Intelligent Design

Deepak Chopra on ID

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“It’s high time to rescue ‘intelligent design’ from the politics of religion. There are too many riddles not yet answered by either biology or the Bible, and by asking them honestly, without foregone conclusions, science could take a huge leap forward.” MORE

19 Replies to “Deepak Chopra on ID

  1. 1
    Bombadill says:

    Who in Sam Hill was that woman on Larry’s panel, last night!? At every opportunity she had to speak, she either said something categorically false about I.D., or attacked the credibility of the Discovery Institute. Outragious!

  2. 2
    PaV says:

    Looking over Chopra’s lists of questions, I can only say that I’m very glad he’s on our side—oops! It’s not “Us-versus-Them”. Anyway, I’m glad he’s musing about all this. His intervention could be very helpful—I don’t think anyone is going to call him a Christian fundamentalist. Maybe a “creationist” though.

  3. 3
    Lurker says:

    I take issue with Deepak’s final statement:

    “No credible scientific theory has answered these dilemmas, and progress is being discouraged, I imagine, thanks to fundamentalist Christians. By hijacking the whole notion of intelligent design, they have tarred genuine scientific issues with the stain of religious prejudice.”

    It’s the detractors that keep injecting religion into this whole thing, saying ID is nothing more than creationism repackaged. They are the ones that are discouraging progress. Christians (myself included) are interested in ID because it makes sense out of the evidence we see.

  4. 4
    JaredL says:

    Actually, certain of the leading lights in the ID movement are injecting religion into the whole thing (Dr. D and Mr. Johnson among some of the most verbose examples). I have yet to hear an opponent of ID tackle the design inference head on – can we identify objects which are designed? If not, then what are the consequences for life in general, such as the legal system, if we cannot detect the effects of intelligence?

  5. 5
    kuz says:

    Lurker — I’m a Christian too (and a Baylor grad, no less), but if the intelligent designer isn’t supposed to be God, who is it supposed to be?

    From reading Chopra’s questions, it looks like he needs to more concerned with his grasp of basic evolutionary concepts than whether religious folks are hijacking ID theory. His post is a plea for education, not a coherent challenge to evolution.

    You can pretty much summarize

  6. 6
    kuz says:

    Sorry, cut off.
    Summary of Chopra’s post: “I don’t get it. Therefore, they’re wrong.”

  7. 7
    Derek says:

    JaredL,

    David Hume did a pretty good job of addressing ‘the design inference’ in his “Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion” a few hundred years back. We infer, for example, that the watch on the beach must have had a designer partly because of our familiarity with watches and watchamkers, and partly from the fact that the watch is different from the things around it.
    In order to support such inferences to design outside the realm of human artifacts we must either A) have some experience with a known intelligence actually designing such things or B) have some ‘undesigned’ stuff against which to spot the purportedly designed stuff.
    We have direct experience to show us that typically such things as turtles and bacteria and human beings are designed, so that angle is out. The other angle of inference, the one (I take it) ID follows is to identify certain features of living things and show that they exhibit features (like certain kinds of complexity) that are typical of designed objects.
    The problem is that for this to work, the background assumption has to be that non-artifact, non-living things in the universe (like rocks, rivers, planets, etc) were not designed. So to the extent that ID is a scientific theory, it appears that it actually counts against the idea that the whole universe was designed.
    If we were to find that everything in the universe has the complexity we take as evidence of design, then our original basis for attributing design to things with that sort of complexity is completely undermined.

  8. 8
    Derek says:

    Ooops, “We have direct experience” should have been “We do not have direct experience.” I’ve certainly never met God or any alien intelligence, so I have no experience with them creating organisms or species.

  9. 9
    Mats says:

    Chopra said “No credible scientific theory has answered these dilemmas, and progress is being discouraged, I imagine, thanks to fundamentalist Christians”.

    I wonder what he means by this. I guess Chopra doesn’t want to be tagged as someone religious motivated, so he has to take a bite at the suposed “both sides” of the debate. (There are more, but the militant Darwinists see Christian Fundamentalists everywhere)

  10. 10
    Mats says:

    Lurker said “It’s the detractors that keep injecting religion into this whole thing, saying ID is nothing more than creationism repackaged.”

    Well, you know, if it hadnt’t been for the religious implications of thie debate, the militant religious Darwinists would have “apostacized” a long time ago.

    And, yes, the Darwinists keep bringing “religion” into the discussion since it’s safer. That way they don’t have to deal with the science against Darwinism.

  11. 11
    jrockoford234 says:

    Although I try to keep an open mind about all things, I also like to see compelling evidence before accepting any idea as valid. And I am really not convinced at all that I.D. is, in form or content, a scientific idea. I would like to ask some questions about it, and I hope William Dembski and the other I.D. proponents who frequent this blog will be gracious enough to answer them. Before I go ahead, however, I’d like to make certain that questions are welcome. I have noticed that some I.D. doubters have been banned from this blog, and I’d rather not waste any time composing questions if the only thing I will accomplish is getting booted. Please let me know if debate is welcome or not.

    [About this blog, look here: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....archives/9 –WmAD]

  12. 12
    Ben Z says:

    You confuse religious injection on the part of Dembski and Johnson for their complaints of religious injections on the other side.

  13. 13
    Ben Z says:

    For instance, see Species of Origins, by Giberson and Yerxa, chapter six on the council of despair.

  14. 14
    Lurker says:

    kuz said “…if the intelligent designer isn’t supposed to be God, who is it supposed to be?”

    As a christian you know where I stand, but the ID people are not saying it’s god. From what I understand they are saying it could be ANY kind of intelligent designer and I agree with that becuase the evidence supports it.

  15. 15
    DaveScot says:

    Derek

    Here is my point of view re the watchmaker argument.

    When Paley made the argument science knew nothing about the nanomachines contained by living cells. Nanotechnology is now a well understood cutting edge science. See the 1986 book “Engines of Creation” by K. Eric Drexler here http://www.foresight.org/EOC/ where it is discussed in detail how organic nanomachines provided by nature will, once they’re understood and harnessed, be the critical stepping stone on the way to full blown nanotechnology. The day is quickly approaching where that critical step will be acheived. Today cellular automata can be well characterized and understood as nanometer scale machinery operating under well defined physical laws. We don’t have all the details of construction yet as these are incredibly complex machines built with atomic precision at scales that are still difficult to dissect with readily available tools but the principles of operation are all well understood.

    The thing about machines is that in every case where the origin of a machine can be determined it came about through intelligent design. We could reasonably formulate this into a law: “Machines are the result of intelligent design”. This is falsifiable for, just like the law of gravity, all it takes is finding one exception to it. Find a single machine where the origin can be determined to NOT be intelligent design and the law is falsified.

    Science has tried and tried and tried to get an organic machine to self-assemble in a laboratory. It has failed every single attempt. It hasn’t even come close to getting any kind of machine to self-assemble without intelligent direction.

    So Paley’s watchmaker argument still holds but, unlike 200 years ago, there’s a lot more evidence to back it up when applied to sub-cellular machinery and there’s been a lot of hard work gone into trying to falsify the design argument by demonstrating through experimental chemistry that organic machines can self-assemble.

    It’s time to face the facts.

  16. 16
    Giff says:

    jrockoford234 –

    Might I suggest telicthoughts.com? It’s a wonderful ID blog and they are quite gracious and respectful of opposing views.

  17. 17
    JaredL says:

    If one is familiar with Dembski’s work, then one should know Thomas Reid “demolished Hume.” Hume’s objections fail for good reason, as even Elliot Sober concedes. Hence, again – nobody confronts the design inference head on, (clarifying) treating its most potent form as elucidated by Dembski.

  18. 18
    Derek says:

    “The thing about machines is that in every case where the origin of a machine can be determined it came about through intelligent design.”

    Yep. There are a lot of similar generalizations we can make about machines. Consider this one:

    In every case where the origin of a machine can be determined, the machine is made by a human being.

    By your account we can reasonably form this into a law:
    “(All) Machines are created by human beings.”

    Now you can begin your reseach program:
    Find a single machine where the origin can be determined to NOT be human creation and the law is falsified.

    If you like you can rince and repeat with:
    In every case where the origin of a machine can be determined, the machine is made by someone who grew inside a womb.
    In every case where the origin of a machine can be determined, the machine is made by a biped.
    In every case where the origin of a machine can be determined, the machine is made by someone less than 150 years old.
    And so on.

    The problem is that any law we set up using your parameters will have as its only support an argument from ignorance. ‘You can’t show that this happened any other way, so it must have happened this way.’ The problem is that the argument from ignorance can provide just as much support for any of the ‘laws’ of the sort I suggested.

    Give me a serious research program to go with your ‘law’ and maybe we can talk; evolutionary theory has certainly not provided all the answers yet (I’d be amazed if any theory ever did), but it at least makes predictions about what we *will* find (as opposed to what we won’t).

  19. 19

    Deepak Chopra on ID

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