Engineering demands a strict account of things that can possibly happen without design:
The most philosophically astute materialist scientists recognize the hazard of too closely comparing biology to engineering. Not only does engineering embody intelligent design, but engineers have developed a deep intuition of what incremental processes can and cannot achieve. And they recognize that the design patterns pervasive in life could not possibly have emerged through any gradual, undirected process.
Biologists wedded to scientific materialism have argued that life is so different from human artifacts that they can dismiss engineers’ conclusions about organisms’ limited evolvability. The central fallacy in this argument is that nearly every difference between human creations and life makes the latter ever more challenging to design. And the challenges translate into more daunting obstacles for any evolutionary scenario.
Design motifs such as four-bar linkages and control systems must meet exacting requirements whether implemented in a space shuttle or a fish (here, here). Many of these requirements operate largely independently of the constituent materials that compose them or the exact methods they employ in their operation. Moreover, the distinctive nature of living systems entails many additional requirements and even stricter constraints. Not only must a biological element function properly, but an organism must also manufacture, maintain, and operate it.Brian Miller, “How Engineers Helped Save Biology from Evolutionary Theory” at Evolution News and Science Today (August 30, 2021)
In the real world, Darwinism is largely maintained by enforcement at all levels of education and the career ruin of those who doubt it. All that is quite unrelated to what’s happening — or could happen — in science.
See also: Researchers: Blind mouse pups prepared for sight. Researcher: “I love this paper. It blew my mind,” says David Berson, who studies the visual system at Brown University and was not involved in the research. “What it implies is that evolution has built a visual system that can simulate the patterns of activity that it will see later when it’s fully mature and the eyes are open, and that [the simulated pattern] in turn shapes the development of the nervous system in a way that makes it better adapted to seeing those patterns. . . . That’s staggering.”
21 Replies to “How engineering destroys faith in Darwinism”
Just another datapoint supporting the Salem Hypothesis. In other words, some engineers are arrogant enough to believe they understand evolutionary biology better than biologists. Can you imagine the engineers outrage if biologists started pontificating about the shortcomings of engineering?
In other words, another conspiracy theory. What next? Evolutionary biologists are members of the Illuminati? Or a worldwide Marxist cabal bent on world domination? Or reptilians?
“some engineers are arrogant,”
LOL, yeah right, Coyne, Moran, and Dawkins are such a humble lot. 🙂
If life is designed, then doesn’t science become reverse engineering?
Good question. Sometimes, but there are spectra:
a. Starting from one end, there are chaotic phenomena followed by turbulence, then increasingly mechanistic ones, and then at the other end are complex fields.
b. There are biological manufacturing expenses: consider the energy “investment” in the leaves of deciduous trees versus those of evergreen trees. The deciduous ones grow cheap, throw-away leaves while the evergreens invest in insect repellents, waxes, oils, and structures that increase resilience. A military analog would be the difference in the engineering and manufacturing costs of German versus Russian tanks. German tanks were higher quality, more maintainable, more expensive, and slower to manufacture while Russian tanks were designed to last about a half an hour in combat, simple to manufacture, low quality, but cheap, and fast to manufacture. The Russian design won.
c. There’s also a spectrum of high adaptability versus high specialization. Again, it depends on the environment which is “better.”
d. With poorly understood biological organs, structures, and chemical pathways, reverse engineering (as well as intelligent design) assumes there is a useful but undiscovered reason for their existence. This is exactly reverse engineering–asking what something is there for rather than assuming it has no function.
e. With other physical systems such as gravity and molecular interactions, mathematical models are chosen that get us “close enough” for a while.
There are most certainly things I’ve missed in this list, but it’s a start.
Q@4 good observations. What design parameters result in a habitable universe? How does such a universe come into being? What steps are necessary to terraform a planet? What quality controls and regulatory mechanisms need to operate for life to endure? These are all engineering questions.
If science remains committed to materialism, it will be looking in the wrong place for the answers it seeks. Materialism is a science stopper.
“ Can you imagine the engineers outrage if biologists started pontificating about the shortcomings of engineering?‘
Seversky’ s knee jerk response #3. Only biologists can criticise biologists – it’s a priestly caste and therefore untouchable. #2 is similar – if a biologist claims something, he/she is not an EVOLUTIONARY biologist.
I doubt if Seversky even read the article – if he had, he wouldn’t speak of ‘arrogant’ engineers.
That goes without saying. Evolutionary biologists don’t even know what determines biological form. They can’t even test the vast majority of claims they make.
If they have a point then engineers would listen. But they can’t even figure out their own field!
Real world phenomena isn’t a conspiracy theory.
Something else for seversky to ignore: Approaching Biology From a Different Angle
You probably already know that the parameters of the universe seem incredibly fine-tuned to allow it to exist. Also, that the earth seems remarkably well placed for life, and optimum observational access to the universe. We’re starting to bump into the Anthropic principle, but consider that Mars should be able to host extremophiles given its comparable age to that of earth, access to water, and other resources necessary for life. Check this out:
Imagine if a 19th century mechanical engineer were able to take apart and analyze a laptop computer. Someone like this would likely come up with a lot of strangely quaint explanations and might even conclude that a number of parts were merely “decorative.” I believe we face the same sort of challenges and a big dose of humility would be appropriate.
The last line, “manufacture, maintain and operate” deserves more emphasis.
Machines can self-maintain to some extent if designed to do it; but machines can’t create more materials to maintain themselves.
A basic machine like a printing press has automatic oilers that dispense more oil into a bearing when the bearing gets dry. But no machine has an automatic OIL WELL AND REFINERY built into the automatic oiler. Cells routinely mine and refine their own proteins before applying the proteins to repair a cilium or a cochlear tip-link. What’s more, the cells constantly revise the BLUEPRINT AND TOOLING for drilling and refining the proteins.
Q@8. Humility is right. We will find our share of snarfblat’s! LOL.
That’s why who want to become a biologist have to own a PhD in engineering first.
I am a mechanical engineer with decent IT skills. Darwinian theory of evolution is something so offensive, i cant believe it is still taught in 21st century universities around the world… (no surprise, that this theory was developed by a bunch of romantics, natural science graduates…. the most advanced technology in universe is being researched by natural science graduates who never made anything… how absurd….)
A special message to Seversky
Seversky, you comment on everything…. now you comment on engineering
I have asked like 1000 times, but you never answer you coward
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION ?
Ease off, dude, I like Seversky’s comments. They’re always well thought out, even if you don’t agree with them.
The conspiracy which sustains evolution theory, is the human psychology to conceive of making a choice, in terms of figuring out the best option.
As opposed to conceiving of making a choice in terms of spontaneity. As spontaneous expression of emotion, expression of the subjective spirit.
“I like Seversky’s comments. They’re always well thought out,”
Hmm, Meat Robots can have (well thought out) thoughts?
i.e. if Darwinian evolution were actually true, Seversky has no more control over his thoughts than a leaf blowing in the wind has control over which direction it falls.
I think therefore I thought……..
Chuckdarwin, as a Darwinian materialist, I don’t think it is a ‘well thought out’ thought for you to paraphrase Descartes’s aphorism for his proof of the immaterial mind.
I debated lots of Darwinian cowards like Seversky… When it comes to education, they drop the conversation… always …. when seversky comments on engineering, i would like to know how is he qualified….
PS: seversky’s comments are well thought out…. Good joke …. sometimes i think that Seversky is 5 years old child…. some of his questions and objections sound so childish…
Excellent points. Also consider the engineering and instructions required for the machine to build itself from a small kit!
For a non-mechanical engineer pretending to be a mechanical engineer is both pathetic and obvious, especially when the non-mechanical engineer is the only one not recognizing how lame their rationalizations are. Once anyone knowledgeable in engineering or a “maker” of any kind is exposed to the vast complexity of the mechanical, biochemical, and programming exhibited within a single cell, they cannot unsee it. A single cell is vastly more complex than say a modern automobile.
Thus to imagine some unobserved process over billions of years that could result in an automobile is somehow ludicrous, while the same thing on a much higher scale and complexity is touted as a “fact” for almost 160 years is simply science fiction.
And speaking of science fiction, it’s as if the iron oxide on Mars is all that’s left of a once-thriving sentient robot civilization that somehow evolved from nano machines.
And speaking of Mars, it’s been scientifically demonstrated that extremophiles can exist in a Martian environment. So, why after a similar length of deep time as the earth isn’t Mars covered with them?
Who knows. Maybe the Chinese will find biological stuff we missed . . . viruses . . . maybe even COVID! 😮
It’s the biggest lie of our time.
Yes, indeed. People believe the lies that they want to believe and turn into unrelenting skeptics about everything else. They accept the multiverse and universal consciousness with dewy-eyed naiveté, but ferociously insist on an infinite amount of proof for everything else. They happily swallow camels while straining at gnats.
Not content with deceiving only themselves, they work tirelessly on indoctrinating everyone, using reason and facts when available, but propaganda, hysteria, and ultimately force when reason and facts run contrary to their goals.
As a result, scientific progress, economic prosperity, ethics, the arts, justice, and human kindness, peace, and tolerance all degrade. And then they tell everyone how much better things are now.