quote: Intelligent Design is a scientific research program dedicated to finding and analyzing signs of Intelligence like Beheâ€™s irreducible complexity or Dembskiâ€™s complex, specified information
None of that is true. ID has no scientiifc research program. Behe's "irreducible complexity" is a failed argument against evolution. Dembski's "complex specified information" is in an even worse situation - there's been no serious attempt to apply it to biology at all (I don't count Dembski's attempt to apply it to a bacterial flagellum as serious as he not only does the wrong calculation, he also completely ignores evolution, based on a misrepresentation of Behe).
quote: As a result, Intelligent Design is falsifiable/testable, since one has only to demonstrate that the signs of intelligence that Intelligent Design is based on can be explained by natural causes in order to falsify it
Refuting an argument for ID - which is what you are talking about would not refute ID itself. It is interesting that ID advocates use such a low standard for falsifiability when they want to claim that ID is falsifiable and then switch to a far higher standard when they want to claim that evolution is not falsifiable.
quote: If we found a frog with vestigial wings, people would see it as an organ â€œon its way inâ€ rather than â€œon its way out,â€ and possibly even use it as further evidence for evolution. For example, flying fish have wings, but that isnâ€™t considered to be evidence against evolution, in spite of the fact that they clearly have no ancestors with better wings.
But isn't that because the flying fish "wings" are clearly modified fins rather than insect wings or bird wings or bat wings ? In short isn't it the case that this is what we would expect to see if evolution were true rather than a designer reusing existing designs ?
If my understanding is correct, staying on topic is an important issue on this forum. Would you mind moving this discussion to a more appropriate topic so that this thread stays clean and simple?
I was simply replying to a point in your post. Moderators tend to allow individual points to be answered and step in when those points look like they're beginning to dominate and derail the main topic.
I'll just say that I'm not much interested in Intelligent Design. It just seems like the old Argument from Incredulity to me; Intelligent Design exhibits much of the same sloppy thinking that characterizes Young Earth Creationism, except that people like Dembski and Behe realize that their thinking is sloppy and so they obfuscate the issue as much as possible to hide it. I've yet to see a discussion on Intelligent Design that didn't make my eyes cross.
Any number of vestigials (or complete lack of vestigials) can be explained as being due to the randomness of mutation and uncertainties about what selective pressures were at work.
Actually, that's not quite true. As I pointed out, it would be unlikely that every single species that we see would have, in every single case, have completed the evolutionary processes that would have eliminated unused organs (or completely adapted them to other purposes so completely to hide their original use (like the way a jaw joint became adapted into middle ear bones in mammals). Surely, with all the species that we see, a least a few would still be in the process of adapting to an evironment in which an organ possessed by the ancestor is now unnecessary?
So, sure, often we wouldn't see vestigial organs (since they would, like gills in mammals, been long eliminated), but sometimes one should see vestigial organs since there should still be organisms in the process of adapting to new environments and new niches that their ancestors didn't inhabit.
Incidentally, if you read The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Stephen Jay Gould points out that it was a problem for the theory of natural selection that whales didn't have vestigial legs. Not for macroevolution, since that alone wouldn't suggest that we should see vestigial organs in each and every case, but it did for the theory of natural selection as the mechanism for evolution. At one point, one would naively think, when the leg became really, really small, say 5 millimeters long and embedded within the body, surely natural selection wouldn't distinguish between a vestigial leg 5 mm long and one 4 mm long. This was one of the reasons that natural selection wasn't universally accepted as the mechanism for evolution until the 1940s and 1950s, when genetics and developmental biology provided the answers to this particular question. So the lack in of vestigial organs was considered a problem in certain cases.
If we found a frog with vestigial wings, people would see it as an organ â€œon its way inâ€ rather than â€œon its way out,â€ and possibly even use it as further evidence for evolution.
Well, it it was on the "way in", then it wouldn't be vestigial. Natural selection does not select for useless organs. It can only select for features that make a positive contribution to the survival of the organism. Even if a frog wing was truly vestigial, without a use, right now then it must have originated as a feature that was useful in an ancestor and so had a definite use. So the ancestors of that particular frog must have had wings. Since the wings would have had to have been well-developed for them to be identified now as wings, then it must have evolved over some long length of time. So closely related species must also have wings; if a frog had vestigial wings, then there should be indications that its ancestors had wings, either through direct fossil evidence, or by the possession of wings (functioning or vestigial) in closely related species.
For example, flying fish have wings...
...which aren't vestigial, so they aren't particularly relevant here.
First, we have no way of knowing the goals and intentions of the designer of life on earth, so any assumption about them is just that: an assumption.
But I'm not the one making assumptions about the designer. It is the "reuse of similar designs" people who are. By comparing the tendency of the creator of life to reuse common designs with the same tendency of human engineers, the creationist/intelligent designist is making the implicit assumption that the goals and reasoning of the two are similar.
Why would the creator of life reuse designs? That is the question. Why would the creator of life reuse designs? To point out that human designers reuse designs is to imply that the answer is for the same reason that human designers do. Why do human designers reuse designs? Because it is too expensive and takes too much time to come up with totally new, innovative designs from scratch. So, when someone answers this question with this answer, then they are saying that creating innovative new designs from scratch is too expensive, too time consuming, and too difficult for the creator of life.
If the creator is reusing designs for reasons different from human designers, then the comparison is useless and misleading and should not be made.
According to him, an all powerful being would by default have to create a more radically diverse array of designs than what scientists observe in our world.
No, I am saying that it is not possible to say what a designer would do until one has an idea of how and why a designer does what it does. One needs a theory.
The theory of evolution is an explanation of the similarities and the pattern of similarities, and it has great explanatory and predictive power.
Why is the appendix like the primate caecum? Because that is what the designer wanted. Why is the retina of the human eye behind the capillaries suppying its blood? Because that is the way the designer wanted it. Why do birds have feathers and no other animal? Because that is what the designer wanted. This has no explanatory or predictive power at all. It may be comforting theologically, but it is useless scientifically.
Edited by Chiroptera, : Totally awful typo.
Edited by Chiroptera, : Another typo.
I've done everything the Bible says, even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff! -- Ned Flanders
The problem is that evolution makes predictions in both directions and anywhere in between. Any number of vestigials (or complete lack of vestigials) can be explained as being due to the randomness of mutation and uncertainties about what selective pressures were at work. As result, nothing is really proved since the evidence would be accommodated regardless of what is actually found.
Not at all. Evolutionary theory predicts that features, vestiges or innovations occurred via small steps based on prior structures and did not just appear suddenly out of no where. If only humans had appendixes or Ostriches had wings with no evolutionary history that would be a problem.
ID would not predict vestigial structures in any form at all.
If we found a frog with vestigial wings, people would see it as an organ â€œon its way inâ€ rather than â€œon its way out,â€ and possibly even use it as further evidence for evolution. For example, flying fish have wings, but that isnâ€™t considered to be evidence against evolution, in spite of the fact that they clearly have no ancestors with better wings.
If fully formed bird style wings were found on flying fish (and no less on a frog) that would present a *serious* problem to evolutionary theory. No amount of hand waving and mumbling about mutations and selective pressure would dismiss the problem. I don't know much about flying fish (frying fish is another story :) ) but without looking it up I would take a long-odds bet that they are adapted fins and NOT structured like tetrapod limbs.
This is the key difference between evolution adapted features and what one would expect or predict by a Intelligent Designer.
Think in terms of innovations to the automobile. Automobile feature progression are an outcome of Intelligent Designing. So that when lets say fuel injection became perfected this feature was quickly added to all makes - Fords, Chevys, Toyotas, and even motorbikes, outboard motors, etc.
If automobile progression was an evolutionary process you would expect this feature to popup suddenly in say Chevys and be found only in Chevys and not Fords or Toyotas. However if fuel injection was really an advantageous feature you would expect that this features would eventually be "discovered" in Fords but probably implemented in an entirely new and different way being subjected to specific historical constraints of Fords.
And this is what we see in the special adaptation of flying creatures! The various mechanisms that allow a creature to fly are widely different and occurred at different evolutionary time frames along different evolutionary paths resulting in different ways to do the same thing.
[Note: my acknowledgment to Jar for first highlighting this metaphor]
One finally thought. I don't know in what terms of an Intelligent Designer you are thinking of but what do think about the character of this designer in view of the parasitic nature of life? Here is thread I would like to capture you thoughts on this issue.