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Author Topic:   Have complex human-made things been designed?
andorg
Junior Member (Idle past 3668 days)
Posts: 9
From: London, UK
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 1 of 85 (480291)
09-02-2008 8:09 AM


The idea that living organisms were designed comes from a common belief that complex human-made things have been designed. But is this correct?

Let's see examples of the most complex human-made things like: modern Nokia mobile phone, Boing 747 airplane, Windows-XP operating system, and let's asks the following question: have these very complex systems been designed?

It is not easy to trace the history of living organisms emerging on earth and to prove if they were designed or evolved, as it is not possible to find all the required evidences.

But for the human-made things the history of their emergence is well known.

If one looks at the history of the above mentioned human-made complex things, it becomes obvious that all of them have been evolved. Airplanes, mobile phones, computer products have been evolved step-by-step, by trial-and-error method. No single human and even not a huge group of humans is able of designing a complex thing that never have existed before. Any complex thing appears upon a base of another complex things that already exist.

The most intelligent persons like Leonardo Da Vinchi, Newton or Aristotle could never have designed an airplane, a mobile phone or a computer program. And Bill Gates with his team could not have designed Windows XP in 1981, when they created DOS.

And not because of the short of intelligence or small amount of people. In order to appear, Windows XP required a long series of steps, where the product of each step had to be checked by the environment: the market. Lots of computer programs improved by small changes, then were exposed to the market and those which survived became a basis for the future programs. This is the only way that could allow Windows XP to appear.

All inventions in the world are actually very small steps based on something that already exists. No invention can create something much more complex than currently existing.

So the conclusion is that all human-made complex things have been evolved and not designed.

And if it is true from human-made complex things - why should it be wrong for the natural complex things (the living organisms)?


Replies to this message:
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AdminNosy
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Message 2 of 85 (480305)
09-02-2008 10:16 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2172 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 3 of 85 (480323)
09-02-2008 1:20 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by andorg
09-02-2008 8:09 AM


Let's see examples of the most complex human-made things like: modern Nokia mobile phone, Boing 747 airplane, Windows-XP operating system, and let's asks the following question: have these very complex systems been designed?

Wikipedia

Design
Design, usually considered in the context of the applied arts, engineering, architecture, and other such creative endeavors, is used both as a noun and a

verb. As a verb, "to design" refers to the process of originating and developing a plan for a product, structure, system, or component. As a noun, "a design"

is used for both the final (solution) plan (e.g. proposal, drawing, model, description) or the result of implementing that plan (e.g. object produced, result of

the process). More recently, processes (in general) have also been treated as products of design, giving new meaning to the term "process design".

Babylon

evolve
v. develop, gradually change or mature over time; be developed, be changed

The point to manmade objects would be :

1) Yes they are designed originally in their primitive form.
2) They evolve to the more modern type.

thus DOS was designed but evolved to Windows XP through various steps ie Windows 1, Windows 95, Windows 98 etc.

Still this would in no way give evidence for or against a designer intelligent or otherwise in regard to life. Still no evidence for ID.


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969


This message is a reply to:
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 14569
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 4 of 85 (480325)
09-02-2008 1:53 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by andorg
09-02-2008 8:09 AM


I can only partially agree. It is true that humans do make incremental improvements to existing designs - and much software development is of this type - and this can give us some insights into how incremental design differs from de novo design.

But that is as far as I can go.

Consider the history of Windows:

First there was MS-DOS which started life as "QDOS". QDOS was a cheap clone of an older program named CP/M, adapted to run on the new 16-bit 8086 processor. I can't see such a shift happening easily in biological evolution.

MS-DOS was pretty limited at first, so it took code from another OS named Xenix, a Unix clone. While horizontal transmission of genetic material does happen in evolution, it is limited to genes. I think that the directory system would be a bit more than we would expect in biological evolution.

MS-DOS was augmented by the original Windows. While this might be compared to symbiosis Windows was completely dependent on MS-DOS from the start - and remained so right up until the last of it's line WIndows ME. Again this is quite difficult in evolution.

During this period a new operating system, Windows NT, was written that did not need DOS. While it took aspects from the older Windows (and doubtless it's authors experience writing for the unrelated operating system VMS helped) it was to a large extent a new creation. WIndows NT became WIndows 2000, then XP and now Vista.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by andorg, posted 09-02-2008 8:09 AM andorg has responded

Replies to this message:
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andorg
Junior Member (Idle past 3668 days)
Posts: 9
From: London, UK
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 5 of 85 (480389)
09-03-2008 5:06 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by PaulK
09-02-2008 1:53 PM


Design is one of possible means of creating the final product. Another way is for example, an automatic creation. Cell phones are created in plants by an automatic process (and this process can even be driven by robots, not humans). Horses are created by an automatic process of cell division, DNA copying, protein production.

But how a new cell phone model is designed? Well, several engineers using their knowledge of many other existing cell phone models, using engineering principles that they learned at university and their previous experience create a new model. Does Nokia 6288 phone differ much from Nokia 6248? Is this a real achievement? Lots of new models are created all the time by different companies. Is Windows XP a great achievement comparing to Windows 2000?

The invention of wheel is a much greater achievement and it was not done by design. The invention of Newton's laws which has dramatically changed all our world was not a product of design. The invention of an airplane was just trial-and-error, not design. Did Wright brothers design their airplane? Does not seem so.

Is mechanical watch a product of design? Not at all! It was invented by Peter Henlein from Nuremberg about the year 1500. Before that, tower clocks driven by weights have existed and also small mechanisms (like mechanical dolls) driven by mainsprings have existed. Peter Henlein connected the two notions: weight-driven clock and mainspring-driven mechanism and created a watch. Why just him and not other thousand of watchmakers did it? Because it was a brilliant idea that came to his mind. He did not design anything. I think he did not even know this word.

Design is just one of many ways to create the final product - that's all.

No matter how products are created: by design or by an automatic process - only the final product is subjected to the scoring of the environment.

One can spend 10 years to "design" a very complex computer program, but until this program is completed and put into work, it is impossible to say with 100% confidentiality if it bad or good.

The only way to understand if a product (or an object) is good or bad is to put it at work, put it into the environment where it is intended.

Humans are able to predict how a thing will work at the environment. Humans are able to perform a mental experiment, imagine, how the future product will be scored by the environment. But they may never 100% know this. Before the product is completed and put into environment (market) it is never possible to know if it is good enough or not.

So it is not correct to say that airplane or computer are products of design. I mean not the concrete airplane F-16 #1234567 and not the concrete computer that I am currently working on - because they are not products of design, they are assembled on automatic plants. I mean computers and airplanes in general. They are not products of design. They are products of evolution, where at some of the small steps of this evolution design was used.


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andorg
Junior Member (Idle past 3668 days)
Posts: 9
From: London, UK
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 6 of 85 (480390)
09-03-2008 5:15 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by bluescat48
09-02-2008 1:20 PM


"...thus DOS was designed but evolved to Windows XP through various steps ie Windows 1, Windows 95, Windows 98 etc."

DOS was not designed from zero. Lots of operating systems have existed before DOS. The phrase "DOS was designed" means "DOS was developed by one of possible software development methods called 'design'". One programmer draws diagrams before he writes code, other doesn't. So what? All software products are based on previous products, previous knowledge, previous achievements. Could Von Neumann "design" DOS? No. He was very clever, but the previous steps required for developing DOS have not existed at his time.


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 14569
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 7 of 85 (480394)
09-03-2008 7:43 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by andorg
09-03-2008 5:06 AM


There are two points I wish to raise:

Firstly incremental changes still require design. Windows XP may be a smaller achievement than Windows NT, but the additions and changes made to it still required design. (I work at software development for a living, so I know that much !)

Secondly, design does not directly produce objects at all. To claim that an F-16 is "not a product of design" because it was built in a factory is a category error. A design is all about what to build and how to build it - it is not the actual construction.

(I would add that the distinction between design and manufacture is worth remembering in arguing with ID types. We often "recognise design" in human artifacts by seeing signs of human working - which is manufacture. Contrary to ID claims, design is usually inferred from that, not recognised directly)


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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 680 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 8 of 85 (480399)
09-03-2008 8:22 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by andorg
09-02-2008 8:09 AM


Like Paul, I can somewhat agree with whay you're saying.

I agree that concepts and design ideas "evolve," as you said, but the actual product does not evolve. The idea for a new technology builds on the technology that already exists, but the new machine is made from scratch.

The reason I think you may have a slight point is that IDists often argue that the "organization of the parts" is where design is evident. In order words, they often argue that the idea, not the actual product, is evidence of design.

And, I guess, if we take the pattern of human technological progress as a general pattern for all "design," we could say that evolution over geological time shows the designer's "technological" progress over time, as well. So, when a new environment presents itself, God uses the "technology" that already exists to design a new organism that can adapt to the new environment.

To me, the design idea is still a violation of parsimony, though.


-Bluejay

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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andorg
Junior Member (Idle past 3668 days)
Posts: 9
From: London, UK
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 9 of 85 (480403)
09-03-2008 9:59 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Blue Jay
09-03-2008 8:22 AM


"The idea for a new technology builds on the technology that already exists, but the new machine is made from scratch".

Every human being is also made from scratch. Just from one fertilized sex cell. So are all of us manufactured or designed? We are all different, don't we? But we are all have been created by an automatic process of DNA replication, protein production, cell division etc.

A new model of an airplane is designed, but what is this design? People design things using strict rules, that they have learned from their predecessors, from universities etc.

Suppose, you start designing an airplane or a computer program. Can you design something that would not resemble anything existing? Something much more complex than other existing things? No. It is always possible "at some extent" to predict what you design. And the same way a biological process creating a new organism is predictable (at some extent).

When you design a new software - do you invent a new programming language, new compiler, new operating system etc. for it?

No, you use the existing things. So "to design from scratch" actually means "to create using existing rules".

If you are a software engineer, you are of course familiar with Software Design Techniques, Design Patterns etc. These are just rules by which the creation process is drawn. And any manufacturing process also has rules. And a living organism creation process also has rules.

So what is so special in design?

Using the "design" term we can say that a swallow designs its nest, as soon as this nest can be very different depending on the place where the swallow lives, where it finds materials etc.

But any living organism is different depending on the environment where it grows. So also any human designed product is different from others, as soon as the circumstances in which it was designed differ.

Design is one of many possible way to create new things, i.e. a way to create steps during the evolution. But I do not see why design is so special and why only design may drive the biological evolution.


This message is a reply to:
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andorg
Junior Member (Idle past 3668 days)
Posts: 9
From: London, UK
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 10 of 85 (480407)
09-03-2008 10:12 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by andorg
09-03-2008 9:59 AM


The role of a single person in the technological evolution is vanishing. If not Marconi - someone else would have invented the radio. Human beings play a role of making a variety of different things, while these things are checked by the environment. But the variety can be done by other processes without humans.

Evolution is a constant search for better solutions suiting the conditions of the environment. Evolution can be seen as an optimization algorithm - for any object that can be created the environment assigns its score. So evolution optimizes the function which assigns scores to objects. Evolution is a constant search for more and more highly scored objects.

But the concrete search algorithm can be different. The algorithm of "choosing the next object" can be implemented using human brains (like in technological evolution) or it can be implementing using genetic mechanisms (like in biological evolution). It can be even some computer program (like in artificial life simulations).


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AlphaOmegakid
Member (Idle past 858 days)
Posts: 564
From: The city of God
Joined: 06-25-2008


Message 11 of 85 (480417)
09-03-2008 11:43 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by andorg
09-02-2008 8:09 AM


many errors in your comments
andorg writes:

The idea that living organisms were designed comes from a common belief that complex human-made things have been designed. But is this correct?

Yes it is.

andorg writes:

Let's see examples of the most complex human-made things like: modern Nokia mobile phone, Boing 747 airplane, Windows-XP operating system, and let's asks the following question: have these very complex systems been designed?

Even asking this question really makes one wonder about the convoluted reasoning process through which you have been educated. I'm not being critical of you personally, but you have been trained in your thinking. Yes, all of these very complex systems have been designed. The word design infers both a planning process and a production process as you are using it. Both require intelligence.

andorg writes:

It is not easy to trace the history of living organisms emerging on earth and to prove if they were designed or evolved, as it is not possible to find all the required evidences.

Proof is always relative to the person judging the proof. Both evolution and design have been "proven". You cannot find all the evidence for anything. Usually with anything that you want to prove, only some of the evidence is available.

andorg writes:

But for the human-made things the history of their emergence is well known.

Don't get emergence mixed up with human made things. Emergence is self organiziation and potentially unintentional design. Human made things don't emerge.

andorg writes:

If one looks at the history of the above mentioned human-made complex things, it becomes obvious that all of them have been evolved. Airplanes, mobile phones, computer products have been evolved step-by-step, by trial-and-error method.

If evolution means change over time, then you are correct.

andorg writes:

No single human and even not a huge group of humans is able of designing a complex thing that never have existed before.

I think you just jumped off the cliff. Every new invention, patent, or production process has "never existed before". And these invention, patents, and processes are all done by individuals or groups of human beings.

andorg writes:

Any complex thing appears upon a base of another complex things that already exist.

Yes, but that doesn't mean that the new thing is not completely "new". You could have a wheel made form a log. Then someone invents one made from stone. Then one invents one made with spokes. The materials all existed before, but the end results are quite different. A spoke wheel was something totally new. Switches had been around for years befor the transitor. The transitor is basically a switch. But it is totally new.

andorg writes:

And not because of the short of intelligence or small amount of people. In order to appear, Windows XP required a long series of steps, where the product of each step had to be checked by the environment: the market. Lots of computer programs improved by small changes, then were exposed to the market and those which survived became a basis for the future programs. This is the only way that could allow Windows XP to appear.

But windows didn't "appear". It was designed and produced in many steps. It did not emerge. There is a big difference in the two concepts.

andorg writes:

All inventions in the world are actually very small steps based on something that already exists. No invention can create something much more complex than currently existing.

You are trying so hard here to convince yourself of something that just isn't true. What may be a small step to you may be a huge step to others. And most inventions are more complex than currently exist.

andorg writes:

So the conclusion is that all human-made complex things have been evolved and not designed.

:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

Can anyone see what the fallacy of equivocation does to a person? The reasoning becomes totally distorted and contorted. The word design means something. The word emerge means something. The word evolve means something. The meaning of all these words is different and specific. But you have morphed the meanings to be the same in your arguments. No wonder you are making this argument. It make complete sense to you, when unfortunately it is complete non-sense. But you have learned this process somwhere. I susspect it is from your education process or involvement with forums. Please rescue yourself from this approach. You can relearn to not reason in fallacies. If you are wrong on this, you may be wrong on many of your thought processes regarding design and intelligence. If you are religious about this, you will have great anger towards me for pointing this out. If you are reasonable, you will address the fallacy and re think your argument.

anorg writes:

And if it is true from human-made complex things - why should it be wrong for the natural complex things (the living organisms)?

First off it is not true at all for human made complex things. Now use your same argument. If it is not true for human made complex things, then it should also be not true for living organisms which are vastly more complicated than we have ever imagined. The more we learn about the cell, the more we know how complex beyound our capabilities it is. Then apply this same logic to multicellular oraganisms with multi-organ systems like the pulminary system, the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, the digestive system.......I could go on and on. All created by the code within the organisms DNA.

Sure we can design computers. But can we design a computer the size of a cell that creates trillions of other computers that vary depending on location and function? And can we make a network capable of linking it all together though these systems listed in the paragraph above? And can we assemble this together in the formation of a dog, or a human?

But somehow, you have been convinced that from spontaneous chemical reactions that life can emerge. And that life can upwardly evolve from random mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift to produce all the millions of living things we know today. My what faith.


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Replies to this message:
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dokukaeru
Member (Idle past 2598 days)
Posts: 129
From: ohio
Joined: 06-27-2008


Message 12 of 85 (480421)
09-03-2008 12:13 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by AlphaOmegakid
09-03-2008 11:43 AM


Re: many errors in your comments
AOKid writes:

But somehow, you have been convinced that from spontaneous chemical reactions that life can emerge. And that life can upwardly evolve from random mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift to produce all the millions of living things we know today. My what faith.

Can you show that it did not?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 09-03-2008 11:43 AM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
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AlphaOmegakid
Member (Idle past 858 days)
Posts: 564
From: The city of God
Joined: 06-25-2008


Message 13 of 85 (480422)
09-03-2008 12:19 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by dokukaeru
09-03-2008 12:13 PM


Re: many errors in your comments
doku writes:

Can you show that it did not?

Can you show that it did?

Can you show that God didn't create the universe and all the living things?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by dokukaeru, posted 09-03-2008 12:13 PM dokukaeru has responded

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andorg
Junior Member (Idle past 3668 days)
Posts: 9
From: London, UK
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 14 of 85 (480423)
09-03-2008 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by AlphaOmegakid
09-03-2008 11:43 AM


Re: many errors in your comments
AlphaOmegakid write: "The word design infers both a planning process and a production process as you are using it. Both require intelligence".

Sorry, production doesn't require. A completely automatic and not intelligent plant may produce very complex things.

AlphaOmegakid write: "Human made things don't emerge".

You may call it as you like: "emerge", "appear" or whatever. Any thing appears from somewhere. That's what I meant by "emerge". Perhaps this is not the best word.

You miss one point. When you (or other intelligent person) designs something, you do not know in advance that the product of your design will be good. This knowledge you may get only after your product is completed and subjected to the environment. Design alone is blind. Without actual information. The information always comes from the environment. Design is always prediction.

The most important part of the process of (emerging, appearing or call it as you like) of objects in our world is checking them by the environment. It has nothing to do with design.

And please do not attack my education: I have M.Sc. in applied mathematics of a known university and I was educated in a way lots of people are educated. I did not study science in church, i admit it.

And I know what I want to explain here: design is just one of many possible ways to create things.

By the way: the word "design" is modern. Did ancient Greeks design?


This message is a reply to:
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RickJB
Member (Idle past 2973 days)
Posts: 917
From: London, UK
Joined: 04-14-2006


Message 15 of 85 (480424)
09-03-2008 12:46 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by andorg
09-03-2008 10:12 AM


I would argue that it is necessary to separate the evolution of a design concept from its produced design.

Design concepts can be said to evolve, whereas as the produced design is designed outright.

In this sense each produced design is a "hard copy" of a design concept made at a particular point in its evolution.


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