Many people are trying to understand the answer to this question: “Where did all the complexity come from?”

IDers say, “It came from an intelligent designer,”
Evolvers say, “It came from previous simplicity, gradually increasing in complexity.”

In the previous post, Warren made this challenge: “An intelligent designer” doesn’t explain anything, scientifically, unless we can explain how he’s doing it.”

He summarized, “Intention is not an explanation. Things don’t get intended into existence.”

With which I fully agree.

There is a difference between mechanism, and originating cause. It is the difference between “How” and “Why,” the difference between a pool cue striking an ivory ball into a pocket, and a person who’s trying to win a game.

I do not claim to know the mechanism for how things got made, I claim to see clues that suggest they were made on purpose.

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Posted by Keith E. Buhler

9 Comments

  1. My only question on this remains how you draw the conclusion that it was “intended” or done “on purpose?” Is this the only alternative?

    Dembski tries to show that an increase in complex specified information (as he calls it) cannot be acheived via mutation and natural selection. However he makes the assumption that the remaining alternative source is “intelligence.”

    To me, “intelligence” is meant to imply “intent.” In other words, the intelligence intended the result. Still it has not been answered, here, why it is assumed that intelligence/intent is the only possible source for information. I have not seen a satisfactory answer from Dembski either.

    I believe in an overarching intent behind our universe. But this is a philosophy to me. I have not reached the conclusion by any scientific means. I expect it is impossible to reach scientifically. The notion (that my ability to refelect on my own existence indicates a causal existence) feels right. But it is not falsifiable.

    So, then, why on purpose? Is there even a clear definition to “on purpose?” Can “on purpose” ever be scientifically discovered or ruled out?

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  3. Thanks, Warren! Your post goes right to where the rubber meets the road. You said, “To me, “intelligence” is meant to imply “intent.” In other words, the intelligence intended the result. Still it has not been answered, here, why it is assumed that intelligence/intent is the only possible source for information. I have not seen a satisfactory answer from Dembski either.”

    I would say that first the Intelligent Design proponents are arguing from a point of simple observation. They say that now that science knows so much about the makeup of life and its complexity, it is no longer possible to believe that it has come about by the combination of natural selection and chance mutation. ID begins with making the logical observation first, that things appear to be designed.

    We understand from our perspective that in order to design, intelligence is required. An ID purist does not claim to know what that intelligence consists of or has come from, simply that from our perspective design denotes intelligence. Once accepted, this concept takes the scientific community away from the pointless search for the means by which life has evolved and on to more useful scientific pursuits.

    What pursuits? How about an attempt to apply the designs found in nature to systems produced and used by mankind. The famous rotary flagellum is being studied as a nanomachine by engineers in an attempt to make human-designed machines more efficient. Once scientists accept that life has been designed, it frankly frees them to study the designs in order to apply them to practical uses for mankind.

    Imagine the scientific community spending 150 years constantly studying the idea of whether or not gravity was a force and whether it could be predictable enough to consider trying to design airships of some sort. I see scientists bogged down in following macroevolutionary rabbit holes and wonder what good could be done were the efforts focused elsewhere?

    I don’t believe we can scientifically pinpoint intent from the design. We can simply make the compelling argument that living organisms and systems were designed. Once you cross into the realm of intent, it becomes more of a philosophical issue rather than scientific. As a man, the scientist will find it hard not to cross that line. As a scientist he has no need to do so.

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  4. We understand from our perspective that in order to design, intelligence is required.

    …with no basis. In order to have an “intelligent” design, yes, but as I’ve pointed out, there are many parts of nature that don’t appear “intelligent.”

    An ID purist does not claim to know what that intelligence consists of or has come from, simply that from our perspective design denotes intelligence. Once accepted, this concept takes the scientific community away from the pointless search for the means by which life has evolved and on to more useful scientific pursuits. (emphasis mine)

    Ah, the flat earth argument. Once the argument is “accepted” we cannot consider evidence contrary to it to be trustworthy. Attempts to disprove it are “pointless searches.”

    What pursuits? How about an attempt to apply the designs found in nature to systems produced and used by mankind.

    Evolutionists do this. Apparent design in nature whether from God, natural selection, or the flying spaghetti monster, is inherently noteworthy because of its survivability.

    You brought this up already. I already pointed out that this proves that evolution doesn’t hinder scientists from respecting nature’s quality. In fact, I’ll add, it helps them understand why mistakes, which I’ve also pointed out, are made.

    Once scientists accept that life has been designed, it frankly frees them to study the designs in order to apply them to practical uses for mankind.

    Even if this were true, are you arguing that we should not understand why things are designed, just accept that they are designed perfectly? I’ve pointed out that this is obviously not the case – there are designs which engineers should not mimic.

    Imagine the scientific community spending 150 years constantly studying the idea of whether or not gravity was a force and whether it could be predictable enough to consider trying to design airships of some sort.

    We accepted for years that gravity was just “things fall down.” Then we learned that it is “mass attracts mass,” and “down” is relative. Then Einstein came up with General Relativity and “mass warps space-time” and “E=Mc” and now we have atomic energy. I see what you mean… we should have quit at “things fall down” to avoid getting “bogged down.”

    Flat earthers actually argued that if the earth were round, people would fall off the other side.

    Should we stop studying gravity? We got it all figured out now? The gravitational constant is only known to three decimal places.

    We can simply make the compelling argument that living organisms and systems were designed.

    Which is easy if you don’t define design. And, the term “compelling” is contextually relative to the “compellee.”

    Once you cross into the realm of intent, it becomes more of a philosophical issue rather than scientific. As a man, the scientist will find it hard not to cross that line. As a scientist he has no need to do so.

    There is, indeed, a tiny philosopher inside every scientist.

    You agree, then, that intent, though it exists, is not scientifically definable, but is rather a philosophical domain?

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  5. Warren says-“Even if this were true, are you arguing that we should not understand why things are designed, just accept that they are designed perfectly? I’ve pointed out that this is obviously not the case – there are designs which engineers should not mimic.

    Imagine the scientific community spending 150 years constantly studying the idea of whether or not gravity was a force and whether it could be predictable enough to consider trying to design airships of some sort.

    We accepted for years that gravity was just “things fall down.” Then we learned that it is “mass attracts mass,” and “down” is relative. Then Einstein came up with General Relativity and “mass warps space-time” and “E=Mc” and now we have atomic energy. I see what you mean… we should have quit at “things fall down” to avoid getting “bogged down.”

    Flat earthers actually argued that if the earth were round, people would fall off the other side.”

    First, Darwinists are the flat-earthers, for they are the ones who fight so hard to keep ID out of classrooms and out of the realm of scientific study and discussion. Darwinists have married themselves to the cause and they are the ones who cannot bear other ideas that refute their belief system.

    My example was to explain how foolish it would be to spend 150 years trying to figure out whether there was a gravitational force, I did not say it would be foolish to study gravity. In fact, you obviously have to accept the concept of a gravitational force in order to study it. You are twisting my arguments here.

    Also, I never said that the design of life was “perfect” but you have added that in order to recast another of my points.

    In any event, in today’s scientific world, “gravity” is ID and Darwinists are the people who are afraid to take any time studying it, or studying life from that frame of reference. Darwinists fear the teaching of ID and the study of life from that point of reference. I suspect in most cases I understand that fear and it is a philosophical issue rather than a scientific one.

    I would agree that the study of intent is a philosophical one while science studies the what and how of things.

    Here is a scientific statement: All reasonable evidence leads us to conclude that life was designed.

    Here is a philosophical declaration: I believe that a Creator God was, and is, the Designer.

    Go ahead and ignore the philosophical and concentrate on the scientific statement. If that statement is true, scientists would be compelled, not to quit studying life, but rather to study life from a different point of reference. If that statement is true, then science and mankind are better served when scientists pursue truth rather than debunked ideas that do not fit reality.

    Sadly, Intelligent Design proponents have only been asking that ID be both taught and considered along with Darwinism rather than displacing Darwinism but the entrenched Darwinists fight this idea tooth and nail. Here is a case where scientists and teachers are afraid of the dissemination of information.

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  6. Here is a scientific statement: All reasonable evidence leads us to conclude that life was designed.

    If “designer” in this statement is defined as designer with will and intent, then the statement implies no falsifiable predictions. It is therefore not scientific, no.

    If “designer” in this statement is defined as process capable of direction that forms patterns, then the statement does make falsifiable predictions. (Such as detection of that direction and pattern.)

    Natural selection fits the second definition. Its direction is survivability via reproduction. The patterns are the viable combinations. Natural selection itself implies more falsifiable predictions such as the nested hierarchy in phylogeny.

    The problems with ID are that it does not explain anything, makes no falsifiable predictions, and is not science.

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  7. sci·ence (sns)
    n.

    1) The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.

    2) Such activities restricted to explaining a limited class of natural phenomena.

    3)Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study.

    4)Knowledge, especially that gained through experience.

    Source: The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
    Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company (Courtesy of Dictionary.com)

    Let’s see, both Darwinism and Intelligent Design incorporate observation. Check.

    Identification. Both Darwinism and ID identify evidence obtained through observation that fit the postulation. Check.

    Description. Both describe the world, organisms and systems observed and explain why what is observed fits the hypothesis of either Darwinism or ID, respectively. Check.

    Experimental investigation. Happily for ID proponents, Darwinists are on record, having made numerous trials in an attempt to observe macroevolution in action. Test such as these, when unsuccessful for Darwinists, are successful trials for ID proponents. Check again.

    Theoretical explanation of phenomena. Darwinists postulate that all life has evolved from substance or substances unknown at time unknown and that macroevolution by means of mutation and natural selection has produced all living things. ID proponents postulate that life was designed, made from substance or substances unknown and at a time unknown and that, rather than more and more varieties of life evolving, all living things were made in the unobservable past and since natural selection involves loss of information, some living things will become extinct over time, but no new kinds of living things will be formed. Check.

    Both Darwinism and Intelligent Design meet your criteria as Science. Both are a means of explaining from whence arose life. Both make falsifiable predictions. For instance, ID predicts that no new forms of life will be formed but that some forms of life will, over time, become extinct. Darwinism predicts that new forms of life are being formed, whether or not some forms become extinct. Based on scientific observations so far made I would personally bet on Darwinism having the predictions that wind up being falsified. Nevertheless, both make predictions.

    I conclude that both ID and Darwinism can be considered Science according to the definition.

    Postscript-Many scientists that now have turned from Darwinism to ID have done so because testing done in hopes of getting Darwin-friendly results have supported ID instead. The fossil record better supports ID as well in my opinion, and I am certainly not alone.

    Darwinism is 19th century science, based on a hypothesis made when little was known about biology, microbiology, biochemistry, etc. A 19th century scientist might well have said of ID, “That is so 18th century!”. In the 20th century, grave doubts began to arise in the scientific community about macroevolution when expected numbers of transitional forms were not found in fossils, when multiple trials failed to produce a new evolved creature, when breakthroughs in microbiology found more and more complexity in cell operations. I still say that by the end of the 21st century Darwinism sit on the same dusty back shelf as concepts such as the flat earth or the earth-centric solar system or spontaneous generation.

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  8. A dictionary is no match for context. You know what is meant by “science.” The word “science” derives from “knowledge” and has a huge array of meanings – so what?

    You would deny that science considers only theories which make falsifiable predictions? Then we can never reach an agreement.

    Thankfully those whcih can make the distinction outnumber those who cannot. Otherwise it would still be heresy to say the earth is round.

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  9. Sorry, posted that too quickly and forgot to respond to the following:

    …Both make falsifiable predictions. For instance, ID predicts that no new forms of life will be formed but that some forms of life will, over time, become extinct.

    New forms have been formed. This has been falsified. So then, down with I.D.?

    Darwinism predicts that new forms of life are being formed, whether or not some forms become extinct.

    The truth is that neither of these are falsifiable. “Darwinism” makes no stipulation on when a new form should emerge, so it could just take longer than we have to study it. The implied falsification is to not find any, but with no time stipulation, this can never be falsified.

    I know you are about to tell me that in my falsification of ID, my examples of new forms of life aren’t “new forms” because, for example, fruit flies are still fruit flies despite speciation.

    The problem here is you have used a non-scientific term, “forms of life.” If you define forms of life as “clearly anatomically and physically different” then we are just not going to see this happen in our lifetime. So this isn’t falsifiable unless we are allowed to look for evidence of it in the past. Oh, good, we have tons.

    But all these can be explained by a designer, right? Or all these transitional forms are original forms (in this case either ape or human) despite that we can’t tell which of the two original forms for sure.

    ID still makes no actual falsifiable predictions. Falsifiability is only achieved if there is a conceivable event or finding that would render the prediction erroneous. In your example, you don’t define the requisite finding (“new forms of life”) so no one can ever be sure he’s found it. That fails to be falsifiable. So are we clear about what falsifiable means?

    For instance, would I.D. be falsified if a wale was born with legs?

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