Intelligent Design

UC Irvine ID Colloquium Update

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Arthur Asuncion sends some links about the recent University of California, Irvine ID colloquium. I had the opportunity to attend, and reported on the event in a previous UD blog posting.

Gil

Arthur’s informal summary:
http://www.ics.uci.edu/~aasuncio/2006/05/colloquium-on-origins-was-success.htm

Arthur’s colleague’s informal summary:
http://www.ics.uci.edu/~aasuncio/2006/05/thoughts-on-wednesdays-origins.htm

The New University Article (campus newspaper):
http://www.newu.uci.edu/article.php?id=4742

Daily Pilot Article (affiliated with LA Times, and more pro-evolution):
http://www.dailypilot.com/education/story/45788p-69359c.html

Perspective from Robert Camp (a skeptic):
http://litcandle.blogspot.com/2006/05/what-if-they-held-colloquium-on-id-and.html

8 Replies to “UC Irvine ID Colloquium Update

  1. 1
    sagebrush gardener says:

    From Arthur’s summary:

    > Dr. Walter Fitch[‘s] … main argument was that if intelligent design were true, then the human body should have been designed better to avoid disease and malady.

    I have seen this argument used in more than one place recently. It puzzles me that anyone would consider this a strong argument yet it seems to have found a comfortable place in the evolutionists’ bag of tricks.

    I’ll leave aside the theological argument, which would have little weight with most evolutionists, that our maladies are a result of mankind’s fall into sin. I don’t need to look any farther than the car in my driveway, which is due for service tomorrow, to realize that design in no way implies perfection. I am quite sure that my car is designed (intelligently for the most part). Yet… 1.) It may contain flaws in design or construction that result in less than optimal performance, 2.) If I fail to maintain it properly it will die an early death, and 3.) Even with the best maintenance it will eventually wear out and cease to function.

    I am not the crispest cracker in the box so I may be missing something that is obvious to those with more intelligence, but it utterly escapes me why anyone living in a world full of designed yet imperfect objects would argue that design implies perfection, or conversely that a lack of perfection implies a lack of design.

    SG

  2. 2
    Mark Frank says:

    SG

    The argument goes like this.

    If there is a designer then they have made some very poor decisions from the organisms point of view – like having the optic nerve attach to the retina from inside the eye or the nerve that joins the brain to the larynx going round the heart and back!

    It is possible that they are a poor designer or are deliberately making poor designs from the organisms point of view for reasons of their own.

    However, this means that we are making no assumptions about the competence or motives of the designer and this in turn means that the explanatory power of design disappears i.e. the answer to the question – if life is designed then what would it look like? becomes – “well – anything could be designed”.

    This removes any positive argument for design and it becomes purely the negative argument – “Darwin doesn’t work in some instances therefore it must be designed”.

    This argument is affectionately ridiculed as “bad design means no design” and is on the list of arguments that get you banned here for bringing it up (read the comment policy on the sidebar). It is not a scientific argument. It argues against design by speculating about the quality of work a supernatural designer would or would not accomplish. In other words, it’s an argument from theology dependent on the purported goals, desires, and capabilities of a supernatural designer. Consider yourself warned and don’t bring it up again. -ds

  3. 3
    ultimate175 says:

    In addition to the above comments, the design process involves a constant evaluation of contingencies. I can choose a stronger material, but then the cost increases significantly. I can decrease power output to resolve a potential heat issue, but then speed requirements may not be met.

    Which decisions are best for the overall design? Perhaps only the designer knows. I can tell you, however, that evaluating a design based on singular or collective deficiencies (even if only perceived), without understanding the competing design requirements that were dictating direction, is not a sound way to go about it. Unfortunately, this seems to be typically how Darwinists handle this business.

  4. 4
    Mark Frank says:

    Dave

    I know you are not going to post this but SG started and ultimate175 has continued discussing this banned argument. Is no one allowed to respond? Should you not tell them that no one is allowed to post anything that dissents from their views?

    Cheers

    They should consider themselves warned too. -ds

  5. 5
    ultimate175 says:

    I think Mark Frank’s comment (posted after I did) does a fine job of illustating my point.

  6. 6
    GilDodgen says:

    Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time for all challenges to be addressed during the colloquium. One point made by professor Fitch, that was unfortunately not rebutted, was that calculations about the improbabilities of forming functional proteins by chance are invalid because the amino acids are not randomly selected during protein synthesis. Of course, if one has the necessary information-processing machinery, and the necessary database of information to process (from the nucleotides in the DNA), there is virtually a 100% chance of getting a functional protein. At this point, however, one has a vastly more improbable set of circumstances to explain with stochastic processes, as proposed by Darwinian theory.

  7. 7
    Scott says:

    Mark:

    1. Any engineer will tell you that designers implement limitations to benefit performance of the overall system. When building complex machinery, it is necessary for certain components to be positioned sub-optimally for the overall performance of the end product. This is Engineering 101.

    2. What is optimal design? What does it look like? How does it behave? How do we answer these questions without an absolute standard of optimality with which to juxtapose sub-optimal design? Tell me about the relationship of optimal designs to the law of entropy. How would “optimal” designs in nature impact predator-prey relationships, extinction and the ecosystem?

    I think this paper will help you:

    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....#038;id=86

  8. 8
    Mark Frank says:

    Dave – I would very much like to respond to both Scott and Ultimate175 as I believe I have not made my point clear. I understand that you do not wish this issue discussed on UD. Please could you post this invitation to them to continue the discussion on my rather pathetic blog http://mark_frank.blogspot.com/

    Thanks

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