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Testing Intelligent Design Theory?

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posted on Aug, 29 2005 @ 08:41 PM
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Opponents of Intelligent Design Theory often say that it's not real science because it's not testable. Basically if the "designer's" goals are unknowable your left with an airtight theory that is not falsifiable. But they(opponents) will go on to cite "evidence" which refutes IDT like Kenneth miller's "Acid test" in which he states "..... I presented a series of specific experimental studies showing that Michael Behe is incorrect in his assertion that Darwinian evolution cannot "account for the molecular structure of life." Their are many other "evidences" falsifing IDT that ironically are usually put forth by the same people who say it's not a testable/falsifiable theory. Which is it? You can't have it both ways. Imho IDT is not bunk simply because GOD is not scientifically testable.

Michael Behe offers this test to falsify his assertion that the bacterial flagellum are irreducible complex and therefore cannot be a product of natural selection.

....I claimed that the bacterial flagellum was irreducibly complex and so required deliberate intelligent design. The flip side of this claim is that the flagellum can’t be produced by natural selection acting on random mutation, or any other unintelligent process. To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure (for mobility, say), grow it for ten thousand generations, and see if a flagellum--or any equally complex system--was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.(1)


To be honest i have no idea how something like this is done, so i ask those who do. Is it possible to test? Is it falsifiable? More importantly has this already been done and, if so, what were the results? Seems some wish to rule out design/creation before it's been tested properly, simply saying; Well it's untestable .... but here's my test to show you it's illogical/false. Anyone else confused by this logic? Of course as this is Behe's hypothesis perhaps it's up to him to do the testing. Again i'm not sure how this works, do you attempt to falsify your own theory, or are other scientists expected to do this in interest of impartiality?

Behe goes on to ask, would the evolutionists conform to the same standard?

If a scientist went into the laboratory and grew a flagellum-less bacterial species under selective pressure for many generations and nothing much happened, would Darwinists be convinced that natural selection is incapable of producing a flagellum? I doubt it. It could always be claimed that the selective pressure wasn’t the right one, or that we started with the wrong bacterial species, and so on. Even if the experiment were repeated many times under different conditions and always gave a negative result, I suspect many Darwinists would not conclude that the claim of its Darwinian evolution was falsified. Of complex biochemical systems Coyne himself writes “we may forever be unable to envisage the first proto-pathways. It is not valid, however, to assume that, because one man cannot imagine such pathways, they could not have existed.” (Coyne 1996) If a person accepts Darwinian paths which are not only unseen, but which we may be forever unable to envisage, then it is effectively impossible to make him think he is wrong.


A little of the ol' what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Hey Pot you black! Sincerely Kettle
I know.. i know, evidence against evolution isn't evidence for IDT/Creationism. But if we are talking about untestable theories i would like to know why some are science(Macro-Evolution) and others(IDT) are not. By evolution i mean single-cell to man(accepted theory by mainstream science)... which btw is untestable and obviously never observed.

I'm not trying to bash evolution, just cause i believe in GOD does not mean i'm offended about possibly being the "cousin" of a monkey....or a paramecium for that matter. I'm still a child of GOD made in His image, as we all are, so i'm cool. My faith is not based on my creationism...IOW i'm not trying to pick a fight here. I like to think i'm open-minded and will certainly listen to opposing views. I believe that GOD "designed" ALL but i'm not convinced whether or not we can detect and/or test that scientifically. Hey i'm here to deny ignorance too.....honest. Besides i'm not smart enough to be dogmatic about any topic.


Well, so i ask....is it or is it not testable. If you think it's obvious then please "break it down for me" what am i missing? Here's some good links to rational arguments, by actual scientists(like it or not) whom IMO are doing actual science. Agree or disagree let me know, i am also interested in the anti-IDT position from a Christian perspective.





A very good(for the lay) debate between IDT proponents Michael J. Behe, Ph.D. William A. Dembski, Ph.D. and Jonathan Wells, Ph.D. and arguing against Kenneth R. Miller, Ph.D. Robert T. Pennock, Ph.D. and Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.

Small-Scale Evidence of Grand-Scale DesignDr. Hugh Ross, Ph.D.

Randomness By Design
William A.Dembski, Ph.D.(if you like math you'll enjoy this essay)

DNA, Design and the Origin of Life
Charles B. Thaxton, Ph.D.

Evidence of the Design of the Universe through Anthropic Principles




posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 08:49 AM
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Besides i'm not smart enough to be dogmatic about any topic.

Hey, you seem smart enough to me. Anyway, it depends on what you call "smart" - to me a pragmatic, flexible thinker is smart, someone who just sticks to dogma is dumb.

Well, on topic. The reason why ID is not a science is because you cannot test it or make any attempt to falsify it. If you show me a bacterial flagellum and say "God created this" what can I say? "Err, did he?" You haven't described how God made it so I can make no argument and cannot test that assertion in any way. I can make no attempt to falsify the argument.

If a scientists shows me a baterial flagellum and says it evolved via this process and these are the steps involved (which plenty of scientists are working on) I can argue with that. I can attempt to falsify it. In fact I might go on to show how that the theory is completely wrong. However it will still have been a scientific theory, whether it was right or not.

On a more general point: If ID is science then where are the scientific papers supporting it? I have never seen one paper or book offering evidence of a theory of ID. All the papers and books mearly point out problems with the theory of evolution, that's it. What kind of theory only points out problems in another one? Not a scientific one. Surely they should be working on such tricky problems as "When did this designer carry out the design work?" or "How did a designer who can create something as complicated as the human brain come to exist in the universe?" or "Is there more than one designer and are they still designing stuff?" etc. I'm still waiting those for those papers.....

It funny how the bacterial flagella has become the new "battleground" for the creationists. It used to be the eye, until all the intermediate stages of the eye were explained. I wonder what they will move onto next?

These site are worth a look for discussion on bacterial flagella evolution (and the fact the some bacterial flagella are more complex than others, so how come they are called irreducibly complex?)

www.atheistalliance.org...
en.wikipedia.org...

BTW, nice post.

EDIT: for crap spelling


[edit on 1/9/05 by FatherLukeDuke]



posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 05:57 PM
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Well, on topic. The reason why ID is not a science is because you cannot test it or make any attempt to falsify it. If you show me a bacterial flagellum and say "God created this" what can I say? "Err, did he?" You haven't described how God made it so I can make no argument and cannot test that assertion in any way. I can make no attempt to falsify the argument.


I like to think about IDT as detecting design in life, not designer of life. What i mean by that is IDT makes no assumptions about how something was designed or by who. Only that it was indeed designed, how is SETI ever gonna detect an "alien" signal? How do they detect that design? I realize that's not the strongest analogy, in that one deals with living systems and the other manufactured radio waves. But the idea of detecting design is not unusual or particulary new(outside of Biology i guess). And if IDT makes a claim, like Behe's irreducibley complex bacterial flagellum, then it's falsified by either showing the mechanism by which it formed naturally or by proving that the 'component parts' were able to operate independant of the "whole", no?


If a scientists shows me a baterial flagellum and says it evolved via this process and these are the steps involved (which plenty of scientists are working on) I can argue with that. I can attempt to falsify it. In fact I might go on to show how that the theory is completely wrong. However it will still have been a scientific theory, whether it was right or not.
(emphasis mine)

And other scientists are working on proving that it was designed, how is one group doing science and the other not. I've shown tests from both proponents and opponents as to the validity of IDT, doesn't that alone prove it's testable? Certainly specific claims(ie Behe's IRC falgellum) can be tested. Again i don't believe that IDT tries to prove GOD IS, it's not Creationism in that it makes NO defense or mention of the Genesis account of creation, but i do understand the arguments and implications.


....general point: If ID is science then where are the scientific papers supporting it? I have never seen one paper or book offering evidence of a theory of ID.


I've read alot about this, but as a layman i have no intimate knowledge of how papers get published, who controls these things. I would say that the dogma of some opponents is (partly)involved. Here's a good link.

Why isn't intelligent design found published in peer-reviewed science journals?

Actually, upon closer inspection, once one understands the predictions of intelligent design theory, it becomes clear that there is much data published in the journals already supporting intelligent design theory; researchers simply have not been inferring design because the implications of their results have not been made clear to them.
.....snip....
Essentially, this editor says that he cannot publish Behe's ideas because they are too "unorthodox" and would challenge the "current paradigm." A legitimate reason perhaps, from the vantage point of normal scientists. But in the end, this appears to be a textbook example of Kuhn's paradigm opposition at work--and is NOT a good example of rejection for lack of empirical support or data.

......snip.......
Michael Behe submitted a paper to a scientific journal sometime before August 5, 2000. The paper was titled, 'Obstacles to gene duplication as an explanation for complex biochemical systems.' In the paper, Behe makes no references to God, and there is no evidence that Behe even mentions intelligent design as an actual cause. The paper is simply a discussion of what the title says it is, "Obstacles to gene duplication as an explanation for complex biochemical systems."

The reviewer appears to give a usual Darwinian explanation for how complex structures are built: through the co-optation of parts and gene duplication. Interestingly, the reviewer provides no elaboration of evidence to back up this scenario other than the bald assertion that it happened: "nature faced these difficulties and solved them." However, the bulk of the review actually does not discuss the topic of the paper, but rather focuses on critiquing intelligent design theory. In evaluating the review, Behe notes the following:
"The manuscript did not argue for intelligent design, nor did it say that complex systems would never be explained within Darwinian theory."

I read this some time ago and again just now. I really recommend you read this one completely(though rather long). I think you'll see it's not so cut and dry as "if it was "real" science why aint it in the "journals"?

And this from here

Is research about intelligent design published in peer-reviewed journals and monographs?

Yes. Although open hostility from those who hold to neo-Darwinism sometimes makes it difficult for design scholars to gain a fair hearing for their ideas, research and articles supporting intelligent design are being published in peer-reviewed publications. Examples of peer-reviewed books supporting design include The Design Inference (Cambridge University Press) by William Dembski and Darwin's Black Box (The Free Press) by Michael Behe. Additional peer-reviewed books about design theory are scheduled to be published in 2003 and 2004 by Michigan State University Press and Cambridge University Press. In the area of journals, Michael Behe has defended his concept of "irreducible complexity" in the peer-reviewed journal Philosophy of Science published by the University of Chicago. There is also now a peer-reviewed journal that focuses on design theory, Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design, which has an editorial advisory board of more than 50 scholars from relevant scientific disciplines, most of whom have university affiliations. Finally, the works of design theorists are starting to be cited by other scholars in peer-reviewed journals such as the Annual Review of Genetics.





Surely they should be working on such tricky problems as "When did this designer carry out the design work?" or "How did a designer who can create something as complicated as the human brain come to exist in the universe?" or "Is there more than one designer and are they still designing stuff?" etc. I'm still waiting those for those papers.....


I see where you're going ....but that's not IDT, perhaps a new off shoot IDerT?
Evolutionist love to say that's not evolution, that's abiogenesis...i'm sure you've heard or had to use that one yourself. Well the same argument works here...apples and oranges. As to only dealing with "disproving evolution", it's a necessary evil i guess, due to the fact that some seem to think that naturallistic origins(abiogenesis to multi-cell creatures to man) is already proven, therefore IDT and/or Creationism are unnecessary. Infact disproven by proxy.


It funny how the bacterial flagella has become the new "battleground" for the creationists. It used to be the eye, until all the intermediate stages of the eye were explained. I wonder what they will move onto next?
(emphasis mine)

Wow "all intermediate ...explained"? Interesting what "evidence"(read: Hypothesis) your willing to accept and which you regard as unfounded. I guess it depends on what you mean by "explained". BTW the eye 'battleground' still has troops. (another good read IMHO)


These site are worth a look for discussion on bacterial flagella evolution (and the fact the some bacterial flagella are more complex than others, so how come they are called irreducibly complex?)

I have read many of the rebuttals, specifically read your 'wiki' link previously. As i've said i'm still on the fence here, perhaps both feet on the IDT side. But i'm still up there.


I was, however, a "first-timer" to atheistalliance.org found some interesting tid-bits. I assume, as you referenced it and based on your avatar, you are a supporter. Honestly never met an actual atheist, several agnostics who called themselves atheist, but were always just undecided or decided it's unknowable. But i will give it a proper look(only read your specific link so far), must say i'm curious. Be interesting if any "science" is used to back up that belief.



BTW, nice post.


Thank you and thanks for your thoughtful reply.



posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 04:55 AM
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Originally posted by Rren
I like to think about IDT as detecting design in life, not designer of life. What i mean by that is IDT makes no assumptions about how something was designed or by who.

On the surface it makes no assumptions, however I'm sure most of the people involved in propogating it believe it was the Christian God.



And if IDT makes a claim, like Behe's irreducibley complex bacterial flagellum, then it's falsified by either showing the mechanism by which it formed naturally or by proving that the 'component parts' were able to operate independant of the "whole", no?

Well, no it isn't. Say a scientist did show some very plausible steps as to as to how bacterial flagellum evolved, Behe and co could still just say "no, a designer did it". How is it possible to falsify this hypothesis? You can't, as it is trying to prove a negative (that is trying to prove that a designer didn't create it.)

For example: I could make the hypothesis that a Designer created the entire planet 2 weeks ago along with all the historical record and all our memories. Can you make any attempt to disprove this? No, it is impossible. The thing is, just like IDT, I could be right. However it is not science, it is a purely philosophical position.



And other scientists are working on proving that it was designed, how is one group doing science and the other not.

Because they are not working on proving that something was designed. All they are doing is collectiving negative evidence against current mainstream theories in biology/evolution. They are not collecting any positive evidence to show that a designer created bacterial flagellum, or anything else for that matter.

This is where the logical fallacy comes in: just because you find find flaws with the current theory of how bacterial flagellum (or whatever) came to exist (Hypothesis A) how does this automatically prove that a Designer created the flagellum (Hypothesis B)? It doesn't. There could be a million other hypothesis out there. For IDT to be accepted it must collect some positive evidence, so far it hasn't.




I've shown tests from both proponents and opponents as to the validity of IDT, doesn't that alone prove it's testable?

Again, how can I prove, or make any attempt to prove, that a designer didn't create life on this planet?



I've read alot about this, but as a layman i have no intimate knowledge of how papers get published, who controls these things. I would say that the dogma of some opponents is (partly)involved. Here's a good link.

I'm sure it can be very difficult to get even good science published if it goes against grain of existing theories. I will agree with that.



'Obstacles to gene duplication as an explanation for complex biochemical systems

Sounds like a perfectly reasonable paper that should have been published. However it what way is it IDT? As the the text in the link you posted says:



In the paper, Behe makes no references to God, and there is no evidence that Behe even mentions intelligent design as an actual cause.
www.ideacenter.org...

I really don't see how this is a paper supporting IDT at all. Mainstream scientists publish papers all the time attacking particular theories, even pulling them to pieces. Does this then make them IDT proponents? Of course not. Again it is just negative evidence.

The IDT movement has plenty of resources - why don't they start their own journal? The problem is that is would just be full of papers (well if they could fill it) attacking particular elements of mainstream biology and evolution. This ultimately, like IDT, would be a dead end.



Well the same argument works here...apples and oranges. As to only dealing with "disproving evolution", it's a necessary evil i guess,

Well is seems more than a "necessary evil", it is the entire basis for IDT.

If IDT won't go into finding out about the Designer or how and when life was designed where does it go? If it wants to be a science then it must start answering these questions (or any questions).



Wow "all intermediate ...explained"? Interesting what "evidence"(read: Hypothesis) your willing to accept and which you regard as unfounded. I guess it depends on what you mean by "explained". BTW the eye 'battleground' still has troops. (another good read IMHO)

I don't want to get into an argument with you about the specifics of evolutionary theory, as we won't really get anywhere and the general debate we are having is much more interesting (IMO)



I was, however, a "first-timer" to atheistalliance.org found some interesting tid-bits.

So was I actually, but it does seem quite interesting.



Honestly never met an actual atheist, several agnostics who called themselves atheist

I'm guessing you live in the US? Come to the Godless UK, it's full of them (though if pushed I bet most people would say "agnostic" when asked.) I, however, am atheist and proud!



Be interesting if any "science" is used to back up that belief.

Do you meant atheism? In which case it it isn't a belief, it's a lack of one. There is no science to back it up, as it is a philosophical position (much like IDT
)

Another good post BTW, enjoying the debate.



[edit on 2/9/05 by FatherLukeDuke]



posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 07:20 PM
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On the surface it makes no assumptions, however I'm sure most of the people involved in propogating it believe it was the Christian God.


Well on the surface you're correct, however, most Christian (creationist) scientists propogate Big Bang Theory and believe it was GOD, doesn't reduce Big Bang Theory to pseudoscience tho. I could name countless well accepted scientific theories and show how they are also evidence for Creation(Genesis account) or Intelligent Design Theory(secular or otherwise)...especially in Cosmology. The science behind the theory is sound. The problem, if any, is my hypothesis that GOD "started" the big bang or that He is the designer.



For example: I could make the hypothesis that a Designer created the entire planet 2 weeks ago along with all the historical record and all our memories. Can you make any attempt to disprove this? No, it is impossible. The thing is, just like IDT, I could be right. However it is not science, it is a purely philosophical position.


Well a purely philosophical position based on absolutley no evidence, a very big difference. To give you a better idea of what i mean by existing theory fitting into IDT or Creationism take a look at this link concerning the evidence for Intelligent Design(special creation if you like). I would be curious what an atheist has to say about such things as biological complexity, Pasteur's Law of Biogenesis, probability of naturallistic origins etc...here's a quote from that link.

"The cell has been likened to a power plant, a furnace, a chemical laboratory. In its reproductive functions it has been described as a factory complete with a manager's office, files of blueprints and plans, intercommunication system, assembly line with foremen and workers...None of these fanciful analogies does justice to the living cell." [Miller, pg. 162]
B. Who ever heard of a factory or city that did not have a designer? "For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything." [Hebrews 3:4].
C. We study the "laws of physics," the "laws of genetics"; we're all aware of the "law of gravity" (painfully at times). Is there no Lawgiver? "This is what the LORD says: `If I have not established my covenant with day and night AND THE FIXED LAWS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH..." [Jeremiah 33:25] [emphasis added].


I've said this around here before, but i think the evidence for design is abundant it's the interpretation(s) that is lacking. If attributing design to nature is unscientific than imho so is attributing naturallistic random(no purpose/non-sentient) aimless processes. I don't see how you can look at something as complex as the DNA code or simple as a flower and not see design...who wrote that code? Or did it just evolve for unknown reasons as well?


All they are doing is collectiving negative evidence against current mainstream theories in biology/evolution. They are not collecting any positive evidence to show that a designer created bacterial flagellum, or anything else for that matter.


They are showing that you cannot get something so complex as a single human cell without forethought, intention or planning. There is no natural mechanism that can make intelligent decisions. How does randomness "create", where does natural selection come from how does that evolve. Not only did 'mud' become alive but it decided(before it had the ability) the best way to do that. I do see your point however, any discussion about the science of either IDT or Creationism invariably becomes a philosophical debate. Perhaps they are inseparable. I do believe the evidence for design is overwhelming and blatantly obvious, however if it's truly unscientific(untestable) then it's too circular to ever come to an agreement on. My strawman -vs- yours undoubtably will end in a draw...with both sides claiming victory of course



This is where the logical fallacy comes in: just because you find find flaws with the current theory of how bacterial flagellum (or whatever) came to exist (Hypothesis A) how does this automatically prove that a Designer created the flagellum (Hypothesis B)? It doesn't. There could be a million other hypothesis out there. For IDT to be accepted it must collect some positive evidence, so far it hasn't.


I agree with all you said here except maybe for, " must collect some positive evidence, so far it hasn't." If you haven't already please read through the links i provided at the end of my original post.



Quote:
In the paper, Behe makes no references to God, and there is no evidence that Behe even mentions intelligent design as an actual cause.
www.ideacenter.org...

I really don't see how this is a paper supporting IDT at all. Mainstream scientists publish papers all the time attacking particular theories, even pulling them to pieces. Does this then make them IDT proponents? Of course not. Again it is just negative evidence.


It's not a paper in support of IDT specifically anymore than Big Bang Theory is....but i believe Behe would argue it was further proof of the need for a designer. The title " 'Obstacles to gene duplication as an explanation for complex biochemical systems" screams intelligent design and would have, if accepted, been used by its author as such i'm sure. Given it was rejected on a purely philosopical basis shows this also IMO.



The IDT movement has plenty of resources - why don't they start their own journal? The problem is that is would just be full of papers (well if they could fill it) attacking particular elements of mainstream biology and evolution. This ultimately, like IDT, would be a dead end.


There are peer-reviewed Creationist journals, the operative word being "peer" i guess. And check out this link relative to the subject of scientific integrity in Creationism. Maintaining Creationist Integrity(A response to Kent Hovind)



Well is seems more than a "necessary evil", it is the entire basis for IDT.

If IDT won't go into finding out about the Designer or how and when life was designed where does it go? If it wants to be a science then it must start answering these questions (or any questions).


I don't think i'd agree with your statement that, "....entire basis for IDT" is entirely accurate. But i do agree that it's a major and significant aspect. If it(life) can "become" naturally with no direction or purpose than IDT is unecessary, so naturallistic origins need to be dealt with specifically. Many aspects of Evolution Theory are unfounded hypothesis, sometimes directly contradicted by known evidence and laws, it's good science IMO to sort these things out.




I don't want to get into an argument with you about the specifics of evolutionary theory, as we won't really get anywhere and the general debate we are having is much more interesting (IMO)


Ok and agreed



I'm guessing you live in the US? Come to the Godless UK, it's full of them (though if pushed I bet most people would say "agnostic" when asked.)


Yeah i live in Orlando, Florida. Would have to agree with the latter part of your statement as it has been my experience as well.(Was in the same place the majority of my life).


I, however, am atheist and proud!


So your proud of nothing, specifically speaking of course.
Must say of all the beliefs and faiths it's the one i most have trouble relating to or even understanding.


you meant atheism? In which case it it isn't a belief, it's a lack of one. There is no science to back it up, as it is a philosophical position (much like IDT)


If your saying that science is neutral in such things than i can understand and respect your position. Certainly something to consider and i will.


Another good post BTW, enjoying the debate.


Thanks i'm enjoying this as well. Who could of thought two polar opposites(philosophically at-least) having a civil discussion on such a "wedge" issue(no pun intented) without resorting to personal insults and attacks.

Ignorance Denied....*check*



posted on Sep, 3 2005 @ 11:02 AM
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Well on the surface you're correct, however, most Christian (creationist) scientists propogate Big Bang Theory and believe it was GOD, doesn't reduce Big Bang Theory to pseudoscience tho. I could name countless well accepted scientific theories and show how they are also evidence for Creation(Genesis account) or Intelligent Design Theory(secular or otherwise)...especially in Cosmology. The science behind the theory is sound. The problem, if any, is my hypothesis that GOD "started" the big bang or that He is the designer.

I don't really want to get into cosmology, as it doesn't really have anything to do with IDT or evolution. However I do personally think Big Bang theory is so full of holes as to be almost laughable (dark matter, hmmm). A designer/diety could well have created the unviverse, altough that doesn't really answer anything. As my next question would be "so what or who created the diety?"



Well a purely philosophical position based on absolutley no evidence, a very big difference. To give you a better idea of what i mean by existing theory fitting into IDT or Creationism take a look at this link concerning the evidence for Intelligent Design(special creation if you like).

You've put some very good links up before, but this is definitely not one of them. You say that IDT makes no assumptions about who the designer is, yet this site is riddled with Biblical references and is quite cleary assuming a Christian god is the designer. It also appears to be an attack on atheism as a philosophy, yet according to your own argument atheists could quite happily be believers in IDT - as they could just assume that the designer was an ET. Belief in Christianity should be neither here nor there in a scientific debate.



I would be curious what an atheist has to say about such things as biological complexity, Pasteur's Law of Biogenesis, probability of naturallistic origins etc...here's a quote from that link.

Well one man choose to call it a law, but this doesn't actually make it one. That was simply the convention of scientists at the time (usually because they were involved in disputes with religious people and wanted their theories to sound suitably anarguable). Unlike religious laws, scientific ones can simply be abandoned should the evidence go against them. Pasteur was a brilliant scientist but he was not a prophet preaching the word of god. Aside from anything else I'm a happy, for the purposes of this argument, say that a diety sparked of life on this planet. I'm interested in what happened the the billions of years that followed.



I don't see how you can look at something as complex as the DNA code or simple as a flower and not see design...who wrote that code?

Nobody wrote the code, it was the Blind Watchmaker (Richard Dawkins). I really can't sum up a long a subtle argument in a few paragraphs, it just wouldn't do it justice (the limitations of these boards). However please give it a go, it will answer a lot of questions. Even if you don't go for it, it is still a fascinating read. If you read this I promise I will read the Behe book, and we can compare notes. How's that for a deal?



They are showing that you cannot get something so complex as a single human cell without forethought, intention or planning.

Whoah up there. Where did you get "forethought, intention or planning" from? Even if there was a designer it might just have sneezed life from it's nostrils onto the planet and walked away.



There is no natural mechanism that can make intelligent decisions.

I'd like to see what evolutionary scientist says there is.




This is where the logical fallacy comes in: just because you find find flaws with the current theory of how bacterial flagellum (or whatever) came to exist (Hypothesis A) how does this automatically prove that a Designer created the flagellum (Hypothesis B)? It doesn't. There could be a million other hypothesis out there. For IDT to be accepted it must collect some positive evidence, so far it hasn't.


I agree with all you said here except maybe for, " must collect some positive evidence, so far it hasn't." If you haven't already please read through the links i provided at the end of my original post.

I don't believe you have addressed my logical fallacy argument. Just because Behe et al have punched some holes in current theory of the evolution of life does not mean that their position (ID) is proven. Looking through all of the links you have provided I still fail to see one single piece of positive evidence for a designer. If you could lay them out for me I would be most grateful.



It's not a paper in support of IDT specifically anymore than Big Bang Theory is....but i believe Behe would argue it was further proof of the need for a designer.

The "need" for a designer? An interesting choice of word.



The title " 'Obstacles to gene duplication as an explanation for complex biochemical systems" screams intelligent design and would have, if accepted, been used by its author as such i'm sure. Given it was rejected on a purely philosopical basis shows this also IMO.

And why does it "scream" that at you? Have you already made an assumption that IDT is the only other theory? If it had been written by a mainstream biologist would it still have said this to you?



And check out this link relative to the subject of scientific integrity in Creationism. Maintaining Creationist Integrity(A response to Kent Hovind)

Well it's more about integrity full stop then. Kent Hovind (crazy name, crazy guy) is an offence to anyone of any intelligence, whatever your philosophy. He's also an outright lier. I suspect these guys are embarrased by him, as he does IDT no favours, and are rightly rubbishing him.

I'm never said that people like yourself and Behe don't have integrity, that's simply not my argument. I just think you are incorrect.




I don't want to get into an argument with you about the specifics of evolutionary theory, as we won't really get anywhere and the general debate we are having is much more interesting (IMO)


Ok and agreed


Cool.




I, however, am atheist and proud!


So your proud of nothing, specifically speaking of course.
Must say of all the beliefs and faiths it's the one i most have trouble relating to or even understanding.

It's strange how you call it a belief or faith? Surely it is simply a lack of belief in god (by definition, surely) There are plenty of other things I believe in.

I have never believed in a god at any point in my life, and have never been Christened (my parents said I could make up my own mind when I was old enough). Athiesm is quite normal in the UK.



If your saying that science is neutral in such things than i can understand and respect your position. Certainly something to consider and i will.

Science will never be able to prove the existance, or otherwise, of a diety.



Thanks i'm enjoying this as well. Who could of thought two polar opposites(philosophically at-least) having a civil discussion on such a "wedge" issue(no pun intented) without resorting to personal insults and attacks.

Cheers, as we say in the UK.

You are a very worthy adversery!



posted on Sep, 3 2005 @ 01:49 PM
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I don't really want to get into cosmology, as it doesn't really have anything to do with IDT or evolution.

Well actually IDT is not exclusively related to Biology. Look at the link(s) at the end of my first post(small scale evidence of grand scale design & evidence...through anthropic principals) mostly pertaining to cosmology and some physics as well. The biological evidences garner more attention due to some contradictions with Evolution Theory, controvercy sells i guess.


As my next question would be "so what or who created the diety?"


Detecting design is science, detecting designer is philosophical. So my answer is no one/thing created GOD, he was, is, and forever will be. It's Biblically based Christian philosophy....NOT IDT. IDT is a tool for Creationists not vice-versa.


You say that IDT makes no assumptions about who the designer is, yet this site is riddled with Biblical references and is quite cleary assuming a Christian god is the designer. It also appears to be an attack on atheism as a philosophy, yet according to your own argument atheists could quite happily be believers in IDT


That site is a Christian creationist one, but they do use IDT in their own creation(ist) models. I did mention along with the link, "evidence for Intelligent Design(special creation if you like). I imagine that most Christians would "attack" Atheism as a philosophy and vice-versa i'm sure as well. And i doubt many if any atheists would agree with IDT, Certainly they could attribute the design to some superior race or some such thing, but i think the argument that it logically implies GOD or some such supernatural deity is fair. I would argue tho that it's not intentionally so and is not addressed by IDT, therefore should not be used to "debunk" it. They (opponents) would rather argue over the semantics and possible philosophical implications and not the merits of the scientific research and theories, which believe it or not are more numerous than most people think(i gave some examples in your Guardian article thread)



say that a diety sparked of life on this planet. I'm interested in what happened the the billions of years that followed.


Ok cool, i say evolution happened. But not from one(type) of cell into all plant and animal life, but from different "kinds" and there is science behind that statement and of course a 'dash' of Creationism...ok ok maybe a smidgen.
And that's the Creation-Evolution debate in a nutshell.


Nobody wrote the code, it was the Blind Watchmaker (Richard Dawkins). I really can't sum up a long a subtle argument in a few paragraphs


I am familiar with the short version of the "Blind Watchmaker" argument, an old argument actually, but have not read Dawkins' book. Here's a nice rebuttal here if your interested and a quote from page:

Biochemist Michael Behe answers that the blind watchmaker thesis is a relic of a nineteenth century science which lacked the understanding of biological mechanisms that recent advances in molecular biology have provided. The biologists who established the still-dominant Darwinian orthodoxy thought of the cell as an undifferentiated blob of "protoplasm."



If you read this I promise I will read the Behe book, and we can compare notes. How's that for a deal?


I agree and an excellent idea. I may be slow however as my work life just got very busy and on top of that my oldest son(5) has just started t-ball(little league baseball) and i'm the coach, but i'm an avid reader and will most certainly be taking notes. Should make for an interesting thread.


Whoah up there. Where did you get "forethought, intention or planning" from? Even if there was a designer it might just have sneezed life from it's nostrils onto the planet and walked away.


Ok...you've lost me on this one. I can't follow your logic here.


Looking through all of the links you have provided I still fail to see one single piece of positive evidence for a designer. If you could lay them out for me I would be most grateful.

I actually have been meaning to put something like that together honestly, but i'd like to take some time to do it properly, time i don't have right now, this weekend especially. But please to read through the Hugh Ross and anthropic principal links again(i know i already said this but i'm not sure what it is your not seeing). But and 'x,y,z' type layout of the evidence is a good idea and definately in order. Man i had less homework in highschool



And why does it "scream" that at you? Have you already made an assumption that IDT is the only other theory? If it had been written by a mainstream biologist would it still have said this to you?


I have already made the assumption that GOD is the designer, whether or not IDT is valid or not is another question and unrelated, IMO, to a scientific discussion. As you have stated already also. That title seems to me as a statement that natural mechanisms can not account for complex biochemical systems, which is the IDT position. And as i said the reviewer(s) seemed to get the same impression. My problem was that they rejected the paper on philosophical grounds and not by disputing the science, they knew where they(IDTists) would "go" with the paper so i guess they thought they would head it off at the pass, nip it in the bud if you like. Shady practice if you ask me, stop them from being published without debating thte science in order to make them lose credibility with mainstream science. If written by a "mainstream" Biologist it would have probably never been brought to my attention as a layman. And Behe is a respected and very talented Biologist, his biology is seldom if ever refuted, all semantics all the time...so far as i see anyhow.


It's strange how you call it a belief or faith? Surely it is simply a lack of belief in god (by definition, surely) There are plenty of other things I believe in.


Your probably correct faith is inaccurate, but it is a belief is it not. You believe that their is no GOD, perhaps you have faith in that i'm not sure. What would you prefer i refer to your atheism as..faith, belief ,philosophy or "other"? Just curious and so i know the next time a reference is necessary.


Cheers, as we say in the UK.

You are a very worthy adversery!


Cheers, and i'd like to think we are allies in the journey towards enlightenment and the Truth. We Christians like to think we're the "cup is half full" type. But i guess that does leave the cup half empty for your "nothingness"


Again thanks for great debate/discussion, and i will go on Amazon tonight and 'pick up' that book you recommended.



posted on Sep, 14 2005 @ 11:06 PM
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Evidence provided for or against something does not assume positive or negative proof. In this manner, evidence provided against IDT is not intended to "falsify" the intentionally vague postulations put forth by IDT supporters, it is merely provided to discount the credibility of IDT claims.

I can produce a ton of alibis and other evidence of my innocence, but that does not automatically close the murder case that I have been indicted in. This is an example of "evidence against" being unequal to "falsification." To absolutely falsify the prosecution's theory of my guilt, I would have to either be exonorated by DNA evidence or another person's true confession, or I'd have to prove that the victim isn't dead.

Theories by nature cannot be proven, but they can be supported by massive amounts of evidence. Though scientific theories cannot be proven correct, they can be proven false. You are basically asking, "how can I show macro evolutionary theory to be false?" The answer has nothing to do with putting a creature in a box and observing its changes over time.

There are numerous ways that macro evolutionary theory can be geniuinely falsified by Karl Popper-inspired falsification criteria. These potential falsifications are primarily examples of observations that are NOT expected to be seen if the theory is correct. How does this differ from IDT "falsification"? Well, put simply, to name an example of an observation that would be unexpected had God actually designed whatever is being observed is ludicrous because the defense to such an observation is invariably unrevealing in nature.

To falsify a scientific theory, something is gained, something is learned. When spontaneous generation was falsified, we learned about the true origins and natures of the pests in question. Basically, the theory was replaced with a better one, formed with the new knowledge that we had gleaned from the falsification of the old one. In much the same manner, the theories of the origins and progressions of life and the universe exist as replacements for older theories that have either cannot be falsified (theism) or have already been falsified.

Here are some quotes from Dr. Popper that I enjoy.



A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.

Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability: some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation, than others; they take, as it were, greater risks.


Zip

[edit on 9/14/2005 by Zipdot]



posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 11:06 AM
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Originally posted by Rren
I presented a series of specific experimental studies showing that Michael Behe is incorrect in his assertion that Darwinian evolution cannot "account for the molecular structure of life."

Hmm. Thats actually an intersting point.

usually put forth by the same people who say it's not a testable/falsifiable theory. Which is it?

I would have to say that the difference might result from saying on the one hand 'we can detect an intelligent designer', which is untestable and unscientific, and then also saying 'darwinian evolution can not account for these structures', which is testable.

I'm thinking that perhaps the second statement is really nothing more than a test of darwinian evolution though, and not Theory of intelligent design. "Evolution does not work" is perhaps not a proper forumlation to a theory, whereas 'evolution does work' is, and then the 'not work' statement can be demonstrated by falsifying evolutionary theory.

Seems a little like a 'flip side of the coin' type issue tho.


Imho IDT is not bunk simply because GOD is not scientifically testable.

The critical issue is whether intelligent design can be detected. Ultimately this must come from a supernatural source, since something un-intelligently designed would've had to design the 'first' intelligent designer. By this I mean, we can say that the intelligent designer doesn't have to be god, it could be aliens, but eventually you have to ask, who designed the aliens.


Is it possible to test? Is it falsifiable?

Evolutionists would theorize that the structure can be produced via evolution, and would test this by trying to show that simpler probable sub-components/stages are evolutionarily beneficial. They'd also test by examining the distribution of the structure in many organisms, and applying a phylogenetic analysis to it and testing to see if the results conform to the expectations of evolutionary theory.

It could always be claimed that the selective pressure wasn’t the right one, or that we started with the wrong bacterial species, and so

And these claims are rather reasonable.

If a person accepts Darwinian paths which are not only unseen, but which we may be forever unable to envisage, then it is effectively impossible to make him think he is wrong.

All this means is that we have problems with specific organelles, in terms of demonstrating that they can't happen via natural selection. Behe's arguement is that because we often don't know, that it may as well be god doing it. Thats simply an unacceptable answer for a scientific investigation. If the structures are infact designed by god and immpossible for something like nature and natural selection to create, there is simply no scientific way to determine this, we can only ever say 'we don't know', we can't go from 'we don't know' to 'godidit'.

i would like to know why some are science(Macro-Evolution) and others(IDT) are not

Macroevolution is testable tho. Macroevolution concerns the evolution of species, and this is testable. As far as the evolution of specific organs and structures, we have to take them case by case I'd say.

...IOW i'm not trying to pick a fight here

Thats just not fair.



zipdot
These potential falsifications are primarily examples of observations that are NOT expected to be seen if the theory is correct. How does this differ from IDT "falsification"? Well, put simply, to name an example of an observation that would be unexpected had God actually designed whatever is being observed is ludicrous because the defense to such an observation is invariably unrevealing in nature.

The problem is, however, what would falsify in a similar manner the statement 'this particular structure arose via natural selection'.

Consider giraffes with their long necks. The prevailing theory was that the evolved long necks as a result of selection pressure put upon their populations as a result of the loss of low lying browsing vegetation. So long necked individuals were supposed to have a selective advantage over others, by virtue of beign able to browse higher vegetation. How is this testable? Its certainly sensible, but how testable is it? Interestingly, in this case, the hypothesis was testable, and it was found to be wrong, rather giraffes developed longer necks as a result of selection pressure for them because of male-male competition; they fight with other males by smashing their necks and horned heads at one another. The expectation of the orignal hypothesis was that giraffes feed on the higher branches at critical times, however it was found that they don't, so the expectations didn't occur. This doesn't precisely mean that the hypothesis is rejected of course, but rather that that other hypothesis (male-male competition) is gaining support, and apparently it also stands unfalsified, so for those reasons it tends to be favoured.
The male-male competition theory itself made predictions, such as


cite
males should use only their necks and heads for intrasexual combat, male giraffes should exhibit more distinct morphological adaptations than females, males with larger necks and heads should dominate over others, and fossil records should point to disproportionate lengthening of the neck .

Apparently the studies conducted have found these expectations to be met.

So to refer back to the other examples, its not simply a matter of talking about how evolution phyiscally 'builds' complex things, like we'd tend to think of it with a biochemical.



posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 03:28 PM
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originally posted by Nygdan
The critical issue is whether intelligent design can be detected. Ultimately this must come from a supernatural source, since something un-intelligently designed would've had to design the 'first' intelligent designer. By this I mean, we can say that the intelligent designer doesn't have to be god, it could be aliens, but eventually you have to ask, who designed the aliens.


I do understand what your saying here. Perhaps it's my lack of knowledge about Biology or even science in general, but it seems to me your arguing aginst the possible implications of what IDT proposes(indirectly) and not dealing with detecting and/or testing for intelligent design.

Say, hypothetically, that a couple thousand years from know scientists have the ability to design life(from the 'ground up'). We 'write' the DNA, we use our intimate knowledge of natural selection to design the algorithms that allow the organism to adapt and evolve to its environment, eventually developing a brain capable of problem solving. We launch 'em off to some "Earth-like" planet(that they were specifically designed to inhabit) and they grow and evolve just as we had designed them to. Would those 'new people' be able to detect the fact that they were designed by an intelligent agent or would it be an un-scientific/testable theory because they have no way of knowing who designed us? If you can't falsify evolution by pointing out the flaws in abiogenesis theory, how can you falsify IDT by pointing out flaws in designer detection? Hope that made sense, but that's where i'm stuck at.


"Evolution does not work" is perhaps not a proper forumlation to a theory, whereas 'evolution does work' is, and then the 'not work' statement can be demonstrated by falsifying evolutionary theory.


So you would agree that falsifying evolutionary theory is a scientific endeavor(IOW not pseudo-science)? So shouldn't papers by ID theorists that do just that but make no mention of IDT be published and respected as real science at the very least? And as far as "positve evidence" for IDT what exactly would be acceptable?

For example why isn't the Anthropic Principal, which is based on observational data and known laws of Physics, considered legitimate postive evidence?

The evidence, imho, for a finely tuned/designed universe(and everything contained there-in) is overwhelming. Here's the last paragraph from the link i gave above.

However, the twenty planetary characteristics listed above would be fulfilled in much fewer than a trillionth of a trillionth of a percent of all stars. Considering that the universe only has about a trillion galaxies each of which averages one hundred billion stars, statistics argue that not even one planet would be expected by natural processes alone to harbor life. Many astronomers such as Robert Rood and James Trefil, among others, are now deciding that given the above statistical probability, it is unlikely that life, especially intelligent life, exists anywhere else in the universe.
(emphasis mine)

Here's some interesting quote's:

“The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired” Stephen Hawking A Brief History of Time

".... A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature." Sir Fred Hoyle Astrophysics Journal Supplement, Vol. I

“If we believe in only one Universe then the remarkable uniform arrangement of cosmic matter, and the consequent coolness of space, are almost miraculous, a conclusion which strongly resembles the traditional religious concept of a world which was purpose-built by God for subsequent habitation by mankind” Dr. Paul Davies Other Worlds

Just a few examples, seems to me that the Anthropic Priciple is a rational scientific argument for design, and positive emperically based evidence, is it not? I do realize that the men i quoted are believers in evolutionary theory and probably agree more with the Weak Anthropic Principal and not the strong(which is what i'm talking about) basically the difference so sar as i can tell, is that the "weak" says, we're here because we can be and the "strong" says, we're here because we're supposed(designed) to be. I however disagree with their(weak) conclusions even tho they are "light-years" smarter than i can ever hope to be. Here's a 'wiki' page on the Anthropic Principal and the differences between strong, weak, and final versions.

But luckily the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is gonna resolve this by Friday(tommorrow) which is great 'cause i was wanting to get into the Ancient and Lost Civilizations forum. They had me worried on Monday tho, thought they were going to lump us all in with the "young-Earther's" and that ridiculous lady who couldn't stop from laughing at the thought of evolutionists and gays catching a "whoopin' " from GOD on judgement day. GOD i really do hate people sometimes, please forgive me. Would of liked to hear more from Dembski last night too, but if you trying to produce a comedy show and/or discredit IDT, clips of a "Hovind Sermon/Lecture" will do the job.
But please folks remember IDT is not creationism old or young-Earth, IDT doesn't dispute(neccessarily) common ancestory, only naturallistic non-purposefull origins. It's not Christian even though it's often touted by us.

Dang just remebered the Daily Show doesn't run a new Friday episode so tonight's the night, think i should prepare my concessin speech for tommorrow eh? J/K guys, i'm a fan of the show and like to think i can take a joke, but just don't fall into the trap of lumping IDT with (young-earth) creationism. I know it makes the "de-bunking" ALOT easier but it's unfair..... imho anyways.



posted on Oct, 14 2005 @ 10:32 AM
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Actually, I *can* think of a test for IDT: Explain what tests they would use to determine if the universe/world was created by Rama (of the Hindu divinities.) Or Coyote (of the AmerInd myths.)

When we do science, we test conclusions by saying "this data would be true if this hypothesis is accurate" and "this other data will show up if this other idea is correct." Science shows why this idea is more right than any other idea.

So I can test whether visitors at a museum prefer one type of label over another one by measuring interaction at an exhibit and changing the labels and remeasuring the interactions. If ID is relgion, the only way they can answer this is by dueling religious texts -- they can't run experiments or gather data to determine the truth. If it's science, then they can come up with a set of parameters that everyone (including the devout Hindus) would exist if the universe was created by Rama and how different it would be if the creator is Jehovah.



posted on Oct, 14 2005 @ 11:14 AM
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Originally posted by Byrd
Actually, I *can* think of a test for IDT: Explain what tests they would use to determine if the universe/world was created by Rama (of the Hindu divinities.) Or Coyote (of the AmerInd myths.)


That's my point Byrd, IDT (in it's strictest sense) makes no assumptions about the designer, Rama or otherwise. Creationists (yes i am one) try to prove or show evidence for who the designer is and how he did it via the Genesis account (for me) but that's not IDT. Like i said above IDT is a tool for creationists not vice-versa. If your saying that there's no way for science to determine design (definitively) in natural systems, i can understand that, but it seems to me that the argument is with what IDT (indirectly) implies...ie there is a GOD. Maybe i'm confused (certainly a possibility) but it seems the opponents are dodging the real question: is design detectable?...not is the designer detectable.


When we do science, we test conclusions by saying "this data would be true if this hypothesis is accurate" and "this other data will show up if this other idea is correct." Science shows why this idea is more right than any other idea.


Ok that makes sense to me. Why do you feel that IDT doesn't follow this criteria?


If ID is relgion, the only way they can answer this is by dueling religious texts


If being the operative word here, it's my opinion that it's not religion. IDT uses no religous texts as a base to their claims, again that's creationism.


-- they can't run experiments or gather data to determine the truth.


I showed, in my first post, tests for both sides of the argument. Why do you see them as insufficient. I do realize in a debate on science between me and you, i'm 'out-gunned' (by several orders of magnitude). So i do appreciate the input, especially considering most of you guys, who contributed here, probably tired of this debate long, long ago.




If it's science, then they can come up with a set of parameters that everyone (including the devout Hindus) would exist if the universe was created by Rama and how different it would be if the creator is Jehovah.


Again i think your lumping, unfairly, IDT with creationism. Let's say tommorrow they come out and say, yup these IDTer's were right we can indeed detect the design can't believe we were so foolish [/wishfull thinking]

Everyone from Christians to Raelins, and everyone inbetween would still be able to say we're right, would they not? We Christians would say this is why GOD is the designer, for Raelins it would be aliens, the Hindu's would say Rama so on and so forth. IDT doesn't include or exclude any of these creationist ideas. I'm getting to the point where i don't want to discuss this anymore, i'm more confused (most of the time) than when i started. I really want to get off this fence, my butt is killing me.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 12:37 AM
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Originally posted by RrenThat's my point Byrd, IDT (in it's strictest sense) makes no assumptions about the designer, Rama or otherwise. Creationists (yes i am one) try to prove or show evidence for who the designer is and how he did it via the Genesis account (for me) but that's not IDT.


No, it should be more testable than that.

For instance, we have ways of testing the Big Bang, the Cyclical Universe and the Steay State universe to see which is a better fit. If IDT is a science, it should be able to forumlate an exact way to tell the difference between several different "intelligences" designing the universe (say, a supernatural source and Giant Aliens From Beyond The Universe.)

So, we scientists can put forth our best theory. Furthermore, if we find data to correct some of our earlier findings, we change the model to match the facts.

How does IDT propose to test WHICH entity was the designer (the Gnostics, for example, suggest that it was Satan)? If they find that the Satan theory is correct, how will they modify their books and findings?

(an example... Science adopted plate tectonics in place of the steady state globe when data was found that proved the stable crust to be incorrect.



When we do science, we test conclusions by saying "this data would be true if this hypothesis is accurate" and "this other data will show up if this other idea is correct." Science shows why this idea is more right than any other idea.


Ok that makes sense to me. Why do you feel that IDT doesn't follow this criteria?


Actually I was asking how IDT could do that. See above. I haven't seen any proposed mechanisms to correct errors or evaluate scenarios.

Error correction and scenario evaluation is the mark of a science.




If ID is relgion, the only way they can answer this is by dueling religious texts


If being the operative word here, it's my opinion that it's not religion. IDT uses no religous texts as a base to their claims, again that's creationism.


A non-science belief does not necessarily use a religious text. But again, returning to the point -- if ID is a science then it will have all the tools of a science:
* make predictions about new scenarios
* have ways to determine which of several scenarios are correct
* have mechanisms to correct the theory and solidify its principles as informatin to the contrary is found.



I showed, in my first post, tests for both sides of the argument. Why do you see them as insufficient. I do realize in a debate on science between me and you, i'm 'out-gunned' (by several orders of magnitude). So i do appreciate the input, especially considering most of you guys, who contributed here, probably tired of this debate long, long ago.


Heh. Don't sell yourself short -- you're interested and you're debating and thinking about the points. All the education in the world is useless if you don't have the tools for critical thinking.

I decided to not evaluate the original arguments, but to propose something that occurred to me -- that ID could be proven to be a science if it creates theories and models based on logical principles.

Now, to be fair, I have never seen any such mechanism in place in ID. However, I'm not a fan of ID. So it seemed we might have a good conversation and investigate this line of thinking.


IDT doesn't include or exclude any of these [various religions mentioned] creationist ideas

These are all ideas about the intelligent designer. Most will be wrong... some will be wrong in small part and others completely wrong.

If ID is a science, then there should be a way of determining something about the designer... just as we can determine something about the nature of the Big Bang. In addition, we know that if certain things are true of the Big Bang theory then we can give some expectations about what else would be true (if the universe forever expands, then redshift values will be of certain values even for newly discovered stars.)

So... DOES it have a method of determining anything about the Source Designer and whether the Raelians are more correct than the Christians?



posted on Oct, 16 2005 @ 06:41 PM
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Hey I'm back!

Let me just say that this a great thread, excellent stuff from everyone and a great philosophical debate.

It's a bit late at night for me to get into another long post, but I would like to add something:

That is why IDT is ultimately a dead end that will die off, whereas science and Creationism will continue indefinitely. If IDT is the science it claims then it will have to investigate it's claims thoroughly and keep pushing back the bounderies, just like all other branches of science do. It can't just stay where it is, as science is about asking questions as well as answering them. If the proponents of it believe they have proved that a designer played a part in evolution then they will have to then start asking (and attempting to answer) questions such as these:

1 Which bits of evolution did the designer play a part in?
2 By what process did the designer influence the evolution of life?
3 Where did the designer come from?
4 Who or what is the designer?
5 Is the designer still around?

etc

The problem is that these questions are blasphemous in the extreme to Christians, and should never be asked. If IDT does start asking these questions then the Christian community will drop it faster than you can imagine, and revert back to traditional creationism.

IDT isn't a science or a religion (although it is a valid philosophical position), and will ultimately please neither group.



posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 08:55 AM
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Your comments were along the lines of something I was thinking about yesterday:


Originally posted by FatherLukeDuke
1 Which bits of evolution did the designer play a part in?
2 By what process did the designer influence the evolution of life?
3 Where did the designer come from?
4 Who or what is the designer?
5 Is the designer still around?


Along those lines:
6. Does the designer 'design' every new species?
7. If the designer isn't designing every new species, did the designer die?
8. How does ID account for harmful mutations (a good example: the gene that causes tortoiseshell coats in cats is almost always fatal if the fetus is male. There are only a very few male calico/tortoiseshell cats that live to adulthood.)
9. does human action interfere with ID? (in other words, we're breeding pandas in zoos. Does our action circumvent the ID in the wild? If there's a marked population decline but the animals still exist in the wild (ivory billed woodpecker), is ID still controlling the population?
10. How does ID account for some (but not all) people developing allergies after repeated exposures to substances (example: I'm allergic to pennicillin, but this happened after I turned 28. Before then I could take the stuff. How does ID explain this mechanism... if humans were designed to become allergic to pennicillin after 100 doses or so over a lifetime, why aren't most people my age allergic to pennicillin?



posted on Oct, 27 2005 @ 03:26 PM
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Byrd

No, it should be more testable than that.

For instance, we have ways of testing the Big Bang, the Cyclical Universe and the Steay State universe to see which is a better fit. If IDT is a science, it should be able to forumlate an exact way to tell the difference between several different "intelligences" designing the universe (say, a supernatural source and Giant Aliens From Beyond The Universe.)


That's what i don't get about the debate. It seems to me that what the opponents are saying is; in order for IDT to be scientific it has to answer philosophical questions. Why can't we say, scientifically, that we live in a finely-tuned designed universe without commenting on who may have designed it? If your saying that design is undetectable, or atleast we have no way of distinquishing between appearance of design and actual design than i can understand that. But i've rarely heard that argument from opponents. The question is, can we detect design?. Why does random or non-purposefull origins have to be the default position of science? Why can't we say (scientifically) we were designed without saying who designed us?


How does IDT propose to test WHICH entity was the designer (the Gnostics, for example, suggest that it was Satan)? If they find that the Satan theory is correct, how will they modify their books and findings?


Again they are seperate issues. Evolution models do not have to change in accordance with abiogenesis theories, correct? The fact that life is designed is seperate from who designed us, is it not?


that ID could be proven to be a science if it creates theories and models based on logical principles.

Now, to be fair, I have never seen any such mechanism in place in ID. However, I'm not a fan of ID. So it seemed we might have a good conversation and investigate this line of thinking.


An old one ('01) but i think Dembski does a good job laying out the case for ID being scientific. Is Intelligent Design Testable?

Here's a published IDT paper i'd like you to take a look at. “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories” Dr. Stephen C. Meyer Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington (volume 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239).


Conclussion

An experience-based analysis of the causal powers of various explanatory hypotheses suggests purposive or intelligent design as a causally adequate--and perhaps the most causally adequate--explanation for the origin of the complex specified information required to build the Cambrian animals and the novel forms they represent. For this reason, recent scientific interest in the design hypothesis is unlikely to abate as biologists continue to wrestle with the problem of the origination of biological form and the higher taxa.


We got into this specific paper a little bit over in fatherlukeduke's thread- Intelligent Design: utterly demolished.

What do you think about this Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe. What exactly in there observations, measurements and conclussions is unscientific?


Ok i posted this link in another thread, i'd really like to hear your opinion on it. ID and Common Ancestry. It doesn't neccessarily back-up my position but i think it deals with some critical issues fairly. I really like this quote as to what IDT really is and is not.


First of all, what has come to be called 'design theory' is at best a means for mathematically describing, empirically detecting, and then quantifying teleology (goal-directedness) in nature, without prejudging where or whether it will be found.

...snip...

Beyond this, adjudicating among these various metaphysical interpretations is a task that falls to philosophers and theologians and forms no part of any contribution to science that design theory might make.


I'm not trying to be combative here but i do think that IDT is a valid scientific pursuit. I don't think it's been (fairly) decided on one way or the other. And i would agree with you that it's incomplete. But it's my humble opinion that it's still too early to brand it pseudo-science.

Thanks to all of you for your posts, this really has been helpful even if a little frustrating from time to time. But i do believe we are getting somewhere here.



posted on Nov, 4 2005 @ 09:29 PM
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Byrd
A non-science belief does not necessarily use a religious text. But again, returning to the point -- if ID is a science then it will have all the tools of a science:
* make predictions about new scenarios
* have ways to determine which of several scenarios are correct
* have mechanisms to correct the theory and solidify its principles as informatin to the contrary is found.


With respect to the ‘tools of a science,’ I won’t argue the specifics of what constitutes science here in this thread. I think it will be more fruitful to simply address each of those points in some detail. However we should preface this discussion about what ID is and is not.

ID, like Darwinism, is not an across the board process. What I am saying is that ID isn’t an effort to replace science, it’s an extension of the scientific process without an exclusive metaphysical presupposition. The naturalistic supposition, logically, operates with the presupposition that all things can be explained via a natural process or law. While it’s not described as such, in my own mind, and in the mind’s of several prominent ID theorists, ID is in fact the lack of a metaphysical presupposition, ie: maybe everything can be explained via a naturalistic supposition, and maybe it can’t.

ID, is not a “God-of-the-gaps” theory. No ID proponent has ever stated “God did it” any more than a Darwinist has said “Nature did it.” Furthermore no ID proponent wants the scientific process to cease. IDTist’s aren’t throwing up their hands in the air and saying, “Well there’s no point in studying this; it’s irreducibly complex.” In fact, IC serves as a basis to generate hypotheses. Take the well known example of the bacterial flagellum.

Behe claims that something like 34 or 40 proteins are necessary and sufficient for the motor (sorry, but motor IS a totally appropriate analogy for this and many biological proteins) to operate; this group of proteins constitutes its Irreducible Core. A very simple test of the IC nature of this motor protein assemblage is to knock out one or two of these proteins from the ICore and see if the bacteria can ‘re-evolve’ just these one or two components of the ICore. In fact, you could tailor your experiment very specifically: You select the simplest protein components for elimination, increasing the chances of the re-evolution event. You could further test the IC core by adding back a proteins that are X% homologous to the original protein, until one day you restore function via NDT or not. And yes, I am aware of the Lac operon experiments.

You could take the opposite stance as well… similar to the ideas postulated by Spetner. Spetner (an ID theorist of sorts) doesn’t believe mutation is necessarily random (lots of evidence to support this too). Spetner might postulate that this component might re-evolve in times not practical via a NDT-like mechanism… like just a few dozen generations. Certainly not long enough for a random process as described by NDT to replace or evolve a component, much like the case of nylonase bugs. In many cases, a test for NDT is also a test for IDT. But I digress…

ID is very specifically an origins theory, at least with respect to Biology (Note all statements contained in this post are concerned with IDT as it relates to Biological Origins only). IDT, doesn’t attempt to explain the distribution of muskrat holes in an area as a function of predator and prey populations. IDT is theory about the origins of complex, information rich biological systems.

Now let’s get down to the specifics of these posts: Firstly


* make predictions about new scenarios

Being that IDT is an origins theory, it’s conceivable that it doesn’t make predictions about new scenarios. I can’t really think of any, but that doesn’t mean their aren’t any. The IDTist’s may have to concede on this point. However - and I’d like to preface this by asking people to be cognizant of the difference between a PREdiction and a RETROdiction- very specifically, what predictions does NDT offer? Given that NDT relies entirely on random processes, how can any predictions be made? It’s like to trying to predict what hand you’ll get in cards, but harder since there are an infinite number of variations. Please keep in mind that ‘related proteins and genes, alteration of allelic frequencies, recombination of pre-existing genetic information, and other similar arguments can be co-opted and assimilated into IDT in a manner similar to that of NDT. Furthermore, these types of explanations are often related to natural selection, which isn't even disputed by the creationists...

Very specifically describe this great predictive power offered by NDT? What predictions is NDT responsible for?

IDT is however capable of generating hypotheses in a fashion similar to NDT, as is discussed above.



* have ways to determine which of several scenarios are correct

How does Darwinism accomplish this? Darwin specifically made retrodictions about past events based on observation? What has NDT ever demonstrated to be correct?


* have mechanisms to correct the theory and solidify its principles as informatin to the contrary is found.

Agreed. In the experiments I described above, if a protein did ‘re-evolve’ to replace the eliminated protein, that protein can be eliminated as being part of an ICore. How can Darwinian Theory be disproven? Oh yeah… it’s right there in the Origin “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.”

Well that pretty much can’t be done. You can’t demonstrate that something couldn’t have evolved via a series of successive modifications. Does this make NDT unfalsifiable and unscientific? Please elaborate.


If ID is a science, then there should be a way of determining something about the designer... just as we can determine something about the nature of the Big Bang.


This is rubbish. IDT is under no obligation to reveal anything about the designer. What have we determined about the nature of the ‘Big Bang?’ We’ve determined that we can’t explain anything that occurred before the Planck time. We’ve made plenty of measurements and based theories around what we’ve observed, but we don’t understand the nature of the Big Bang. The time prior to Planck time is a singularity, it is not definable via current mathematics or known physical laws. The origins of the big bang are often handwaved off as a ‘quantum fluctuation.’ You might as well say ‘God did it.’ There is NO precedent for a quantum fluctuations occurring on the order of the Big Bang. At the very least there may be a historical precedent for ‘God did it,’ but there certainly is no precedent for describing the time prior to Planck time as a ‘quantum fluctuation.’

Even Dawkins concurs that inferring design in biological complexity is reasonable. What’s the precedent for all the matter in the universe being created by a quantum fluctuation... a couple of short lived particles…. Phhhhh.



In addition, we know that if certain things are true of the Big Bang theory then we can give some expectations about what else would be true (if the universe forever expands, then redshift values will be of certain values even for newly discovered stars.)

True but this says nothing about the nature of the Big Bang, and besides we’re talking about IDT and biological origins. Why did we suddenly switch to talking about the Big Bang. Could it be because the alleged predictive power of NDT is not all it’s cracked up to be?


So... DOES it have a method of determining anything about the Source Designer and whether the Raelians are more correct than the Christians?

No, but this is not relevant. If you’d take the time to consider the basic tenet of ID, stated repeatedly by Rren, you’d realize this isn’t the intention. You might as well ask ID to make predictions about muskrat holes.

Why do you continuously insist that ID must do something it isn't capable of? It's like insisting you car should be able to fly you NY since cars and planes are vehicles. Seriously, why do you insist this?

So… DOES NDT have anything concrete to say about the origin of biological complexity and life in general? Does it offer any reasonable explanation about how life came to be. NDT and abiogenesis theories have generated squat with respect to those two questions. We can talk about the milestones of NDT and abiogenesis theory with respect or origins here or somewhere else if necessary. BTW, despite what Talk Origins might say, abiogenesis is not removed from NDT, it’s an essential part of the theory of common descent and the naturalistic presupposition. NDT and abiogenesis, because of the naturalistic presupposition, are necessarily linked. Abiogenesis theory results from the marriage of NDT to the naturalistic presupposition.


FatherLukeDuke
1 Which bits of evolution did the designer play a part in?

Actually this precisely the type of question IDT attempts to answer. IDTist’s run the spectrum from people like Behe, who’s willing to consider the possibility that man descended from a common ancestor, to Johnson who insists Humans were designed in their current form. These are the fundamental aspects of origins that ID theorists wish to explore: Is photosynthesis IC? What about electron transport? Etc.


2 By what process did the designer influence the evolution of life?

We already know the answer to this: mutation and genetic recombination. We just don't entirely understand the nature of either recombination or mutation.


3 Where did the designer come from?
4 Who or what is the designer?
5 Is the designer still around?

Again these questions are not relevant. Why is this so difficult to understand: Irrespective of what you think ID should be able to do, IDT has a single postulate, and it has nothing to do with identity, current status, or any other aspects of the designer. Trying to answer questions about a designer unscientific; trying to detect the signature and presence of design is not.

Very specifically – Why should a theory that simply looks for signs of intelligence be able to state anything about it.

Will the same criteria be applied if we detect the Fibonacci series via the SETI project? Will we dismiss this evidence because we don’t understand it’s source? Will scientists be described as Pseudo or unscientific because they can’t identify even the star system the signal came from? I think not.


6. Does the designer 'design' every new species?

Again this actually is the type of question that IDT addresses. In my own mind, I think of it on a system level. How could photosynthesis have arisen via NDT? How could any electron transport system have arisen via NDT, though I am sure it’s applicable to the organismal level. But since I am a Molecular Biologist this is how I think.


7. If the designer isn't designing every new species, did the designer die?

Irrelevant and in fact, kind of ridiculous.


8. How does ID account for harmful mutations (a good example: the gene that causes tortoiseshell coats in cats is almost always fatal if the fetus is male. There are only a very few male calico/tortoiseshell cats that live to adulthood.)

Why does ID have to account for this at all? It’s you who are coming in with the pre-supposition that the designer is necessarily perfect, omnipotent, whatever. The concept of a divine, omniscient, supernatural being is not a requirement of ID. Maybe the Raelians have Pentium chips that miscalculate the value of pi. Maybe the Raelian who designed cats also designed hallucinogenic mushrooms and was tripping when he made cats. ID doesn’t require a supernatural designer. ID doesn’t require the designer be perfect. ID makes no demands or presuppositions about the designer. I encourage you to ask that question of a creationist… though I already know what their answer will be.


9. does human action interfere with ID? (in other words, we're breeding pandas in zoos. Does our action circumvent the ID in the wild? If there's a marked population decline but the animals still exist in the wild (ivory billed woodpecker), is ID still controlling the population?

IDT has nothing to do with Pandas in the wild. ID is an ORIGINS theory. What’s happening to the Panda’s as a consequence of humans has nothing to do with IDT.


10. How does ID account for some (but not all) people developing allergies after repeated exposures to substances (example: I'm allergic to pennicillin, but this happened after I turned 28. Before then I could take the stuff. How does ID explain this mechanism... if humans were designed to become allergic to pennicillin after 100 doses or so over a lifetime, why aren't most people my age allergic to pennicillin?

What does your body’s immune system malfunction have to do with ID? Sigh… Again ID is an origins theory. ID makes no effort to explain this as it has nothing to do with origins; then again, NDT doesn’t explain it either. My suggestion would be to ask this question of an immunologist. Then, when you get your answer, ask ‘em how many times they thought about NDT or Darwinism to provide you with that answer.

My suggestion to the people who wish to refute ID: Actually read some ID literature… a book is a great place to start. Believe it or not, you can still get books; not all information comes from the internet. The really great thing about books is that they present ideas from start to finish in a clear and coherent fashion, and they often include references, so you can check stuff out for yourself. It makes your arguments much more effective and much more convincing when you demonstrate that you actually understand something. It’s quite clear that most people that like to comment on ID have pretty much not read any IDT. Oh, I’m sure you’ve all read the refutations of ID, but the refutations make little sense when you’ve not read the book. You see, the book is an essential part of the refutation. Don’t you people want to reach your own conclusions about something, rather than being told what you should think?



posted on Nov, 9 2005 @ 08:14 AM
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ID isn’t an effort to replace science, it’s an extension of the scientific process without an exclusive metaphysical presupposition

The Discovery Institute's Wedge Document however does have this as its goal, the replacing of science with theology.

Also, the question of excluding metaphysics from science seems to have been settled quite some time ago. Why does the ID movement focus on evolution rather than the arguements against being able to incorporate metaphysics into science? I mean, surely that issue is far more wide ranging than the realm of biology.


A very simple test of the IC nature of this motor protein assemblage is to knock out one or two of these proteins from the ICore and see if the bacteria can ‘re-evolve’ just these one or two components of the ICore

Why do you see this as a good test?? These things are run by random mutations over generations, there's no reason to think that merely because a selective pressure is present that there will be a response from the population.



posted on Nov, 9 2005 @ 09:36 AM
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The Discovery Institute's Wedge Document however does have this as its goal, the replacing of science with theology.

Untrue. I certainly am familiar with the Wedge document, but its goal is not to replace science with theocracy. This is completely untrue. I would imagine you’ll comeback with something like the following quote: “Discovery Institutes Center… seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism…”

It’s a bold statement admittedly, but hardly represents overthrowing science with theocracy. While it’s acknowledged that the Discovery Institute’s CSC IS the main thinktank for IDT, it’s goals as institution are peripheral to the question of whether or not ID is a valid scientific theory. Besides it’s not some huge secret that IDT doesn’t maintain the naturalistic-materialistic presupposition re: origins.


Also, the question of excluding metaphysics from science seems to have been settled quite some time ago.

Okay… but IDT is not metaphysics. People would like to turn it into metaphysics by insisting that IDT comment on the identity of the IDer, but that doesn’t make it so. Please explain to me in some detail why the concept of ID without discussing the designer is acceptable for a ‘scientific’ pursuit such as the SETI project, but completely unacceptable for biological origins.


Why does the ID movement focus on evolution rather than the arguments against being able to incorporate metaphysics into science? I mean, surely that issue is far more wide ranging than the realm of biology.


Well, ID does seem to be focused on primarily on biology… why that is, I can’t say for sure. From my own perspective though, biology is one of the best places in the natural world where one sees structures or other ‘data’ for lack of a better word that are suggestive of design. However the concept of ID is certainly not limited to biology. The anthropomorphic principle and arguments are basically ID from a cosmological perspective. In general, complex topics addressed by the anthropomorphic principle are not discussed in high school. Those are two possible reasons that the focus is on biology. Also, biology is a lot more tangible to most people. People can experience the birth of children, can observe antibiotic resistance, and can see the effects of loss of habitat, etc. Physical and cosmological ideas are for the most part removed from most people’s daily thoughts… ATS members excluded of course. But yes, you are correct the issue is far more ranging than just biology… which is why were seeing the emergence of books such as ‘The Privileged Planet,” etc.


Why do you see this as a good test?? These things are run by random mutations over generations, there's no reason to think that merely because a selective pressure is present that there will be a response from the population.


Okay, right back at you. Why do you say it isn’t a good test? Selective pressure is what drives natural selection… if there is selective pressure to re-evolve these components why wouldn’t they re-evolve? The raw material is there; all it takes is the right combination of mutation and recombination. Besides your quoting totally ignores the concept of re-introduction of proteins that have some homology to the original protein, something I discussed in my original post. There is in fact a precedent for this anyway: The Barry Hall experiments that were utilized to argue against the idea of ID. In this case, a protein that was minimally homologous – at least in function- to the original protein evolved to take the place of the removed protein. Seems to me to be a great test. Interestingly enough, my question about the falsifiability and scientific status of NDT was never actually addressed.

Furthermore, you’re only assuming that all mutation is random. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that this is not the case. While I won’t get into the specifics of the recombination mechanisms that we do understand, I will discuss a favorite example of the evolution crowd, and one of my favorites too, the nylonase bugs. To make a very long story short and succinct: Researcher exposed bacteria that had never encountered the nylonase substrate before to that same substrate. The bugs developed – repeatedly developed - the ability to break down the substrate in 9 days. Maybe… maybe bugs could evolve a new enzyme in a few hundred generations via a random process once, but not repeatedly. That’s suggestive of a process besides random mutation occurring. If people weren’t married to idea of NDT and random processes being responsible for everything, they might realize this. There was also a really controversial paper that just came out in Nature suggesting that bacterial adaptation to stress conditions is anything but random variation.



posted on Nov, 9 2005 @ 11:29 AM
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Originally posted by mattison0922
It’s a bold statement admittedly, but hardly represents overthrowing science with theocracy.

Its saying that metaphysical theology is a valid part of scientific investigation, regardless of what we want to call it, its a dead scientific issue. Dead since paley no?


While it’s acknowledged that the Discovery Institute’s CSC IS the main thinktank for IDT, it’s goals as institution are peripheral to the question of whether or not ID is a valid scientific theory.

ID and CSC are effectively branches of the same organization.


Besides it’s not some huge secret that IDT doesn’t maintain the naturalistic-materialistic presupposition re: origins.

Then why say that the designer isn't a god?



Okay… but IDT is not metaphysics.

If its postulating something other than naturalism, then its a metaphyics.


Please explain to me in some detail why the concept of ID without discussing the designer is acceptable for a ‘scientific’ pursuit such as the SETI project, but completely unacceptable for biological origins.

Because the rubric that seti proposes to detect design is sensible, whereas the rubric for intelligent design, ie that we 'don't know' the naturalistic steps that resulted in a structure, isn't.


Why do you say it isn’t a good test?

Becuase there is no reason to think that merely because a slective pressure is applied that it will result in the 'right' mutations to create the proteins.



In this case, a protein that was minimally homologous – at least in function- to the original protein evolved to take the place of the removed protein. Seems to me to be a great test.

Sure, because in that instance the id 'hypothesis', that there is irreducible complexity or specifed complexity, insofar as it can be refuted, was refuted. The alternate experiment doesn't refute the hypothesis that natural selection was the mechanism for change.


Interestingly enough, my question about the falsifiability and scientific status of NDT was never actually addressed.


this in particular no?

. You can’t demonstrate that something couldn’t have evolved via a series of successive modifications. Does this make NDT unfalsifiable and unscientific?

Darwin's theory of natural selection as the mechanism of evolutionary change can be falsified by having organisms that evolve without increasing their fitness, or that change without selection being applied to them, or in a number of such ways.

Darwin notes, as pointed out here

If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.


There's lots of ways the darwin's hypothesis itself can be falsified. As far as individual hypotheses of phylogeny, they too can be falsified, they're built up as an analysis of the evidence, contradictory evidence can certainly appear.


That’s suggestive of a process besides random mutation occurring.

It would seem that it would suggest that information is flowing from the environement to the genome, which violates the so-called 'dogma' of biology, but why does this matter, with respect to what we are talking about? It doesn't mean that any organism should allways form a 'needed' protein, no matter what the circumstances.

However, it looks like many are theorizing that the nylonase proteins arise from a frameshift of repetitive DNA

In the case of nylB, an insertion of a T at position 99 in the repetitive sequence resulted in a start codon and a stop codon some 392 amino acids away.

www.talkorigins.org...



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