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Author Topic:   Why would an intelligent designer design these?
Electron
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 108 (185126)
02-14-2005 12:42 PM


I've always been fascinated by the strange creatures that left their fossil remains in the Burgess shale - Critters like Wiwaxia, Marrella, Anomalocaris, and my own personal favorite - Hallucigenia:

Now standing aside from any dispute about the actual age of these fossils, is there an agreement that these peculiar critters are representative of some of the earliest of species?

I ask because what is evident in these creatures is a far greater diversity of bodyplan compared to those seen in species today. Indeed just about every living creature alive is topologically equivalent, being a tube with a single mouth-gut-anus arrangement. But these early fossils display significant deviations from this arrangement.

I would note that the situation is strikingly familiar to enthusiasts of vintage man-made artifacts of all types: I am thinking of the first aeroplanes with different numbers of wings and motor cars with seating arrangements no longer seen - not to mention radios, TVs, vacuum cleaners etc!

Our early-days efforts tend to display more design diversity because the most efficient solution to our requirements and indeed the requirements themselves take time to emerge. Our intellectual limitations give rise to a 'trial and error' approach and it is usually not one but many individuals, each with their own imperfect initial ideas, that are involved.

However, given a specific objective in a specific environment (such as vehicle speed, passenger capacity etc.) there is generally an optimum solution waiting to be arrived at. This eventually leads to uniformity - a convergence of style - no jet planes with six wings for example.

Now I am contemplating the same thing amongst the Pre-Cambrian fauna of the Burgess shale. Creatures with multiple mouths, tandem guts and so on. Why would an intelligent designer seem to be following the same path as us?


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Silent H, posted 02-14-2005 2:15 PM Electron has replied
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 Message 18 by Eledhan, posted 06-06-2005 9:35 AM Electron has taken no action
 Message 63 by TheLiteralist, posted 07-26-2005 6:25 AM Electron has replied
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Electron
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 108 (185172)
02-14-2005 2:58 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Silent H
02-14-2005 2:15 PM


It just hit me that maybe I mistook the purpose of your post. I was about to point out that someone trying to argue IDand thus "God" using your line of logic, might suddenly have to face some serious music given the above fact.

If we are to continue extending analogies from product to process, then one would have to be arguing (in this instance) for a less than super-intelligent designer, and as you point out perhaps even a team of designers.

Now that's just what I was thinking. It's quite striking to compare the limited range of animal forms found throughout most of the archaeological record with the wider diversity of bodyplan seen at the start of colonisation episodes. Particularly so given that these early epochs bear far less data.

I feel that this uneven distribution requires a good explanation if it not the result of adaptation due to rapidly increasing competition. And if the explanation involves a designer then there is plenty to say about her competence.

This message has been edited by Electron, 14 February 2005 20:11 AM


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Electron
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 108 (185221)
02-14-2005 4:36 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Brad McFall
02-14-2005 3:53 PM


Hey brad - nice to have you in on this discussion. Which way up do you think the sketch of Hallucigenia ought to be?

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Electron
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 108 (185448)
02-15-2005 6:13 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by LDSdude
02-14-2005 10:20 PM


No doubt they were all extremely well suited to occupying their own particular niche - or they wouldn't have made it into the fossil record against such odds. But what I'm drawing attention to is the 'shape' of the distribution - great initial diversity, followed by a convergence to a small number of topologically equivalent bodyplans following the Cambrian radiation. I find the analogy with the progress of 'early days' man-made designs intriguing.

Maybe Hallucigenia looked more like this:


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Electron
Inactive Member


Message 66 of 108 (226466)
07-26-2005 12:07 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by TheLiteralist
07-26-2005 6:25 AM


Re: ID is not Christianity / Your Argument Supports ID
quote:
However, your statement:
quote:

Why would an intelligent designer seem to be following the same path as us?

Contradicts your own position if you are trying to argue against ID, because humans are intelligent designers and you have just argued that the evidence (as you interpret it) indicates that there is an intelligent designer behaving much like us humans.

Funny, no?



No, not really. Rather than being a contradiction, the observation that god would seem to have gone about his design work in the same way that we do makes him just as clumsy as us. Look at how long we both took to master the art of flying for example. The pattern of wide initial diversity followed by later convergence towards optimality parallels the human engineering aproach -- we learn on "the job" finding optimal solutions as we get to know more about our materials and theories. I very much doubt that you would wish to translate similar limitations upon your concept of your almighty designer?

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Electron
Inactive Member


Message 79 of 108 (226958)
07-28-2005 5:30 AM
Reply to: Message 73 by TheLiteralist
07-28-2005 3:04 AM


Re: ID is not Christianity / Your Argument Supports ID
quote:
The OP indicates that at least a human-like intelligence is at work and therefore actually supports the general notion of ID.

No, it is your assumption that "at least a human-like intelligence is at work." My words, if I were to write them, would be akin to "at most a human-like intelligence"

quote:
It is true that the OP does not support the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent God (i.e., the Christian God). But the OP, as currently stated, is arguing against ID in general, not the Christian God in particular. Therefore, since the OP presents "evidence" that a human-like intelligence is at work while trying to disprove ID in general, the OP contradicts itself.

The "evidence" presented is that the design process (whatever it might be) is incremental (a trait exhibited by, but not exclusive to our own design techniques). This counters the notion of design by an omnipotent god. But it also goes further than this. A particular characteristic of the designs tell us much about the designer:

The designer has shown itself as indifferent to the potential plight of its designs with every product being expendable from the individual to entire species. All things pass and nothing but contingency can be found leading to our own species (which is precariously isolated as a monoculture - ideal conditions for yet another extinction).

So we have a toss-up between a conscious and unconscious designer, and there is no shortage of evidence showing the designer to have no conscience. This make it an ideal candidate to be an unconscious algorithm at work.

Incidentally, you strike me as being someone who might possibly be unaware of "genetic programming" - a branch of engineering which uses an accurate parallel of evolution by natural selection to generate designs without consciousness. Google "genetic programming" it if you doubt it works.


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