A Reason To Doubt Design In Nature

I’ve never found the ID arguments for the design of biological organisms all that compelling for a number of reasons. The dubious math, the fallacious arguments, the disingenuous bait and switch to Christian apologetics, and so forth. But even beyond that, there was something about objects in nature – organisms themselves – that just don’t seem designed to me. There is something different about them compared to man-made objects, but for the longest time I just could not put my finger on what I felt the difference was. And then it hit me last night: replaceable parts.

All man-made objects – every single one – is either designed specifically to be discarded or has components that are designed specifically to be replaced. Why? Because tool users learn really quick that tools and/or certain parts of tools wear out. So as designers, we <i>anticipate the need for maintenance</i>.

No such anticipation or planning for maintenance can be found in nature. None. If something breaks in an organism, either that organism learns to live without it or it dies. Or, in the case of humans, that part gets replaced by human designed or human configured replacements (as in my case). But even in the later case, humans have to create a work-around, because biological parts actual <i>resist</i> being replaced. You can’t just replace human parts with other human parts willy-nilly. In most cases, the new parts just won’t work, or worse, they’ll be rejected by the body’s immune system. But of particular note, there’s no surplus of replacement parts anywhere; no storage unit somewhere with a bunch of eyes or hearts or toes or hair or kidneys or…anything. Not even bark or leaves or antennae or scales. Nothing. There’s replacement part supply or even creation in nature.

Of course, this makes perfect sense given evolution and other similar natural processes. It makes no sense if there were an actual biological designer behind it all.

138 Replies to “A Reason To Doubt Design In Nature”

  1. TristanM
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    says:

    no storage unit somewhere with a bunch of eyes or hearts or toes or hair or kidneys or…anything.

    Storage locker 12-B is Yahweh’s most closely guarded secret.

  2. phoodoo
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    says:

    Coffee cups are designed to be thrown out?

    And steeples too?

  3. John Harshman John Harshman
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    How does the existence of organisms that can regrow lost parts — and there are millions of cases — fit into your scheme?

  4. GlenDavidson
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    Yes, but before the time of Colt or thereabout, there were no replaceable parts, or interchangeable parts. Eli Whitney supposedly came up with the capacity for making interchangeable parts (not really a new idea), but most think he sort of cheated, actually. It took a long time to get to the point where manufacturing was precise enough to make interchangeable parts, yet there were rather good machines prior to that time, from watches to steam engines.

    Naturally, replacement parts were made, or probably sometimes remade from other parts, but you really couldn’t go out and buy a new part for your gun or steam engine until Colt’s manufacturing became good enough for it.

    Actually, I think the idea of life as “designed” is old enough (see Cicero), but still rather late compared to ideas of magic and spirit. God does form Adam from earth, it’s true, but life came from breathing spirit into him.

    Only in later times do they really think that life might actually be a bunch of parts designed to work as a whole, especially as watches and some other equipment began to work almost automatically (still had to be wound, sure, but then we have to eat). You just didn’t really look at life like fishing reels, mousetraps, or factories. Still a pretty bizarre notion, actually, because even if we do rightly think of life as ruled by physics and even mechanics, the whole cycle of life, especially reproduction, is rather different from mechanical devices, even computers.

    Life is kind of magic, or at least it feels that way. Love, it isn’t what makes a Subaru a Subaru. I hope it’s engineering, but I’m afraid to get one in case they take their advertising to heart.

    Glen Davidson

  5. Robin Robin
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    says:

    phoodoo:
    Coffee cups are designed to be thrown out?

    Umm…yes…?

  6. Robin Robin
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    says:

    phoodoo:

    And steeples too?

    Steeples are replaceable:

    http://churchspecialtiesllc.com/church-steeple-replacement/

  7. Robin Robin
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    says:

    John Harshman:
    How does the existence of organisms that can regrow lost parts — and there are millions of cases — fit into your scheme?

    I do not think of regeneration as a replacement process. From what I know of organisms that can regrow parts, the growth mechanism is turning on genes for embryonic growth. That’s not so much replacement as growth.

    To be sure, it’s an oddity, but it doesn’t strike me as solving the same type of problem that replaceable parts solve.

  8. Robin Robin
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    says:

    GlenDavidson:
    Yes, but before the time of Colt or thereabout, there were no replaceable parts, or interchangeable parts.Eli Whitney supposedly came up with the capacity for making interchangeable parts (not really a new idea), but most think he sort of cheated, actually.It took a long time to get to the point where manufacturing was precise enough to make interchangeable parts, yet there were rather good machines prior to that time, from watches to steam engines.

    Naturally, replacement parts were made, or probably sometimes remade from other parts, but you really couldn’t go out and buy a new part for your gun or steam engine until Colt’s manufacturing became good enough for it.

    Actually, I think the idea of life as “designed” is old enough (see Cicero), but still rather late compared to ideas of magic and spirit.God does form Adam from earth, it’s true, but life came from breathing spirit into him.

    Only in later times do they really think that life might actually be a bunch of parts designed to work as a whole, especially as watches and some other equipment began to work almost automatically (still had to be wound, sure, but then we have to eat).You just didn’t really look at life like fishing reels, mousetraps, or factories.Still a pretty bizarre notion, actually, because even if we do rightly think of life as ruled by physics and even mechanics, the whole cycle of life, especially reproduction, is rather different from mechanical devices, even computers.

    Life is kind of magic, or at least it feels that way.Love, it isn’t what makes a Subaru a Subaru.I hope it’s engineering, but I’m afraid to get one in case they take their advertising to heart.

    Glen Davidson

    Ok. Fair enough. My thesis needs some refining given historic manufacturing technologies and methodologies. I suppose technically there are no replaceable parts for aqueducts and walls; these items need to be repaired when some area gets damaged. I’ll have to think on that.

  9. stcordova
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    The most powerful reason, imho, to doubt design is not seeing the Designer in action.

    We see humans making things, and thus when we see an artifact that reminds us of what a human has made, it’s easy to believe it was Designed.

    If each and every person saw the Designer in action, and concluded the vision of the event wasn’t a hallucination, then there probably should be little reason to question design.

    Not seeing the Designer directly is really the big reason to doubt design, imho.

    I have those doubts myself many times, and that’s why I investigate inference-type arguments. We all have to play the hand we’re dealt with as little evidence we have in hand. I accept Design, I believe it, but I occasionally have doubts. I visit TSZ, and when I here the lack of credible explanations for design, my faith in God is strengthened. 🙂

    As far as the OP:

    So as designers, we anticipate the need for maintenance.

    Not if the design is as was indicated earlier:

    All man-made objects – every single one – is either designed specifically to be discarded or has components that are designed specifically to be replaced

    Biological life and the universe look like a disposable design to me! I expressed my explanation of this and related it to Monsanto’s self-destructing genetically engineered crops here at the tail end of my talk:

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/my-presentation-at-lipscomb-university-in-front-of-faculty-and-deans-of-several-universities-available-for-free-online-expense-for-live-attendance-is-390/

  10. Mung Mung
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    says:

    Robin: I do not think of regeneration as a replacement process.

    How convenient. How about when a crab moves into a new shell, replacing the old one with the new one, rather than just growing a new one?

  11. Acartia Acartia
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    says:

    stcordova: Not seeing the Designer directly is really the big reason to doubt design, imho.

    That is just one reason among hundreds to doubt design in nature.

  12. GlenDavidson
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    says:

    stcordova: Not seeing the Designer directly is really the big reason to doubt design, imho.

    But then there’s not seeing any convincing candidates for designed living beings, either. Besides, there are the things that are simply not what an intelligent person would do (descent of testes, say), let alone what a super-intelligent deity could do.

    Not seeing Martians directly making buildings and computers is not the big reason to doubt that Martians have made them. It’s the absence of designed objects on Mars (save the ones we crashed or landed there) that is the really big reason to doubt it.

    Glen Davidson

  13. John Harshman John Harshman
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    says:

    Robin: I do not think of regeneration as a replacement process. From what I know of organisms that can regrow parts, the growth mechanism is turning on genes for embryonic growth. That’s not so much replacement as growth.

    To be sure, it’s an oddity, but it doesn’t strike me as solving the same type of problem that replaceable parts solve.

    I don’t see that the mechanism is relevant. Rather, it’s the result. If a starfish arm grows a new starfish, that’s replacement. Have you considered other models of design? Life is a sort of von Neumann machine. I don’t think your reason here is a good one; there are better reasons.

  14. John Harshman John Harshman
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    says:

    stcordova: I accept Design, I believe it, but I occasionally have doubts.

    Let’s be clear: you believe that earth was created 6000 years ago, with various “kinds” of life created then, in more or less their present forms, plus a mass of extinct kinds too, and that there was a worldwide flood around 4000 years ago from which an unspecified number of kinds were rescued in an ark, and then quickly turned into all present diversity. Right?

    I can see why you would avoid arguing that position in favor of a nebulous “design”. You have promised to start a thread to discuss your defense of young-earth creationism, but it’s been a while now since that promise, and nothing so far. Again, I can see why.

  15. Robert Byers
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    says:

    AHA. Well thats what the bible says. The original creation would never break down.
    God didn’t create the immune system. there was nothing to be immune from or a need for protection. Only after death/decay came because of Adam/Eve eating the forbidden fruit in malkicious rebellion against GOD.

    So God would not have a innate replacement etc but no problem in the first place. A perfect creation.
    Biology now does heal itself, like out cuts etc, but only to keep biology existing until the end.

  16. stcordova
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    says:

    You have promised to start a thread to discuss your defense of young-earth creationism, but it’s been a while now since that promise, and nothing so far. Again, I can see why.

    I’ve defended YEC here several times, so I see no need of a repeat. What I promised was the defense of common design.

    I wanted to have a little fun posting comments about other things at TSZ first like the result of Bernie-Sanders-type policies playing out in Venezuela. But I may get around to the common design thing in due time.

    In the mean time, on a more serious note, I’m about to release a collection of my findings that I expect will over turn Ohno’s 1984 PNAS paper. That’s a far more serious discussion than common design, at least for my immediate concerns.

  17. OMagain
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    says:

    stcordova: In the mean time, on a more serious note, I’m about to release a collection of my findings that I expect will over turn Ohno’s 1984 PNAS paper.

    Where will this be published?

  18. stcordova
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    OMagain:

    Where will this be published?

    How about here at a reputable venue like TSZ? 🙂

  19. RoyLT
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    says:

    John Harshman: How does the existence of organisms that can regrow lost parts — and there are millions of cases — fit into your scheme?

    I can think of a few cases like the human liver and iguana tails, but it certainly seems like the vast majority of organisms’ “parts” do not regenerate. Hair and fingernails are certainly disposable items, but even then (as I can personally attest) once a hair follicle dies, it’s gone. Same for nail beds on fingers and toes.

  20. phoodoo
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    says:

    Robin: Umm…yes…?

  21. Robin Robin
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    says:

    phoodoo,

    Fair enough. I’ll concede that mug is designed for neither disposal nor replacement. Ok…so you have one counter example out of literally millions that support my point. Further, in what way is a mug remotely analogous to biology?

  22. Robin Robin
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    says:

    John Harshman: I don’t see that the mechanism is relevant. Rather, it’s the result. If a starfish arm grows a new starfish, that’s replacement. Have you considered other models of design? Life is a sort of von Neumann machine. I don’t think your reason here is a good one; there are better reasons.

    Even if you take something like appendage regeneration as an example of replacement, it still isn’t analogous to designed replacement. For one thing, those limbs are not interchangeable; you can’t take a tail regrown on one lizard and move it to another. But more to the point, as noted up thread with the Colt information, replaceable parts is all about planning for use and wear. So things like tires, brakes, gaskets, pilot lights, grill grates, windows, doors, faucet valves, etc., all are replaceable and many of those parts have multiple manufacturers making interchangeable parts to fill a wide need. You just don’t see that in nature.

    But I hear you John. There are better arguments, but this struck me as something odd.

  23. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
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    says:

    I agree that organisms aren’t at all like artifacts, even though mass-produced precise replacement parts are a relatively recent breakthrough.

    The major difference is that artifacts are all designed for purpose. Organisms don’t have purposes. There’s no purpose to bacteria or whales or people. One would first need to believe in design in order to then see organisms as having purposes. (There’s a big lesson lurking hereabouts about how sense-perception or experience is determined by background conceptual frameworks!)

  24. GlenDavidson
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    says:

    On the microscopic level, of course, repair and replacement occur constantly. Cells (usually recently divided cells) are the various replacements in most cases. All materials fatigue–except for living tissues, although it’s more accurate to say that fatigue damage is repaired quickly enough in living organisms that fatigue isn’t noticeable.

    It’s very different from parts wearing out and being replaced, but for autonomously living organisms it seems more or less what would need to be the case. Maybe if there were a God, outside care and concern for replacement and healing of organisms should be expected, but for some deities, maybe not. Limb or eye replacement after loss would be much appreciated, but, famously, amputees aren’t healed.

    One might say that for manufactured items the problem is that they have no internal repair mechanisms (with just the barest exceptions). So we just have to fix things. If one did believe in design, the fairly good repair and replacement done through most of life might seem like very good design (but why the troubles of aging and loss of those abilities?). OTOH, with evolution, how else would make organisms competent but some good repair and replacement? Those processes would have to evolve if metazoans did evolve to what they have become.

    Of course repair and replacement in organisms has the usual marks of evolution, not of design, however I’m not sure that there’s really much that’s informative about how manufactured goods are repaired and replaced vs. how organisms repair and replace damage. The differences seem to follow from the fact that manufactured goods are manufactured (and context), and from the fact that organisms develop organically. Organisms are different, rather more limited in “design” opportunities by their heredity, unable to seriously transcend the biologic limits (no high temperatures allowed) except via intelligence, and seeming to have no end function (“purpose”) beyond reproducing themselves. Repair and replacement are also different, however this seems to more follow from the autonomous “self-causing” situation in which organisms find themselves in rather than being something that especially sets organisms apart from things made by artifice. Organisms typically are rather “self-caused,” while guns are not.

    Glen Davidson

  25. John Harshman John Harshman
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    says:

    RoyLT: I can think of a few cases like the human liver and iguana tails, but it certainly seems like the vast majority of organisms’ “parts” do not regenerate.Hair and fingernails are certainly disposable items, but even then (as I can personally attest) once a hair follicle dies, it’s gone.Same for nail beds on fingers and toes.

    You’re thinking of mammals. Some amphibians can grow new legs. Lots of invertebrates (though not insects, oddly enough) do better. Think of starfish and planaria, for example.

  26. John Harshman John Harshman
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    says:

    stcordova: I’ve defended YEC here several times, so I see no need of a repeat. What I promised was the defense of common design.

    I stand corrected. Can you link to the places you have defended YEC? I don’t remember them. It seems odd that you see no need of a repeat, yet repeat other things constantly.

    But I’ll take a defense of common design. When do you propose to do it? Why is common design less serious than refuting a decades-old paper? Why is YEC less serious?

  27. colewd
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist,

    The major difference is that artifacts are all designed for purpose. Organisms don’t have purposes.

    Can you expand on this as bacteria help us digest food. Also people do work for other people. Our respiration is what plants utilize for energy.

  28. Mung Mung
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: Organisms don’t have purposes.

    Sure they do.

  29. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: The major difference is that artifacts are all designed for purpose. Organisms don’t have purposes.

    I disagree with that.

    Yes, artifacts are designed for a purpose — the designer’s purpose.

    Organisms are self-purposeful. They exist for their own purpose; for continued existence.

    For artifacts, it is an external purpose, the designers purpose. For organisms it is self-purpose, the organisms own purpose.

  30. Erik
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist,

    Artefacts have extrinsic purpose. Organisms have intrinsic purpose. For you intrinsic purposes don’t exist, apparently. As per yourself, you are pointless.

  31. Mung Mung
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    says:

    What about purpose as part of a greater whole? Does that count as extrinsic or intrinsic purpose?

    ETA: So while KN may have no intrinsic purpose, perhaps he has a purpose as part of something greater than himself. 🙂

  32. Rumraket Rumraket
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    Erik: For you intrinsic purposes don’t exist, apparently. As per yourself, you are pointless.

    I agree with this. The way I see it purpose is subjective and only exists as ideas in our minds as purpose is not a property of anything. The only meaning there is, is what we make of things. And even then, it only exists in our minds and nowhere else.

  33. petrushka
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    The thing that I find distinctive about most of the living things I can see is that they have only one working part. the cell. Aside from viruses and such, everything is either a cell or a colony of cells, some of which are differentiated (but all of which share the same genome, and all of which descend from the same parent cell.)

    It seems possible that every living thing is descended from a single parent cell.

    I don’t know of any known designed things that do that.

  34. John Harshman John Harshman
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    says:

    stcordova:

    Thanks. But I don’t see any of those as making any sort of coherent case for YEC. The first couple are merely drawing attention to claimed minor anomalies for which YEC is hardly the preferred explanation. The next two are just a laundry list of personal opinions most of which are not relevant to geology. And the last fails to resolve a major objection to a young age for the universe.

    I’m assuming that the comments to all those dealt many of the fallacies in that series of Gish Gallops. But the big thing is that in none of those posts did you actually set forth a coherent YEC model and make a case for it. Isn’t that what you should be doing? I would be curious about what you think the geological record shows. How many kinds were created, and when? How old is the earth? How old is life? When was the flood, which deposits precede it, which result from it, and which come after it, and how can we tell? How does creationist geology explain the basic facts of geology? That’s really where you need to start, and you haven’t started yet.

  35. Mung Mung
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    Acartia: That is just one reason among hundreds to doubt design in nature.

    But seriously, who here really needs a reason for their doubt?

  36. stcordova
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    says:

    John Harshman:

    Thanks.

    You’re welcome and thank you for reading.

    But I don’t see any of those as making any sort of coherent case for YEC. The first couple are merely drawing attention to claimed minor anomalies

    I do not think the anomalies are minor, and that’s part of my reason now being a YEC when I was formerly and OEC (and before that a Darwinist).

    for which
    YEC is hardly the preferred explanation. The next two are just a laundry list of personal opinions most of which are not relevant to geology. And the last fails to resolve a major objection to a young age for the universe

    I make a distinction between YEC and YLC (Young LIfe Creation) or YFR (Young Fossil Record). YLC does not necessarily claim the universe is young, merely that life is young. An even more modest claim of YFR doesn’t not even insist life is young, but that the fossil record is young.

    When I teach creationism, I emphasize YLC because YEC has severe problems, but YLC or YFR are empirically defensible if one is willing to accept miracles as a mechanism.

    What I laid out was a sketch, not a comprehensive theory which I don’t think is anywhere near possible. I don’t disagree that what I laid out was not completely coherent since no origins model is completely coherent as far as I can tell. I laid out why I don’t find an old fossil record believable or at the least unequivocally proven.

    But I’ll take a defense of common design. When do you propose to do it? Why is common design less serious than refuting a decades-old paper? Why is YEC less serious?

    The paper is by someone rather important, namely Ohno. Second, I take it more seriously because I feel I can argue the case convincingly, so much so I don’t think any evolutionist who is fair with the facts will disagree with my conclusions about post-1935 evolution because I do not address the question of pre-1935 evolution at all. The paper is relevant to the arguments between Biologos and the Creationists especially because of Venema. There is a modest rivalry in Christian organizations between the Theistic Evoltuionists and Creationists, and Ohno’s paper is a part of that……

    Common design and YEC can only be argued with fragmentary evidence and anomalies at this time. I’ve gone on record as saying, a 1% chance YEC is true (or whatever miniscule chance it’s true) is sufficient reason to pursue it as a possibility. At a personal level, not formal level, I just don’t find it believable the fossil record is old for the reasons I stated. I once believed the fossil record was old. I believed it was old when I joined the ID movement circa 2001-2003. I began to seriously doubt it was old around 2004 and now am quite convinced it cannot be old.

    For that reason alone, I accept common design. Now to your question about common design vs. common descent, how can we determine common design? Well, if the fossil record is young, it would seem the major divisions having similarity of form would be common designs. The question then is whether a chimp and a human can share a common ancestor in so short a time frame.

    In contrast, if we assume and old fossil record but special creations (the phrase “special creations” was used by Darwin himself), then a different criterion can be applied such as probability of mechanical transitions. It seemed when Darwin used the word “special creations” he was assuming the theory of “special creations” was within an Old Earth paradigm not a YEC paradigm. As he said:

    I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Silurian system was deposited –Charles Darwin

    The criterion I use for common design is based on homology as defined by Owen rather than by evolutionists. Owen’s notion of homology was based on organisms obeying plans or laws or designs. There is the mammalian plan, the aves plan, or whatever…. Owen deduced these plans based on comparative anatomy. Birds share plans that mammals don’t.

    Can members of one plan eventually evolve to another plan? I can’t answer for every plan, but I think there are a few that are clear, the most prominent being the divide between Eukarya and Prokarya.

    I’ve delayed giving a detailed response to the common design issue because I wanted to list all the major plans that I think have good evidence of morphological and physiological isolation. Right now Eukarya and Prokarya are the ones I’m most familiar with and which I think are naturally the most defensible.

  37. John Harshman John Harshman
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    says:

    stcordova,

    I’ll wait for your post defending common design before commenting on that.

    But regarding “YLC”, I don’t think your anomalies are really anomalies, and your theory is incoherent not because it isn’t fully developed but because it makes no sense on any level. To pick a single example, your notion that fossils can be younger than the rocks that contain them is nonsensical, I don’t think you’ve thought about that for more than the few seconds it took to type it, and even after much thought you will be unable to describe a mechanism that would cause such a thing to happen.

    Now it’s true that any evidence can be accounted for by any scenario, given sufficient miracles. But at that point you’re arguing for a god who purposely uses miracles to make young life look like old life: a deceiver, in other words. Are you sure you want to do that?

  38. stcordova
    Ignored
    says:

    But at that point you’re arguing for a god who purposely uses miracles to make young life look like old life: a deceiver, in other words.

    Actually, I’m arguing God has left indications the fossil record is young.

    The miracles I was referring to was the emergence of forms, not the fossil record looking old when it is young. It looks young to me, so I believe it is young.

    The faint young sun paradox is not a minor anomaly in my view, neither are the ubiquitious C14 traces in Caboniferous fossils (like practically all coals and many marble fossils), nor the non-racemic amino acids. You may write these off as minor, I see them as powerful evidences of youth of the fossils. I might not have said that 15 years ago given the data available then, but I do so now.

    The Earth and Solar System could be old, but of interest to the discussion of biological design, if the fossil record is young, I think then design and special creation (to use Darwin’s phrase), becomes a compelling possibility. I certainly believe it to be the case.

  39. OMagain
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    stcordova: It looks young to me, so I believe it is young.

    How young? 6000 years? More? Less?

  40. Erik
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    Rumraket: I agree with this. The way I see it purpose is subjective and only exists as ideas in our minds as purpose is not a property of anything. The only meaning there is, is what we make of things. And even then, it only exists in our minds and nowhere else.

    Actually you are agreeing with KN, not me. For me, words like “subjective” and phrases like “only exists as ideas in our minds” cannot be used to handwave away any meaningful ontological status and causal capacity of the mind. When you say “exists as ideas in our minds” then, from my point of view, you must mean that it exists. Existence has its consequences that must be accounted for. If you mean something else, then you don’t really mean what you are saying, and that’s characteristic of KN’s so-called pragmatism.

  41. keiths keiths
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    says:

    Erik,

    For me, words like “subjective” and phrases like “only exists as ideas in our minds” cannot be used to handwave away any meaningful ontological status and causal capacity of the mind.

    Nothing in what Rumraket wrote suggests that he is trying to “handwave away” the “causal capacity of the mind”. He’s merely suggesting that purpose is subjective, not intrinsic.

  42. Erik
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths: He’s merely suggesting that purpose is subjective, not intrinsic.

    But my point was to suggest that purpose is intrinsic, so it was totally out of place of him to start his response with “I agree with this” when he was actually disagreeing.

  43. keiths keiths
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    says:

    Erik,

    But my point was to suggest that purpose is intrinsic, so it was totally out of place of him to start his response with “I agree with this” when he was actually disagreeing.

    No, his response was entirely appropriate. He was agreeing with your assessment of his position, which he quoted.

    Here is his exact comment:

    Erik: For you intrinsic purposes don’t exist, apparently. As per yourself, you are pointless.

    I agree with this. The way I see it purpose is subjective and only exists as ideas in our minds as purpose is not a property of anything. The only meaning there is, is what we make of things. And even then, it only exists in our minds and nowhere else.

  44. John Harshman John Harshman
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    says:

    stcordova: Actually, I’m arguing God has left indications the fossil record is young.

    …and then you go on to cite a few trivial supposed anomalies. What kind of weird god are you talking about? If I wanted to show that the fossil record is young, I’d make it glaringly obvious, not add little hints to what is otherwise an overwhelming tale of age. You have convinced yourself that a haystack is primarily made of needles.

    “The emergence of forms” is too vague a question to discuss. But if there are no miracles in the geological record, then it is what it looks like. If it looks young to you then you are ignoring or grossly misinterpreting almost all the evidence.

  45. Allan Miller
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    says:

    stcordova,

    neither are the ubiquitious C14 traces in Caboniferous fossils (like practically all coals and many marble fossils)

    We’ve been over all your ‘evidences’ many times, but I do wonder if you have any ballpark idea of the ratio of anomalous to not-anomalous in the materials you mention. That would seem relevant to a determination as to whether the evidence (if this were the ony dating method we had), taken as a not-cherry-picked whole, pointed to ‘old’ or ‘young’.

    And, why marbles, but not limestones, do you think?

  46. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: I disagree with that.

    Yes, artifacts are designed for a purpose — the designer’s purpose.

    Organisms are self-purposeful.They exist for their own purpose; for continued existence.

    For artifacts, it is an external purpose, the designers purpose. For organisms it is self-purpose, the organisms own purpose.

    I can easily agree that organisms have goals, sure. But I’m not happy at the idea of treating goals and purposes as synonyms. (One might be tempted to to do that because the Greek telos can be translated as either.)

    The difference is that organisms can have many different goals — finding food, avoiding predation, finding a mate, successfully reproducing — all explained in terms of having the final goal of continuing the existence of the kind of organisms to which that individual organism belongs. (Alternatively: avoiding extinction one generation at a time.)

    But it just seems like an abuse of language to say that any of these goals are the organism’s purpose or purposes. Purposes are, in the typical case, conferred or attributed. A tool or machine has a purpose — as do practices, institutions, and other dimensions of cultural/social life.

    There’s a long history in Western philosophy of conflating purposes and goals when it comes to talking about teleology. That’s why, when Kant tries to distinguish between extrinsic teleology and intrinsic teleology, he ends up saying that organisms display “purposiveness without purpose”. (He also thinks the same about works of art, interestingly enough.)

    Mind you, the distinction between goals and purposes isn’t a hill I’m going to die on. I’m not going to insist on it till my dying breath. But I wonder if matters are clarified by making it.

  47. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket: I agree with this. The way I see it purpose is subjective and only exists as ideas in our minds as purpose is not a property of anything. The only meaning there is, is what we make of things. And even then, it only exists in our minds and nowhere else.

    I worry that this approach draws on too many background assumptions about what “ideas” are, and in what sense of “exists” to do “ideas exist in the mind”, let alone what “the mind” is.

  48. stcordova
    Ignored
    says:

    but not limestones

    Limestones are not necessarily from biological sources. The absence of C14 in limestones is evidence they are from geological rather than biological origin.

    Marbles having C14 is problematic even if limestone doesn’t have them.

    We’ve been over all your ‘evidences’ many times, but I do wonder if you have any ballpark idea of the ratio of anomalous to not-anomalous in the materials you mention.

    I suspect the anomalies would be even more blatant if the governments and scientific institutions invested in the research like they do for other things and perpetuating false narratives. I hope to release (as in self-publish) my nylonase paper soon. The NIH funded Ohno to pump out a fallacy that has lasted 40 years. I believe I have a credible case to over turn his stuff. Will the government and NIH compensate me for correcting his error? Will the National Academy of Sciences publish my rebuttal? Instead it will be like so many things in these situations, the problem will be dismissed as minor and the correct data will be drowned out in a swarm of perpetuated false narratives.

    When I was at ICC 2013, I was around creationists doing C14 testing with their own money. I got the impression they were doing it out of their own curiosity and need to know. I believe that because I’ve invested personal time and money trying to learn things on my own as well and have done a few experiments myself.

    Your limestone issue a couple years back was actually a pretty good sticking point till I figured out such large amounts of limestone don’t have to have biological origin. So it was worth the price of admission at TSZ for my own benefit to get that issue settled.

    Absence of C14 in limestone isn’t a problem for YEC, but conversely the presence of C14 in marble and practically all coal from the Carboniferous is very problematic for an old fossil record.

    I was in touch with nuclear chemists like Jay Wile to review the issue of radio genic sources. Professor Paul Giem was also really sharp on this issue as well as John Baumgardner. Baumgardner is from Princeton and has been published in Nature on other geological matters. He is a real scientist. I met Baumgardner several times, most recently with John Sanford.

    As I’ve said before, being around these guys, they’ve never whispered to me and said, “hey Sal, we need to massage the numbers and be good liars for Jesus.” As far as I can tell, like me, we gather and interpret the data with sincerity. If we are wrong, it is because of a mistake, not because we are willfully trying to mis-report like the left-wing media mis-reported John MacEnroe’s comments on Ms. Williams.

    In contrast, I felt pressured to say things that violated my conscience at UncommonDescent. That led to a permanent rift between me and Barry Arrington.

  49. GlenDavidson
    Ignored
    says:

    Creationism–outlier “science.”

    Glen Davidson

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