Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Machines Are the Result of Intelligent Agency

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In every case where a machine is observed and its origin can be determined it is the result of intelligent agency.

When observations have been repeated billions of times by billions of people like this without a single exception it is a law of nature, not hypothesis and not mere theory.

This is as well tested as the law of nature that the sun rises in the east. Of course it remains true that no one was around a billion years ago to witness the sun rising in the east but we assume it did until extraordinarily convincing evidence to the contrary is found.

Machines come from intelligent agency is a law of nature until extraordinarily convincing evidence to the contrary is found.

Biological machines have their origin in the distant past so no direct determination of their origin is possible. Until extraordinarily convincing evidence to the contrary is found the default assumption must be that their origin is intelligent agency.

This brings us to the question of whether random mutation plus natural selection is extraordinarily convincing evidence to the contrary. Given that descent with modification filtered by natural selection has had 150 years to convince the world, and it is still mired in controversy among laymen and experts alike, one is being quite reasonable, charitable in fact, in saying that it might not be extraordinarily convincing. Given that the natural selection theory now requires judicial fiat to protect it against criticism in public education it would appear to be, if anything, extraordinarily unconvincing.

The objection is raised that it is religious motivation which inspires criticism of evolution and that makes it unconstitutional. While the religious motivation may be true in a majority of evolution critics, it isn’t true that all critics are motivated by religion. Regardless, it is unconstitutional to deny participation in the political process due to religious beliefs which may influence the way a person votes. The freedom of religion clause in the first amendment prohibits such discrimination. The vote must actually be in support of something specifically establishing a religion, in support of something with no secular merit of any kind, and not merely a vote motivated by religious belief for anything at all.

Furthermore, in evaluating the establishment of religion that criticism of evolution is claimed to be, one needs to examine other scientific theories which dispute widely held religious beliefs to see if they also require protection from criticism by way of judicial fiat. The scientific theories below are taught in public schools, contradict widely held religious beliefs, and don’ t require judicial fiat to protect them:

The age of the universe is theorized to be about 14 billion years

The age of the earth is theorized to be about 4 billion years

Why aren’t school boards with their ostensible religious motivations voting to criticize these theories taught in physical science class like they’re voting to criticize natural selection taught in biology class? I assert it’s because these theories, unlike natural selection, are in fact supported by extraordinarily convicing evidence.

Check 13:10 Charlie
"In every case where a machine is observed and its origin can be determined it is the result of intelligent agency." This is on its face tautological, given that a "machine" is defined as an artifice of man. A machine is not defined as an artifice of man. You'd know that if you bothered to read the definition I linked. -ds So we would not expect to find, say, a lathe occuring in nature, or a nuclear reactor. Except we do find an example of a naturally occuring nuclear reactor: http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/factsheets/doeymp0010.shtml That's not a machine. It performs no work nor does it assist in performing work. -ds We also find examples of simple machines in the form of rachets, inclined planes, levels, balaned rocks, and on and on. No we don't find examples of simple machines. You are using an incorrect definition of machine. -ds mje
I need to clarify/correct one thing regarding my comment #15 above: The etymology of the word "means" doesn't matters at all. I got carried away transposing interesting stuff from the dictionary. What matters is the meaning of the Greek word "mechos". The dictionary gives two English synonyms, "means" and "expedient." The definition of "means" is "something useful or helpful to a desired end"; the defintion of "expedient" is "something suitable to achieving a particular end in a given circumstance." Note that both involve intention, which requires an intelligence. j
John Davison: "I find it hard to believe that there exists anyone any more that could still believe that anything in the living world could ever have arisen through chance. It is bad enough that Charles Darwin could ever have thought such a thing and he most certainly did think just that, . . . " Along these lines, Darwin believed in an almost complete plasticity of form--an almost limitless capacity for variation. And yet, when he whistles his melodies, Darwin says, (paraphrased)"I can see species giving rise to genera, genera giving rise to orders, and orders giving rise to classes." I would like to have been able to ask the good Mr. Darwin, "Why stop at classes? Why not continue on to phyla and then kingdoms?" Why this artificial 'brake' to variation? Darwin never explains it. However..........As he finishes his text he waxes eloquent saying that "[t]here is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into few forms or into one; . . ." Nice prose; but, really it's a cop-out as it give Darwin a way of explaining the various known Kingdoms at the time, and possibly the various phyla. Bottom-line: Darwin talks as if 'variation' is limitless; yet, he acts as if there is some effective limit--i.e., he doesn't see 'classes' giving rise to 'phyla'. PaV
Dr. John Davison: "It is Dr. Davison not Mr. Davidson and has been since 1954..." No disrespect intended; I was about to type "John", but put "Mr." as more formal (i.e. respectful(!)). And isn't "Mr" really short for "Master"? Perhaps "Chef" might have been more appropriate given the context. Anyway, as a "Dr" myself (geophysics) I'm surprised I slipped up that way... SCheesman
SCheesman whoever that is: It is Dr. Davison not Mr. Davidson and has been since 1954, Davison as in John Davison Rockefeller, one of my relatives. "I get no respect." Rodney Dangerfield John Davison
[Somewhat off-topic] John Davidson: "How do you like them there Oscar Meyer sausages skewered on them there green willow sticks cooking over an open camp fire? I hope they give the Darwimpian mystics dyspepsia and flatulence as well." Dave, how about a new category to collect all of these culinary gems from Mr. Davidson? SCheesman
By the way does bold comment always mean comment by DaveScot? It looks like it does but it is not always signed with a ds. Maybe it should be to avoid any confusion. I would hate to respond to the wrong person. I already have enough trouble being understood. John Davison
DaveScot I thought I had when I suggested that it just might be the simplest way to do things. Hells bells, George Gamov predicted a triplet code long before it was demonstrated. It is just the simplest way to code for 20 odd amino acids that's all. There's more to it than that. It IS the simplest way to code for 20 amino acids plus tokens for stop and start. There's no "might be" about that. It's a mathematical certainty. The problem lies in the fact that there are nearly an infinite number of equally simplest ways of arranging a 64 element translation table. The chance of two organisms independently arriving at the exact same translation table are virtually nil. This needs to be explained, not shrugged off. -ds The fact remains that the non-homologous origins of the vertebrate germ cells pleads for separate origins. Correlated with that are non-homologous types of sex determination. Frogs are mostly XY male and XX female like mammals. Urodeles are WZ females and ZZ males like birds. Thus sex detremination non-homology correlates perfectly with germ cell origin non-homology. Accordingly this also pleads for separate origin. The origin of life is a miracle anyway and many miracles are no more miraculous than one. Miracles are like that don't you know. Besides what counts are the facts not whether we like them or not. We don't even know how many Creators there were let alone how many times they did their thing. Think about it. that is what I have been doing. What do I know anyway. John Davison
Professor Davison I'm confused. Are you saying can't explain or won't explain why the genetic code is nearly identical in everything alive? DaveScot
If it makes someone feel better to be convinced that there was only one origin of life, that suits me just fine. I couldn't care less what others think anyway any more than I do about what I think. A single origin is exactly what the Darwinian paradigm demands by the way. I will follow the evidence wherever that may lead. My experience tells me that does not always result in what one expected. In fact, in my long experience, it hardly ever has. The material I just presented speaks for itself and certainly does not conform with a single origin. A common code may mean only that it is probably the best way to transmit information. I have about as much respect for Occam's Razor as I have for Karl Popper's nonsense about falsibility. It is pure semantics. With only a change of tense: "God worked in mysterious ways." John Davison
Let me say that this retired general physiologist is no engineer and neither were any of his sources. I don't know where the idea came from that engineers are the only ones that have rejected Darwnian mysticism. It doesn;'t take an engineer to recognize a designed living machine either. That is evident to any one with any objectivity whatsoever. I find it hard to believe that there exists anyone any more that could still believe that anything in the living world could ever have arisen through chance. It is bad enough that Charles Darwin could ever have thought such a thing and he most certainly did think just that, but with all that we have learned in the one hundred and forty seven years since the publication of the Origin, it boggles my ancient mind that anyone could be so oblivious to the real demonstrated living world as to still imagine any role for blind chance. There even seem to be some right here on this forum with such silly convictions. I thought they were all concentrated over at Panda's Pathetic Pollex and a few other bastions of Darwinian mysticism, like EvC and Pharyngula but I guess not. Like cockroaches, houseflies and Norway rats they are hard to eradicate aren't they? Fortunately they are doing themselves in anyway, as they continue blindly to adhere to the most failed hypothesis in the history of science. "Science commits suicide when she adopts a creed." Thomas Henry Huxley "War, God help me, I love it so!" Me too George It's hard to believe isn't it? John Davison
Let me say that I certainly DO NOT accept a single origin of life and for good reasons which I am in the process of putting together in a form for publication. Those reasons have to do what can be demonstrated with respect to the origin of the germ cells during ontogeny. A single origin of life would require that these cells share a common origin. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even within a vertebrate Class, the Amphibia, fundamentally different modes of origin can be demonstrated. In the Anura (frogs and toads) the presumptive germ cells are predetermined in the unfertilized egg and are formed as the result of the presence of preformed stainable granules contained in what becomes the endoderm of the developing embryo. From the site of their origin they migrate in amoeboid fashion and "invade" the gonad which is a mesodermal structure. There they complete their differentiation to become ova and spermatozoa. That it the only source of the definitive gametes. The vertebrate gonad is itself a sterile structure unable to produce gametes from its own epithelium. This is not conjecture and has been experimentally verified in many separate laboratories. In the Amphibian order Urodela (salamanders and newts) the germ cells originate in an entirely different way. There they form as a result of an induction between the endoderm and the adjacent lateral plate mesoderm. The presumptive germ cells are produced in the mesoderm, not the endoderm as in the Anura. From the lateral plate mesoderm they migrate medially to invade the gonad, which as in the Anura is a sterile organ which is incompetent as a source of gametes itself. There is no way these two drastically means of germ cell formation could possibly be considered to be homologous. They indicate very clearly that these two orders do not share a common means of formation of the cells that produce organic continuity. As such this indicates that anuran and urodele amphibia do not share a common ancestor. In mammals the cells destined to become the germ cells originate in the endoderm in the allantois of the embryo which is the structure which will become the urinary bladder in the adult. From that site where they are formed they too migrate and invade the gonad which, as in all vertebrates, is a mesodermal structure. In all birds the presumptive germ cells originate outside the body of the developing embryo in the extraembryonic endoderm anterior and lateral to the head of the developing embryo. from there they invade the circulatory systemn and can be demonstrated in the blood as they are swept through the circulation. As they pass the gonad they leave the circultaion and they too invade the developing gonad which as in all vertebrates is a mesodermal structure. The site of origin in birds and in most reptiles has no homologue in the adult as it is in the yolk which is absorbed as a source of nutrient as the embryo develops. Reptiles illustrate variations on the bird theme. Once again we see fundamentally different modes of reoproductive continuity being established in various vertebrate groups. These fundamental differences are associated with distinct vetebrate classes and in the case of the amphibia, different orders. I see no way at present how these differences can be reconciled with reproductive continuity: in other words with a single origin of life. I presented this information in detail in my 1984 paper in the Journal of Theoretical Biology and more recently in my unpublished Manifesto both of which can be consulted for documentation and the original sources. I hope this can serve to explain why I remain skeptical of a single origin of life. However let me say that it is not fatal to that idea either and here is why. It is possible that at one time the vertebrate gonad was indeed a source of germ cells and in the course of evolution that source was replaced by a new source from the sites I have mentioned. I like to think that the original source may have been the source that produced ova gynogenetically, in other words semi-meiotically. The new source then would become a source that produced germ cells that require fertilization and sexual reproduction. While this is conjectural it could explain why sexual reproduction is incompetent as an evolutionary device and at the same time could explain why evolution is no longer in progress. There is a curious piece of evdence that favors this interpretation. Certain benign ovarian tumors consist of curious tissue masses consisting largely of teeth and hair both of which are of ectodermal origin. In one case which I cannot cite right now and there probably have been several instances, a woman had two such ovarian tumors, one with blond hair the other brunette. These could only have been produced semi-meiotically if they came from the gonadal epitheliom which apparently is the case. As such these could be taken as indirect support for the semi-meiotic hypothesis. There is still no convincing evidence that any sexually reproducing organism is capable of becoming anything very different than what it is at present, a conclusion which I am happy to share with Robert Broom and of course that curious schizophrenic Darwinian - antDarwinian, Julian Huxley, the grandson of another schizophrenic Darwinian - antiDarwinian, Thomas Henry Huxley. Apparently their skepticism was "prescribed" in their genomes as it seems to be in mine. I would love to see how the Darwinans would deal with these incontravertible realities revealed from the bench of experimental developmental biology. Wouldn't anyone? Don't hold your breath folks. This large and beautiful literature simply does not exist. If it did, Darwinism would have disappeared long ago. It actually did. The Darwinians simply are yet to realize it. Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for Darwinian mysticism, the most failed hypothesis in the history of science. I love it so! Very interesting, Professor Davison. But if there are multiple ancestors how does one explain the extreme similarity in the genetic code amongst all living things? All else being equal, Occam's Razor clearly prefers one ancestor as the best explanation. John Davison
DaveScot, Since we know you agree with the scientific consensus regarding the common ancestry of life, (even if a couple independent strains of bacteria back at the "root" of the tree"), can you clarify for me--do you just think that the only machine that had to be designed was the original ancestor of life (or ancestors, with the caveat that they were all very primitive and gave rise to only unicellular-level life)? I mean, because one of the things that scientists have had a problem with all along is what ID means. Does it mean that these machines are/were continually "injected" into the DNA and phenotype of organisms, but made to look descended? That is, a flagellum is made of proteins which the little beasties already had, so that is why Darwinists are able to use exaptation/co-option as the basis of their reasoning (the use of adhesin in choanoflagellates, as King et al showed, in another example). That is, if the Designer wanted to, it could've injected brand new genetic material in the sense of brand new proteins and the DNA that coded for them. We never see that. We never see a "poof" of some unheard-of sequences. That is why the molecular homology works so well. So if the Designer wasn't continually injecting material which is not novel, so cannot be demonstrated (and thus does not necessitate) to have been an intervention, then common descent stands. If fingernails do not need a designing "event" or "intervention", but the flagellum does, we're talking some sort of workshop here, where modules of genetic information were manipulated to make certain modules evolve independently (self-sufficient), while others were dependent on the actions of the designer. Front-loading is, of course, completely consistent with common ancestry in the idea of "molecular homology makes sense" if you just mean a designer made a first replicating creature and nature took over from there. This is almost indistinguishable from abiogenesis, and most people simply say, "is there a need to invoke a supernatural or intelligent event, or is this just incredulous argument?" There are other arguments about it, but I don't have any particular ones as I am not a biologist and do not honestly understand a lot of the argumentation against it. Sorry for the length of this post. In short, do you subscribe to front-loading? Seeding? I have no problem with those insofar as passionately arguing against people from a materialist standpoint, other than to say I just don't know that they are necessary explanations of what we do not yet know. But is this sort of thing "intelligent design" in the teleological sense? No. Dembski and others are clear on the record that they do not agree with an unguided process, even if its initiation was divine or alien-guided or whatever. I think ID's big tent needs to shrink. I think each person needs to carefully define whether or not they subscribe to common ancestry, and if so, they need to distance themselves from the teleological crowd. The appearance of design in life is a given. The appearance of random mutation is also a given. The Dawkins evolutionist says the appearance of design is an illusion. The ID evolutionist (me) says the appearance of randomness is an illusion. There are various ways that complex specified information we see today could have been input. The most difficult CSI to explain is DNA and ribosomes, nearly identical in structure and function amongst every living thing so far examined. These features miraculously (for want of a better word) appeared in a geologically brief span of time after the earth formed. They appear to be the most complex features to be found in living things as well - a digitally encoded program controlled factory of protein based machines capable of building a hideously complex set of interdependent structures from simple chemical building blocks that can replicate itself. The toughest problem in explaining the origin of life is its very beginning and it had the least amount of time to happen. This is where my focus lies. If this could happen by "accident" I'm willing to concede that everything that followed from it could happen by accident as well. If one begins by taking it as a given that the first ancestral cell with DNA/ribosome capable of descent with modification was designed then there is no need for any design input beyond that. The simplest explanation then becomes that phylogeny is ontogeny writ large. The LUCA (last universal common ancestor) was designed to unfold (differentiate) in a prescribed manner over billions of years just as a single cell unfolds (differenetiates) in 9 months in a prescribed manner into a human being. The question is of course begged about how such a complex cell could have come to exist. I don't know. All I know is that everything makes perfect sense from that point onward, no more questions are begged about how complexity in living things came about if we begin with a front-loaded beginning on earth 4 billion years ago. Maybe some kind of deity created that first cell ex-nihilo. Maybe life is far older than we imagine and the complex cell was part of a continuum of life that predates this solar system. There's simply no evidence at the moment to support such conjecture one way or another as the oldest records of life we can examine are about 3.5 billion years old. Phylogeny and ontogeny being the same process over different timescales is an explanation I formulated independenty then went looking for others who found the same explanation compelling. That is how I discovered Professor Davison who not only shared the front-loaded explanation but had a well grounded biological mechanism (semi-meiosis) that addressed how the unfolding actually took place. Evolution happened. (The following is Davison's terminology more or less - he states it eloquently) Phylogeny in the past like ontogeny today are both predetermined, self-limiting, terminal processes. The only question is the mechanism and rm+ns just ain't it. Please go to the sidebar and read Davison and Straune's papers which I've placed there for your convenience. kewlkat
Should have written: ...the first definition of the word "mean"... The word "means" ultimately has the same roots as the word "mean." j
DaveScot: "Machines are the result of intelligent agency" This statement is a law because it is definitional; It follows directly from the etymology of the word, "machine." It comes from the Greek "mechane," which in turn comes from the Greek "mechos," which means "means." Now, the first definition of the word, "means," is "to have in mind as a purpose," and its etymology reveals that it comes from the Middle English, "menen," which comes from the Old English, "meinen," meaning "to have in mind." Also, check out definition 2a of the word "machine" at http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/machine j
Random mutation and selection had absolutely nothing to do either with the origin or the subsequent evolution of any living creature, plant or animal. The only demonstrable role for those figments is that together they have served to prevent creative evolution by preserving the status quo. They weren't even very good at that as deleterious genes over took the capacity of natural selection to eliminate them resulting in the extiction of the vast majority of all the living creatures that ever existed. This was of course necessary so that the next step up could be taken in a process that violated every aspect of thermodynamics as we understand it. How many times to I have to tell you this? Don't you ever listen? Are you totally oblivious to the works of St George Jackson Mivart, Reginald C. Punnett, Leo S. Berg, Henry Fairfield Osborn and God only knows how many other real scientists of the past, all of whom realized the utter absurdity of the foundation of the Darwinian myth? Of course you are, and prove it day after day as so many of you keep right on harping about natural selection and random mutation as if there were something magical about them. They are useless inventions of the human imagination. I am getting sick and tired of trying to give a history lesson to a bunch of recalcitrant illiterates. There is absolutely no point in my further participation in this place. The only reason I am here is because the so called "professional evolutionists," (as if there ever even was such a genre) are scared to death of me and my sources. The result is I cannot respond to criticism that does not exist in the refereed literature so I waste my time dealing with amateurs who don't even understand what I am talking about and go right on spitting up the same old tired Darwinian pablum and getting it all over themselves. It is pathetic. Got that? Write that down. You might just as well ban me before I ban myself. I have had it. John Davison
Dave, I know I throw in some unrelated and odd comments, but with what you said about Ken Miller not understanding selection, I have to throw in this story I wrote about him and his "selection" A story. By Ryan Larsen Ryan is a careful kinda guy. Someone entered his house though and he needs Ken Miller's help solving the puzzle. Ryan has seven locks on seven doors and seven specially-made keys are necessary to enter his residence. The first door leads down a hallway. Every ten feet or so is another door and another hallway. One would have to have all seven keys to get through all doors. Like all keys, they dodn't have to be exact matches, but they have to be close enough to perform the function of getting into the house through the doors. Of course, someone could get in through a large open window (Ryan leaves the large windows open for fresh air) or they could dig a hole underground and break-in through the floor. They could kick in the doors and bypass the key issue. Or someone could use a different key and settle for a door to a differenet house. But the key method of getting into Ryan's house requires keys. The surprise, understandably, was quite pronounced when Ryan opened the last door and saw an old man sitting in his front room holding a chain of keys. "Tea?" asked the stranger. "No, thanks" said Ryan, "how did you get in here?" "I thought Alfred wouldn't mind if I came in." "Who is Alfred?" "My brother, of course." It turned out that the old man had been confused. He thought he was at his brother's house, but his brother lived in another town altogether. How did he get in then? The old man said that he used the keys that were on the keychain his brother lent him. Ryan didn't understand why this man's brother would have keys that matched copies of the specially-made keys to his house. The thought of it being random was far too remote. What explanation was there? Ryan called his friend Ken Miller. After thoughtful deliberation, Ken proposed a solution: "You assume that the key problem deals with randomness, but the possibility of those keys coming together is actually unknown. It is just as likely that each key was selected for a purpose other than getting into your house. Then it would be highly probable that they would come together. For example, one key could have been selected because it looked nice. Another key could have been a good-luck charm. Another key could have felt smooth. Another key could have been selected because it is shiny enough to see a reflection. And so on. That is how they all got there together." This explanation didn't sit well with Ryan. "I don't know, Ken, I don't think the other functions have a bearing on this issue. I think someone must have put together a set of keys like mine on purpose." The End RyanLarsen
I challenge the idea that biological machines CAN AND DO change over time. They did at one time but there is no evidence whatsoever that creative evolution is any longer in progress and plenty of evidence that it is not. I have repeatedly asked anyone to present evidence of speciation in historical times and been met with stony silence. I have asked others to take any two organsims living or dead and provide convincing evidence that one is the ancestor to the other with the same result. What we onserve is not evolution in action as the darwimps keep mindlessly asserting. We see only the products of a past evolution which has not been going on at the Genus level for at least the past two million years and not at the species level in historical times. We see only extinction without a single replacement. There is every reason to confidently believe that evolution has completely run its course and just as ontogeny ends with death, so evolution ends with extinction. I have published as much and have no intention of recanting without some very compelling reasons to do so. Ho do you like them there Oscar Meyer sausages skewered on them there green willow sticks cooking over an open camp fire? I hope they give the Darwimpian mystics dyspepsia and flatulence as well. John Davison
Mats has a good observation. Biologists will get around the 'biological machines' ploy by simply redefining things. I suppose with something like; a machine must be artificial and living things are natural. Of course this introduces tautologies like crazy but they will try and must be carefully watched. dennis grey
Random mutation has never been proven random. The best answer physics has about randomness is that it doesn’t exist at the atomic scale which is the domain of sub-cellular machinery. But isn't this what evolutionary biologists have been saying for some time? That the word "random" doesn't mean what the common perception of the word means? Tell that to the Wiesel 38 Nobel Laureates who claim evolution is an unguided, unplanned process. That is 38 atheists writing checks that science cannot cash. Science is supposed to be silent on whether anything in the universe is guided or not. That's the only claim about evolution I have a real problem with. Readers familiar with me know I strongly favor descent with modification from a common ancestor as the best explanation for diversity. I just don't believe it could have happened without intelligent agency somewhere planning or guiding the modifications. I don't particularly have a problem with Ken Miller Darwinists except I think they just have natural selection wrong. The appearance of design isn't an illusion. The appearance of randomness is the illusion. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Dawkins! aldo30127
DS - "The natural process to which you refer is no more than a just-so story about a process which happens too slowly to observe the grand extrapolated claims. How convenient." Would you leve the same objection to geologists? Surely the whole tectonic plate theory is really a just-so story about a process which happens too slowly to observe the grand extrapolated claims. Is this a geological conspiracy? Should we suggest that an intelligent designer moved the continents to where they are today? "Random mutation has never been proven random. The best answer physics has about randomness is that it doesn’t exist at the atomic scale which is the domain of sub-cellular machinery." I think you are being a little pedantic. I assume you are stating that nothing can be purely random at the atomic level. Well, mutation does not have to be purely, mathematically random in order to be considred a random mutation for biological purposes. Are you really stating that all mutations are intelligently planned and implemented? "Natural selection is bascially an argument from ignorance - if not RM+NS responsible for all we observe then what?" RM+NS was a response to the original argument from ignorance - if not God then what? A theory was proposed, tested and (for the vaaaaaaaaaaast majority of scientists) accepted. Now ID is presenting itself as an alternative theory, which is still good science, but it must try to convince scientists of its reality - which probabbly won't happen as long as engineers are the main proponents and they come to their conclusions without any actual scientific fieldwork. When people start questioning plate tectonics your question will be relevant. I've heard your argument a million times before. The brief answer is that continental plates aren't exquisite little self-replicating chemical factories. Write that down and don't bring it up again. dazza
Dave, I think that this line of reasoning has a lot of potential. The problem is "how do you define a machine?" Remember that Darwinists can change the rules during the game, and we won't even notice it. The implications of your statement "All machines are the result of inteligence" are so clear that I once had a Darwinist refusing to admit that his own body was a biological machine! The wikipedia definition of machine that I linked in the article works fine. That's why I linked it. Charlie Wagner has a more detailed definition but I'm not sure such detail is necessary. Mats
M J has been awarded a time-out for failing to heed my warning to cease and desist with the man designed man nonsense. DaveScot
"Why aren’t school boards with their ostensible religious motivations voting to criticize these theories taught in physical science class like they’re voting to criticize natural selection taught in biology class? I assert it’s because these theories, unlike natural selection, are in fact supported by extraordinarily convicing evidence." I can think of at least one reason. Most people can accept the fact that the earth is around 4 billion years old, even bible literalists, they can always say "days" aren't a 24 hour day as we know it but a certain amount of time much longer than a day. But even those that aren't strict bible literalists seem to be offended by the thought of evolution. "My grandaddy wasn't no damn monkey" heh, that kind of argument always makes me giggle! and even with those theories that you say have "extraordinarily convicing evidence" there are still groups that contend the earth is much younger. just look at the dover trial transcripts. when questioned about the age of the earth many of the defense witnessess, while not specifically arguing for a young earth, could not give a straight answer to the acceptance of an old earth. The fact remains that no school boards are voting to modify the physical science curriculum to include criticism of the age of the earth or the universe given in billions of years. That is because the evidence is indeed extraordinarily convincing enough to a majority in, evidently, every school district across the nation. The evidence for a random evolutionary process creating the vast complexity of biological machinery is simply not compelling enough to avoid criticism. -ds jon nickles
DaveScot - none of what you say really addresses the issues. Clearly science is not about convincing the majority of the population of its veracity. How does the majority opinion affect the burden of proof? If 90% of the country believes you are guilty of murder, does the burden of proof automatically shift to you to prove your innocence? The burden of proof should be on the party that claims that something *has* occurred. That burden of proof was originally evolutionary theory's. It provided evidence that the processes underlying it do occur. ID now proposes a designer involved in the process. Shouldn't ID proponents now have the same burden of proof? You have not really addressed how a never-observed designer is a better assumption than a continuously observed natural process. Random mutation has never been proven random. The best answer physics has about randomness is that it doesn't exist at the atomic scale which is the domain of sub-cellular machinery. Natural selection has never been observed creating a novel cell type, tissue type, organ, or body plan. The natural process to which you refer is no more than a just-so story about a process which happens too slowly to observe the grand extrapolated claims. How convenient. If it weren't for ID the claim that evolution is an unguided process would be unfalsifiable psuedoscience. Natural selection is bascially an argument from ignorance - if not RM+NS responsible for all we observe then what? The burden of proof appears to rest squarly where it did 150 years ago. "Then what" is intelligent agency. How much longer should we give natural selection before we get to criticize it in a public classroom - another 150 years? -ds dazza
Wait a minute DS, Sorry to nitpick, but this is a fine article and you might need to amend the bit about the sun rising in the east being a natural law. It does not hold everywhere in the universe. It need not have been in the east. There is only one star commonly referred to as "the sun". MJ- Your theory may be within natural law so far as time travel, but there is an obvious problem which is that in this circle you would need to have had a first time that man evolved that didn't depend upon him having already evolved. Backwards travel in time is hypothetical nonsense. It warrants no space here. -ds avocationist
DaveScot, In all fairness, I am not sure that biological machines are "true machines". Are you aware of any machines which replicate themselves, and are self-modified? Sure. Computer viruses that orchestrate the action of mechanical disk drives to replicate themselves appear to marginally qualify. There has been much research done and continuing to be done in the field of nanotechnology towards the attainment of man-made self-modifying replicators. I direct you to The Foresight Institute in general and K. Eric Drexler's seminal nanotechnology book Engines of Creation freely available in the hypertext format the book successfully predicted 20 years ago would sweep the world. -ds kewlkat
One big difference between the analogies that strikes me is that we have observed machines being designed, built and used many times. We have never, however, seen life being designed or seen a designer interacting with biological organisms. Random mutation and natural selection have been observed - many, many times. Neither a front-end nor an ongoing designer has ever been observed nor have they left any empirical evidence of their work (by empirical evidence, I mean a clearly intelligent marker much like manufacturers have put on their products for centuries - not an apparently IC system). Since all of the elements necessary for evolutionary theory have been observed, I would say the burden of proof must lie with ID proponents to show evidence that something more than RM+NS is required AND that ID is a suitable alternative. Given that in 150 years of peddling natural selection a majority remains unconvinced that no intelligent cause is needed, it appears the burden is still on the RM+NS salesmen. Paley's watchmaker argument is stronger than ever since the discovery of the hideously complex, digitally-encoded program-controlleded factory that exists in even the simplest living cell. Good luck with that. It appears you need more than luck though. You need a miracle. :-) -ds dazza
I think the 'biological machine' argument is unproductive for DI. We have all this experiential context about humans, that humans design and make things and that machines are things that humans design and make. We don't have any of that for biological specimens. We have no context at all to infer anything about a possible designer or even the existence of said designer. Machines are also pretty much static, once made, whereas biological specimens can and do change over time. We infer design about manmade objects because we know about man. We can't make that same inference about biological specimens. Actually we can make that inference. That's what ID theory is all about. See The Design Inference : Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (Cambridge Studies in Probability, Induction and Decision Theory) -ds tnewell

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