Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Dawkins: Design Theorist

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WJM reminds us of a couple of famous design theorists: Darwin and Dawkins. All that follows is WJM.

For that matter, even Charles Darwin argued that the existence of a single IC system (though he didn’t use that word) would falsify his evolutionary hypothesis:

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

(I thank Peter S. Williams for researching some of the following points.)

. . . Richard Dawkins . . . wrote about “Mount Improbable,” [and] acknowledges that CSI is a good indicator for design? He writes:

Of all the unique and, with hindsight equally improbable, positions of the combination lock [complexity], only one opens the lock [specification]. . . . The uniqueness of the arrangement. . . that opens the safe, [has] nothing to do with hindsight. It is specified in advance.

According to Dawkins, the best explanation of an open safe is not that someone got lucky, but that someone knew the specific and complex combination required to open it. Directed Panspermia and “God

Dawkins explicitly acknowledges that CSI is a valid criterion of design detection:

specified complexity” takes care of the sensible point that any particular rubbish heap is improbable, with hindsight, in the unique disposition of its parts. A pile of detached watch parts tossed in a box is, with hindsight, as improbable as a fully functioning, genuinely complicated watch. What is specified about a watch is that it is improbable in the specific direction of telling the time. . .

Comments
keiths, all the time in the world to troll. No time to back up his claims. Don't be too hard on keiths, he's not really doing the best he can.Mung
November 22, 2014
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keiths:
Don’t be so hard on Mung, David. He’s doing the best he can.
But you're not doing the best you can, keiths. Have you never heard the saying a rising tide sinks all boats? Please do try to do better. Is Dawkins wrong? Yes, no, you don't know. Yes, this is a thread about Dawkins and design but what Dawkins says is irrelevant? Just where do you stand? Have you just missed my other posts here in which I have pointed out how Dawkins was among the first to set a threshold for design v. not design? Why is it that ID critics nowadays avoid talking about Dawkins as if he's in some way tainted?Mung
November 21, 2014
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In the case of Paley’s watch, even if we had never seen a watch before, we would recognize the cogs, wheels and springs inside as like the components of machines we know human beings have designed.
And what about someone who has never seen cogs, wheels and springs before? Would that person still infer intelligent design from a watch?Joe
November 21, 2014
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DavidD,
Never underestimate the power of basement bottom feeding when the attic upstairs is empty. Deflection is a wonderful thing when you have nothing of value to contribute.
Don't be so hard on Mung, David. He's doing the best he can.keith s
November 21, 2014
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Mung "Good grief keiths, is Dawkins wrong?" Never underestimate the power of basement bottom feeding when the attic upstairs is empty. Deflection is a wonderful thing when you have nothing of value to contributeDavidD
November 21, 2014
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Good grief keiths, is Dawkins wrong?Mung
November 20, 2014
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Good grief, Barry, it was StephenB, not WJM. Do all IDers look alike to you? Linkkeith s
November 19, 2014
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Would the first living cell have properties not previously observed in nature.Edward
November 19, 2014
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We infer an object might be designed for two simple reasons. First, because it looks similar to what we design and, second, because it has properties not previously observed in nature. In the case of Paley's watch, even if we had never seen a watch before, we would recognize the cogs, wheels and springs inside as like the components of machines we know human beings have designed. We would also note the brass case and the glass lens over the dial, both materials in forms not seen before in nature. Now consider a different case. In the science-fiction TV series Babylon 5, information was stored in what were called "data crystals" and looked like naturally-occurring crystals. Suppose a time traveler from the future of Babylon 5 had briefly visited England of the late 18th century and accidentally left behind one of those data crystals lying on Paley's heath. Someone out for a leisurely stroll would certainly notice a crystal lying on the ground but would they infer it was a device for storing information - something obviously designed - or would they would they simply conclude it was a natural crystal?Seversky
November 19, 2014
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A key point here is that if Dawkins can see and recognize this so easily and clearly, then every atheist-materialist-evolutionist can recognize the same thing. Instead, however, we see anti-IDers perplexed or laughing with ridicule at how anyone could possibly accept design detection. Let's face it, Dawkins can see it, and so can everybody else.Silver Asiatic
November 19, 2014
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