A hearty thanks to Warren for his thoughtful responses.

There is a second misunderstanding that I have observed twice or thrice, here or there. It is a simple and understandable one, having to do with the term “intelligent.”

Warren conveniently supplied me with an instance of the misunderstanding here:

“…Yet it cannot define “intelligent,” and so cannot make any falsifiable predictions.

For example, a man’s urethra, passes through his prostate which is prone to inflammation later in life causing all kinds of problems. That does not appear to be “intelligent.”

If a designer is intelligent, one might expect him to reuse the innovation from one organism on any other. But in an evolved system, an organism can only use and make minor modifications to traits inherited from its ancestors.

So then which hypothesis explains why birds and bats, both engineered for flying, do not share traits such as hollow bones, feathers, and wishbones? Could an eagle not benefit from a canine-like mouth? Maybe beaks are better for flying. But then why did bats not get any?”

There are plenty of examples to be amassed about parts or systems of nature not working correctly. Quite simply, this is not the point.

Perhaps a better term than “Intelligent Design” is “Intentional design.” Intelligence simply refers to a thoughtful, willful agent acting with a purpose. How “intelligent” this person is in accomplishing their purpose is quite irrelevant.

The interpretation of certain irreducibly complex systems like the Flagellum Motor is this: “The evidence suggests that this system, which cannot (yet) be accounted for by evolution, but is already well explained by intention.”

Rather than ask, “If there is an ‘Intelligent Designer’, why do some things work poorly? Rather ask, “If there is no designer, why does anything work at all?”

Right now, the best explanation for the “suprising fact” that the universe “appears to be designed” is.. Well, that it was intentionally designed.

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Posted by Keith E. Buhler

20 Comments

  1. Rather than ask, “If there is an ‘Intelligent Designer’, why do some things work poorly? Rather ask, “If there is no designer, why does anything work at all?”

    Darwin answered that it works due to a natural phenomenon, called natural selection, which can separate non-working variations from working variations and remove the non-working. The system only needs to be supplied with variations, and that is not in dispute.

    There are plenty of examples to be amassed about parts or systems of nature not working correctly. Quite simply, this is not the point.

    I know. In fact, my intent was to illustrate that it isn’t the point. If the point of ID were to make predictions, there would not be a problem. The point behind ID, or any “D,” is to simply say that evolutionary theory can’t explain everything, and where it cannot, enter “Design” of any nature to explain it. This still fails to produce falsifiable predictions and as such is still not a scientific theory.

    Why do we assume that the unknowns are “designed?” Because they appear “designed?” Has someone defined what properties indicate design, except maybe that no other theory is a perfect explanation and design seems like a reasonable catch-all? Not in science, it isn’t, and “intent” is not either, as I covered in the comment to part II, but will cover again here after the following quote:

    The interpretation of certain irreducibly complex systems like the Flagellum Motor is this: “The evidence suggests that this system, which cannot (yet) be accounted for by evolution, but is already well explained by intention.”

    Intention is not an explanation. Things don’t get intended into existence. Design is not an explanation. Things don’t get designed into existence. And before someone says “things don’t evolve into existence” let me continue.

    The ____ Design concept here still requires supernatural of some kind in order to get the parts into place. Both Evolution and Design require parts and both have them because we can see that the parts exist. However, evolutionary theory does not require supernatural. It relies on documented processes (genetic mutation, natural selection, mostly) to get the parts into place and the use of these generate falsifiable predictions.

    Irreducible complexity is seen as a barrier to evolution but not “design.” But, of course it isn’t a barrier to design because design can’t do anything without supernatural anyway, and supernatural has no barriers.

    Can the ____ Design concept work without a supernatural force? If so, then use that natural force as the alternate theory. Otherwise the ____ Design theory should be called the Supernatural Creation theory.

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  2. The problem that Warren seems to have is that of the supernatural. Mathematics teaches us that macroevolution is a mathematical impossibility. In the world of mathematics, events whose probabilities occur within the range of 1/1030 to 1/1050 (and beyond) are considered impossible. George Gaylord Simpson (1967) wrote that the “..evolutionary journey leading up to the simplest one-cell organism was as impressive as the rest of the evolutionary trip put together.” In fact, according to the odds, a one-cell organism is so complex that the likelihood of its coming together by sheer accident and chance is computed to be around 1/1078,000. Fred Hoyle also declared that evolution was a mathematical impossibility. Huxley computed the probability of the emergence of the horse as 1/103,000,000.

    All the electrons in all of space for all of time making, say, 60 trials per second in an attempt to evolve into something more complex cannot, according to the math, even reach the level of a single protein molecule, even giving the macroevolutionists credit for a rather large amount of electrons (10^79) and a very long time for the life of the Universe (very recently some have suggested 20 billion years, although most evolutionary thinkers would agree on around 13 billion.)

    Of course, here on earth many fewer electrons would have many fewer trials in an attempt to defy the laws of thermodynamics and evolve into a living organism. Still, math says it could not happen and yet we have myriad forms of life on this planet, highly complex life with billions of components and systems at work to sustain said creatures. Say what you will, I believe it takes more faith (in the absence of a design agent) to be a macroevolutionist than to be a proponent of Intelligent Design. Life is so obviously designed that ID people accept the obvious and move on.

    Are ID scientists all believers in God? No, some are and some aren’t. But all have decided to take the blinders off and admit that Occam’s Razor must be applied. ID is the only reasonable explanation for the complexity of life. Science should go on from there rather than continue mucking about in the backwater that is Darwinism.

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  3. radar,

    I have no problem with the supernatural, nor have I said so.

    My comment was about why science does not accept supernatural as a final explanation (and why it shouldn’t) and that ID requires supernatural making it unfit for science class. Which you haven’t discussed.

    Your post is why it is mathematically impossible for a single protein to assemble itself from its atomic parts, as if evolution requires such a thing and it does not.

    Your response is not relevant. Neither is whether all ID scientists believe in God, but since you know of some that do not, please show us where we can find them.

    Occam’s Razor says that the simplest solution is the most appropriate. I.D., compared to evolution, is hardly a simpler explanation because it doesn’t explain anything. If design is detected in nature, how did it get built? Designing something doesn’t make it so. So, then, how did the first protein come about? I.D. either doesn’t say or relies on some supernatural force, but until that supernatural force can also be explained, the explanation is not simpler, it is less simple. In other words, it’s simpler to explain electromagnetism by saying “God does it.” So does that make it right? You’ve misunderstood Occam’s Razor. Occam’s Razor if it applied here would support the natural explanation, Evolution.

    For those that didn’t figure it out, his 1/1030 was supposed to be 1/10^30. (I hope). Still, there is no such threshold for mathematical “impossibility” except 1/(infinity) and such an utterance makes it clear that this is no mathematician. It’s a moot point anyway because this is a straw man – evolution makes no such claim about the evolution of proteins.

    Your comment might have been relevant had the article or my comment had anything to do with evolution’s or ID’s reliability. Instead it was about the nature of ID, which makes your comment irrelevant, so instead of spending the time refuting it myself, I’ll send you to where it has already been refuted.

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  5. Oops, my above commment was posted in the wrong thread, duh! And both 1030 and 1050 were meant to be 10^30 and 10^50, my apologies. I actually got those figures from a mathematician. I don’t claim to be a mathmetician myself, thank you.

    Now back to our movie….I have to say that “Natural Selection” is used by macroevolutionists as some kind of a magic word. In fact, it seems to hold supernatural powers in that it somehow designs things and somehow magically circumvents the laws of chance in order to operate. I would say that a Darwinist believes in the supernatural, he calls it Natural Selection.

    I fully identify myself as a believer in a Creator God. I believe he created and designed life. Many scientists and laymen who don’t believe in God nevertheless ascribe to the ID concept simply because Darwinism is too far-fetched to be believed without faith in the Darwinist’s god, Natural Selection.

    Occam’s Razor supports the idea that God created, just as most scientists believed before Darwin. The evidence supports this supposition far better than the evidence for macroevolution.

    I would love to know how a Darwinist can explain how recently scientists were able to identify dinosaur DNA in fossil remains when DNA cannot survive more than a few thousand years? How can you explain a polystrate fossil of a tree trunk intersecting 10-12 layers of rock (representing “millions” of years) while standing at a 40 degree angle?

    Uniformitarianism, one of the foundational beliefs of Darwinism, is a fiction propounded in schools but not reflected by the real world. Careful studies of the sedimentary layers of the earth point to layering caused by flood. The fossil layers are generally distributed as one would expect in a flood, the bottom dwelling sea life at the bottom, the fish at another level, shore-dwellers at another layer and the largest land animals near the top. (Particularly the ones capable of recognizing danger and able to run to higher ground). Although Uniformitarianism calls for gradual layering, in the real world there are consistently sharp and obvious contrasts between layers. This would be the expected result with layering that would result from a worldwide flood.
    This was the observation of earth’s layering by Alan V. Jopling, Department of Geology, Harvard; “it is reasonable to postulate a very rapid rate of deposition; that is a single lamina would probably be deposited in a period of seconds or minutes rather than in a period of hours. …There is factual evidence from both field observation and experiment that laminae composed of bed material are commonly deposited by current action within a period of seconds or minutes.”

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  6. have to say that “Natural Selection” is used by macroevolutionists as some kind of a magic word. In fact, it seems to hold supernatural powers in that it somehow designs things and somehow magically circumvents the laws of chance in order to operate. I would say that a Darwinist believes in the supernatural, he calls it Natural Selection.

    This process called Natural Selection is documented. It is accepted by creationists. There are no such “laws of chance.”

    Many scientists and laymen who don’t believe in God nevertheless ascribe to the ID concept simply because Darwinism is too far-fetched to be believed without faith in the Darwinist’s god, Natural Selection

    Though this is irrelevant, I can’t help pointing out that it is also wrong. Show me one atheist who thinks I.D. is scientific. “Far-fetched” does not mean “not scientific.” In fact, in this case it means “misunderstood.”

    Occam’s Razor supports the idea that God created, just as most scientists believed before Darwin…

    You still don’t understand it. Occam’s Razor is not a measure of truth. Before Copernicus, most scientists believed the earth was flat. They still exist. So what?

    I would love to know how a Darwinist can explain how recently scientists were able to identify dinosaur DNA in fossil remains when DNA cannot survive more than a few thousand years?

    I already answered your question here where you posted it before. You have misrepresented Schweitzer’s findings because you are parroting someone who also did not understand them.

    How can you explain a polystrate fossil of a tree trunk intersecting 10-12 layers of rock (representing “millions” of years) while standing at a 40 degree angle?

    If you really wanted an explanation, you would search for one and accept one that made sense when you found it. From your other post I can see that you are familiar with Talk Origins. They have covered “polystrate” tree claims. If there is a problem with their answer, then perhaps you should address it rather than pretend a n explanation doesn’t exist.

    Also from your other post, it is clear that you reject the explanation because the explainer is an evolutionist. This is not objective.

    The rest of these claims are also covered by talkorigins.

    As I said in the other thread, I will not waste time posting responses to what has already been refuted and do not answer my original argument. The argument in this thread was that I.D. is not just “detection of design” because it requires supernatural to explain anything actually happening. If you can refute that then please do. If not, then stop doing everyone a disservice with your red herrings.

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  8. I now understand why you don’t want to answer me, because you are unable. You want to claim I misunderstand and tell me how ignorant I am rather than address any problems to macroevolution I present. Perhaps the audience that reads these commments see the truth of this line of reasoning.

    You are completely wrong about natural selection. Without mutations driven by chance, only microevolution takes place. Microevolution is the selection of certain traits held within the gene pool of the organism. It doesn’t change the organism into anything else. I can get a Poodle or a Mastiff from Canis Familiaris but I cannot manipulate the gene pool to come up with, for instance, a bear or a goat.

    Polystrate tree “claims” are actually the result of hundreds of examples of polystrate fossils found around the globe. Talkorigins inane answer ignores the facts. Most polystrate fossils are buried in several layers that scientists like Rupke have determined had to have been laid down in a matter of minutes or at the most hours after the original layer. Furthermore, the evidence that seawater was involved in the layering argues against the river flooding that talkorigins prefers. Talkorigins simplistic explanations are only good enough for those who wish to be mollified rather than those whose minds remain inquisitive.

    Warren, you say that ID has a problem because the designs are not perfect, in your opinion. Perhaps all the designs work together properly according to the designer’s overall plan. I would say neither your mind nor mine is able to confidently say whether that is so. I will not go so far as to confirm that I could design life better than it has already been designed.

    Warren, I no longer expect you to answer my questions because you cannot. I will no longer be surprised if you ridicule me instead, for it is so easy to do and avoids the argument altogether. You can even pretend that Darwinism is a theory rather than a faith.

    By the way, better scientists than you (Newton, for instance) acknowledged the supernatural and felt as if they were studying the natural in part in order to better see the supernatural. Down through the centuries scientists acknowledged the supernatural and did not discount suppostions or theories that respected the possibility of supernatural forces or events. This is something atheistic scientists have promoted successfully in the last century or so but it does not make their position right. In fact, I believe that a scientist who will not consider the possibility of the supernatural to be like a toddler who covers his eyes to avoid seeing or being seen by what he fears might be out there. Like anything else, the supernatural must be considered as a cause agent until it is ruled out scientifically. Has Darwinism ruled out the possibility of the supernatural? No, although many have wished that it were so. Does Intelligent Design make room for the possibility of the supernatural? Yes. That is not necessarily religion, but it is good science.

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  9. The ____ Design concept here still requires supernatural of some kind in order to get the parts into place.

    The supernatural is by no means necessary.

    A quick counterexample runs something like this: Highly evolved alien lifeforms (green and leathery, with eyes all over their body) who have already been around for millions of years may have decided to to create pets for themselves, and a pet playground for them to live in. Since they wanted to make fragile little carbon units that survive on oxygen, they designed a planet with the temperatures, gaseous chemicals, thousands of complex, well-balanced ecosystems needed to keep this little things alive.

    These aliens (about whom we know O so little) are actually the originators of the human race, and their design is evident in the universe.

    This is but one silly hypothesis that supports the design in the universe (careful, seemingly intentional arrangement) while remaining Natural.

    Make sense?

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  10. Warren said: Can the ____ Design concept work without a supernatural force? If so, then use that natural force as the alternate theory.

    This is a good point, Warren. Can you explain it, one step further?

    Can you say why, if both a natural and supernatural force are available possibilities, it is preferable to use the former?

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  11. “Has someone defined what properties indicate design[?]”

    The analogy is to human beings. Humans create things. They create large, single-purpose machines… like lamps.

    (I will give this example for the sake of general readers, though, Warren, I am curious what you will think of it. I am sure there is something that will not be to your satisfaction, but I have tried to figure it out, but I cannot predict what it will be! I guess that’s the beauty of real discussion… I’ll have to wait ’till your reply.)

    Take a desk lamp, for example. An average desk lamp has a lightbulb, a stand or clamp to hold it up, a funnel of some sort that covers the lightbulb to focus the light in a specific direction, an on/off switch that directs electricity to the appropriate places to the light bulb (which is, itself, a complex little ditty). This is a minimal sketch for the sake of an example, this is not intended to be technically accurate nor comprehensive.

    OK, why did humans create lamps? So that they can have light provided for them when other sources are not available (like when the sun goes down). So far so good.

    What do lamps do? Lamps provide light. What is light for? (At least,) it helps us to see things that it bounces off of.

    What kinds of things might we want to see? Books, maybe.

    So human beings wanted a device that would light up the pages of a book for their own reading enjoyment. With this end (among others) in mind, they designed lamps. The product of their efforts actually does light up books (I can prove this, I read by the light of a lamp just yesterday!) That is (a part) of their design. They were intentionally made to do at least this one thing, as well as many other possible functions. (They were not made, as a sidenote, to scoop food into the mouth, nor to transport heavy boxes from one room to another… those tasks are reserved for forks and dollies.)

    Let us analyze this happy little thought experiment and draw out a preliminary definition of “design”:

    Something is designed if and only if a designer of some sort (in this case, human) put parts together into a whole, which, as a whole, performs one or more tasks well, (even if it does not perform all tasks.) Furthermore, the designer “began with the end in mind,” foreseeing the needed task, foreseeing a possible way in which this something would do that task, and putting these specific parts together on purpose, to do said task.

    In short, something is designed if and only if a designer — with intention and foresight– creates that thing to do something.

    (Of course, people often accidentally create things.. “happy mistakes,” my high school art teacher used to call them. Let us not, for the moment, consider these, unless they seem to someone particularly relevent. Non-designs are often failed attempts to design something ELSE. And, most successful human inventions actually do what it is the inventors started out hoping they would do.)

    Now, before we even get into the difference between lamps and the sun, let’s continue with the analogy to human design.

    There are exactly 0.0 recorded instances in history of lamps that have appeared accidentally. Every lamp on the planet was intentionally created by someone, to be a lamp and to do what lamps do. (If there are silly exceptions to this, please do save your breath.)

    In fact, if I found a lamp on the street one day… and I plugged it, turned it on, and it quite effectively shone light in one direction, I would infer that this lamp was made by someone, somewhere, even if I don’t know who or what designed it. Perhaps it was a Chinaman. Perhaps it was a child. Perhaps it was not made directly by any person, but by a machine, that itself was designed to mass-manufacture lamps. Who knows, who cares.

    If I became especially fond of this lamp, and wanted to recommend it to friends because it is so useful and nice, I would even go so far as to look for the label on this lamp, to see who designed it.

    If someone came into my home, with a gun, while I was reading by the light of this lamp and said, “Pop quiz, Hot shot – if you answer this question wrong, I will blow your head off, so think hard: Was this lamp designed, or is it an accidental conglomeration of parts, produced by the natural movement of the winds, the seas, and the earth?”

    I would unwaveringly trust my life to the theory that this lamp was designed. I see no other even remotely plausible alternative. Chance, randomness, laws… every other alternative is, in principle, not a plausible explanation for the nature of this rather useful (not to mention aesthetically attractive) lamp.

    Now, if I am so effortlessly and confidently able to detect design in a lamp (regardless of the nature of the designer, the age of the lamp, the well- or poorly-functioning status of the lamp) it seems that I am pretty good at detecting design. And I do not flatter myself as the only one with this uncanny virtue. I’m pretty sure children can tell the difference between a pile of Legos (poured straight from the tub) and a Lego castle their dad had recently made.

    I shall now conclude as I have become afraid I am being long-winded… Am I helping anyone understand what properties indicate design, or have I merely succeeded in tiring my fingers by creating today’s largest non-sequitor?

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  12. Why do we assume that the unknowns are “designed?” Because they appear “designed?”

    Partly, yes. Isn’t this a good starting point?

    For that matter, what reason might we have to assume that highly complicated, efficiently functioning, teleologically precise machinery is merely “an unknown”?

    Is it not simpler to say that it looks like it was made on purpose because it was made on purpose (by someone, somewhere, somehow, who cares)?

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  13. In the previous post, Warren said “Intention is not an explanation. Things don’t get intended into existence.”, 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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  14. radar says: I now understand why you don’t want to answer me, because you are unable. You want to claim I misunderstand and tell me how ignorant I am rather than address any problems to macroevolution I present. Perhaps the audience that reads these commments see the truth of this line of reasoning.

    What have I not answered? I answered all radar’s points, every off-topic red herring. I don’t just claim he misunderstands, I point out where he demonstrates it. I addressed his “problems to macroevolution.” I said that the concept of macroevolution that he refuted is not Darwin’s or anyone else’s. So they are not problems.

    Who’s talking? Radar, in all his “points,” never actually addressed my point that ID is not scientific. I think he intended to point out that Darwinism is not scientific (which would be relevant) but he spent his time pointing out supposed evidence against it. Evidence against it presumes the ability to falsify its predictions. This argues that it is scientific. In the end, it amounts to a distraction, a red herring, but, to be thorough, I linked to the already widely known and available refutations, anyway.

    In fact, I gave a link to the complete list of refutations on talkorigins which cover every one of his claims so far. Radar simply claims that talkorigins is “one-sided.” And instead of refuting their refutations, he pretends that refutations don’t exist by saying things like “how can you explain” when an explanation is easy to find and in some cases, I’ve already linked to it.

    radar says: Warren, I no longer expect you to answer my questions because you cannot. I will no longer be surprised if you ridicule me instead, for it is so easy to do and avoids the argument altogether. You can even pretend that Darwinism is a theory rather than a faith.

    I obviously answered all his questions despite him not addressing my challenges. If I were to ridicule, it would not be “instead.” I have pointed out radar’s own demonstration of how he is ignorant of the arguments he has set out to refute. I don’t see how that’s unfair. I gave examples. His characterization of me “ridiculing” to “avoid the argument” is ironic considering that what he calls “ridiculing” is me pointing out that he is avoiding the argument.

    Darwinism is a faith? Radar’s other comments on this blog demonstrate that he cannot distinguish between atheism and Darwinism.

    radar says: By the way, better scientists than you (Newton, for instance) acknowledged the supernatural and felt as if they were studying the natural in part in order to better see the supernatural.

    Radar, we call this the fallacy of “appealing to authority.” The authority of a claimer has no effect on the truth of a claim. Additionally, your claim, here, is dubious. Give a reference so that we can see what the context of his “acknowledgement” was.

    I define supernatural as “outside the natural.” This means that our current natural laws are not able to explain it. Science accepts that there are things our natural laws are not able to explain yet. The quest of science has been to refine the natural laws. There are many natural laws today to explain things once thought supernatural. Scientists do acknowledge the supernatural, but do not accept it as a final explanation.

    radar says: I believe that a scientist who will not consider the possibility of the supernatural to be like a toddler who covers his eyes to avoid seeing or being seen by what he fears might be out there.

    There would appear to be two contextual definitions of “supernatural” as radar has used the term:

    1. That which we can never comprehend or understand.

    2. That which contemporary natural laws cannot explain.

    I can’t tell which he meant in his post. It seemed to me that he moved back and forth between definitions as if there’s no difference.

    Radar, if your definition is the former, then to consider this kind of supernatural is to abandon science. Science cannot accept this definition of supernatural. Did you want to argue that it should?

    If your definition is the latter, then this is what scientists consider every day. They don’t just accept the current natural laws; they try to refine them until there is nothing left to explain.

    I.D. is an argument from ignorance. It says that the biocomplexity is the result of a “designer” if we’ve ruled out everything else. This is called an argument from ignorance because you can’t know when you’ve ruled out everything else.

    What’s more disturbing is radar’s apparent characterization of I.D. as an argument for ignorance; that we should not attempt to understand that which is “supernatural.”

    Now on to the claims again…

    radar says: You are completely wrong about natural selection. Without mutations driven by chance, only microevolution takes place. Microevolution is the selection of certain traits held within the gene pool of the organism.

    This statement is simply incorrect. Genetic mutations happen in every population of significance. That fact alone, along with your definition would mean that there is only macroevolution and not microevolution.

    The difference between microevolution and macroevolution, as AIG and ICR define them, is simply that of magnitude. The specific measurable difference is not definable because they, being creationist terms, are based on the definition of the biblical term, “kind.” Microevolution is evolution within the kinds. Macroevolution is everything else, which, ostensibly, can never occur because the Bible says that they reproduce after their own kind.

    It’s funny to me that this blog started out on the claim that I.D. is NOT creationism relabeled but that radar cannot distinguish the two.

    radar continues: I can get a Poodle or a Mastiff from Canis Familiaris but I cannot manipulate the gene pool to come up with, for instance, a bear or a goat.

    We know that gradual changes do occur due to genetic mutations. This is accepted by creationists. These are minor changes. The minor changes are known to accumulate. What do you propose is the barrier to them accumulating into major change?

    radar says: Polystrate tree “claims” are actually the result of hundreds of examples of polystrate fossils found around the globe. Talkorigins inane answer ignores the facts. Most polystrate fossils are buried in several layers that scientists like Rupke have determined had to have been laid down in a matter of minutes or at the most hours after the original layer.

    The main point of talkorigins’ “inane” answer was that those layers were known to have been laid down in a short period of time. Didn’t you read it?

    If Rupke agrees that the time period was short, what is he refuting? Geology is not as simple as “layer = million years.” Geologists actually consider what the contents of the layers are, the formations inside them, and other things.

    radar continues: Furthermore, the evidence that seawater was involved in the layering argues against the river flooding that talkorigins prefers. Talkorigins simplistic explanations are only good enough for those who wish to be mollified rather than those whose minds remain inquisitive.

    Are you going to give us a reference – a link, something? Those of us who really are inquisitive would like to know your source of information.

    Uniformitarianism doesn’t say that the layers were laid down uniformly, but rather that the different processes which lay down different types of layers have remained individually uniform.

    If this is an argument for Noah’s flood, isn’t detecting saltwater as a cause for sedimentation irrelevant? Shouldn’t all lower sedimentation be the result of saltwater?

    radar says: Warren, you say that ID has a problem because the designs are not perfect, in your opinion. Perhaps all the designs work together properly according to the designer’s overall plan. I would say neither your mind nor mine is able to confidently say whether that is so. I will not go so far as to confirm that I could design life better than it has already been designed.

    The point I was making was that the explaining things as “intelligent” was not the purpose of I.D.. Rather, I.D.’s purpose is to explain things as essentially unexplainable. Your declaration that a potential overall plan is above our ability to understand reinforces my argument.

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  15. Keith says: The supernatural is by no means necessary.

    A quick counterexample runs something like this [lots and lots of aliens]. …Make sense?

    Actually, it does.

    Let’s look at the distinction between the “theories” again. Evolutionary theory actually proposes natural mechanisms for how the life was created. I.D. by its nature cannot. The alien, example, though also interesting, is not a falsifiable hypothesis either.

    I.D. seems to be often disguised as explanatory, but my point is that it is the opposite. It is not a positive explanation but an attempt to negate the explanation of natural selection.

    Negating an explanation is not ascientific. Using it as an alternative to a positive explanation is.

    The concept of detecting a property in genetics which makes evolution by natural selection impossible is good. The concept of saying that the impossibility is the explanation is bad.

    Some, such as Dembski, claim that the “Design” part of Intelligent Design rules out natural selection. But Dembski’s own argument to that effect is an argument from incredulity. He says himself that “design” or “intellect” is “inferred” by ruling out all other known possibilities. He makes the assumption that he’s aware of all the possibilities, and that natural selection itself cannot be a possibility.

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  16. Keith says: Can you say why, if both a natural and supernatural force are available possibilities, it is preferable to use the former?

    Supernatural is that which lies outside the explanation of our natural laws. If an explanation which fits inside our natural laws is available, then it means the explanation enjoys corroboration from many other experiments and observations.

    Supernatural is always available as a “possibility.” Scientists look for “explanations.” Supernatural is not an explanation but the opposite of it. It basically means we know it happened, but can’t explain how it works – we can’t explain the “nature” of it.

    We now have natural laws to explain things which were once acknowledged as supernatural. We have them because supernatural was not accepted as a final explanation.

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  17. Let’s examine the lamp analogy.

    The problem here is you use two definitions for “designed.” You have the “directed design” and the “foreseen design.” We have already shown that natural selection, by providing direction, can produce a directed design.

    In your lamp analogy you describe foreseen design but go on to demonstrate only directed design. In order to show foreseen design, the designer must have had the end-product in mind from the beginning.

    Let’s examine your stated reasoning for assuming it was foreseen design (emphasis mine)?

    I [have no doubt] that this lamp was designed. I see no other even remotely plausible alternative. Chance, randomness, laws… every other alternative is, in principle, not a plausible explanation for the nature of this rather useful (not to mention aesthetically attractive) lamp.

    That is the very definition of argument from ignorance. You can call it argument from principle if you want, but failure to see an alternative cannot be demonstrated to be principle. If you are ignorant of alternatives, you can’t know it to be truth.

    I suspect that in making this argument you forgot that your new definition of design requires foresight. It is not enough to say there are no other plausible explanations that it had a designer, but you have to say there are no other plausible explanations besides the designer having the end result in mind from the beginning.

    The designer of your lamp, almost certainly, copied the key parts of his design from other lamps making only modifications. The designer of the first lamp designed a lamp probably less operational than your exquisite, eye-pleasing lamp. In fact, he did not have your lamp in mind. There were essentially multiple designers – a collective intelligence.

    If someone came into my home, with a gun, while I was reading by the light of this lamp and said, “Pop quiz, Hot shot – if you answer this question wrong, I will blow your head off, so think hard: Was this lamp designed, or is it an accidental conglomeration of parts, produced by the natural movement of the winds, the seas, and the earth?”

    You see, your gunman gives you only two choices. It is easy to exhaust the alternative explanations before choosing “designed.”

    Pretend your gunmen’s question was “was this lamp completely designed by an intelligence which had the end result in mind from the beginning?” Answer “yes” to that. Now pretend you are dead.

    The lamp was almost certainly designed by a collective intelligence each improving (or not) on the previous. The important part here is that the intelligence almost certainly did not have your lamp in mind from the beginning.

    Note that the lamp analogy still breaks down under any scrutiny, anyway. The lamp designers are non-random and implement their own initial selection. Subsequent selectors (the consumers, for instance) then have much less to select. The lamps do not self-modify or reproduce and require someone to make modifications. The selectors themselves are intelligent because lamps do not need to actively compete for survival.

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  18. Isn’t [assuming that the unknowns are “designed” because they appear “designed”] a good starting point?

    Yes, but not a good ending point.

    Is it not simpler to say that it looks like it was made on purpose because it was made on purpose (by someone, somewhere, somehow, who cares)?

    Simpler to say, and simpler to explain are not the same thing, you see. Saying it was made on purpose is (1) Not really an explanation and (2) Not falsifiable.

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  19. 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.

    “On purpose” is such a nebulous term. If we define it as a more relaxed version of “designed” which has a definition closer to “with something like the end in mind,” it doesn’t change the ability to demonstrate it without making an argument from ignorance.

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  20. that everything you need to know about it can be found here: http://www.w3.org/

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