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Intelligent Design

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Juice
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Intelligent Design

Post by Juice » October 15th, 2009, 1:04 pm

This thread is for those who wish to discuss and debate the science behind “Intelligent Design Theory” (ID). I would like to remind those, wishing to participate, that this is a science forum and although ID has been linked to religious creation allegories this thread is strictly for the discussion and debate of the science.

I would encourage those interested to ask questions, particularly since the science behind ID has taken a more modern approach with its concepts rooted in some intriguing science methodologies.

I would also encourage discussion and debate of the philosophies of science and how those philosophies could affect our reasoning behind ID, and of what may constitute constructive considerations to scientific reasoning especially in this modern political environment.

I am no expert! But, I am an expert in curiosity. I believe this exploration will reveal some exciting and surprising observations. Thank You for participating.
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Post by Juice » October 15th, 2009, 1:53 pm

As a precursor to this discussion I would like to introduce Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913). A contemporary of Charles Darwin, Wallace had a different perception of causal origins from Darwin. A self proclaimed agnostic, I would like to offer the following quotes from Russel so as to set the tone for ID theory;

Wallace (1856)-"Naturalists are too apt to imagine, when they cannot discover, a use for everything in nature: they are not even content to let "beauty" be a sufficient use, but hunt after some purpose to which even that can be applied by the animal itself, as if one of the noblest and most refining parts of man's nature, the love of beauty for its own sake, would not be perceptible also in the works of a Supreme Creator. The separate species of which the organic world consists being parts of a whole, we must suppose some dependence of each upon all; some general design which has determined the details, quite independently of individual necessities. We look upon the anomalies, the eccentricities, the exaggerated or diminished development of certain parts, as indications of a general system of nature, by a careful study of which we may learn much that is at present hidden from us..."

Wallace (1870)-"The inference I would draw from this class of phenomena is, that a superior intelligence has guided the development of man in a definite direction, and for a special purpose, just as man guides the development of many animal and vegetable forms. The laws [note plural "laws"!] of evolution alone would, perhaps, never have produced a grain so well adapted to man's use as wheat and maize; such traits as the seedless banana and bread-fruit; or such animals as the Guernsey milch cow, or the London dray-horse. Yet these so closely resemble the unaided productions of nature, that we may well imagine a being who had mustered the laws of development of organic forms through past ages, refusing to believe that any new power had been concerned in the production, and scornfully rejecting the theory (as my theory will be rejected by many who agree with me on other points), that in these few cases a controlling intelligence had directed the action of the laws of variation, multiplication, and survival, for his own purposes. We know, however, that this has been done; and we must therefore admit the possibility that, if we are not the highest intelligences in the universe, some higher intelligence may have directed the process by which the human race was developed, by means of more subtle agencies than we are acquainted with. At the same time I must confess, that this theory has the disadvantage of requiring the intervention of some distinct individual intelligence, to aid in the production of what we can hardly avoid considering as the ultimate aim and outcome of all organized existence--intellectual, ever-advancing, spiritual man. It therefore implies, that the great laws which govern the material universe were insufficient for his production, unless [my italics] we consider (as we may fairly do) that the controlling action of such higher intelligences is a necessary part of those laws, just as the action of all surrounding organisms is one of the agencies in organic development."

As we can see ID is not a recent concept developed to contradict Darwinism but has its roots in Darwin's time, and although not as progressed as Darwinism, Russel also offered the same observations as Darwin offered for the gaps in his theory that should be discovered with time and technological improvements.

Russel made sure that much of his observations were strictly rooted in objective observation and was not prone to fanciful stories to explain unknown variables inherent to Darwinism, as Darwin and other contemporaries injected into the theory with time even to include the present.

A brief exploration of Russel's biography will show him to be pragmatic, not prone to imaginations, and a staunch supporter of individual liberty.
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Post by Alun » October 15th, 2009, 5:30 pm

William Dembski, a proponent of Intelligent Design, clearly states in No Free Lunch that while ID as science would hinge on, among others, the "Optimality Problem--In what sense is the designed object optimal?" On the same page (313) he also claims that the "Intentionality Problem--What was the intention of the designer in producing a given designed object?" is not a scientific question. He further elaborates that some of ID as "science" would hinge upon moving beyond a "naturalistic framework."

How can we gather evidence about something if it is not natural?

On a separate point: The only evidence we have, if the world is designed, is the designed objects themselves; there is no claim as to what stage they were designed, to what purpose they were designed, or to how they were designed. Isn't that too many unknowns to make any inference from?

Another way of saying this is; we usually infer design in, for example, a watch because we know how humans make things--we even know some of the reasons humans might have to make things. But we do not have any scientific basis to say anything about this designer, even according to Dembski, so how can we infer something is designed?

In reference to Alfred Russel Wallace's claim about the utility of bananas, London dray-horses, and the Guernsey milch cow: The banana was cultivated and bred for human consumption in Papa New Guinea [1]--by humans. Horses, too, were domesticated [2]. And... so were cows [3].
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Post by Juice » October 15th, 2009, 7:58 pm

No fair Alun you are rushing ahead, I am really not ready to discuss complexity issues. I do not wish for this thread to be a personal debate between the two of us. I know that a deliberate, progressed approach will afford others the opportunity to understand the science of ID. I will stick to my outline in this respect, as such your questions may just be answerable, on your own, by knowing more of the facts.

Alun, bananas are cultivated/domesticated from the wild, they have a natural origin. The problem with bananas, noticed by Russel, is that they have no seeds and reproduce asexually, each plant is identical to the parent plant. Russel's observation was directed to the fact that banana's don't have seeds but have several different varieties without any evidence of their evolution or speciation, whether observed or theorized.

Russel remarks on the Dray horse since that is a breed of horse which tended to be atypically larger than other horses of the day without having been bred that way. While other horses were bred with larger horses of the same species to facilitate the weight of knights and other accouterments of war, the dray horse was naturally large. The Dray horse was antithetical to what is known of the evolution of the horse.

The same goes for the milch cow, having attained attributes that other cow breeds required breding in order to achieve what the milch cow naturally achieved. The thing about the cow which is why Russel mentions it in context to his comment is that the cow is a total food machine for humans, from birth through life. And despite preference the whole cow is edible, the marrow even has nutrients that one could survive from indefinitely. Plus the cow is stupid, it will continue to produce milk as long as someone milks her.

Please read IAW the overall theme of the post, answering every question may become tedious. While I do understand the limitations of research I will do my best to provide worthwhile answers, but I would much rather stay on points.

Understanding Russel one gets the purpose of the objective of design. As I have stated this is not a religion inspired thread. What is the purpose of space, of life, of consciousness? Topics best not discussed in this thread unless a full objective concept of ID can promote further inquiries into those philosophic realms.
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Post by Juice » October 16th, 2009, 4:31 pm

I have introduced Alfred Russel Wallace into this discussion in order to show that ID theory is not predicated upon a challenge to Darwinism to favor a religious origins perspective. There have been many reputable scientist who have found flaws with Darwin's theory which have become more prevalent as technology and matters of human thought have progressed.

The following definition of Intelligent Design is the most prevalent used, and I offer it as such;

The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.

In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection -- how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences.

ID is controversial because of the implications of its evidence, rather than the significant weight of its evidence. ID proponents believe science should be conducted objectively, without regard to the implications of its findings. This is particularly necessary in origins science because of its historical (and thus very subjective) nature, and because it is a science that unavoidably impacts religion.

Positive evidence of design in living systems consists of the semantic, meaningful or functional nature of biological information, the lack of any known law that can explain the sequence of symbols that carry the "messages," and statistical and experimental evidence that tends to rule out chance as a plausible explanation. Other evidence challenges the adequacy of natural or material causes to explain both the origin and diversity of life.

The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the "apparent design" in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism typically starts with a religious text and tries to see how the findings of science can be reconciled to it. Intelligent design starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what inferences can be drawn from that evidence. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural.
Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he "agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement." Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are "the easiest way to discredit intelligent design." In other words, the charge that intelligent design is "creationism" is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case.

Intelligent Design is an intellectual movement that includes a scientific research program for investigating intelligent causes and that challenges naturalistic explanations of origins which currently drive science education and research.

Intelligent Design incorperates "scientific method" in order to determine its theory.

Four steps of scientific method;

1. observation
2. hypothesis
3. experiments
4. conclusions
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Post by Belinda » October 16th, 2009, 6:09 pm

You are right,as are other ID proponents, that intelligent design is not supernatural. Intelligently designed things are designed by intelligent beings, not supernatural beings. Even Darwin himself believed in intelligent design of his pigeons. What a pity that Darwin never met Abbe Mendel whose investigations of the laws of inherited characteristics would have so filled out his theory of natural selection.

Right too about Shire horses, which is the most usual sort of heavy horse used for pulling brewers' drays.The Shire originated in the cold bloods of Flanders, and sires were imported into England from there to improve the native English cold bloods. This is obviously a case of very intelligent design not by any supernatural person but by horse breeders.

Quite right, Juice. The high butter fat ratio of Jersey milk is evidence of highly intelligent design. As is high protein Holstein milk intelligently designed, and not by any supernatural agency but by dairymen for a specific purpose.

Yes, I do see that intelligent design is not at all the same as creationism.
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Post by Juice » October 16th, 2009, 8:01 pm

I have to point out that inherited traits is a completely different concept from natural selection. As I have suggested Darwin never attempted to define where or how traits came from or developed. Instead Darwin just took for granted that "created" or evident traits would either be beneficial or detrimental to an organism depending on environmental conditions.

Natural Selection is the process by which forms of life having traits that better enable them to adapt to specific environmental pressures, as predators, changes in climate, or competition for food or mates, will tend to survive and reproduce in greater numbers than others of their kind, thus ensuring the perpetuation of those favorable traits in succeeding generations.

"Origin of Species" intro.-It is, therefore, of the highest importance to gain a clear insight into the means of modification and coadaptation. At the commencement of my observations it seemed to me probable that a careful study of domesticated animals and of cultivated plants would offer the best chance of making out this obscure problem. Nor have I been disappointed; in this and in all other perplexing cases I have invariably found that our knowledge, imperfect though it be, of variation under domestication, afforded the best and safest clue. I may venture to express my conviction of the high value of such studies, although they have been very commonly neglected by naturalists.

Furthermore, I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main but not exclusive means of modification.

You see Darwin expected, through the science of the day, an explanation for natural selection in that he believed that through domestication of plants and animals that certain desirable traits would become dominate and as such organisms would then eventually reproduce without the need of human interference. Today we know this not to be the case. Like domesticated pigs who are returned to the wild who then become feral, returning to their wild state and so forth through their offspring.

Of course Darwin left room for his theory to be expanded and modified but for now let's concentrate on "natural selection".
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Post by Alun » October 16th, 2009, 10:41 pm

Juice wrote:No fair Alun you are rushing ahead, I am really not ready to discuss complexity issues. I do not wish for this thread to be a personal debate between the two of us.
Me neither. I was actually just trying to clarify how ID can be scientific, not talk about complexity. I think you've filled out some more on that point, so I'll try again. First, I'm going to clean up a bit of your last unaddressed anecdotal point:
Juice wrote:Alun, bananas are cultivated/domesticated from the wild, they have a natural origin. The problem with bananas, noticed by Russel, is that they have no seeds and reproduce asexually, each plant is identical to the parent plant.
The fact of the matter is we humans selected polyploid bananas that suited us for agriculture. Wild bananas have huge seeds.
Juice wrote:The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the "apparent design" in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations
The problem as I see it is that 'detecting' design is always done according to what we know about the design. We have no evidence of the mechanism of design, the aim of design, nor the extent of design. So how can we tell that something is designed? As I said, even Demski readily admits that we have no idea who the designer could be or how it might do any designing.

In contrast, when we seek design in anthropology or in SETI, we are looking for design that is done by humans or by beings of near-human development respectively. This type of inference is only possible because we can know what we're looking for. But ID seems to be saying, "Design occurred in some unknown way for some unknown purpose to some unknown extent." Aren't there too many permanent unknowns for ID to be able to say something meaningful?
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Post by Juice » October 16th, 2009, 11:46 pm

Alun-Bananas don't have seeds, none, nada, zip nonexistent. And I used no anecdotes.

You indicated that bananas are "bred", they are not but were domesticated and cultivated as early as 600 BC by Mesopotamians, or around 40 BC by Romans depending on who you want to believe. As I indicated there are over 200 types of bananas with no evolutionary connection, and they are asexual, very important, since it would be that much easier to detect a evolutionary branch if they differentiated from eachother through Darwin's theory. The exiting thing about bananas is, which westerners don't have an opportunity to experience, is that the entire plant has a use. The leaves can be used as ovens, in some plants the inside is sweeter than the fruits themselves. Some bananas are as sweet as mangoes. Apparently for no other use than that which provides itself for the betterment of man. Quite interesting in a Garden of Eve kind of way if one were capable and inclined towards that kind of romanticism.

(Anecdote alert)-There is a fruit which grows in the rain forest on the very top of a tall tree. The tree bears fruit once a year. There are very few of these trees that grows in only special areas. The fruit is like a grape with no seeds. The fruit tastes like sugar and tamarind. I forget what its called but that wouldn't matter anyway since very few people outside of the country in which it grows has ever tasted it and like wise for those who live in the city even in the country. Might be metaphysical or even supernatural but there truly are natural things in this world which the first thinking men would have been inspired by to know there is a God.

Any way I plan on adding a piece to the thread daily besides answering posts, and I have to prepare for the next installment.
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Post by wanabe » October 17th, 2009, 12:58 am

I don't see what there is to debate. There is an out side force that created everything= Intelligent design (do you want to argue about the name of the builder, like it matters). But there is lots to discuss back and forth about how beautiful all these creations are, and about how we can marvel at them and/or utilize them.

Bananas are good. I'm glad someone decided to domesticate them.
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Post by Juice » October 17th, 2009, 1:17 am

Wanabe-Good observation, but there is a national debate on whether or not ID theory is science or at least based on scientific method. I believe there is a lot of misconception about what ID is so would like to dispel some of the misconceptions and in the long run discredit Darwinism since that is full of contradictions and false premises.

I believe we need a different name or approach to origins and the ascent of man. Something that the materialist approach cannot provide. But first the science.

If you ever get the itch or would really like to explore the wonders of nature may I suggest some of the lands around the Amazon or any of the tributary rivers which flow into it. I think people who look at life in the city as the be all there is miss something about life and nature which dulls the spirit. There are places on this earth in which a person could walk into alone with just a knife and survive for quite some time within a small perimeter.

Anyway I believe Darwinism is on the outs so we may as well get a head start here.
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Post by wanabe » October 17th, 2009, 2:15 am

Only a national, debate?
What are the misconceptions about intelligent design, it's not complicated: a force with an intent created everything.

You can't discredit anything with intelligent design because there is no empirical evidence, it is faith based.

I have explored nature far more than most, those that trump me are the the select "hidden" tribesmen of south American/African jungles.

I tell you those places exist anywhere, I am living proof.

Darwinism is not on the outs, it is still taught in public education everywhere, it is just being improved. If it becomes one with intelligent design by the improvements, then so be it, but it must be proven empirically first. That is the point of science; to support all beliefs with physical evidence.

Difference is not the enemy.
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Post by Belinda » October 17th, 2009, 7:40 am

Musa Acuminata is a widespread, highly variable and prolific species of banana that is the primary parent of modern edible (and many ornamental) bananas. These seeds have been collected from the wild bananas in the Manipur region of India

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Post by Belinda » October 17th, 2009, 7:50 am

Furthermore, I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main but not exclusive means of modification.
Galapagos tortoises got to be different on different islands because of 1. natural selection

2. natural events such as tsunami, and variations in terrain. climate and vegetation.

There is no evidence of intelligent design in natural breeds and species outwith intelligent design as executed by humans.Moreover, the non-teleological theory of design is complete in itself and there is no need for any additional hypothesis.
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Post by Juice » October 17th, 2009, 11:03 am

Please, bananas have no seeds. Bananas grow from "cormels" or "cormlets" alongside the parent plant. These cormels can be removed, planted and cultivated. This has the effect of a genetically identical plant to the parent plant. As I stated banana plants are asexual.

As I have stated, it is my observation that most people take for granted that they know what evolution by natural selection means. It is my feeling that once a person has a clear impression of Darwinism, with the criticisms then they will be better able to make an informed decision concerning its validity.

In this context Darwinism can be perceived as a "hasty generalization" or "logical fallacy" and it is my intent to argue that.

I believe that the State vs Scopes, Scopes vs State (Tenn, 1926) (Scopes Monkey Trial) did a disservice to scientific inquiry, initiated by religious fervor, for future generations as it paved the way for a particular level of scientific dogma, pertaining to origins, to prevail over reasoning and logic. I do not believe that mankind is anywhere near as close to explaining and defining origins let alone the workings of the universe than the classic thinkers were, except for better and more in depth methods of observation. As far as extrapolating any conclusions, well its "all" just theory.
When everyone looks to better their own future then the future will be better for everyone.

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