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. phoodoo: Of course not!

    We predicted it!

    Don’t know if ‘we’ did or not to be honest, but I can’t really help that a successful theory accommodates new data.

    The thing is, evolution really works on genotypes. Selection happens on phenotypes but – without even knowing it – it is picking those invisible genotypes.
    Imagine a dog breeder spotting a nifty little white star on a dog’s head. He ‘selects’ it for further breeding. He makes sure he avoids inbreeding. Sometimes it doesn’t show up, so he doesn’t breed from them.

    Suppose:
    A) the trait is monogenic. He has selected the chromosome the allele sits on, unknowingly, and alternatives are removed from the population.
    B) the trait is polygenic, on chromosomes 3, 5 and 6. Then, he has ‘selected’ all of those chromosomes instead.

    This isn’t a problem for the breeder. Why is it a problem for evolution?

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    Rumraket
  2. Adapa to colewd: It’s only missing to the willfully ignorant who refuse to read the scientific literature on the subject. That would be you Bill.

    And who even refuse to read the explanations that they’re quoting. Sigh.

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  3. newton,

    If you are saying that a process is a grouping of related causes and mechanisms , I agree. However , geology is science and it definitely studies geological processes.

    I agree with this but the scientific method is trying to identify a cause of what you are observing. My belief is that ID is in its infancy and is here to stay. As we get the tools to see smaller and smaller pieces of biology and matter the evidence for design in nature will become more compelling.

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  4. colewd:
    I don’t know how you landed here but let me rephrase. Hypothesis is looking to explain an effect by an assigned cause.Yes a process does cause something or an output but we are looking for a cause specifically and not necessarily a process.

    Not a “cause” Bill. It can be a series or a bunch of phenomena, not just one, and the phenomena include processes. Several hypotheses might be necessary. For example, that natural selection plays a role is one (or more depending on how the hypothesis is posed). That other processes, like the historical accumulation of successful variants plays a very important role is another (or more depending on how well we can decompose it into testable bits). Etc. Try and keep up. You’re not reading.

    colewd:
    Whats missing is a clearly identified cause powerful enough to explain the observed effect such as a bacterial flagellum.

    Again, try and keep up Bill. I gave you quite an explanation (as I’ve done before). It contains “causes” (not just one, again, what’s with the simpleton mindset?), “causes” with sufficient power to explain such traits as the bacterial flagellum. Yet, you quoted the whole thing, showing no comprehension of it at all.

    colewd:
    You mean the evotards will defeat the idiots given enough time 🙂

    The IDiots have defeated themselves from the get go. They are but pretending to try and pass for good science their poorly performed “analyses” and faulty, and outdated, philosophy (if it can be called philosophy). Cherry-picking, ignoring explanations the very same way you ignore them, failing to consider that they might be fundamentally wrong, etc. The only “battle” is not in the scientific arena, it’s one where we offer explanations to a deaf public, just look at yourself. In the scientific arena, evolution rests on firm grounds, and ID, being fundamentally faulty, cannot present any results that would make it worthy of serious consideration.

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  5. Entropy,

    The IDiots have defeated themselves from the get go. They are but pretending to try and pass for good science their poorly performed “analyses” and faulty, and outdated, philosophy (if it can be called philosophy). Cherry-picking, ignoring explanations the very same way you ignore them, failing to consider that they might be fundamentally wrong, etc. The only “battle” is not in the scientific arena, it’s one where we offer explanations to a deaf public, just look at yourself. In the scientific arena, evolution rests on firm grounds, and ID, being fundamentally faulty, cannot present any results that would make it worthy of serious consideration.

    If they are so soundly defeated then why the derogatory labels? Entropy, with all the respect that is due to you what I see most of the time from your arguments are assertions with assumptions like “brute facts”.

    I know your general opinion of the subject you do not have to repeat it.

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  6. colewd: I know your general opinion of the subject you do not have to repeat it.

    Oh the irony, Bill!

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  7. Nonlin.org:
    Explanations are a dime a dozen. No wonder Darwinistas are such experts at explaining everything and its opposite.

    Except this is not the thread for mocking evolution. This is the thread for advancing alternatives.

    Do you have one?

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  8. colewd:
    If they are so soundly defeated then why the derogatory labels?

    Because I find their hypocrisy and deafness despicable. That’s why.

    colewd:
    Entropy, with all the respect that is due to you whatI see most of the time from your arguments are assertions with assumptions like “brute facts”.

    With all due respect to you, if you were reading you’d know that I’m not making mere assertions. There’s logic in what I, and many others, explain to you, and I have given you enough clues to start understanding why evolutionary explanations work. You plainly ignore them. Sorry. Nothing else makes sense of your failure to understand that evolutionary theory offer mechanisms, processes, etc, that do make sense of what we see in nature.

    colewd:
    I know your general opinion of the subject you do not have to repeat it.

    It’s not just an opinion Bill. I would not have to repeat any explanations if you didn’t repeat the tiresome claims, actually and ironically mere claims, that evolution doesn’t offer “mechanisms” and that “minds” are “mechanisms” known to perform miracles.

    I’d try and read for comprehension if I were you. Out of self-respect at the very least.

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    Alan Fox
  9. Nonlin.org:
    Explanations are a dime a dozen. No wonder Darwinistas are such experts at explaining everything and its opposite.

    That’s a strength, if both everything and its opposite are in need of explanation. Let’s try sex and asexuality, ‘opposites’ of a sort. How does ID explain their relative abundance?

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

    1. A single cell as the LUCA.
    2. Sparked into existence.

    Maybe someone else will explain it to you.

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  11. Mung: 1. A single cell as the LUCA.
    2. Sparked into existence.

    Maybe someone else will explain it to you.

    Yeah, I misunderstood you there, sorry.
    Weird, I got the same impression from something he said in the talk posted earlier here

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  12. Rumraket: 127 posts and still no ID explanation for sex.

    Why must there be an ID explanation for sex? It’s not a challenge I take seriously, so why should I give it a serious answer?

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  13. Mung: Why must there be an ID explanation for sex? It’s not a challenge I take seriously, so why should I give it a serious answer?

    Alan started this thread because the usual IDist suspects were shitting all over Allan’s thread about his evolutionary explanation of sex. ID creationists never seem interested in explaining stuff. Why is there no ID explanation for anything at all in biology?

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  14. Alan Fox: Except this is not the thread for mocking evolution. This is the thread for advancing alternatives.

    And if you are mistaken in trying to pit ID against evolution?

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  15. dazz: ID creationists never seem interested in explaining stuff. Why is there no ID explanation for anything at all in biology?

    If I am going to make up stories for your amusement I want to be paid for it. 🙂

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  16. Alan Fox: Except this is not the thread for mocking evolution

    I get accused of mocking evolution all the time. Like when I say evolutionists believe all of life’s variety arouse from accidental mutations which miraculously were useful, and then more mutations made their offspring even more useful, such luck. And this is considered mocking because supposedly no one really believes that.

    I think if I say the words natural selection I will be accused of mocking an evolution strawman.

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  17. I am now getting accused of performance art for pointing out that if one genes codes for thirty different traits, it is much harder to tell the just so story of the eye arising from tiny mutations which improve the indentations of a light sensitive spot.

    Because mutating thirty different functions at the same time should improve you thirty times better, if randomness is your guide. No offense evolutionists. I know no one really believes that.

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  18. I wonder if I will be accused of mocking if I ask if one were to build a soldering iron, a refrigerator, a Wi-Fi router, a Frisbee, a band-aid and a microscope, but starting off with no plans, and then choosing parts randomly, and figuring out a use for all of them later on, will the end result work very well for even a breadbasket?

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  19. phoodoo:
    I wonder if I will be accused of mocking if I ask if one were to build a soldering iron,a refrigerator,a Wi-Fi router,a Frisbee,a band-aid and a microscope,but starting off with no plans,and then choosing parts randomly,and figuring out a use for all of them later on,will the end result work very well for even a breadbasket?

    Probably not, but why would anyone do that? Certainly that bears absolutely no resemblance to how biological evolution works. Even if you could cross-breed these things by biological reproduction, you would see new functions develop before you would see random selection of anything.

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  20. phoodoo: I know what you mean. Imagine building an eye like that? Oh the folly!

    Shall we start a thread regarding the origin of the eye according to ID then?

    phoodoo, if the eye did not evolve what is its origin according to Intelligent Design?

    I can’t wait for you not to say!

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  21. Flint: Certainly that bears absolutely no resemblance to how biological evolution works.

    And this is why phoodoo is limited to interacting with actual scientists on a blog rather then in the only venue that counts, peer review.

    Hey, phoodoo, you know the rest of the world trundles on ignoring ID and it’s ‘input’ into science. You might as well write nothing at all as it’d have the same impact factor on actual science.

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  22. phoodoo:
    I am now getting accused of performance art for pointing out that if one genes codes for thirty different traits,it is much harder to tell the just so story of the eye arising from tiny mutations which improve the indentations of a light sensitive spot.

    What proportion of genes codes for 30 different traits, thinks you? You are actually committing the ‘gene for x’ fallacy here, except it’s a ‘gene for 30x’.

    Because mutating thirty different functions at the same time should improve you thirty times better,if randomness is your guide. No offense evolutionists. I know no one really believes that.

    An example of the kind of thing you are groping towards is ubiquitin. It’s a ‘gene for ubiquitin’, strictly, but then is involved in many pathways, with many phenotypic consequences if changed. Lo and behold, it doesn’t change (much). So evolution does ‘have a problem’ with it in that sense, but it is not a problem for Evolution. Its sequence has become frozen by multiple interactions.

    Most genes aren’t ubiquitin, nor ubiquitin-like in the capacity for change.

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  23. phoodoo:
    I wonder if I will be accused of mocking if I ask if one were to build a soldering iron,a refrigerator,a Wi-Fi router,a Frisbee,a band-aid and a microscope,but starting off with no plans,and then choosing parts randomly,and figuring out a use for all of them later on,will the end result work very well for even a breadbasket?

    Yes, that’s probably mocking; a deliberate strawman. Like, some powerful and prudish geezer with a massive beard just kind of magicked everything up for reasons we can’t begin to fathom, but definitely Reasons, cos you don’t get complexity without someone having Reasons.

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  24. Mung: And if you are mistaken in trying to pit ID against evolution?

    ID pits itself against evolution. This thread is full of it, so to speak.

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  25. Allan Miller,

    You have already suggested that most genes code for more than one or many traits. And you are saying if they code for many traits they are less likely candidates for change.

    Super. So the kinds of genes most likely to change and build complexity? Earwax. Terrific. Perhaps one day earwax will adapt to allow us to live happily under the bottom of the ocean.

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  26. phoodoo: I wonder if I will be accused of mocking if I ask if one were to build a soldering iron, a refrigerator, a Wi-Fi router, a Frisbee, a band-aid and a microscope, but starting off with no plans, and then choosing parts randomly, and figuring out a use for all of them later on, will the end result work very well for even a breadbasket?

    You’re locked into machine thinking. Biological organisms are not like man-made machines, since they harbour vast amounts of genetic variation. Humans have heritable variation for thousands of phenotypes, many of which are genetically correlated. Why should it be impossible to change the frequencies of different allelic variants, just because they happen to affect multiple traits?

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  27. Mung: Why must there be an ID explanation for sex? It’s not a challenge I take seriously, so why should I give it a serious answer?

    Design can explain everything but nothing is interesting enough to explain. Good trick!

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  28. phoodoo:
    Allan Miller,

    You have already suggested that most genes code for more than one or many traits.And you are saying if they code for many traits they are less likely candidates for change.

    No. You are mixing up polygeny and pleiotropy (from the keiths quote, for 5 years and counting).

    1) Polygeny. This is the state in which more than one genetic sequence is involved in an identifiable phenotypic trait. This is the norm, which is what Rutherford emphasises. The combination of multiple genes is necessary for the phenotype. But each component genetic sequence can be individually varied just as readily as if it were the sole cause of the trait. A polygene is effectively a single gene with multiple segments, any part of which can be varied just as readily as a single linked locus. Not a problem for Evolution.

    2) Pleiotropy. This means that a single gene affects more than one phenotypic trait. The extent this is a ‘problem for evolution’ depends on the extent of purifying selection on those traits (which is ironic, given your eccentric views on selection). Pleiotropy by itself isn’t significant. The ‘wet earwax gene’, for example, is actually pleiotropic. It is associated with an increase in body odour. Clearly, then, pleiotropy by itself is not a blocker to evolution, since you would richly mock anyone who suggested there was strong purifying selection on those traits.

    But further, even if there is a trait pair limiting change on a given gene, that only stops evolution of that gene from this point on. The evolution you want to deny is the historic kind, and your problem here is that the present combination of pleiotropy and selection cannot be assumed to reflect the historic one.

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  29. Allan Miller,

    I am not mixing them up. I am suggesting that BOTH of them are a problem for the just so stories about how something like an eye came to be. If its many genes all coding for eyes, or one gene coding for eyes and also many other features, it just makes it that much more implausible that you can expect to get multiple fortuitous mutations that slowly slowly slowly keep improving your little indentation of the skin to make it form a better and better eye.

    To tell you the truth, I just love when guys like Dawkins repeats the Nillson and Pelger computer simulation nonsense. I mean right, what’s so difficult, just start with your little light sensitive patch-that has to give some reproductive advantage right? And then what’s so strange about that patch getting an accidental mutation that gives a small indentation which focuses light? And then what’s so strange about that small indentation getting another mutation which makes the indentation bigger and better. That’s weird? And then what’s so strange about that same indentation in the population getting ANOTHER mutation which turn the indentation into a liquid filled hole-what, you think that is unlikely or something? Why, you doubting Thomas? And on and on. And you call what I do performance art, ha.

    Now, take the same scenario, but then add on top of that, everything that gets mutated, also affects many other traits as well. Accidental mutations, preposterous? How so??

    Love it!

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  30. phoodoo:
    Allan Miller,

    I am not mixing them up.I am suggesting that BOTH of them are a problem for the just so stories about how something like an eye came to be.

    If its many genes all coding for eyes

    I’ve explained why that is not a problem. All gross features, including the entire organism itself, are the result of multiple genes. (Eta – it would be quite the sensation if we discovered that organisms cannot evolve due to consisting of more than one gene!).

    or one gene coding for eyes and also many other features

    Urgh. ‘The gene for eyes’. I think Rutherford would have a few things to say about that! Can you give an example of a gene from the visual system with a problematic pleiotropic effect that would have hindered evolution?

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    Entropy
  31. Also, regardless of the prior evolution of the vertebrate eye, are we now happy to accept the common descent of the Tetrapoda, or ‘five-fingered eyeballs’? 🤣

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    Entropy
  32. Allan Miller: I’ve explained why that is not a problem.

    Ah, nope. Unless by not a problem, you mean nothing is impossible in evolution, because, well, its here isn’t it.

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  33. phoodoo: Ah, nope.Unless by not a problem, you mean nothing is impossible in evolution, because, well, its here isn’t it.

    Umm, yep. You haven’t said why I’m wrong, merely spluttered.

    Consider this:
    a monogenic trait, sequence xxxxxxxxxxxx.
    A polygenic trait, sequences xxxxxx, yyyyyy, zzzzzz.

    What makes the second bunch of genes harder to change than the first, a singleton? In both cases, you have a sequence involved in a single trait. The only difference is that in the second case, the sequence is split. Not a problem for Evolution.

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    RumraketEntropy
  34. Can I also note that there seems to be confusion about the distinction between the number of genes required to build a complex feature and the number of loci segregating variation for a given trait?

    If I introduce the classic apterous mutation, which disrupts wing development, into a Drosophila stock then the presence /absence of wings is suddenly a monogenic trait, even though it takes dozens of genes to correctly build the wings. But apterous is not “the gene for wings”; it encodes a transcription factor affecting other processes a well, e.g. muscle development.

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    avatarEntropy
  35. phoodoo: if one were to build a soldering iron, a refrigerator, a Wi-Fi router, a Frisbee, a band-aid and a microscope

    Great point. Let’s trim the list, for the purposes of illustration.
    Let’s suppose one was setting out to build a Frisbee, a band-aid, and a microscope.
    Lots of polygenic traits and pleiotropic genes, so if Frisbees, band-aids, and microscopes tend to be ‘bundled’, and selecting for one does not hinder selecting for the others, then everything is hunk-dory. However, the chances that this is true is ridiculously small; this is phoodoo’s critique, and it applies to any goal-oriented biological construction project.
    Intelligent Design is therefore dead in the water.
    However, it so happens that Frisbees, band-aids, and telescopes tend to be ‘bundled’, and this is what evolution will produce. The whole “what are the chances that these disparate traits could co-evolve?” question is an example of Texas Sharp Shooting; evolution will produce that which can be produced, unfazed by the insane interrelated complexity of the system. “Design” is utterly flummoxed.
    The IDists’ incredulity stems from being unable to step outside of “design” thinking…
    So, what would a design explanation for sex even look like?

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  36. phoodoo: If its many genes all coding for eyes, or one gene coding for eyes and also many other features, it just makes it that much more implausible that you can expect to get multiple fortuitous mutations that slowly slowly slowly keep improving your little indentation of the skin to make it form a better and better eye.

    Why?

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  37. Mung: And if you are mistaken in trying to pit ID against evolution?

    Then it is easier for ID, just pinpoint the places and how the designer intervenes.

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  38. phoodoo: To tell you the truth, I just love when guys like Dawkins repeats the Nillson and Pelger computer simulation nonsense. I mean right, what’s so difficult, just start with your little light sensitive patch-that has to give some reproductive advantage right?

    Yes. What’s so difficult? Opsins are basically just modified olfactory receptors. At the molecular level the sense of sight is literally a mutationally modified sense of smell.

    And then what’s so strange about that patch getting an accidental mutation that gives a small indentation which focuses light?

    Yes. What’s so strange about that?

    And then what’s so strange about that small indentation getting another mutation which makes the indentation bigger and better. That’s weird?

    Why?

    And then what’s so strange about that same indentation in the population getting ANOTHER mutation which turn the indentation into a liquid filled hole-what, you think that is unlikely or something?

    Why would it be? Skin folds, skin has pores, skin secretes liquids. Between individuals in basically any population of organisms some have more pores than others, some have more folds than others, some secrete more liquids than others. Variation in heritable traits really do exist, mutations really do occur, those mutations really do have effects on reproductive success.

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    Entropy
  39. Rumraket,

    You’re missing the point. the point is that a fantasy, a fairy tale, such as “a magical being in the sky made everything” is much more preferable than accepting that the eye evolved, no matter the evidence. It’s a choice between fantasy or thinking. Fantasy wins hands down, obviously!

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  40. Of course. And “someone with the power to make his own wishes come true without moving a finger, wished for it to happen, so it did” is NOT a just-so story at all. No no, not only is it NOT a just-so story, that’s a really good and testable scientific theory.

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    Entropy
  41. You’re missing the point. the point is that a fantasy, a fairy tale, such as “a magical being in the sky made everything” is much more preferable than accepting that the eye evolved, no matter the evidence. It’s a choice between fantasy or thinking. Fantasy wins hands down, obviously!

    You have returned to a version of Darwins original inference. The reasoning is circular and is forcing you to use labels like “magical being in the sky”. vs doing the hard work of really unpacking what we are observing. God is a “big” concept but so is the existence of a universe with organisms that can observe it.

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  42. colewd:
    newton,

    I agree with this but the scientific method is trying to identify a cause of what you are observing.

    Or causes. And by using a simplified models ,test each candidate and observe the results. With erosion, the speed of the water, type of rock , wind vs water, the effect of ice. That gives you a better understanding of a complex system.

    My belief is that ID is in its infancy and is here to stay

    If the designer uses creatio ex nihilo then ID is as old as the first creation story , just with some sciencey stuff thrown in to get around the establishment clause, that is my belief.

    .As we get the tools to see smaller and smaller pieces of biology and matter the evidence for design in nature will become more compelling.

    More compelling than the multitude of stars in the night sky?

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    Entropy
  43. Alan Fox: Except this is not the thread for mocking evolution. This is the thread for advancing alternatives.

    You don’t get it. Read again.

    Allan Miller: That’s a strength, if both everything and its opposite are in need of explanation.

    Not really. Your “explanations” amount to nothing more than kids stories like “HOW THE BEAR LOST HIS TAIL”.
    If an “explanation” doesn’t lead to any scientific/engineering/medical advances, it’s worse than useless.

    Allan Miller: How does ID explain their relative abundance?

    You’re asking others to play your futile little game. But if I were the designer and wanted to keep populations homogeneous (you know, to prevent “evolution”), I would find a gene exchange mechanism. And of course, I would endow the more complex devices (I mean organisms) with a more complex exchange mechanism. How complex? Maybe something like sex. And of course I am not the designer, so I am only second guessing the actual Designer. Would I also allow some exchange between unrelated organisms? Sure, why not? Maybe to not have to redesign every organism individually.

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  44. newton,

    If the designer uses creatio ex nihilo then ID is as old as the first creation story , just with some sciencey stuff thrown in to get around the establishment clause, that is my belief.

    It’s different than the creation story. I would say it is very similar to Paley’s watch argument. Our ability to see inside the cell is bring credibility to this argument.

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  45. colewd: The reasoning is circular and is forcing you to use labels like “magical being in the sky”. vs doing the hard work of really unpacking what we are observing.

    Thing is , being able to label the designer is a good thing. A thing ID avoids at all cost.

    And it is a bit disingenuous to accuse biologists who are working with real organisms as not engaging in the hard work when much of ID research is people making up metaphors and mathematical models. Just saying.

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    Entropy

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