Cosmology Intelligent Design

“I’ll identify the intelligent designer when you identify the Big Banger”

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Design

That’s Dennis Jones’s challenge to those who insist, “You can’t talk about design unless you say who the designer is”:

1. ID Theory has nothing to do with creationism or a designer. There is no philosophical contemplation as to a designer any more than the Big Bang theory has anything to say about a banger.

It is impossible to complain about the “designer” of Intelligent Design Theory without resolving the “banger” inferred by the Big Bang Theory. One cannot deny there is a “banger” if they insist there is a designer, and vice versa.

The request is as absurd as requiring cosmologists to explain the nature of the Banger. To assert that Intelligent Design requires a Designer is as ridiculous as demanding it is impossible to have a Big Bang without a Banger. A designer cannot be imposed upon ID Theory without likewise imposing one on the Big Bang theory. The study of the Big Bang has nothing to do with what existed at Time = zero. The same is true with the origin of information. We study how information operates and increases towards greater biological complexity, and assert that an artificial intervention is involved in addition to unguided natural processes.

– “Intelligent Design Theory Is About INFORMATION, Not Designers” (May19, 2011)

35 Replies to ““I’ll identify the intelligent designer when you identify the Big Banger”

  1. 1
    Chris Doyle says:

    Very good point. But then anyone who wants to know about the Designer, or even the Big Banger, is not asking for scientific reasons. They are asking for purely theological reasons.

  2. 2
    Joseph says:

    1- If we knew who the designer was then we wouldn’t have a design inference as design would be a given

    2- Reality dictates that in the absence of direct observation or designer input the only possible way to make any scientific determination about the designer or the specific process used, is by studying the design in question.

  3. 3
    allanius says:

    I checked with my son. The Designer is Bob.

  4. 4
    Doveton says:

    Actually, it isn’t so much theological reasons in the case of the “designer” – it’s plain old practical reasons.

    This is actually the problem with Dennis’ challenge. The reason that folks ask about the “designer” is that Intelligent Design requires such an entity. It’s very premise notes one.

    The Big Bang, otoh, not only does not require a “banger” (as Hawking’s and Feynman’s work shows) it doesn’t even imply one as a theoretical model. So how is this a valid comparison?

    Dennis’ challenge strikes me as really nothing more than a red herring by way of a non-sequitur.

    OTOH, let’s suppose theoretical physicists accept Dennis’ challenge. They say, “fine…we completely dismiss the very concept of a “banger” or any need for such a concept in the Big Bang Theory. As such, according to Dennis, that means the the ID Theory must dismiss the very idea of a designer, which would then remove any premise of intelligence from the theory too. So…what exactly would the theory be left with? Without either “designer” or “intelligence” as core concepts of ID, what would the theory be about?”

    Yep…you’d have an “Intelligent Design” Theory about nothing.

  5. 5
    Joseph says:

    Intelligent Design may require a designer but Intelligent Design is about the design, not the designer (for the very reasons posted in comment 2).

  6. 6
    lastyearon says:

    To assert that Intelligent Design requires a Designer is as ridiculous as demanding it is impossible to have a Big Bang without a Banger.

    Huh?

    Intelligent Design doesn’t require a designer?

    Sometimes I think that this blog is just a place where confused ideas come to be straightened out.

  7. 7
    Mung says:

    Doveton:

    The reason that folks ask about the “designer” is that Intelligent Design requires such an entity. It’s very premise notes one.

    Since science isn’t about beliefs and requires no belief, we can just ignore that.

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    Intelligent design theory requires a designer in the same sense that evolutionary theory requires the existence of an LUCA.

  9. 9
    Doveton says:

    Mung,

    The reason that folks ask about the “designer” is that Intelligent Design requires such an entity. It’s very premise notes one.

    Since science isn’t about beliefs and requires no belief, we can just ignore that.

    Yeah…that’s the problem. Seems Dennis has just shown that ID is about belief.

  10. 10
    Chris Doyle says:

    Mung, post 8: game, set and match, sir. Love it!

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    ty Chris,

    No doubt it will be completely lost on the critics, lol.

  12. 12
    junkdnaforlife says:

    Hawkings no boundry model is in his own words, “just a proposal.” Relying the idea that time is imaginary. His time loop requires this aforementioned “imaginary time,” and I am confident that time has not been proven to be imaginary. He proposed this because to him the idea of general relativity breaking down at a singular point implied a banger of some sort. Hawking now proposes the multi-verse as the banger. Or specifically, in the case our our uni-verse, he submits gravity as the banger.

  13. 13
    ScottAndrews says:

    To insist on an identification of the designer is willfully ignorant and stubborn.
    To put it as simply as I can, we can know something without knowing everything. Everyone knows that.
    Imagine if we couldn’t determine that a fire was caused by arson without identifying the arsonist.
    Imagine if we couldn’t infer that a planet’s orbit was affected by a moon until we first identified the moon.
    That’s silly. If we can’t rule arson without an arsonist, then we can’t ever catch an arsonist because we’ve made up a silly, arbitrary rule that keeps us from determining arson.
    When we follow logic in one place but throw up illogical obstacles in another, we reveal that only difference is us. We are biased.

  14. 14
    Ilion says:

    … and not merely bias, but an active refusal to know something that might impact, or even refute, our bias.

  15. 15
    jjcassidy says:

    Jones’ statement is really a non sequitur, sorry to say. The very concept of intelligent design implies an intelligent agent. The very concept of a big bang does not.

    If I invoke my inalienable rights and I think that The Lord Yahweh is the Creator who has endowed me with those inalienable rights, then is my assertion of those inalienable rights, inalienably religious? You can be inclined to agree with me or disagree with me or find some common ground with my view, like “I don’t believe in the God of the Bible, but I believe that it references the one God that everybody worships–and He grants those inalienable rights”. But I doubt that you can take my religious motivation for insisting on inalienable rights as a violation of your freedom from religion if 1) you don’t recognize the inalienability of rights and 2) I insist that the state continue to recognize them as inalienable.

    Thus, the exact identity of the source of inalienable rights does not matter as long as we recognize their inalienability.

    This is an effective argument, because you can force a devout “skeptic” into a statement of contingent convenience–or that no rights are violated as long as we agree that they were not–or they have to accept that despite religious motivation for inalienability, the accent on base inalienability means that my speculations into how that is supplied does not jeopardize the secularness of the base concept of inalienable rights.

    This will not work on an absolute materialistic fascist though, who thinks that religion is passe, we assign rights we like, and we don’t like religion. However, it does make him the enemy of the more pluralistic system.

  16. 16
    jjcassidy says:

    “Who is the designer?” has always been a very stupid argument, in pursuit of somebody to take a couple minutes and examine it.

    It actually presupposes that there is no designer. Because were there a designer, my personal opinion could be right and it could be wrong. There is no affect to the designer, whoever he/she/it may be. Just like there could actually be a God, and I could be wrong about who it is.
    QED

    I think to automatically assume that if you think there is a designer, you won’t be mediate enough to realize the normal relationship between fact and opinion, that is a prejudiced legal presumption.

    And while I don’t think that all religious people can make the same distinction I do, I doubt that a whole lot of secularists can even understand this argument, or how unthought out this cascade of presumption and preference is.

  17. 17
    Mung says:

    What if the universe itself is an intelligent agent?

  18. 18
    lastyearon says:

    Mung,

    Intelligent design theory requires a designer in the same sense that evolutionary theory requires the existence of an LUCA.

    But here’s the difference between a scientific theory (evolution) and pseudo science (ID).

    Based on the theory of evolution, there was indeed a Last Universal Common Ancestor, and we haven’t found it. However, the LUCA has a number of traits that we can test for:

    * The genetic code was based on DNA.

    * The genetic code was expressed via RNA intermediates, which were single-stranded.

    * The genetic code was expressed into proteins.

    * All other properties of the organism were the result of protein functions.

    * Proteins were assembled from free amino acids by translation of an mRNA by ribosomes, tRNA and a group of related proteins.

    * The cell contained a water-based cytoplasm that was surrounded and effectively enclosed by a lipid bilayer membrane.

    * The cell multiplied by duplicating all its contents followed by cellular division.

    These are all clues that aid in our ongoing investigation. That is how science works.

    Please see the wikipedia entry for more:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....l_ancestor

    Bases on ID, what traits of the intelligent designer can we test for?

    NOTHING.

    What clues or leads do we have to further investigate the capabilities or motivations of the designer?

    NONE.

  19. 19
    Joseph says:

    Yeah, that’s it- just as metazoans go, ie starting off as a very, very small single-cell and developing into a full-fledged differentiated multi-cellular organism, the universe started off as a very small singularity and developed into what we observe today.

    Would that mean we would be like the single-celled organisms that live inside of metazoans?

  20. 20
    Chris Doyle says:

    So, LastYearOn, where did the LUCA come from? Did it make itself? How did it make itself? What evidence do you have to support the claim that a LUCA ever existed?

  21. 21
    Chris Doyle says:

    So, LastYearOn, where did the LUCA come from? Did it make itself? How did it make itself? What evidence do you have to support the claim that a LUCA ever existed?

  22. 22
    Joseph says:

    lastyearon:

    Based on the theory of evolution, there was indeed a Last Universal Common Ancestor

    Nope. The theory doesn’t require a universal common ancestor and it would be perfectly OK without one.

    Ya see the theory doesn’t say anything about origins and therefor is OK with multiple starting points and therefor multiple different lines of descent.

    Only a theory of universal common descent requires a universal common ancestor.

    And your evidence for a LUCA could be used to find the common design. Strange, that…

  23. 23
    Joseph says:

    lastyearon:

    Bases on ID, what traits of the intelligent designer can we test for?

    ID is not about the designer.

  24. 24
    ciphertext says:

    @Doveton

    Post #4

    This is actually the problem with Dennis’ challenge. The reason that folks ask about the “designer” is that Intelligent Design requires such an entity. It’s very premise notes one.

    The Big Bang, otoh, not only does not require a “banger” (as Hawking’s and Feynman’s work shows) it doesn’t even imply one as a theoretical model. So how is this a valid comparison?

    I believe that it is more logical to say that Intelligent Design Theory requires that there be a design rather than a designer. What I mean by that is that there must have been a preconceived notion of some desired manifestation (a.k.a “The Design”). In much the same way an architect or architects prepare building plans in preparation for a construction effort. Or, if you prefer, the functionality requirements and allied pseudo code that a programmer or group of programmers create in preparation for a programming effort. I think that is what the collection of scientists whom subscribe to the theory are hypothesizing. The origin of the design would require another theory, I should think. Or at least, an addendum.

    The Big Bang does require an origin. Logically all things of this universe require an origin. Whether we term the origin the “Banger”, “Ringer”, “Singularity”, etc… is of little consequence. What Hakings, Feynman, and others have demonstrated is that it is possible to describe the functionality of the universe (the forces, particles, and interactions of such kind) without having to necessarily describe the origin of the universe.

  25. 25
    Mung says:

    Must be nice to have all those scientific tests for an imaginary entity.

  26. 26
    lastyearon says:

    Joseph, your just plain wrong. The theory of evolution does indeed say all living beings share a common ancestor. The last common ancestor isn’t the same organism as the first living thing, though. So your comment about origins is not applicable.

  27. 27
    Doveton says:

    Ciphertext,

    I believe that it is more logical to say that Intelligent Design Theory requires that there be a design rather than a designer. What I mean by that is that there must have been a preconceived notion of some desired manifestation (a.k.a “The Design”). In much the same way an architect or architects prepare building plans in preparation for a construction effort. Or, if you prefer, the functionality requirements and allied pseudo code that a programmer or group of programmers create in preparation for a programming effort. I think that is what the collection of scientists whom subscribe to the theory are hypothesizing. The origin of the design would require another theory, I should think. Or at least, an addendum.

    You might be right from an operational standpoint (though I really think you are stretching things quite a bit in order to avoid the inherent implications hypothesizing design). From the concept standpoint however, – that is, the ID concept itself and the description there of – the intelligent designer is presumed from the get go. That ID proponents avoid stating the specific identity of the designer, arguing (quite reasonably imo) that evidence of design doesn’t really tell us anything about the designer’s identity, doesn’t remove the associated anonymous “designer” as the functional asset of ID from the room.

    The Big Bang does require an origin. Logically all things of this universe require an origin. Whether we term the origin the “Banger”, “Ringer”, “Singularity”, etc… is of little consequence. What Hakings, Feynman, and others have demonstrated is that it is possible to describe the functionality of the universe (the forces, particles, and interactions of such kind) without having to necessarily describe the origin of the universe.

    No, the Big Bang does not require any origin and that is specifically what Hawking and Feynmen (among others) demonstrated. But even if it did, the origin of the big bang is not equivalent to the inherent presumption of an “intelligent Designer” postulated in ID.

    In fact, the numerous examples of the “intelligent agency” being the underlying argument made against evolution as a “mindless, purposeless process” rebuts an defense of Dennis Jones’ challenge and your defense there of.

    Here a few examples:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46411.html

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....42251.html

    “If science is based upon experience, then science tells us the message encoded in DNA must have originated from an intelligent cause. But what kind of intelligent agent was it? On its own, science cannot answer this question; it must leave it to religion and philosophy. But that should not prevent science from acknowledging evidences for an intelligent cause origin wherever they may exist. This is no different, really, than if we discovered life did result from natural causes. We still would not know, from science, if the natural cause was all that was involved, or if the ultimate explanation was beyond nature, and using the natural cause.” (Of Pandas and People (2nd ed, 1993), pg. 7)

    “Intelligent design theory begins and ends with observations of the natural world. It begins with observations of intelligent agents in the natural world, in order to quantify the sort of information they tend to emplace into their designed objects. It ends with observations as we study natural objects to determine if they contain that information which we know is a tell-tale sign that an intelligent agent played a hand in the origin of that object. True to the scientific method, throughout the entire process of testing for intelligent design, we are making observations of the observable natural world.” (Casey Luskin, IDEA, 2011)

    How anyone can honestly say that ID has nothing to do with a designer just amazes me.

  28. 28
    Mung says:

    …the intelligent designer is presumed from the get go.

    HUMAN intelligent designers.

  29. 29
    junkdnaforlife says:

    Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” Hawking wrote, The Grand Design

    Hawking absolutely introduces a banger. He in no way implies that the big bang has no origin. His proposed origin in The Grand Design is the laws of physics. He makes a plea for the multi-verse. But as Hawking should know, the laws of physics cannot explain the existence of the laws of physics.

    Hawking is allowed to discuss the multiverse without having to answer the question what made the multiverse. He can submit gravity as the first cause without having to explain why gravity and where did it come from. Or address the question “why is there something rather than nothing”, in the same way design can be inferred without the need to identify the designer/s.

  30. 30
    africangenesis says:

    In the absence of evidence of a designer, other than the design, hypotheses about the identity of the designer or designers would be speculation. However, the presence of the design itself gives us some information about the intelligence of the designer, or the constraints under which the designer operated or perhaps the values of the designer. We might be able rule out particular combinations of these characteristics. Since humans can already see many areas where the design could have been improved, any hypothesized designer that had more intelligence would have to have quite different constraints or values, perhaps constrained to designing from a distance in space or time, or perhaps not sharing many values with humans.

  31. 31

    So to repeat a question I asked a month or two ago, if I take no position on whether or not a designer actually exists, am I no longer an IDer?

    As IDEA Center and the Discovery Institute define ID, it is the study of observable features best explained by an intelligent cause. Thus, I don’t see why an identity for this cause is needed for ID to have merit.

    If I write a book but give no name for the author and no one is aware of who I really am, does that make it impossible to tell it even had an author to begin with?

  32. 32
    africangenesis says:

    “does that make it impossible to tell it even had an author to begin with?”

    No, but we would be able to infer some idea of the authors intelligence, cultural background and values. We would be able to note typos and errors in the work, which would give us some idea of the care which was taken, and the quality of that authors work. Any information of the first appearance of the work might help constrain the possible time at which it was produced, etc

  33. 33

    @32 – I can agree with that, but in terms of the criticism of ID that you actually need to know the designer in order to infer design in the first place, would we have to know who wrote it or can we draw such conclusions from the feature itself?

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    We routinely detect arson on its signs before we identify an arsonist. So, apply the reasonable man test to the objection.

  35. 35
    africangenesis says:

    @33, I agree one can infer design without having yet identified a designer. But if there isn’t evidence of designers around, that would weigh against the hypothesis relative to other competing hypotheses. There are plenty of possible authors around, arsonists often leave evidence of accelerants, or arson can sometimes be the leading hypothesis from the lack of possible ignition sources.

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