. log(Z) is log(2) or about 0.3, so C=(18*0.3)=5.4. That’s right: on Deamer’s scale, the complexity of the entire Internet is a miserable 5.4, or 40 orders of magnitude less than that of the human brain, which stands at 45.5. Remember that Deamer’s formula is a logarithmic one, using logarithms to base 10. What that means is that the human brain is, in reality, 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times more complex than the entire Internet! And that’s based on explicitly materialistic assumptions about consciousness. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/could-the-internet-ever-be-conscious-definitely-not-before-2115-even-if-youre-a-materialist/ Smart Neurons: Single Neuronal Dendrites Can Perform Computations - Oct. 27, 2013 Excerpt: The results challenge the widely held view that this kind of computation is achieved only by large numbers of neurons working together, and demonstrate how the basic components of the brain are exceptionally powerful computing devices in their own right. Senior author Professor Michael Hausser commented: "This work shows that dendrites, long thought to simply 'funnel' incoming signals towards the soma, instead play a key role in sorting and interpreting the enormous barrage of inputs received by the neuron. Dendrites thus act as miniature computing devices for detecting and amplifying specific types of input. "This new property of dendrites adds an important new element to the "toolkit" for computation in the brain. This kind of dendritic processing is likely to be widespread across many brain areas and indeed many different animal species, including humans.",,, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131027140632.htm
Seeing such a gargantuan disparity between what Darwinian processes are actually observed to be doing (consistently degrading things) and the mind blowing complexity in life that needs to be explained, perhaps Darwinists can see why some of us are extremely skeptical of their claims that life is a 'stupid Design': Supplemental note:
Are computers conscious? - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aLRzzzDXZoADkoOIubQECLTiD2ceAhzk_0XzSjds2r4/
verse and music:
Psalm 139:14 I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. MercyMe - Beautiful http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vh7-RSPuAA
Since I work in a medical field, I come across lot of stupid design due to which patients are suffering quite a lot.
This has come up a quite a bit lately, and I've responded the same way every time. As I've said before:
The atheist argument goes: -If there is a source of all good, there is a designer. -If the designer is the source of the good, there would be no imperfections. -There are imperfections, therefore there is no source of pure good and no designer. This argument completely fails as it presumes human understanding is analogous to that of the designer. This is completely fallacious as a designer, by definition, would need to be far beyond human, and even universal, understanding with regards to the mind. One cannot base an argument of objectivity on one’s own subjective assertion of what the designer should be.
Given what the human body must do over something like 75 or more years, I wouldn’t have picked it to argue a case for stupid design.
I agree with you. The genius who said "Since I work in a medical field, I come across lot of stupid design due to which patients are suffering quite a lot" has designed, constructed and tested for 75 years a more efficient human body? If he has not why he speaks? niwrad
The fall changed everything. there was no need for a immune system before the fall. There is no comparison today between our bodies and the pre fall ones at deep levels. Robert Byers
And God saw every thing that He had made, and behold, it was very good.
Implication: it could have been bad or just good. There is every indication that previous attempts (by the Elohim or Lords) at designing living organisms on earth did not work out too well. I don't think those Elohim were too happy about the Triassic dinosaurs and the Cambrian trilobites. But then again, those periods could have been about experimental designs only, or just for fun. Maybe the Elohim who created the dinosaurs and the trilobites were not the same Elohim who created the mammals, birds and humans. Who knows? It seems, though, looking at the fossil record, that there was a lot of experimentation going on and that the designs evolved tremendously over time and it got to a point where the Elohim felt confident enough in their abilities to design and form the human species. OK. I realize that this speculation does not follow the pattern of orthodox Christian belief in an omniscient God but I am not an orthodox Christian. Far from it. I just think it would be incredibly boring to know everything there is to know, past, present and future. Not to mention the fact that there are many passages in the Bible that tell us in no uncertain terms that God does not know everything. Mapou

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