What if ID were true? Then what?

I can’t help wondering whether ID is pointless.  Even if there were an intelligent designer, I don’t see that as being of much use to biologists.

Archeologists find pottery in their digs.  And they infer that the pottery was designed.  This kind of example is sometimes mentioned by ID proponents.

If that archeologist wants to find out more about the pottery, he is going to ask physicists and chemists to examine it.  Whether or not it was intelligently designed won’t affect that analysis at all.  It will be based on the evidence obtained from the pottery itself.  The relation of pottery to design, is that by studying the pottery one can make reasonable inferences about the designers, about their culture and their skills.  But, knowing that there was design, doesn’t tell us anything about the pottery itself.

It seems to me that the same would apply to ID and biology.  Even if it could be shown that there was an intelligent designer, that would not tell us anything about what we observe in biology.  We would still need evolutionary biology to explain the biological processes that we see in action, and we would still be making extrapolations back to the past about common descent, and noticing that what those extrapolations show is remarkably consistent with evidence from the past.  I am not seeing where knowledge that there was in intelligent designer would help at all.

If the purpose were to study what biology tells us about the intelligent designer, then maybe there would be a point.  But that could be studied even without knowing for sure whether ID is true.  In fact, making such inferences about the intelligent designer should help identify where to look for actual evidence of design.  So what are the ID proponents waiting for?

Comments anybody?

69 thoughts on “What if ID were true? Then what?

  1. petrushka: Did someone cue the crickets?

    ID proponents are having a prayer vigil for intelligent design.

    It hasn’t been feeling well lately. 🙂

     

  2. Thirteen minutes in, and I am in so much pain. I don’t know how anyone could bear to watch the whole thing.

  3. Actually, I think Hunter is having a blast playing wack-an-evo-justsostory.   This game is giving Blitz a run for its money.

    There isn’t a discovery evo-devo won’t co-opt; not an observation that ‘in the slightest affects evolution’; not an idea it can’t accomodate in the party size evo-jacuzzi. 

  4. Where ID will surpass ND is in the understanding of information as a separate physical entity that interacts with chemistry.  

    ND can never go there due the metaphysical implications of an unobservable entity acting on chemistry in a way too uncomfortably reminiscent of the activity of the human mind.

    Since ND opts out of the race, ID has the field to itself.  and if others join the race, it would only bolster IDs basic premises, not hurt it.

    Its a win-win for ID. 

  5. Where ID will surpass ND is in the understanding of information as a separate physical entity that interacts with chemistry.

    Interesting.  Which definition of “information” are you using?  How exactly does it “interact” with chemistry?

  6. Steve,

    Where ID will surpass ND is in the understanding of information as a separate physical entity that interacts with chemistry.

    Will it?
    How do you know that?
    When will it do that?

    ND can never go there due the metaphysical implications of an unobservable entity acting on chemistry in a way too uncomfortably reminiscent of the activity of the human mind.

    If it’s unobserverable how do you know it happened at all then?
    Do you have any examples of an unobservable entity acting on chemistry?
    If not, how do you know it happens at all?

    Since ND opts out of the race, ID has the field to itself. and if others join the race, it would only bolster IDs basic premises, not hurt it.

    What results do you have so far that ND has not been able to come up with?
    What is the “basic premise” of ID?

    Its a win-win for ID.

    Why? What’s happened? What novel results has ID produced?

  7. Perhaps you could give an example of a discovery that to your mind evo-devo has “co-opted” where in fact it supported ID?

    Just a *single* example will do, and don’t forget to explain why it supports ID and not evo-devo!

  8. Steve: Its a win-win for ID.

    I felt a disturbance in the Force, as if a million neurons cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened…

  9. This looks very much like the troll ploys by the Steve P. that taunts over at Panda’s Thumb.

    However, just in case Steve knows something about atoms and molecules that the entire world scientific community doesn’t, he will then be able to demonstrate how to compare the energies of interaction among atoms and molecules with the “information” of interaction among those same atoms and molecules.

    Here is the challenge for Steve:

    Using the charge-to-mass ratio for, say, protons, scale up the energy of interaction between two protons separated by distances on the order of a few nanometers to kilogram-sized masses separated by distances on the order of meters. He should get energies on the order of electron volts scaled-up to energies on the order of 1026 joules, or 1010 megatons of TNT

    Now repeat the above exercise using the “information”-to-mass ratio.

    Which is larger; the charge-to-mass ratio or the “information”-to-mass ratio?

    Steve will need only some high school level physics and chemistry to do the first part of the above comparison. He will have to tell us more about this “information” thing, because that never shows up in any chemistry or physics course at any level; and it is never used in any laboratory experiment ever done in the real world.

  10. You have to wonder at the lack of introspection these people have if a “hit an run” comment satisfies their “test my own knowledge” cravings. 

    It’s a great day when I’m wrong about something because I’ve just learnt something new.

    I expect Steve.P, JoE, KF and their ilk have never been wrong about anything their entire adult lives.  

  11. You just have to love how the denizens here at tsz deny the reality of information.

    So why do they bother to post?

    And what is it that they are posting?

    And why do they expect that it will have an effect?

    And what do they expect their posts to effect?

  12. You posted elsewhere that proteins and species are not real. But information is. Bearing in mind that these are simply the words that we use as shorthand for various types of phenomena, what is it that makes you say that ‘information’ refers to something ‘real’, but ‘species’ and ‘proteins’ do not?

    [To head off one obvious response: when I asked my 3-year-old daughter “what makes you says that?”, she said “my brain”. In her, that was cute. In a grown-up, not so much.]

  13. You posted elsewhere that proteins and species are not real. But information is.

    Where? Quote me. Post the links.

     

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