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Author Topic:   Silly Design Institute: Let's discuss BOTH sides of the Design Controversy...
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 171 of 219 (652938)
02-16-2012 10:45 PM


Poor design and rational design
If poor design is evidence against the thesis that rational, intelligent design has played a role in the history of life on earth, then rational design would be evidence in favor of that thesis, would it not?

My approach goes like this: if a given biological feature seems to be poorly designed, then that's lowers our confidence that that feature was designed by intelligence; but if a given biological feature - like for example, the genetic code, or the bacterial flagellum - displays properties of rational design, then that's a clue in favor of the thesis that that system was designed by intelligence.

Any thoughts on this?


Replies to this message:
 Message 172 by hooah212002, posted 02-16-2012 10:57 PM Genomicus has responded
 Message 177 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 12:05 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 173 of 219 (652942)
02-16-2012 11:27 PM
Reply to: Message 172 by hooah212002
02-16-2012 10:57 PM


Re: Poor design and rational design
quote:
Your "approach" is that this intelligent designer only designs half-ass? He puts forth his intelligence into some things and not others?

The problem with the above statement is that you're assuming that I'm arguing for one particular model of ID, and that is the thesis that an intelligent designer(s) has intervened continually during life's history. You further assume, unfortunately, that common ancestry and ID are not compatible. This is evidenced by this statement of yours:

quote:
The genetic code that says some people are predisposed to disease no matter what. Was the designer so intelligently lazy that it used practically the same code on all of life so as to give the appearance of a common ancestor?

Common descent and ID are compatible under the front-loading hypothesis. Briefly, the ID hypothesis of front-loading proposes that the earth (or more broadly, the solar system) was seeded with unicellular organisms that contained the necessary genomic information to shape future evolution in a particular direction. This hypothesis answers your objection "He [why assume the designer(s) is a "he"?] puts forth his intelligence into some things and not others?"

According to front-loading, the first life forms had the optimal, universal genetic code found in virtually all taxa with the exception of secondarily derived genetic codes. The first life forms had molecular machines like ATP synthases etc., which were designed into the first genomes on earth. Subsequent evolution would produce biological systems that would be hodge-podge and display properties of poor design. There's room for the blind watchmaker and teleology, here. Try not to think in terms of black and white.

So, if the flagellum was designed into the initial genomes (or if it was front-loaded), then it would be expected to display properties of rational design. But the blind watchmaker could produce biological features like blind cavefish, and it could tinker with genomes, filling them up with transposons et al.

quote:
Yes. The genetic code is GREAT.

Indeed, it is. Some people say it is predisposed to disease? Who exactly are these people and what is their claim specifically? The scientific literature is pretty unanimous in that the genetic code is optimal - a property of rational design.

quote:
Without mentioning Behe, explain what is so great about the bacterial flagellum.

It is efficient, and it's not hodge-podge. The flagellum-specific ATP synthase fits neatly into the FliF pore: under the non-teleological hypothesis, it could have easily been otherwise. It could have been that the ATP synthase partially clogs up the pore with one or more F1 subunits - but this is not the case. Etc., etc. There is no molecular version of the eye's backward wiring in the flagellum.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 172 by hooah212002, posted 02-16-2012 10:57 PM hooah212002 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 175 by hooah212002, posted 02-16-2012 11:54 PM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 176 of 219 (652945)
02-17-2012 12:04 AM
Reply to: Message 175 by hooah212002
02-16-2012 11:54 PM


Re: Poor design and rational design
quote:
Have there been breakthroughs in ID since the Wedge Document or Dover? I didn't realize the ID movement had multiple "models".

ID movement? Well, I'm not part of the ID movement, so your above comment isn't particularly relevant to my arguments.

quote:
Damn skippy I do. Especially since the ID movement is creationism repackaged and sold as "SCIENCE!! (insert jazz hands here). You guys even use sciencey sounding words. Jenny McCarthy does that too.

It doesn't seem, to me at least, that you're responding to my specific arguments. In response to your assumption that ID and common descent are incompatible, I described the ID hypothesis of front-loading - common descent is a necessary component of that hypothesis. This means that some ID models are indeed compatible with common descent, and I think that answers your assumption.

quote:
This "hypothesis". Is there somewhere I could find it published? Preferably in a mainstream journal? It sounds an awful lot like panspermia to me.

It is an extension of Crick and Orgel's directed panspermia hypothesis. However, it goes a step further and states the the "course" of evolution has been biased in certain directions, due to the initial, designed state of the first genomes on earth.

An idea need not be peer-reviewed in the scientific literature in order to have merit as an idea that deserves discussion.

That said, I am sure you will kindly respond to (a) the evidence that the bacterial flagellum displays properties of rational design, and (b) my query as to who are arguing that the genetic code is predisposed to disease and what their arguments are specifically. Thanks.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 175 by hooah212002, posted 02-16-2012 11:54 PM hooah212002 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 178 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 12:09 AM Genomicus has responded
 Message 183 by hooah212002, posted 02-17-2012 12:43 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 179 of 219 (652948)
02-17-2012 12:12 AM
Reply to: Message 177 by subbie
02-17-2012 12:05 AM


Re: Poor design and rational design
quote:
The first problem is developing criteria to determine whether something exhibits "properties of rational design," given that we can observe things that we know are not rationally design but nonetheless appear to exhibit properties of rational design. In other words, how do you distinguish between naturally occurring and rationally designed?

Good question. However, my approach (to give credit where credit is due: Mike Gene developed this approach) is that once we have established that a given system displays properties of rational design, then this is one factor out of several that increases the confidence in our hunch that teleology was involved in the origin of this system. Simply because a biotic system displays properties of rational design doesn't mean it was designed. But if you couple this with other factors, then it's a clue in favor of the telic hypothesis.

Also note that explaining the origin of a molecular machine with tightly integrated, discrete components through Darwinian evolution is hard enough, but when you also have to account for that molecular machine's rational properties, then things really are starting to get "suspicious": i.e., it really would be a good clue in favor of the telic hypothesis. (Hopefully, what I just said makes a little sense)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 177 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 12:05 AM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 181 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 12:22 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 180 of 219 (652949)
02-17-2012 12:17 AM
Reply to: Message 178 by subbie
02-17-2012 12:09 AM


Re: Poor design and rational design
quote:
You've given none. You stated that it was, but saying so isn't evidence.

Well, actually, I did. But let me elaborate on this. The efficiency of the energy conversion of the flagellum is very close to 100% - and, of course, efficiency is a hallmark of rational design. Further, structurally speaking, it is rationally designed. The flagellum-specific ATP synthase fits neatly into the FliF pore - it could easily have been otherwise; e.g., it could have been that one or more F1 subunits partially clogged up the FliF pore. But this is not the case.

I could go on about how the structure of the flagellum displays properties of rational design, but the above should suffice.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 178 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 12:09 AM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 182 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 12:27 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 186 of 219 (652956)
02-17-2012 12:55 AM
Reply to: Message 181 by subbie
02-17-2012 12:22 AM


Re: Poor design and rational design
quote:
Now all you have to do is tell us what those criteria are.

Discontinuity, analogy, rationality, and foresight.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 181 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 12:22 AM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 187 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 1:00 AM Genomicus has not yet responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 188 of 219 (652958)
02-17-2012 1:08 AM
Reply to: Message 182 by subbie
02-17-2012 12:27 AM


Re: Poor design and rational design
quote:
Not hardly. For starters, show your math to support your conclusion that the energy conversion is "very close to 100%." Second, lose the weasel words.

See "The turn of the screw: the bacterial flagellar motor," DeRosier (see Table 1).

quote:
And how is this inconsistent with or different from what we see in nature? A living creature has functioning parts. This is exactly what we would expect to see in nature. Most of the parts of most living organisms function. The ones that don't tend to get selected against.

My statement was not merely that the flagellum has functioning parts, but rather that the arrangement of the parts is optimal for flagellar function. If the ATP synthase had F1 subunits that clogged up the FliF pore, this would be evidence that the flagellum does not have properties of rational design. But it does: the ATP synthase fits neatly into the FliF pore - which adds to the efficiency of the flagellum, and again, efficiency is a hall mark of rational design. From a structural point of view, there is nothing about the flagellum that is sub-optimal. It displays properties of rational design.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 182 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 12:27 AM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 189 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 1:18 AM Genomicus has responded
 Message 190 by hooah212002, posted 02-17-2012 1:30 AM Genomicus has not yet responded
 Message 193 by Trixie, posted 02-17-2012 4:38 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 191 of 219 (652969)
02-17-2012 2:57 AM
Reply to: Message 189 by subbie
02-17-2012 1:18 AM


Re: Poor design and rational design
quote:
Optimal by what standards? How is this measured? What other possible arrangements have you examined to see if they are better or worse?

Optimal by engineering standards. Efficiency is one hallmark of rational design, as is flexibility. Of all the possible ways to build a biological machine that functions as a motility organelle, the vast majority wouldn't be optimal - they'd be hodge-podge. The ATP synthase could have F1 subunits, clogging up the pore. Or the stoichiometry of the various components could be significantly different, resulting in a totally inefficient flagellar motor. Or the junction proteins could bind very loosely such that FliC monomers often escape from the hook complex.

quote:
Ah, more weasel words. How do we distinguish parts that "fit neatly" from parts that simply "fit adequately."

What precisely do you mean by "fit adequately"?

quote:
Again, this isn't evidence. This is you saying so. You've neglected to explain to us how you tell the difference between rational design and something found in nature that appears to be rationally designed that we know isn't.

That's not the point of our current discussion, I'm afraid. I'm providing evidence that the flagellum displays properties of rational design; I am not attempting to provide evidence that the flagellum is indeed designed.

quote:
I'm no molecular biologist or anything, and I might well be misreading this, but to my untrained eye, it seems to say that Efficiency is unknown.

See: "Low Flagellar Motor Torque and High Swimming Efficiency of Caulobacter crescentus Swarmer Cells":

"The energy conversion efficiency of E. coli is also very high, at 80% or more."

Admittedly, the flagella of different bacteria species have varying levels of energy conversion efficiency. Nonetheless, the E. coli flagellum is highly efficient, which is a hallmark of rational design.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 189 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 1:18 AM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 199 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 11:16 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 192 of 219 (652972)
02-17-2012 3:16 AM
Reply to: Message 183 by hooah212002
02-17-2012 12:43 AM


Re: Poor design and rational design
quote:
You don't have a hypothesis unless you can show some peer reviews. Until then all you have is an idea that sounds an awful lot like the already established panspermia just wrapped up in ID clothes.

No scholar of the philosophy of science has stated that an idea must be peer-reviewed in order to fit the definition of a scientific hypothesis. It seems to me that that's an idea you made up. Can you cite a single scholarly source that states an idea must be peer-reviewed in order to be a scientific hypothesis? I'll be waiting for that citation.

quote:
In what way? In that you are asserting a designer? or in that you are calling it something else entirely and wrapping it up in ID clothes to make it palatable to the ID crowd?

Crick and Orgel asserted an unknown intelligence in their directed panspermia hypothesis. They posited that some intelligent civilization purposefully seeded the earth with life forms. The front-loading hypothesis goes a step further and states that these life forms contained the necessary genomic information to shape future evolution.

quote:
1: retroviruses.

That retroviruses cause disease is not evidence that the genetic code is predisposed to pathological conditions. It is evidence that viruses cause disease - but it is not, in any way, evidence that the genetic code is somehow sub-optimal or predisposed to disease.

quote:
2: Sickle cell

Again, this is not evidence that the genetic code is predisposed to disease or that it is sub-optimal. It is evidence that mutations can cause diseases. There is no way to get around the problem of mutation causing diseases. No matter how you designed the genetic code, some mutations would still cause diseases because some proteins function in a context where any significant deviation from their sequence identity would result in a loss of their tertiary structure. This, of course, would cause disease if the protein plays a crucial role in tissues. The take-home message here: genetic diseases would exist even with the most optimal genetic codes.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 183 by hooah212002, posted 02-17-2012 12:43 AM hooah212002 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 201 by hooah212002, posted 02-17-2012 11:44 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 194 of 219 (652976)
02-17-2012 4:44 AM
Reply to: Message 193 by Trixie
02-17-2012 4:38 AM


Re: Poor design and rational design
quote:
This seems to me to be arguing that because Australia fits so neatly into it's coastline the shape was intelligently designed.

Not at all. The analogy is hardly relevant in the first place because Australia's shape has no function. That's an aside however. The arrangement of flagellar proteins produces an optimal system that displays properties of rational design: efficiency, for example. This answers hooah's question as to how the flagellum displays properties of rational design.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 193 by Trixie, posted 02-17-2012 4:38 AM Trixie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 195 by Trixie, posted 02-17-2012 5:13 AM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 196 of 219 (652981)
02-17-2012 5:19 AM
Reply to: Message 195 by Trixie
02-17-2012 5:13 AM


Re: Poor design and rational design
Except that I'm not arguing that simply because the parts "fit" then the flagellum is intelligently designed.

Let's remember why I presented the above arguments in the first place. Context is important ya know.

In essence, hooah asked why I think the bacterial flagellum displays properties of rational design. I provided a couple of reasons, citing the efficiency of the flagellar motor and the fact that the structure and location of the ATP synthase complex in the flagellum allows the flagellum to function efficiently. Thus, since efficiency is a hallmark of rationality, the flagellum displays properties of rational design. This doesn't necessarily mean that the flagellum was indeed rationally designed. But it's a clue in favor of the telic hypothesis, and it answers hooah's question.

If poor design is evidence against the telic hypothesis, then any system that displays rational design is evidence in favor of the telic hypothesis. There's no reason why the road can't go both ways.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 195 by Trixie, posted 02-17-2012 5:13 AM Trixie has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 198 by bluegenes, posted 02-17-2012 7:21 AM Genomicus has responded
 Message 203 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-17-2012 12:28 PM Genomicus has responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 204 of 219 (653073)
02-17-2012 8:35 PM
Reply to: Message 198 by bluegenes
02-17-2012 7:21 AM


Re: Poor design and rational design
quote:
I don't think I can give you that because efficiency is also strongly favoured by Nature, and she's a superb non-telic engineer.

An intelligent designer could easily look at the bacterial flagella that you've implied are sub-optimum, and quickly engineer them up to the standards of E. Coli. But Nature's scatty, and although those lesser flagella may well gain increased efficiency over time, she can't act as quickly as an intelligent agent.


Efficiency is indeed favored by Nature - but hodge-podge systems also result from non-teleological processes. So if you cite poor, sloppy design (e.g., the backward wiring of the vertebrate eye) as evidence against the telic hypothesis, then rational design would be a clue that would count in favor of the telic hypothesis. At least, that's what it seems to me.

Remember how I'm using the "illusion" of rational design. I'm not using it as a knock-out punch or as a strong line of evidence in favor of teleology. Instead, I'm using it as a clue that is one criterion of several that would strengthen our suspicion of design.

Further, at the level of molecular machines, it's a bit hard to see how Nature could produce novel multi-part molecular machines that also display properties of rational design. For example, out of all the possible ways to construct a motility organelle, the vast majority will seem hodge-podge and jury-rigged. Yet the bacterial flagellum is not hodge-podge. It's structure gives a very strong appearance of rational design. Thus, given that there are far more ways to build jury-rigged, sloppy, hodge-podge biological machines than there are ways to build biological machines that appear to be structurally rationally designed, we must wonder why Nature happened to land on so many of the latter class of biological machines. I find it interesting that, for example, in TalkOrigins articles like "Evidence of Jury-Rigged Design," none of the biological features they list are molecular machines. It seems that the core architecture of life - the molecular machines - have a very strong illusion of rational design. And I find that suspicious.

quote:
When we know of one designer in the biosphere (Nature) it requires very good positive evidence to bring in an apparently unnecessary second one. Will you be arguing that Nature is incapable of doing what we see in life around us, or will you merely be arguing from analogy with reference to our own engineering efforts?

Well, as I said previously, rational design is just one criterion to strengthen the suspicion of design. If you couple it with, say, discontinuity, then the suspicion of design is even stronger.

quote:
If a system actually displayed rational design, that might be closer to proof than just evidence. Perhaps you meant to say "the appearance" or "hallmarks" of rational design?

Right - I meant the "appearance" or "hallmarks" of rational design.

quote:
Let's have a front-loading thread, and welcome to EvC.

Thanks - I'll post a front-loading thread as soon as possible.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 198 by bluegenes, posted 02-17-2012 7:21 AM bluegenes has responded

Replies to this message:
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Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 205 of 219 (653074)
02-17-2012 8:48 PM
Reply to: Message 199 by subbie
02-17-2012 11:16 AM


Re: Poor design and rational design
quote:
But you're doing so without telling us what the criteria are for design. Again, all you're doing is looking at an organism and creating an ad hoc rationalization for your a priori conclusion of design.

Again, remember why I'm discussing the properties of the flagellum. The reason being that hooah asked me to provide evidence that the flagellum displays properties of rational design. And I provided that evidence. That does not mean that the flagellum is indeed designed. It does mean, however, that the flagellum gives a very strong appearance of rational design - which is what we would expect if it was indeed designed by a rational agent(s). Keep in mind the point of my discussion on the bacterial flagellum. That would help a lot.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 199 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 11:16 AM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 207 by subbie, posted 02-17-2012 9:57 PM Genomicus has not yet responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 206 of 219 (653075)
02-17-2012 8:54 PM
Reply to: Message 201 by hooah212002
02-17-2012 11:44 AM


Re: Poor design and rational design
quote:
No. Any designer who was half intelligent wouldn't make his prime candidate prone to genetic disease that was passed on from mother to child.

In a previous response to you, I provided reasons why no matter how you design the genetic code, genetic diseases will still result. It's a problem that is the result of the very fabric of the way life works: proteins are the products of genes and are essential to the existence of all life on earth; proteins fold into distinct 3D shapes; these shapes (among other factors) are what determine the protein's function; some proteins, by the nature of their function, are tightly constrained in their sequence identity - thus, any radical mutation would result in the loss of the protein's function; loss of the protein's function results in disease. There's no way to get around this problem, no matter how you designed the genetic code. I'm sure all the biologists in this forum can confirm this.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 201 by hooah212002, posted 02-17-2012 11:44 AM hooah212002 has not yet responded

  
Genomicus
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 208 of 219 (653083)
02-17-2012 9:57 PM
Reply to: Message 203 by New Cat's Eye
02-17-2012 12:28 PM


Re: Poor design and rational design
Catholic Scientist:

I'm a bit busy at the moment, but for the record, I will reply to you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 203 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-17-2012 12:28 PM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

  
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