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Deus ex Machina



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I have no idea.  I am not claiming to have proof of anything.  I just find the intelligent design arguments against evolution via natural selection to be a logical argument.   But there is more to the intelligent design theory than that and I don't know anything about it or even if they have submitted proof for their theory.   I don't think there is scientific proof of  Darwin evolution or intelligent design but I think intelligent design is more logical.

However, as noted already, you do so from a position of scant understanding of evolutionary Theory and by way of a series of discredited-time-and-again ID/creationist arguments.

On the matter of proofs, that is the preserve of mathematics, not science. With scientific endeavours we can infer a great deal by observation and experiment, but the term "proof" is a category error.

With that in mind, on the one hand, we have an established scientific theory that not only explains pretty much everything we observe about living things (to the extent that we can explain them at all) but also has made predictions about what we would expect to find if it were true (for instance, a mechanism by which traits could be passed from parents to offspring, which Watson and Crick finally worked out in the Fifties). Everything from the twin-nested hierarchy to DNA to nylonase to antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" is well explained - even anticipated - by evolutionary Theory and by no competing scientific hypothesis whatsoever. To the point where, if one were approaching the subject with no preconceptions about mystical origins, it would be as perverse to deny evolutionary Theory as it would be to deny atomic theory or cell theory. Which is as near "proof" as one can reasonably get in science.

(Incidentally, DrTesla is flat wrong when he says genetics has nothing to do with evolutionary Theory. It has everything to do with it: it is the mechanism by which traits pass to offspring, which according to evolutionary Theory had to exist if evolutionary Theory was true. That mechanism was predicted by the Theory, was later discovered long after Darwin's death, and vindicates the Theory every bit as much as do the mountains of evidence in the strata - and better still, the genetic code provides further validation of the relationship between organisms and backs up what we find by way of anatomy and paleontology.)

"Intelligent design", on the other hand, doesn't even qualify as a scientific hypothesis. It's entire raison d'etre is to try to poke holes in evolutionary Theory in an effort to discredit it and put in its place a religious construct. IDists have no interest in providing evidence for their "designer" hypothesis, nor in writing any papers describing any processes by which such a "designer" would operate, the principles by which one would predict what a "designer" might do next, in any way that has genuine practical applicability or might lead us to anticipate or seek out future observations in the natural world. It has produced not a single observation, experiment or peer-reviewed journal paper in any reputable publication that sets out to increase our knowledge of the natural world. It is, in essence, an entirely anti-science, destructive force pursued for purely cultural reasons and which relies on promulgating a series of already-discredited arguments amongst the credulous, the ignorant and the uneducated.

You see, ID comes from a mindset that is essentially an idolatrous bastardisation of Christianity whereby they stake everything on the fundamental truth of a collection of works called "the Bible". In their mindset, the words of the Bible are from God, and if even one part of that collection of works is wrong, then God lied. And there is no room for "I don't knows" in a work created by the Creator of all the Universe. Their entire Universe comes crumbling down at that point; if God lied or His knowledge was imperfect, then God cannot be God; if God is not God, then nothing in their Universe makes sense and they have no basis for anything. There is no genuine curiosity about the natural world in such a worldview; everything one needs to know is contained in the Bible, and if any observation one might make in the natural world appears to conflict with their interpretation of the Bible, then it's the observation that is wrong - usually not their interpretation and certainly not the Bible itself. In short, ID is a deliberate attempt at creating an intellectual dead-end.

And for some Christian denominations, which take ridiculous propositions to the Nth degree, it's an understandable kind of survival mechanism: if their followers started getting curious about the natural world, they might start thinking, and if they do that, they might start to question, and then they might start to realise that they'd been sold a pup. And that's the last thing the charlatans and ex-used-car-salesmen who run the crazier churches out there want.

IDists come at scientific propositions and treat them in the same way they approach their own belief-system, without ever realising or acknowledging that in science, even if one were to successfully discredit one datum in favour of evolutionary Theory (and IDists haven't even managed that: where errors have been found, they have generally been found by other scientists, as a consequence of which our understanding of the natural world), that does not suddenly invalidate all the other data in support of the Theory, nor entail that the entire Theory is wrong. Science doesn't work like that. If there were clear observed processes in nature that jarred with evolutionary Theory and which a competing scientific hypothesis explained better as well as explaining everything evolutionary Theory currently explains, which had equal or greater predictive power and applicability, then it would be a contender.

But ID isn't it. ID can;'t explain nylonase, DNA or anything else, except to cherry-pick bits of evolutionary Theory and say "well, we agree with that bit", or to claim that a designer did it. It has no other answers. And "a designer did it" is an intellectual dead-end: it offers no avenues for seeking further knowledge, and IDists are curiously incurious about ascertaining the nature, purpose or attributes of such a "designer" or the mechanism by which it operates. All you get is a nod and a wink and a "well, we don't like to come out and say so, but we're kind of hoping you'll equate 'designer' with 'God'."

As far as ID arguments are concerned (all of which, you'll note, serve no purpose whatsoever except to try, futilely, to poke holes in evolutionary Theory):

Irreducible complexity, as has already been stated, is bunk. Dr. Behe, its chief proponent, was hauled over the coals over this during the Kitzmiller et al. vs. Dover Area School Board trial and as much as admitted that he hadn't read the multitude of books and papers that debunked his hypothesis. (The transcript of that court case is, I'm sure, still available online somewhere. I encourage you to read it, and come back and let us know if you still think ID is the more logical.) Not only is the bacterial flagellum not irreducibly complex, but biologists have identified precursors, and to the extent that "IC" systems may be said to exist in nature, they're arrived at by the way of loss of redundant features that were once required.

Tornado-in-a-junkyard arguments are also bunk, relying as they do on two essential logical fallacies. The first is post-hoc determination of the odds, like the participant in a lottery declaring that it must have been rigged because the odds against a specific person winning was 14m:1 against - no matter that the odds of someone winning quickly approaches 1:1 if you sell enough tickets. The second is a kind of argument from ignorance, combined with a straw man: the proponent of the tornado-in-a-junkyard argument cannot imagine how one could get from simple organic compounds to a strand of nucleic acid by way of gradual processes, so they make up this notion that (a) proponents of natural processes claim that it all happened in one fell swoop (this is a lie; they do not claim this), and (b) the odds against such a thing happening are so staggeringly huge that it can't possibly have happened - or "requires faith" to believe it happened, which is itself interesting as it is such a dazzling display of hypocrisy to claim that "faith", a vaunted virtue in their own credo, suddenly becomes a vice (but that doesn't matter, because this is also a lie).

As for cross-species evolution, this argument is bunk and has been bunk ever since the 1860s. A Crocoduck is not predicted by evolutionary Theory, and never was. Speciation entails a scenario where two populations diverge to the point where mating between them can no longer take place naturally. It certainly does not entail a scenario where one population "turns into" a population of another extant species. If dogs could turn into cats, that would be a blow to evolutionary Theory, not a support of it. Cats and dogs are two different branches on the "tree of life": no amount of speciation along either branch enables any population group to break away from its existing branch and attach itself to another one. That's not how evolution works; and further, that's not how any biologist claims it works.

Tired, discredited, presumptuous and demonstrably false arguments are not good logical arguments in anyone's book. So are you willing to reconsider your position?
Changed Change Reason Date
median Nailed It. Thank you for this! Just awesome... October 21, 2013, 12:40:59 AM
jaimehlers Very well put. October 20, 2013, 09:36:39 AM
pianodwarf Very well said. October 20, 2013, 06:45:15 AM