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# What is design? Can we not find evidence of design on earth or in the universe?

Author Topic:   What is design? Can we not find evidence of design on earth or in the universe?
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

 Message 61 of 185 (485360) 10-07-2008 5:30 PM Reply to: Message 58 by NOT JULIUS10-07-2008 4:29 PM

Re: The Puddle / Pothole analogy has no Goal
 Stragler writes:So how exactly is the exact puddle formed in a randomly produced pothole any different to the "exact" conditions for life leading to life?

Simply, your analogy does not apply. I think somebody has already confirmed that the analogy of the puddle/pothole has no Goal.

You're failing to understand and missing the point.

Using the logic from your argument in Message 51, if the pothole was shaped even slightly differently, then the puddle wouldn't fit inside it. Therefore, the pothole was designed to fit the puddle.

But we know that is not correct. the water conforms to the pothole.

In a similiar manner, life conformed to the position of our planet to the sun. Saying that this position was designed for life is just as falacious.

 This message is a reply to: Message 58 by NOT JULIUS, posted 10-07-2008 4:29 PM NOT JULIUS has responded

 Replies to this message: Message 62 by NOT JULIUS, posted 10-07-2008 7:26 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

NOT JULIUS
Member (Idle past 3588 days)
Posts: 219
From: Rome
Joined: 11-29-2006

 Message 62 of 185 (485367) 10-07-2008 7:26 PM Reply to: Message 61 by New Cat's Eye10-07-2008 5:30 PM

Re: The Puddle / Pothole analogy has no Goal
Hi Cath,
 Cath sci writes:"quotes from Stragler..."
 You're failing to understand and missing the point.Using the logic from your argument in Message 51, if the pothole was shaped even slightly differently, then the puddle wouldn't fit inside it. Therefore, the pothole was designed to fit the puddle.

Or, you can apply the argument on post # 51 to verify.

Premise (p)1: To design is to create or execute something in a skilled manner with a purpose or goal in mind.

P2: If something is made or executed in a highly skilled manner with a purpose or goal in mind, then it is evidence of design.

P3: The puddle in the pothole has no goal--unless a child made the pothole to fit the puddle in that case the goal was for the child's fun.

P4: Either there is no goal or there is a goal -child's fun.

Conclusion: Therefore, from P1 to P4 we can conclude that the puddle in the pothole was not designed because there is no goal; or it was designed because there is a goal (child's fun).

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NOT JULIUS
Member (Idle past 3588 days)
Posts: 219
From: Rome
Joined: 11-29-2006

 Message 63 of 185 (485368) 10-07-2008 7:50 PM Reply to: Message 56 by Huntard10-07-2008 4:28 PM

Re: You Probably Got it Wrong
 huntard writes:Mathematical probability is ABSOLUTELY on its side. Do you have ANY idea how many planets there are? Very many of them will be in the Goldilocks zone. So the earth is very common in that way

Then, show me another earth with life as we know it.

 Because that's the way the solar system formed.

But why was it formed that way?

 First you need to show there IS a goal, then you need to show this goal to be life, then we can talk about if the placement of the earth is good to achieve this goal. In short, don't just ASSUME there is a goal, provide evidence for this, if not, I will start claiming some very different things to you, and then we're stuck and crying nuh-uh to each other.

I think I have shown by analysis that there is a goal (post # 51).

 Truth does not depend on opinion, it depends on facts.

True, but truth can also be ferreted out by sound argument.While it is true that appeal to authority is not OK, in some cases their opinion counts because of their research.

Edited by Doubting Too, : No reason given.

Edited by Doubting Too, : No reason given.

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NOT JULIUS
Member (Idle past 3588 days)
Posts: 219
From: Rome
Joined: 11-29-2006

 Message 64 of 185 (485371) 10-07-2008 8:03 PM Reply to: Message 57 by cavediver10-07-2008 4:29 PM

Re: P3 OF POST # 35 APPEARS ONLY TO BE "BEGGING THE Q"
 cavediver writes:There are several hundred BILLION stars in our Galaxy. And there are nearly one hundred BILLION galaxies in just the Observable Universe. That gives us billions of trillions of potential planetary systems. Probability not on our side Are you sure???

Then show me another earth with life as we know it.

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NOT JULIUS
Member (Idle past 3588 days)
Posts: 219
From: Rome
Joined: 11-29-2006

 Message 65 of 185 (485374) 10-07-2008 8:37 PM Reply to: Message 59 by Straggler10-07-2008 4:39 PM

Re: The Puddle / Pothole analogy has no Goal
 straggler writes:Your argument appears to be very very circular.There must be a goal because the environmental conditions are so specific to life and the conditions are so specific for life because life is the goal. How is this different from: The exact size and shape of the puddle must have been the goal bacause the puddle meets the exact size and shape requirements of the goal. You are applying circular logic to the argument you want to make but refusing to apply the same logic to the puddle.

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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

 Message 66 of 185 (485382) 10-07-2008 11:24 PM Reply to: Message 62 by NOT JULIUS10-07-2008 7:26 PM

Re: The Puddle / Pothole analogy has no Goal
DT, I could come at this argument from multiple angles....

It is inherently false.

 Conclusion: Therefore, from P1 to P4 we can conclude that the puddle in the pothole was not designed because there is no goal; or it was designed because there is a goal (child's fun).

How can you tell if something has a goal or not?

 The puddle in the pothole has no goal-unless a child made the pothole to fit the puddle in that case the goal was for the child's fun.

This statement on its own is a false dichotomy.

Could the goal not simply be designed "to hold water" with no child to amuse at all?

Consequently, how can you identify the goal of the pothole without knowing whether or not a child made the hole?

Please realize that we don't know if the position and conditions of the Earth were designed or not and that you're claiming that we can tell from the position and conditions, themselves, that we can tell.

How?

 P2: If something is made or executed in a highly skilled manner with a purpose or goal in mind, then it is evidence of design.

How do you identify high skill?

Does the fact the the pothole perfectly fits the puddle suggest that it was designed? I say no.

What about that it has the right conditions to hold water and it perfectly fits the shape of the puddle? Still no, right?

In a similar manner, the fact that life fits the distance of the Earth from the sun (and we've established that is not even perfect) and that the conditions are right does not suggest that the distance and conditions were designed for life to fit.

Now, you can realize that your argument is invalid and try to learn something from it. The lack of this "obvious" design that you see is inconsequential.

Or, you can continue to maintain your argument's validity, and remain wallowed in your ignorance.

Its up to you.

Science fails to recognize the single most potent element of human existence.
Letting the reigns go to the unfolding is faith, faith, faith, faith.
Science has failed our world.
Science has failed our Mother Earth.
-System of a Down, "Science"

He who makes a beast out of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man.
-Avenged Sevenfold, "Bat Country"

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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 3303 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007

 Message 67 of 185 (485385) 10-07-2008 11:39 PM Reply to: Message 64 by NOT JULIUS10-07-2008 8:03 PM

Re: P3 OF POST # 35 APPEARS ONLY TO BE "BEGGING THE Q"
 Then show me another earth with life as we know it.

Come up with the means to travel 1,000,000,000 times the speed of light and we'll go to another galaxy to find out if there are other planets, like earth, with similar life.

Edited by bluescat48, : missing quote

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

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Huntard
Member (Idle past 1409 days)
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008

 Message 68 of 185 (485394) 10-08-2008 1:44 AM Reply to: Message 63 by NOT JULIUS10-07-2008 7:50 PM

Re: You Probably Got it Wrong
 Doubting Too writes:Then, show me another earth with life as we know it.

I can't, however that's not the point, the point is you said probability is against us. Since there are gazillions of planets, that even one of them would turn out like earth is VERY probable.

 But why was it formed that way?

Because of the laws of physics.

 I think I have shown by analysis that there is a goal (post # 51).

No you haven't, you ASSUME there is a goal. If you say there is a goal, you have to point to the evidence supporting this. Saying: "there is life on earth, therefore life is the goal" is circular reasoning and not evidence at all.

 True, but truth can also be ferreted out by sound argument.While it is true that appeal to authority is not OK, in some cases their opinion counts because of their research.

Arguments need to be supported with evidence, not assertions.
As for the research......Show me the research that points to:
a) The universe having a goal
b) That goal being life

I hunt for the truth

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Deftil
Member (Idle past 3569 days)
Posts: 128
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 04-19-2008

 Message 69 of 185 (485397) 10-08-2008 2:13 AM Reply to: Message 42 by NOT JULIUS10-06-2008 9:11 PM

Re: You Probably Got it Wrong
 DT writes:Re. premise 3. I don't believe this is begging the question. I am not assuming that life on earth is the goal.

Now you're just being dishonest or are confused. The premises in an argument are assumptions. Let's look at P3 again:
 DT writes:P3: The right distance of the earth to the sun, and the right conditions on earth is towards a goal--life on earth.

 DT writes:Premise (p)1: To design is to create or execute something in a skilled manner with a purpose or goal in mind.P2: If something is proven to be made or executed in a highly skilled manner with a purpose or goal in mind, then it is evidence of design.P3: The right distance of the earth to the sun, and the right conditions on earth result in life as we know it.P4: There is life on earth.Conclusion: From P1 to P4, we can conclude that the right distance of the earth to the sun, AND the right conditions on earth is by design towards a goal--life on earth.

Now it becomes clear that the conclusion is a non-sequitur. This is because it doesn't logically follow from the simple fact that life as we know it exists that it was a goal, that it was intended, and that it was designed. It's entirely possible that it wasn't. These things MAY actually be true, but in terms of your syllogism and logic, your conclusion does not follow from your premises. You haven't logically proven design.

Now a bit more in regards to your defense of P3:

 DT writes:I am proceeding from this observation: (1) right distance, (2) right condition... and then life. Life obviously is the goal for the preceeding two observable facts. If not, what else? Would chance be a goal... Chance is not a goal. It is a happening, or a frequency, I guess.

Life is not obviously the "goal", but is obviously the "result". Your use of the word "goal", which implies intention and design, is the issue here, and why you are begging the question. You must use language in your premises that does not assume your conclusion, if your logic is to be considered sound. When you go with "result" instead of "goal", your conclusion is a non-sequitur.

 DT writes:Here is another proof why premise 3 is not begging. If the distance is right but condition is not, then no life. If distance is wrong, but condition is right life may exist for a while but eventually will die. So? the two must be present to achieve a goal--life.

Again, same thing. Switch the word "goal" out with something else (which you must do so as to not beg the question) that's neutral in regards to your conclusion and you see that your conclusion doesn't follow. Surely you can see that assuming life is a "goal" is making the assumption that life is the result of design, which is supposed to be your conclusion. To make sure you understand the implications of the word "goal" here is it's definition: "the end toward which effort is directed". Effort can only be directed by a conscious being, aka a designer, so this reveals why use of the word in your premises is begging the question.

You make a further plea in Message 51 that P3 isn't begging the question, so I'll move on to that now.

 DT writes:Is this begging the question? It appears only to be so. But, a more detailed analysis will show this is a valid premise.Here is analysis:A. Facts first:- if there is right distance of the earth to the sun, but WRONG conditions life wonâ€™t be possible.- -if the conditions are right, but distance is wrong life will eventually die.B. Interpretation of the facts:-Were the above facts brought by random chance? Mathematical probability is not on its side.

I think the "facts" could be more clearly stated, but the issue is really your "interpretation", which a few people have already taken issue with. Is probability on the side of the right conditions for life occurring?
quote:
"... there are at least 100 billion stars with planets in our Galaxy," Lineweaver said. "With about 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, our result suggests that there are at least 10 trillion planetary systems in the Universe."
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/afp/20030922/universe.html

10 trillion planetary systems, and many of them undoubtedly contain more than one planet. When you think about it, with that many planets it's actually mathematically unlikely that at least one (but probably many more) of them would not have the right conditions for life. The answer to your next question becomes clear...

 DT writes:Then, why should the earthâ€™s distance to the sun be right, and the conditions of the earth be right for life to flourish?

Chance.

As to why we haven't discovered life on any of these other planets, it's because we don't have the means to observe them closely enough yet. There could literally be life on a million different exoplanets in our universe, and we wouldn't even know it. Perhaps in the future we'll be more capable of searching more planets for life, but at the present it's extremely difficult. We're still trying to be certain life doesn't exist on (or in) a planet (Mars) that's in our very our solar system, so you can only imagine how difficult it would be to comb all planets in the universe for life. To give you an idea, there is estimated to be about 70,000 million million million stars in the universe, but the nearest one, Proxima Centauri is 4.2 light years away. That means if you traveled at the speed of light, 186,282.397 miles per second, it would still take you over 4 years to get there. And most stars are much, much farther away than that and space craft travel MUCH, MUCH slower than the speed of light.

 DT writes:Why would Gideon, a cook, take the effort of coming up with the right ingredient, the right temperature, even the right equipment to cook? In short, why these conditions or requirements? Because he wants to achieve his GOALâ€”the perfect muffin ( or whatever is that dish). So, as Gideonâ€™s conditions / requirements are towards a goal ( the muffin), the Earthâ€™s and Sunâ€™s conditions/ requirements--- the rightness of distance and conditionâ€”also has a GOAL: Life !

So if we see a muffin, we can pretty safely conclude that it was baked by someone; that's true. I've never seen a muffin that didn't have an Intelligent Baker behind it, and I've seen more than a few muffins in my time. But are muffins and bakers good analogies for life and potential Intelligent Desginers? Well, we all have direct experience with muffins and bakers, and the intentions of bakers, so we can reasonably make conclusions about them. However, we don't have direct experience with the original creation of life and with gods, so we can't reliably make any conclusions about them. Muffins, not suprisingly, aren't a great analogy for life.

For any who are interested, in David Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding he addresses the argument about whether intention and design can be concluded from observing nature. (Back in 1748 BTW!) This is discussed in section 11, OF A PARTICULAR PROVIDENCE AND OF A FUTURE STATE.
I agree with the sentiment presented in that argument which states

quote:
While we argue from the course of nature, and infer a particular intelligent cause, which first bestowed, and still preserves order in the universe, we embrace a principle, which is both uncertain and useless. It is uncertain; because the subject lies entirely beyond the reach of human experience.
A summary of the criticism of the argument from design is here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hume#The_design_argument

2 points from there worth noting due to particular relevance to the current discussion:

quote:
1. For the design argument to be feasible, it must be true that order and purpose are observed only when they result from design. But order is observed regularly, resulting from presumably mindless processes like snowflake or crystal generation. Design accounts for only a tiny part of our experience with order and "purpose".

2. Furthermore, the design argument is based on an incomplete analogy: because of our experience with objects, we can recognise human-designed ones, comparing for example a pile of stones and a brick wall. But to point to a designed Universe, we would need to have an experience of a range of different universes. As we only experience one, the analogy cannot be applied. We must ask therefore if it is right to compare the world to a machine â€“ as in Paley's watchmaker argument â€“ when perhaps it would be better described as a giant inert animal.

Finally, the "face on Mars"...

 DT writes:I saw the link and the picture.I honestly don't see any image of man. What I saw were black dots on greyish spots. Sorry, I guess I'm not superstitous. Or, I see things differently from most.

I find it kind of ironic that you can observe life and conclude a Designer, yet claim not to be superstitious, lol, but that's just my view. Anyhow, seeing something that looks like a human face in that image has nothing to do with superstition, it just has to do with the fact that in the right light, those hills kind of resemble a human face, at least according to nearly everyone that looks at it.

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LucyTheApe
Inactive Member

 Message 70 of 185 (485408) 10-08-2008 7:51 AM Reply to: Message 6 by Parasomnium10-05-2008 6:40 AM

Re: Anthropic reasoning voided
 Parasomnium writes:life arises only there where it is possible for it to arise

And what conditions would make this possible Parasomnium? Given the fact that we can reproduce practically any condition in our labs, why can't we produce the conditions necessary for life?

There no doubt exist natural laws, but once this fine reason of ours was corrupted, it corrupted everything.
Pascal

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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5553
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002

 Message 71 of 185 (485409) 10-08-2008 7:56 AM Reply to: Message 70 by LucyTheApe10-08-2008 7:51 AM

Re: Anthropic reasoning voided
 And what conditions would make this possible Parasomnium? Given the fact that we can reproduce practically any condition in our labs, why can't we produce the conditions necessary for life?

1) we don't yet know that in detail
2) see 1)

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Granny Magda
Member
Posts: 2384
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

 Message 72 of 185 (485410) 10-08-2008 8:10 AM Reply to: Message 70 by LucyTheApe10-08-2008 7:51 AM

Re: Anthropic reasoning voided
Hi Lucy,

LucyTheApe writes:

 Parasomnium writes:life arises only there where it is possible for it to arise

And what conditions would make this possible Parasomnium?

In the context of what is being discussed here, namely the distance of the Earth from the sun, the answer is simply distance from the sun. This is not the only requirement for life of course, but it is the one which is relevant here.

For life to exist, a planet needs to be within a certain range of distance from it's sun, not too hot, not too cold, but "just right". This is why the habitable zone of a solar system is referred to as the "Goldilocks Zone". This is why there is no Earth-like life anywhere else in the solar system; it simply isn't possible.

We should not be surprised to find ourselves in the middle of the habitable zone. Where else could we be?

As for creating life in labs, that is not relevant here. True, we have not made life in the lab. We don't know how. That doesn't mean that it is impossible.

Mutate and Survive

"The Bible is like a person, and if you torture it long enough, you can get it to say almost anything you'd like it to say." -- Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade

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LucyTheApe
Inactive Member

 Message 73 of 185 (485412) 10-08-2008 8:35 AM Reply to: Message 72 by Granny Magda10-08-2008 8:10 AM

Re: Anthropic reasoning voided
G'day Granny,

 Granny writes:We should not be surprised to find ourselves in the middle of the habitable zone. Where else could we be?

That's a circular argument.

The way this thread is being argued is thus:

Side a:  The earth must be habitable to contain life.

Side b:  The earth is habitable because it contains life.

Same argument, different philosophical disposition.

Ironically, the further out we look for life, the less probable it appears that we will find it.

The more desperate our attempts to create life, the less likely it seems that we'll succeed.

The more we find out, the greater our awareness of how much we don't know.

Maybe that's the way it's designed!

There no doubt exist natural laws, but once this fine reason of ours was corrupted, it corrupted everything.
Pascal

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Granny Magda
Member
Posts: 2384
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

 Message 74 of 185 (485415) 10-08-2008 9:11 AM Reply to: Message 73 by LucyTheApe10-08-2008 8:35 AM

Re: Anthropic reasoning voided
 That's a circular argument.

It might be if I were using it to prove any specific proposition, but I'm not. I am simply disagreeing with assertions that the Earth's position is evidence of design.

 The way this thread is being argued is thus:Side a: The earth must be habitable to contain life.Side b: The earth is habitable because it contains life.Same argument, different philosophical disposition.

Not really. Both of those statements amount to the much same thing. I would take issue with the second statement mind you; the Earth is not habitable because it contains life. The Earth contains life partly because it is habitable, not the other way around. Of course, a planet that is known to support life, is habitable by definition.

The main difference in this discussion is that Doubting Too seems to think that the fact that the Earth is in the habitable zone is proof of design, whereas others simply see this as being inevitable, given that we know that life does exist here. It shouldn't be surprising. Being surprised that the only planet known to support life is in a habitable zone is like being surprised to find an apple on an apple tree. No-one is having this conversation on Venus. There is a reason for that.

 Ironically, the further out we look for life, the less probable it appears that we will find it.The more desperate our attempts to create life, the less likely it seems that we'll succeed.

I don't suppose you would care to substantiate either of those statements would you?

Of course neither of them really matter. Human attempts to create life are simply not the issue here and no matter how rare life might be, it still does not argue for a creator.

 Maybe that's the way it's designed!

Well maybe, but simply pointing out that Earth is in a habitable zone does not constitute evidence of a designer. It isn't really evidence of much at all, except that life depends on the sun.

Arguing that our presence in a habitable zone is so astonishing that it can only be attributed to a designer is the circular argument here.

Mutate and Survive

"The Bible is like a person, and if you torture it long enough, you can get it to say almost anything you'd like it to say." -- Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade

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NOT JULIUS
Member (Idle past 3588 days)
Posts: 219
From: Rome
Joined: 11-29-2006

 Message 75 of 185 (485499) 10-08-2008 10:49 PM Reply to: Message 69 by Deftil10-08-2008 2:13 AM

Is Life the Result or the Goal

For a while I thought you got me there--changing the word "goal" to "result". Are you a lawyer, by chance?

Now, let me try to show why life is the "goal" AND the "result".
A series of "why" questions--posed by a child would really reveal this, I think. Here is a discussion between a child and his Dad

Child: Why would life and not death result in the right distance of the sun and earth?

Dad: Because it is the result of natural processes.

2nd why: But why? I am not satisfied. Is process and result enough to explain life? Uh...Uh.. feeling unable to answer the question?

Dad: Because, child, the process and/ or the result was what was INTENDED by the designer/ maker. Remember Gideon? Just like our cook Gideon when he specifies these ingredients, and equipment, for baking muffins. His intention (or Goal) is to give us muffins. Kid, while muffins is the result of his baking prowess it is also his goal. He gets satisfaction with that. In other words my child Results and Goals are do not really contradict each other--they are complementary. Kid, if you still aren't satisfied, here is another. If Dad drives you to this street and that street, what would be the RESULT? We arive at the Mall. But, why would Dad take you to the mall? Because your intention--your GOAL--is to silence this smart kid.

Dad: Do you now see the point?

Child: Oh, yes I see.

Dad: Now, my child, it's my turn to ask you. Do you know who infected our computer with virus.

Child. No, Dad. It doesn't matter to me. That one who ever he is had a goal AND an annoying result--to bug our PC.

Dad: Now, do you know who designed the earth?

Child: No, his name is not written on it. But, I now know that life is a RESULT and a GOAL.

Dad: Suppose, I tell you he is GOD.

Child: I may believe you, but there seems to be no proof--except that there is INTELLIGENCEdisplayed here. But, Dad, can we accept INTELLIGENCE without GOD.

Dad: Does that sound reasonable to you? Can you have a functioning brain--the seat of intelligence--without a person?

Child: It's hard to believe.

Dad: Whew! I finally got ya, I think.

Deftil and the rest trying to falsify P3. Did you get the point?

Edited by Doubting Too, : No reason given.

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