Intelligent Design

Seversky Makes the Case for Design

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In a comment to a prior post frequent guest Seversky writes:

If I tell you that I tried to drop a stone but it flew up in the air and disappeared out of sight, would you believe me? Probably not. Why not? Because every time you have dropped a stone it has fallen to the ground and, when you check with other people, they report the same experience.

Mankind’s uniform and repeated experience over countless trillions of trials: Release stone; stone drops to ground. Never in a single one of those trials has it been: Release stone; stone flies up in the air. Sound reasoning Sev.

Now, let’s try Sev’s formula with respect to an extraordinarily complex semiotic code:

If I tell you that an extraordinarily complex semiotic code came about through blind, unguided, and mindless natural processes, would you believe me? Probably not. Why not? Because every time you have seen an extraordinarily complex semiotic code you have found it was the product of a mind, and, when you check with other people, they report the same experience.

Yep, that works. Mankind’s uniform and repeated experience over countless trillions of trials:  Extraordinarily complex semiotic code whose provenance is know with certainty; provenance is a mind. Never in a single one of those trials has it been: Extraordinarily complex semiotic code whose provenance is know with certainty; provenance is blind, unguided, and mindless natural processes.

How has Sev made the case for Design? Easy. The genetic code is just that, a code. In fact, according to Bill Gates, who knows a thing or two about codes, it is the most elegant and extraordinarily complex semiotic code known to man. It takes a tremendous amount of blind, grit-your-teeth faith in metaphysical materialism to believe it came about by blind, unguided, and mindless natural processes. And this leads to an abductive inference that “mind” is the best explanation for the origin of that code.

Thanks Sev!

17 Replies to “Seversky Makes the Case for Design

  1. 1
    Nonlin.org says:

    There’s also the asymmetry: 1000+ observations cannot disprove 1 exception (God’s miracles), but 1 exception can disprove a generalization based on 1000+ observations (black swan), so the philosophy of atheism (Hume) fails.

    And that’s your way out – produce the 1 exception “miracle” of “evolution”, and you’re “saved” in the name of Darwin. Now, can you?

    Meanwhile, ‘design’ is the most parsimonious hypothesis: http://nonlin.org/intelligent-design/

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Wow Seversky, amazing! I have to admit that you are pretty fly for a white guy!

    The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AltMeuPkWRs
    Lyric: He may not have a clue
    And he may not have style
    But everything he lacks
    Well he makes up in denial,,,

    🙂

  3. 3
    ET says:

    Knowledge of cause and effect relationships drive scientific inferences. And now even Seversky admits that much.

    Slowly but surely…

  4. 4
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    “..every time you have seen an extraordinarily complex semiotic code you have found it was the product of a mind..”

    Actually, every time you see such a code, and you know the source, it is the product of a human mind. Therefore the proper inference would be that DNA was designed by a human. But we know that to not be the case.

    Generalizing from human mind to “a mind” and then using that to infer a god is a tremendous non-sequitur.

    Why would anyone think that a supreme being would design things the way a human would?

    Bill Gates? Another software person who thinks he knows biology? HAH !

  5. 5
    Barry Arrington says:

    Pater Kimbridge,

    What miracle was necessary for the creation of life?

  6. 6
    StephenB says:

    Peter Kimbridge

    Actually, every time you see such a code, and you know the source, it is the product of a human mind. Therefore the proper inference would be that DNA was designed by a human. But we know that to not be the case.

    We are talking about known causes and inferred causes. It is the agent’s mind, not the agent’s humanity that designs the code. The humanity of the intelligent agent doesn’t cause anything at all to happen and nothing can be inferred from it.

    Generalizing from human mind to “a mind” and then using that to infer a god is a tremendous non-sequitur.

    As indicated, no such inference is being made.

    Why would anyone think that a supreme being would design things the way a human would?

    You seem to be confusing the existence of design with the process of design. Finding evidence that something was designed is not at all the same as knowing how the design was implemented.

  7. 7
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    @Barry

    Huh ?

  8. 8
    Barry Arrington says:

    Pater Kimbridge

    Huh?

    OK, I will unpack it for you.
    You write:

    Generalizing from human mind to “a mind” and then using that to infer a god . . .

    No one has generalized from human mind to “a mind” to infer God. That is a product of your imagination. In other words, intentionally or not, you have erected a straw man.
    ID at the biological level is based on a basic abductive inference: whenever the provenance of complex specified information is known, it is invariably the product of a design.
    It is not necessary for the designer to be a deity. Even Richard Dawkins admits that a super-intelligent alien life could be responsible.
    I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are simply ignorant of ID theory when you imply that its purpose is to “infer a god.”
    And not only are you ignorant, you are also not particularly well read on ID. This has been explained literally hundreds of times in these pages. And we have a weak argument corrective in our resource page that addresses the topic.

  9. 9
    Ed George says:

    PK

    Huh ?

    I must admit, I don’t know where Barry is going with this. It is certainly a long stretch from what has been said.

  10. 10
    Barry Arrington says:

    Readers,
    I refer you to Pater’s and my exchange at 5, 7 and 8.

    Comments like Pater’s never cease to amaze me. Here’s why.

    1. Materialists like Pater insist, by definition, that the genetic code is the product of blind, undirected, mindless natural forces.

    2. It necessarily follows as a matter of simple logic that they insist that no miracle is necessary for the code to arise.

    3. And since no miracle is required, it follows there is absolutely nothing, in principle, that would prevent a human (or alien) designer from replicating the process by the application of super-sophisticated technology. Indeed, plain old human scientists have succeeded in taking baby steps in this direction (I am thinking of Venter) and have been working feverishly on the project since at least the 50’s (Miller shocked the gases in the beaker in 1952). Certainly, no one has come remotely close to achieving this. The ability to artificially replicate even the most simple cell is not even on the horizon. But the point stands. The materialists’ own logic compels the conclusion that there is nothing, in principle, that would prevent a non-deity designer from creating, for example, a simple cell. Indeed, most scientists expect it to happen eventually.

    4. Yet, whenever an ID proponent suggests that the presently existing nano-technology we observe in the cells of all living things is the product of design, Pater immediately jumped to the conclusion that our purpose is to “infer a god.” But, as we have seen, the materialist’s own logic compels the conclusion that a miracle is not necessary and therefore the existence of design in living things does not necessarily entail a god.

    And that is why I asked him why he appears to think that a miracle is necessary to design living things.

  11. 11
    mike1962 says:

    Pater Kimbridge: Actually, every time you see such a code, and you know the source, it is the product of a human mind. Therefore the proper inference would be that DNA was designed by a human. But we know that to not be the case.

    When we see a stick that has been used to get ants out of a hole, we infer that an ape used the stick to get the ants. (We know they do such things.) But not so fast. Our inference is more broad than that. What we can really infer is that some entity at least as intelligent as an ape used the stick to get the ants. I’ve never seen a human use a stick that way, but
    it could be a human. They are at least as intelligent as apes.

    You should reformulate your statement to something along the lines of: Therefore the proper inference would be that DNA was designed by something as intelligent as a human.

    Could be human. Could be something else at least as intelligent as a human. Science doesn’t know that anything exists that is at least as intelligent as human, so we can’t be sure. But it is plausible in principle. One thing we know for sure, nobody has ever seen blind, undirected evolution doing it, nor do we in principle know how it could. At least we know in principle how something at least as intelligent as humans could do it.

  12. 12
    Ed George says:

    Barry@8&10, I don’t think that unpacks anything. But I may be wrong.

  13. 13
    Barry Arrington says:

    Ed
    “But I may be wrong.”
    Well, when someone’s wrong, I suppose it is some consolation that they know they may be.

  14. 14
    Charles Birch says:

    I think that even if ID had no theistic implications, and postulated ‘super-intelligent aliens’ as the only conceivable designers of DNA, the theory would still be strongly resisted by materialist academics.

    In the worldview which they hold and proselytise, human life is the pinnacle of intelligence, and academics are the pinnacle of human life.

    To admit to the possible existence of aliens whose intelligence is many orders of magnitude higher than earthly academics, would push the academics down to near the bottom of the intellectual food chain.

    It would infer that academics – especially scientists – don’t know very much compared to these genius aliens, and that the mass of humanity would therefore do well to regard all the pronouncements of celebrity scientists with deep suspicion.

    Worse still for materialist academics, what if humanity eventually encountered these super-intelligent aliens and found that the latter believed in God? Perish the thought!

  15. 15
    ET says:

    Pater K:

    Actually, every time you see such a code, and you know the source, it is the product of a human mind. Therefore the proper inference would be that DNA was designed by a human. But we know that to not be the case.

    Right, so we infer it was an intelligent agency that was not a human. What we do not do is assume nature didit cuz humans didn’t. Nature doesn’t magically get the ability to produce codes just cuz humkans went around.

    Generalizing from human mind to “a mind” and then using that to infer a god is a tremendous non-sequitur.

    Very good. ID does not require God.

  16. 16
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    I must admit, I don’t know where Barry is going with this.

    Then clearly you do not understand ID and science.

    It is certainly a long stretch from what has been said.

    What “It” are you referring to? IDists have always maintained that the design inference is based on our knowledge of cause and effect relationships. So what are you referring to, Ed?

  17. 17
    Mung says:

    Thanks Seversky!

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