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 thoughts on “A Reason To Doubt Design In Nature

  1. Allan Miller: …but I do wonder if you have any ballpark idea of the ratio of anomalous to not-anomalous in the materials you mention.

    Remember though, the denominator is not relevant.

  2. Mung,

    Remember though, the denominator is not relevant.

    Another lame haymaker. You only get points for blows that land.

  3. stcordova,

    It’s bizarre that you reject all radiometric dating except C14, and accept that only when it suits you. That’s one reason people accuse you of cherry-picking.

    There are a few limestones supposed to arise directly from chemical precipitation, but only a few. Why suppose they’re the norm?

    We have all agreed to believe that you are sincere, but that still leaves unconscious bias. You’re looking at the data through creationist glasses, and your prescription is extreme.

  4. stcordova,

    Absence of C14 in limestone isn’t a problem for YEC,

    Why isn’t absence a problem? Limestone forms from the carbon available at the time. If the earth is young (C14 in coal), why is there no C14 in the equally young limestones?

    but conversely the presence of C14 in marble and practically all coal from the Carboniferous is very problematic for an old fossil record.

    Practically all? I’d like to know how big exactly ‘practically all’ is, with a reference. I’d also like to know the proportions of marbles with and without C14, and controls for other sources. And I still don’t see why marbles but not limestones. Marble is metamorphosed limestone. If it isn’t in limestone, that suggests that perhaps we should look to another source of any C14 in marble, rather than high-atmosphere radiation? I can certainly think of at least one possibility, which doesn’t require that the C14 simply whizzes past an intermediate in the formation process without leaving a trace.

    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.

    You need to put some numbers on that. I was working, in the stoichiometry issue, on some generous assumptions there – I assumed every last molecule of carbon in modern life being converted to limestone, none of which has subsequently been dissolved. Saying ‘some isn’t biogenic’ removes a fraction – but what fraction? And the atoms of carbon still have to come from somewhere. Where? You have a 6000 year old planet with carbon in the atmosphere and in solution. The rest is locked in minerals, or in living things. So how much of total limestone are you going to make out of that non-sequestered set of carbon atoms, in toto, to rescue your narrative?

  5. Allan Miller: You have a 6000 year old planet with carbon in the atmosphere and in solution. The rest is locked in minerals, or in living things. So how much of total limestone are you going to make out of that non-sequestered set of carbon atoms, in toto, to rescue your narrative?

    Wouldn’t most of the carbon in solution also have come from the atmosphere and thus contain C14? It seems to me that the only carbon-containing rocks without C14 would be those of the original creation, made without it for some unknown reason, or those whose source was solely sediments from those originally created rocks. Sal stops thinking as soon as he gets the result he wants.

  6. Allan Miller,

    how much of total limestone are you going to make out of that non-sequestered set of carbon atoms

    … and calcium and magnesium, of course. If not biogenic, it’s an evaporite of some kind. Not easy to engineer in a short time. globally.

  7. John Harshman,

    Wouldn’t most of the carbon in solution also have come from the atmosphere and thus contain C14?

    Not entirely sure – depends on the order of Creation, I guess – rocks first, then water, then atmosphere, you’d start with none. After a while, the atmospheric concentration would rise (giving anomalous dates in the meantime if not corrected for), then you’d get more in solution some of which would displace that arising from minerals. It then depends when, in this progression, the limestones were laid down. Many alternate with coals, in cyclothems, so you’d get an interesting series of anomalous and not-anomalous layers.

  8. Allan Miller,

    So we need, at the least, for Sal to tell us which carbonates were part of the initial creation, which came before the flood, which during, and which after.

  9. Sal to tell us which carbonates were part of the initial creation

    In the ground and then stirred up by the flood.

  10. From Walt Brown:

    http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/Limestone2.html#wp1708026

    Production of Earth’s Limestone. Supercritical water (SCW) readily dissolves certain minerals and other solids. [See pages 123–124.] As SCW’s temperature steadily rose in the preflood subterranean chambers, more and more substances dissolved in the water such as: sodium, chlorine, calcium, carbon, oxygen, copper, aluminum, and iron. Later, as the temperature rose further, they precipitated as salt (NaCl), limestone (CaCO3), and various ores—a process in SCW called “out-salting.” Thick deposits of these mushy solids accumulated on the preflood subterranean chamber’s floor.

    Today, when limestone forms at the earth’s surface, the released CO2 enters the biosphere—the atmosphere, soil, and surface waters of the earth. Before the flood, vast amounts of limestone steadily precipitated onto the subterranean chamber floor, but the released CO2 was confined to the chamber, unable to escape into the biosphere. That CO2 again dissolved in subterranean water and was used to dissolve more minerals in the chamber’s ceiling and floor. Therefore, earth’s preflood limestone was produced without the obvious life-extinguishing problem described in Table 7 and the paragraph that follows it.

    Here’s another way to look at the preflood production of limestone. The chemical equation above states that to form one molecule of limestone, one molecule of CO2 must also come out of solution. In the subterranean chamber, that CO2 went immediately back into the solution, so that CO2 molecule was used over and over. No net CO2 was emitted.

    During the flood, pressure in the escaping water rapidly dropped, so some additional limestone precipitated and a relatively small amount of CO2 gas escaped into the biosphere. Simultaneously, enormous amounts of limestone sediments on the chamber floor were swept up to the earth’s surface, where liquefaction sorted the limestone particles into more uniform layers. [See pages 195–211.]

  11. stcordova: In the ground and then stirred up by the flood.

    At the very least you need at least one complete sentence. Several complete sentences would probably be clearer. As it stands, this doesn’t seem like an answer to any question that anyone has asked so far.

    From Walt Brown: …

    How much of that do you think is true and are willing to defend? Unless most limestone is inorganic, it’s irrelevant anyway. And most limestone is not inorganic, as it consists mostly of bacterial, protist, and invertebrate skeletons. As usual, you concentrate on the few trivial matters you think will help you and ignore almost everything, because it won’t.

    Hey, won’t the H20 and CO2 on the left side of Walt’s equation react to form H+ and HCO3-? Chemistry isn’t my thing, but it seems to me that the net effect is to remove one carbon from the water, not add one to the air.

  12. stcordova: In the ground and then stirred up by the flood.

    Hey Sal, do you think during the flood, each animal got to decide where the boat went?

  13. phoodoo: Hey Sal, do you think during the flood, each animal got to decide where the boat went?

    I believe they left that up to the steering committee.

  14. Mung: I believe they left that up to the steering committee.

    Yea, but like the rabbit would have been saying, I don’t eat as much food as the cow, its not fair we are going to pick up more food for him.

    And then the beaver would have been complaining, look at the dam koala, what can he build, why do we need him.

  15. John Harshman,

    Hey, won’t the H20 and CO2 on the left side of Walt’s equation react to form H+ and HCO3-? Chemistry isn’t my thing, but it seems to me that the net effect is to remove one carbon from the water, not add one to the air.

    I can’t make sense of Brown’s reasoning. If a molecule of CO2 comes out of solution and ‘immediately goes back in’, it can hardly be said to have come out of solution! He seems to think it can act as a mere catalyst. Somehow, you get a steady rain of insoluble carbonate dropping out of a solution with nothing else happening to the reagents to drive the reaction in that direction. How long have we got for this imagined process to build a solid 3,000-foot deposit? If it’s dissolved mineral, where’s all the silicon gone?

    Most carbonates are fossiliferous. Even if we are generous and say that 90% aren’t, there is still one hell of a lot of accounting to do. I am surrounded by limestone here – often with corals and shells all neatly oriented as if in life, with a succession of such beds overlaid as one follows the river up or down; most of what was there is clearly gone. Where is it? Atoms don’t just disappear, and there is a lot to account for, both into and out of solution:

  16. John Harshman,

    it seems to me that the net effect is to remove one carbon from the water, not add one to the air.

    It does both. On precipitation, the total dissolved inorganic carbon goes down, but the partial pressure of CO2 goes up – it’s that change in state that leads to a counterintuitive increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations from inorganic limestone deposition, and the converse for dissolution of both organic and inorganic forms.

  17. Allan Miller:
    John Harshman,

    It does both. On precipitation, the total dissolved inorganic carbon goes down, but the partial pressure of CO2 goes up – it’s that change in state that leads to a counterintuitive increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations from inorganic limestone deposition, and the converse for dissolution of both organic and inorganic forms.

    Not seeing it. The carbonate ion already comes from dissolved CO2 in the water. Why is it in such a hurry to return to the atmosphere that it doesn’t just form more carbonate? Now what I think Brown is doing here is defending himself against the charge that rapid formation (in one year) of all the inorganic limestone in the world would have effects on the atmosphere. Absent that absurdly rapid precipitation, is there any real problem?

  18. stcordova: During the flood, pressure in the escaping water rapidly dropped, so some additional limestone precipitated and a relatively small amount of CO2 gas escaped into the biosphere. Simultaneously, enormous amounts of limestone sediments on the chamber floor were swept up to the earth’s surface, where liquefaction sorted the limestone particles into more uniform layers. [See pages 195–211.]

    Shouldn’t these vents be detectable?

  19. John Harshman,

    Not seeing it. The carbonate ion already comes from dissolved CO2 in the water. Why is it in such a hurry to return to the atmosphere that it doesn’t just form more carbonate? Now what I think Brown is doing here is defending himself against the charge that rapid formation (in one year) of all the inorganic limestone in the world would have effects on the atmosphere. Absent that absurdly rapid precipitation, is there any real problem?

    Try this – see “Carbonate chemistry 101 and jargon buster”. The C02 is in no ‘rush’ to return to the atmosphere, but the steady removal of CaC03 pushes what they term the ‘DIC’ – Dissolved Inorganic Carbonate – down, while simultaneously increasing that fraction of the DIC which is in the CO2 (undissociated) form. Because CO2 is a gas, this has an effect on the reaction, just as does the fact CaC03 is a solid. One goes downwards, the other upwards. Just because CO2 can dissociate into a proton and bicarbonate does not mean it all will: precipitation is pulling bicarbonate out of solution faster than it is being replenished from dissolved CO2.

    The extra complication here is pressure. As you increase the pressure, you increase the solubility of CaC03. Brown wants to contain all the CO2 in a soda bottle – he wants it to be pressurised. But if you stop the CO2 escaping, you also turn off the precipitation reaction. The two – precipitation and outgassing – are physically coupled, and not just chemically.

  20. newton: Shouldn’t these vents be detectable?

    The evidence was destroyed by the flood. Much like how evolution works by destroying evidence of its working. 🙂

  21. Mung: The evidence was destroyed by the flood. Much like how evolution works by destroying evidence of its working.

    Funny thing , either way is exactly compatible with design theory.

  22. I want to make sure I give credit to Robin for at least making an attempt to justify his doubt. Too bad Patrick isn’t here to reassure him that no reason is needed for doubting. All that one needs is a simple [and I don’t mean that kindly] lack of belief.

    Kudos also deserved for admitting that the argument in the OP has serious issues.

    And even more respect for not posting an OP that consisted of a bunch of question begging rhetorical questions. So refreshing!

  23. Robin from the OP:

    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 anticipate the need for maintenance.

    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.

    I agree that living substance should not and cannot be compared with human designed objects. The latter are relatively static systems compared with the dynamic living forms found in nature. But if we look at the evolution and development of human design we find that there is a progression towards machines that have more intrinsic control and ideally would be self-repairable in a similar way to living substance. Human design aspires to natural design.

    The fully formed flight feathers on birds are made up of dead substance which suffers wear and tear in use and it is vital for the continued existence of the bird that these structures need to be replaced regularly.

    See here

    Molting
    Birds must spend a great deal of time caring for their feathers, since their lives depend on them. Preening, bathing, dusting, and other feather care operations, however, cannot prevent the feathers from wearing out. Because formed feathers (like our fingernails) are lifeless, horny structures, incapable of being repaired, worn feathers must be replaced. This process of replacement is termed molting. The old, worn feathers are loosened in their follicles (sockets) by the growth of new intruding feathers, which eventually push them out. Molting occurs in regular patterns over a bird’s body. The adaptiveness of such patterns can be illustrated by the arboreal woodpeckers, which retain the key inner pair of long tail feathers used in bracing and climbing until the outer feathers have been replaced. This is the reverse of the pattern found in most birds, which molt tail feathers from the center of the tail first, and then progressively toward each side. The majority of adult birds molt once or twice a year, and the temporal pattern, not unexpectedly, is related to the wear rate on the feathers. Feathers of species that migrate enormous distances or live in thick brush, dodging among twigs and spines, wear more rapidly than those of birds resident in one place or live in open country. The former tend to molt twice a year, and the latter only once.

    Molting is timed to meet various needs. For example, resident temperate-zone birds require more insulating feathers in the winter than in the summer. The number is changed in the process of molting; winter plumage may contain more than half again as many feathers as summer plumage. Since the feathers, which carry the colors of birds, are “dead,” a bird cannot totally change its colors without changing its feathers (although its appearance can change substantially just from wear). Therefore a male bird usually molts into his most colorful plumage prior to the breeding season. Molting in most passerines takes from 5 to 12 weeks, but some raptors may require two years or more to completely replace their feathers.

    Some birds, such as ducks, swans, grebes, pelicans, and auks, are “synchronous molters — they change their feathers all at once in a period as short as two weeks, but sometimes stretching over a month. During this period, they cannot fly, and males, in particular, often complete the process on secluded lakes in order to minimize their vulnerability to predators.

    Why should synchronous molters have evolved this seemingly risky process instead of undergoing a gradual molt like most birds? These birds tend to be heavy relative to their wing surfaces — they have high “wing loadings.” The loss of only a few flight feathers would seriously compromise their flying ability, and so evolution has favored being grounded for a “quick overhaul” rather than a longer period of difficult flying.

    This is an example from nature of the replacement of worn out parts. It is an anticipation or planning for maintenance which you say can nowhere be found in nature.

    And according to the authors of the link, all this is accomplished through the magic of evolution. What “evolution” wants, “evolution” gets. How many woodpeckers had to fall off trees before their sequence and pattern of molting became a success?

  24. John Harshman,

    Another useful resource (section ‘Solubility’)

    As I mentioned, the process is a complex interplay of several equilibrium reactions, with different rates, and also of the interaction between phase changes, and also of pressure.

    “The effect of the latter [CO2 partial pressure] is especially evident in day to day life of people who have hard water. Water in aquifers underground can be exposed to levels of CO2 much higher than atmospheric. As such water percolates through calcium carbonate rock, the CaCO3 dissolves according to the second trend. When that same water then emerges from the tap, in time it comes into equilibrium with CO2 levels in the air by outgassing its excess CO2. The calcium carbonate becomes less soluble as a result and the excess precipitates as lime scale. This same process is responsible for the formation of stalactites and stalagmites in limestone caves.”

    In Brown’s underground wells, under high pressure, maybe with 30,000 feet of Flood water on top, both the pressure and the absence of an escape route for CO2 raise the solubility, so you don’t get precipitation. Indeed, even if you got precipitation in upper layers, as it sank it would redissolve, so you wouldn’t get calcareous sediment from this reaction. This is a problem for both organic and inorganic deposits – they have to be shallow-water, and you just can’t get 3,000 feet of the stuff overnight.

  25. Allan Miller,

    Sure. This is why there’s a carbonate compensation depth in the ocean, and why siliceous rather than carbonate ooze is a feature of deep oceans. But we’ve wasted way too much time on a trivial point when the real point is that Sal’s obsession with inorganic limestone is yet another example of his ignoring the big picture. If there’s a small percentage of inorganic limestone, he can ignore the existence of organic limestone.

  26. John Harshman:
    Allan Miller,

    Sure. This is why there’s a carbonate compensation depth in the ocean, and why siliceous rather than carbonate ooze is a feature of deep oceans. But we’ve wasted way too much time on a trivial point when the real point is that Sal’s obsession with inorganic limestone is yet another example of his ignoring the big picture. If there’s a small percentage of inorganic limestone, he can ignore the existence of organic limestone.

    Yes, of course it’s another situation where the “flood” is completely idiotic. You have coral reefs in what should be “flood sediments,” entirely incompatible with a real flood. Then there’s the fact that there are many atmospheres’ worth of CO2 sequestered in fossiliferous limestones. How would that happen?

    There are at least several atmospheres’ worth of carbon in kerogen (source of petroleum) as well. That was all reduced by life in a couple thousand years, at most?

    The thing is that nothing in “flood geology” works at all. Sal and Walt Brown simply don’t deal with the many facts that make “flood geology” completely senseless, but acknowledge “difficulties” in a “model” that consists almost entirely of lacunae.

    Glen Davidson

  27. CharlieM: I agree that living substance should not and cannot be compared with human designed objects. The latter are relatively static systems compared with the dynamic living forms found in nature.

    That seems like as good a reason as any to think that organisms just aren’t designed at all.

  28. Kantian Naturalist: That seems like as good a reason as any to think that organisms just aren’t designed at all.

    I think you bring up a good point here. By treating organisms as designed objects we lose sight of their real nature, their history and the future potential held within them. IMO it is fruitless and counter-productive to look for the purpose of organisms.

    But matters are different when we look at specific structures such as the primary flight feathers on the wing of an eagle. Here we can see purposeful design. We can examine a feather from a design perspective and see how the way it is constructed and the materials involved in its construction all point towards the purpose of producing a very impressive aerofoil surface.

    This is where I see intelligent design. As the saying goes, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, and bio-mimicry has become such a popular area of research precisely because we humans can see such wonderfully designed structures in nature.

  29. CharlieM: This is where I see intelligent design. As the saying goes, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, and bio-mimicry has become such a popular area of research precisely because we humans can see such wonderfully designed structures in nature.

    Nothing new about bio-mimicry. The Chinese got the airfoil for kites by mimicking bird wings.

    See, that’s what intelligence does, it moves ideas around without respecting hereditary information. Exactly what we don’t see in organisms. Hence, the bat and the pterosaur don’t get feathers.

    We’re always hearing this lame bio-mimicry claim from the pseudoscientists, who never manage to explain why the great Designer itself doesn’t think outside of the heredity box.

    Glen Davidson

  30. GlenDavidson: Nothing new about bio-mimicry.The Chinese got the airfoil for kites by mimicking bird wings.

    See, that’s what intelligence does, it moves ideas around without respecting hereditary information.Exactly what we don’t see in organisms.Hence, the bat and the pterosaur don’t get feathers.

    We’re always hearing this lame bio-mimicry claim from the pseudoscientists, who never manage to explain why the great Designer itself doesn’t think outside of the heredity box.

    Glen Davidson

    And we always hear from critics of intelligent design that in order to believe in it one must believe in a singular grand designer who is responsible for all the designs we see in nature. When you are arguing against my posts why do you insist on there being one “great Designer”?

  31. CharlieM: And we always hear from critics of intelligent design that in order to believe in it one must believe in a singular grand designer who is responsible for all the designs we see in nature. When you are arguing against my posts why do you insist on there being one “great Designer”?

    I don’t insist on anything, I just use a convenient number, one, where none has ever been properly inferred.

    I really am not interested in jumping through hoops to please the believers in the meaningless variations of ID. So think several designers who don’t act intelligently, I really don’t care. The real point is that one or more “designer(s) of life” never manages to make life intelligently.

    Glen Davidson

  32. CharlieM: And we always hear from critics of intelligent design that in order to believe in it one must believe in a singular grand designer who is responsible for all the designs we see in nature. When you are arguing against my posts why do you insist on there being one “great Designer”?

    Are these possible multiple designers all Uncaused Causes?

  33. CharlieM: How many woodpeckers had to fall off trees before their sequence and pattern of molting became a success?

    Back then they weren’t woodpeckers, of they were, they didn’t rest on trees, or even fly. The molting came first, obviously, and was later put to use for something else. What luck!

  34. OMagain: hey, phoodoo, Mung, what do you think about a recent global Walt Brown floode?

    Hey OMagain, maybe you should start an OP on it!

    Since when have I not made myself clear that I am not a young earth creationist?

    Sal is fighting this amazing rearguard action. He seems to have given up on a young universe and a young earth for something called “young life.” I’m not sure why young life creationism still requires a global flood a few thousand years ago. Perhaps he will explain it someday.

    Either way, I think Sal has left himself an out. He can also give up on the global flood. Keep chipping away guys. One of these days you’ll turn Sal into a proper IDist. LoL.

  35. Kantian Naturalist: That seems like as good a reason as any to think that organisms just aren’t designed at all.

    Or that human design still has something to reach for. There’s hope for ID theory yet!

  36. CharlieM: When you are arguing against my posts why do you insist on there being one “great Designer”?

    Glen’s a one trick pony. He firmly believes there’s nothing new under the sun and is making his best effort to keep it that way. Think a new thought? God forbid!

  37. CharlieM: I think you bring up a good point here. By treating organisms as designed objects we lose sight of their real nature, their history and the future potential held within them. IMO it is fruitless and counter-productive to look for the purpose of organisms.

    At least we agree on that much!

    But matters are different when we look at specific structures such as the primary flight feathers on the wing of an eagle. Here we can see purposeful design. We can examine a feather from a design perspective and see how the way it is constructed and the materials involved in its construction all point towards the purpose of producing a very impressive aerofoil surface.

    The fact that we can take up “the design stance” (as Dennett calls it) to understand functions doesn’t mean that those functions are the same as, or best explained by, purposeful design.

    To be clear: I do think that we should understand organisms in terms of the goals they have and understand biological structures and processes in terms of the functions they serve. But I think it is sheer confusion to assimilate either organismal goals or biological functions to design.

    (Dennett can get away with it because he thinks that different stances are just different ways of picking out salient patterns. He’s a pragmatic anti-realist about the objects that are characterized from within a stance. I’m still trying to figure out how far I want to go down that particular path.)

  38. Mung: So your a staunch anti-Darwinian then?

    I don’t follow that line of thought. Could you be more explicit in the question or challenge you’re raising here?

  39. Kantian Naturalist: I don’t follow that line of thought. Could you be more explicit in the question or challenge you’re raising here?

    You can’t just say yes, you’re a staunch anti-Darwinist, due to the Darwinist reliance on the assimilation of either organismal goals or biological functions to design? That’s the entire Darwinian project, its raison d’etre.

    This is news to you?

  40. Mung: You can’t just say yes, you’re a staunch anti-Darwinist, due to the Darwinist reliance on the assimilation of either organismal goals or biological functions to design? That’s the entire Darwinian project, its raison d’etre.

    This is news to you?

    That is not my understanding of Darwinism. Hence my confusion at your question.

  41. Mung: You should read their writings.

    As you know, I’m pretty well-read in evolutionary theory — Ernst Mayr, Susan Oyama, Eliot Sober, and Brian Goodwin being the people I’ve read the most. I don’t recall any of them arguing that Darwinism involves characterizing goals and functions as design. Perhaps my memory has deteriorated. Would you care to remind me?

  42. Kantian Naturalist: Would you care to remind me?

    I try not to waste time trying to convince people of obvious facts. But in your case I’ll make an exception.

    In his Evidence and Evolution Sober dedicates an entire chapter to Intelligent Design. Given the purported irrelevance of design to evolutionary theory, why would he do so?

    Let’s pretend that Darwin had never heard of Paley. That would be an interesting idea for an alternative history novel. What would The Origin have looked like in that world?

    And then there’s Dawkins’ famous statement about just what it takes to allow an atheist to become “intellectually fulfilled.”

    Evolutionary theory is the modern creation myth of materialists precisely because it “explains” organismal design.

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