Intelligent Design

The Cost of Mistakes

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In the comments of Gil’s article about why a greater percentage of engineers vs. scientists are open to the idea of life being a result of intelligent design I remarked that medical doctors are another occupational outlier in there being a larger than expected percentage open to ID. I asked the MDs here if they could comment on that because while I can understand the POV of engineers and mathematicians I couldn’t figure out why MDs would also be an exception.

After thinking about it a while it occurred to me that medical doctors, like engineers, understand the cost of mistakes in complex systems better than academic scientists. Orthodox evolution theory is based on the notion that sometimes a mistake in a complex system will result in better fitness for purpose. Doctors and engineers however know that mistakes in complex systems seldom if ever result in improved fitness but rather more often result in loss of fitness (often catastrophic loss of fitness resulting in death).

When a doctor or an engineer makes a mistake it can cost lives. When an evolutionary biologist makes a mistake like saying whales are more closely related to horses than hippos there are no lives lost because of it. The consequences of their mistakes are entirely academic. So they have a whole different mindset about the cost of mistakes than do medical doctors and engineers.

38 Replies to “The Cost of Mistakes

  1. 1
    scordova says:

    It might be worth noting, one of the founding fathers of modern ID, was Michael Denton who is a Physician in addition to being a molecular geneticist. Actually, medicine was his first profession, if I recall correctly.

  2. 2
    Jehu says:

    I think the recent experience of the pharmaceutical industry can illustrate why MD’s are so skeptical of Darwinism. Just over a decade ago the pharmaceutical industry attempted to move away from what is called “rational drug design” to a more Darwinian method called “high throughput screening.”

    Basically, what they tried to do was to bypass the traditional methods of intelligently designed drugs and instead attempt to screen every possible combination of a molecule, not unlike RM+NS.

    Here is a quote from the Wall Street Journal about how this worked out.

    A decade ago, pharmaceutical companies announced a revolutionary new way of finding drugs. Instead of relying on scientists’ hunches about what chemicals to experiment with, they brought in machines to create thousands of chemical combinations at once and tested them out with robots. The new technology was supposed to bring a flood of medicines to patients and profits to investors.

    Today, some leading chemists are calling the effort an expensive fiasco.
    Machines churned out chemical after chemical that didn’t produce useful results. And chemicals that seemed promising often turned out to have big flaws that traditional testing might have caught earlier on. Some drugs couldn’t dissolve in water or be turned into pills, for example.

    Critics believe these problems help explain the pharmaceutical industry’s drought of new products. “That’s the secret of why they’re spending billions of dollars and getting nothing,” says James Hussey, a former Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. manager who now leads biotech company NeoPharm Inc.

    http://www.mindfully.org/GE/20.....4feb04.htm

  3. 3
    dacook says:

    I am an M.D. Orthopaedic surgeon with a B.S. in Biology.
    I first began to seriously question the standard Darwinian line in the gross anatomy lab during my first year of medical school. How could all that incredible inter-related complexity have come about by chance, no matter how dressed up? I tried questioning the professor about it but only got flippant responses ridiculing creationists.
    For the most part I just kept my doubts to myself during the rest of school and residency. After residency I finally had time to start seriously reading up on the issue. I encountered Darwin’s Black Box and later other books and was quite gratified to see that other intelligent, educated people had similar serious doubts about the orthodox dogma.
    I now consider myself a “post-Darwinist.” I don’t know how life got the way it is but I’m convinced it wasn’t the way I was taught.

  4. 4
    jpark320 says:

    I don’t quite have my MD yet, but will here in a couple of years, so here are my 2 cents:

    The sheer complexity (the parts) and fine tuning from the micro to the macro level and having to deal with the results of something wrong everyday.

    The one thing we get pounded with here is knowing what are the components, how they work, what happens when something is missing or defective, and how to fix it.

    Looking at it this way, the first piece of skepticism comes from thinking “How did all these pieces get here?” Mind you we have to go through, mind numbing details including the stuff on the plasma membrane that make a hepatocyte special all the way to every single vein, artery, nerve, and feature of the gross liver to the point we can point it on a cadaver (mind you we have to recognize stuff on microscopic level too EMs and Histo).

    Second, our business is to know what happens when you take out one of those parts or what happens when something is altered in the system. Like something on the micro level like ONE weird protein or ONE weird receptor off by like a base or something can really destroy the whole system. On the macro level we learn what happens when there is a back up of bile and blood from just ONE obstruction and the massive damage that can occur from that blockage. This combined with the fact that nothing is never really “fully cured” makes us scratch our heads going “how could this system come to be with all these parts missing when we see people suffering from them all the time.”

    The last thing, is all the stuff we have no clue about! Why the liver regenerates, how we can have such fidelity in development (study genetic diseases and embryology and you’ll be amazed you’re normal), the CNS, etc…

    I imagine myself making a list of all the stuff that makes a human unique from say primates and all the things that must be in exactly the right place – from natural selection! This is not even taking into consideration culture, language, etc…

    Since doctors need to know all the gory little details and since those details in many instances determine life or death, combined with the fact that we are constantly tested to know all those ridiculous details, we naturally want the details for evolution. The explanations given are so vacuous and full of so much wild conjecture it’s hard for me to take them to the point of scientific dogma, let alone the truth.

  5. 5
    PaV says:

    MD’s are kind of biological engineers–they have to make biological systems work–and they know full well the cost of making even a simple mistake. I was, once upon a time, a pre-med.

  6. 6
    idnet.com.au says:

    As medical doctors we have to deal with what is real and what works. We see at the same time how marvelously well designed we are and how resilient we are to attack.

    I remember spending lunch times with our Immunology professor discussing how it could be that the known immune proteins far exceeded the capacity of the genome to code for them one at a time. There was some theory around about random mutations occuring in each cell line to give the resulting astounding array of immune proteins.

    This turned out to be wrong. What actually allows for the vast array of these amazing proteins is using combinations of different shaped components and systematically assembling them in all their possible combinations and eliminating the dangerous ones.

    This is just a small story about a small component of one of the systems that enable us to survive and thrive.

    Every body system we study we find not good engineering but brilliant engineering.

    There are those who complain about their prostates, or that they don’t have X Ray vision, or that their retinae are supposedly wired backwards. I have not heard of anyone who has been smart enough to suggest any changes at the molecular level to achieve any of the “improvements” they think should be made.

    Hey, when they can teach an old worn out pancreas to make a simple thing like insulin in response to rising glucose levels, or even make an artificial, tissue based pancreas, then they may dare to make comments adverse to the Brilliant Designer.

    A good friend of mine, an eye surgeon says the rubbish spoken about the poor design of the eye is not even worth writing against. He spends each day marvelling at the design of the human visual and perception system.

  7. 7

    I think the problem of mistakes goes even deeper: There are significant career disincentives for mistakes in the engineering and medical professions (gosh, that bridge collapsed, what a bummer; the patient just died, I really should be more careful the next time I perform brain surgery).

    On the other hand, there are significant career incentives for embracing sheer fabrications that are likely to be mistaken in evolutionary biology (e.g., Haeckel’s faked embryo drawings, the supposed evolution of the mammalian eye from a light sensitive spot). Here speculative scenarios are put forward as brilliant advances in our knowledge of biology even though they are almost sure to be wrong. But since they can rarely be completely disproven (e.g., “prove to me that there isn’t a gradual evolutionary path to the mammalian eye”), evolutionary biologists can remain comfortable in their delusions.

  8. 8

    […] The Cost of Mistakes. […]

  9. 9
    DaveScot says:

    Bill

    Brutal.

    Dick Butkus would approve. 🙂

  10. 10
    mike1962 says:

    Seems like physicians doubt Darwin based on incredulity. But there’s nothing wrong with incredulity. Incredulity is the thing inside your head that says, “I don’t buy the story you’re trying to palm off. You better prove it, buster.”

    It seems that when people who have absolutely no vested interest in the Darwin story learn more about life and it’s systems, they believe the Darwin story less and demand real proof and not just stories. MDs are such a group. It is no surprise to me that great bunches of them are incredulous about the Darwin story.

  11. 11
    Mats says:

    jpark320:

    I first began to seriously question the standard Darwinian line in the gross anatomy lab during my first year of medical school. How could all that incredible inter-related complexity have come about by chance, no matter how dressed up? I tried questioning the professor about it but only got flippant responses ridiculing creationists.

    lol
    Did he tell you, in the same breath, that the theory of evolution is a fact(TM), and that there is no conflict between “science” (evolution) and religion?
    Did you notice the pattern? You made a legitimate scientific question, but your darwinian professor imediatly turned to religion!

    idnet.com.au

    A good friend of mine, an eye surgeon says the rubbish spoken about the poor design of the eye is not even worth writing against. He spends each day marvelling at the design of the human visual and perception system.

    This goes in line with what I had said previously, paraphresing Steven Meyer. While people who actually work with such Irreducible Complex systems are more sensible to their design choices, evolutionary biologists can just wave their hands and claim “Mutations did it”, or “Natural selection is behind it!”
    Secondly, as Bill posted previously, there is no career risk in telling the wrong evolutionary history of a given bio-structure. The sun will go on shinning, the birds will go on singing, and tomorrow will certainly come, regardless of “Lucy” being (or not) a “missing link”. Biology, unlike what Dawkins said in the debate with mr Quinn, won’t be a mess if we put Darwinian nonsense in the recycle bin.

  12. 12
    leebowman says:

    I am an M.D. Orthopaedic surgeon with a B.S. in Biology. I first began to seriously question the standard Darwinian line in the gross anatomy lab during my first year of medical school. How could all that incredible inter-related complexity have come about by chance, no matter how dressed up?

    Exactly. As a biomedical engineer, and working with surgeons and pathologists, this is what I perceive as their ‘take’ on the matter. It’s mine, also.

    But apparently, Larry Moran sees it differently,

    The Cost of Mistakes address the observation that a higher percentage of doctors fall for ID compared to scientists. DaveScot explains that it’s because doctors recognize the cost of mistakes … That’s only part of the answer-and not a very important part. The real reason is that Doctors aren’t scientists so they don’t understand science even though they think they do … ” (go to)

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2.....s-and.html

    People like Larry Moran and Richard Dawkins provide answers to evolutionary riddles that answer nothing. In the case of Dawkins, though, it makes interesting reading. But like jpark320 stated,

    ” The explanations given are so vacuous and full of so much wild conjecture it’s hard for me to take them to the point of scientific dogma, let alone the truth.”

    Ditto

  13. 13
    gpuccio says:

    I am not sure that I know if and why MDs are more open to ID than other categories, but I think that what has been said here is certainly interesting. I agree that the practice of medicine means often that you have to be practical, to try to understand even when you cannot really understand, to take risks, because you often have to act even if you have not all the necessary information. The result is that, if you want to stay honest, you have to develop a flexible attitude towards reality, and in the end you simply appreciate what really works. So, common sense and intuition are not offensive words in medicine, just the contrary. And we all know who can get some help from common sense and intuition in the debate between ID and Darwinism, don’t we?
    But there is another aspect which I would like to stress. Whoever has been practicing or studying medicine in the last few decades has witnessed a continuous escalation in the complexity of our understanding which is simply astonishing. It has been argued, correctly, that Darwin, who was certainly not a fool, could elaborate his theory in a time when everybody thought that a cell was only a small package of protoplasm, an extremely simple structure. But everybody should understand that the gap between the conception of cellular activities we had in the sixties, let’s say, that is in the period when neo-darwinism was young, strong and winning, and the conception and knowledge that we have now, is even bigger.
    In the last forty years we have seen layer after layer of complexity coming to light, and each new achievement and understanding has always been the starting point for new questions. Very often (but, luckily, not always) the evidence of our incomplete understanding is that our increase in knowledge can scarcely be translated in an increase in power. We understand more, but we cannot do much more, because what we start to understand is too complex for us to manage.
    So, may be that when, year after year, you hear about new molecules, new important interactions, new molecular mechanisms, which should explain everything, and nothing is really explained, or when you look on the internet just to find some updated view about cytokines, and you find that there are thousands of them, while they were just a few some years ago, or when you try to understand what is known about the regulation of transcription factors (which, believe me, is where the real magic is), and year after year you have to admit that nothing is really known, then you start thinking that not only all that stuff has to be designed, but that the designer has to be much more intelligent and smarter than we are.
    I am deeply sure that the esponential increase in our understanding of biological and human complexity has been giving a final death blow to any plausibility of the neo-darwinian theory, and that will become ever more evident in the next few years. In that sense, I have never understood the objection that there is no ID scientific research: all scientific research, if well done, is pro ID, because all true scientific research is about getting the facts. And, as somebody has said (more or less), “I have seen many theories defeated by a single fact, but I have never seen a fact defeated by a theory”.

  14. 14
    dacook says:

    I’ve gotten used to these standard responses, in order, to any criticism of Darwinism I offer believers:

    1. You’re an ignorant creationist
    (this is almost always the first response to criticism of NDE even before I’ve said anything about what my beliefs actually are)

    2. You don’t understand science
    (B.S. Summa Cum Laude, M.D. first in class, Junior AOA, more than a handful of published articles. OK maybe I’m not a real scientist but come on; I think I have a basic understanding of the principles of science at least.)

    3. All real scientists believe Darwinism.
    (The final redoubt)

    It’s very predictable. They always come back to #3 at least even after I’ve gone the rounds to demonstrate that I do have a fair understanding of the subject.

  15. 15
    devilsadvocate says:

    Maybe the ‘true Scottsman’ fallacy chould be renamed the ‘true scientist fallacy’.

    Having engineering and medical background I definately feel the weight of mistakes in my work. I also read Darwin’s Black Box while I was in school and any questioning was promptly shut down by my bio professors.

  16. 16
    malnutritious says:

    Dave Scott wrote
    Doctors and engineers however know that mistakes in complex systems seldom if ever result in improved fitness but rather more often result in loss of fitness (often catastrophic loss of fitness resulting in death).

    Given this.

    Can it be said that mistakes in complex processes can never result in improvements?

    Can mistakes never lead to alternate functionality?

  17. 17
    Tom Moore says:

    Anyone with the least experience in real world engineering knows in their bones that mistakes are the crucial opportunities that enable us to advance. Trial and error are the names of the game and any product, hardware or software, goes through numerous revisions as part of the development process.

    Any engineer who won’t admit that is suffering from an egotistical exaggeration of their own prowess. But don’t take my word for it. There must a hundred tired platitudes proclaiming the power of learning from mistakes, instead of being discouraged by them. Do you suppose those all came from people less intelligent and capable than engineers?

    And why do you suppose that physicians practice on cadavers? Clearly, because mistakes are less costly in malpractice insurance there than when they are made on live patients. Doctors who go in for highly experimental non-routine procedures count on a lack of any alternative but death for patient motivation. Then they can take huge risks under conditions where mistakes are somewhat more tolerable and have even bigger payoffs when mastery is eventually achieved.

    I very much doubt that engineers and doctors are really any more likely than the rest of us to consider their creative work to be “God-like.” But if so, well, that just confirms what we have always thought about doctors, doesn’t it!? Who knew that engineers were the same way?

  18. 18
    DaveScot says:

    Tom Moore

    Trial and error are the names of the game and any product, hardware or software, goes through numerous revisions as part of the development process.

    So tell me, Tom. Do the boys working on the space shuttle improve it by, while blindfolded, throw colored darts at the most recent blueprints and for red darts insert the component an extra time, blue darts leave the component out, yellow darts install a mirror image of the part, green dart make the part smaller, purple darts make it bigger, etcetera?

    Or do you use intelligence to plan your changes based on predictions that the change will result in an improvement of some sort?

    I suppose if there’s any engineers at NASA using the dart method that would explain some things.

  19. 19
    Atom says:

    Tom Moore, I disagree with you. I have a list of bugs for a system I’m working on right now and contrary to your optimism, none of those unintended consequences led to an improvement in the system function.

    (Believe me, I wish the real world worked like you believe…it would save me a lot of debugging work.)

  20. 20
    DaveScot says:

    Actually Tom, the difference between a bad engineer and a good engineer isn’t in the number of things they do right, it’s in the number of things they do wrong. A good engineer has a long track record of getting the job done without making ghastly mistakes that cost money and lives. Write that down.

    Come to think of it, that’s how you tell good doctors from bad doctors. You may write that down as well.

  21. 21
    shaner74 says:

    “Anyone with the least experience in real world engineering knows in their bones that mistakes are the crucial opportunities that enable us to advance.”

    I will respectfully disagree as it pertains to systems engineering and design. Our personal lives are different – yes we learn the most from our mistakes (adversity). In my coding days, we would sit down and spend weeks to months just planning our design before a single line of code was cut. From my experience, no mistake – not one – that I made in the coding phase ever added any functionality to the system, but rather cost us precious time and money when already faced with unrealistic deadlines. I’ve just never seen any type of error produce anything good. Instead, I spent many a sleepless night trying to rid software of bugs that weren’t in the design and shouldn’t have been there, but somehow always seemed to sneak their way in and wreak havoc. Just in writing this, I can’t help but smile at the thought of “copying errors” producing anything but disaster; just the notion of it goes against everything we know. Maybe all biologists should be required to know engineering.

  22. 22
    DaveScot says:

    malnutritious

    Can it be said that mistakes in complex processes can never result in improvements?

    Sure you can say it. You can say anything. The question is whether you can demonstrate that what you say is true.

    Can mistakes never lead to alternate functionality?

    Many things are remotely possible. A snowflake with face of a Timex watch with the correct time and date set on it could land in your palm during the next snowstorm. It’s possible for the water molecules to be serendipitously arranged that way. The question isn’t what’s possible but rather how probable are the possibilities.

  23. 23
    shaner74 says:

    “Many things are remotely possible. A snowflake with face of a Timex watch with the correct time and date set on it could land in your palm during the next snowstorm. It’s possible for the water molecules to be serendipitously arranged that way. The question isn’t what’s possible but rather how probable are the possibilities.”

    Man can logic and reason cut like a knife or what?

  24. 24
    SCheesman says:

    Tom Moore: “Anyone with the least experience in real world engineering knows in their bones that mistakes are the crucial opportunities that enable us to advance. Trial and error are the names of the game and any product, hardware or software, goes through numerous revisions as part of the development process. ”

    At the risk of piling on, the crucial difference is that each error occurring upon a trial modification must be examined intelligently, and the solution and response must be intelligently selected, if any overall improvement is to occur. Both steps are crucial. If the possibility of an error producing an improvement is small, then the possibility of a random solution to an error compounds the unlikelihood. Consider a random change introduced into code. What is the chance that a second random error will not only correct or offset the first error, but actually make the overall situation improve?

    The difference is intelligence. Try to remove your own intelligence from the next trial and error opportunity/challenge you encounter at work, and note the remarkable difference in the outcome.

  25. 25
    a5b01zerobone says:

    devilsadvocate wrote:

    Maybe the ‘true Scottsman’ fallacy chould be renamed the ‘true scientist fallacy’.

    Having engineering and medical background I definately feel the weight of mistakes in my work. I also read Darwin’s Black Box while I was in school and any questioning was promptly shut down by my bio professors.

    Are you being facetious? I can’t tell whether you are being condescending towards Behe’s book or if you are supportive.

  26. 26
    avocationist says:

    2. You don’t understand science
    (B.S. Summa Cum Laude, M.D. first in class, Junior AOA, more than a handful of published articles. OK maybe I’m not a real scientist but come on; I think I have a basic understanding of the principles of science at least.)

    I can’t really imagine too many people becoming engineers or doctors without at the least an IQ of perhaps 120, and often much more. So what they’re saying is that evolution theory is good for the masses, but that they must accept it without undersanding it. It is a tad worrisome that this very important theory is so abstruse that even higly intelligent and educated people in various disciplines are hopelessly out of their depth with it.
    Perhaps a good response should be, if I can’t be expected to understand it, why should I believe it? How can I believe that which I lack the ability to evaluate?

  27. 27
    malnutritious says:

    Let us imagine that the space shuttle could now reproduce on it’s own. And let us say that a successful flight determines the reproductive success of this space shuttle.

    Givens:
    The shuttles can already fly.
    Nobody is building them, they reproduce on their own.
    More successful flights result in more offspring.
    Duplication erros can occur.
    For this example we will define successful flights as longer trips.

    Let’s suppose,
    If due to duplication errors the resulting shuttle’s flight is more successful than it’s predacessors. Would I be correct in the assessment that it will produce more offspring.

    In this case there is no judgement other than the length of flight. It would seem trial and error only requires that judgement be passed, whether or not the judgement is a result of natural performance, or whether it is a subjective measure by human beings. The space shuttle will produce more offspring simply because offspring number is tied to the shuttles performance.

  28. 28
    DaveScot says:

    In all fairness to Tom I think he was describing the shotgun method of problem solving in engineering. You don’t know exactly what might work but you have a bunch of ideas so you try them all and see if any work. Granted that’s quite common and I’ve employed it many times but it really isn’t comparable to random mutation and natural selection. The shotgun approach (contrasted with the rifle approach) is still an intelligently designed search. A shotgun pattern covers a wider area but it doesn’t cover the entire sphere of targets in every possible direction. It’s still a focused approach. I was thinking of writing a separate article about it as recent experiments have indicated that bacteria acquiring antibiotic resistance are using a shotgun approach – they crank up the mutation rate by orders of magnitude on a limited set of genes when under great stress. This isn’t really random mutation – it’s calculated mutation.

  29. 29
    DaveScot says:

    malnutritious

    Okay, let’s go with that example. It’s theoretically possible that a random modification to a space shuttle flight system will result in a craft with better performance.

    Now tell me what are the odds of

    1) a random mutation causing a crash that results in no offspring at all for that lineage

    2) a random mutation that causes a decrease in performance

    3) a random mutation that causes no change in performance

    4) a random mutation that causes an improvement in performance

    I think if you ask any actual designer of spacecraft he’ll slap you for asking such a stupid question because if you start randomly modifying flight systems on the space shuttle you’ll quickly end up with smoldering pieces of space shuttles and no whole space shuttles at all.

  30. 30
    grendelkhan says:

    Isn’t all that true of any kind of basic as opposed to applied research? I mean, nobody died when astronomers thought there were canals on Mars, right? Or when geologists thought plate tectonics was nonsense, or when physicists thought that the speed of light was relative to the observer?

    I just don’t see what’s so earth-shattering about this. Of course engineers’ mistakes carry a tremendously high cost. That’s why they’re engineers, not scientists.

  31. 31
    malnutritious_bak says:

    DaveScot wrote
    I think if you ask any actual designer of spacecraft he’ll slap you for asking such a stupid question because if you start randomly modifying flight systems on the space shuttle you’ll quickly end up with smoldering pieces of space shuttles and no whole space shuttles at all.

    I disagree with your assessment that “you’ll quickly end up with smoldering pieces of space shuttles”

    In the scenario above, shuttles which posess harmful modifications will fail to leave any offspring. Therefore additional harmful modifications cannot occur to this particular design. In addition to this duplication errors do not always occur. These non-modified shuttles will have offspring, given selection criteria have not changed. So at the very least, you will have a population of unmodified shuttles, or shuttles with neutral modifications.

    I believe the selection process will prevent harmful modifications from accumulating in the manor you propose.

  32. 32
    devilsadvocate says:

    5b01zerobone,

    Serious about Behe’s book. It was the first book on questioning evolution that I could really relate to. It supported doubts that I had but at the time did not have the knowledge to support. I tried to discuss it with some of my professors but they offered only the standard answers used to shut down discussion such as attacking his credentials (as they also did with Dembski- he’s just a theologist). My bio instructor addresses the mousetrap analogy by asking students to think of ways you could catch mice (although less efficiently) with only one or some of the parts such as smashing a mouse with the wood block. No one in class seemed to question the fact you are not just using the wood block but a very sofisticated system to spot, track, and manipulate the wood block that you just added all at once.

    In my circle of friends the engineers require the most data to support claims before they will be convinced.

  33. 33
    scordova says:

    That’s why they’re engineers, not scientists.

    Not quite. That’s why scientists need to be engineers and not Darwinists.

  34. 34
    Sladjo says:

    Tom said: “Anyone with the least experience in real world engineering knows in their bones that mistakes are the crucial opportunities that enable us to advance. Trial and error are the names of the game and any product, hardware or software, goes through numerous revisions as part of the development process.”

    Yep, you got it finally right! Brava, Tom! You named “revisions” & “development process”…

    I must tell you something: when you first try to solve a problem, the first thing you usually do is – you think! You think and try to find a solution to the problem. Then, you act. You apply your solution and see (observe) if your solution worked. If your solution solved the problem, you usually stop. If the problem is not solved, you THINK AGAIN… And try to find another solution…

    If you are a trained engineer you will think twice: first, to find a solution, and second, to PREDICT if the solution will work. You may have some (intelligently designed) tools for that: computer simulations or DFSS stuff… And then you can act and apply the solution…

    So, as you can see, YOU HAVE TO THINK A LOT to find the best solution to your problem… Aka – USE YOUR INTELLIGENCE… 😉

    You know, first of all, the Nature cannot “think”. That means:
    – cannot be aware a problem has arose;
    – cannot seek for a solution…

    Second, it cannot “observe”. That means cannot choose between a good and a bad solution.

    Third, the Nature cannot “think” (again). That means it cannot IMPROVE a solution…

    Question: what do you do at NASA ?…

  35. 35
    devilsadvocate says:

    correction: previous post should read ‘theologian- creationist’ not theologist.

  36. 36
    grendelkhan says:

    That’s why scientists need to be engineers and not Darwinists.

    What? How did you get that from what I said? Again: the penalties for being wrong in basic research are far slimmer than the penalties for being wrong when building a bridge. Because of this, engineers need a different set of skills than scientists have. It is good, for instance, for engineers to be extremely conservative about novelty and risk. On the other hand, researchers are wrong all the time (not every hypothesis comes out true), and that’s part of the process. Scientists shouldn’t be engineers, for good reason.

    And since when are “engineer” and “Darwinist” mutually exclusive categories?

  37. 37
    scordova says:

    And since when are “engineer” and “Darwinist” mutually exclusive categories?

    grendelkhan,

    Apparently you don’t wish to exercise a sense of humor.

    Scientists shouldn’t be engineers, for good reason.

    Well, well, well, I seem to recall a certain National Academy of Sciences president lobbying for biologists to be trained in engineering.

  38. 38
    scordova says:

    grendelkhan,

    You also might consider the emerging field of Systems Biology cannot accomplish its research without understanding engineering principles. Your pronouncements, though possibly defensible 4 decades ago, is now obsolete. Modern science is becoming better and better understood from a systems and communication theory perspective, exactly the domain of engineering. That make sense if the universe and life are designed…

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