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Author Topic:   The consequences of an intelligent designer
subbie
Member (Idle past 96 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 1 of 53 (358510)
10-24-2006 10:47 AM


Probably the most basic way to evaluate the merits of a particular hypothesis is to determine how well it explains observable facts compared to competing theories. However, it seems to me that it is also valid to examine whether a given theory raises more, or more difficult, questions than it answers.

With this second idea in mind, I'd be interested in an exploration of the corollary issues raised as a consequence of an intelligent designer playing some role in the development of life. I don't necessarily wish to limit this discussion to the Intelligent Designer (god) that the creos believe in, but it can include the red herring idea that they've tossed out of an alien intelligence, or any other type of designer that anyone else would find of interest, for that matter.

The first two questions that come to my mind along these lines are, why would any intelligence direct, tamper with or otherwise influence the course of life on this insignificant third rock from an ordinary star, and if it's so intelligent, why didn't it do a better job of it?

I guess this might go in Misc Topics, but to the extent that the discussion takes us in the direction of divining the motives of a supreme being, I can easily see there being substantial overlap into more faith related areas. And, I can also see that large portions of this discussion will be based more on reasoning and logic than evidence, so I would ask that the requirement of evidence to support positions be somewhat relaxed.


Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for a temporary security will lose both, and deserve neither. -- Benjamin Franklin
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AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 53 (358538)
10-24-2006 1:38 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
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nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 3 of 53 (358543)
10-24-2006 2:06 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminJar
10-24-2006 1:38 PM


Some "predictions"
(a) Our best guide to what intelligent design would produce, comes from looking at what intelligent designers actually produce. Artificial Intelligence and Robotics are the fields involved with designing artificial persons. I predict that an intelligently designed "person" would be more like an AI product than like a person.

(b) If there were an intelligent design for humans, we would expect very few spontaneous abortions. A spontaneous abortion is a failure, and no intelligent designer would tolerate such a high failure rate.

(c) If there were an intelligent design for humans, there would be no sin. A morally responsible intelligent designer would take responsibility for failures of the design, and not attempt to pass the blame onto the victims of the design failure.

I'll note that these predictions are on the assumption that humans were intelligently designed. They do not apply in the case of a grand designer who created the cosmos as a whole and then allowed it to develop naturally. They do not even apply in the case where the designer created the first primitive biological organism, and allowed biological live to evolve from there.


Compassionate conservatism - bringing you a kinder, gentler torture chamber
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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16094
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 4 of 53 (358556)
10-24-2006 3:13 PM


What does "Intelligent" mean, in this context? Does it merely mean "conscious", or does it mean intelligent? If we hypothesise a real klutz at creating Universes, one of those Designers who only just scraped through Cosmology, then obviously any feature of the universe, however dumb, could be consistent with that hypothesis.

NOTE: The inference that the Designer is one of a community, that Design is something that they teach to their young, and that talents in this field vary, is just as valid as the inference that the "Designer" has a personality, since it is based on exactly the same analogy. From this premise we can make one clear and unambiguous prediction: one day, our Universe will be exhibited at a Science Fair. It will not win.


  
mike the wiz
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From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 5 of 53 (358586)
10-24-2006 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by subbie
10-24-2006 10:47 AM


The first two questions that come to my mind along these lines are, why would any intelligence direct, tamper with or otherwise influence the course of life on this insignificant third rock from an ordinary star, and if it's so intelligent, why didn't it do a better job of it?

It depends on what you mean by "insignificant" doesn't it? If you mean size, well, it's relative. If you mean that the ceiling in my house should behold the furniture, then I would ask, why?

Yet people behold them.

The question is; is God a person?

I always wondered what it meant that because we are insignificant on a universal scale, that that should mean we would be to God.

If God is a consciousness, and we are, and nothing else is, then what on earth has scale got to do with it?

To add; The tampering of God might come by the request of a person, possibly. Also, "doing a better job of it" might be meaningless subjective opinion to God.

It depends on the premise set down. That perception can so easily be done away with, if God sees all life as morally inferior because it will do anything for it's survival. God could then have mercy, but all obligations you think God has, would mean nothing at all, logically.

Edited by mike the wiz, : No reason given.


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42
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 53 (358801)
10-25-2006 3:17 PM


The more questions than answers problem probably needs examples. I'm new to the debate, but would like to guess at offering one: If design were to play a part in a life-containing universe, would design be universal or limited, eg would that design include mass suffering, or would the designer let their designs develop these things through their own bestowed intelligent choice?

Edited by 42, : No reason given.

Edited by 42, : Was too strongly put.


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subbie
Member (Idle past 96 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 7 of 53 (358821)
10-25-2006 5:14 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by 42
10-25-2006 3:17 PM


An example.
All right, here's a real world example from the history of science.

In 1915, based on a number of observations, Alfred Wegener proposed the theory of contintental drift, that the continents were at one time together but over time, drifted apart. Although the theory explained quite well a very large number of curious observations that nobody had been able to adequately explain up to that point, his theory was roundly rejected. Based on what was known at the time, this rejection was reasonable. It was known that the contintents were composed of much lighter material than the crust, and part of Wegener's theory proposed that the continents somehow plowed through the crust. Because it seemed impossible for the continents to move through the crust, the theory was rejected. It raised more difficulties than it answered.

Now, the difficulties raised by the concept of an intelligent designer will obviously vary depending on exactly how much influence one posits the designer exerted. As you suggest, if one posits a loving, all powerful god as the designer, one has to explain the tremendous suffering that we see. Moreover, if one supposes that the designer directed evolution throughout the process, one must explain we there are so very many examples of poor design evidence throughout nature. Why, for example, would an all knowing, all powerful god fail to give pandas thumbs so they could grasp their food?


Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for a temporary security will lose both, and deserve neither. -- Benjamin Franklin
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RAZD
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Posts: 19839
From: the other end of the sidewalk
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Member Rating: 6.0


Message 8 of 53 (358845)
10-25-2006 6:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by subbie
10-24-2006 10:47 AM


Silly
... why would any intelligence direct, tamper with or otherwise influence the course of life on this insignificant third rock from an ordinary star, ...

One answer Silly Design Institute: Let's discuss BOTH sides of the Design Controversy... (note the institute is open for submissions).

Enjoy.


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mark24
Member (Idle past 3331 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 9 of 53 (358848)
10-25-2006 7:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by subbie
10-24-2006 10:47 AM


subie,

I suppose were an ID shown to be likely, I would wonder how it evolved or what designed it.

There is really no reason to go off assuming a designer = afterlife. Or personal god. Or god at all, for that matter.

Mark


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't
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Straggler
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Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 10 of 53 (358849)
10-25-2006 7:07 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by subbie
10-24-2006 10:47 AM


Purpose
An interesting question.
I would suggest that the role of a designer necessarily requires a purpose or motive for the design.
In the case of life that would require a purpose not just for humans but for all living organisms from the most basic to the most complex.

The purpose of the design will dictate the nature of the designed.

A world created by a benevolent God would be very different from one designed by a malevolent one.
A world designed to achieve a fixed purpose would be very different to one designed as an experiment to see what happens if a number of random factors are thrown together.

I leave it to the individual to decide which our world most seems to resemble.

My point is that the purpose of the design would logically define the role of the designer and ultimately the nature of the design itself.
If we ask the question of design we necessarily ask of the purpose of the design.
Does the existence and design of life as we know it achieve any discernable purpose that any sort of designer could have hoped to achieve?
Why are we here.........?


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42
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 53 (358854)
10-25-2006 7:25 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by subbie
10-25-2006 5:14 PM


Re: An example.
Can I posit that the most complex known thing is the web of human interaction?

The suffering is no-ones fault. We're all apes, catarhinni, amniotes.

Peace and love to all


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kuresu
Member (Idle past 649 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 12 of 53 (358863)
10-25-2006 7:58 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by 42
10-25-2006 7:25 PM


Re: An example.
human interaction is nothing in terms of compexity to our brains.

we have, for the most part, been able to explain a lot of human interactions. not true of the brain. we're talking about a processor that is so much greater than any computer, yet at the same time, can't process anywhere near the same amount as a normal computer on a conscious level. we're talking about the organ that is the cause of plenty of mental disorders--like schizophrenia. We're not even sure how our brain's get into depression (we're close on that one, though). We're talking about something that can dream, and we don't even know the mechanism for it. It is the organ that at the same time can create absolutely wonderful ideas and destroy them with unequaled cruelty and fury.

mind you, we've just started working on the brain (roughly a hundred years? maybe more like fifty?). but as of now, it is pretty much the most complex thing we know of.

I don't mean to imply a "brain of the gaps" as the reason it is the most complex thing we know of, in case it comes off like that.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16094
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 13 of 53 (358892)
10-25-2006 10:17 PM


But let's say we mean intelligent intelligent. Then shouldn't we be able to work out something about the constraints under which the designer labored?

One might, for example, suggest that Jupiter is a stupid waste of matter. But who knows? Maybe some waste is inevitable. By analogy, a being accustomed to a different set of physical laws might think it very wasteful that our heat engines emit waste heat: but our designers are constrained by the second law of thermodynamics; there is no way to avoid a certain amount of waste.

Now by by postulating an intelligent designer, the design theorists should be able to work out, at least broadly, what these constraints were, and I assume that this is a hot topic of research in the ID community ...

... oh, wait ...

... I mean, I would bet dollars to donuts that none of them has ever written a single word about this topic.

---

The other open question is what effect the designer was trying to achieve. So long as it remains open, we may imagine a conversation as follows:

"... yah, supernovas are always tasteful. Was there anything else."

"Life."

"What sort of life?"

"Oh, you know, just life. My wife likes it, says it gives a universe a nice organic feel."

"Well, I'll tell you what I'll do. I saw a universe in downtown Eternity where life evolved?"

"Evolved! But that must mean that the life-forms reproduce with variation!"

"Yah."

"So ... in this universe ... organisms don't just magically pop into existence for no apparent reason, like we do?"

"Yeah, freaky isn't it. And the great thing about it is --- no copyright! So I'll get my people to run you off a copy of the organisms, and we'll get some of the lads from Omphalos Associates to slap down some strata for that really authentic feel."

"And is it insured against flooding?"


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subbie
Member (Idle past 96 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 14 of 53 (358922)
10-26-2006 1:32 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Dr Adequate
10-25-2006 10:17 PM


Constraints of the designer
Now by by postulating an intelligent designer, the design theorists should be able to work out, at least broadly, what these constraints were, and I assume that this is a hot topic of research in the ID community ......

oh, wait ...

... I mean, I would bet dollars to donuts that none of them has ever written a single word about this topic.

Yer kiddin' right?

The ID community worked that out years and years ago. You never heard that god is omnipotent?


Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for a temporary security will lose both, and deserve neither. -- Benjamin Franklin
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iceage 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4051 days)
Posts: 1024
From: Pacific Northwest
Joined: 09-08-2003


Message 15 of 53 (358925)
10-26-2006 2:10 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by subbie
10-24-2006 10:47 AM


Consider The Guinea Worm.
why didn't it do a better job of it

Or in some cases why such a good job.

Consider Dracunuliasis or Guinea Worm.

http://www.who.int/ctd/dracun/disease.htm
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/africa/worm23.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinea_worm_disease

A marvelously adapted .... errr ..... designed creature to a specific diabolical niche.

I am sure before the fall this creature was happily slurping up blue-green alge from ponds. After the fall the worm "micro-evolved" to its current wicked methods causing untold human and animal misery.

One consequence of buying into a intelligent designer is that they also have to consider that the designer may be wicked.


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