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Intelligent Design and Evolution

  1. Sep 22, 2003 #1
    I didn't know really where to put this, but here goes.

    I am a highschool student who before reading about intelligent design proudly belived in darwisnism. After reading books such as "Darwinism Under the Microscope" and "Darwins Blackbox" I fully lost belief in darwinwism and actually changed my beliefs to an ID, whether it is God or not.

    Does anyone have any opinions on this? Has Darwninism and natural selection totally been broken down and discredited? Info. from all sides is apprectiated. Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2003 #2


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    I have a copy of Darwin's Black Box right here, borrowed from my Mormon boss. Its pure crap but its presented well and sounds good. The "irreduceable complexity" arguement has been thoroughly debunked. He even provided the evidence against it in the book when he mentioned (then dismissed) all of the evolutionary forms of the eye that we see in other animals. You can trace the evolution of the eye all the way back to the eye spot by looking at existing animals. And his conclusion is a leap of faith across the grand canyon - 'we can't explain it therefore it must have been God.' Uh, no.

    Do a google search for articles about the book. There are many and they go into more detail than I did.
  4. Sep 23, 2003 #3


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    Welcome to Physics Forums, Chris_w!

    This is the right place. Looking through our archives, you'll probably find many past debates about ID. Like Russ, I too reject the irreduceable complexity argument. Certainly mainstream science has not rejected natural selection (although for many, strict "Darwinism" has been replaced by "Neodarwinism" now that we have a better understanding of genetics, etc.)

    If you have a particular point/question, we can discuss it here.

    Recommended reading:

    From an atheist's standpoint...
    Richard Dawkin's "Blind Watchmaker", "Climbing Mount Improbable", and "The Selfish Gene" (he's a strict Darwinist)
    Anything by S.J. Gould. (he favors a modification to strict Darwinism called Punctuated Equilibrium)

    From a theist (Christian) standpoint...
    Ken Miller's "Finding Darwin's God" (contains a great chapter about Behe's book)

    From a mixed bag of "evolutionist's" views...
    www.talkorigins.com (a great collection of articles, FAQs, references, etc.)
  5. Sep 23, 2003 #4
    ...And, for a debunking of the ID movement itself, which is nothing more or less than a front for Christian Creationism, see No Answers In Genesis.

    Welcome to the site, and if you have any specific questions, you have certainly came to the right place for answers!
  6. Sep 23, 2003 #5
    My two cents on this go like this:

    Intelligence is a result of evolution and/or trial and error.

    Evolution only appears to be an intelligent progression of events and designs because, as humans, we have inherited the culminations and the complexities of the evolutionary process. As a result, we have fashioned an intelligence or understanding of our environment, of sorts.

    In hindsight, we might think we see intelligent design in all the processes of the universe... yet, without the benefit of an highly evolved brain we would never have been able to see a pattern of Intelligent Design.

    We have quantified and identified intelligence only by using the intelligence we carry in the form of an evolved, primitive, cerebral ganglia.

    So, if you will, its like the cat only seeing things the way a cat will see things... because of its limitations as a cat. As an intelligent being, we are prone to see processes and events as a part of an intelligent design. When in actual fact, it may be much more... or much less than what we perceive it to be.
  7. Sep 23, 2003 #6


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    ID has this nasty habit of pointing to things which look designed and saying: "See! It all must be designed!"

    The problem is that for a theory to stand up, it must fit ALL the data, which evolution does (despite the neverending stream of debunked crap that the creationist camp spews), and ID does not

    A 'brief' list of suboptimal designs
  8. Sep 23, 2003 #7
    Kind of the way we see shapes in the clouds, isn't it? We don't claim that it is anything more than our brains picking out patterns...and ID is the same, when it isn't outright fraud.(Most ID is a combination of fraud and wishful thinking.)
  9. Sep 23, 2003 #8
    Here's Another link to an article about ID...
  10. Sep 23, 2003 #9
    As primates, we evolved to be tool makers and tool users, so we see the things in terms of having been made or designed.

    The biggest problem with Intelligent design is that it says "look, all this is so complex and great, it must have been designed", yet the next logical step is ignored - the designer had to be at least as complex and great as his design. So who designed him? The same arguments for an eternal designer can be made for a universe whose laws were such that everything we see now arose naturally. Only with a lot less elaborating on details which could never be demonstrated or tested. See an explanation of Occams razor for choosing the most rational answers, when all evidence is equal (or lacking).

    It has been argued that we are extremely improbable. Unfortunately, the same people making these arguments fail to acknowledge the numerous assumptions they make, assumptions that skew the perceptions and calculations. Assuming certain constants occurred by chance, when they may have been dependent on numerous others. See 'god of the gaps'.

    Even if their calculations were exactly on track that says nothing, since we are here. If I asked you to pick a number, at random, between one and a googleplex, the number you picked would be extremely improbably, yet you picked it all the same. If you looked at us as the goal, then probability rears it's head, but if we just happened, then we just happened. Had things turned out differently, we wouldn't be here to discuss it. No matter how improbable something is, when it occurs - it occurs.
  11. Sep 23, 2003 #10
    Oh, I think it is simpler than that. We evolved to congregate in groups and by led (typically) by an alpha male. And we are evolved to fear death. Therefore, it is believed by many that there is a magical (typically) alpha male who will protect us when we die. And since we evolved to be defensive against people different than ourselves, there will be creationists who will lie about evolution and fear evolutionists because we imply indirectly that there is no alpha male to protect them when they die.
  12. Sep 23, 2003 #11


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    Maybe it's time to make a fresh start then, because evolution from natural selection was never meant to be a belief. This is what majorly seperates it from I.D.

    Evolution is a scientific theory, based on observable evidence (real observable evidence. The data presented on creationist sites are almost always flawed, uncorroborated, and sometimes entirely made up.) and sound reasoning from known facts. It is in no way a belief, or a dogma, but a owrking hypothesis that is far from "discredited" and continuously being advanced for greater accuracy. In fact, the moniker of darwinism itself is now rather inaccurate, as evolutionary theory has progressed greatly since then, drawing in genetics, catastropy theories of sudden large-scale adaptations, chaos theory and so on. Darwin in his "origin of species also implicated selection by surviability as just one of many possible factors, and now we are filling in these with observed concepts like co-evolution, and sexual selection.

    Intelligent design on the other hand is wholly a dogma, and neccessarily unscientific due to its unfalsifiability. It relies on dubious assumptions and reasoning, such as:

    1. Inaccurate implication of the existence of purpose, to allow an argument by design. eg. evolution shows a random process, but ID insists on a set plan, which is wholly unreflected in the species mix we currently have. We don't have averages where variation can be seen to be just noise around original "intended" creations, but full scalability suggesting a common origin.

    2. Lack of understanding about so-called irreducible complexity. Modern research have often found fossil links with so-called irreducibly complex characteristics, and in this matter the irreducibly complexity argument exists only as a theory of gaps - it presumes that what we haven't found yet, despite all evidence, will never be found. This is a false premise.

    3. Incorrect deduction of probabilities. One must realise that evolution, though driven by random processes, is an exercise in determinism - it is not the random throwing of dice to match a specific sequence. This is still true of molecular evolution, and Complexity theory now is rapidly suggesting that as a matter of neccessity, self-organisation would arise. Further, the complexity of modern cells are far greater than that of the originals. Finally, multiple universes may exist, making humans certain to exist, somewhere.

    I.D? Don't fall for it.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2003
  13. Sep 24, 2003 #12
    FZ+ has as often happens beaten me to the post, oh well, it got said so that's good enough. :wink:

    But I think I should clear something up here:

    Unfortunately you fell into the trap of using assumptions that aren't quite correct. Just goes to prove how easy it is to do.

    You have made the critical assumption that to create complexity you need to start with complexity, this is just not true in general. True most rules do not create complexity they only make explicit the complexity inherent in the initial conditions you provide, (chaotic systems are an example of this). However some rules can pull complexity out of the magic hat so to speak.

    I suggest you look into "A New Kind of Science" by Stephen Wolfram. There is a topic on the book in the physics archives:
  14. Sep 24, 2003 #13
    Good analogy, ZERO.

    We see what we know (as in clouds that look like cauliflower, elephants and washing machines.

    What we don't know or understand or
    have intelligence about... we don't see.

    The "design" of the universe only appears to be a "design" because we cannot fathom any other way of describing it, so far.

    As i've noted in a few forum changes ago... there is an approximatation that says of the 100 percent of what we know there is 1000 percent we don't... or something... and this will never change, regardless of the progress we make.

    Simplicity is complex.

    Complexity is simple.

    Thanks for a good run at this everyone! Thanks and Welcome Chris W.
  15. Sep 24, 2003 #14


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    radagast - - Been listening to Douglas Adams' speeches lately?

    Chris_w - - Still there? As you can see, we love chatting about this. Oh wait...I see that we gave you about a year's worth of reading material with all those links. See you then. :wink:
  16. Sep 25, 2003 #15
    I think we overwhelmed the poor kid!
  17. Sep 25, 2003 #16
    hehe, I'm alive... and I am in just a state on confusion. I really don't know what to believe. Both sides have critical arguments and evidence. I don't want to turn this into a theological discussion, but something in me just wants me to believe that all this beauty in the world must have been made by something more complex out there and have a true meaning. I will further my research with what links everyone provided, thanks.
  18. Sep 25, 2003 #17
    You'll see rather shortly that the ID side has little evidence or argument...good luck!
  19. Sep 25, 2003 #18


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  20. Sep 26, 2003 #19


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    Thats an emotional response and its a fine thing to take to church with you on Sunday. I consider myself a Christian and believe the same thing. But that has no bearing on a discussion of science at all. ID is an inherrently flawed attempt to mix religion and science: by their very nature, they can't be mixed.
  21. Sep 26, 2003 #20


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    I understand what you mean, but consider this:

    Is the universe not more majestic if you consider that your beauty that you see arose by chance? The suggest not that the beauty is mundane but that everything, every rock and electron, contains the same capacity for beauty and order. And that we can understand it, delving into it to find that inner beauty and potential. And does it have meaning? It has a meaning to us, and a meaning that grows as we understand it. The universe is elegant - and without a messy guide it is all the more miraclous, and deep for us to look into.

    To see life as the result of random evolution does not dirty life, does not slander it's existence, but exposes the chance that shaped it and makes it all the more miraclous, whether you believe in god or not.
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