Intelligent Design

Recognizing Design is to the Engineer, as Seafaring is to the Seaman

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by Emily Morales

January 5th, 2020

Some months back, Norwegian ship-owner and engineer Einar Johan Rasmussen stirred up some controversy with a 1.6 million dollar contribution to the intelligent design organization BioCosmos.  BioCosmos is calling for a more open debate on the power of materialistic processes in generating a highly ordered and fine-tuned universe, and life itself.

As expected, the usual cast of characters expressed their discontent: Martin Jacobsen, theologian at Ansgar Theological College remarked that naturalists are best suited to tell us about nature; and theologians, about God. I think most would concur. Might we further this brilliant line of thinking, acknowledging that engineers (such as Mr. Rasmussen) are supremely qualified to tell us about designed and engineered systems? For more on this story and a rationale as to why the billionaire philanthropist has the ideal credentials to opine on designed systems, check out the article below:

https://salvomag.com/post/in-defense-of-the-multi-billionaire-engineer

Having grown up in a family of engineers, and being an instructional designer myself in the sciences, there is something to be said for having the innate ability, and training for recognizing systems that are designed, as opposed to structures lacking design. Now note, that I did not say, “as opposed to systems lacking design,” because the term “system” denotes something that is highly ordered. Whenever any of us encounters something that is highly organized, we correctly assume there was a designing intelligence behind it – at least this is the assumption of reasonable people.

Even very small children have the capacity to recognize that highly organized systems are designed. Instinctively they know that sentient beings design and build complex things, which is why it is particularly challenging to teach them at a young age that purely materialistic processes gave rise to them! The language you need to use to teach them this is awkward. Little kids also do not readily receive this to the chagrin of many in contemporary science education; rather, children intuitively know that someone made them.

75 Replies to “Recognizing Design is to the Engineer, as Seafaring is to the Seaman

  1. 1
    BobRyan says:

    It’s interesting to note the demand for those who believe in ID have backgrounds in biology and nothing else will do. Richard Dawkins went to Oxford and every degree he has, including his doctorate, is in zoology. He is not a biologist and by the standards of the Darwinists, he has no say over the matter. That would require Darwinists to have standards, but they don’t. Engineers are closer to being biologists than zoologists will ever be.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    Engineers are required to have physical experience as part of their training. They design and build lots of bridges or computers before they can get a degree. That’s why they understand nature. Books and lectures can lie, but nature doesn’t lie.

    By the same standard, theologians are NOT qualified to talk about God. Some of them may incidentally have experience with God, but it’s not part of their curriculum.

    Who is qualified? Mystics and Pentecostals who are constantly in direct communication with God.

  3. 3

    I think for folks like Dawkins there is a huge stakeholder interest as well. He will never relinquish his position as a Darwin adherent because it would cost him prestige, future opportunities to debate, and maybe future books. God bless Antony Flew for having the willingness to embrace truth at great risk to his standing in the atheist community.

    Darwinism from a macroscopic perspective seems very tenable – and the macroscopic view is really the one that people trained in zoology/ botany disciplines of old may have taken. The molecular data however turns all this on its head, and that’s what Flew recognized.

  4. 4
    martin_r says:

    some of you already noticed, that i am a mechanical engineer (Europe)

    so, i couldn’t resist to post here.

    I am not sure, if in 21st century science is something more absurd than the Darwinian evolutionary theory … Darwinian evolutionary theory is absurd in the highest possible degree (like Darwin would say)…

    Absurd, absurd, absurd !!!

    There is a group of scientists – biologists – natural science graduates, who are in 21st century dead-serious about their theory, that autonomous, self-navigating flying systems somehow designed with no help from engineers, and then, somehow assembled, again, with no-help from engineers.
    Whats sounds even more crazy, they claim, this miracle happened not once, but multiple times repeatedly and independently (e.g. birds, insects, flying dinosaurs, mammals)

    Most lay people including most biologists just don’t realize, that there are multiple layers of design when we look at a spieces.

    layer #1: the design of the species itself (e.g. wings geometry so it can fly, body shape so it can fly, the proper weight, so it can fly, the frequency of wing flap, so it can fly, or the trajectory of the wing flap, so it can fly …. and so on….)

    layer #2: the design of the species-assembly process (a biologist calls it ‘a development’). It may sounds surprising, but there are no assembly-workers or parts-suppliers who assemble the species so it can fly … the assemble-process is fully automated (it is an engineering SCI-FI), all needful parts and proper materials are made by the cell …

    layer #3: the chemical design of the proper materials. Most of lay people don’t realize it, but for example – a simple bone is made of a hi-tech material. This foamy material is very strong, and lightweight… and, the cell is producing this hi-tech material at the body temperature….again, it is an engineering SCI-FI….. could someone give me an example of a high-tech material which is produced by a body temperature ?

    Of course, there are many other layers of design, e.g. the design of many auto-repair processes, almost everything gets repaired or recycled … (skin, eyes, bones, i don’t know, a biologist would tell you more). If you wan’t to repair something, YOU NEED AN ENGINEER … YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT TO REPAIR, WHEN AND HOW ….

    So, again, all biologists who BELIEVE in evolutionary theory should see the doctor…. especially in 21st century…. biologists – natural science graduates – who never made anything….

    p.s.

    hey, biologists, i have a news for you – any evidence you have to support your absurd theory, you just misinterpreting it…. so simple it is .. your theory is absurd in the highest possible degree and many of you already know that ….

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    We infer design for two basic reasons: we do not observe the object to appear in nature through natural processes and it looks like things we design. The case for the appearance of design in nature is essentially argument by analogy, a biological feature looks a bit like something we design, therefore it was probably designed. Except that while a cell, in some ways, can be likened to a factory, for example, it other ways it is very different. An eye is a bit like a digital camera in some ways but in others it is very different. A balanced account weighs both the similarities and the difference. That doesn’t matter in the case of ID advocacy, of course.

    As for the criticism of science by engineers, it should be noted that while scientist routinely deal with the unknown and uncertainty, those are both anathema to engineers. When Boeing or Airbus engineers design a new aircraft they are going to use materials and components whose properties are known to the ‘nth’ degree and are of the highest possible reliability. Thousands of lives and billions of dollars are on the line so they daren’t take chances. Even a small mistake can be catastrophic. They are not going to specify an alloy for the skin of a wing that might unexpectedly mutate into rubber or fit turbofans that could change into piston engines at any moment. If life on Earth was the product of design, it was to a very different philosophy from that of human design

  6. 6

    .
    So… just ignore the symbol system, eh Sev? Ignore the predictions, ignore the experimental confirmations, ignore the physics, ignore the logic, ignore the history; ignore it all.

    Yup.

    (You can’t even speak the words)

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    The case for the appearance of design in nature is essentially argument by analogy, a biological feature looks a bit like something we design, therefore it was probably designed.

    It goes beyond this. We can actually test the case for design by attempting to create the biological feature using simulations of natural processes. If this fails, then the biological feature not only looks like design, but thus far the only way we can recreate it is through a design process.

    Except that while a cell, in some ways, can be likened to a factory, for example, it other ways it is very different. An eye is a bit like a digital camera in some ways but in others it is very different. A balanced account weighs both the similarities and the difference. That doesn’t matter in the case of ID advocacy, of course.

    Where has this kind of “balanced account” been offered in evolutionary research? Show how a cell is like a designed object and even far more sophisticated than what we design, then tell us how it is like an object created by random mutations. Then weigh the differences and conclude on which is the stronger proposition, design or chance? Is that the way evolutionary research works?

    If life on Earth was the product of design, it was to a very different philosophy from that of human design

    That may be the case, but the work of biomimetics indicates that we can learn a lot from the philosophy of design that we find on earth.

  8. 8
    martin_r says:

    seversky @5

    i hate wasting time with people like you, but in some way, you atheists are very amusing …

    Seversky, what did you want to say ?

    Did you want to say, that autonomous self-navigating flying systems can design with no help from an engineer ? This is what you seriously claim in 21st century ?

    did you read my post @4 carefully ?

    read it slowly, once again…

    IN EVERY SPECIES, THERE ARE MULTIPLE LAYERS OF DESIGN !!!!
    THE ULTIMATE PROOF OF SPECIES-DESIGN ARE VARIOUS REPAIR PROCESSES…
    WE SEE IT EVERYWHERE…. EVEN DNA MOLECULE GETS REPAIRED IN VARIOUS WAYS (depends on the type of damage, some DNA repair processes are backed up, when first fails, the second will make sure it finally gets repaired)

    LIKE I SAID, IF YOU WANT TO REPAIR SOMETHING, FIRST OF ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT IT IS BROKEN, THEN YOU NEED TO KNOW WHERE IT IS BROKEN AND HOW TO REPAIR IT, WHAT ‘TOOLS’ and ‘MATERIALS / PARTS’ to use to have it repaired … AND, IN MOST CASES, YOU NEED A REPAIR-GUY= AN ENGINEER … IT WON’T GET REPAIRED WITHOUT ANY INTERVENTION …

    WHEN YOU GENIUSES WILL GET IT ???

    WHEN WE ENGINEER SPEAK ABOUT DESIGN, WE DON’T ONLY MEAN THE PHYSICAL APPEARANCE OF THE SPECIES…. sure, this is also important, all nature species are so beautiful….

    but, in nature, the most sophisticated design is the one you can’t see (the development) …. see my post @4, layer #2

    By the way, i have to agree with you on this:

    you said: ” If life on Earth was the product of design, it was to a very different philosophy from that of human design”

    AGREED !!!

    AGREED !!!

    AGREED !!!

    YOU FINALLY GOT IT !!!

    KEYWORD: SELF-REPLICATION

    YES, OBVIOUSLY, THE MAIN PHILOSOPHY WAS THE SELF-REPLICATION !!! SO YOU CAN SUSTAIN THE LIFE… BECAUSE SPECIES GET KILLED AND EATEN :))) DID YOU NOTICE ? :)))

    Seversky, please tell me, you think that to replicate a human, is this a simple feat ?

    (Some species – living fossils – were replicated for hundreds of millions of years !!!
    Flawlessly !!! and still are !!!

    THIS IS AN ENGINEERING SCI-FI)

    Seversky, please tell us… what is your education ?

    ( If you are not educated enough, no wonder you can believe in anything, in any stupidity, in any absurdity… )

  9. 9
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    @Upright BiPed #6

    Please elaborate on these “experimental confirmations”.. What experiments? What did they confirm?

  10. 10
    ET says:

    Codes, Pater. The experiments prove that the codes that rule biology are real codes.

  11. 11
    ET says:

    seversky:

    The case for the appearance of design in nature is essentially argument by analogy,…

    Wrong. It’s an argument from knowledge of cause-and-effect relationships. Analogies help make that case.

    And look, it STILL remains that to refute any given design inference all YOU have to do is actually step up and demonstrate that blind and mindless processes can produce it. Your whining isn’t enough.

  12. 12
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    I agree with Seversky that the design inference is what is called a Bad Analogy Fallacy.

    Just because automobiles and living beings share some attributes (complexity, function), it does not follow that they share all attributes (that they were both designed)

    Just because a grapefruit is round and yellow, and the sun is round and yellow, it is not reasonable to conclude that the grapefruit must be very hot and have a nuclear fusion reactor at its center.

  13. 13
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    DNA has some attributes that some people liken to “code” or “language”. It has many properties that differ from codes and languages that were created by humans.

    Inferring that DNA came about by design is another Bad Analogy fallacy.

  14. 14
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Just because one fossil looks like another one does not mean that one evolved from the other.

  15. 15
    Silver Asiatic says:

    PK

    DNA has some attributes that some people liken to “code” or “language”.

    Who claims that DNA is not code? You?

  16. 16
    asauber says:

    Just because one one squiggly line looks like another one, doesn’t mean C02 causes Global Warming.

    Andrew

  17. 17
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Show us how the Blind Watchmaker created the DNA information system. Call it code or whatever you want. It should be easy to demonstrate.

  18. 18
    ET says:

    Pater- the GENETIC code is a real code. DNA is only part of it. And if you and your had ANY evidence that blind and mindless processes can produce genomes you have kept it out of peer-review.

  19. 19
    ET says:

    For ANYONE who does NOT like the design inference, YOU have ALL of the power! All YOU have to do is step up and demonstrate that blind and mindless processes can produce whatever it is we say was intelligently designed and you win!

    You hate analogies for the mere fact that your side doesn’t have any.

  20. 20

    PK,

    von Neumann 1948. Encoded quiescent description.
    Crick, Brenner, 1961. Code

    May I ask a question of you. In 1958 when Crick predicted a set of adapters would be found acting in the translation system, it would demonstrate the discontinuous association required for the system to function. Was Crick just making a lucky wild-assed guess, or was it a logical deduction? If the latter, why?

  21. 21
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    Codes are symbols. RNA molecules are molecules. Still an analogy.

  22. 22

    Martin_r, you added so much to this post. Thank you for providing rational, logical reasons why materialism is untenable as a mechanism for origin of life and origin of species.

    As a biology undergraduate, it was not the general biology, ecology, or evolution classes that raised as much doubt concerning the ability of materialism to yield order, as much as the classes in developmental biology, molecular genetics, and immunology – to name a few. When you study the VERY STRUCTURES and PROCESSES that Darwinian forces act on, and then try to literally make inferences from this, its absolutely impossible. I must say that my background in building model airplanes, sewing, woodworking, and numerous other hobbies also introduced skepticism for the very reasons you provided in your original post.

    It would seem that anyone looking at molecular structures and processes would see the obvious hand of design. But, if they have a stakeholder interest in being an atheist – they will deny what their very eyes tell them.

  23. 23

    .
    Stop signs are metal. Spoken language is vibrations in air pressure.

    Have you ever studied the physics of symbol systems? Who did you study? What did you learn from it?

    By the way, you didn’t answer my question: Was it a lucky guess or a logical deduction? If the latter, why?

  24. 24
    ET says:

    Pater:

    Codes are symbols. RNA molecules are molecules.

    And mRNA molecules REPRESENT their respective amino acids. The mRNA codons are the symbols, Pater.

    Even the anti-IDist Larry Moran agrees the genetic is a Real Genetic Code

    It is NOT an analogy. It is NOT a metaphor.

  25. 25
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    And having worked with DNA for his entire career, what has Larry Moran concluded about it’s origins?

  26. 26
    john_a_designer says:

    Notice that our interlocutors are not really making any kind of valid argument. Rather they are simply dismissing the logical possibility that life could be designed because that is what they believe a priori. If one doesn’t believe that it is possible that life could be designed then that person needs to logically refute that claim. In other words, he needs to prove that it’s logically impossible for life to be designed. His personal incredulity proves nothing.

    Notice all the following quotes are from men who believe that evolution is a mindless and purposeless process. (HT: BA77)

    “This appearance of purposefulness is pervasive in nature…. Accounting for this apparent purposefulness is a basic problem for any system of philosophy or of science.”
    George Gaylord Simpson – “The Problem of Plan and Purpose in Nature” – 1947

    “living organisms “appear to have been carefully and artfully designed”
    Richard C. Lewontin – Adaptation,” Scientific American, and Scientific American book ‘Evolution’ (September 1978)

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 138 (1990)

    “Organisms appear as if they had been designed to perform in an astonishingly efficient way, and the human mind therefore finds it hard to accept that there need be no Designer to achieve this”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 30

    “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
    Richard Dawkins – The Blind Watchmaker (1996) p.1

    If something appears to be designed isn’t it logically possible it really could be designed?

    The main argument for the design then can be stated very simply:

    1. If it appears to be designed, it really could be designed.

    2. Even the simplest self-replicating life forms, like Mycoplasma genitalium, appears to be designed.

    3. Therefore, it really could be designed.

    In other words, if it’s logically possible that something could be designed then it’s not illegitimate to consider the possibility that it really might be designed. Indeed, it would be intellectually dishonest not to do so.

  27. 27
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Maybe Larry Moran can tell us how the blind watchmaker created genetic code.
    Better yet, maybe he can just demonstrate it.
    It shouldn’t be a problem. He’s been working with DNA his whole career.

  28. 28
    Silver Asiatic says:

    1, Blind, unintelligent material processes do not produce sophisticated informational systems
    2. Cellular functions include sophisticated informational systems.
    3. Therefore … [skipping unnecessary argumentation] ID is correct.

  29. 29
    ET says:

    Pater:

    And having worked with DNA for his entire career, what has Larry Moran concluded about it’s origins?

    I know that he doesn’t have any evidence that blond and mindless processes did it. If he does then he has kept it from peer-review. But that is moot as Larry refuted your claim.

  30. 30
    ET says:

    Yes, Larry Moran believes that the genetic code arose via blind and mindless processes. No, Larry Moran doesn’t have any evidence to support his belief.

  31. 31
    john_a_designer says:

    According to Genomics entrepreneur and researcher Craig Venter:

    “All living cells that we know of on this planet are ‘DNA software’-driven biological machines comprised of hundreds of thousands of protein robots, coded for by the DNA, that carry out precise functions.”

    In other words, even the most basic prokaryotic cell is an integrated self-replicating system of machines– very complex efficient operating machines. Human designers have no clue how to replicate that kind of design. If you know how go ahead and tell us how.

  32. 32

    I think it’s not a fair question to necessarily ask what an expert thinks concerning the origins of DNA as Peter is in comment #25.

    The problem today is there is so much pressure for researchers to accept the materialism paradigm, that most are not comfortable coming to conclusions (much less expressing them) that do not support it. How many instructors have been denied tenure, denied funding, denied a research grant, denied this and that because they did not adhere to the Darwinian hypothesis for origin of life and origin of species? Well, many. Ask Richard Sternberg what happened to him at the Smithsonian for merely making a passive reference to Stephen Meyer! Guillermo Gonzales for daring to write on The Privileged Planet. I think if the pressure were off, the scientists might be more honest.

    James Tour, researcher at Rice University and a synthetic chemist has commented at length on just how difficult it is to make even the simplest of molecules.

  33. 33
    martin_r says:

    Emily @32

    i am glad you liked my comment … it is crazy that this is still happening in 21st century.
    I wish more engineers take a closer look at biology / mulecular biology like i did …

    Also, i am glad you have mentioned prof. James Tour. I have exchanged a few emails with him. I like this guy. Finally someone very trustworthy AND VERY COMPETENT who is not afraid to speak out. You have to understand, prof. Tour owns like 100 chemical patents – therefore, he doesn’t need other people money (grants). They don’t own him, and he can speak out … Most scientists are in conflict of interest.

    It is clear, that this topic is politically very sensitive … this is why the darwinian evolutionary theory is still alive … they just can’t admit what the science found… it would be a disaster … like i said, it is politically very sensitive topic … could change the world to admit (officially), that life was created …

    P.S. i like prof. James Tour’s sense of humor, this is my favorite part (from one of his lecture)

    (at 22:05)
    https://youtu.be/zU7Lww-sBPg?t=1331

  34. 34
    ET says:

    Hi Emily. You say:

    I think it’s not a fair question to necessarily ask what an expert thinks concerning the origins of DNA as Peter is in comment #25.

    What if the expert says “we don’t know”, which is a fact? The only thing that wouldn’t be fair is to accept said expert’s word absent supporting evidence.

  35. 35

    .
    We call the gene is a symbol system because symbol systems have a physical instantiation that can be uniquely identified and studied, and the gene system has been thus identified. But that is only the beginning of the issue; to have a symbol system become semantically closed is a sheer vertical face, and mere dynamics do not climb it.

  36. 36
    martin_r says:

    john_a_designer @31

    i am glad you have mentioned Craig Venter (a guy who designed the first synthetic genome )

    i can recall some very funny video with this guy …
    it is only 3 minutes long… everybody should watch it…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZjfURnK-xc

  37. 37
    martin_r says:

    john_a_designer @31

    and one more very funny video featuring Craig Venter and Richard Dawkins!!!
    (for those who havent seen it yet – MAKE SURE YOU WATCH IT)

    it is only 3 minutes long, but very funny!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c43ckMLN50Q

  38. 38

    Martin_r at Comment 33 – I love this speech by James Tour. He is exactly correct when he characterizes chemical synthesis being this fussy! I had a chemical reaction go VERY wrong in a student lab, simply because the student allowed the solution to get just a little too hot. Rather than ending up with a beautiful blue, crystallized precipitate, I ended up with black powder that was the consequence of one of those nasty “side” reactions.

  39. 39

    ET at Comment 34: Yes, your clarification of my statement is true. It is interesting, however, how scientists assert materialistic causes without proof, and even with significant doubt!

  40. 40
    Ed George says:

    Emily@38, yes, some chemical reactions are very difficult to initiate, but others are just as difficult to prevent. Tour was talking about organic enzymes as if they are the only catalyst available. I work in the analytical chemistry field which often requires converting the compound of interest into another one that can be measured spectrophotometrically (it’s a big word ET, you may need a dictionary). We often use various metals (eg, mercury, tin or cadmium) or other inorganic compounds (eg, hydrazine) catalyze the necessary reactions. No enzymes needed. And many of these reactions occur naturally.

  41. 41
    ET says:

    Ed:

    yes, some chemical reactions are very difficult to initiate, but others are just as difficult to prevent.

    Materialism cannot account for chemicals, let alone their reactions.

    Tour was talking about organic enzymes as if they are the only catalyst available.

    You couldn’t support that claim if your life depended on it.

    I work in the analytical chemistry field which often requires converting the compound of interest into another one that can be measured spectrophotometrically.

    I worked in a field that required the measurement of compounds via ion trap mobility spectrometry.

    And many of these reactions occur naturally.

    How do you know? You have to demonstrate that nature produced the elements and chemicals. You cannot do that.

    Not only that you cannot demonstrate that such reactions can produce biologically relevant replicators. That means your entire charade is a strawman.

  42. 42
    john_a_designer says:

    The following is something that I have written about couple times before, on other threads, which I think is worth is repeating here, again.

    The origin of life is like the origin of the universe. It appears to be a singular, non-repeating, highly improbable event which occurred very early in earth’s history. Furthermore, all the clues of how and why it occurred have been lost. But then added to that problem are other problems: how does chemistry create code? What is required to create an autonomously self-replicating system which has the possibility of evolving into something more complex? The naturalist/ materialist then compounds the problem by demanding a priori that the origin of life must be completely natural– undirected without an intelligent plan or purpose.

    That seems like it was a miracle… Well, maybe it was. But a completely “naturalistic miracle” seems to be an absurd self-defeating claim for the naturalist/materialist to make.

    One of my pipe dreams as a real life (now retired) machine designer is to design a self-replicating machine or automata– the kind that was first envisioned by mathematician John von Neumann. My vision is not a machine that could replicate itself from already existing parts but a machine– well actually a system of “symbiotic” machines– which could replicate themselves from raw material they would find on a rocky planet in some distant star system.

    One practical advantage of such machines is they could be sent out in advance some far-in-the-distant-future expedition to terraform a suitable planet in another star system preparing it for colonist who might arrive centuries or millennia later.

    By analogy, that is what the first living cells which originated on the early earth had to do.

    Even the simplest prokaryote cell is on the sub-cellular level a collection of machines networked together to replicate the whole system. To suggest that somehow the first cell emerged by some fortuitous accident is betray an ignorance how really complex primitive cells are.

    Try thinking this through on a more macro level, as I have described above, and I think you will begin to appreciate how really daunting the problem is.

    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/is-ool-part-of-darwinian-evolution/#comment-634766

    The whole thread by Eric Andersen, is not very long and IMO is worth reading. Notice how quickly our regular interlocutors bailed out of the discussion. But at least some of them weighted in.

  43. 43
    martin_r says:

    john_a_designer @42

    you wrote: “The origin of life is like the origin of the universe. It appears to be a singular, non-repeating, highly improbable event which occurred very early in earth’s history. ”

    good point… the same for the PHOTOSYNTHESIS….

    PHOTOSYNTHESIS, according to mainstream science, is also a singular, non-repeating event. Happened only once, occurred very early in earth’s history. … and that is it…

    And what about viruses ?

    The origin of viruses also seems to be a singular, non-repeating event…

    To explain the existence of viruses – it is like to explain the origin of life thousand times if not hundreds thousand times …

    … because each virus is unique… moreover, the idea of common ancestor does not work with viruses, for a simple reason – viruses are not made of cells… it is a completely different ‘system’….

    SUCH AN IRONY …. a virus – the most abundant organism on Earth, but Darwinian evolutionary theory can’t explain the existence of the most abundant organism on Earth…

    from Virology.ws:

    ” Viruses are polyphyletic
    In a phylogenetic tree, the characteristics of members of taxa are inherited from previous ancestors. Viruses cannot be included in the tree of life because they do not share characteristics with cells, and no single gene is shared by all viruses or viral lineages. While cellular life has a single, common origin, viruses are polyphyletic – they have many evolutionary origins.

    There are no ancestral viral lineages
    No single gene has been identified that is shared by all viruses. There are common protein motifs in viral capsids, but these have likely come about through convergent evolution or horizontal gene transfer.”

    http://www.virology.ws/2009/03.....e-of-life/

  44. 44
    Silver Asiatic says:

    In that video with Venter and Dawkins in a panel discussion, Venter believes that there were multiple origin of life events also. He just calmly accepts that inert chemicals spontaneously assembled into living organisms on multiple, independent occasions.

  45. 45
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic @ 7

    We can actually test the case for design by attempting to create the biological feature using simulations of natural processes. If this fails, then the biological feature not only looks like design, but thus far the only way we can recreate it is through a design process.

    That argument might work if we knew all possible naturalistic causal pathways and were able to exclude them but we simply don’t know enough at this point to be able to say that,

    Where has this kind of “balanced account” been offered in evolutionary research? Show how a cell is like a designed object and even far more sophisticated than what we design, then tell us how it is like an object created by random mutations. Then weigh the differences and conclude on which is the stronger proposition, design or chance? Is that the way evolutionary research works?

    The cell is defined as:

    …the smallest structural and functional unit of an organism, typically microscopic and consisting of cytoplasm and a nucleus enclosed in a membrane. Microscopic organisms typically consist of a single cell, which is either eukaryotic or prokaryotic.

    A factory is defined as:

    a building or group of buildings where goods are manufactured or assembled chiefly by machine.

    Although there may be processes taking place in a cell that may be analogous to those happening in a factory, the latter is made of things like bricks, concrete, glass and steel, is thousands of times bigger and is unable to replicate itself. They are properties of human-designed objects but not microscopic biological entities. They alone should be enough to give pause before leaping to the conclusion of non-human intelligent design.

    That may be the case, but the work of biomimetics indicates that we can learn a lot from the philosophy of design that we find on earth.

    I agree. We have a lot to learn from the natural world but that is not enough in itself to conclude ID.

  46. 46
    Seversky says:

    Martin_r@ 8

    Did you want to say, that autonomous self-navigating flying systems can design with no help from an engineer ? This is what you seriously claim in 21st century ?

    Have you looked at birds or bees recently?

    IN EVERY SPECIES, THERE ARE MULTIPLE LAYERS OF DESIGN !!!!
    THE ULTIMATE PROOF OF SPECIES-DESIGN ARE VARIOUS REPAIR PROCESSES…
    WE SEE IT EVERYWHERE…. EVEN DNA MOLECULE GETS REPAIRED IN VARIOUS WAYS (depends on the type of damage, some DNA repair processes are backed up, when first fails, the second will make sure it finally gets repaired)

    Here are a few human genetic disorders:

    Angelman syndrome
    Canavan disease
    Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease
    Color blindness
    Cri du chat syndrome
    Cystic fibrosis
    DiGeorge syndrome
    Down syndrome
    Duchenne muscular dystrophy
    Familial hypercholesterolemia
    Haemochromatosis
    Hemophilia
    Klinefelter syndrome
    Neurofibromatosis
    Phenylketonuria
    Polycystic kidney disease
    Prader–Willi syndrome
    Sickle cell disease
    Spinal muscular atrophy
    Tay–Sachs disease
    Turner syndrome

    There are many more. Yes, there are self-repair mechanisms in the genome but they are far from perfect

    YES, OBVIOUSLY, THE MAIN PHILOSOPHY WAS THE SELF-REPLICATION !!! SO YOU CAN SUSTAIN THE LIFE… BECAUSE SPECIES GET KILLED AND EATEN :))) DID YOU NOTICE ? :)))

    Why? Self-replication for what purpose? Why design something using materials and processes that mean it will inevitably mutate far from the original design in a few million generations? Did Being engineers design the 737-300 to see what it would change into? No, of course not. They wanted the aircraft to perform exactly as it was designed to perform over its whole life-cycle.

  47. 47
    ET says:

    seversky:

    Why design something using materials and processes that mean it will inevitably mutate far from the original design in a few million generations?

    Question-begging. How “far”, seversky?

    Airplanes evolve by means of design They have changed quite a bit over the last century- by means of designed change and replication.

    And again, if seversky, et al., had something beyond whining about the design inference, it could be presented and discussed.

  48. 48

    .

    if we knew all possible naturalistic causal pathways and were able to exclude them

    Seversky’s once again drags out his Great Hail Mary. It serves as both his first and his last line of defense against reality; against acquired knowledge and systematic observation – perhaps the most unscientific and anti-intellectual position possible.

  49. 49
    EugeneS says:

    ===A balanced account weighs both the similarities and the difference.===

    Yes, a truly balanced account will recognise that living systems are immensely more complex than the most functionally complex things humans are able to create nowadays. That’s for sure.

  50. 50
    martin_r says:

    seversky @46

    you see? that is why i was asking WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION … you are so confused… but i debated lots of people like you, now i am patient with people like you, i used to be very rude…

    BIRDS AND BEES

    perfect! at least you admit that birds and bees are autonomous self-navigating flying systems… that is a big progress…. most atheists i have debated deny even that fact

    So once again – you agree with me, that birds and bees are autonomous self-navigating flying systems with GPS-level-navigation-accuracy, but, in 21st century, you decided to believe in a theory developed by natural science graduates (biologists), an absurd theory, claiming that autonomous self-navigating flying systems can design from zero with no help from engineers, molecules somehow mixed, and few millions years later we are looking at SOPHISTICATED autonomous flying systems with GPS-level-navigation-accuracy … is that so ?

    And, no engineer was needed ….

    Seversky, how does that sound in 21st century ? You really believe this non-sense or you just came here to do harm ?

    Seversky, lets close all technical universities, worldwide, and lets send all future aerial engineers to evolutionary biology classes … Biology professors around the world will teach them, how to design autonomous self-navigating flying systems … i think, that biology professors can show us how to save billions of dollars, because, this way, no very expensive satellites will be needed (right now there are about 33 GPS satellites orbiting the Earth – worth billions of dollars, not to mention the expenses for the maintenance of the satellites )

  51. 51
    martin_r says:

    seversky @46

    as to HUMAN GENETIC DISORDERS….

    so what ?

    human genome is degrading…no evolution, devolution….
    it is degrading like everything else on earth…

    but i agree with you, the DNA proofreading /repair is not 100% efficient.

    But, are you really suggesting, it is a bad design ? :)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    Meanwhile, there are about 6 billions people on Earth, human population is increasing… i don’t see any bad or inefficient design… it works pretty good …

    DNA proofreading / repair is an undeniable and ultimate proof of designed cell / life, don’t matter what Seversky, biologists, archeologists, paleontologists say…
    Seversky, i know, you and Dawkins, you can design much better DNA proofreading / repair system :)))) I bet that you and Dawkins would design a better human eye, with no blind spot in it… right ? :))))))

    Seversky, by the way, you have provided a very long list of genetic disorders (lethal mutations)… i am aware of 6000 genetic disorders, and counting…. could you please provide a similar VERY LONG list with so called beneficial mutations ? i can’t wait….

    p.s.

    Seversky, you wrote: “Why design something using materials and processes that mean it will inevitably mutate”

    Seversky, what materials/ technology would you (and Dawkins) use, so it does not degrade and stays intact for hundreds of millions of years (did you hear of living fossils) … please enlighten me …

  52. 52
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    That argument might work if we knew all possible naturalistic causal pathways and were able to exclude them but we simply don’t know enough at this point to be able to say that,

    This is an impossible standard. We can never arrive at a point where we know all possible naturalistic causal pathways. For example, how many more pathways are there to know right now? We search and might discover new pathways. However, we may have discovered all of them already,

    So, the biological feature looks like it was designed. In fact, it is more sophisticated than what humans can design. It is not the sort of thing that we ever see emerging from blind, mindless naturalistic effects. There might be some possible naturalistic pathway.
    But the Inference to Intelligent Design, at this moment in time, is strong. It has not been refuted by evidence and the inference is logical and rational.
    1. The feature looks like something that has been designed (it resembles other designed things)
    2. We have tested and have not found a naturalistic mechanism that can create it.
    3. There might possibly be a naturalistic explanation, but we do not have it presently.
    4. Therefore, with all of our knowledge currently, the best explanation is that the feature was designed by intelligence.

    That conclusion, point #4 above, is the best answer we have. Design has not been ruled out by evidence. Some naturalistic explanation might be found, but until then, our best understanding tells us it was designed by intelligence. That can be overruled when we find a naturalistic cause.

    The reasoning process must work that way. We have the appearance of design and failed tests for non-design. We can continue to test for an indefinite period of time, but meanwhile, design is the explanation.

    Although there may be processes taking place in a cell that may be analogous to those happening in a factory, the latter is made of things like bricks, concrete, glass and steel, is thousands of times bigger and is unable to replicate itself.

    Yes, it is unable to replicate itself. One reason we give the analogy of a cell with a factory is to show the cell’s comparison with a designed function (factory). However, the cell is more sophisticated than the factory. This only means that it is less likely that the cell was created by a blind, mindless process and more likely that it is the result of design.

    Also, rather than look at the comparison of cell to factory, we could look at the information processing system within the cell and compare it with other such systems. In that case, the cell process is not an analogy of an information system, but is merely another system that communicates and processes information.

  53. 53
    Silver Asiatic says:

    1. The biological feature does not look like it was produced by a blind-mindless naturalistic cause
    2. We test and cannot produce the feature through natural processes.
    3. Therefore, we conclude that it was, indeed, produced by naturalistic causes and we will continue to insist on this forever since we can always imagine some as-yet unknown naturalistic cause that produced the feature.

    That is an absurd and irrational conclusion.

  54. 54
    jawa says:

    Martin_r @50 & 51:

    I like your comments. Well written!

  55. 55
    jawa says:

    Martin_r @50 & 51:

    I like your comments. Well written!

  56. 56
    jawa says:

    Something went wrong with posting my comment @54 that got repeated @55. The comment @55 doesn’t show the “Click to Edit” or “Request Deletion” links. That’s really weird.
    No idea what went wrong. Any clues?

  57. 57
    john_a_designer says:

    Notice how our interlocutors keep using the same fallacious kind of reasoning:

    Either X or Y could be true

    (Seversky*) believes Y

    Therefore, Y is true.

    In other words, (Seversky) believes it. That settles it.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/faith-even-mathematics-depends-on-some-unprovable-assumptions/#comment-690671

    [*Notice how you can just substitute any of our other interlocutors on almost any ID related subject into the above “argument.” As I have complained here many times before: these people DO NOT understand basic logic.]

    An argument which is only an argument about a personal opinion is not really an argument, it’s only being pointlessly argumentative. The objective of any logical argument is to establish the truth. Doubling down on one’s personal beliefs doesn’t move the ball in either direction. It is nothing more than a self-serving combination of hubris and dogmatism.

  58. 58

    .
    Yes, SA … Seversky’s great rejoinder above very neatly shields his position from falsification forever and ever and ever. I suppose that’s why he is so fond of it, but oh what a sight – Mr. Scienceman happily ejects the standards of science in order to spare his worldview from the intellectual impediments brought on by empirical observation.

    The problem for Sev (of which there are many) is that the hapless selling of his worldview doesn’t just happen in a vacuum. It’s not 1859. In 2020, we know a few things that have been discovered along the way. It is no surprise whatsoever that it is precisely those things that Sev simply cannot raise himself to acknowledge.

    In any case, he is certainly an intelligent enough gentleman to see that his comment above renders materialism a non-falsifiable proposition (and thus non-scientific on top of being unsupported and irrational). He simply chooses it among the alternatives.

    We all know that Seversky’s beef is not science; its anti-religion. But it never seems to occur to him that the discovery of biological design on earth is not completely incompatible with his atheism; its just that by acknowledging that fact, he would forfeit the thrill of coming here on a daily basis to exercise his need and desire to tell theists that they’re full of it.

    If the old adage that “people do what profits them” is true, then apparently Seversky profits more from the exercise than he would from actually having a scientifically-integrated worldview.

  59. 59
    Silver Asiatic says:

    UBP

    We all know that Seversky’s beef is not science; its anti-religion. But it never seems to occur to him that the discovery of biological design on earth is not completely incompatible with his atheism; its just that by acknowledging that fact, he would forfeit the thrill of coming here on a daily basis to exercise his need and desire to tell theists that they’re full of it.

    It’s a fascinating insight. Yes, that is true. A person can accept the findings of ID and remain an atheist. That would solve a lot of problems – it would avoid some of the ugly contradictions that non-ID materialism offers. So why not?
    But an anti-religious incentive would be a driver of opposition to ID, even when that opposition is not needed.
    People can develop a hatred for religion through various causes. It can be understandable in some cases. A person who was abused by a religious teacher, for example, might have a hatred for religion in general. The opposition to religion is then transferred to a hatred of God, since He is the object of religion. Then all of the pro-atheist, materialist arguments end up being a smoke-screen to cover the underlying hatred of religion.

  60. 60
    PavelU says:

    Is it true that James Tour did not accept Nick Matzke’s offer to meet because the condition to record the meeting was unacceptable to Dr Tour?

  61. 61
    Seversky says:

    EugeneS @ 49

    Yes, a truly balanced account will recognise that living systems are immensely more complex than the most functionally complex things humans are able to create nowadays. That’s for sure.

    Agreed. Can we also agree that, if living things were designed, it was by a being or beings far more complex and with access to far more information than we have?

  62. 62
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic @ 52

    This is an impossible standard. We can never arrive at a point where we know all possible naturalistic causal pathways.

    Whether or not it’s an impossible standard, the fact is that there is an awful lot about the natural world that we do not yet know so we are simply not in a position to infer design from the lack of a known natural causal pathway.

    So, the biological feature looks like it was designed. In fact, it is more sophisticated than what humans can design. It is not the sort of thing that we ever see emerging from blind, mindless naturalistic effects. There might be some possible naturalistic pathway.

    Exactly.

    But the Inference to Intelligent Design, at this moment in time, is strong. It has not been refuted by evidence and the inference is logical and rational.

    I thought we just agreed that the inference to design from the lack of a known causal pathway is not strong.

    And the burden of proof requires that ID presents compelling arguments and evidence to establish its case in the first instance – if it is concerned with persuading an audience, that is.

    That conclusion, point #4 above, is the best answer we have. Design has not been ruled out by evidence. Some naturalistic explanation might be found, but until then, our best understanding tells us it was designed by intelligence. That can be overruled when we find a naturalistic cause.

    I have always held that neither ID nor God can be absolutely ruled out. We have neither the knowledge nor the means to do either at the moment. I also have no problem with the possibility that some sort of extra-terrestrial intelligence seeded or at least had a hand in the development of life on Earth. But I haven’t seen any compelling evidence of either so far. Neither does it help on the question of ultimate origins since it only pushes the question back one stage. We can still ask about the origins of the aliens.

    Also, rather than look at the comparison of cell to factory, we could look at the information processing system within the cell and compare it with other such systems. In that case, the cell process is not an analogy of an information system, but is merely another system that communicates and processes information.

    Only if you are using different meanings of the word “information”. You and I could look at a strand of DNA under a microscope and not even know what it was, let alone whether it contained any “information”. Yet I have just read the string of letters in the paragraph I quoted and derived a great deal of information from it. It looks like “information” is not a simple, unitary concept.

  63. 63
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic @ 53

    1. The biological feature does not look like it was produced by a blind-mindless naturalistic cause

    We cannot imagine how something so complex could have emerged through naturalistic processes and it looks a bit like things we design.

    2. We test and cannot produce the feature through natural processes.

    Except our knowledge and powers are far too limited at this stage for this to mean much. The best scientists and engineers from the year 1020 could probably not even imagine, let alone comprehend, what scientists and engineers from 2020 know and can do. And we have no idea what the scientists and engineers of 3020 or 4020 will know and be able to do.

    3. Therefore, we conclude that it was, indeed, produced by naturalistic causes and we will continue to insist on this forever since we can always imagine some as-yet unknown naturalistic cause that produced the feature.

    That is an absurd and irrational conclusion.

    That’s why it is not my conclusion. As far as I’m concerned, we are far from being able to rule out ID or God conclusively but ID proponents and theists are just as far from being able to provide compelling arguments and evidence for their beliefs. For the time being, we’ll just have to live with our ignorance.

  64. 64
    ET says:

    seversky:

    We cannot imagine how something so complex could have emerged through naturalistic processes and it looks a bit like things we design.

    Imagination isn’t science. And apparently you don’t even have that.

    Except our knowledge and powers are far too limited at this stage for this to mean much.

    Speak for yourself. We have accomplished a great many things with our alleged limited knowledge.

    As far as I’m concerned, we are far from being able to rule out ID or God conclusively but ID proponents and theists are just as far from being able to provide compelling arguments and evidence for their beliefs.

    You don’t even understand our arguments. And you definitely don’t understand the evidence

  65. 65
    ET says:

    Information has been defined. seversky can ignore reality but he definitely doesn’t speak for it.

  66. 66
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    I thought we just agreed that the inference to design from the lack of a known causal pathway is not strong.

    We agreed that there might not be any other possible natural causal pathways to find. We could search forever and never find one.

    1. The feature looks like it was designed by intelligence
    2. We test natural causes and we cannot recreate the feature
    3. We know that we may never find any other natural causal pathways
    4. We know that intelligence can create similar things
    5. Therefore, one inference is stronger than another

    And the burden of proof requires that ID presents compelling arguments and evidence to establish its case in the first instance – if it is concerned with persuading an audience, that is.

    When something appears to be designed, the burden of proof lies with the non-design proposal.

    I have always held that neither ID nor God can be absolutely ruled out. We have neither the knowledge nor the means to do either at the moment.

    We have two competing proposals. We can compare the evidence for both and arrive at the best inference we have with the data and understanding we have thus far.

    As far as I’m concerned, we are far from being able to rule out ID or God conclusively … For the time being, we’ll just have to live with our ignorance.

    If you’re unwilling to assert that one of the proposals is a better inference, then you’re saying that the evidence is equal for both. One inference is not more well-supported than the other.
    In that case, I’d expect that evidence for God would receive equal study and consideration as that of natural causes.

  67. 67
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    Only if you are using different meanings of the word “information”. You and I could look at a strand of DNA under a microscope and not even know what it was, let alone whether it contained any “information”. Yet I have just read the string of letters in the paragraph I quoted and derived a great deal of information from it. It looks like “information” is not a simple, unitary concept.

    I’d refer you to Upright BiPed here — but as importantly, the consensus view I find in journals and papers is that the cell contains actual information that operates in a system – codes are communicated and transmitted via DNA and RNA through the cell and specific and variable actions are carried out as a result. Most researchers I have seen call this providing “instructions” for the building of proteins among other things. “Instructions” being another term for “information”.

  68. 68

    .

    Only if you are using different meanings of the word “information”. You and I could look at a strand of DNA under a microscope and not even know what it was, let alone whether it contained any “information”. Yet I have just read the string of letters in the paragraph I quoted and derived a great deal of information from it.

    SA, I did not respond to this because it is just so deeply nonsensical that it is hard to know where to start. Under this logic, Chinese readers not understanding the interpretants of Spanish text is reason to wonder if information is information. This is a prime example of the dullness that must be taken on in the effort to deny physical evidence and the documented history of science.

  69. 69
    Silver Asiatic says:

    UBP

    SA, I did not respond to this because it is just so deeply nonsensical that it is hard to know where to start. Under this logic, Chinese readers not understanding the interpretants of Spanish text is reason to wonder if information is information.

    I was surprised by it and had a hard time responding also. Seversky has been active in discussions here for some years by now and to make a response like that? I don’t know. I don’t get it.

  70. 70
    Axel says:

    Yes, this is a brilliant thread, Emily. How is it even possible to shoot fish in a barrel with panache…. but it’s happening here. OK, maybe just side-splitting humour.

  71. 71
    Axel says:

    Emily,
    ‘God bless Antony Flew for having the willingness to embrace truth at great risk to his standing in the atheist community.’

    And I think it was some truly-ineluctable inference, such as the ‘fine-tuning’ of the universe’ that he was reminded of, as he heard a reference to it, while passing a lecture hall, that prompted him to
    decide he could he could no longer ignore it’s claim.

  72. 72
    Axel says:

    Martin_r,
    your posts, 4 and 8 are wonderful. Sev. is quite artless much of the time, isn’t he ? Imagine wanting to dispense with prioritising the relevant significance of various facts, in favour of providing a ‘balance’ ! Presumably numerical !

  73. 73
    Axel says:

    John_a_designer
    ‘If something appears to be designed isn’t it logically possible it really could be designed?’

    Oh, don’t say you’re evoking a match with rotten, old empirical observation/measurement ! What’s the matter with non-scientiic, anecdotal kind of observation, eh ? That way wot you see’s got nuffink to do wiv empirical stuff and all.

  74. 74
    Axel says:

    PK :
    ‘And having worked with DNA for his entire career, what has Larry Moran concluded about it’s origins?’

    Best not to stick your head above the parapet ?
    To adapt a well-known saw among pilots : ‘There are old materialists…… and there are bold materialists. But there are no old, bold materialists.’
    (or perhaps, few, if any old, bold materialists enjoying tenure).

  75. 75
    Axel says:

    Where on earth did Dawkins gt his ‘blind watchmaker’ from in the first place ? I mean, what carzy fantasy. Surely, utterly gratuitous.

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