Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Georgia Tech’s Center for Biologically Inspired Design (CBID)


Here’s how it works: we find some amazing system in the biological realm, determine how to reverse engineer it, and then design and build a parallel system to serve our needs. But of course, the original system evolved by blind trial-and-error tinkering (random variation and natural selection). To think that it was actually designed because we had to design its human counterpart is just plain stupid.

For the Georgia Center, go here: http://www.cbid.gatech.edu.

> It’t a bit of a stretch to compare our muscles working together to > achieve a task to worms literally eating us and our pets alive, > don’t you think? Well, in practice yes. Our emotions and instincts are difficult to override with purely rational considerations. Note first that varieties of such conflicting processes, show these confilicts in different phases (stages) of harmonization. Even human body, having normally well harmonized subsystems, goes through motorically clumsy and intellectually inept stage of early childhood, selfdestructive contratrian teen stage, painful and disease ridden old age. Given enough time for warms and humans, either one or both will go extinct or they will find some symbiotic form of existence. After all leaches sucking your blood appear quite gross, yet they may save your limb from gangrene. Mosquitos might be the original vaccination agents (not quite perfected as yet, but our own scientific vaccines have downsides as well). There is a bit of 'lively' discussion on talk.origins where I continued the ideas experessed here. That set off somehow quite an avalanche of long and vicious responses. Must be something I said. The thread is: ID and the Difference Between Spheres and Cubes http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/browse_frm/thread/269f9dbff84c6f61/748587b6e86a28c8?&hl=en#748587b6e86a28c8 Posts: http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/788d751e9ac239da?hl=en& http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/d6349ead1e3ff646?hl=en& http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/0a734bf83586f2ee?hl=en& http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/748587b6e86a28c8?hl=en& http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/900008fb82ab9b46?hl=en& nightlight
Nightlight said, "Throughout that operation your various muscles on the two sides of your hand and arm bones are “fighting”, pulling in opposite directions to produce a more accurate movement." Nightlight, It't a bit of a stretch to compare our muscles working together to achieve a task to worms literally eating us and our pets alive, don't you think? Please take a look at this video of a colonoscopy of a man infected with pinworms: http://blog.sciam.com/index.php?p=166&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#more166 (Warning: do not watch it while you are eating) Do you believe that hookworms, pinworms and other parasites were designed by an intelligent designer? What heartless monster would do this? Natural pain and suffering are bad enough, but it's hard to imagine that anyone, except for a terrorist designer, would deliberately inflict this scourge on us. Especially since poor people have to bear the brunt of this cruelty. Karen

> Below you can find MikeGene's teleological implications
> for this research:
> http://www.idthink.net/biot/lexA/index.html
> "Living things are not passive participants of the interplay
> between stochastic events and environmental pressures, where
> mutations that just happened to exist are favored in an
> environment that just happened to exist.

It is already obvious from mating rituals (male competition,
traits of attractivness) that organisms apply foresight in
picking what kind of recombinations they wish to create.
In Dawkins' imagery, when you are selecting which girl
to marry your "selfish genes" are using your eyes, ears,...
and brain, which after all they designed and built, to
evaluate and estimate kind of genes they wish to combine
with. While this is a very long and round about way
of doing the look-ahead in selecting genetic combinations,
it is not obvious at all that this is the only, much less
the shortest, such path.

For example, we also know that societies through customs, folklore,
religions, arts, laws... etc also apply foresight regarding
the future genetic combinations it wishes to create. E.g. consider
the stigma (and all its manifestations) of criminal past -- society
does not wish to propagate the genes of a criminal. Even the mere
act of locking up someone for several years performs the similar
genetic look-ahead function (it reduces mating chances of prisoners).
The content of our prisons shows which kind of genetic material
the society wishes to eliminate.

Hence we know that such look-ahead regarding the future genetic
content certainly exists at the level of individuals and
the level of society. There is no reason or an argument why these
two levels are all there is. I think similar genetic look-ahead
occurs at all levels, above and below, and in a multitude of ways.

> Later publishers of the paper rejected the teleological impacts
> of their research. They became upset by those teleological
> implications and in the April 2006 issue of Scientific American
> they renewed their faith to the Blind Watchmaker:
> "It does speak to how successful and creative evolution can
> be. But there's nothing magic about it. It's totally mechanistic."

Well these micro-biologists should learn some 20th century physics
before making fools of themselves by declaring that the changes are
"totally mechanistic". Any physics undergrad can 'splain to them
that the mechanistic evolution of physical systems (a special case
of which are biological organisms and their subsystems) has been
passe since 1920s. Even when the initial & boundary state of a
system is fixed with the theoretically maximum precision, its
future is still not unique. What makes the choice is unknown at
present (there are various interpretations of Quantum Theory,
e.g. some claim it is the mind-stuff that performs the selection
i.e. the state collapse/reduction to a particular choice).

As noted in my previous post #49, even within a purely mechanistic
perspective (the "hidden variable" interpretation of QT), there
are enough orders of magnitude below our current "elementary"
particles to accomodate as much complexity (built upon some
Planckian scale objects of 10^-33 cm) as there are between our
current elementary particles and ourselves. For all we know, the
"random" choices predicted by the present Quantum Theory may be
purposeful choices and solutions from some vast technological
civilization running 10^16 times faster than our own and
living at the scales between 10^-16 cm and 10^-33 cm (this
region is considered an 'empty desert' by the present physics).
For such sub-micro beings our atoms might be their advanced
galactic scale technology.

The neo-Darwinists are increasingly resembling ancient Egyptian
priesthoods, who after figuring out how seasons and calendar work,
stretched their few little tricks into a pretense of omniscence
(so they can manipulate the pharaos). You can see the same kind
of hyper-sensitive, overly defensive, zero-tolerance totalitarian
mindset. Lysenkoism was a crude amateur act compared to our own

Awesome! -ds nightlight

nightlight wrote: "Therefore, ID theorists should not gratuitously concede even the explanation of the microevolution to the neo-Darwinists"

I totally agree. The more we investigate and understand the complex molecular machines in micro-organisms it becomes apparent that in some cases mutations are initiated and directed by the organism itself under certain conditions:


This shows a recent study which demonstrates the ability of E.Coli to turn-on a built-in mutation machinery when other self-repair mechanisms fail.

Below you can find MikeGene's teleological implications for this research:

Later publishers of the paper rejected the teleological impacts of their research. They became upset by those teleological implications and in the April 2006 issue of Scientific American they renewed their faith to the Blind Watchmaker:

"An unexpected aside to the Scripps lab’s paper emerged when the INTELLIGENT DESIGN COMMUNITY embraced the results for its own purposes...
...It does speak to how successful and creative evolution can be. But there’s nothing magic about it. It’s totally mechanistic."

( discussed here in more details: http://telicthoughts.com/?p=635 )

This study reveals that the ordinary RMs which occur during cell division is not an adequate mechanism to gain antibiotic resistance and a case where mutations are not totally random. i.e. they are generated, directed and controlled by the bactrium itself. No doubt that darwinists will try to explain it by darwinian mechanisms. Mechanisms that explain everything (or nothing).

Don't forget that bacteria also exchange genes so when one of them "discovers" something useful it isn't just that bug's descendents who are the lucky inheritors. RM+NS is a lame duck. The only question is what is the real mechanism behind descent with modification. It may very well be a non-sentient mechanism IMO but it must exhibit the qualities of intelligent agency - forward thinking and problem solving. Intelligence and sentience are not mutually inclusuve. Farshad
Karen wrote: "I’m still hoping that someone will have a chance to read my post (#7) and respond. I thought it was very relevant to the current discussion. In a nutshell, the claim seems to be that if we find some sophisticated, intricate biological system, reverse engineer it, and then design our own version of the same, the original, natural system was probably designed." I thought the post was quite apt. I wonder if Marc Weissburg has thought about this: when he 'reverse engineers' what nature 'hath wrought', the production process intended to replicate nature's products is, I'm sure, a very preciese one. In fact, I'm sure that it involves a number of critical steps and stages. I would ask the good scientist if it is his belief that if something were to go amiss somewhere along this precise production process that all they simply would need to do is to simply keep running the process over and over again (the equivalent of reproduction in the Darwinian paradigm)in order to fix the problem? Or, if it were allowed to 'evolve', would this added ability bring about the fix? Or, does he believe instead that some intelligent agent would need to come along and 'fix' the problem. Let me add, if he 'believes' that one of the first two proposed scenarios would, indeed, work, is he prepared to implement either one the next time something goes wrong? PaV
Karen #7: "So if tiny parasitic creatures are able to “crack” these systems in ways we can barely understand, does that mean there are multiple designers?" Not necessarily. Consider, for example, your motoric actions while moving mouse to scroll through this text. Throughout that operation your various muscles on the two sides of your hand and arm bones are "fighting", pulling in opposite directions to produce a more accurate movement. That doesn't imply that there are multiple "you" competing against each other via competing muscles. If some "robot" (mechanical or human) were to look through a pinhole allowing it see only the muscles and nerves on one of the bones at a time, the robot might jump to an incorrect conclusion that various muscle & nerve groups are "fighting" or "competing" with each other for control over the movement of your fingers. A specialist studying those hookworms is analogous to this robot. The combined actions of hookworms and human organism may well be a dance to some other melody imperceptible to the hookworm specialist. After all, the cells themselves may have at one point appeared as battlegrounds of competing bacteria out to destroy each other, but which in retrospect can be seen as the precursors of the cell organelles seeking a symbiotic solution. Or on a much shorter time scale, the male competition rituals and courting dance may appear as competition or battle when looked through a sufficiently narrow space-time pinhole. nightlight

It is possible for someone to have almost any crazy position but surely it is reasonable to characterise ID proponents as believing there is a designer - even if it just a matter of fact rather than logic.

As a rule but there are exceptions. Me for instance. I suspect there's intelligent agency at work that doesn't really qualify as a designer. Intelligent but not conscious as we know it. Something like a neural network at the quantum scale. Incredible computing tasks can be accomplished, in principle, with very little "hardware" in quantum computing. IBM managed to make some quantum storage elements and, interestingly, they implemented them using the spin states of carbon atoms in amino acids. My experience has been that most human engineering has been anticipated in living things long before we invented it. Quantum computing in every living cell? Could be! -ds Mark Frank

Re: #26 by Farshad: The cited paper of Dembski:


surrenders much too easily to neo-Darwinists on the question of microevolution:

"From the design theorist's perspective, the positive evidence for Darwinism is confined to small-scale evolutionary changes like insects developing insecticide resistance. ... Evidence like that for insecticide resistance confirms the Darwinian selection mechanism for small-scale changes..."

Has it ever been shown that the mutations which confer such resistance are "random"? That is, have neo-Darwinists ever shown that the combinatorial space of all possible modifications of insects' DNA can be explored by the given number of individuals for given length of time and given rates of mutations or recombinations? What if this space of DNA variants has, say, 10^1000 configurations? How can 10^15 or 10^20 individuals have any chance of even stumbling anywhere close to a resistant variant? Have neo-Darwinists estimated how many such resistant configurations are there and compared it to the number of possible DNA configurations obtainable via random mutations?

If they wish to claim that purely "random" mutations "explain" the emergence of such resistance they need to compare these two combinatorial spaces and demonstrate that the resistant configurations form sufficiently large proportion of all possible configurations to predict, or at least be consistent with, the empirically established frequencies of occurrence of the resistance.

The existence of directed mutations (e.g. in bacteria) suggest that some kind of intelligent agency (accelerating the search by astronomical factors) is active even in the case of 'simple' microevolution.

An most obvious explicit example of an "intelligent agency" performing this kind of greatly accelerated search are the molecular biologists. While that is a very round about way for 'selfish genes' to accelerate the search, it is a perfectly natural intelligent process (or in Dawkins imagery, the molecular biologists and the biotechnology are vehicles that 'selfish genes' use to find the best way to survive). Two questions arise from this observation:

a) How do neo-Darwinists know that molecular biologists + biotechnology is the sole (let alone the shortest) natural 'intelligent agency' capable of guiding these mutations?

b) Can the present natural science (the laws of matter-energy transformation) explain, at least in principle, even this one 'natural' intelligent agency (the molecular biologists)?

There is nothing in the presently known laws of matter-energy transformations that gives even a hint of existence, let alone quantitative mathematical model, of the "mind stuff", the creative thoughts of the molecular biologist which guide his design process. Note that one cannot scientifically dismiss the "mind stuff" as an epiphenomenon with no causal powers over the "matter-energy". Namely, the fundamental natural law is presently the Quantum Field Theory (QFT) which is characterized by a non-deterministic physical evolution i.e. for the precisely fixed initial (quantum) state of the biologist's brain the QFT cannot say (not even in principle) what the brain will decide. QFT can only predict, at least in principle, the probabilities of different decisions but not which one will be made. It is unknown whether it is the "mind stuff" (as assumed by von Neumann's and Wigner's interpretations of Quantum Theory) or the state of some "hidden variables" (which would turn QFT into a deterministic theory, as sought by Einstein and Schrodinger) that makes the actual choice.

Hence, even the non-controversially existent natural 'intelligent agency' performing the 'intelligent designs' of new organisms (the molecular biologists) is not explicable by the current "natural science" (the current laws of matter-energy). Yet it exists and it does perform intelligent design. How do neo-Darwinist know that this unexplained core aspect of the 'intelligent agency' is not also acting at the level of DNA (or anywhere between elementary particles and ecosystems) in other ways e.g. more directly? There is no basis in the present natural science of matter-energy to even recognize the bare existence of such intelligent agency (the mind-stuff), much less to declare that the mind-stuff directing the intelligent design of new organisms can _only exist_ and act (or interface to the matter-energy) through the configurations of particles and fields as realized in a biologist's brain. The recent developments in Complexity Science show that the intelligent networks with adaptable links, capable of computation, intelligent & purposeful actions, are ubiquitous at all scales and all forms of matter-energy (and even in the abstract realms, such as languages, religions,... etc), not just at the scale of human brain.

Even within purely materialistic perspective (which denies the existence, or at least a causal role, of the mind-stuff), we can note that our present physics has empirical support only down to distances of 10^-16 cm, while the Planck scale (at which point our space-time model breaks down) is of the order 10^-33 cm. There are thus as many orders of magnitude between our current "elementary" particles and the human organism level as there are between the Planckian scale objects, whatever they may be, and the "elementary particles". Hence our present "elementary" particles can in principle have as much of underlying complexity, structure and functionality, in terms of the Planckian scale objects as humans have in terms of our "elementary" particles i.e. the neo-Darwinian "random" mutations may be vastly complex technological processes carried out via our "elementary particles" and their "indeterministic" (according to QFT) choices.

Therefore, ID theorists should not gratuitously concede even the explanation of the microevolution to the neo-Darwinists. Only the quantitative comparison of the relevant combinatorial spaces can decide which hypothesis is correct: the "random" or the "intelligent" mutations, be it for microevolution or the macroevolution. The sudden change and the irreducible complexity are qualitative and weak criteria to decisively discern between the two theories. After all, "intelligent" changes are a subset of "random" changes (i.e. any "intelligent" design can also be achieved by a "random" change). To discriminate between the two conjectures one needs to estimate the sizes of the relevant combinatorial spaces and the number of tries available for the search and compare the result with the empirically observed frequencies. Only if the "random" search can reproduce the observed frequencies, then the Occam's razor implies neo-Darwinism as the "best" explanation. Otherwise it either remains an open question (e.g. if the combinatorial spaces cannot be estimated well enough) or the "random" search is falsified as a mechanism of micro/macro-evolution (to some degree of certainty). Conceding neo-Darwinists microevolution lets them handwave the same way the macroevolution. That "little" concession gives away for nothing the key scientific criterium for deciding between the two competing theories. Even if it turns out that they can show eventually that some instances of microevolution can be modeled by "random" mutations, the same precise criterium remains to be explored for the macroevolution and throughout the process the 'intelligent' vs 'random' process remain equally legitimate scientific theories.

The issues "gradual" vs "punctuated", "reducible" vs "irreducible" complexity are neo-Darwinian red herrings. With the present balance of forces, the editorial control of journals and funding, debating those "soft" questions is a dead end for ID theorists.

I've begun to doubt RM+NS for microevolution in at least some of the cases such as insect and bacteria acquired resistence to toxins and generating novel enzymes for new food sources. These don't appear to be lucky bugs with serendipitous mutations. They're making their own luck as it were. Most other microevolutionary changes are matters of scale or cosmetics. The variation in dogs is the best example of what scale and cosmetic changes can accomplish. And even so, dog variations are not a result of natural selection but rather artificial selection. -ds nightlight

Oh, that isn't my position. I'm just saying that it's possible for a person to have that position. This is the reason why all the finger pointing at a supernatural designer by ID opponents is a red herring. Whether or not there actually is a designer at all is a logically separate issue from whether or not a phenomenon is best explained as being the result of intelligent causation. If there actually is a designer of nature (which I believe there is), I think that running into the conclusion that it is supernatural (i.e. existing to some extent outside the boundaries of space and time) is very hard to avoid and may be unavoidable altogether. Of course, ID opponents just love to take this point and misapply it. In fact, to further illustrate my point that intelligent design and belief in the existence of an intelligent designer are logically separate, consider that it is possible to believe in a designer who opperates in stealth--that it operates in a manner that is empirically undetectable to humans. If I understand Ken Miller correctly, this is his stance concerning evolution. As to how many IDists embrace a constructive empiricist view of ID, I really don't know. Most probably believe that one or more designers actually exist.

Re #45. Interesting thanks, but rather more than can be covered on this blog. I wonder how many of your ID colleagues agree with your position? Mark Frank


To determine whether or not a parasite's ability to override an SC or IC biological process is best explained as resulting from intelligent agency would depend on whether or not the overriding ability is, itself, SC or IC. Whether or not this shows evidence of multiple designers is a secondary (albeit interesting) question. Two designers who don't like each other, perhaps? I dunno. It's food for thought, anyway.


Re #42. What I'm trying to say is that one may believe that intelligent design offers an empirically valid and constructive way of viewing nature and also believe that actual designing agents of nature do not exist. In philosophy of science, I believe this is consistent with the anti-realist view of constructive empiricism.

I'm still hoping that someone will have a chance to read my post (#7) and respond. I thought it was very relevant to the current discussion. In a nutshell, the claim seems to be that if we find some sophisticated, intricate biological system, reverse engineer it, and then design our own version of the same, the original, natural system was probably designed. Also, we are often reminded on this board here that in a search for truth one must follow the evidence wherever it leads. So I offered several examples involving parasites, and had some questions. Actually, I even had an example of a system that scientists are still struggling to understand, because they want to create something with the same functionality. I would really appreciate some answers from anyone who would care to reply. And now I'm off to wash my hands-- I seem to be doing that a lot ever since reading PARASITE REX! Fascinating book-- but don't read it while you are eating. Karen
Re #41 and similar. It occurs to me that any process that has the kind of functional complexity you are demanding would be life - by definition. It appears to be a fact of chemistry that DNA and RNA are the only chemicals around that can provide the required replication in the environment of the earth. But should there be an alternative basis for providing the same complexity, here on another planet, then I think we would call it life. Mark Frank
Re #39. I have read this three or four times and as far as I can see all you are saying is "we think a designer exists but we might be wrong". But surely this is just postulating a design intelligence but recognising you might be wrong? Where is the misconception? Just in case Marc is still monitoring this discussion I want to congratulate him for his patience and clarity. Rgds Mark Frank
Marc Weissburg: "the growth of crystals creates highly ordered shapes with considerable complex functions in terms of resistance to stress, tensile strenth, as well as the ability to conduct light differentially as functions of wavelength and direction...i can turn the question around and ask how much more is possible with the more complicated basic organic structures" Crystal growth. The fact that crystals are nonisotropic materials means they're "functionally complex"? Wow. What naturally occurring phenomenon wouldn't qualify as functionally complex in your opinion? Crystals can form; life is explained. Awesome. Honestly, I was looking for something more of an answer than pretty patterns. We all know that there are natural processes that produce limited amounts of greatly constrained low entropy -- crystals, vortices, plumes, waves, dunes, orbits, etc. (All of which can be crudely modelled in silico, by the way, unlike life.) Extrapolating from this to the perpetual, ever-increasing, open-ended generation of functional complexity -- that is, life -- is frankly ridiculous. j

I appreciate that you're willingness to chat with us here, Dr. Weissburg. It can be a bit overwhelming, I'm sure, to be bombarded with so many questions, but if you could offer a response to this one, I would be most grateful. I promise to not pursue a lengthy debate.

The purpose of CBID appears to be to analyze biological processes and try to determine if and how biological solutions to problems can be utilized by humans. This would require investigation into how each of the processes being studied works. According to modern evolutionary synthesis, all biological process can be reduced to numerous successive slight modifications resulting from unintelligent mechanisms with each step having a selective advantage. So it seems to me that in order to claim from a strictly empirical perspective that unintelligent evolutionary mechanisms constructed a biological process, one must be able to provide an account of all the steps leading up to its construction and show how each step would be selectively advantageous. So here's my question (Actually it's two questions; I hope you don't mind.): If you already know how each step in the evolutionary pathway leading up to a biological process could have happened and what the corresponding selective advantage of each would be, then why is it necessary to study the process to see how it works? If you don't know the evolutionary history of the process as I described in the previous sentence, then how do you know that the mechanisms of modern evolutionary theory are able to account for it, and how is the ability of said mechanisms to produce complex biological processes testable?

In comment #23, Mark Frank responded to what I said in the following statement...
There is a very fine line between saying “a designer did it” and saying “it is best explained as being the result of design”, but a line exists, nonetheless
...with this.
This is indeed a very fine distinction. The only difference I can see is that the second statement is a little less certain about its conclusion. Similar to the distinction between “a virus caused the disease” and “the disease is best explained as the result of viral activity”. Is there more to it than that?
Look at it this way, Mark. It is possible that, given our current knowledge of the way nature operates, some part of nature may be best explained as resulting from intelligent causation but that in actuality, it was caused by yet unknown unintelligent mechanisms. So it is possible for a person to believe that intelligent design offers the best current explanation but that unintelligent mechanisms are ultimately the true cause. crandaddy
Cue sound of crickets chirping. -ds Exactly. Lurker
Instead of talking generalities--"1000’s of other experiments"--just name one in particular that you think is a strong case. Patrick

until some one presents some verifiable experimental evidence on the level of genetics, development or biochemistry, that things must be designed, then i will continue to accept the 1000’s of other experiments that prove otherwise.

This logic always irks me because it's bogus. If you can't detect design then how can you detect non-design? Is it like pornography - you know it when you see it? If you can prove non-design then certainly you can prove design.

Tell us how scientists prove non-design, Marc.

Cue sound of crickets chirping. ;-) -ds Lurker
well scott-i'm afraid well just have to agree to disagree. might i suggest you read the following: genetics, paleontology and macro evolution-j levinton evolution - d futyama evolutionary analysis - freeman i'll ignore the works of mayr and wright and goldschmitt till you get through this. basically, all the arguments i've heard reduce to a single point- life is complex and therefore needs to be designed. such is an ideology and not science. all analysis of irreducible complexity depend on either two main arguments. the first is mathematical analysis of complexity, which proves nothing given the fact that these tools and assumptions in no way permit a thorough understanding of nature else we could simulate life in silico, which we can't (in fact, even the binding of a single molecule to another is close to our computational limit). the other line of evidence is that we cannot provide a sequence of steps for some complex traits. i've got to that above. until some one presents some verifiable experimental evidence on the level of genetics, development or biochemistry, that things must be designed, then i will continue to accept the 1000's of other experiments that prove otherwise. Marc Weissburg

why is this lame? are you looking for me to explain life by analogy? i responded to the query to give a non-teleological proces that results in complexity-i gave two, one organic and one not. i think its amazing that so much complexity comes from simple self order chrystalline building blocks, so much so that humans rely on these substances to conduct all kinds of radiaton and still cannot manufacture materials that can do similar jobs-all we do is direct this self assembling process and harvest the resuts. it is rather difficult to actually predict what such structures can do using all of our current mathematical and computational tools. they are by no means simple even if i can describe their general properties (light bending) easily. i can turn the question around and ask how much more is possible with the more complicated basic organic structures

The complexity of a crystal is nothing like the complexity of life. I adequately explained why. If you don't agree the comparison is lame you're either dishonest or stupid. And I don't think you're stupid. The plain fact of the matter is that there is nothing in the universe we know of that's analogous to living things except man-made machinery. You know this and I know this. You're desperate to avoid admitting you know it because man-made machinery is the result of intelligent agency. -ds

Marc Weissburg
No one has responded to my post about parasites (#7)-- I assume nobody noticed it. I thought I raised some interesting issues, and I'd be grateful for some comments. Karen
Marc, may I respectfully recommend some initial steps for you to take in regard to this issue... http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521678676/qid=1146753989/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-4643099-7732732?s=books&v=glance&n=283155 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0742512975/qid=1146754056/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-4643099-7732732?s=books&v=glance&n=283155 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0684834936/qid=1146754089/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-4643099-7732732?s=books&v=glance&n=283155 And spend some time reading the articles here: www.designinference.com What you have essentially done in your posts here is regurgitate the tired old Darwinian narratives about how biological structures with CSI could have come about via undirected trial and error processes. These just-so stories do not stand up under scrutiny, I'm afraid. Scott
Marc, "the growth of crystals creates highly ordered shapes with considerable complex functions in terms of resistance to stress, tensile strenth, as well as the ability to conduct light differentially as functions of wavelength and direction" Is that the best you can do? Crystals are not self-replicating machines with digitally coded instructions for building the parts required to replicate themselves. Surely you of all people must realize how very lame your comparison was. DaveScot
i will try to respond to some of the other posts later, but #19-I have been studying evolution for over 20 years-please don't use standard appeals to authority to credential your arguments (I note that this is explicitly forbidden by our moderator). I cannot explain the exact sequence of steps in the evolution of the flagellar motor, but perhaps other can. I do know that other cases od apparent irreducible complexity have been shown to be, in fact, accounted for by standard mechanisms of RM + NS. The eye is a good example, with a clear sequence of steps within a particular group of related organisms. the structues proceede from simple sheets of photoreceptors to the complicated structure of many insects. Genes are known that can cause the reorganizations for these particular reorganizations. the fact that we can explain many of these types of traits using NS+RM means that the mechanism is sufficient, and indicates that arguments about ID must be based on more than our present inability to account for one particular trait or another. please show me positive experimental evidence for ID, rather than simply pointing out that we cannot right now explain the precise evolutionary trajectory for all traits. that proves nothing. #21-I think this is a very interesting observation. if the point of ID is to suggest that evolutionary mechanisms can yeild traits that fulfill particular functions (are designed) than i agree, as long as there is no requirement that we invoke a designer (a force or agent with concious intent). i completely agree that organisms are in fact designed to have particular functions, but believe that this arises with no intent beyond the need for organisms to survive. the issue has always seemed to me that a belief in ID requires a "designer". #24-evolution. our entire debate here is that a non-goal-directed process can create functional complexity. my claim is that all of the evidence we have to date suggests that can be true. on a purely physical sphere, the growth of crystals creates highly ordered shapes with considerable complex functions in terms of resistance to stress, tensile strenth, as well as the ability to conduct light differentially as functions of wavelength and direction. Marc Weissburg
Marc, You mention there's much scientific evidence that random mutation plus natural selection can create the complex structures we find in living things. Since RM+NS works far too slowly for us to actually observe the formation of a novel cell type, tissue type, organ, or body plan I must ask you to cite exactly what scientific evidence you believe confirms RM+NS ability to do these things? I don't believe you can present anything more than an argument from ignorance to support your assertion about RM+NS i.e. you don't know of any other possible explanation that doesn't violate your a priori worldview that intelligent design cannot be considered. Prove me wrong. Show me the scientific evidence that RM+NS can create novel cell types, tissue types, organs, and body plans. DaveScot
Marc, Is there any particular reason you eschew capitalization? I'd ask if the shift key on your keyboard is broken but your first comment here was capitalized aptly. DaveScot
Oh, thanks Lurker, for the clarification. I also sometimes get the impression that the very religious have a problem with dualism, too. Although I could never understand why! tinabrewer

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