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Thursday, December 23, 2004 CE

Intelligent? Design


Charles Darwin

To my surprise, I have started to see that religious conservatives want to "offer alternatives" to evolution. For some reason, they dislike evolution and when they do that they also show contempt for the science that lead into the development of the theory. What is somewhat encouraging is that, apparently, they have tacitly acknowledged that creationism cannot survive in a well informed world.

Intelligent design is creationism that tries to show itself as science. It is exactly the opposite to science. The word science has a Latin origin that means knowledge. It is knowledge acquired , to describe nature, to improve our living conditions and sometimes to beat our enemies. When Charles Darwin proposed the theory of evolution in his book Origin of Species, he did it based on observations he had made for years. Natural selection is a phenomenon that is seen all the time. Whenever a bacteria develops resistance to an antibiotic, whenever an insect develops resistence to a pesticide or whenever a population of birds changes its color to be more protected from predators we see natural selection. Evolution is just the appearence of new species based on it. Since the species that exist now, are not the same that the ones which existed 5 million years ago, we have to conclude that there has to be a process that leads into the formation of these new species. Natural selection is the strongest candidate. Intelligent design appears in order to contradict evolution, not to describe nature, so it is not science. It is interested, it has an agenda. It implies that a superior (intelligent) being created the complexity of the Universe. It want as to keep gods in our mind in view of the dying creationism.

17 Comments:

Blogger Cranky Liberal said...

Marco

Good stuff and it dovetails into mine nicely. I hope people read it. It made me think hmm - how do IDiots explain the dinosaur age, the fossil records of large mammals etc. Does the designer keep coming back?

7:51 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

That is the issue. The "engineer" cannot modify the laws he created, otherwise chaos will ensure. If he cannot modify them, then he cannot intervene in our Universe. If he cannot intervene in our Universe, he is so useless that it is exactly the same as not existing.

If someone thinks that the laws of nature equal the "engineer", then he or she is agreeable with Pantheists think (see posting). It would be a nice point to promote understanding between religious people and atheists.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Gindy said...

Why do evolution and religion need to be mutually exclusive? Why is it wrong to say that evolution is against G-d's design. Picture what humans must have looked like 10,000 years ago. Not like the humans today I believe. Size, weight, etc.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

The ones who exclude themselves from evolution are certain religious fundamentalists, used to practices of discriminating people according to what they think

8:10 AM  
Blogger Ray said...

I have a different view on "Intelligent Design". Creation as described in Genesis is a parable for evolution. Evolution is not a natural process but rather a subtle and inspired process put in place by GOD to arrive at his goals. The creationist will argue the earth is about 4 or 5 thousand years old in the face of a large body of evidence to the contrary.

I will not do this. Instead I look at the idea of time and the concept of GOD and think to myself 7 days for creation? Well, perhaps it was 7 billion years or more likely an unknown quantity of time which would mean little or nothing to GOD.

I would like to point out that in laboratory experiments that were conducted and continue to be conducted to try and prove Evolutions beginnings, scientists have yet to form any living matter from primordial soups they concoct. Without divine intervention the "evolution" of life would not have occurred.

The divine spark is where Darwin missed the boat. I suspect he was closer to the truth than most would like to believe but he had a fatal flaw. He was unwilling to accept the possibility of a divine being directing the universe and so he allowed his personal disbelief to color his thought process as much as any religious scholar would when talking about creationism.

The truth often lies somewhere in between the various positions people take.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Ray:

Thanks for your comment. Definitely, you believe in ID. As I belief, it is entirely your choice and I respect it. However, the fact is that it is a belief and it is not science. You can believe that there is a supernatural designer, but you cannot prove it. I disagree with people that try to place ID at the level of science when they are totally different things.

10:41 AM  
Blogger TOKilla said...

Is evolution really a science? It is not measurable, observable, or repeatable. The process of evolution takes so much time that no one can accurately observe. And no one has been able to recreate the process of evolution so can we really state it as accurate science (even 4th grade science does at least 3 trials before making a conclusion). Sounds like a belief to me.

Many references are made to certain adaptations, but that is not evolution. Evolution is the creation of a new species.

I read an article in which the author brought up the conflict of evolution with the second law of thermodynamics. The second law (or entropy) states that things tend towards disorder (engines need servicing, rooms get dusty, etc.). So how can some belief compete with a proven law? Honestly I dont know, Ive got views both ways.

The main problem with ID is that it is contradictory. It claims that science and materialism (not the materialism as in wanting objects, but the belief that we are what we are and no afterlife) are the root of all evil. Yet ID then calls itself a science even though it cannot support any conclusions.

Back to Darwin. Lets delve into reasoning. Darwin's theory of natural selection is based in tautology or circular reasoning, and is therefore is neither sound nor logical. Basically he says that species survive because they are the fittest. (No problems there.) But why are they the fittest? Because they survive. Darwin has created a circle of reasoning where there are no entrances or exits, hence no way to discredit his findings.

12:06 AM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Evolution is a theory. It is based on the sciences of biochemistry, genetics, biology and archeology. It is not a belief because there is enough evidence of it to deny it. The theory of evolution says that isolation is key in the process so that different populations can be exposed to different environments, undergo different mutations, avoid recombining genetic material with already changing individuals of their own species and, in the end, form different species. The examples are in Madagascar and Australia. Hundreds of millions of years ago, when they were united to the other continents they had similar species, based on fossil studies. After they separated from the continents, they generated species never seen in the main continents. Natural selection is a process that happens everyday. The question of why a species or group of individuals is the fittest is a function of the relationship with the environment.

Honestly, I find it more difficult to accept that a supernatural being placed the species in the world at different points of time and made them disappear at other points of time.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics, does not contradict evolution. I will write about it in a future post since there seems to be a misconcept about it.

7:15 PM  
Blogger TOKilla said...

The fact remains that evolution is still a one time thing. Until an experiement can produce the same progression, then evolution cannot be legitimately considered as anything more than a belief. Call it a theory if you wish but it is still an unfounded "science".

Marco: i agree with you about the 2nd law. Evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and humans with our pollution and ice cap melting only causes more chaos. It was just a theory that i came across so I threw it out there to see what you guys thought.

Your scientific background makes it difficult to accept a creator, because frankly, its not probable, whereas others will not accept science (watch a jerry springer/maury type show with paternity tests - the guests deny dna evidence all the time). Or take Christian scientists, who prefer to pray rather than take medicine for illnesses. You are an inductive thinker - you make conclusions based on evidence, whereas a deductive thinker makes conclusions logically from an initial assumption that is accepted as true. For these reasons, religion is very similar to math. Both start with assumptions and all conclusions follow logically, hence all conclusions are correct. But TOKilla, thats a big assumption that youre making, you say. Perhaps, but remember that saying God exists is the same as saying a line segment is the shortest distance between two points. Now the latter seems much more realistic but philosophically they are the same thing. While there is no way to test this, a lot of people find comfort in the 100% guarantee of correctness.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

I guess that we have to agree in that there is a process that converted the unicellular organisms that lived billions of years ago into the tigers, monkeys and humans that live now. Evolution is a theory that explains it. Has anyone seen an atom? No. The atomic theory is just a theory. A theory that works very well and explains our environment, as evolution does. You cannot expect to see quarks or atoms. You cannot expect to reproduce millions of years of genetic transformation in a lab. What you see are its consequences and evidence of it, like the examples of Madagascar and Australia or the atomic bomb.

11:33 PM  
Blogger TOKilla said...

Based on my 1.5 years of chemistry I have learned 5 different models of the atom. From Dalton, Thompson, Rutherford, Bohr and the quantum mechanical model, the atomic theory seems to always be changing. What makes you think the theory of evolution is the right theory? Bolder scientific claims have been made. 500 years ago everyone knew the world was flat. Laws were made decreeing that the world was flat. Laws! Yet you think some theory can be more accurate??

2:20 AM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Tokilla: You seem to smart person, so you can make me get to the bottom of it. What makes evolution so bad for a religious person? Why a theory that is beautiful, self-explanatory, advanced and intellectually interesting is rejected in the terms it is rejected by people who believe in gods? I am not refering to the people who is uneducated. I am referring to the people like you, who have education and are able to understand abstract concepts. What makes evolution so wrong?

5:48 AM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

The example of the flat Earth is probably a not a good one. 1700 years before the end of the middle ages there was a Greek scientist called Eratosthenes who not only demonstrated that the Earth was a sphere, but calculated its diameter. See my posting called "Eratosthenes and the awakening of the mind" from December 9, 2004.

6:06 AM  
Blogger TOKilla said...

Believe it or not, I agree with evolution. For some reason, a rift between religion and nature has been made, but I dont understand how some people dont see God in the woods, or a waterfall, or a sunset. I feel more at home in Gods creation than in some man-made cathedral. I feel that some of the wonders of science are evidence for a higher, perfect being. Perfect crystalline structures, elliptical orbits, the number phi in nature. I see no problem with creation vs evolution because the Bible is one big parable waiting for interpretation.

"The unexamined life is not worth living" Likewise the unexamined discusion is not worth having. So someones gotta be there to take up the other side. And that person was me :)

12:32 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

I am glad you have no problem with the theory of evolution. I respect other people's beliefs also. However, the question is still floating...

Why a theory that is beautiful, self-explanatory, advanced and intellectually interesting is rejected by people who believe in gods?

5:56 PM  
Blogger Hollyberry said...

interesting conversation...sometimes I get so tired of this though - arguing about what science means and what the difference between that and belief is, etc. - don't they teach people what science and theory are in school? Why must people twist these definitions, and twist the evidence in front of them, to conform to the beliefs they already have? I cannot say that I am exempt from this; I am sure that sometimes I must see things and fit my analysis of them to conform to beliefs I already have...but still, sometimes human nature is so disappointing to me.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

I totally understand you

1:28 AM  

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