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Understanding Intelligent Design Theory – The Seoul Times


Posted to give glimpses of international interest in ID. Korea appears to allow significant freedom of speech and inquiry.


Special Contribution By Babu G. Ranganathan

The Seoul Times, Global Views Jan 28, 2008

Understanding Intelligent Design Theory

Imagine finding a planet where robots are programmed so that they can make other robots just like themselves from raw materials.

Now, imagine an alien scientist visitor coming to the planet and, after many years of studying these robots, the alien scientist visitor comes to the conclusion that since science can explain how these robots work, operate, function and reproduce there’s no reason to believe that there was an ultimate intelligent designer behind them.

The analogy above certainly is not perfect but it is sufficient to reveal the fallacious thinking of those who attack intelligent design behind life and the universe. . . . The sequence of molecules in DNA (the genetic code) determines the sequence of molecules in proteins. Furthermore, without DNA there cannot be RNA, and without RNA there cannot be DNA. And without either DNA or RNA there cannot be proteins, and without proteins there cannot be DNA or RNA. They’re all mutually dependent upon each other for existence! . . .

See full article at The Seoul Times, Global Views, Mon. Jan 28, 2008

Thanks, Atom. Jon Saboe Graceout
[Off-topic] Jon, I heard your radio interview about "The Days of Peleg", it was very interesting. I didn't realze the water tower in the book was from Tiwanaku. Good stuff, I hope other UD readers discover the book. Atom Atom
Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith, in his famous talk "Is Man a Machine" demonstrated this "machines that make more machines" concept, and that humans (and all of life) were von Neumann Machines. The concept of a von Neumann machine (after John von Neumann) is one of self-replication. von Neumann preferred the term Universal Constructor. The idea is a machine that can collect all of the necessary raw materials, plus contain all of the instructions and mechanism needed to make a functioning copy of itself automatically without outside assistance. Although theoretically NOT impossible, it has been determined that the enormous complexity of such a system would be un-sustainable, since it would also have to be capable of self-repair—and it would degrade faster than it could fix itself. The only proof we have that they ARE possible is that life is a perfect example of such constructors. Graceout
Greetings! First, Kairosfocus, you make me laugh, I love your extreme. It inspires me. No joke. Second, I agree with DHL and Kairosfocus, because science should not be making assuptions ahead of facts. The starting point for any and every real and good science is investigation. Conclusion an the other hand should be thorough, and solid, backed up primarily with facts and evidence. Even though we already have considerable evidence and many facts to come to the conclusion that Intelligence was involved. It must remain open, even if only for the sake of principle. Unlettered and Ordinary
Thanks Kairosfocus for the detailed explanation. Mapou, to clarify, I summarized Methodological Naturalism or "Naturalistic Materialism" by "No intelligence was involved." I.e., assuming only materialist causes were involved while saying nothing about the existence of non-materialistic causes. This would probably better be stated as "Only materialistic causes were involved" thus ignoring or making no comment on the existence of non-materialistic causes. Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach's "Naturalistic Materialism", and strong anti-Christian writings inspired Marx and thus communism and much of modern atheistic science. I summarized Philosophical Materialism by "or could be involved." i.e., non-materialistic causes do not exist and thus by definition could not be involved. Perhaps some philosophy of science specialists can expand on / correct this. DLH
Mapou and DLH: I see a bit of a discussion on DLH's summary of starting-point assumptions on cause-effect:
[Evo Mat assertion] No intelligence was involved or could be involved. vs [ID start-point for the design inference] Intelligence causation might be involved.
1 --> The former plainly closes the door to known possibilities for cause before looking at evidence. 2 --> By using the term "MIGHT" for the ID alternative, DLH rightly underscores that the design inference does not START by assuming or asserting that intelligence was involved, only that it might have been. 3 --> Then, we look tot he question of how do we tell if it most likely was involved. [This brings out that scientific inferences are provisional and on a "best explanation to date" basis.] 4 --> This brings us to the explanatory filter and the role of key, empirically known to be reliable, signs of intelligent design. 5 --> Namely, that functionally specified complex information, in all directly known cases, is the observed product of intelligent agents. (This already warrants an induction that this is a reliable sign of agency.) 6 --> Going further, we can see why this is so. For, when we deal with highly contingent systems that have more than 10^150 to 10^300 possible configurations, islands of functionality are so sparse in the config space, that on massively overwhelming odds, the probabilistic resources of the available universe would be exhausted by a random walk type search before you could reasonably expect to reach the shores of any island of functionality. [Cf my thought experiment discussion here.] 7 --> This idea is the foundation stone of the common Fisher-based hypothesis testing strategy that looks for the bulk of the distribution of possible outcomes then if an outcome is far enough out from the bulk, if observed in a realistic situation, it most likely was not by chance. 8 --> That brings up the pattern of known, observed causal factors: one or more of chance, necessity or agency. [Cf discussion in my always linked section A.] 9 --> The EF first proceeds: test for natural regularity. If highly contingent ("complex") [contrast: fuel + oxidiser + heat --> fire, reliably], then either chance or agency. 10] --> If not only complex [beyond the range 10^150 - 10^300 or so as appropriate] but also functionally specified information, then on the observation that only intelligent agents who UNDERSTAND what the configs are doing create such [and so beat the random walk odds], agency. Notice, agency is an empirically anchored CONCLUSION, not an assumption ahead of the facts. The ID "assumption" is to observe that causes come in the three flavours and to refuse to close one's mind to any particular one of the three ahead of the evidence. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Mapou It is not timidity but highlighting a critical difference between Intelligent Design, Creation Science and Neo-Darwinism etc.: With the presupposition: "Intelligence causation might be involved," you can evaluate evidence against models to determine whether intelligent causation occurred. e.g., in an arson investigation or testing an origins theory. However, if you say Intelligence WAS involved, you can show how scientific models can support that presupposition, but your are not testing to see if intelligent causation was involved. When materialism is presupposed, no allowance is made for any intelligent causation. So even if it did occur, that evidence is force fit to materialistic models - and intelligence cannot be seen in that model. Now I agree that in forming an ID theory, formulation of goal(s) that the designer may have used is part of the process. I agree that ID provides a basis for arriving at irreducibly complex systems. DLH
DLH, Why be so timid? I would put it this way: No intelligence was involved vs. Intelligence was involved By intelligence, I mean that the designer was goal-directed, which presumes the ability to ancticipate future events or conditions. Darwiniam evolution, by contrast is dumb because it cannot anticipate anything. The ability to anticipate is the only way to solve irreducibly complex problems, in my opinion. Mapou
The critical issue is the different presuppositions used: No intelligence was involved or could be involved. vs Intelligence causation might be involved. The difference dramatically changes the models one uses and possible outcomes that may result. DLH
I believe Jonathan Wells, Dr. dembski’s co-author of THE DESIGN OF LIFE, is a member of the Unification Church. Let me see. Wells is biased because he's a theist but R. Dawkins and PZ Myers are not because they're atheists? Yeah, sure. Mapou
no, we wouldn't expect to find defective mutations in the fossil record but if evolution was true we'd expect billions of transitionals and we don't. ari-freedom
RE: ----------------- If I am not mistaken, one of the fastest growing sects of Christianity is the Unification Church ------------------ I believe Jonathan Wells, Dr. dembski's co-author of THE DESIGN OF LIFE, is a member of the Unification Church. See here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Wells_(intelligent_design_advocate) SeekAndFind
This article made the interesting point of how unlikely it would be for partially evolved creatures to survive. A similar argument comes from the abundance of fully formed creatures in the fossil record. If evolution is true then the majority of fossils should be defective evolutions of creatures that die because of harmful mutations, as most mutation are. The absense of these types of fossils seems like compelling evidence that evolution does not explain the origin of new life forms. A blog on this topic would be interesting, or perhaps there aleady was one that I am unaware of. Peter
South Korea has: 1) Probably the fastest growing Christian Church population in the world; Despite opposition from the communists, Christianity is growing like gangbusters in China too...
Christianity finds a fulcrum in Asia Aug. 7, 2007 by Spengler Ten thousand Chinese become Christians each day, according to a stunning report by the National Catholic Reporter's veteran correspondent John Allen, and 200 million Chinese may comprise the world's largest concentration of Christians by mid-century, and the largest missionary force in history... I suspect that even the most enthusiastic accounts err on the downside, and that Christianity will have become a Sino-centric religion two generations from now. China may be for the 21st century what Europe was during the 8th-11th centuries, and America has been during the past 200 years: the natural ground for mass evangelization. If this occurs, the world will change beyond our capacity to recognize it. Islam might defeat the western Europeans, simply by replacing their diminishing numbers with immigrants, but it will crumble beneath the challenge from the East. China, devoured by hunger so many times in its history, now feels a spiritual hunger beneath the neon exterior of its suddenly great cities. Four hundred million Chinese on the prosperous coast have moved from poverty to affluence in a single generation, and 10 million to 15 million new migrants come from the countryside each year, the greatest movement of people in history...
It's interesting that, as the world's economic center of gravity shifts westward toward the Far East, that its spiritual center of gravity (the way I see it anyway, as a Christian) is shifting along with it. In both China and Korea the largest growth is in various home-church movements (and there are rumblings of similar movements in India too) -- which by the way -- are not beholden to any Western denominations (much to the Churchmen's chargrin). For me, seeing such lack of influence of the Christian West, I have to wonder whether that crowing glory of the secular West, namely Darwinism, enjoys anywhere near the inertia in the newly-prosperous Far East that it has in the "old-money" West -- where universities from Oxford to Oklahoma are festooned with academic departments and chairs, endowed with billions, that are dedicated to "Evolutionary Underwater Basketweaving" and the such-like. jstanley01
And conversely a smaller portion of aggressive atheists. DLH
I don’t know how relevant this piece of data is to the topic at hand, but South Korea has : 1) Probably the fastest growing Christian Church population in the world; 2) The world’s biggest churches in terms of population 3) Arguably has more dedicated Christians as a percentage of their population than any western country with the exception of the USA. Therefore, I would not be surprised to see a paper like the Seoul Times to be more sympathetic to ID than say, the New York Times or Le Figaro. SeekAndFind

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