Design inference Intelligent Design Naturalism

Design is just like the Fossil Record

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Here is a press release via phys.org. They applied “biological evolution” to the history of cars and car makers in order to predict the future of electric car technology.

It sort of makes you chuckle.

“Cars are exceptionally diverse but also have a detailed history of changes, making them a model system for investigating the evolution of technology,” Gjesfjeld said.

The team drew data from 3,575 car models made by 172 different manufacturers, noting the first and last year each was manufactured.
“This is similar to when a paleontologist first dates a particular fossil and last sees a particular fossil,” Gjesfjeld said.

And a little bit more:

Alfaro said applying an evolutionary biology approach worked so well because the automotive industry’s technological records are very similar to the paleontological fossil record.

Who would have ever thought this could be so?

“In many instances, it is superior,” he said. “We find in only a handful of cases a fossil record this complete.”
Based on the study, the researchers can project how the electric car marketplace will evolve over the next several years. Alfaro said the field now is in an early phase of rapid diversification, and although it’s likely that many more electric and hybrid models will be introduced over the next 15 to 20 years, many won’t survive for very long due to increasing competition [pav: you know: “survival of the fittest”!]. This, he said, will eventually lead to consolidation, with a small number of dominant models that will thrive.

22 Replies to “Design is just like the Fossil Record

  1. 1
    Barry Arrington says:

    Berra’s Blunder strikes again.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Timothy Berra must be beaming with pride:

    The Design Of Life – William Dembski & Jonathan Wells – Berra’s Blunder
    https://books.google.com/books?id=6ScXYBN9L_MC&pg=RA1-PA27&lpg=RA1-PA27&dq=Berra%27s+blunder+Phillip+Johnson&source=bl&ots=hRjhcbdoNJ&sig=4JPscR0EIK5HMxdR4fWQa_1196w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjir6Xa3sjNAhUGbSYKHfcSDqUQ6AEITzAI#v=onepage&q=Berra%27s%20blunder%20Phillip%20Johnson&f=false

    As to this:

    “We find in only a handful of cases a fossil record this complete.”

    Actually, the fossil record is far more problematic in its analogy to technological advancement than that quote lets on:

    “Darwin’s prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.”
    Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall, The Myth of Human Evolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 45-46.

  3. 3
    mahuna says:

    In looking at the evolution of cars (and we KNOW that the design of cars evolved because the car designers documented their evolving designs), it is useful to note that in a number of cases a car designer invented new technology specifically for use in one of his cars. For example, Dr. Porsche’s invention of the synchromesh transmission was part of generally innovative designs for cars.

    On the other hand, electric cars have come and gone several times over the last 125 years, and it is only a few bits of technology (e.g., lithium batteries) that are new. There was a minor surge in the 1970s during The Oil Crisis, but as soon as gas prices fell, drivers abandoned the many inconveniences of electrics. So, if I were to predict the evolution of the current species of electric cars, I’d predict that they will go extinct, too.

    Hybrids are a bit different. With a hybrid you can run your heater or air conditioner (depending on the season) while stopped in rush hour traffic. If you do that with a battery-powered car, the battery will go dead long before you limp to the next recharging station. But if you need to pass a semi on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, you want as much raw power as you can get.

  4. 4
    mw says:

    “The fossil record, however, in the words of evolutionist Stephen J Gould, ’caused Darwin more grief than joy.’ Darwin’s vision of the fossil record eventually emerged as a dilemma. The fossil record, while supporting the Genesis account, was at odds his theory of evolution.” http://www.darwinthenandnow.co.....il-record/

    Darwin’s inescapable dilemma –

    “We do not find infinitely numerous fine transitional forms closely joining them all together.”

    Still, he added, natural selection did it anyway: so there!

  5. 5
    Dr JDD says:

    Hilarious! Every time an ID proponent uses cars as an analogy to design and evolution they are looked upon with disgust stating how the two cannot be compared.

    Yet what do we see here? As I said, hilarious.

  6. 6
    Robert Byers says:

    So this bumps into the issue of deposition of said fossils as the essential evidence for the evolution between two points or types of fossils. AMEN BROTHER.
    The fossil record is NOT biological scientific evidence for evolution. The fossils being said to have evolved from each other is based entirely on a geology paradigm of deposition.
    So why do evos, and some ID folks, stress the fossil record as a biological record of creatures history of development???
    Not just that the dep[osition claims are wrong(dating) but the whole greater concept of using fossils as proof of biology origins.
    Use it but don’t say fossils show bio sci evidence. They don’t fossilize the process. Its just presumed. They convince themselves after connecting the dots.
    YET thats not bio sci investigation. Its an error in investigation. Its historical.

  7. 7
    mw says:

    Dr JDD:
    “Yet what do we see here? As I said, hilarious.”
    ____________________________

    Designless design, is like allowing a consultant neurosurgeon to operate on you by chance, blind folded, basically self anaesthetized, and first of all without any tools.

    Then, the phantom tool of natural selection is conjured to select the correct brain cells on which to operate and create a fitter patient.

    “Hilarious;” it is tragic, it is degrading and it is a self deceptive, powerful delusion for people not to understand Darwinism is a God; evolutionism is a substitute God; believing, nothing creates everything like clockwork design in all biological systems and life forms.

    Scientifically, it is believed, we are God’s by natural means; in blind beguiled pride that is.

    However, think about it, the only thing that is not in order in an orderly cosmos, is human will.

  8. 8
    mike1962 says:

    But… but… cars don’t reproduce.

    Of course they, do, if you look that system holistically.

    Some super smart alien watching earth would notice the reproduction system that is cars, humans and factories. All just part of one system. It might take them some time to figure out that foresight was going on inside those tiny human craniums (crania?)

  9. 9
    nightlight says:

    The same analogy to biological evolution applies also to evolution of general technologies, cultures, languages,.. etc.

    In all of them the intelligent agents responsible for the design are part of the natural system, whether it is humans within technological society or biological systems within ecosystem, or cells within biological system.

    These perfectly evident designers don’t require any supernatural intervention at any point (from heavens or from any other kind of deus ex machina) to “help” the built in intelligence.

    In other words, intelligence permeates the nature at all levels, propagating from inside out, from smaller to larger scale.

  10. 10

    Just another atheist promoting his cherished worldview…and failing miserably. Yes, I am smiling!

  11. 11
    News says:

    In fairness, Darwinians believe that our brains are randomly shaped for fitness, not for truth, so within their system, there need be no actual design. Of course that’s insane, and the naturalism they espouse will destroy science. But they have clout. And that’s what matters when science does not matter.

  12. 12
    News says:

    Truth Will Set You Free at 10: Don’t smile too soon. Naturalists will be happy to destroy science. See Scratch a progressive and find … a fascist underneath At this point, real science is only a problem to them.

  13. 13
    PaV says:

    Rob Byers:

    You say this:

    The fossils being said to have evolved from each other is based entirely on a geology paradigm of deposition.

    And then in the next sentence say this:

    So why do evos, and some ID folks, stress the fossil record as a biological record of creatures history of development???

    “Evolving from each other,” is not the same thing as “the fossil record as a biological record of creatures history of development.”

    This is where the argument over “common descent” and “common ancestry” comes in.

    No doubt there is a progression of forms: this is “evolution as fact.” What’s at issue, however, is whether inherited gradual change, from one organism to another, is what explains this “progression.”

    Somewhat subtle is this point; but, important.

  14. 14
    PaV says:

    nightlight:

    In all of them the intelligent agents responsible for the design are part of the natural system, whether it is humans within technological society or biological systems within ecosystem, or cells within biological system.

    It sure seems like you’re saying that RM+NS is a form of “intelligence.” What support do you have for this thesis?

    Intelligence present in nature does not mean that nature is the ultimate cause of intelligence. In fact, without the “mind” knowledge does not exist, nor does information. These are “mental” constructs, and are meaningless without a “conscious” mind.

    Then the question of importance becomes: what is the source of this “conscious mind.” Have you some thoughts on this?

  15. 15
    cmow says:

    For some reason, nightlight’s comment @ 9, reminded me of Isaiah 45:9 (paraphrased).

    “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker,
    those who are nothing but car parts
    among the car parts on the ground.
    Does the engine say to the auto-maker,
    ‘What are you making?’
    Does your transmission say,
    ‘The auto-maker has no hands’?”

    🙂

  16. 16
    Robert Byers says:

    PaV
    Its not settled biology progresses from each other. In fact thats based on fossils which is based on geology paradigms. its not based on biology evidence.
    THIS is the subtile error in these matters on all sides.
    A YEC can just say what was fossilized was a diversity of creatures and a trivial detail of one being deposited over the other in a general depositing force.
    In other words fossiling people today in different latyers within a few days should not give the conviction, or hint, that black ones evolved from white ones, from oriental ones. and so on.
    It would not just be a error due to deposition paradigms but its a error of seeing it at all as biological evidence for these types of people origins.

    Evolutionary biology, and critics, is indeed basing much on geology deposition concepts(paradigms) and then claiming its based on biology concepts(paradigms).
    Whopps. Not true. change the geology conclusions and the biology ones are wirthless where using fossils.
    Processes are not fossilized. Just results after process.
    Results, in fossils, is not evidence for process whatsoever.
    Presume away but don’t claim its EVIDENCE.
    This means everybody.

  17. 17
    nightlight says:

    @14 PaV

    It sure seems like you’re saying that RM+NS is a form of “intelligence.” What support do you have for this thesis?

    That’s not what I had in mind. Computer science and technology have made huge advances since RM+NS mechanism was suggested (early 20th century).

    In particular it was discovered that networked systems with adaptable links between nodes (modeled by neural networks), exposed to punishments & rewards (from it’s environment) behave as a distributed self-programming computer.

    Whether such adaptable network is implemented (or realized) as network of neurons forming human brain or network of molecules forming a cell, they all share common features captured by mathematical abstraction “neural network”.

    Among others, the networks create and encode (in the form of link strengths) anticipatory algorithms which seek to maximize utility function ‘total rewards minus punishments’ on the network.

    These anticipatory algorithms all use the following common pattern — the network internally models their environment which includes themselves within it (self-actor). Then, when choosing next action for the system, the network plays out different options (consistent with the limitations of the model it presently has) of the self-actor, then it simulates possible responses by the environment to each of those, then (if resources & time allow) it may pick possible responses of self-actor to those responses,… then it eventually terminates the search and evaluates outcome (within the limits of the model and tree depth), the net ‘rewards – punishments’ value for each terminal node of the search tree reached. Finally, it picks its initial ‘next step’ in the real world corresponding to best ‘next step’ from the internal model space.

    This is quite similar to conscious process of a chess player considering his next move — he plays possible moves in the mental model of the chess position, then opponent’s responses to those,.. etc, until the position settles to something he can evaluate. Finally, the player picks the move on the real chess board which corresponds to the best initial move in his model space. While for chess or other strategy games this process is often explicit, for most of our daily activity the execution of such algorithms (by the network of neurons making our brains) has been automated into a fast, non-distracting subconscious ‘execution threads’.

    The important observation here is that such anticipatory algorithms arise in our mathematical abstraction neural networks regardless of any particular implementation the nodes, links, punishments and rewards. That’s like how our abstraction of numbers and addition algorithm yields 2+3=5, which holds true in real world whether the numbers refer to apples or oranges or dollars… Similarly, the above anticipatory look-ahead algorithmic pattern holds in real world networks, whether they are networks of neurons or cellular biochemical networks. They all learn how to model their environment, including self, and how play the above what-if game in order to maximize the net ‘rewards-punishments’ on the system.

    Hence, cells think intelligently the same way we do. They’re merely specialized for a different utility function (specific rewards & punishments) and have a different implementation of nodes and adaptable links between them. Specifically, in the field of molecular bio-engineering the cellular biochemical networks are unrivaled masters, far smarter in that domain than human molecular biologists and biochemists. They are the designers of biological evolution or the brains of James Shapiro’s ‘natural genetic engineers’.

    There is no need for deus ex machina agency (as Meyer & DI ID suggests) to account for intelligence behind the construction and evolution of biological organisms. All the needed intelligence in the form of self-programing distributed computers (cellular biochemical networks) is already there and is perfectly evident. Just consider what kind of mastery of molecular biology and biochemistry it takes to synthesize human body starting from a single fertilized egg cell and simple food molecules. Yet you, I and everyone else reading here was synthesized exactly that way without need for any “help” from a supernatural agency during the whole process.

    As to how these cellular biochemical networks themselves came to be, we need to follow up the same pattern down to the next level, that of foundation of physics which is still an open field. Some presently speculative theories (going under names such as Planck scale pregeometry, digital physics, cellular automata) about what is behind our present physical laws already use a substratum of adaptable networks capable of similar kind of anticipatory computation. Hence, physics is still awaiting for a revolution of its foundation analogous to that which occurred in in biology from 1950s, when what was previously seen as random, dumb chemical reactions in a blob of proteins, aka cell, turned out to be a fantastically sophisticated nano-computer. Physicists will need to discover similar computational underpinnings of the present physical laws before the origin of life and fine tuning problems can be resolved.

  18. 18
    Origenes says:

    Nightlight: In all of them the intelligent agents responsible for the design are part of the natural system, whether it is humans within technological society or biological systems within ecosystem, or cells within biological system.

    Intelligent agents like human beings can cooperate, however, whatever it is they bring about, — a technological society, a soccer team, an orchestra or a family — is never itself an intelligent agent.

    Nightlight: In other words, intelligence permeates the nature at all levels, propagating from inside out, from smaller to larger scale.

    Nope, consciousness is one thing , irreducible and cannot be added up.

  19. 19
    nightlight says:

    @18 Origenes “Intelligent agents like human beings can cooperate, however, whatever it is they bring about, — a technological society, a soccer team, an orchestra or a family — is never itself an intelligent agent.”

    So do your cells to form your body.

  20. 20
    Origenes says:

    Nightlight: So do your cells to form your body.

    And it’s a good thing that those cells are not free responsible conscious intelligent agents.

  21. 21
    PaV says:

    Origines:

    Well done! Well stated!

    Nightlight:

    What you believe is what you believe. It is not based on facts.

    Here’s what I mean. You write:

    In particular it was discovered that networked systems with adaptable links between nodes (modeled by neural networks), exposed to punishments & rewards (from it’s environment) behave as a distributed self-programming computer.

    That you have something that is built by intelligent, conscious, purposeful agents, and built in such a way as to imitate how intelligence works, and then find that this has attributes of ‘intelligence,’ well, is this some kind of surprise?

    Let me ask you: what if the people who built these networks failed? Would we be talking about them? No. Well, did they succeed right off the bat? It is hard to believe they would have. This means, then, that they ‘tinkered’ with the network until it performed in the manner they desired. This is how intelligence always works. What is surprising about this?

    This ‘networked system’, you say, is “exposed to punishments and rewards.” Does the “networked system” know what a punishment is, or a reward? Is that part of their vocabulary? No, all this means is that something was constructed–via intelligent means–to mimic “our” notion of what a punishment or reward is. This is simply another word for a “fitness function,” the bane of genetic algorithmic claims of intelligence via random means.

    Added to this is your expectations for physics: it’s very unrealistic. Simply look at what’s been happening. No really new ideas for almost 80 years, except string theory which is now going down the tubes since no new heavy particles are being seen at the LHC. Attempts at explaining most of the constants used in the Standard Model have failed.

    So, when you write something like this:

    As to how these cellular biochemical networks themselves came to be, we need to follow up the same pattern down to the next level, that of foundation of physics which is still an open field. . . . Physicists will need to discover similar computational underpinnings of the present physical laws before the origin of life and fine tuning problems can be resolved.

    It’s really hard to take any of this seriously. Your explanation for the origin of life is from the world of physics. But there is nothing in the world of physics that comes anywhere close to a “neural network”.

    In fact, the whole basis of ID’s criticism of RM+NS=neo-Darwinism comes from the work of physicists. You simply identify degrees of freedom, and calculate combinatorial probabilities. Immediately you know that mere chance events cannot explain the simplest of biological entities.

    This is exactly what the eminent astrophysicist–an atheist, BTW–did in his book, The Mathematics of Physics. He used this simple calculation for the protein, cytochrome c, a protein essential to cell division, and on this basis dismissed all of Darwinian thought.

    Physics isn’t the savior of biology; it’s its slayer.

  22. 22
    polistra says:

    They’re missing the BIG point.

    Cars had a Cambrian Explosion from 1885-1905. By 05, EVERY possible arrangement had been tried, and most were commercially available in 05. Gas, steam, electric. FWD, RWD, AWD. Front, mid, rear engine. Transverse, axial, vertical engine. Inline, V, radial. Manual, semi-auto, automatic transmissions. L-head, F-head, T-head, OHV, OHC valving.

    Many of those possibilities were temporarily abandoned as cars got uniform from 1924-1950, but all remained in the genome and were available later when needed.

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