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Intelligent Design Without God

  1. Dec 30, 2004 #1
    So i recently came across this essay on an ID site. It seems to simply discuss a differant version of evolution yet everything else I see that speaks of ID referances God or a "Designer". Are there people who believe in an "intelligent design" theory that does not involve God? Perhaps people that theorize the "intelligence" and "design" are inherant in "life" itself and that species will evolve purposefully and not just by chance mutation without the help of outside intelligence?

    I wasn't quite sure where to post this. I was about to post in the biology section but decided that they might think it belongs better here.
     
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  3. Dec 30, 2004 #2

    matthyaouw

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    I once met a creationist who didn't believe in a creator. He told me how evolution couldn'tbe true, because if it were, then we would see new species popping up every other week. Another reason he didn't believe it was that he didn't like the idea that we were once apes (because if you don't like an idea, sticking your fingers in your ears and going "LALALALA!!!" makes them untrue...). To humour him, I asked him "So if you don't beieve in evolution, or a creator, where did we come from?" His reply- "Oh, we just kind of appeared!" He then proceeded to tell me how the big bang couldn't be true either, based on what he learned within is first 5 basic physics lessons. The urge to slap him was so strong you wouldn't believe it.
     
  4. Dec 30, 2004 #3

    russ_watters

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    This could just be a form of the anthropic principle: the laws of the universe were set up (by god or by chance) in such a way as to make our appearance inevitable. This doesn't necessarily imply a creator, because if the universe were set up any other way, we wouldn't be here to see it! If, for example, there are an infinite number of universes, the odds that we would be in this one aren't infinitely small, they are 100%.
     
  5. Dec 30, 2004 #4
    When I was discussing this with a friend he mentioned the anthropic principle.
    I had said something along the lines of "If, based on chance, life has a relatively insignificant likelihood of occuring wouldn't it be more logical to think that perhaps, since we know it has happened, in any situation that it is possible for life to occur it is more likely to occur than not?"
    Sort of like elements. From what I understand the elements didn't just randomly occur, that is to say you can't just randomly throw together some particles and create an atom. Certain combinations work and others don't right? So if you have the proper circumstances for atoms to form, such as in the primordial soup of the big bang, they will form and only in certain fashions if I understand correctly.
    So the idea then would be that perhaps life forms in a similar manner. Perhaps the possible "designs" are limited by an inherant fundamental and not only does life occur in particular forms based on the fundamental but given the proper circumstances will form the same way that particles will come together to create elements in the proper circumstances. Or maybe I'm kinda off here in how that all works.
    So this idea, or something similar, then would be called the "anthropic principle"? And would that fall under general evolution theory or is it considered to be kinda out there like ID?
     
  6. Jan 10, 2005 #5

    DaveC426913

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    "Are there people who believe in an "intelligent design" theory that does not involve God?"

    Can you elaborate? Seems to me that any intelligence that designed life is pretty much by definition a god. Using another name for the intelligence is merely semantics.

    Though I haven't read the paper (and would rather not) I would guess that the intent is merely to avoid using the heavily-weighted words such as 'God' so as not to turn skeptics off too quickly.
     
  7. Jan 10, 2005 #6

    Phobos

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    Like DaveC said, Intelligent Design believers invoke some volitional (purposeful) intelligence that created life as we know it. Usually, they won't say what that intelligence is...often because they believe it's God and they're trying to get their ideas into public schools. They'll say that life is too complex to have happened by naturalistic evolution and leave it at that.

    Other options on the table include things like alien intelligence...but that's a pretty rare belief (and often mocked) & likely a red herring to distract from the real debate about God. Anyway, as you've all figured out already, that wouldn't explain where the aliens came from.

    An inherent law of nature that favors life would not be an intelligent designer. That may be no different than a naturalistic viewpoint.

    Remember that the ID movement was started because the courts disallowed Creationism in public science classes.
     
  8. Jan 10, 2005 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    However, even we are toying with the notion of creating universes. Kaku even talks about this possiblity. Custom universes designed to produce life? Maybe as much the stuff of science fiction [for a few hundred centuries yet] as religion.
     
  9. Jan 10, 2005 #8

    selfAdjoint

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    If you posit an intelligence that is less than a god, that is it is itself a created or evolved being, then you likely have an infinite regress in Intelligent Design Theory. For they assert that certain structures in living organisms have an "irreducible complexity" which could not have evolved, and so must have been designed. But it seems likely that any being complex enough to do this design would itself have structures which are irreducibly complex, requiring a designer behind the designer,.... and so on ad infinitum.
     
  10. Jan 11, 2005 #9
    I'm not meaning to just say this is something else intelligent not called "God" but the same as. For me the term god is pretty generic and samantics doesn't change it like you said.
    The paper is actually pretty good, in my opinion at least, and doesn't refer to "God" except in quotation from another source. The author of the paper simply refers to "law like processes". I did get this from an ID website though. What I'm wondering is what do you call someone who believes there is a "law like process" at work in regards to the formation and evolution of life but doesn't refer to it as "God" since it seems that ID always refers to "God". I was thinking that the Intelligence refered to by ID could be an inherant "intelligence" in life. Not on par with human intelligence but just perhaps a "will" to adapt to it's environment and evolve rather than it being merely a product of natural selection. Then by that token it could be a "design" by purposeful adaptation rather than natural selection of random mutations.
    The problem is that mainstream evolution doesn't really except that notion. Mainstream evolution states that there is no evolutionary drive just random mutation chisled down by natural selection.
    Yeah it's pretty obvious that if there were another biological entity that designed us that would not solve the problem of that entities origin. Ofcourse if you look at it differantly, and I'm going to get a bit SciFi on you here, if we were designed by another race and this planet was seeded with life then it would behove us to figure that out wouldn't it? It would help us figure out the fundamentals of our "design" possibly. And the problem of the infinite regress would only be something to tackle later since the independant evolution was not something that happened here and the info that we gather here isn't going to lead us to discovering much about a biology that evolved independantly. At anyrate that is pretty out there but probably more acceptable than the idea of "God" for some scientists. All you have to believe is that it is possible for intelligent life to have evolved elsewhere and (even less of a stretch) that it is possible to use genetic engineering to seed a planet with life. First thing first though since there is yet no proof that we were "designed" in any fashion.
     
  11. Jan 11, 2005 #10

    selfAdjoint

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    I have no problem with the idea that we are a designed experiment by some other life form. Or more basically, that earth was seeded, perhaps randomly with life molecules from space and that's how life got its start here (with evolution then running and explaining everything after that, thus contradicting ID). But "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". It's one thing to read sf or contemplate a neat idea. It's something a lot harder to propose a scientific hypothesis and support it with evidence.
     
  12. Jan 11, 2005 #11
    Panspermic biologics vs panspermic universes

    Self Ajoint,
    Option 1) it may be that we were created by other human life forms and not neccessarily "other life forms".

    Option 2) it may be that there has never been the creation of any biologic life forms i.e. biologic life forms have existed eternally in an eternal Universe and all bilogic life formes only come from pre-exising bilogic life forms.

    Option 3) baby universes, with biologic life inside, are born out from the other universes but all these universes are connectred minimally by gravity ergo there is an can be only one Universe with a capital "U".

    We only have non-conclusive evidence to speculat our opposition to option #2. We have no proof of creating a baby Universe or a biologic life from where before there was none.

    If there Earth or some other celestial object is a cosmological egg then I think we humans or other eqully or more intelligent biolgocial life forms can aquire those skills of creating biologic life from where befor there was none.

    Until that time Im of the belief system that both Universe and biologic life have existed eternally.

    http://www.panspermia.org/

    Rybo
     
  13. Jan 11, 2005 #12
    I'd imagine, unless it was a desperate or blind effort(perhaps a blind experiement?), that anyone trying to seed a planet would program the seeding to have a more definite outcome than expected by pure evolution.
    I agree. I was just throwing that out there for fun really. There is no evidence and so no reason to expect it to be the case.

    What I am really questioning though is the "blind" nature of evolution. I'm reading The Blind Watchmaker right now so I may find some answers to the questions I am having there. In so far I'm having a bit of trouble with how the author asserts that evolution as we know it is absolutely positively the truth of how it happened. I have no problem with the idea of evolution just this blind random mutation that is supposed to be the driving force behind it. It would seem that it makes life too difficult to occur. One thing that came to mind was simply the idea of reproduction. Most people kinda take it for granted that a life form will reproduce even to the extent that it has at least at one time been discribed as one of the prerequisites for something to be considered a living thing. Obviously for a life form to survive more than one generation it has to be able to reproduce but in the begining of life could protiens and amino acids have come together to produce a cell that was impotent and didn't reproduce? By probability how many tries would it take for a life form to "evolve" the ability to reproduce or is this just inherant of any life form made up of proteins and amino acids that it's cells have the ability to split?
     
  14. Jan 12, 2005 #13
    I don't believe evolution is blind. I believe there is an underlying stream of consciousness guiding particularly human evolution towards a realization.

    maybe as part of some alien breeding plan, maybe not

    GOVT STEALTH WARNING don't drink from the mainstream - ninjatune
     
  15. Jan 12, 2005 #14

    DaveC426913

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    On a tangent, I have never understood this argument (nothing personal selfAdjoint):

    "...Earth was seeded, perhaps randomly with life molecules from space and that's how life got its start..."

    This is a theory I've heard before. But I don't understand what's it's designed to explain. All it does is shift the mystery of the origin of life to space.

    It does not answer the questions:
    "How did life form from those molecules"
    or even
    "How did those molecules get formed elsewhere to be deposited here?"

    It seems to merely be answering the (unasked) question "how did the actual molecules for life end up on Earth?"

    Personally, I don't see how that's a big deal. Earth has all the elements necessary.
     
  16. Jan 12, 2005 #15

    selfAdjoint

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    The idea is that basic life molecules can develop in outer space (some organic molecules have been detected in astronomical clouds) over a long period of time (billions of years). Then the molecules fall to earth and are so developed they are able to start up bacterial life in a relatively short span.

    The reason this has been proposed is that some people thought, a few decades ago, that the emergence of life on earth, so soon after its surface cooled, could not have been due to strictly terrestrial development because there wouldn't have been enough time. I don't think most scientists involved in these questions today take the idea very seriously.
     
  17. Jan 12, 2005 #16

    DaveC426913

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    Oh, I see. Outer space allows for slow-cooking. I did not know that was a factor.

    That does make more sense. Thanks!
     
  18. Jan 12, 2005 #17

    Phobos

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    TheStatutoryApe - Dawkins may say that evolution is blind, but he's not saying it's 100% random. In other words, the laws of nature are non-random. Biochemical processes have a thermodynamic/statistical tendency to occur a certain way. Some mutations are more likely than others (although many mutations are random). Natural selection favors certain variations based on the ecosystem conditions at that particular time. So, even through there's no pre-determined evolutionary path, the journey must still be contrained by the laws of nature.

    It's tough to talk about the beginning of life since there is no well supported theory for abiogenesis. But self-replicating molecules very likely appeared in history long before the first cell. Likely some kind of symbiosis developed between self-replicating molecules in order to develop a cell. It's still something of a subjective point as whether to call this primitive stage "life". It's a safe bet that many such lines did not proceed further or went "extinct". But calculating the probability would first require some good theory of abiogenesis.
     
  19. Jan 12, 2005 #18
    http://www.panspermia.org/
    Brigs Klyce, at the above link has been gathering info on this subject for many years.

    If and when humans perform abiognesis I will then believe that biologic life has not existed eternally in Universe.

    There has been no simple-to-complex, RNA-DNA evolutionary phenomena that im aware of.

    On the other hand we have seen the beginnings of comlex-to-simple evolutionary-like processes whenever isoalates groups inter-breed only to lose there more complex mind accessing abilitys.

    This evoltutionary, or de-evolutionary process, operational in the proper set of enviroments and circumstances could possibly lead to all the known animals, less complex than humans.

    Rybo
     
  20. Jan 13, 2005 #19

    Alkatran

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    Interesting theory, but a more probable reason for this de-evolution is the fact that humans have very very little natural selection affecting them.
     
  21. Jan 13, 2005 #20
    De-evolution and "natural selection"?

    Sorry Alka, I dont understand "natural selection" well enough to follow your logic here.

    Rybo
     
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