Special intelligence required to detect design

As most readers at TSZ are already aware according to the proponents of evolution it takes special intelligence to detect the apparent but striking designs in nature accomplished by random, natural processes of evolution.
According to this high-minded thought, whoever believes that life had to have been designed by an intelligent designer, and not by random, evolutionary processes, is ignorant and stupid…
Really?

Recently, my son got an assignment at school to try to prove that life was designed. Since one of the groups of kids he is going to present to is a special needs class, he needs his presentation to be very simple and easy to understand…
So, he needs some help from TSZ readers, especially the ones with the special intelligence, to help everyone to easily distinguish between which cheetah was designed and which cheetah is a product of mindless processes and only has an appearance of having been designed…
So, which cheetah was designed?

As most readers at TSZ also know the argument of the so-called bad design, or the apparent errors in life system, have been used extensively by evolutionists as proof for evolution and against intelligent design. Just to name a few:

  • the supposed bad design of an eye, the errors in sinuses function, and so on… Dr. Lents has recently published a book on the theme, so I will turn my due attention to him and his book in one of my next OPs…

So, let’s got to the meat and potatoes on the OP:

How can we help the children to distinguish which cheetah was designed and which one only has only an appearance of having been designed, using the same principles used by the high-minded evolutionists, including the bad design argument?

Please try to be as clear as possible, so that even the children with special needs can understand why you think one cheetah was designed and the other cheetah only appears to have been designed…

According to the materialists supporting Darwinian evolution, those who can’t see the obvious are just biased creationists… Let’s see if Darwinists’ views will agree with children’s views with special needs…

BTW: Please do not forget that the bad design argument used by Darwinists means that not only mindless processes of evolution are responsible for the bad design, the bad designer also doesn’t exist…

So, try to keep that in mind 😉

42 Replies to “Special intelligence required to detect design”

  1. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    I would like to mention that I was involved in a project and it didn’t look like I would be able to post here at least until Christmas… But things have changed and I will be focusing (well not really) on the issue of the so-called bad design with Dr. Lents as the new leader of the movement and the many theistic evolutionists…those who admit it and those who were branded as such, including Mike Behe, who was recently appointed as such by PS Dr. Swamidass…
    I’m not saying that Mike Behe is a theistic evolutionist, but I will try to clarify it here as PS is not suitable for it…

  2. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    I have a feeling that this OP is going to become the most popular OP ever at TSZ…Why shouldn’t become the one?

  3. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    As most readers at TSZ are already aware according to the proponents of evolution it takes special intelligence to detect the apparent but striking designs in nature accomplished by random, natural processes of evolution.

    Oh fuck. How many times already? No J-Mac, proponents of evolution do not think that the ‘sticking “design” in nature’ is a product of random processes. It’s a combination of the variation produced by random mutations and the not-so-random-more-deterministic processes of selection, both positive and negative. For as long as you think of it as just the random part, you’ll never understand why it’s so convincing, and why it doesn’t need special intelligence to be understood. It just requires you to actually read for comprehension.

    According to this high-minded thought,

    Which is nothing but a mischaracterization that you hold to by performing the difficult task of ignoring explanations.

    whoever believes that life had to have been designed by an intelligent designer, and not by random, evolutionary processes, is ignorant and stupid…

    Oh for fuck’s sake, not just random processes J-Mac! Not-just-random-processes! Are you deaf? Blind?

    And no, I don’t think that you need to be stupid in order to believe that life had to have been designed by an intelligent designer. What I do think is that you prefer to remain ignorant as to why that might be mistaken.

    Really?

    Nope. Not really. You’ve got it all very wrong. After such a long time posting here, if you had read just one explanation for comprehension you wouldn’t be making these egregious mistakes. I hope your kid does know how to read for comprehension, in which case I’ll be happy to try and answer more questions. In the meantime, all I see is that mommy (or daddy) J-Mac is not a good example (in terms of reading for comprehension).

  4. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    Moved a post to guano.

  5. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert:
    Moved a post to guano.

    Darn it. It didn’t last enough. I was hoping you’d be a bit distracted.
    🙂

  6. graham2
    Ignored
    says:

    my son got an assignment at school to try to prove that life was designed

    I don’t like the sound of that. What sort of school would assign such a task ? I think I know what sort. Its just too creepy.

  7. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    This “exercise” relies on the assumption that the real-life cheetah “appears to be designed.” Maybe my design-detection module is defective, but it doesn’t appear to be designed to me. It doesn’t look to me like the kind of thing which can be designed, because it’s an organism and not a machine.

    Still, it’s nice to see that the design “argument” relies yet once again on the false analogy that organisms are machines, despite every attempt to pretend that this analogy isn’t the very heart of the entire enterprise.

  8. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac:
    I have a feeling that this OP is going to become the most popular OP ever at TSZ…Why shouldn’t become the one?

    That’s a rather transparent attempt at a self-fulfilling prophecy, since, if I post a denial of your thesis about popularity, it will help realize it.

    Oh, wait.

    I guess I need to request that this post be deleted. Or maybe update it to include something guanoable.

  9. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    The irony of a thread dedicated to the detection of intelligent design seems to have escaped the poster of the OP.

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/intelligent-design-detection/

    Why not apply the method detailed there to this “puzzle”?

  10. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    “It doesn’t look to me like the kind of thing which can be designed, because it’s an organism and not a machine.”

    So the limits of ‘design’ as a useful (or proper) term in your vocabulary stops at ‘Nature’ or organisms in Nature (leave out the capitalised N’s if you choose)? And non-machines are by definition not ‘designed’? Machines are ‘human-made’, thus they fit into your list of categories proper to ‘design’?

    Biological organisms are ‘natural,’ therefore they cannot (or should not properly be said to) be ‘designed,’ even in the strange or perhaps a bit crazy way that Adrian Bejan says they are de facto by existing in his definition of ‘design in nature’? Everything to Bejan is ‘designed,’ it’s just that for him there is no Designer of what is designed; everything just “is what it is” (constructal law, flow, etc.) & ‘designed’ itself. After all, he is an atheist; so there cannot be a Designer, only design in nature. But that’s Bejan.

  11. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Special intelligence required to detect design

    I always knew I was special. 🙂

  12. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: But things have changed and I will be focusing (well not really) on the issue of the so-called bad design with Dr. Lents as the new leader of the movement and the many theistic evolutionists…

    OT, but before you head down that road you might want to contact Lents and ask if his book consists of “bad design” arguments. He denied it at Peaceful Science and threatened to leave the site because .people had the gall to disagree with him.

  13. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy: It’s a combination of the variation produced by random mutations and the not-so-random-more-deterministic processes of selection, both positive and negative.

    I’m getting tired of hearing this PRATT.

    But once again:

    Why can’t neutral evolution and random genetic drift accomplish the same thing?

    It’s not that organisms have “the appearance of design” it is that they have the “appearance of adaptation” to an environment. But what if that appearance is just as illusory as the appearance of design?

    Even if chance were the only element operating a person could still be an atheist. Though perhaps not an “intellectually fulfilled” atheist. Don’t drink the Dawkins Kool-Aid.

  14. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Why can’t neutral evolution and random genetic drift accomplish the same thing?

    Because there is no bias in the outcome. No bias, no adaptation.

  15. Mung Mung
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: Maybe my design-detection module is defective, but it doesn’t appear to be designed to me.

    I like that. Challenge the premise of the appearance of design! Do they appear “adapted” to you or is your adaption-detection module likewise defective?

  16. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: Because there is no bias in the outcome. No bias, no adaptation.

    At some point you may come to see the circular reasoning employed in that line of argument.

    It’s not that organisms have “the appearance of design” it is that they have “the appearance of adaptation” to an environment. But what if that appearance is just as illusory as the appearance of design?

    We could say that organisms just are adapted to their environment otherwise they would not exist in that environment. But that seems to be question-begging.

    And we could say that natural selection is the only means of bringing about adaptation because, by definition, adaptation is due to natural selection. That too appears to be question-begging.

    Why can’t a chance process bring about adaptation?

  17. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    I say the MIT cheetah robots are designed because we know who designed them and why.

  18. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Doesn’t Darwin give an example of a particular tropical orchid with a long tube shape that was impossible for any known insect to reach? He predicted an insect with a long enough proboscis must exist for the flower to exist. And the relevant hawk moth was identified after his death? The moth is an essential part of the flower’s niche. The flower is an essential part of the moth’s niche.

  19. newton
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung:
    I say the MIT cheetah robots are designed because we know who designed them and why.

    Right,because the robot Gazelles were getting too plentiful and eating all the robotic grass and trampling the the non-robot students.

  20. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    graham2:
    my son got an assignment at school to try to prove that life was designed

    I don’t like the sound of that. What sort of school would assign such a task ? I think I know what sort.Its just too creepy.

    My son’s school teaches evolution. My son questioned many of the evolutionary assumptions as baseless, such abiogenesis, endosymbiosis, the evolution of new body plans etc. the Darwinian nonsense… The teacher gave him an alternative assignment and asked him to present in front of the class. Because the teacher expected it to be controversial, he asked the vice-principal to join in. He didn’t see anything wrong with the expressing of an alternative opinion, so he told the teacher to continue to assign my son with similar subjects… Because the teacher teaches a special class as well, he asked my son to prepare a simple and yet informative presentation with pictures or video…

    So here we are…Darwinian assumptions of the appearance of design vs design…

    It’s interesting that the vice-principal said that ‘no matter what my son presents, it will not convince anyone who doesn’t want to be convinced’… something like that…
    It sure is true… just look at TSZ…

  21. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: At some point you may come to see the circular reasoning employed in that line of argument.

    Who can say?

    It’s not that organisms have “the appearance of design” it is that they have “the appearance of adaptation” to an environment. But what if that appearance is just as illusory as the appearance of design?

    Well, what if? It’s a reasonable philosophical view (I hold it myself on Tuesdays when there’s an “R” in the month) that design is introduced by whoever or whatever was the cause of this universe. It is as just right for what happens as water runs downhill.

    We could say that organisms just are adapted to their environment otherwise they would not exist in that environment. But that seems to be question-begging.

    And we could say that natural selection is the only means of bringing about adaptation because, by definition, adaptation is due to natural selection. That too appears to be question-begging.

    But evolutionary theory has mechanisms – an explanation for what we observe. Design isn’t any explanation, especially no mechanism

    Why can’t a chance process bring about adaptation?

    Chance isn’t a mechanism. The bias on ability of individuals in a population to leave offspring is the mechanism of adaptation.

  22. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung:
    I say the MIT cheetah robots are designed because we know who designed them and why.

    If a similar to MIT cheetah were found on Mars, would we have the same answers?

  23. colewd
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox,

    Conscious intelligence is a partial hauling oracle that can comprehend when certain algorithms will fail. Evolutionary theory has not identified anything in the cell that will do this. Without this you cannot explain the origin of living DNA.

  24. newton
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: If a similar to MIT cheetah were found on Mars, would we have the same answers?

    Of course .though the first guess at the builder would be Tesla. We already know there is a Tesla in space.

  25. newton
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: It’s interesting that the vice-principal said that ‘no matter what my son presents, it will not convince anyone who doesn’t want to be convinced’… something like that…
    It sure is true… just look at TSZ…

    No need to ,just look in the mirror.

  26. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: I’m getting tired of hearing this PRATT.

    Why can’t neutral evolution and random genetic drift accomplish the same thing?

    It’s not that organisms have “the appearance of design” it is that they have the “appearance of adaptation” to an environment. But what if that appearance is just as illusory as the appearance of design?

    A good question. I think it is two sides to the same coin.

    “Appearance of design” means there is a scientific explanation that does not involve “design” in the sense that word is used in anthropology or engineering — that is, through the actions of an intelligent agent to meet its own goals. I’m leaving lots out here, of course, but hopefully you get the drift.

    But I’ve skated over an important issue in the above paragraph: what is the “scientific explanation” supposed to be an explanation of? The appearance of adaptation to environment. Fitness, in other words.

    So now the question is how to define ‘fitness’ in a way that does not involve some external agent invoking its norms to declare something more fit than something else. That is at least partly a question for philosophy of biology. I imagine you already have some books on that.

    The basic issue, at least according to Godfrey-Smith’s introductory text, is whether to consider ‘fitness’ a dispositional property of an organism (note that disposition implies context-sensitivity) or whether fitness is only a post hoc term we apply after we understand the causal structures driving changes in gene frequencies. In that latter case, fitness is a just matter of degree in differentiating neutral mutations from adaptive mutations.

  27. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: If a similar to MIT cheetah were found on Mars, would we have the same answers?

    Given the MIT version cannot reproduce….

  28. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: My son questioned many of the evolutionary assumptions as baseless, such abiogenesis, endosymbiosis, the evolution of new body plans etc. the Darwinian nonsense…

    This is somewhat unlikely, given that at the level your child is at abiogenesis and evolution are separate issues.

    So it follows that the rest of what you have to say can be discarded. Not that another reason would have been needed, but it’s clear you are just trolling and making it up for whatever reason.

  29. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    colewd: Conscious intelligence is a partial hauling oracle that …

    “Hauling oracle” — something that hauls you over the coals for making typos.

    “Partial hauling oracle” — one that fails at its job.

  30. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Damned gazelles. Now you know why the designer designed the cheetah. Now all we need to do is figure out who the designer was.

  31. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: But evolutionary theory has mechanisms – an explanation for what we observe.

    The evolutionary explanation for “the appearance of adaptation” is natural selection. Natural selection is the theory that better adapted organisms will leave more offspring. That does not explain “the appearance of adaptation.”

    Why do organisms appear to “fit’ their environment. Because if they didn’t they would not be there. Well duh.

  32. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS: I imagine you already have some books on that.

    Function, Purpose, Adaptation. Books like the following:

    Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds

    You would be correct.

  33. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain: Given the MIT version cannot reproduce….

    A self-reproducing robot would just strengthen the inference to design, not weaken it

  34. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: The evolutionary explanation for “the appearance of adaptation” is natural selection. Natural selection is the theory that better adapted organisms will leave more offspring. That does not explain “the appearance of adaptation.”

    Why do organisms appear to “fit’ their environment. Because if they didn’t they would not be there. Well duh.

    When you play the game of life you win or you die. There’s no middle ground.

  35. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    colewd: Conscious intelligence is a partial hauling oracle that can comprehend when certain algorithms will fail. Evolutionary theory has not identified anything in the cell that will do this. Without this you cannot explain the origin of living DNA.

    Even with Neil’s help with the typo, this makes no sense. You are seduced by faulty models!

  36. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung:
    I’m getting tired of hearing this PRATT.

    What matters is not if you’re getting tired, but if you understand it.

    Mung:
    But once again:

    Why can’t neutral evolution and random genetic drift accomplish the same thing?

    Because neutral evolution alone would mostly keep things in place. The odd features here and there, but not those things we look at and say “look how well adapted those things look!” AT least as far as I’m able to understand.

    Mung:
    It’s not that organisms have “the appearance of design” it is that they have the “appearance of adaptation” to an environment. But what if that appearance is just as illusory as the appearance of design?

    Believe it or not, I like this. Confronting the very main assumption. There’s too many things that are very hard to explain if not as adaptations, but give it a go and let’s see how well your explanation works.

    Mung:
    Even if chance were the only element operating a person could still be an atheist.

    I doubt we could be here if all we had was “chance” (whatever that means), and I mean, with or without a magical designer behind everything. For the magical designer to be able to do anything, nature would have to have some basic consistency. Otherwise it would not be manipulable. Nothing could be done with it.

    This is, yet again, that philosophical problem I keep mentioning and that nobody seems to understand. You’re putting the cart before the horse. Intelligence, to exist, requires its foundational nature, meaning its environment and its constituents, to have some minimal consistency. Otherwise there would be no intelligence to talk about. Etc.

    Mung:
    Though perhaps not an “intellectually fulfilled” atheist. Don’t drink the Dawkins Kool-Aid.

    Why do you think this has anything to do with Dawkins? I have my own mind. So, when you’re talking to me, I promise, you’re talking to me, not with Dawkins. I’m not channeling Dawkins. I do not agree with everything Dawkins has said or written, nor have I read most of his books (I read one, and tried to read another, but got too bored to continue).

    Clear?

  37. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: When you play the game of life you win or you die. There’s no middle ground.

    Everything dies. No middle ground at all.

  38. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy: Because neutral evolution alone would mostly keep things in place.

    I question whether that is correct. I was told that it is neutral theory that killed Darwinism. It think it is selection that would mostly keep things in place. 🙂

  39. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Everything dies.

    Live in the moment!

  40. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: I was told that it is neutral theory that killed Darwinism.

    It was oversold by some.

  41. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung:
    I question whether that is correct. I was told that it is neutral theory that killed Darwinism. It think it is selection that would mostly keep things in place.

    Hum. Some explanations are /seem necessary. “Darwinism,” if by that what’s meant is evolution by the mechanism(s) proposed by Darwin, wasn’t “killed,” properly speaking, it was surpassed. Meaning that what Darwin had is tiny in comparison to what we have today. So, news of its dead have been exaggerated. It’s more that it’s not just about positive selection any more.

    What neutral theory and her sister, genetic drift, are about is not absolute lack of selection, but, rather, that most of the mutations that we observe, at least at the molecular level, in terms of mutations, are neutral or semi-neutral. Meaning that they have no effect, or they have a mostly negligible effect, on fitness.

    Now, that should not be mistaken for “there was no selection whatsoever.” Negative selection would still have selected against deleterious mutations (that’s what negative, or purifying, selection means). So, positive selection, selection for new things, for adaptive things, is what suffered a blast in terms of how prevalent is was found to be at the molecular level (as far as I have studied this, I think Gould and others made a case for neutral to semi-neutral, and circumstantial/non-adaptive, stuff, also at the macroscopic levels, the spandrels thing for example, but I haven’t read much about it). That doesn’t mean that there’s no positive selection either.

    So, since neutral evolution and drift imply both no selection + negative selection, they’d mostly keep things in place. As far as I understand it. But, with the odd feature here and there (as I also said).

    I don’t know if that was clear enough. Let me know.

  42. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: It’s not that organisms have “the appearance of design” it is that they have the “appearance of adaptation” to an environment. But what if that appearance is just as illusory as the appearance of design?

    In my opinion, it is.

    There are two ways that you can have an organism that appears adapted to its environment:

    (1) the organism or population adapts to the environment;
    (2) the organism chooses to exploit an environment to which it is already adapted. It can do this by migrating or by changing its behaviors, or a combination.

    The idea is that mutations can change the capabilities of the organisms. And then those organisms can change their behavioral practices, so that in effect they are changing which niche they are exploiting.

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