Intelligent Design explains Sex!

A thread for ID proponents to explain their alternative theory for biological phenomena.

Allan Miller has written an article on sex, proposing an evolutionary explanation for why almost all Eukaryota indulge in sex. In response to comments from evolution skeptics questioning his explanation, he challenges them:

OK, you ID types, what’s the Design explanation for sex? You need to explain why all eukaryotes have genes that are involved in meiosis, though some never actually perform meiosis, and in some, the genes are ‘broken’. And you need to explain the taxonomic distribution of asexuality – absent in mammals and birds, but increasingly found as one descends your imagined scala naturae – though intermittent sex remains the norm, even in single celled organisms.

Why? What purpose does it serve that is common to single celled protists and our favourite organism, the chimp? Why wasn’t everything designed to just reproduce asexually?

In response, commenter phoodoo writes:

Why are there legs? Wouldn’t it be better if we just moved like water? Why ten fingers instead of thirty? Why skin? Evolution doesn’t answer these questions any better or worse than ID.

Now, for evolution to have a better or worse explanation than ID, there must be an explanation for sex according to the theory of “Intelligent Design”.

I don’t know of any Intelligent Design theory that attempts to explain biological observations such as sexual reproduction. So I invite those who do know of such a theory to correct my ignorance.

How does the theory of Intelligent Design explain sex?

PS: please feel free to use this thread as a peanut gallery WRT Allan’s article.

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402 thoughts on “Intelligent Design explains Sex!

  1. God created single-celled asexual organisms and got bored after a few billion years of seeing nothing much come from it.

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  2. Allan Miller: But your Designer is then making multiple choices. At each origin, a separate ‘choice’ has been made to go for pentadactyly.

    And God saw the middle finger he had made, and it was good.

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  3. Mung: And God saw the middle finger he had made, and it was good.

    He saw the fin, and thought “that’ll make a nice middle finger one day. And a hoof. And a wing strut. Flea scratcher …”

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  4. DNA_Jock: every time that you make some wisecrack about “the gene for x”, you are NOT lampooning evolutionary thinking, you are instead displaying your profound ignorance.

    So is it your position that genes don’t exist, or that genes do exist but they do not exist for any reason? So sort of like sex.

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  5. Kantian Naturalist: And that’s why everything we here from ID advocates is always and only about criticizing evolution, and never about proposing a testable alternative to it.

    Is it your position that all IDists reject evolution, or just the ones here at TSZ?

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  6. Mung:
    God created single-celled asexual organisms and got bored after a few billion years of seeing nothing much come from it.

    And lo the Lord did create sex for His Divine Amusement to see what come of it.

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  7. Mung:
    God created single-celled asexual organisms and got bored after a few billion years of seeing nothing much come from it.

    Birds do it, bees do it
    Even educated fleas do it
    Let’s do it, let’s “fall in love”
    In Spain, the best upper sets do it
    Lithuanians and Letts do it
    Let’s do it, let’s fall in love
    The Dutch in old Amsterdam do it
    Not to mention the Finns
    Folks in Siam do it, think of Siamese twins
    Some Argentines without means do it
    People say in Boston even beans do it
    Let’s do it, let’s fall in love
    Romantic sponges, they say, do it
    Oysters down in oyster bay do it
    Let’s do it, let’s fall in love
    Cold cape cod clams ‘gainst their wish do it
    Even lazy jellyfish do it
    Let’s do it, let’s fall in love
    Electric eels, I might add, do it
    Though it shocks ’em I know
    Why ask if shad do it?
    Waiter, bring me shad roe
    In shallow shoals English soles do it
    Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it
    Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

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  8. Mung: God created single-celled asexual organisms and got bored after a few billion years of seeing nothing much come from it.

    Sounds about right, viz:

    Bethany:
    What’s he like?

    Metatron:
    God? Lonely. But funny. He’s got a great sense of humor. Take sex for example. There’s nothing funnier than the ridiculous faces you people make mid-coitus.

    Bethany:
    Sex is a joke in heaven?

    Metatron:
    The way I understand it, it’s mostly a joke down here, too.

    Alan Rickman, MHRIP.

    Mung: So is it your position that genes don’t exist, or that genes do exist but they do not exist for any reason?

    No, it is not.
    Whilst I always enjoy your “When did you stop beating your wife?” questions, you might consider just watching the Rutherford video. You will find the answers to your questions therein, grasshopper.

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  9. DNA_Jock: …you might consider just watching the Rutherford video. You will find the answers to your questions therein, grasshopper.

    The guy appears to believe that “we know that every creature on Earth came from a single cell, sparked into existence four billion years ago.” At least that’s what the blurb for one of his books claims.

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  10. Mung: The guy appears to believe that “we know that every creature on Earth came from a single cell, sparked into existence four billion years ago.” At least that’s what the blurb for one of his books claims.

    Since you believe in universal common descent, I don’t see how that would be controversial to you

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  11. Sex was created between a male and female. or other ways in plants etc.Its a good idea. Thats why is common. Common design and not common descent is more likely. However after the fall things would be corrupted and so then things might get messed up.

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  12. DNA_Jock: Rutherford is making the point that journalists mangle genetics far worse than any other field.

    Right, and he is a journalist.

    DNA_Jock: He heaps particular scorn on the “scientists discover the gene for XXXX” headlines.

    DNA_Jock: every time that you make some wisecrack about “the gene for x”

    Haha, yea, that was my idea. I came up with that. Me and the rest of the ID crowd. And then mainstream journals just ran with it-those irresponsible wigs. Why did they take my theory so seriously saying there is a gene for everything-I never knew I had so much sway!

    Do you even know what you write?

    I have been laughing at the “gene” for this and a “gene” for that concept since this site began, and now you see someone else who knows more about it than you saying it also isn’t like that (and saying we don’t know how it ACTUALLY IS, take note!) , and now you are going to say see, we knew it all along!

    You are pulling the Allan Miller defense.

    You then think he explains away epigentics? Are you sure you listened? He says there are some cases of transgenerational epigenetics, that would be disturbing to the theory of evolution, if it turned out they were in fact real effects, but he is still not sure he believes it because we don’t have enough evidence yet. But if true it would break the theory, ha! Further he says the unit of selection is the gene-you know the things that DON’T code for ONE effect. And yet that is what is selected.

    Problem-OF COURSE NOT! Its not true! Prove it! I don’t believe it! Even if it were true it wouldn’t be a problem for evolution. We already knew it. So what!
    We predicted it! *

    *credit-Allan Miller . And every other evolutionist that ever lived.

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  13. dazz: Since you believe in universal common descent, I don’t see how that would be controversial to you

    Since he believes in common descent, saying common descent is the explanation for anything might as well be saying ID is the explanation then, right?

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  14. phoodoo: Since he believes in common dissent, saying common dissent is the explanation for anything might as well be saying ID is the explanation then, right?

    That doesn’t make any sense to me. Are you being facetious or something? What’s common “dissent”?

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  15. phoodoo:
    dazz,

    Its called autocorrect.Screens are small, you know.

    Got it, thanks

    No, I don’t think ID explains what common descent does, I don’t think ID explains anything at all.

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  16. Mung: Is it your position that all IDists reject evolution, or just the ones here at TSZ?

    All of them. Except when they don’t.

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  17. phoodoo: Since he believes in common descent, saying common descent is the explanation for anything might as well be saying ID is the explanation then, right?

    No. If something is copied, the sharing of a feature is explained by that having-been-copied. If one ‘accepts common descent’ in a given clade, one accepts that as a possible explanation for that feature. If they ‘might as well be saying ID’, then they ‘might as well’ be explicitly rejecting that explanation.

    When you ‘clarified your position’ to Corneel, you didn’t actually answer his question. Do you think pentadactyly in Tetrapoda is due entirely to common descent, or several origins with common descent following each?

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  18. phoodoo,

    I have been laughing at the “gene” for this and a “gene” for that concept since this site began, and now you see someone else who knows more about it than you saying it also isn’t like that (and saying we don’t know how it ACTUALLY IS, take note!) , and now you are going to say see, we knew it all along!

    You are pulling the Allan Miller defense.

    Not sure what that is, but I don’t recall ever having claimed a new discovery was ‘known all along’, and nor have I committed the ‘gene for x’ fallacy, unless x is a protein or RNA product.

    (Eta – There’s rich ground for equivocation. I did it there, but thought I’d best make it explicit. To a molecular biologist, a gene is a stretch of DNA that produces a product. To Dawkins (via Williams) it is a stretch of DNA bounded by frequent recombination. Beyond the immediate product, the relation between a given gene and a phenotype is rarely simple).

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  19. newton: And lo the Lord did create sex for His Divine Amusement to see what come of it.

    And punish those who Did It Wrong.

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  20. Allan Miller: Not sure what that is, but I don’t recall ever having claimed a new discovery was ‘known all along’, and nor have I committed the ‘gene for x’ fallacy, unless x is a protein or RNA product.

    It’s a shame that instead of laughing all along phoodoo did not publish a paper about genes and then when the rest of the world caught up with him he could legitimately point, laugh and say ‘I told you so’.

    You can stand on the outside or the inside phoodoo. If your insight is so profound that you see things that takes others decades to see then you are wasting your time writing on a blog. Do some actual science!

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  21. J-Mac: This imbecilic, brainless, absurd, utterly idiotic, totally preposterous and, most of all, loaded question should be featured for as long as TSZ exist, as the example of to what extent Darwinists will go in order to defend their baseless worldview…

    It seems merely asking about ID explanations is considered defending the Darwinist worldview.

    I guess it makes a kind of sense, insofar as ‘Darwinists’ ‘defend’ their viewpoint by simply showing their are no credible alternatives and it seems they do that merely by asking for those alternatives.

    J-Mac, you believe that cancer is a fit punishment for having sex outside wedlock. Does that mean your Intelligent Designer is also the god of the bible?

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  22. phoodoo: You then think he explains away epigentics? Are you sure you listened? He says there are some cases of transgenerational epigenetics, that would be disturbing to the theory of evolution […]

    It would? How so?

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  23. Robert Byers: Sex was created between a male and female. or other ways in plants etc.Its a good idea.

    The point of this thread is to get you to articulate why it’s a good idea, from a Design perspective. Please note that sex is something different from making babies: most biologists define it as the exchange of genetic information between individuals.

    ETA: clarification

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  24. NOTE to all ID proponents / creationists.

    This topic is NOT about reproduction. Sex is defined either as exchange of genetic information or as the fusion of haploid cells (syngamy) followed by meiosis. Please read Allan’s OP to prevent looking silly here.

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  25. OMagain: It’s a shame that instead of laughing all along phoodoo did not publish a paper about genes and then when the rest of the world caught up with him he could legitimately point, laugh and say ‘I told you so’.

    But they would say (with complete justification) ‘we already knew that!’. Thereby proving phoodoo’s point!

    You can stand on the outside or the inside phoodoo. If your insight is so profound that you see things that takes others decades to see then you are wasting your time writing on a blog. Do some actual science!

    Haha, that jibe could be turned on me, too! 🤣 … 🤔 … 😐 … ☹

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  26. Corneel:
    NOTE to all ID proponents / creationists.

    This topic is NOT about reproduction. Sex is defined either as exchange of genetic information or as the fusion of haploid cells (syngamy) followed by meiosis.

    Yep. Although, I prefer the latter. Bacterial ‘sex’ is more like infection than what we do, even though it looks similar.

    Emphasising recombination predisposes people to focus too much on that as the causal factor. But without a syngamy/division cycle, it can’t even happen. We’d also have the odd situation that syngamy with one chromosome is not sex, but with n>1 it is.

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  27. phoodoo: I have been laughing at the “gene” for this and a “gene” for that concept since this site began, and now you see someone else who knows more about it than you saying it also isn’t like that (and saying we don’t know how it ACTUALLY IS, take note!) , and now you are going to say see, we knew it all along!

    No phoodoo, we have pointed out to you many times that this ‘concept’ that you are laughing at is a misunderstanding on your part.
    Back in 2014, keiths gave you a very clear explanation.
    So, like I said.

    phoodoo, every time that you make some wisecrack about “the gene for x”, you are NOT lampooning evolutionary thinking, you are instead displaying your profound ignorance.

    Just because we have given up trying to correct you doesn’t mean we have stopped laughing.

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  28. Allan Miller (to phoodoo): Do you think pentadactyly in Tetrapoda is due entirely to common descent, or several origins with common descent following each?

    Gould writes about Oken:

    Man contains all organs within himself; thus he represents the entire world; “in the profoundest, truest sense…a microcosm. “Man is the summit, the crown of nature’s development, and must comprehend everything that has preceded him…In a word, Man must represent the whole world in miniature”. All lower animals, as imperfect or incomplete humans, contain fewer than the total set of organs. “The animal kingdom,” wrote Oken in his most famous pronouncement, “is only dismemberment of the highest animal, i.e. of Man. The position of any animal upon the single chain of classification depends upon the number of organs it possesses: “Animals are gradually perfected, entirely like the single animal body, by adding organ unto organ…An animal, which e.g. lived only as an intestine, would be, doubtless inferior to one which with the intestine were to combine a skin.

    I think there is some truth in what Oken was getting at. Life began with the potential to develop into consciously creative beings but as all forms diversified some assumed forms that were particularly one sided which prevented them regaining the path to creative consciousness. The retention of pentadactyl tetrapod limbs allowed for the upper limbs to be free of providing support and to gain the higher creative function. With the dexterity of the highly manoeuvrable five digits our creative efforts are all around us.

    Looking round the animal kingdom we can see the way this limb arrangement followed ever narrowing trajectories that trapped their possessors in niches that are too narrow allow for further development. What use are the highly convoluted brains of cetaceans without the body parts to make use of such intelligence? Their limbs are exquisitely adapted for moving through the water and so their brains are locked in bodies that are not suited to express this creativity.

    There is only one creature on the planet who can vastly extend the attributes that nature has provided for it and that is the human. We are entering a stage of evolution where the responsibility for its further direction is given over to our own conscious individual creativity.

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  29. DNA_Jock,

    Let’s be clear, here is what keiths said:

    It’s already been explained to you. Nothing in evolutionary theory requires a one-to-one mapping between traits and genes. There are traits that are influenced by more than one gene — this is known as polygeny. And there are genes that influence multiple traits, which is known as pleiotropy.

    But this is not really very accurate now is it? The real truth is that there is virtually NO one to one mapping, perhaps literally NONE.

    So how does this help your theory, about genes are selected? That makes the whole notion of natural selection EVEN MORE PREPOSTEROUS, if that was ever possible. Systems being built upon genes which account for all kinds of unrelated, mixed up, partial, and quite likely contradictory traits. Did you even listen to the example he gave, a gene which could affect you being easily scared, politically liberal, and prone to adultery. And natural selection is going to select for this-amongst other things it does! Hahahaha..how do you guys think you can actually sell that is beyond rational people’s belief. And on top of this, we are supposed to believe that such a scenario ALSO allows for mutations, WHICH WOULD MAKE IT BETTER!

    And you guys call yourselves skeptics. Holy shit!

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  30. Kantian Naturalist,

    This is why every “argument for ID” is only an argument against the likelihood of generating functional structures through non-intentional processes. There is nothing else to the position besides that — and more importantly, there cannot be. ID is constitutively and structurally incapable of providing a testable alternative to evolutionary theory. And that’s why everything we here from ID advocates is always and only about criticizing evolution, and never about proposing a testable alternative to it.

    This has been true in the past but positive arguments are being refined. Here is Mike Behe’s latest argument.

    https://youtu.be/6Pi5UoZkn4g

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  31. Corneel: phoodoo: You then think he explains away epigentics? Are you sure you listened? He says there are some cases of transgenerational epigenetics, that would be disturbing to the theory of evolution […]

    It would? How so?

    Because it would make Lamarckism right, not Darwinism (and I think this is probably true). That scares the hell out of evolutionists. It means that evolution is no longer accidental and purposeless.

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  32. colewd: This is why every “argument for ID” is only an argument against the likelihood of generating functional structures through non-intentional processes. There is nothing else to the position besides that — and more importantly, there cannot be. ID is constitutively and structurally incapable of providing a testable alternative to evolutionary theory. And that’s why everything we here from ID advocates is always and only about criticizing evolution, and never about proposing a testable alternative to it.

    I don’t see how KN can say this. If we find that systems develop through predictable processes, or through something like Shapiro proposes, natural genetic engineering, then of course that is evidence of design. That is the test. If we find these signals, then we must conclude design. Heck, I don’t know how Shapiro can even propose that, and still want to stay on the evolution side of the fence. In truth, he is really just fence sitting.

    But to say we can never find evidence for design. That just isn’t so.

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  33. phoodoo: Because it would make Lamarckism right, not Darwinism (and I think this is probably true).

    No, it doesn’t. Lamarck postulated that variation arose in response to the needs (besoins) of the organism. There is nothing in epigenetic research that suggests this is correct.

    Changes in epigenetic marks (e.g. DNA methylation, histone modifications) usually occur as part of regulated changes in gene expression that are downstream of the action of good old-fashioned DNA genes. Novel epigenetic heritable variants (epimutations) are as “random” as genetic mutations, as far as I know. Many of the latter are linked to carcinogenesis, for example.

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  34. phoodoo: I recommend you study this topic a bit further.

    I have spent the last five years analysing the role of differential DNA methylation in human disease. I have some confidence that I have studied this topic more deeply than you have.

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  35. phoodoo,

    I don’t see how KN can say this. If we find that systems develop through predictable processes, or through something like Shapiro proposes, natural genetic engineering, then of course that is evidence of design. That is the test. If we find these signals, then we must conclude design. Heck, I don’t know how Shapiro can even propose that, and still want to stay on the evolution side of the fence. In truth, he is really just fence sitting.

    But to say we can never find evidence for design. That just isn’t so.

    If you listen to Mike’s discussion in the video he proposes a definition and a test criteria for ID. Although positive arguments have been around a long time this is one of the first discussions that focus primarily on the positive argument for ID.

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  36. phoodoo: I don’t see how KN can say this.

    This is the logic behind that statement:

    KN
    “It should be perfectly clear, as well, that ID could specify the causal processes whereby designs are materially instantiated only by positing something about the capacities and incapacities of the designer. But since ID forbids itself from doing so, it cannot say anything about the causal process of design implementation.”

    If we find that systems develop through predictable processes, or through something like Shapiro proposes, natural genetic engineering, then of course that is evidence of design.That is the test.If we find these signals, then we must conclude design.

    If you have a designer capable of performing those things.

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  37. colewd:
    phoodoo,

    If you listen to Mike’s discussion in the video he proposes a definition and a test criteria for ID.Although positive arguments have been around a long time this is one of the first discussions that focus primarily on the positive argument for ID.

    A potential designer would seem to be a necessary ingredient for a positive argument.

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  38. newton,

    A potential designer would seem to be a necessary ingredient for a positive argument.

    Based on what standard?

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  39. dazz: Aren’t epigenetic mutations lost after a few generations anyway?

    Most of them are. But there are multiple examples of epimutations that have remained stable for dozens of generations (mostly in plants).

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  40. colewd:
    phoodoo,

    If you listen to Mike’s discussion in the video he proposes a definition and a test criteria for ID.Although positive arguments have been around a long time this is one of the first discussions that focus primarily on the positive argument for ID.

    I guess we can expect a massive outburst of ID papers anytime soon. What a time to be alive!

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  41. colewd: A potential designer would seem to be a necessary ingredient for a positive argument.

    Based on what standard?

    Based on the standard of intellectual honesty. You obviously aren’t familiar with the concept.

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  42. colewd: If you listen to Mike’s discussion in the video he proposes a definition and a test criteria for ID. Although positive arguments have been around a long time this is one of the first discussions that focus primarily on the positive argument for ID.

    What testable hypotheses for ID are being proposed?

    How will they be tested?

    What evidence would falsify them?

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  43. 96 posts, no ID explaination for sex but Mung’s suggestion that God got bored of axesuals.

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  44. Rumraket: 96 posts, no ID explaination for sex but Mung’s suggestion that God got bored of axesuals.

    We still have 4904 posts to go. You never know.

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