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Author Topic:   Detecting Design
Member (Idle past 4254 days)
Posts: 206
Joined: 03-13-2009

Message 10 of 59 (540724)
12-28-2009 6:28 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Iblis
12-28-2009 2:37 AM

Re: Is it science?
I don't think there is any algorithm for detecting design, in spite of what ID claims.

However, clues that an object may be designed are

- it closely resembles something we know is designed. If we see something ancient that contains what looks like writing, there's a good chance it was designed.

- There is evidence that design and construction work has been done, e.g. plans, blueprints.

- We do not believe it could have arisen through natural processes alone

- it appears to have a function that would benefit a potential designer.

If we look at life against these criteria

- life does not closely resemble things we know are designed. We have not so far designed anything like it. In a few years maybe we will. It does resemble designed things in terms of complexity, but that is pretty vague.

- The only plans and Blueprints we have are religious texts.

- Life could have developed through natural processes, provided we accept that small step-wise changes were possible at every point. The big failure of ID is to ignore the viability of intermediates between the starting point and the end point. Increasingly evidence suggests that intermediate steps are viable.

- Life appears to have no function other than to potentially please a designer!

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Member (Idle past 4254 days)
Posts: 206
Joined: 03-13-2009

Message 16 of 59 (541837)
01-06-2010 2:14 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Iblis
01-06-2010 1:39 PM

Re: identifying design based on knowledge of the designer
This context argument keeps coming up. Would it be correct to say that the only way real science can identify unfamiliar design is by knowing other details about the imputed designer?

I can think of a few extreme cases where this is not necessary.

If we receive a radio message from an alien civilization that intends it to be detected, there is a good chance we would be able to spot that the message is designed with no other contextual information. If we were doing the same we would put in lots of highly unlikely patterns into the message. For example, the sequence of primes, the value of pi, encoded pictures etc. If aliens doing this were sufficiently similar to us, and did similar things, we would probably find the patterns.

If we found an advanced spaceship in orbit around Jupiter we would also come to the same conclusion. In this case though we might be wrong - maybe it evolved!

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Member (Idle past 4254 days)
Posts: 206
Joined: 03-13-2009

Message 17 of 59 (541841)
01-06-2010 2:23 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Tanndarr
01-06-2010 2:06 PM

Re: identifying design based on knowledge of the designer
1. Evidence of manufacture
2. Co-location with evidence of occupation
3. Materials not native to the region of the find

These are good. The second one can be generalized further to 'evidence of designers'.

The third one also feels to me like it could be generalized too - but I'm not exactly sure how. Something about lack of consistency with known natural processes, maybe.

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 Message 15 by Tanndarr, posted 01-06-2010 2:06 PM Tanndarr has replied

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