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Author Topic:   What is design? Can we not find evidence of design on earth or in the universe?
NOT JULIUS
Member (Idle past 2007 days)
Posts: 219
From: Rome
Joined: 11-29-2006


Message 1 of 185 (484973)
10-03-2008 7:34 PM


Hi All,
First, I ask for pardon if this topic has been discussed here. Show me the link and I'll suggest that this post be discontinued.

What is design? Do you agree or disagree with this definition: "To design is to create or execute something--abstract or concrete--in a highly skilled manner with a purpose or goal in mind".

key words: higly skilled (meaning intelligence), purpose or goal.

For example, the position of the earth vis a vis the sun. Our planet is so well placed vis a vis the sun. A few feet away from the sun (compared to where we are now) , and we all freeze to death. A few feet near the sun and we all burn.

proof of high skill: exact placement--where we are now
purpose or goal:the purpose of the earth's exact location is for life to thrive.

What do you think?


Replies to this message:
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Message 2 of 185 (484977)
10-03-2008 8:13 PM


Thread moved here from the Coffee House forum.
    
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Message 3 of 185 (485014)
10-04-2008 7:17 AM


Can someone look at this...
I'm have to marshal my time carefully this weekend. I moved this from Coffee House to here instead of to the ID forum because I wasn't sure whether there's already an appropriate thread for this topic. If someone else has time could you check it out and take appropriate action? Thanks.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

    
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Message 4 of 185 (485088)
10-05-2008 3:05 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Huntard
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Message 5 of 185 (485091)
10-05-2008 3:46 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by NOT JULIUS
10-03-2008 7:34 PM


Doubting Too writes:

For example, the position of the earth vis a vis the sun. Our planet is so well placed vis a vis the sun. A few feet away from the sun (compared to where we are now) , and we all freeze to death. A few feet near the sun and we all burn.

proof of high skill: exact placement--where we are now
purpose or goal:the purpose of the earth's exact location is for life to thrive.


First of all, a few feet closer or a few feet farther from the sun don't matter one bit.

But I think you have it turned around, life on earth fits the earth so perfectly because it evolved to adapt to the circumstances the earth has. Not because the earth was designed to bring forth exactly this kind of life.


I hunt for the truth
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Parasomnium
Member (Idle past 229 days)
Posts: 2191
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 6 of 185 (485096)
10-05-2008 6:40 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by NOT JULIUS
10-03-2008 7:34 PM


Anthropic reasoning voided
This is a classic example of anthropic reasoning. The idea is that some finetuning took place in order to make life on earth possible. Of course, in reality the reverse it true: life arises only there where it is possible for it to arise. If the earth had been too close to the sun, or too far away from it for life to arise, then life would obviously not have arisen on earth and we would not be having this conversation.

Ask yourself this question: why is it that Mercurians, Venutians, Martians, Jovians, Saturnians, Uranians, Neptunians and Plutonians, all of them, without exception, do not wonder why the circumstances regarding their planet - its atmosphere, its orbit, etc - are so miraculously finetuned as to allow their own existence? The reason none of these races wonder about it is that none of these races exist. This is because the circumstances are in fact NOT very suitable for the emergence of life on their respective planets.

Simplified, you can think of a solar system as a continuum of orbits where water either freezes, stays liquid, or boils and evaporates. Liquid water happens to be a necessary asset for life as we know it to exist. Therefore, the range of orbits where water stays liquid forms a life-friendly niche. There are probably billions of solar systems in the universe. So if some of them have a rocky planet in the range of orbits allowing liquid water, life could arise there. This is what happened in our solar system, and there really is nothing miraculous about it.


"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin.

Did you know that most of the time your computer is doing nothing? What if you could make it do something really useful? Like helping scientists understand diseases? Your computer could even be instrumental in finding a cure for HIV/AIDS. Wouldn't that be something? If you agree, then join World Community Grid now and download a simple, free tool that lets you and your computer do your share in helping humanity. After all, you are part of it, so why not take part in it?

This message is a reply to:
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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5289
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002


Message 7 of 185 (485116)
10-05-2008 9:17 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by NOT JULIUS
10-03-2008 7:34 PM


Our planet is so well placed vis a vis the sun. A few feet away from the sun (compared to where we are now) , and we all freeze to death. A few feet near the sun and we all burn.

That may be a bad example, since earth is 5,000,000 km closer to the Sun every December than it is in July. And that's just this century, with our current low orbital eccentricity. We get even more extreme when the eccentricity is higher.


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15950
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 8 of 185 (485119)
10-05-2008 9:39 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by NOT JULIUS
10-03-2008 7:34 PM


For example, the position of the earth vis a vis the sun. Our planet is so well placed vis a vis the sun. A few feet away from the sun (compared to where we are now) , and we all freeze to death. A few feet near the sun and we all burn.

Well, I was going to reply, but then I popped upstairs to use the bathroom, thus getting a few feet closer to the sun and burning to death ... oh, wait, that didn't happen, 'cos you're wrong.

Now some facts. Because of the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit, our distance from the Sun varies by about 4,000,000 miles every year, and we don't notice any particular effects on temperature. In fact, the Earth is closest to the Sun when it's winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

See this page from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research for more information.

What do you think?

I think that before you recite creationist nonsense, you should think about it for a moment.

How can you believe that getting "a few feet" closer to the sun would kill you? This is contrary not only to physics and astronomy, but also to observations that you yourself can make on a daily basis.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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Deftil
Member (Idle past 1988 days)
Posts: 128
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 04-19-2008


Message 9 of 185 (485156)
10-05-2008 6:48 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by NOT JULIUS
10-03-2008 7:34 PM


Doubting Too writes:

What is design? Do you agree or disagree with this definition: "To design is to create or execute something--abstract or concrete--in a highly skilled manner with a purpose or goal in mind".


Strictly speaking of "design", that is an ok definition. I'm not a big fan of the phrase "highly skilled" (something can be designed poorly) or the words "purpose" and "goal" (something has to be designed by plan, but it doesn't necessarily have to have a purpose.. something can be designed "just 'cause") though.

This defintion of "design" works for me: "to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan".
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/design

But the appearance of design should also be differentiated from actual design. Our minds pick up on patterns and intentions, sometimes when they aren't even there - seeing faces in clouds, hills on mars, and on pieces of toast for example, when, on thoughtful consideration we realize that all these things are the result of chance and our minds tendency to recognize patterns. This is the case of appearance of design, as opposed to actual design.

Richard Dawkins' book The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design discusses the appearance of design particularly in relation to life on Earth and Leonard Susskind's book The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Design discusses the appearance of design more in relation to the universe itself. These books could be recommended reading for any who don't currently appreciate the difference between design and the appearance of design.

Also, I thought Parasomnium's answer was great and addressed the anthropic principle well.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by NOT JULIUS, posted 10-03-2008 7:34 PM NOT JULIUS has responded

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NOT JULIUS
Member (Idle past 2007 days)
Posts: 219
From: Rome
Joined: 11-29-2006


Message 10 of 185 (485234)
10-06-2008 2:07 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Parasomnium
10-05-2008 6:40 AM


Re: Anthropic reasoning voided
parasumnium writes:

This is a classic example of anthropic reasoning. The idea is that some finetuning took place in order to make life on earth possible. Of course, in reality the reverse it true: life arises only there where it is possible for it to arise. If the earth had been too close to the sun, or too far away from it for life to arise, then life would obviously not have arisen on earth and we would not be having this conversation.

Whether or not anthtopic reasoning or the reverse is true do you agree that the distance of the earth to the sun is just right so that life could exist?


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New Cat's Eye
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Posts: 11707
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 11 of 185 (485236)
10-06-2008 2:27 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by NOT JULIUS
10-06-2008 2:07 PM


Re: Anthropic reasoning voided
Whether or not anthtopic reasoning or the reverse is true do you agree that the distance of the earth to the sun is just right so that life could exist?

If you saw a puddle in the road, would you think that the pothole was just the right shape to hold the puddle?


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NOT JULIUS
Member (Idle past 2007 days)
Posts: 219
From: Rome
Joined: 11-29-2006


Message 12 of 185 (485238)
10-06-2008 2:30 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Deftil
10-05-2008 6:48 PM


Deftil writes:

This defintion of "design" works for me: "to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan".
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/design

But the appearance of design should also be differentiated from actual design. Our minds pick up on patterns and intentions, sometimes when they aren't even there - seeing faces in clouds, hills on mars, and on pieces of toast for example, when, on thoughtful consideration we realize that all these things are the result of chance and our minds tendency to recognize patterns. This is the case of appearance of design, as opposed to actual design.

First, off I beg to stay with my initial definition of design. You want the readers to believe that they should differentiate "design" and "appearance of design". But, is it not also true that if something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck, and do all the things a duck do...then it must be a duck!

I mean if the earth was placed in just the right distance from the sun--give or take a few deviations from time to time--for life to flourish then that which caused it to be so must either
a)be a dumb,
b) appears to be brilliant, or
c) really brilliant--which implies high level of skill
Which is which?

And then, what about the goal of that exact distance--life? Life must have come by either this 3:
1)chance or
2)"appearance of chance" or
3) designed
Which is which?

Let me get a crack at my own question.
If you combine a)dumb, and 1) chance--I'll say tell it to the marines!
If you combine b) appears to be brilliant, and 2) appearance of chance, then that suggests what? Artificial intelligence--but intelligence just the same?

If you combine c) really brilliant, and d) designed--then that's acceptable to the man on the street.


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NOT JULIUS
Member (Idle past 2007 days)
Posts: 219
From: Rome
Joined: 11-29-2006


Message 13 of 185 (485239)
10-06-2008 2:58 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by New Cat's Eye
10-06-2008 2:27 PM


Re: Anthropic reasoning voided
catholic S writes:

If you saw a puddle in the road, would you think that the pothole was just the right shape to hold the puddle?

Could you clarify what you mean?


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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 10 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 14 of 185 (485243)
10-06-2008 3:19 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by NOT JULIUS
10-06-2008 2:30 PM


Weird design
Doubting Too writes:

I mean if the earth was placed in just the right distance from the sun--give or take a few deviations from time to time--for life to flourish then that which caused it to be so must either

In this solar system, the band that's suitable for life is reckoned to cover about 40 million miles. The earth could be life supporting 5 million miles nearer the sun, or 35 million miles further from it. This range is known as the "Goldilocks belt", presumably because it's just right for life, as the baby bear's bed was just right for Goldilocks.

The belt's so wide that it's reasonable to assume that many solar systems will contain planets within their own Goldilocks belts.

Life, as others have pointed out, is only going to be found on a planet that suits it. Life fits the planet, rather than the other way around, and must have the capability to adapt to specific and changing environments on that planet.

Life is a feature of this planet in the same way that Saturn's rings are a feature of Saturn. All planets will inevitably be perfect for their features. Would you look at Saturn and claim that someone must have designed it for the sake of its rings?

Doubting Too writes:

a)be a dumb,
b) appears to be brilliant, or
c) really brilliant--which implies high level of skill
Which is which?

And then, what about the goal of that exact distance--life? Life must have come by either this 3:
1)chance or
2)"appearance of chance" or
3) designed
Which is which?

Let me get a crack at my own question.
If you combine a)dumb, and 1) chance--I'll say tell it to the marines!
If you combine b) appears to be brilliant, and 2) appearance of chance, then that suggests what? Artificial intelligence--but intelligence just the same?

If you combine c) really brilliant, and d) designed--then that's acceptable to the man on the street.

Do intelligent men never use streets? Aren't you assuming that life is the goal in order to prove it?

If you assume a goal for the universe, then judging by its contents, the goal would seem to be to produce lots of empty space, along with huge quantities of gasses and rocks! If designed, it doesn't give the appearance of having been designed for the sake of a bit of green mould on the surface of one of trillions of planets.

Weird design!


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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 230 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 15 of 185 (485244)
10-06-2008 3:31 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by NOT JULIUS
10-06-2008 2:30 PM


Hi, Doubting Too.

DT, message #10, writes:

Whether or not anthropic reasoning or the reverse is true do you agree that the distance of the earth to the sun is just right so that life could exist?

Nobody on this thread has agreed with this so far. People on this thread have shown you how the distance between the Sun and the Earth varies by thousands of kilometers with the seasons and other cycles, and how they can go upstairs to use the restroom without burning to death. This means they disagree with you.

Most of us would likely say that colder worlds would produce life that is better suited to the cold; warmer worlds would produce life that is better suited to the heat; darker worlds would produce life that is better suited to the dark; etc.

There is no "perfect distance" for life to appear because life must adapt to whatever conditions it is provided.

DT writes:

You want the readers to believe that they should differentiate "design" and "appearance of design". But, is it not also true that if something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck, and do all the things a duck do...then it must be a duck!

No, this is not true.

Look at the pictures on This Wiki page about the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. It looks like somebody was sculpting the rocks into geometric shapes, doesn't it? Well, that's not what happened. It only looks like somebody carved it: in reality, it's a natural feature.

So, if this feature looks designed to you, then you should probably admit that there is a difference between "looking designed" and "having been designed."


-Bluejay

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
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