Food for thought Intelligent Design

Michael Behe on the X Factor in Life

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The fifth and last episode in his recent series:

What a remarkable thing that the design of the universe was almost universally appreciated, by scientists, philosophers, and everyone else, whether religious or not, until the middle of the 19th century. Charles Darwin wove an argument that strangely changed the culture of thinking, around the globe, in ways that corroded many people’s previous confidence that the world is a good and benevolently ordered place.

So it’s fortuitous to be releasing this now — more welcome than the producers could have expected. With our country and much of the world stressed by worries about a sickness, on a scale we’ve never seen before, it’s a reminder that the universe is not governed by random accidents only. Behe is the first to admit, as he does in this episode, that science can’t offer answers to all our questions. “Why bad things happen to good people,” for one, is a secret that philosophy and theology can seek to address, perhaps not successfully. Certainly it’s beyond what science can say.

David Klinghoffer, “With a Hopeful Message About Life’s “X Factor,” Episode 5 of Secrets of the Cell Is Well Timed” at Evolution News and Science Today

See also: Michael Behe muses on design and COVID-19 Behe: … most viruses do not affect humans and may well have a positive, necessary role to play in nature of which we are currently unaware. (I would bet on it.) From time to time a storm arises in the virosphere and affects humans. But that’s no reason to think either that viruses weren’t designed or that the designer of viruses isn’t good.

25 Replies to “Michael Behe on the X Factor in Life

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    It doesn’t matter if the design is good or benevolent. What’s important is to understand that there is a design. If you know that everything has a purpose, you will do a better job of manipulating purposes and defending against other manipulators. If you believe that everything is random, you won’t be able to understand purposeful manipulators.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    It matters if the design is being offered as evidence of an infinitely loving and benevolent God. That’s not what it implies.

  3. 3
    BobRyan says:

    Seversky, you’re asking the wrong question with right intent. Is there order in the universe? Einstein said the more he studied the universe, the more he believed in God. He saw an order that can only have originated from God.

  4. 4
    jawa says:

    Could ID also stand for Intentional Design?
    can there be design without intelligence?

  5. 5
    ET says:

    seversky:

    It matters if the design is being offered as evidence of an infinitely loving and benevolent God.

    It isn’t. And just because your small mind cannot fathom what is happening just proves that you are small-minded.

  6. 6
    jawa says:

    Dogs are broken (devolved) wolves.

    What about cats?

    🙂

  7. 7
    jawa says:

    Are cats devolved lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards?

  8. 8
    jawa says:

    What did wolves devolve from?
    What did lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards devolve from?
    How?
    🙂

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky comment at 2, proves that nothing matters quite as much for an atheist than making bad theological arguments when you got no scientific evidence to support your Darwinian worldview. 🙂

  10. 10
    Seversky says:

    BobRyan @ 3

    Seversky, you’re asking the wrong question with right intent. Is there order in the universe? Einstein said the more he studied the universe, the more he believed in God. He saw an order that can only have originated from God.

    A number of other scientists have felt the same, Fred Hoyle and Paul Davies amongst them, but that doesn’t mean they believe in the Christian God. There is a profound mystery about why and how everything originated. Maybe it was some vast intelligence. I don’t rule that out but there are serious problems with the Christian God as defined in the faith being the prime candidate.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky states,

    Maybe it was some vast intelligence. I don’t rule that out but there are serious problems with the Christian God as defined in the faith being the prime candidate.

    So Seversky basically admitted that Intelligent Design is very much a viable option for him personally? Its just the Christian God that he has a ‘serious problem’ with? Since Seversky has no problem with the science of Intelligent Design in the overall sense, then it seems obvious that his personal issues and biases against Christianity are what are driving him into the science free religion of Darwinian evolution. Since Seversky self-admittedly has no issue against the science that points to Intelligent Design in the overall sense, then it seems obvious that what Seversky really needs is to sit down with a (very good) theologian to iron out his personal biases and misunderstandings against Christianity, (which, I remind, Christianity is the worldview that gave us modern science in the first place).

    “Describe the God you rejected…Describe the God you don’t believe in…Maybe I don’t believe in that God either.”
    Timothy Keller – founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan
    https://timothykeller.com/author

    How Christianity Gave Rise to Modern Science – Stephen Meyer – co-founder of the Discovery Institute
    https://www.crossway.org/articles/how-christianity-gave-rise-to-modern-science/

    Of related note, Stephen Meyer has a forthcoming book:

    Return of the God Hypothesis – Stephen Meyer: God and the Origin of the Universe, Pt. 1
    This episode of ID the Future features part one of a talk given by Stephen Meyer at the 2019 Dallas Science and Faith Conference. In this portion of the talk, Meyer explains Christianity’s crucial influence on the founders of science, and how much of the scientific establishment has shifted toward methodological atheism. His talk draws on his upcoming book, The Return of the God Hypothesis: Compelling Evidence for the Existence of God,available for pre-order now at Amazon.com.
    https://www.discovery.org/multimedia/tag/return-of-the-god-hypothesis/

    The Return of the God Hypothesis: Compelling Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G122JJN/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i3

  12. 12
    ET says:

    Jawa @ 7- The original population of cats would have the variation already in the population. No one says the original population had to be clones. So there would be cats that were already closer to house cats than tiger or lions,

  13. 13
    MatSpirit says:

    BA77: “So Seversky basically admitted that Intelligent Design is very much a viable option for him personally?”

    No, he said, “MAYE it was some vast intelligence.” As in ‘MAYBE all the air in the room you’re in will suddenly move to the other side of the room, leaving you gasping in a vaccum.’ All the rest is just you misstating other people’s beliefs and carrying on from there, which you do all the time. I guess it makes you feel superior or something.

  14. 14
    ET says:

    Well MatSpirit, it DEFINITELY wasn’t nature doing it. It DEFINITELY wasn’t blind, mindless and purposeless processes. So, what else is there?

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    MatSpirit claims that my response to Seversky,,,,,,

    Sev: “There is a profound mystery about why and how everything originated. Maybe it was some vast intelligence. I don’t rule that out,,,”

    BA77: “So Seversky basically admitted that Intelligent Design is very much a viable option for him personally?”

    ,,, MatSpirit claimed that my response was me misstating Seversky beliefs,

    No, he said, “MAYE it was some vast intelligence.” As in ‘MAYBE all the air in the room you’re in will suddenly move to the other side of the room, leaving you gasping in a vaccum.’ All the rest is just you misstating other people’s beliefs and carrying on from there, which you do all the time. I guess it makes you feel superior or something.

    Yet Seversky did not qualify his ‘maybe’ with some probabilistic calculation. Sev’s statement merely stated that, “There is a profound mystery about why and how everything originated. Maybe it was some vast intelligence. I don’t rule that out,,,”. That was it. That was all the Seversky stated. I merely quoted Seversky verbatim , It was MatSpirit himself who was guilty of what he accused me of, i.e. “carrying on from there”, and presupposing that Sev’s ‘maybe’ actually meant more that what he actually wrote down, i.e. ‘MAYBE all the air in the room you’re in will suddenly move to the other side of the room, leaving you gasping in a vacuum.’

    Of course Seversky most likely does hold that design is improbable, but Seversky himself did not state that belief in the sentence he wrote down, so I gave him the benefit of a doubt that he may have actually meant what he actually wrote down.

    Moreover, it is funny that MatSpirit used the specific example of ‘MAYBE all the air in the room you’re in will suddenly move to the other side of the room, leaving you gasping in a vacuum’ to try to nail down Sev’s specific belief since William Dembski himself used a very similar example, in separating events that happened by chance from events that happened by design, when he first formulated the ‘design filter’.

    ‘In the movie ‘This is Spinal Tap’, the lead singer remarks that a former drummer in the band died by spontaneously combusting. Any one of us could this instant spontaneously combust if all the most rapidly moving air molecules in our vicinity suddenly converged on us. Such an event, however, is highly improbable, and we don’t give it a second thought.’
    [Dembski, 98]
    https://books.google.com/books?id=sKVqpXqE0VwC&pg=PA116

    Likewise, Kurt Gödel also used a very similar example to argue against the chance formation of the human body,,,

    “The formation in geological time of the human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field is as unlikely as the separation of the atmosphere into its components. The complexity of the living things has to be present within the material [from which they are derived] or in the laws [governing their formation].”
    Gödel – As quoted in H. Wang. “On `computabilism’ and physicalism: Some Problems.” in Nature’s Imagination, J. Cornwall, Ed, pp.161-189, Oxford University Press (1995).

    Thus, MatSpirit’s example, far from being used as an argument against Intelligent Design, as MatSpirit has erroneously done in this instance, has actually been used much more properly as an argument AGAINST pure chance as a adequate explanation.

    Of course although, ‘MAYBE all the air in the room you’re in will suddenly move to the other side of the room, leaving you gasping in a vacuum’, is not COMPLETELY impossible as far as thermodynamics itself is concerned, that example that MatSpirit himself gave us at least gives us, (thermodynamically speaking), a base line in which to make some relative comparisons so as to determine how unlikely the initial entropy of the universe is, (i.e. 1 in 10^10^123), to have originated purely by chance (as MatSpirit and other atheist believe the universe to have originated purely by chance).

    As Dr. William Lane Craig noted,

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1 in 10^10(123), an inconceivable number. If our universe were but one member of a multiverse of randomly ordered worlds, then it is vastly more probable that we should be observing a much smaller universe. For example, the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by the random collision of particles is about 1 in 10^10(60), a vast number, but inconceivably smaller than 1 in 10^10(123). (Penrose calls it “utter chicken feed” by comparison [The Road to Reality (Knopf, 2005), pp. 762-5]). Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....n-argument

    In fact, this argument against the initial entropy of the universe originating purely by chance has been made semi-famous with the “Boltzmann brain argument”

    Boltzmann brain
    The Boltzmann brain argument suggests that it is more likely for a single brain to spontaneously and briefly form in a void (complete with a false memory of having existed in our universe) than it is for our universe to have come about in the way modern science thinks it actually did. It was first proposed as a reductio ad absurdum response to Ludwig Boltzmann’s early explanation for the low-entropy state of our universe.,,,
    … by any reasonable criterion, actual humans in the actual universe would be vastly less likely than “Boltzmann brains” existing alone in an empty universe.
    Boltzmann brains gained new relevance around 2002, when some cosmologists started to become concerned that, in many existing theories about the Universe, human brains in the current Universe appear to be vastly outnumbered by Boltzmann brains in the future Universe who, by chance, have exactly the same perceptions that we do; this leads to the conclusion that statistically we ourselves are likely to be Boltzmann brains. Such a reductio ad absurdum argument is sometimes used to argue against certain theories of the Universe. When applied to more recent theories about the multiverse, Boltzmann brain arguments are part of the unsolved measure problem of cosmology.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boltzmann_brain

    Does a Multiverse Explain the Fine Tuning of the Universe? – Dr. Craig (observer selection effect vs. Boltzmann Brains) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb9aXduPfuA

    The Fine Tuning of the Universe – drcraigvideos – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpIiIaC4kRA

    i.e. If the 1 in 10^10^123 initial entropy of the universe really did occur purely by chance, as MatSpirit and other atheists believe that it did, then it would be far more likely that our universe might only consist of a single human brain that pops into existence which has the neurons configured just right to only give the appearance of past memories. It would also be far more likely that we are floating brains in a lab, with some scientist feeding us fake experiences. Those scenarios would be far more likely to happen that the one that we appear to be in now (i.e. living in a universe with a initial state of 1 in 10^10^123 entropy, a 14 billion year history and all of our experiences of the past supposedly being reliable).

    Clearly, believing the initial entropy of the universe originated purely by chance is absurd. As Dr. Bruce Gordon commented, this belief “entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.”

    GORDON: Hawking irrational arguments – Washington Times – 2010
    Excerpt: What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale.
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    Moreover, Intelligent Design proponents do not have to rely solely on the sheer absurdity presented by the “Boltzmann brain argument” in order to argue that Intelligent Design is true. Intelligent Design proponents can now also appeal to advances in science Particularly, Intelligent Design proponents can appeal to the recent experimental confirmation of the Maxwell Demon thought experiment to argue that “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,

    The Quantum Thermodynamics Revolution – May 2017
    Excerpt: the 19th-century physicist James Clerk Maxwell put it, “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”
    In recent years, a revolutionary understanding of thermodynamics has emerged that explains this subjectivity using quantum information theory — “a toddler among physical theories,” as del Rio and co-authors put it, that describes the spread of information through quantum systems. Just as thermodynamics initially grew out of trying to improve steam engines, today’s thermodynamicists are mulling over the workings of quantum machines. Shrinking technology — a single-ion engine and three-atom fridge were both experimentally realized for the first time within the past year — is forcing them to extend thermodynamics to the quantum realm, where notions like temperature and work lose their usual meanings, and the classical laws don’t necessarily apply.
    They’ve found new, quantum versions of the laws that scale up to the originals. Rewriting the theory from the bottom up has led experts to recast its basic concepts in terms of its subjective nature, and to unravel the deep and often surprising relationship between energy and information — the abstract 1s and 0s by which physical states are distinguished and knowledge is measured.,,,
    Renato Renner, a professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, described this as a radical shift in perspective. Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/quantum-thermodynamics-revolution/

    As should needless to say, this finding of entropy being “a property of an observer who describes a system.” is very friendly to a Mind First, and/or to a Theistic view of reality.
    For instance Romans chapter 8: verses 20 and 21 itself states, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”

    Romans 8:20-21
    For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

    “We have the sober scientific certainty that the heavens and earth shall ‘wax old as doth a garment’….
    Dark indeed would be the prospects of the human race if unilluminated by that light which reveals ‘new heavens and a new earth.’”
    Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824 – 1907) – pioneer in many different fields, particularly electromagnetism and thermodynamics.

    Psalm 102:25-27
    Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.

    Supplemental note:

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video (how consciousness, quantum information theory, and molecular biology correlate – 27 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/4f0hL3Nrdas?t=1634

  16. 16
    MatSpirit says:

    BA77: “I merely quoted Seversky verbatim’

    I’ve often thiught that you dob’t even read what you spew. You also said, “Seversky basically admitted that Intelligent Design is very much a viable option for him personally” and “Seversky self-admittedly has no issue against the science that points to Intelligent Design in the overall sense”, both blatent lies.

    You also did your share of outright dishonest slagging and slagging: “it seems obvious that his personal issues and biases against Christianity are what are driving him into the science free religion of Darwinian evolution. Since Seversky self-admittedly has no issue against the science that points to Intelligent Design in the overall sense, then it seems obvious that what Seversky really needs is to sit down with a (very good) theologian to iron out his personal biases and misunderstandings against Christianity, ” He did no such thing.

    I’d get into Dembski, but since he’s been fired from a leading University, a leading seminary and the Discovery Institute, I won’t beat on a dead horse. You people at UD are the only people in the world who still respect him and the regulars here are so depressingly stupid that even he realized there was no hope and he flogged the Blog off on Barry. Dembsky won’t even post here any more.

    I’d get into Boltzmann brains with you, but Craig can’t handle them and I doubt if you could either, so why waste my time?

  17. 17
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    @MatSpirit after Dover, Dembsky realized this place was a rapidly depreciating asset, and he needed to sell it while there was still somebody to sell it to. There were hundreds of commenters at the time, there are like a dozen now.

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    Hmmm, MatSpirit answered my refutation in post 15 of his ‘example’ with, basically, ad hominem. i.e. Attacking the man rather than the argument.

    I’ll gladly let the unbiased readers decide for themselves who is being forthright and who is being disingenuous to the topic at hand.

  19. 19
    Truthfreedom says:

    @17 Jim Thibodeau

    There were hundreds of commenters at the time, there are like a dozen now.

    Hmmm…Appeal to numbers fallacy (again).
    And what are you doing here btw? 🙂

    Meanwhile, take a look, materialism is illogical:
    https://strangenotions.com/the-big-problems-with-naturalism/

  20. 20
    Truthfreedom says:

    @16 MatSpirit

    so why waste my time?

    Good question.
    You have nothing to offer, 100% of your posts are useless.
    But do not despair, you can learn how to reason. Not everything is lost:
    https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/logicalfallacies/search

    Meanwhile, we are destroying materialism once and for all (to be more accurate, materialism is destroying it-self):
    https://strangenotions.com/the-big-problems-with-naturalism/

  21. 21
    Truthfreedom says:

    @16 Mat Spirit

    …the regulars here are so depressingly stupid.

    Ed George, Jim Thibodeau, Seversky, Bob O’H… Mat Spirit thinks you are depressingly stupid 🙂

  22. 22
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    “Truth freedom” that was not an appeal to numbers fallacy. That was an observation. you like sounding fancy, you just don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t try to use fancy argument fallacies when someone’s not making an argument.

  23. 23
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    Intelligent design was not science when there were hundreds of commenters here. It’s not science now that there are a dozen commenters here.

    “Intelligent design is wrong because very few people support it”, would be an argument from numbers fallacy. Nobody here made that argument.

  24. 24
    Truthfreedom says:

    @22 Jim Thibodeau

    you like sounding fancy,

    Far better than sounding stupid, which you seem to be very fond of. But to each his own.

    Nobody here made that argument.

    That you have no arguments is patently clear. Pornhub would be happy to hire you as a commentator.

    More on fallacies/ poor argumentation:
    https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/logicalfallacies/search

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    Jim Thibodeau claims that Intelligent Design is ‘not science’ yet offers no specific reason for why he personally believes it is ‘not science’. Might I offer the suggestion that Jim Thibodeau wouldn’t know ‘science’ if it bit him on the rear end? Moreover, his claim that Intelligent Design’ is ‘not science’ is my proof for that fact.

    Since Intelligent Design is supposedly ‘not science’, then JT should have no problem falsifying ID and collecting himself 10 million dollars in the process

    Where did the information come from? An answer will trigger a quantum leap in Artificial Intelligence. This may be as big as the transistor or the discovery of DNA itself. A new $10 million prize seeks a definitive answer.,,,
    What You Must Do to Win The Prize
    You must arrange for a digital communication system to emerge or self-evolve without “cheating.” The diagram below describes the system. Without explicitly designing the system, your experiment must generate an encoder that sends digital code to a decoder. Your system needs to transmit at least five bits of information. (In other words it has to be able to represent 32 states. The genetic code supports 64.)
    We define code as a symbolic information passed between an encoder and a decoder (Claude Shannon 1948).
    So… where did the information in DNA come from? This is one of the most important and valuable questions in the history of science. Currently, no one knows the answer.
    https://www.herox.com/evolution2.0

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