Richard Dawkins believes in intelligent designer, as long as it is not God of the Bible.

Prominent atheist Richard Dawkins admits the possibility of some sort of intelligent designer, it could be aliens from other planets as long as it is not Allah or God of the Bible.

Clip from the movie: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed a 2008 documentary film directed by Nathan Frankowski and hosted by Ben Stein. The film contends that the mainstream science establishment suppresses academics who believe they see evidence of intelligent design (ID).

كبير الملاحدة (رشارد داوكنس): لا مشكلة عنده أن يؤمن بالتصميم الذكي والفضائيين طالما ليس هو الله



Categories: Atheism

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48 replies

  1. Neil degrasse Tyson just recently said that the chances of the universe being a “simulation” created by an intelligent designer are high. But, like Dawkins, he believes it would be the work of super-advanced aliens and not a supernatural being (i.e. God).

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/04/neil_degrasse_t_1102801.html

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    • Yes, if we think that advance technology is hardly differentiated from supernatural phenomenon by less intelligent being, we can not rule out the possibility of God as the ultimate advance intelligent being Al-`Alim (العليم)

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  2. If there is a designer, I would like to ask them about the various design flaws in their system.

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    • Like what?

      Also, why can’t there be “flaws” in the system and how does that disprove the idea of a designer?

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    • It disproves the notion of ‘intelligent’ design, but that’s beyond the point (sort of). Science is about observation. It is about studying what we can see and extrapolating theories from that. ‘Intelligent’ design is defied by the frailty within biological organisms (how many different vulnerabilities do we have a species?), the haphazard chances of life developing (let alone intelligent life, ironic given that intelligent design proponents would argue this somehow proves ID when in fact it hurts it), and the possibility of some random asteroid or cosmic event jeodordising our entire existence. would an intelligent designer not ensure that we as a species would not be so vulnerable to disease, not live on a planet prone to numerous and regular natural disasters, and not be so inclined to hurt each other?

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    • Darthtimon,

      You don’t seem to realize that your “proofs” against the notion of intelligent design are not based on any scientific evidence but rather philosophical/theological assumptions (i.e. why would an intelligent designer do this or that).

      An intelligent designer could design an imperfect system precisely because it is not meant to last forever. Wouldn’t that be a good reason? For theists, that designer would be God. Most religions believe that the world will eventually end. Our time in this world is finite. Therefore, a finite system makes perfect sense. But again, this is all theological. What scientific evidence is there to disprove the notion of intelligent design?

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    • You cannot proof a negative, therefore asking to proof intelligent design doesn’t exist is impossible. My earlier points regarding the imperfections in this ‘design’ can however be used as evidence that ID either A: does not exist or B: the designer is either not intelligent or cruel.

      Consider this. Why would an intelligent designer build into their creation all of the cruelty and hate and anger that exists into humanity? For what purpose do things like rape and murder exist? Why have a system intentionally designed to give us a world where children can die of disease? From both a theological AND scientific standpoint, these things make no sense (from a scientific point, these things would lead to intelligent design failing Occam’s Razor).

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    • ‘You cannot prove a negative’ actually you can. I maintain that there are no dragons in my house. You can easily prove this true by having look. Simple!

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    • Not the same thing. If I said to you ‘prove God doesn’t exist’ how would you even be able to start to answer? Besides, this overlooks the rest of what I said.

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    • You said you cannot prove a negative. Actually in many instances it is easy to do just that so your maxim is false. But I agree it is not possible for us to prove God does not exist but that is a unique case.

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    • To be perfectly honest, this is something of a nitpick, especially in light of how it glosses over the rest of what I said. If intelligent design exists, why do we still have an appendix? It’s not only useless, but has the potential to kill us. It’s but one example of the flaws in our ‘design’ that draws ID into question.

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    • It’s my blog and I’ll nitpick if I want to 🙂

      I thought scientists had discovered that the much maligned appendix had a use after all?

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    • You mean beyond bursting with life-threatening consequences in a manner no other organ manages? For that matter, what of all the other examples? (why, if we have been designed, are we vulnerable to numerous diseases? Why do we live on a rock that’s subject to violent volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis that regularly kill thousands? Why, if we were designed, do we wage wars upon one another, commit murder, rape and violence upon each other? It would seem to me that if we were designed, it either wasn’t done intelligently, or it was done by something cruel or sadistic).

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    • Did you look into the functionality of the appendix? Or will you accuse me of nit picking again?

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    • Have you addressed anything of the other points I have repeatedly raised?

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    • Not yet. Have you read the Quran? It addresses many of the issues you raise

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    • The Quran (and the Bible for that matter) presume the existence of a creator, which is not observed in scientific study.

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    • Of course. That’s because science deals with observable material processes rather than metaphysical realities

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    • Metaphysical realities is an oxymoron. Metaphysics deals with abstract concepts that cannot be observed. An intelligent designer cannot be observed.

      Occam’s Razor requires the removal of extra mechanisms from theories. No design has observed by science. It is purely a philosophical and religious notion.

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    • That’s just your atheist prejudice, God is the simplest explanation for the existence of all temporal reality

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    • A God who has never been observed, where the proof is from… Holy books. Like I said, metaphysical reality is an oxymoron. Not a prejudice, but a conclusion based on the very definition of metaphysics.

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    • That is not the definition of metaphysics at all, Gods existence is obvious from all that he had made

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    • From the Oxford Dictionaries website: Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time and space. It’s nothing to do with scientific observations about the world and universe around us.

      So your evidence for God’s existence is… Existence?

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    • That’s circular reasoning. It’s fine as an article of faith but NOT as a matter of scientific observation. It should not be treated as such, regardless of what creationists say.

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    • What’s science got to do with it?

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    • Is the argument not for the certainty that God created everything (or at least, an intelligent designer, which is usually code for God)?

      I have seen this sort of position (indeed, another commentator in this very thread has linked to a site about it) used by proponents of creationism and intelligent design to push for the teaching of these subjects as scientific ones, even though they are not remotely scientific. It’s pseudo-science, which is misleading, usually deliberately so, and it subverts the teaching of actual science. 42% of Americans believe the earth is no more than 10,000 years old, for this very reason.

      If you (or anyone else) want to believe in ID as a matter of faith, more power to you. Given the multitude of creation ideas out there, I’ll leave it to you to determine which one you have faith in. When it comes to declarations about what can be observed, I’ll stick to science.

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    • Why is there something rather than nothing?

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    • No one knows. Then again, at one stage we didn’t know that the sun was a nuclear furnace and worshipped it as a deity. Just because science does not have all the answers does mean the answer is automatically God.

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    • Darthtimon, Why do you have to demand observable explanation for ID?, there are things in sciences which can not be confirmed by observation and experiment, like the wormhole. What about the existence, structure, and dynamics of atoms? what about electricity? no one has ever seen an electrons.

      The presence of God for a believer is also something which can be felt as part of realities, I can tell you that feeling God presence is a phenomenon which is part of everyday realities for those who ‘submit’ their heart and mind that God is their creator. My own experience was that When I started to live according to God’s law (abstaining from sin , regular prayer etc.) I have developed this peaceful state of mind, better instinctively feeling (some sort of sixth sense) than when I was not a practicing Muslim.

      Maybe No-one can observe the the evidence of spiritual power or God’s light radiating in me, (some claim they can also feel the presence of holiness of pious God fearing people) but nevertheless I personally can feel it. So for those who lean to the explanation that ID is behind this conform with Occam’s Razor because is the simplest explanation.

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    • Scientific theories can suggest the existence of certain phenomena (though they don’t declare them to be an absolute certainty). To suggest however we take things like electricity and atoms as a ‘belief’ is a little misleading, since evidence does very much exist for these things.

      If you choose to take ID as an article of faith, that’s fine – much of your post would appear to stem from a faith-based position. That’s up to you. What should NOT happen is that it is passed off as a science through the use of pseudo-science, especially in classrooms. It’s a theological idea, rooted in creationism, and it does not belong as a science.

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    • My point is there are things in Sciences which basically we have no idea what it actually looks like and all human attempt to picture it are simply human best guess, again take for instance the concept of an electron. Our best guess to prove their existence is merely ‘validation’ using empirical evidence not by “seeing” it, but lo, you believe there exist almighty electron. You have faith in it dont you?

      The same can be said to transcendent experiences, like in my experience and million others , there are some who have conducted scientifically falsifiable clinical trials to this phenomenon and prove positive as scientific hypotheses. Of course I am not saying have direct evidence of Who is behind the phenomenon (I believe it is God for the reason I believe the holy Qur’an to be true and it says so but that’s not negating the phenomenon of God’s presence in my experience) because it’s all only inference, it’s all models ….but the same can be said about electrons.

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    • The electron example is misleading – we know electrons exist because we can actually see them via powerful microscopes – along with the other building blocks that make up matter. We have been able to ‘see’ via such tools atoms and their structures for years now.

      So it’s not a question of faith. but rather scientific theories, observations and tests to see if those theories are correct.

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    • No, I contend that no microscope powerful enough to be able to acquire visual representation of an electrons directly with human eyes. What we human may do is only to infer from observation of indirect effects, so we can actually model what it may look like, you then you believe electrons exist.
      The same can be said for God existence, humans have other sensory to ways to actually feel His existence. Some scientists have tried clinical trials to measure effects of proximal intercessory prayer with positive results,  although Science cannot visually determine the existence or nonexistence of a suprahuman force behind this phenomenon but it  does not make their conclusions any less valid than who believe electrons exist.

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    • There’s a vast difference between being able to build working models of atoms and their behaviour (electrons are vital to atomic structures) and claiming God guides us. Electrons don’t exist in a vacuum – even if we say they are only a theoretical idea, it’s one based on evidence (of course, one wonders how scientists could observe electrons ‘dancing’ if they were a matter of faith – http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-08/first-time-scientists-watch-electrons-dance)

      http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2013/may/23/quantum-microscope-peers-into-the-hydrogen-atom

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    • No, your link does not prove anything that we can actually acquire visual representation of electons,  again its  is just a ‘validation’ using empirical evidence not by “seeing” it.

      Many believers (such as myself) take their position that they believe in God relying solely on their  experience of having consciouness of God Grace  working in them without due regard for faith or holy book.  Some scientists like quantum phycisyst John Hagelin have tried to model this phenomenon and come up with empirical evidence such as an increase in quality of life and decrease in violent offending which they claim demonstrate the existence of the so called Maharishi (Supreme Holiness/God’s) effect, this report have even been published in a number of independent, peer reviewed journals, (Orme-Johnson et al 1988; Dillbeck 1990; Hatchard et al 1996; Hagelin et al 1999).

      Of course all these are not direct evidence of the existence of Supreme Being behind the phenomenon because current science has limited underlying assumptions for which aspect of the physical reality that we can measure.

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    • Darthtimon,

      Again, you are resorting to philosophical arguments which I have already explained. There is no logical reason why a designer HAS to design a perfect system, especially if the system is MEANT to be finite. A finite system, by definition, would have to be imperfect.

      I am asking you to prove that intelligent design doesn’t exist. I am asking you consider the scientific evidence. Since you brought up Occam’s Razor (which was actually posited by a Franciscan friar), consider this:

      What is the simplest explanation? That the universe was designed by a higher power or that it came from nothing?

      Similarly, what is the simplest explanation? That a computer was designed by a person or that it assembled itself from nothing?

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    • Correction – I meant to say “I am NOT asking you to prove that intelligent design doesn’t exist”.

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    • Philosophical arguments are ironically what ID is all about. Every argument that can be produced to support ID can also be explained by evolution, and evolution does not require the existence of a creator. It is a faith-based position, one that not only fails before Occam’s Razor by injecting an extra mechanism into the equation, but one that cannot be verified. Evolution is a known process.

      You say in another comment that I dismiss the Discovery Institute on the basis of its agenda rather than evidence. It’s true (if I am being completely honest) that was a certain degree of appeal to motive in my previous post – if you want arguments for why ID fails scientific tests:

      1. It is not empirically testable.

      In what way can ID be meaningfully measured? As I said earlier, everything that we observe that could in theory be explained by ID can also be explained by evolution.

      2. Occam’s Razor – a creator is an extra mechanism. Additionally

      3. Multiple Observations – there are none that cannot also be explained by evolution, whereas the presence of multiple evolutionary ‘dead ends’ is evidence of a chaotic and random system – mutations are key to evolution, but only a small number of mutations actually provide benefit to a species. Most mutations are useless and can even be harmful.

      4. Provisional or Tentative – it does not assume certainty and is open to checking. ID assumes certainty on the basis of faith, which is unscientific by its very nature.

      For further resources, see:

      http://www.nas.edu/evolution/IntelligentDesign.html

      https://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/philosop/empty.htm

      http://www.talkreason.org/

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    • Darthtimon,

      You said:

      “Philosophical arguments are ironically what ID is all about. Every argument that can be produced to support ID can also be explained by evolution…”

      That’s simply not true. ID uses scientific evidence to posit the existence of a designer. ID does NOT attempt to identify the designer. It simply points to evidence in nature that can only be explained by the existence of a designer.

      You said:

      “1. It is not empirically testable.

      In what way can ID be meaningfully measured? As I said earlier, everything that we observe that could in theory be explained by ID can also be explained by evolution.”

      Actually, ID is testable. As Casey Luskin explains:

      “The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. ID begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be tested and discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures through genetic knockout experiments. The purpose is to determine if they require all of their parts to function. When experimental researchers uncover irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed” (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/11/why_intelligent1066741.html).

      You said:

      “2. Occam’s Razor – a creator is an extra mechanism. Additionally”

      As opposed to “unguided” and “random” evolution? I asked you before. What is the simplest explanation? That the universe, like a computer, has a designer, or that it and the computer assembled themselves completely by chance?

      You said:

      “3. Multiple Observations – there are none that cannot also be explained by evolution, whereas the presence of multiple evolutionary ‘dead ends’ is evidence of a chaotic and random system – mutations are key to evolution, but only a small number of mutations actually provide benefit to a species. Most mutations are useless and can even be harmful.”

      Of course there are. Evolution due to chance cannot explain irreducible complexity in nature, as in the example of the bacterial flagellum. See the following: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/09/the_bacterial_f064651.html

      You said:

      “4. Provisional or Tentative – it does not assume certainty and is open to checking. ID assumes certainty on the basis of faith, which is unscientific by its very nature.”

      Again, ID proponents base their conclusions on the basis of scientific observations and they use the scientific method to come to those conclusions.

      Interestingly, it is evolutionists who frequently “assume certainty”. For example, Francis Crick has stated:

      “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved” (http://todayinsci.com/C/Crick_Francis/CrickFrancis-Quotations.htm).

      In other words, Crick wants biologists to assume that everything has evolved and then interpret their findings based on that assumption. That is unscientific.

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    • “That’s simply not true. ID uses scientific evidence to posit the existence of a designer. ID does NOT attempt to identify the designer. It simply points to evidence in nature that can only be explained by the existence of a designer.”

      Intelligent Design proponents have deliberated tried to distance themselves from claiming the creator is a deity, but it is no co-incidence that ID supporters are usually theists.

      “The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. ID begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI).”

      ID is starting with the premise that anything complex must be the result of ID. It’s circular reasoning. This is more or less admitted to in your quote from Casey Luskin. “Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI”. See? They assume if it displays complexity, it is the result of being designed.

      “As opposed to “unguided” and “random” evolution? I asked you before. What is the simplest explanation? That the universe, like a computer, has a designer, or that it and the computer assembled themselves completely by chance?”

      This is the ‘Watchmaker’ argument, rehashed. David Hume, all the back in the 1700s, refuted this:

      “Hume highlighted the fact that everything we claim to know the cause of, we have derived these inductions from previous experiences of similar objects being created, or seen the object itself being created ourselves. For example, with a watch we know it has to be created by a watch-maker because we can observe it being made and compare it to the making of other similar watches or objects to deduce they have alike causes in their creation. However, he argues that we have no experience of the universe’s creation, or any other universe’s creations to compare our own universe to, and never will; therefore it would be illogical to infer that our universe has been created by an intelligent designer in the same way in which a watch has.”

      Another perspective on this is that we did not learn to build computers successfully, or with the degree of complexity they have now, without practice and failure. We learned how to do it, over time, piecing together more efficient and reliable means of designing and building all of our technology. There would have been many failed attempts to build computers (just as even now, we discard many failed ideas, even ideas based on things we know), just as there are many evolutionary dead ends – what we would expect to see from an unguided system.

      “Of course there are. Evolution due to chance cannot explain irreducible complexity in nature, as in the example of the bacterial flagellum. See the following: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/09/the_bacterial_f064651.html

      Not only does this fail to refute my earlier point regarding dead ends and failed mutations – evidence of a chaotic system – but the argument about the flagellum has been refuted: http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

      It would also be worth checking out another example of how irreducible complexity is not a great argument: https://www.dnalc.org/view/16982-The-Eye-and-Irreducible-Complexity-Creationism-Debunked.html

      “Again, ID proponents base their conclusions on the basis of scientific observations and they use the scientific method to come to those conclusions.

      Interestingly, it is evolutionists who frequently “assume certainty”. For example, Francis Crick has stated:

      “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved” (http://todayinsci.com/C/Crick_Francis/CrickFrancis-Quotations.htm).

      In other words, Crick wants biologists to assume that everything has evolved and then interpret their findings based on that assumption. That is unscientific.”

      As I’ve argued earlier in this post, it’s ID proponents who come at this from circular reasoning. They use ID as the starting point, assuming complexity in organisms must be the result of design. The widespread evidence of chaos within evolutionary history (the mutations which have provided no benefit or even harmed a species, or the failure of certain species to adapt to changing conditions) is ignored by ID proponents.

      Actual scientists do not ignore evidence. They do indeed make observations about the world around us, and if they observe chaotic evolution (which is still observed today – see micro-evolution) they cannot conclude a designer is at work.

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    • Darthtimon, you said:

      “Intelligent Design proponents have deliberated tried to distance themselves from claiming the creator is a deity, but it is no co-incidence that ID supporters are usually theists.”

      The keyword is “usually”. As I stated above, recently Neil deGrasse Tyson suggested that the universe could simply be just a “simulation”. Obviously, he is not a theist nor is he an ID proponent. But, by suggesting that the universe could be a simulation, he is unwittingly suggesting a ID-type scenario.

      It is definitely true that ID has major implications for theistic belief, but again, you cannot refute ID by questioning the motives of its proponents. That is a fallacy.

      You said:

      “ID is starting with the premise that anything complex must be the result of ID. It’s circular reasoning. This is more or less admitted to in your quote from Casey Luskin. “Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI”. See? They assume if it displays complexity, it is the result of being designed.”

      How is it “circular reasoning”? It is not at all unreasonable to surmise that complex things must have been designed because that is what our daily experiences and observations tell us.

      You still haven’t answered my question. Which is the simplest explanation: that the universe, like a computer, was designed or that both came from nothing?

      On the other hand, evolutionists presume that even though our observations of nature may suggest that it was designed, we should remind ourselves that it is not. Dawkins said as much in one of his books, I think. And so did Crick.

      You said:

      “This is the ‘Watchmaker’ argument, rehashed. David Hume, all the back in the 1700s, refuted this:

      “Hume highlighted the fact that everything we claim to know the cause of, we have derived these inductions from previous experiences of similar objects being created, or seen the object itself being created ourselves. For example, with a watch we know it has to be created by a watch-maker because we can observe it being made and compare it to the making of other similar watches or objects to deduce they have alike causes in their creation. However, he argues that we have no experience of the universe’s creation, or any other universe’s creations to compare our own universe to, and never will; therefore it would be illogical to infer that our universe has been created by an intelligent designer in the same way in which a watch has.””

      This was the old argument made by William Paley, but as Stephen Meyer states regarding the “DNA to design” argument:

      “Design theorists infer design not just because natural processes cannot explain the origin of biological systems, but because these systems manifest the distinctive hallmarks of intelligently designed systems–that is, they possess features that in any other realm of experience would trigger the recognition of an intelligent cause. […]

      Design theorists infer a past intelligent cause based upon present knowledge of cause and effect relationships. Inferences to design thus employ the standard uniformitarian method of reasoning used in all historical sciences, many of which routinely detect intelligent causes. […]

      Second, contra the classical Humean objection to design, the “DNA to Design” argument does not depend upon an analogy between the features of human artifacts and living systems, still less upon a weak or illicit one. If, as Bill Gates has said, “DNA is similar to a software program” but more complex, it makes sense, on analogical grounds, to consider inferring that it too had an intelligent source” (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/01/wolfsons_argument_from_ignoran001847.html).

      You said:

      “Another perspective on this is that we did not learn to build computers successfully, or with the degree of complexity they have now, without practice and failure. We learned how to do it, over time, piecing together more efficient and reliable means of designing and building all of our technology. There would have been many failed attempts to build computers (just as even now, we discard many failed ideas, even ideas based on things we know), just as there are many evolutionary dead ends – what we would expect to see from an unguided system.”

      Even so, computers WERE designed. Therefore, it was not the result of “an unguided system”.

      Ironically, your argument raises serious objections to unguided evolution. You are right to say that we had to learn to build computers successfully. They started off as large, inefficient machines and gradually became smaller and more efficient as our knowledge and technology improved. But, even the large and inefficient computers would not have worked if all the parts were not in place, in the right configuration and order! For example, if one small gear was missing or damaged, the computer may not function properly or not at all. Similarly, in an “unguided system”, if all the parts are not in place, then life could not function or would exist at all. But that is what the theory of unguided evolution supposes.

      You said:

      “Not only does this fail to refute my earlier point regarding dead ends and failed mutations – evidence of a chaotic system – but the argument about the flagellum has been refuted: http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

      See the Meyer quote above. The bacterial flagellum is an incredible example of “irreducible complexity”. It cannot work if all the proteins and other biological machinery is not in place. Even if one component is missing, the flagellum, like the computer, will not work.

      Moreover, William Demski has refuted Kenneth Miller’s claims about the bacterial flagellum:

      https://billdembski.com/documents/2003.02.Miller_Response.htm

      Incidentally, it is interesting how Miller concludes his article:

      “In any discussion of the question of “intelligent design,” it is absolutely essential to determine what is meant by the term itself. If, for example, the advocates of design wish to suggest that the intricacies of nature, life, and the universe reveal a world of meaning and purpose consistent with an overarching, possibly Divine intelligence, then their point is philosophical, not scientific. It is a philosophical point of view, incidentally, that I share, along with many scientists. As H. Allen Orr pointed out in a recent review:

      Plenty of scientists have, after all, been attracted to the notion that natural laws reflect (in some way that’s necessarily poorly articulated) an intelligence or aesthetic sensibility. This is the religion of Einstein, who spoke of “the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence” and of the scientist’s “religious feeling [that] takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law.” (Orr 2002).”

      You said:

      “As I’ve argued earlier in this post, it’s ID proponents who come at this from circular reasoning. They use ID as the starting point, assuming complexity in organisms must be the result of design. The widespread evidence of chaos within evolutionary history (the mutations which have provided no benefit or even harmed a species, or the failure of certain species to adapt to changing conditions) is ignored by ID proponents.”

      I discussed this above. Also, as I have shown, it is evolutionists who presume “unguided evolution” and use that as the basis for interpreting their data.

      As for the alleged “chaos” and mutations, see this interesting article: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/04/calculating_the102791.html

      You said:

      “Actual scientists do not ignore evidence. They do indeed make observations about the world around us, and if they observe chaotic evolution (which is still observed today – see micro-evolution) they cannot conclude a designer is at work.”

      Micro-evolution is actually not a very good example to point to. As Kirk Durston explains:

      “The reason there are so many countless observations of variation/microevolution is that it requires no statistically significant levels of novel genetic information; it is trivially easy to achieve” (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/07/microevolution097801.html).

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    • I would recommend checking out this page for a deeper explanation as to why ID is not a scientific notion: http://www.creationtheory.org/Essays/IntelligentDesignIsUseless.xhtml

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    • Most of these claims have been discussed by ID proponents. Also, there are very good reasons to consider ID a scientific theory:

      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/11/why_intelligent1066741.html

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    • At least two of the authors of Evolution News are senior fellows with the Discovery Institute, an organisation that has tried in the past to have ID taught as a scientific theory in classrooms. They promote a Christian agenda they hope will subvert or replace ideas around separation of Church and State. Look up Kitzmiller vs Dover Area School District for more.

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    • Yes, I am aware of the Discovery Institute. I have read several books by Stephen Meyer and Jonathan Wells.

      It is true that the Discovery Institute, or at least some individuals within the organization, may have a Christian agenda. I find that disturbing, but it does not take anything away from the scientific evidence for ID. You are resorting to ad hominem attacks rather than addressing their scientific arguments. For sure, I am suspicious of the political and religious agenda of some people in the organization (such as David Klinghoffer), but the scientific evidence that DI presents is worth looking into instead of simply dismissing it as a “Christian agenda”.

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  3. Faiz,

    <QUOTE.The keyword is “usually”. As I stated above, recently Neil deGrasse Tyson suggested that the universe could simply be just a “simulation”. Obviously, he is not a theist nor is he an ID proponent. But, by suggesting that the universe could be a simulation, he is unwittingly suggesting a ID-type scenario.

    It is definitely true that ID has major implications for theistic belief, but again, you cannot refute ID by questioning the motives of its proponents. That is a fallacy.

    Tyson is not suggesting that his idea be taken as hard scientific fact. It is a fallacy in itself to assume he is claiming it is anything other than an untestable theory, a vague notion.

    How is it “circular reasoning”? It is not at all unreasonable to surmise that complex things must have been designed because that is what our daily experiences and observations tell us.

    You still haven’t answered my question. Which is the simplest explanation: that the universe, like a computer, was designed or that both came from nothing?

    On the other hand, evolutionists presume that even though our observations of nature may suggest that it was designed, we should remind ourselves that it is not. Dawkins said as much in one of his books, I think. And so did Crick.

    ID proponents use their conclusion as the premise. To quote from Casey Luskin: [b]ID begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI).[/b]

    It presumes that because we (as ‘intelligent agents’) produce complex mechanisms, anything complex must therefore be the result of intelligent design, and sets out to make the evidence fit that model. This is [I]not[/I] how science is conducted – the model should fit the evidence. Hence, ID represents circular reasoning.

    RE your computer argument, I refer you back to the Watchmaker argument.

    This was the old argument made by William Paley, but as Stephen Meyer states regarding the “DNA to design” argument:

    “Design theorists infer design not just because natural processes cannot explain the origin of biological systems, but because these systems manifest the distinctive hallmarks of intelligently designed systems–that is, they possess features that in any other realm of experience would trigger the recognition of an intelligent cause. […]

    Design theorists infer a past intelligent cause based upon present knowledge of cause and effect relationships. Inferences to design thus employ the standard uniformitarian method of reasoning used in all historical sciences, many of which routinely detect intelligent causes. […]

    Second, contra the classical Humean objection to design, the “DNA to Design” argument does not depend upon an analogy between the features of human artifacts and living systems, still less upon a weak or illicit one. If, as Bill Gates has said, “DNA is similar to a software program” but more complex, it makes sense, on analogical grounds, to consider inferring that it too had an intelligent source” (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/01/wolfsons_argument_from_ignoran001847.html).

    Actually, the origin of biological systems via natural processes is known – http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-surprising-origins-of-evolutionary-complexity/

    I cannot reply to the rest right now – I shall do so later.

    Like

  4. Faiz, P2 of my reply, a little late but here you go:

    This was the old argument made by William Paley, but as Stephen Meyer states regarding the “DNA to design” argument:
    “Design theorists infer design not just because natural processes cannot explain the origin of biological systems, but because these systems manifest the distinctive hallmarks of intelligently designed systems–that is, they possess features that in any other realm of experience would trigger the recognition of an intelligent cause. […]
    Design theorists infer a past intelligent cause based upon present knowledge of cause and effect relationships. Inferences to design thus employ the standard uniformitarian method of reasoning used in all historical sciences, many of which routinely detect intelligent causes. […]

    I’m curious as to exactly what the reference point is for ‘original of biological systems’. Is it the origin of certain organs (like the eye), or the origin of life itself (abiogenesis)?

    If the former, I recommend checking out this page: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l_011_01.html

    It has a good explanation behind how the eye would form under natural processes, but to build upon it – it’s a gradual process that contains dead ends and throw-away elements. Each gradual, incremental change that proved beneficial would have been passed on to the organism’s offspring, and their offspring, and so on, whilst organisms that suffered a harmful mutation would have died off, being unable to pass on that particular change.

    Second, the human eye underscores the rough edges of evolution. The eye is prone to weakness thanks to blood vessels that can burst on the surface and lead to loss of vision. It is a system that is far from refined, even after millions of years.

    If your point is the latter one, the actual, initial origin of life, whilst appearing to be related to evolution discussions, is not actually the same. On a theological level, it could indeed be that something prompted life to form. We have no evidence to support this, but we might be an experiment in a lab, created by said ‘something’ to see what happens.

    Then again, maybe not. The process could easily have been a natural one, the result of chemicals reacting to the presence of extreme and sudden heat or electrical energy. http://phys.org/news/2015-06-evidence-emerges-life.html

    Second, contra the classical Humean objection to design, the “DNA to Design” argument does not depend upon an analogy between the features of human artifacts and living systems, still less upon a weak or illicit one. If, as Bill Gates has said, “DNA is similar to a software program” but more complex, it makes sense, on analogical grounds, to consider inferring that it too had an intelligent source” (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/01/wolfsons_argument_from_ignoran001847.html).

    That’s a very loose argument. It is not untypical for humans as a species to read into random events familiar events and appearances.
    You said:
    “Another perspective on this is that we did not learn to build computers successfully, or with the degree of complexity they have now, without practice and failure. We learned how to do it, over time, piecing together more efficient and reliable means of designing and building all of our technology. There would have been many failed attempts to build computers (just as even now, we discard many failed ideas, even ideas based on things we know), just as there are many evolutionary dead ends – what we would expect to see from an unguided system.”
    Even so, computers WERE designed. Therefore, it was not the result of “an unguided system”.
    Ironically, your argument raises serious objections to unguided evolution. You are right to say that we had to learn to build computers successfully. They started off as large, inefficient machines and gradually became smaller and more efficient as our knowledge and technology improved. But, even the large and inefficient computers would not have worked if all the parts were not in place, in the right configuration and order! For example, if one small gear was missing or damaged, the computer may not function properly or not at all. Similarly, in an “unguided system”, if all the parts are not in place, then life could not function or would exist at all. But that is what the theory of unguided evolution supposes.

    The difference between technological development and evolutionary processes is that whilst our technology can be guided (and ironically, through scientific study and knowledge, rather than theism), evolution remains unguided. It continues to have demonstrable dead ends and random mutations that prove harmful to species. A designer with millions of years of experience that continues to make errors of such a nature, or the result of random chance?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933187/

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/add_ocr_gateway/living_growing/proteinsrev4.shtml

    https://www.findaphd.com/search/projectdetails.aspx?PJID=73490

    Because we know evolution happens, we can actually now take steps to try and guide our own development, but even with this knowledge, we are still at the mercy of random and negative mutations, and we are also still very much at the mercy of environmental factors that could destroy us (a virulent disease for example, or a mutation that triggers vulnerability to said disease, could threaten as a species). This is not indicative of a ‘guiding hand’ in our development.

    You said:
    “Not only does this fail to refute my earlier point regarding dead ends and failed mutations – evidence of a chaotic system – but the argument about the flagellum has been refuted: http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html”
    See the Meyer quote above. The bacterial flagellum is an incredible example of “irreducible complexity”. It cannot work if all the proteins and other biological machinery is not in place. Even if one component is missing, the flagellum, like the computer, will not work.
    Moreover, William Demski has refuted Kenneth Miller’s claims about the bacterial flagellum:
    https://billdembski.com/documents/2003.02.Miller_Response.htm
    Incidentally, it is interesting how Miller concludes his article:
    “In any discussion of the question of “intelligent design,” it is absolutely essential to determine what is meant by the term itself. If, for example, the advocates of design wish to suggest that the intricacies of nature, life, and the universe reveal a world of meaning and purpose consistent with an overarching, possibly Divine intelligence, then their point is philosophical, not scientific. It is a philosophical point of view, incidentally, that I share, along with many scientists. As H. Allen Orr pointed out in a recent review:
    Plenty of scientists have, after all, been attracted to the notion that natural laws reflect (in some way that’s necessarily poorly articulated) an intelligence or aesthetic sensibility. This is the religion of Einstein, who spoke of “the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence” and of the scientist’s “religious feeling [that] takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law.” (Orr 2002).”

    Firstly, the presence of some scientists who happen to have a philosophical belief in intelligent design does not mean they are validating it as a scientific theory. In fact, you’ll note in your own quote that Miller acknowledges that just because he might share ID as a philosophical idea, it does not mean he supports it scientifically.

    Secondly, William Demski is not a biologist but is in fact a mathematician and self-confessed Evangelicalist. He has made it clear from statements given in the past that (and I quote) “who may think that the biological sciences are a dispassionate search for truth about life but many of whose practitioners see biology, especially evolutionary biology, as an ideological weapon to destroy faith in God.”

    This represents a worrying ‘poisoning of the well’ attitude against science, with the goal being to promote the ascendancy of theological arguments dressed as science. Science is neutral – it is not driven by an agenda.

    Nor is his argument about the flagellum without holes. http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Flagella_myth.htm

    You said:
    “As I’ve argued earlier in this post, it’s ID proponents who come at this from circular reasoning. They use ID as the starting point, assuming complexity in organisms must be the result of design. The widespread evidence of chaos within evolutionary history (the mutations which have provided no benefit or even harmed a species, or the failure of certain species to adapt to changing conditions) is ignored by ID proponents.”
    I discussed this above. Also, as I have shown, it is evolutionists who presume “unguided evolution” and use that as the basis for interpreting their data.
    As for the alleged “chaos” and mutations, see this interesting article: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/04/calculating_the102791.html

    Like I’ve already explained, scientists do not take their conclusion as the premise. No one who first began to study any scientific field by actually applying the scientific method will assume anything, but taking the conclusion as the premise (which is behind much of the religiously motivated ID theory) is modus operandi for ID theorists.

    There is another element to this that ID proponents overlook. Referring back to Occam’s Razor, any undefined theory will always fail before a theory that has been defined to at least some degree, even if said theory cannot yet explain all the facts. If design does indeed take place, is this the result of a divine power or an advanced alien intelligence? ID proponents cannot answer this question, therefore one of the most significant aspects of ID remains undefined.

    You said:
    “Actual scientists do not ignore evidence. They do indeed make observations about the world around us, and if they observe chaotic evolution (which is still observed today – see micro-evolution) they cannot conclude a designer is at work.”
    Micro-evolution is actually not a very good example to point to. As Kirk Durston explains:
    “The reason there are so many countless observations of variation/microevolution is that it requires no statistically significant levels of novel genetic information; it is trivially easy to achieve” (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/07/microevolution097801.html).

    Actually, micro-evolution is a very good example: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/_0/evoscales_03

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_39

    Like

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