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Author Topic:   Is Intelligent Design An Open Movement?
Genomicus
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Joined: 02-15-2012
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Message 61 of 91 (689669)
02-02-2013 12:04 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by ringo
02-02-2013 11:28 AM


Re: ID is Christian
I'll respond to this before getting to the other posts.

To me, "created" implies "creator" and "intelligent design" implies "superior intelligence". Whether that creator/intelligence used a wrench or a magic wand is not particularly relevant.

I agree that "created" implies "creator," and so on, but I think it's highly relevant whether "that creator/intelligence used a wrench or a magic wand." For if the designer used a wrench (speaking metaphorically here), we could quite possibly find clues that a wrench was used to design life. In other words, since the wrench is a tool in the physical world, used by physical designers, the wrench might very well impart an indelible stamp on the designed artifact. On the other hand, if magic was used, we would have no hope of detecting design through the methods of science.

My own personal objection to the idea of "intelligent design" is the fact that intelligence only works with existing processes. If your "designer" is just using as-yet-unknown technology to manipulate those processes, then you're talking science fiction. If he's also creating the processes, you're talking religion. Neither alternative is scientific.

The intelligent design scenario that I'm proposing involve known mechanisms of engineering. See, e.g., the Nature's Engines and Engineering thread. Thus, if cellular life was contrived using techniques similar to our own biological engineering, we should find the indelible stamp of this design within life. And this signature can be detected through the methodology of science.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by ringo, posted 02-02-2013 11:28 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by ringo, posted 02-02-2013 12:24 PM Genomicus has responded

  
ringo
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Posts: 13318
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 62 of 91 (689670)
02-02-2013 12:24 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Genomicus
02-02-2013 12:04 PM


Re: ID is Christian
Genomicus writes:

In other words, since the wrench is a tool in the physical world, used by physical designers, the wrench might very well impart an indelible stamp on the designed artifact. On the other hand, if magic was used, we would have no hope of detecting design through the methods of science.


To a "primitive" people, a flashlight is magic. Whether or not something can be detected through the methods of science is a function of the current capabilities of science. There is no real distinction between magic and technology. Maybe someday a device to materialize a rabbit in a hat will be readily available at Wal-mart.

Genomicus writes:

The intelligent design scenario that I'm proposing involve known mechanisms of engineering.


So you're basically trying to ouflank SETI. Instead of direct communication with (from) extraterrestrial intelligence, you're looking for indirect signs.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Genomicus, posted 02-02-2013 12:04 PM Genomicus has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 63 by Genomicus, posted 02-02-2013 12:34 PM ringo has responded

  
Genomicus
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Posts: 844
Joined: 02-15-2012
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 63 of 91 (689672)
02-02-2013 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 62 by ringo
02-02-2013 12:24 PM


Re: ID is Christian
To a "primitive" people, a flashlight is magic. Whether or not something can be detected through the methods of science is a function of the current capabilities of science. There is no real distinction between magic and technology. Maybe someday a device to materialize a rabbit in a hat will be readily available at Wal-mart.

Quite true, but if someone says life was designed by magic, then that idea is outside the realm of current scientific knowledge. On the other hand, if someone says life was designed by a wrench (again, speaking metaphorically), then that thesis could potentially be tested by experimentation.

So you're basically trying to ouflank SETI. Instead of direct communication with (from) extraterrestrial intelligence, you're looking for indirect signs.

It's more of a complement to SETI. Instead of scanning the skies for a signal of intelligence, I think it just might possibly be fruitful if we scan biological cells for a signal of intelligence. I'm not the first to propose this, of course. See (Is bacteriophage phi X174 DNA a message from an extraterrestrial intelligence, 1979; SV40 DNA—A message from ϵ Eri?, 1986) for example. Those researchers speculated that virus genomes might harbor messages from ETI.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.


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ringo
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Posts: 13318
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 64 of 91 (689673)
02-02-2013 12:51 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Genomicus
02-02-2013 12:34 PM


Re: ID is Christian
Genomicus writes:

... if someone says life was designed by magic, then that idea is outside the realm of current scientific knowledge.


If somebody say life was designed by magic, it means they think it's outside the realm of scientific knowledge.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Genomicus, posted 02-02-2013 12:34 PM Genomicus has acknowledged this reply

  
Genomicus
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Posts: 844
Joined: 02-15-2012
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 65 of 91 (689682)
02-02-2013 7:05 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by AZPaul3
02-02-2013 3:07 AM


Re: Is Intelligent Design An Open Movement?
I'm sure you can find hundreds of people who think the same as you. They came onto the scene without the "ID=fundamentalist christian creationist" mantra already pre-loaded into their thinking. And I'm sure there are many more, like Behe, who fought to mentally overcome the equality. That still leaves the rest of the world ... by the hundreds of millions.

Right or wrong doesn't matter. If you insist on staying with the "ID" name, you, Behe, de Roos, whoever are going to have to fight the preconceived notion in front of every audience you go for many many years and you still will not reach the majority.

You know the score. However you want to play the tune is up to you.

Understood. I'm having difficulty imagining what I'd be called if not an ID proponent, though.


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 Message 58 by AZPaul3, posted 02-02-2013 3:07 AM AZPaul3 has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by Straggler, posted 02-03-2013 5:37 AM Genomicus has responded
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Straggler
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Posts: 10196
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 66 of 91 (689691)
02-03-2013 5:37 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by Genomicus
02-02-2013 7:05 PM


Re: Is Intelligent Design An Open Movement?
Am I right in thinking that the 'intelligent design' you are referring to (one that uses a metaphorical wrench rather than a metaphorical wand) is non-supernatural in terms of abilities and origins?

Are you talking about beings that are part of a physical reality and which utilise physical laws of one sort or another to construct their creations (life, our universe, whatever)?

Are you talking about beings that evolved or otherwise formed as a result of physical laws rather than omnipotent super-beings that have existed for all eternity (whatever that actually means)?

What sort of intelligent designer are you proposing?

And how would one distinguish between that which has been designed with a mataphorical wrench, that which has been designed by a metaphorical wand and that which is the result of entirely mindless natural processes? What are the defining characteristics of each such that they can be recognised as distinct from one another?


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AZPaul3
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Posts: 3428
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006


Message 67 of 91 (689695)
02-03-2013 7:44 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by Straggler
02-03-2013 5:37 AM


Re: Is Intelligent Design An Open Movement?
(life, our universe, whatever)

"Life, the universe and everything."

You know better.


This message is a reply to:
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PaulK
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Joined: 01-10-2003
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(1)
Message 68 of 91 (689696)
02-03-2013 8:23 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by Genomicus
02-02-2013 7:05 PM


Re: Is Intelligent Design An Open Movement?
quote:

Understood. I'm having difficulty imagining what I'd be called if not an ID proponent, though.

If your position is so poorly developed that it must be described by a term which stretches all the way to full-on Young Earth Creationism, I'd suggest that it probably doesn't deserve a name.


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Genomicus
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Posts: 844
Joined: 02-15-2012
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 69 of 91 (689722)
02-04-2013 12:40 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by Granny Magda
02-02-2013 7:08 AM


Re: Is Intelligent Design An Open Movement?
But the latter is just teleology. You don't need to call it ID. You don't need to taint it with that soiled moniker.

Sure, I'm a teleologist. But that word is way too broad to cover my specific position. Teleology, broadly speaking, means the view that their is purpose in nature. What, then, is the term for the view that the origin of the biochemical complexity of life was purposeful?

Not necessarily Christian. You could be a Muslim IDist.

There's no such thing as a Muslim IDist, though, is there?

But seriously, if you keep promoting ID you are doing the work of Christian fundamentalists who want to destroy science and replace it with crazy dogma.

You mean if I keep promoting the ID movement, I am doing the work of creationists. But I'm not promoting the ID movement. Far from it. I'm simply proposing that biological life was intelligently designed.

Behe is is nice guy, I can't help but like him (where I despise Dembski) but he is a creationist in a sense. He believes that human life is dependant on direct intervention from his personal deity. I would call that a form of creationism, albeit a weak creationism.

Some would call Kenneth Miller a creationist, because, ya know, he believes that a God made all things. You're really stretching the definition of "creationism" when it comes to individuals like Behe, IMHO.

You so cavalierly proclaim that my research into leprechauns is a waste of time, because there's no such thing as leprechauns. To me this smacks of arrogance. It's as if you know there's no such thing as leprechauns. Let's keep an objective mindset here.

That's how you sound to me.

You don't even have a remotely testable leprechaun hypothesis, so the analogy doesn't fit.

Your charming ideas about taking the central thesis of ID seriously just come across as silly. Even explicit creationism doesn't sound as silly as this.

Really? Creationism isn't as silly as a simple extension of Crick and Orgel's directed panspermia hypothesis?

You are essentially suggesting that life was engineered by aliens (and there really are no other candidates, however much you whine about keeping an open mind). That's silly.

Where I come from, the merit of an idea is not determined by how silly it sounds to any one individual.

We have an overwhelming amount of evidence for life evolving through natural process.

We do not. The strongest evidence for the hypothesis that life arose through purely non-teleological mechanisms comes from experiments that demonstrate the plausibility of prebiotic synthesis of nucleic acid bases and the capability of polynucleotides to replicate in the absence of protein catalysts. However, the question of the origin of life on Earth is a historical question, and not simply one of plausibility. As such, no amount of evidence for the plausibility of the non-telic hypothesis will be able to establish the historical accuracy of that hypothesis. Yet much (if not most) of the evidence for the non-telic hypothesis merely strengthens its plausibility. For example, observations which demonstrate that RNA can catalyze its own replication say nothing about whether self-replicating RNA was indeed the precursor to modern cellular life. In short, the "overwhelming amount of evidence" for a non-teleological origin of terrestrial life is not all that overwhelming. If experiments that demonstrate the plausibility of a non-teleological origin of life are considered "overwhelming evidence" for that view, then experiments that show the feasibility of intelligent agents engineering life may be considered evidence for the thesis that life was intelligently designed.

It is true, of course, that there are some pieces of evidence for a non-teleological origin of terrestrial life. Several phylogenetic studies (and other studies based on sequence analyses) provide clues that favor a non-telic origin of life, and there are other lines of evidence (documented in a number of publications). On the whole, however, you overestimate the "overwhelming amount" of evidence for a non-telic origin of biological life, IMHO.

The idea belongs in a bad episode of Star Trek, not in a serious scientific publication.

Geez, thanks for the encouragement.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by Granny Magda, posted 02-02-2013 7:08 AM Granny Magda has responded

Replies to this message:
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Genomicus
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Posts: 844
Joined: 02-15-2012
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 70 of 91 (689723)
02-04-2013 12:52 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by Straggler
02-03-2013 5:37 AM


Re: Is Intelligent Design An Open Movement?
Am I right in thinking that the 'intelligent design' you are referring to (one that uses a metaphorical wrench rather than a metaphorical wand) is non-supernatural in terms of abilities and origins?

Yes. As I stated in a past thread, I'm taking supernatural designers off the table.

Are you talking about beings that are part of a physical reality and which utilise physical laws of one sort or another to construct their creations (life, our universe, whatever)?

Yes.

What sort of intelligent designer are you proposing?

I cannot specify the exact nature of the proposed designers. My overall position operates on the assumption that the designers of biological life had a degree and type of intelligence similar to our own. For if life was designed by engineers with a radically different kind of intelligence – a form of intelligence entirely foreign to that of the human species – it would be a hopeless task to find traces of engineering in cellular life. Thus, any design hypothesis must make this basic assumption about the nature of the designers.

And how would one distinguish between that which has been designed with a mataphorical wrench, that which has been designed by a metaphorical wand and that which is the result of entirely mindless natural processes? What are the defining characteristics of each such that they can be recognised as distinct from one another?

By testing specific predictions of the design hypothesis -- predictions that are not made by (a) the "entirely mindless natural processes" model, and (b) the magic wand model -- we can either confirm or refute the design hypothesis. If experiments verify that the predictions have been met, then the design hypothesis is strengthened. In this way, we can "distinguish between that which has been designed with a mataphorical wrench, that which has been designed by a metaphorical wand and that which is the result of entirely mindless natural processes." See this thread (referenced above in a response to ringo) for a cursory overview of how we could go about testing the hypothesis that biological machines were engineered.


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 Message 66 by Straggler, posted 02-03-2013 5:37 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by Straggler, posted 02-04-2013 8:56 AM Genomicus has responded
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10196
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 71 of 91 (689728)
02-04-2013 8:56 AM
Reply to: Message 70 by Genomicus
02-04-2013 12:52 AM


Re: Is Intelligent Design An Open Movement?
Well it's an interesting proposition you are putting forward and doesn't seem to me to be the same as biblical creationism at all (which involves magically 'pooffing' things into existence).

Geno writes:

I cannot specify the exact nature of the proposed designers. My overall position operates on the assumption that the designers of biological life had a degree and type of intelligence similar to our own.

It has been postulated that we are all part of a computer simulation on a similar basis:

ARE YOU LIVING IN A COMPUTER SIMULATION? BY NICK BOSTROM Department of Philosophy, Oxford University

Link writes:

Many works of science fiction as well as some forecasts by serious technologists and futurologists predict that enormous amounts of computing power will be available in the future. Let us suppose for a moment that these predictions are correct. One thing that later generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful, they could run a great many such simulations. Suppose that these simulated people are conscious (as they would be if the simulations were sufficiently fine-grained and if a certain quite widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind is correct). Then it could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race. It is then possible to argue that, if this were the case, we would be rational to think that we are likely among the simulated minds rather than among the original biological ones. Therefore, if we don’t think that we are currently living in a computer simulation, we are not entitled to believe that we will have descendants who will run lots of such simulations of their forebears. That is the basic idea.

What do you make of that variation of your design proposition?

Geno writes:

By testing specific predictions of the design hypothesis.

I'll read your other thread later - But in the meantime - Can you give one example of a logical consequence (i.e. prediction) that applies to a designed entity but which would not be expected to be true for a non-designed entity?

Given this it should be a simple matter of testing for this attribute in order to detect design - No?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by Genomicus, posted 02-04-2013 12:52 AM Genomicus has responded

Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11540
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 72 of 91 (689735)
02-04-2013 10:33 AM
Reply to: Message 53 by Genomicus
02-01-2013 11:51 PM


Re: ID is Christian
I've often been associated with creationists merely for being an ID proponent, but even if I argued for teleology without calling myself an ID proponent, I bet a lot of people would still associate me with creationism.

Well, apparently you do think life was created (engineered), so I'd call you a creationist too.

By "created," do you mean a term synonymous with engineering? Or do you mean something more similar to a magic-poofing-mechanism?

Doesn't matter. Did life emerge all by itself or did something make it?

Again, I understand where you're coming from. I don't blame people who would jump to the conclusion that I'm a creationist, but when I say "intelligent design," I'm using the definition that states that intelligent design is the view that life was designed.

What about theistic evolutionists? "Life evolved and that's how God created it". Creationists or not, in your opinion? I'd say yeah.

Now, given all that: I wouldn't have a problem, for the purposes of sites like this one, with defining creationism as mututally exclusive with evolutionism. That is, if you're willing to accept that life evolved, then you're not a creationist. But that's more of a practical thing than anything else.


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 Message 53 by Genomicus, posted 02-01-2013 11:51 PM Genomicus has responded

Replies to this message:
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Granny Magda
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Posts: 2302
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


(1)
Message 73 of 91 (689746)
02-04-2013 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 69 by Genomicus
02-04-2013 12:40 AM


Re: Is Intelligent Design An Open Movement?
What, then, is the term for the view that the origin of the biochemical complexity of life was purposeful?

Creationism.

But I agree with Paulk who said that you do not need a term for your position. Ideas that matter need names. The private musings of a tiny handful of eccentrics do not.

If you're desperate for an idea though, how about the Extraterrestrial Genegineer hypothesis, since that's pretty much what it amounts to. If you're ruling out the supernatural, that pretty much only leaves aliens, so call a spade a spade.

There's no such thing as a Muslim IDist, though, is there?

ID has its Muslim proponents, although way fewer than Christian ones. Check out the following quote, apparently from an essay entitled "Why Muslims Should Support Intelligent Design";

quote:
“Intelligent Design (ID) is a term that implies creation. The universe and life are not products of blind forces of nature, ID holds, but show evidence that they were designed by an intelligence. The ID Movement has deliberately chosen not to specify the identity of the Designer. Through science you can demonstrate convincingly that there is a designer, but you can't go further without invoking theology. Everybody has the right to believe in a Designer according his own theology. What makes the movement effective is its emphasis on solid scientific evidence. “

I'm sure you'll be able to find Jewish ID proponents as well.

You mean if I keep promoting the ID movement, I am doing the work of creationists. But I'm not promoting the ID movement. Far from it. I'm simply proposing that biological life was intelligently designed.

And in doing so you are lending credence to the ID movement.

This is exactly how the strategy is supposed to work. First the deliberate liars float the idea, then more sincere types pick up the idea. The liars can then point to people like you and say "See! ID isn't religious!".

Some would call Kenneth Miller a creationist, because, ya know, he believes that a God made all things.

Miller doesn't claim to have scientific evidence for his kooky beliefs though. That's the difference. But yeah, Miller is a bit of a kook in some respects.

You're really stretching the definition of "creationism" when it comes to individuals like Behe, IMHO.

Behe believes that he has found the fingerprints of God in our blood clotting system. He may not be a YEC, but I can't think of a better term for this kind of foolishness than Creationism. At the very least it rules him out of being cited the way you are citing him, as an unbiased, non-kooky ID scientist, with no religious agenda.

Besides, Behe took part in Of pandas and People, a blatant attack on science education on behalf of Christian nutballery. That alone marks him as being far from neutral on this issue. It's a shame; I like Michael Behe, he seems like a nice guy (in a way that Dembski never will), but he's still nuts.

You don't even have a remotely testable leprechaun hypothesis, so the analogy doesn't fit.

Sure I do! Leprechauns exist, and any time I find something in biology that I can't explain... leprechauns did it.

Perhaps bigfoot would be a better fit. After all, bigfoot is non-supernatural, technically possible, if implausible. The idea is eminently testable. The only flaw in bigfoot research is that it's completely mental, much like research into whether space aliens diddled with our DNA.

Anyway, I don't think that you have a testable hypothesis for your alien theory either. All you can do is point to the unexplained in biology and explain it away with aliens. Weak.

Really? Creationism isn't as silly as a simple extension of Crick and Orgel's directed panspermia hypothesis?

Directed panspermia is pretty silly to start with, so I don't really see much difference.

Where I come from, the merit of an idea is not determined by how silly it sounds to any one individual.

Where I come from, if you want a grant for a scientific project, it helps if your proposal is not totally batshit insane.

Sure, you're right in a technical sense; it is possible that space aliens engineered our biota. But as Straggler says above, all sorts of nutty ideas are possible. What matters when deciding whether they warrant investigation or not is whether they are plausible. Science is, in some ways, a zero-sum game. If you spend time and resources studying theory X you can't spend that same time and resources on studying theory Y. Given finite time and resources, that means that decisions have to be taken about what is worth pursuing and what is not. I just don't think that your space alien theory is worthy of anyone's time or attention. I think there are better things that science could be doing. If you want to pursue it, go ahead, it's your life. Just don't expect anyone else to care about it (other than lunatic fundamentalists who'll seize upon it as proof of God).

Granny writes:

We have an overwhelming amount of evidence for life evolving through natural process.

Genomicus writes:

We do not.

Er... yes we do, obviously we do. Don't be silly.

The strongest evidence for the hypothesis that life arose through purely non-teleological mechanisms...

Not what I said. Read it again.

I also notice that the ID examples you tend to cite aren't of life being created; they're more about pre-existing life being given a nudge here or there. So what are you proposing exactly?

Geez, thanks for the encouragement.

You want me to encourage you to waste your time? Why would I do that? You seem like a nice person, I'd rather encourage you to stop wasting your time on fairy stories and do something more constructive.

Mutate and Survive

Edited by Granny Magda, : No reason given.


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10196
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 74 of 91 (689773)
02-04-2013 2:04 PM
Reply to: Message 72 by New Cat's Eye
02-04-2013 10:33 AM


Re: ID is Christian
CS writes:

Well, apparently you do think life was created (engineered), so I'd call you a creationist too.

As I understand it Geno is suggesting that life as we know it was engineered by some prior form of life that wasn't itself engineered. Advanced aliens or somesuch. These aliens presumably evolved (or something similar).

But I'm interested to know what signs of design he would be looking for in life as we know it......

I expect proponents of more traditional forms of ID would be delighted to see evidence of such as well....


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New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11540
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 75 of 91 (689781)
02-04-2013 2:47 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by Straggler
02-04-2013 2:04 PM


Re: ID is Christian
As I understand it Geno is suggesting that life as we know it was engineered by some prior form of life that wasn't itself engineered.

I haven't seen him go so far as to describe any of the qualities of the engineers other than assuming some amount of intelligence in them.

I suspect he would accept that they might be engineered as well, but you're going to have to get to a point at some time when there's no prior beings who could've done the engineering.

But all that is beside what I meant to be saying, which is, as you said, life as we know it. That is, the question is was the life that is here on Earth created or not, as opposed to whether or not the ancient alien engineers were created or not. We certainly don't have any data on those guys.

But I'm interested to know what signs of design he would be looking for in life as we know it......

Didn't you see his Front Loading thread?

It didn't suck and he's definately trying, but it didn't really "get there" to the meat of the data.


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