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Author Topic:   Biological Evidence Against Intelligent Design
Taq
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Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
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Message 8 of 264 (543981)
01-22-2010 3:32 PM


The best evidence against an intelligent designer is the nested hierarchy. Planes, trains, and automobiles do not fall into a nested hierarchy. No known designs I am aware of fall into a nested hierarchy, and I see no reason that a designer would be limited to such an arrangement. To use a biological designer, if ID were true we would just as likely find a fossil with a mixture of avian and mammalian derived characteristics as we would a fossil with a mixture of reptilian and mammalian derived characteristics.
There is simply no connection between these different adaptations other than evolutionary relationships. There is no reason that an organism with feathers can not have three middle ear bones. There is no reason that a creature with feathers can not have cusped cheek teeth. There is no reason that whales need a pelvis, nor even a mammalian arrangement of forelimb bones. ID just can not explain why we see this pattern of homology. It is anathema to design.

  
Taq
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Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 12 of 264 (543985)
01-22-2010 4:01 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by bluescat48
01-22-2010 3:55 PM


Re: Unintellegent design
Why should a squid have a better eye than a human? If the designer could design the squid's eye, why millions of years later he can't do the same for, that the creos think is the highest life, humans?
Not only that, but why design two different eyes (the vertebrate and cephalopod eye) and only allow those with a back bone to have one type of eye and those without backbones to have the other? Why is there an intrinsic connection between eye and backbone?
If these were cars we would scratch our heads if a designer could only put halogen lights in cars with bucket seats while cars with bench seats get the standard incandescent bulbs. Of course we don't see this because there is no reasona car with bucket seats has to have halogen lights, so why would a designer do that?
Edited by Taq, : No reason given.

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Taq
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Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 17 of 264 (543995)
01-22-2010 5:07 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Blue Jay
01-22-2010 4:08 PM


Re: Unintellegent design
Cephalopod eyes aren'treally any better than human eyes. There are a couple of things that cephalopod eyes do better than mammal eyes, but there are also a couple of things that mammal eyes do better than cephalopod eyes (e.g. cephalopod vision is monochromatic).
That adds even more problems. The designer knew of a better way of getting light to the photoreceptors without needing to go through the "wires" that feed the photoreceptors. Afterall, who would build a digital camera with the wires for the CCD sensor passing in front of the light path?
At the same time, this same designer (presumably, although we could hypothesize multiple designers) knew of a way for life to differentiate between different bandwidths of light instead of relying just on the amplitude of the signal. So why don't we see both designs in the same eye? What was stopping the designer? What was stopping the designer from taking the best attributes from both designs and combining them?

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Taq
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Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 42 of 264 (544382)
01-25-2010 7:01 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by RAZD
01-24-2010 11:46 AM


Re: perhaps still missing the point?
Well that is your problem is it not? If you want to really discuss biological evidence against design, then you need to be able to distinguish design from non-design. If you cannot make that distinction, then the answer is clear: that there can be no clear, unambiguous, empirical evidence that design is not involved.
Then why stop at evolution? Why not intelligent falling?
Intelligent falling appears to follow Einsteins equations, but why couldn't an intelligence use Einstein's equations when causing things to fall?
We could do the same for intelligent flying where an intelligence keeps airplanes aloft using the same laws of aerodynamics that us human designers use.
We could do the same for intelligent chemistry where the intelligence uses Pauli's exclusion principles when designing chemical reactions.
We could inject an intelligence in every single occurence in the universe with the explanation that the intelligence merely follows the laws of the universe.
What it results in is a useless appendage, an added entity put there for pure speculation or for emotional comfort.
To make things even worse, this isn't even close to the type of ID put forward by those who support ID as a science. The way in which design is detected is by finding things that nature could not produce, things that go against the regular process of the mindless laws of the universe. Flagella are evidence of design because evolution could not produce it. Gonzalez describes the Earth as a planet that nature could not produce by itself.

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Taq
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Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 43 of 264 (544384)
01-25-2010 7:06 PM


How about this. The fact that the universe is poorly designed for Jovians is evidence that there is no intelligent designer.
If we can arbitrarily decide that humans are the goal of ID, why not assume that the goal should be intelligent lifeforms on Neptune? In this case, gravity and the nuclear forces should have been designed differently to allow enough energy to reach Jupiter but without the crushing force of so much gravity. Given that these parameters don't exist obviously points to the lack of a designer, right?

  
Taq
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Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 52 of 264 (544458)
01-26-2010 3:09 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by Straggler
01-26-2010 2:53 PM


Re: Mutually Exclusive? Irrefutable ID Vs The Evidenced Naturalistic Alternative?
Well let's take the example of man's evolution by natural selection and random mutation. Is that scientific theory compatible with evolution by godly non-random caused mutation to intentionally result in humankind?
What observations could we make that would distinguish between evolution with a theistic input and evolution without a theistic input?
Assuming for the moment that this deity is all powerful and all knowing, we could dream up of millions of scenarios where the observations would be different. For example, there is no reason that a deity would be forced to put an ERV at the same location in both humans and orangutans, or even put ERV's into genomes to begin with. There are millions of scenarios where theistic input could result in a non-nested hierarchy. Heck, with theistic input there is no reason that we should even use the same codons as any other lifeform.
So why is it that we observe patterns of DNA homology that match the predictoins made by the theory of evolution without any need for an outside force? We know that there is no reason that a deity would need to follow these rules of homology, and in fact human designers violate these rules at will, and often (I have even done it myself).
You are asking if we can tell the difference between aerodynamic lift without magical pixies and aerodynamic lift with magical pixies who follow the rules of aerodynamics as a description of how airplanes fly. How would you tell the difference in this case?

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Taq
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Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 53 of 264 (544460)
01-26-2010 3:20 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by Blue Jay
01-26-2010 9:24 AM


Re: perhaps still missing the point?
But, the notion that any particular biological feature or phenomenon is evidence against the fundamental concept of design is just wrong.
That is due to the endless numbers of designers that one could imagine. However, we can look for evidence that runs counter to a rational, single designer that thinks and designs like us who is not concerned with making designs which mimic natural processes to the last detail. Simply put, we can rule out God minus Omphalos type assumptions. This is the type of designer that is falsified by atavisms, vestiges, and the nested hierarchy.

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 56 of 264 (544470)
01-26-2010 5:50 PM
Reply to: Message 55 by New Cat's Eye
01-26-2010 5:44 PM


Re: Mutually Exclusive? Irrefutable ID Vs The Evidenced Naturalistic Alternative?
How do you know they're actually random?
Because mutations are observed to be random (with respect to fitness). The processes by which mutations occur are random, be they from external sources such as radiation and carcinogens or internal sources such as mistakes made by polymerases that duplicate the genome.
Other experiments have found that mutations which lead to antibiotic resistance in bacteria occur in the absence of antibiotics, and the same for phage resistance. There is no meaningful connection between the processes that create mutations and what is beneficial for the organism.
How would you rule out Jesus magically causing (non-random) a mutation in E. coli so that it could digest nylon?
What would allow you to rule it in?

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 62 of 264 (544503)
01-26-2010 9:47 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Straggler
01-26-2010 6:24 PM


Re: Mutually Exclusive? Irrefutable ID Vs The Evidenced Naturalistic Alternative?
Oh come now. The designer(s) move in mysterious ways. Mere humans are incapable of comprehending or sometimes even recognising the great plan.
Then I guess we can scratch off an additional designer suspect from the list: a designer whose actions are discernible by investigating the evidence. I wasn't planning on reading "Darwin's Black Box" anyway. Now I have a good excuse not to.

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 66 of 264 (544552)
01-27-2010 12:55 AM
Reply to: Message 63 by Blue Jay
01-26-2010 10:35 PM


Re: perhaps still missing the point?
Extensive nested hierarchies that include all life could go a long way to disproving most ID models, but, if the Designer only shows up here and there to tweak the system toward a certain goal, and simply lets it go otherwise, we wouldn't see much deviating from naturalistic expectations. But, this also isn't an omphalos hypothesis, because it's not design made to look like non-design: it's non-design with a few alterations along the way.
Fair enough. Not Omphalos, just undetectable.
However, if this is the type of ID that is put forward then this is a tacit admission that ID is not detectable. So while evidence consistent with evolution does not rule out all possibility of design it does run counter to the descriptions of ID put forward by such people as Dembski and Behe.
On a human level there is a strange dichotomy. Given the historical underpinnings of ID there is a hope that ID will demonstrate that there is a god, one who interacts with nature and is concerned for our well being. This requires a foundation of sorts, a set of expectations of what one should and should not see if this designer god exists. Once something is erected it quickly draws fire. So what is the other option? Make ID so ethereal and solipsistic as to dodge any criticism, but in doing so you lose any hope of saying "god did this" which was the whole point to begin with.
Quite the choice, eh?

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Taq
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Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 148 of 264 (545585)
02-04-2010 12:25 PM
Reply to: Message 146 by Blue Jay
02-04-2010 10:58 AM


Re: Mutually Exclusive and Seeking Common ground
The struggle I would have is in explaining random mutations. Randomness is not something that can really be evidenced, per se: we use it to describe a pattern of occurrence of things, not the causation.
But in the case of mutations we can determine the causation. We know how carcinogens and mutagens work. We know how poymerases work, and why they sometimes insert the wrong base. We know how DNA recombination works. We know the causation for mutations.
But of course we can't rule out the irrefutable and unfalsifiable. So what can we say about random mutation? We can say that the appearance of mutations is consistent with randomness (with respect to fitness). We can say that the differences between genomes is consistent with random mutation. IOW, the same argument we use for nose jewelry. A designer is not necessary to explain the appearance, production, and distribution of mutations.
As a side note: If I were a high school science teacher I would have the students perform the plate replica experiment or the Luria-Delbruck fluctuation experiment. Both are excellent examples of both random mutations and how the scientific method is applied to the problem.
Edited by Taq, : No reason given.

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 194 of 264 (546243)
02-09-2010 1:27 PM
Reply to: Message 189 by traderdrew
02-09-2010 11:34 AM


Re: perhaps missing the point?
In order to falsify any ID position, all you have to do is find an unambiguous natural explanation that explains away the ID hypothesis.
How does this rule out an intelligent designer? Couldn't a designer produce a design that completely mimics a natural phenomenon?

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 208 of 264 (546347)
02-10-2010 11:12 AM
Reply to: Message 202 by traderdrew
02-09-2010 10:03 PM


Re: Poor Philosophy
When you have one cause for a known phenomenon or an object, it is easy to infer it as an explanation. Such an example would be an equisitely designed arrowhead.
The difference here is that we can infer HOW the arrowhead was made by observing the design. We can infer the method of knapping that was used and the quarry where the flint or obsidian was harvested from. We can even find areas where poorly designed arrowheads have been discarded along with the bits of flint and obsidian that were flaked off during the manufacture of the arrowheads.
So HOW was the flagellum made? What in the design of the flagellum tells us the steps in the design process?
I believe the scientific explanation for the flagellum involves horizontal gene transfer. It apparently serves as a work around for a "flagellum first - ID position" saying both the TTSS and the flagellum evolved independently. Scientific explanations sometimes have hidden problems their proponents or participants on the evcforum do not wish to see. The models may appease their emotions but what good does it do if they don't wish to see things another way.
Every single scientific model has problems. That's why scientists do this thing called "research". The one thing that scientists love above all else is problems. They want to look at something and wonder "How did that happen?".
This is the opposite of ID. In intelligent design the answer is "The Designer did it and we can't know how it happened". All research stops there. It is a dead end. If you don't believe me, please cite research being done by scientists using ID. I know of none. The Discovery Institute has millions of dollars that could be used for research, but none is being done. Instead, they spend that money on propoganda.
Ultimately, the goal of the ID movement is to stop research into origins. This is why they overtly call for the end of methodological naturalism. They want to stop scientific research and replace it with religious beliefs that are safe from challenges.
Edited by Taq, : No reason given.

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 212 of 264 (546393)
02-10-2010 2:45 PM
Reply to: Message 209 by traderdrew
02-10-2010 1:54 PM


Re: Poor Philosophy
Maybe it is not clear where my position is but once again, I do have respect for science and maybe science has the answer for a natural explanation for the flagellum. I will go half way because of my own ignorance on the subject but I think I have given some strong support for my ID - flagellum position here.
Where is this support? All you have talked about is evolution. You have not shown any positive evidence that points to ID.
What you have done is produce a false dichotomy. Your argument is "Not evolution, therefore ID". The first problem is that you have yet to show that the flagellum or other structures could not evolve. All you have done is point to the fact that no one has discovered a step by step evolutionary pathway that lead to the flagellum. However, not knowing the exact pathway does not mean that the pathway did not exist. The second problem is that it is entirely possible that a natural mechanism other than evolution produced the flagellum.
Let's turn this around. Since you can not describe a step by step process by which the flagellum was designed then we must conclude that it evolved. I don't have to offer a single bit of evidence for this evolutionary pathway. All I need to do is point tothe complete lack of an ID pathway. Bingo, evolution proven. Everyone can go home and all research can stop. We have the answer. Does this sound like solid reasoning to you?
Even more, do you really think this is how scientists actually operate? I have attended a few scientific conferences in my time. In every single one of those presentations I never saw one that exclusively tore down another theory in order to support their own. Not once. Not once did I sit through a presentation that pointed to the lack of an ID explanation for a structure and then conclude that it had to evolve. And yet, this is exactly what ID "scientists" do. They offer exactly zero positive evidence for their own theory and subistute this lack of evidence with an attempt to destroy competing theories. This is not science, or anything resembling it.

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10199
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 215 of 264 (546401)
02-10-2010 3:26 PM
Reply to: Message 214 by traderdrew
02-10-2010 3:21 PM


Re: Poor Philosophy
Yes, I am arguing for this because a step by step neo-Darwinian model doesn't cut it.
"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."- Charles Darwin "The Origin of Species"
Last I checked horizontal genetic transfer is a modification of the genome.
You might stop and think for a minute how your approach would have served you 200 years ago. You wouldn't have known anything about radio waves or quantum physics.
Can you please explain how the "approach" would have prevented the discovery of radio waves and quantum mechanics?

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Replies to this message:
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