Intelligent Design: Science or Not?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by JustAsking, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. JustAsking

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    This is a spinoff topic from a thread in the Politics section. Although I believe ID is a cultural/political position and not a scientific one, I think the debate is better off in etc etc.

    It is my contention that Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. Not because it is a thinly disguised form of Creationism, but because it makes no scientific assertions and it is supported by no evidence.

    At best, any of the definitions of ID floating around are a motley collection of negative assertions about the Theory of Evolution (ToE).

    But this is not a thread about the validity of evolution. It is a thread about the validity of Intelligent Design.

    First, can anyone supply a definition of Intelligent Design that can stand as a scientific hypothesis on its own?
     
  2. Deno

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    I feel its just a way to employ creationism as a course in schools.
     
  3. morsecode

    morsecode New Member

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    Is not science, as it asserts that the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause. Now, how can you, under the modern parameters of science; i.e. experimentation, prove or disprove the existence of an "intelligent cause"? You can't. That's why they seek to change the "rules" of science. Link
     
  4. SpeedoGuy

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    The way I understand it, ID is an extension of the "Teleological Argument" I was introduced to during philosophy classes. To wit: The earth, the universe, and their ability to sustain our lives, are such finely ordered places that they couldn't have happened just by accident. Like a fine watch found abandoned on the beach, such a precisely designed instrument must have had an intelligent, focused creator. Watches don't fly together and assemble themselves by accident. Universes like ours don't happen by accident either.
     
  5. canuck_pa

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    The term "Intelligent Design", as I understand it, originated with the Christian Right as an alternative to "Creationism". Either way it has no basis in science.
     
  6. JustAsking

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    I am not sure it is impossible to prove that something happened by an intelligent cause. But so far the ID proponents have not managed to do that.
     
  7. nicenycdick

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    I think it is fair and accurate to say that you can not prove the existence of God. It is also true that you can not prove that God doesn't exist. It all comes down to faith. I have never been able to understand why "faith" wasn't a good enough explanation for the Christian right...it is, after all, their supposed stock in trade.
     
  8. JustAsking

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    Yes, ID is not much more than what William Paley suggested some 200 years ago. That design can be inferred by complexity. In the last 200 years no one has actually produced a method for doing that, however. Wm. Dembski from the Discovery Institute published a few books on the subject (in the popular press, of course), but didn't manage to establish a complexity criteria. ID defenders will insist that he did, but they are in denial of the fact that no one has ever applied his idea of "specified complexity" to any living organism or any part of a living organism.
     
  9. morsecode

    morsecode New Member

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    The only way I can see that happening is that whoever created everything showed up and told us, or if it's long gone, left a memoir. I can't wrap my head around how can we prove the existence of something that created everything as a conscious effort with the scientific method, that was my point. I don't know, maybe I'm stupid.

    I mean, these people are trying to change science by accepting claims of supernatural origins as a-ok, where are we, in the Middle Ages?, if it is supernatural it is of no concern to the natural world.
     
  10. Drifterwood

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    It's only good for giving pseudo scientification justification for assertions such as aids being the wrath of god against gays.
     
  11. SpeedoGuy

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    Yes. And I'd add, as you so often eloquently do, that Paley's contention about an intelligent designer seems to posit more about how life got here and less about how it evolved since.
     
  12. JustAsking

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    Yes, I agree with your comments about the DI's intentions. They state that very clearly in their Wedge Strategy document. Their stated goal is to introduce supernatural considerations into every field of pursuit that they can. An example of that would be that a criminal court could consider supernatural intervention as a possibility in a court case.

    But in this thread, I am interested in discussing ID solely on its scientific merits. And scientifically, it would be wrong to simply state that it would be impossible to detect "design". However, it would not be wrong to state at the moment that no one has suggested a "design test" that actually works.

    In order for a design test to be scientific, it would have to contain clearcut criteria for testing things for evidence of design. It would need to be in the form of "If A, then Design, else NO Design".

    So far, all I see from the IDC people is a kind of handwaving argument that attempts to demonstrate by analogy that if one can "sense" design in any particular artifact, one should be able to sense design in any organic system.

    The watch lying in the meadow is one example. The argument is that due to its complexity, it is easy to classify the watch as designed compared to the grass in the meadow around it. The problem with that argument is that a given blade of grass has more complexity than the watch. Also, the argument depends on the fact that we already think we know how the watch was made. It is a kind of trick example, because I can easily postulate a credible example of how a watch could be created without the notion of "design".

    For example, suppose you take one of the many computer programs that model electronic circuitry. Then you write another program that creates circuits at random and either keeps them or discards them based on any demonstrated ability for them to keep time within the circuit model. The keepers are then randomly modified and are selected or discarded based on any improvements in timekeeping accuracy.

    At some point, when sufficient accuracy is achieved, the model is used to program an FPLA (a kind of programmable logic arrray) and lay out the circuit board on which it will reside.

    Techniques like this are already used in engineering to solve complex problems like the optimum routing of circuit board traces. One of these techniques is called Simulated Annealing.

    Yes, it is important to separate the notion of the origin of life, which Evolution does not address, and the diversity of life on the planet, which Evolution addresses as its main point.

    However, if you consider a virus to be alive, for example, it is not hard to imagine the possibility of self-replicating molecules being formed naturally given enough time. Once that happens, you have the basic ingredients for further evolution as the molecule makes imperfect copies of itself in great numbers. Without much evidence, it is only hypothesis, though.

    As for this thread, I don't think I am going to get any takers on a definition of ID that can be stated as a scientific hypothesis.

    What I am looking for is a testable hypothesis. For example,

    "Any two masses in the universe attract each with a force proportional to the product of the two masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them."

    Or,

    "Any two organisms, that are living or that have ever lived are descended from a single common ancestor."
     
  13. Industrialsize

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    ID is religion, NOT science.......to be science it would have to hold up to the SCIENTIFIC METHOD
     
  14. B_ScaredLittleBoy

    B_ScaredLittleBoy New Member

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    You also can't prove the existence of:

    Agdistis or Angdistis

    Ah Puch

    Ahura Mazda

    Alberich

    Allah

    Amaterasu

    An

    Anat

    Andvari

    Anshar

    Anu

    Aphrodite

    Apollo

    Apsu

    Ares

    Artemis

    Asclepius

    Athena

    Athirat

    Athtart

    Atlas

    Top of Page


    - B -
    Baal

    Ba Xian

    Bacchus

    Balder

    Bast

    Bellona

    Bergelmir

    Bes

    Bixia Yuanjin

    Bragi

    Brahma

    Brigit

    Top of Page


    - C -
    Camaxtli

    Ceres

    Ceridwen

    Cernunnos

    Chac

    Chalchiuhtlicue

    Charun

    Cheng-huang

    Cybele

    Top of Page


    - D -
    Dagon

    Damkina (Dumkina)

    Davlin

    Dawn
    Demeter

    Diana

    Di Cang

    Dionysus

    Top of Page


    - E -
    Ea

    El

    Enki

    Enlil

    Eos
    Epona

    Ereskigal

    Top of Page


    - F -
    Farbauti

    Fenrir

    Forseti

    Freya

    Freyr

    Frigg

    But does common sense not tell you that they're all made up? FFS use your brain.
     
  15. Deno

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    One thing we do know is that man existed a very long time before he was able to put pen to paper and write prophecies. Before he was able to chisel laws in stone tablets. Before he was capable of building an extremely large ark. Before he was able to build monuments in a gods name. Before he was able to speak, use a weapon or fabricate clothing. Man roamed the earth long before he lived in cities and nearly died out possibly dozens of times to near extinction. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of years before MAN ever thought of the concept of God.
     
  16. JustAsking

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    This is very true, but so is the notion of an electron made up.
     
  17. Irish

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    Essentially what I was going to post after reading the title.

    No basis in the Scientific Method, all based on poor assumptions, draws conclusions from unverified assumptions, the name is misleading (there's very little intelligent about the design of most life on our planet, relatively speaking)... it certainly sounds a lot more like religion than science to me.
     
  18. B_Hung Jon

    B_Hung Jon New Member

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    When I hear about "intelligent design", it reminds me that theology is really just the philosophy of fiction.
     
  19. D_Davy_Downspout

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    Good luck with that.


    It's like discussing the musical merits of a tin can.
     
  20. avgdave

    avgdave New Member

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    ID is Creationism with a fancy new name. There is nothing scientifc about it. The entire "theory" is predicated on the belief in God. Those who propose ID have already made up their minds that there is a God and then they do everything they can to try and make arguments that have the appearance of being scientific when they are actually not. The existence of God cannot be tested in a controlled environment. It's pseudo-science at best.

    Furthermore...I thought that Christianity was based on faith. Doesn't that automatically take God (or the intelligent designer) out of the realm of science? To all of you Christians out there...don't you think your pissing your God off by trying to prove His existence scientifically rather than just having faith as he presumably asked for in the first place? Sounds like ID pushers aren't very secure in their faith if they are trying to prove it to all of us. Take your religion back to religious studies please. (not intended for the guy I responded to, lol)
     
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