...it seems clear that there is neither plan or design to reproduction ...
I don't think that conclusion can be drawn from the haphazard nature of reproduction. If the objective was to be profligate and try lots of new things then one could say that the whole shebang was carefully orchestrated and the results are flawless.
The best we can do, not being able to conclusively disprove the possibility of some designer, is to define the shape that he must take according to the evidence that we expose.
So what we can conclude about the nature of any potential designer based on how reproduction works is that they don't care too much about who you might be shaking hands and sharing holes with.
It is not a cop out but rather a logical restriction. You presume to know what the designer's objective might be.
Reproduction is what it is. You can't say that there is no designer because reproduction doesn't look like you think it should. Furthermore, you will find it difficult to argue that the observed aggregate of reproductive methods is anything but successful.
Finding out what doesn't work is very nearly as important as finding out what does work. Some things work for a while and then they don't. Perhaps all of these failed life forms were merely stepping stones on the way to some ultimate objective. Perhaps the variety is the objective.
Nice attempt to move goal posts, palm the pea, con the rubes, misdirect attention, change the subject.
We are assessing the performance of GOD. Don't you think that the arrangement of the periodic table is pertinent and also intimately related to the way that reproduction works?
If there was some designer she designed a system that could only succeed by being inept, inefficient, ignorant, ill thought out, and with all the characteristics of an unplanned system that is just barely good enough to get by.
And yet get by it does.
Here you sit on this wee speck, a mote upon a mote, casting aspersions. You should be smart enough to know that you don't know enough to decide how smart you are.
Aside from navel gazing, a designer does not follow and is not be needed or make sense in the bio chemical systems we observe here on earth.
I agree but jar made the point that no designer would design such a system. My point is that the notion of a designer can not be dismissed by some perceived inefficiency in the nature of reproduction. It just doesn't follow especially if you don't know what the design objective was.
I expect that there is no conscious entity behind the existence of the universe but not because I think that some potential GOD could have done a better job.
If you wish to imagine some designer then we can only judge that designer based on the evidence at hand.
I just take exception to the idea that we know what a properly designed universe would look like. I am fairly certain that I would strike out childhood cancer if I were GOD but I am also certain that if I were GOD then my perspective would be different.
As I said, simply a cop out. Once you introduce the "Designer might have other plans" gambit then any reasoned discussion ceases.
Are you insisting that some hypothetical designer have the same design objectives that you would have? We make judgements based on our values. What makes you think that a prime mover would have the same values as you do?
We know what design looks like and we simply do not see anything being designed in nature.
We know what our designs look like. It is one thing to look at a piece of pottery on earth and say that it was designed but how do you assess a universe for elements of design? What would a designed universe look like?