Friday, July 29, 2011

Agnostic View of Inteligent Design

I've been reading lately that some Christians want Intelligent Design taught in public schools. Now, I'm an Agnostic meaning that I lack the gift of faith. As the Boston used to sing, it takes "More than a Feeling" for me to believe something.

I'm not going to get into if Intelligent Design is real. ( hereafter called ID). However, if we're going to teach ID in science class, then ID must follow all the rules and processes of any other science topic

The students should theorectically be able to recreate life in their lab .. Religious scientists need to explain the engineering behind it .. so that the student can establish experimentation to replicate the "God Creative Process".

1. What are the exact powers of the Intelligent Designer? Can the IDer just snap His fingers and anything can happen or does the IDer have to follow the rules of the universe?

     A)  How does these powers works?
     B)  How did the IDer obtain the powers?
     C)  Has the powers remained the same or does the IDer learn new stuff?

2. Why did the IDer create the Universe? Did the IDer just create it then leave the universe to develop on its own or does the ID take an active roll. If so, then what things has the ID directly done and how did the ID do it?

     A)  How old is the IDer?
     B)  Is there more than one IDer?
     C)  How long will the IDer be in existence?
     D)  What happens to the IDer when the universe fades?
     F)  How old is the universe? How old is the Earth? How old are humans?

3. Is the ID a creator, interferer or modifier .. or a combination of the three. Please explain exactly what the ID had done.

     A)  What exactly has the IDer created from scratch?
     B)  When has the IDer changed or modified a design? Exactly how did He accomplish this?
     C)  Has the creator ever stopped the progression of a design?

4. Show what particular ID element that can be replicated and/or tested and measured.

     A)  What experiment can a student do to prove the existence of ID?
     B)  What is the mathematical or chemical theory behind ID? Specifics ..

5. What tools or technology does the ID uses?

    A)  Did the IDer use any tools or technology to create His designs?
    B)  What was the source of power to create the designs?
    C)  How did the IDer remember how to do the designs. Are the designs written down?

6. Make prediction of what the ID will do in the future. Show the process of those prediction - in other words something more logical than "The Bible says it's going to happen."

If these guys can't answer these questions, what really will the class material consist of - other than just reading passages from the Bible. You need more than just a statement .. science is meant to be explored, questioned and analyzed. 


  1. I love some of your questions, most unfortunately can't really be analysed but they are great to aim at.

    I tend to look at things from my engineering background so my starting point is reverse engineering what we can see in the physical world and the biological world.

    1 In the physical world we seem to live on an extreme knife edge of conditions to allow stable solar systems with planets and a planet with capacity for what we call "life" (self replicating 'biological' systems). eg. cosmological constant, balance of fundamental forces (strong nuclear, weak nuclear and gravity) I can only see few possible logical reasons for this.
    a we live in an infinite or near infinite universe
    b we live in one of a near infinite number of multiverses
    c its all an illusion.
    d something outside of "the system" deliberately put it there with precisely set properties.
    e we are unbelievably lucky

    The existence of biological systems seems extremely difficult to explain. Darwin's observation of natural selection seems a good ratchet mechanism to work on improvements but it can't start working until it has a self replicating system to work on. If self replicating systems can appear easily (out of soup) then why can't we make them in the lab or even produce deliberately manufactured systems with all our accumulated design knowledge. Having looked into how biological systems ,even at their simplest, self replicate. (holding design plans in DNA, using translation and manufacturing mechanisms to create proteins to sustain life and other mechanisms to cut, copy and reassemble the DNA so as to produce another copy and then another viable self sufficient system and the designs for the reading machinery is in the DNA design plans but cant be accessed without the reading machinery. Therefore both the plans and the reading and manufacturing machines must both appear). I can't come up with another viable hypothesis other than
    a improbability drive overload (apologies for hitch hikers guide reference)
    b something much more technically advanced than us designed it and could make it on such a nano scale.

    That gets me as far as needing an IDer.
    to determine its characteristics:
    existing before biological systems or capable of time travel.
    possibly working outside "the system" but was able to interfere in the system (more likely to be in extra dimensions inaccessible to us than geographically distant).
    technologically advanced well beyond us.

    other observations:
    genetic information is degrading.
    a IDer has left it's creation to run down.
    b IDer has no control over entropy.
    c IDer has left the building (hope you like the reference)

  2. Thank you James - a very interesting POV on the subject. I do think there are non-living, complex compounds that can replicate. Prions for example and there are crystals that have some of those capabilities.

    My main point is that you can't teach something in school that is barely understood. The IDer if He/She/It exists is not understood enough to teach in school. .

    Thank you very much for your comment .. excellent.

  3. Sorry for delay, I've had a wee look into prions as a self replicating system, interesting thought.
    In a standard cell the flow of information goes DNA to mRNA via a reading mechanism then another protein machine decodes the mRNA into a chain of proteins which are then formed into a specific shape by a folding machine. A prion seems to be propagate only within existing biological systems and seems to be by a folding error in an existing protein, still a lot unknown though. It does seem almost parasitic in nature and certainly relies on something else to produce the protein chain so I'm not sure its a self replicating system but rather an error that replicates with the biological system. I suppose a good question would be what happens to the prion when the animal with the desease dies, does the prion continue to replicate?
    Chrystals "self organise" in the same way a quantity of magnetic balls can self organise into a chrystal latice arrangement but that's not reproduction.

    ID proponents tend to be very clear that science can't tell you about who the IDer is, but rather that what we see is better explained as caused by design rather than mutation and selection. I think the basis of their proposal is as Kepler put it "Thinking God's thoughts after him" . Folks like Issac Newton came from a Christian basis and said it was that basis that gave them the reason for scientific enquiry, 'if God made it there must be a logic to it that we can understand' was their type of reasoning. Teaching ID could be looking for logical, design reasons for the way things are, eg. why is the eye designed this way? - To optimise resolution, sensitivity and reaction speed. Why does an insect have a differently designed eye to an eagle? etc

    I'm rather intrigued however by some of the questions you posed about the nature of the designer and I do think there are a number of characteristics that you can infer from the way it's designed, eg. designer more intelligent than us humans are, optimises overall design rather than optimised components, very efficient in computational systems.
    I think there are other interesting areas to explore like, I think the fact that we have free will is amazing, hard to achieve in a system (imagine trying to programme a computer to have free will) and it has many costs in other aspects of the design (you can't have hard logic etc.) Also if everything was "perfect" there would be no room for error and no choice so no free will so there must be room for error in what he has just designed, that must hurt! but indicates that it must be something very important to the designer, why?


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