Category Archives: Athiesm

Either Modern Evolutionary Biology is Goal-Directed, or it is False!

DoublePlay

Philosopher of biology Will Provine died recently.  Provine was an Atheist (I capitalize Atheist, because I view it as a faith based religion). Here is his own summary on evolutionary biology:

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either. (Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy April 30 1994)

Let me present my own summary as to why Provine’s statement that “There are  … no goal-directed forces of any kind.” is false, and why modern evolutionary biology must indeed be goal-directed, or it must be false.

Virtually all of life, and all of the components of life appear to be goal-directed. From the smallest component of a human life form … the cell, to the various organs contained therein, to the finished product —  all across the board we have items that achieve specific purposes, often multiple purposes.

Internal organs

In the case of human organs we see that each of our internal organs achieves a specific purpose:

  • The heart pumps blood and life sustaining oxygen and nutrients to each part of our body, and to each cell, while also removing carbon dioxide and other wastes.
  • The visual system – eyes, nerves and brain – gathers, processes and stores visual information from our external world allowing us to function smoothly in a very complex, beautiful and often threatening world.  
  • The kidneys serve several essential regulatory roles in vertebrates. They remove excess organic molecules from the blood, and it is by this action that their best-known function is performed: the removal of waste products of metabolism.
  •           
  •          And on and on for each of our parts.

So if the evolutionary “just-so” tale is to be believed, each of these very specific and sophisticated organs arrived on the scene simultaneously by a process that had no intention to produce such intentional, purposeful and goal oriented machines. Or … they arrived on the scene by some other means.

And what of the final product – the human being? What you see in the lead-in picture above is the intentional and goal directed execution of a very complex maneuver in baseball called the double play.

Somehow, evolution which is not goal-directed has created a massively complex and synchronous machine which is – at all levels – purposeful and goal directed. Goal directed towards multitudes of goals:

motherorchastra1th2XNA3IJ9th70QBZ4LVth722DC36QthU3SODEVU 

I would dare to suggest that the false god of evolution, undirected “Deep Time”  casts a shroud over observationally obtained truth.

Coperfield

The high priests of this false god of “Deep Time”: Will Provine, Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, Stephen Hawking and others peddle this just so tale simply because, in the words of Richard Lewontin – “ … we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. ” And they are adamant in keeping this Divine Foot out of the culture, out of education, out of science … and indeed, and perhaps most importantly, out of their own life and life style.

 

don johnson – September 2015

Richard Dawkins: No moralist like an atheist moralist

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG

Something to think about over morning coffee —

http://www.uncommondescent.com/darwinism/richard-dawkins-no-moralist-like-an-atheist-moralist/

Excerpt from a commenter:

“ … The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state sponsored atheism, would be hard to exaggerate,,, Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

“169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]
I BACKGROUND
2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide]
3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
II 128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS
4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill
6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
III 19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS
8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS
15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia”

This is, in reality, probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world. … “

There’s more …

 

Don Johnson – August 2015

Who or What Is the Designer in Intelligent Design

My second foray into NCSE has been interesting but not unsurprising with many comments, but none relating to the actual content which I shared with the readers.

I leave NCSE once more, with an essay rather than responding to the individual comments directed towards me. Hopefully there are open minded readers that will read the essay with an objective mind and heart. In this essay I try to minimize and avoid theological issues and questions, and I hope readers will read it in that spirit.

https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/a-glutton-for-punishment-revisiting-the-national-center-for-science-education-ncse/

However, there is one commenter, Ian Nicholas  I would like to respond to. Ian has questions of people like me — questions that are not new to him and have been asked numerous times by many, and have been addressed by many throughout the years, decades and centuries. The wording may differ, but the questions are similar (taking my time Ian … with much recent travel seeing much of the beauty of God’s green earth).

Here are the questions:

Who or what is the designer? What did it do? How did it do it? Where did it do it? When did it do it?

Let me offer several perspectives on Mr. Nicolas’s questions. I will not offer them up as answers, since I sense in his comments an anger – a closed minded anger – that may keep him from consideration of what I have to say  … nonetheless, let me begin.


First is the perspective from the point of view of Intelligent Design (ID) –

From the Discovery Institute we read [emphasis added]:

“ … What is intelligent design?
Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program as well as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature. The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Through the study and analysis of a system’s components, a design theorist is able to determine whether various natural structures are the product of chance, natural law, intelligent design, or some combination thereof. Such research is conducted by observing the types of information produced when intelligent agents act. Scientists then seek to find objects which have those same types of informational properties which we commonly know come from intelligence. Intelligent design has applied these scientific methods to detect design in irreducibly complex biological structures, the complex and specified information content in DNA, the life-sustaining physical architecture of the universe, and the geologically rapid origin of biological diversity in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion approximately 530 million years ago.  … “

ID theory and practice does not require the identity of a designer or designers. Again, from the Discovery Institute we read [emphasis added]:

“ … The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism typically starts with a religious text and tries to see how the findings of science can be reconciled to it. Intelligent design starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what inferences can be drawn from that evidence. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural. … “

Thus the questions of Mr. Nicolas are irrelevant from an ID perspective.

Perhaps this can be illustrated by an allegory. The one I have in mind is one by A. E. Wilder-Smith —  “He Who Thinks Has to Believe.” at:
http://www.amazon.com/He-Who-Thinks-Has-Believe/dp/0871232596/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438875149&sr=8-1&keywords=he+who+thinks+has+to+believe

In this delightful little book, a modern transport plane crashes into a remote island inhabited by “Neanderthals” who have never been visited by modern man.  The aircraft contains a cargo of various types of farm equipment as well as cans of fuel for the machines. There are no survivors, so all the Neanderthals see is something frightful dropping from the sky in flames and a bunch of unknown stuff scattered around. 

Once the initial fear subsides, the inquisitive Neanderthals start poking around in the debris and begin to discover that many of the strange machines have components that are similar to some of the items in their everyday life.  The large round things attached on the four corners of some of the things look similar to the wheels on their own simple wagons, and they surmise that maybe the big green machine can somehow move across their fields.

A young Neanderthal climbs up onto what is obviously a seat and starts pushing the buttons he finds and pulling various levers. Much to his surprise and fright, the big green thing seems to come ‘alive’ in some sense and when he pulls a particular lever the machine begins to move.

Further, since the ‘writing’ on the machines (CAT, John Deere etc.) seem somewhat similar to their own primitive writing, they surmise that perhaps these machines were designed and constructed by beings having intelligence.  But since from their own perspective these designers are unknowable, except for the design artifacts they delivered from the sky, they can only infer design and thus ‘designers.’

In summary, the Neanderthals soon discover that the machines have purpose and function that they can use to their own advantage in everyday village and farm life.


Wilder-Smith’s allegory illustrates that it is simply not necessary to know:

  • who or what is the designer?
  • what did it do?
  • how did it do it?
  • where did it do it?
  • when did it do it?

to investigate and understand natural systems and use such knowledge to our advantage … we do it in our every day life in any number of ways.

Intelligent Design is a quest to follow the evidence to where-ever it may lead (i.e. science).

Next is the perspective from the point of view of Biblical Creation.

Again … the questions, this time directed at Biblical Creation:

Who or what is the designer? What did it do? How did it do it? Where did it do it? When did it do it?

The answers to these questions are easy and readily available to everyone in the context of the Hebrew/Christian Biblical accounts of Creation:

In the beginning God created …  Genesis 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  John 1:1

And many other accounts throughout the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

Here, as distinct from Intelligent Design, proponents clearly identify the Designer as the God of the Bible – the God of the Ten Commandments.

This is admittedly an A priori stance, but one with a considerable amount of success over the centuries in the development of modern science and the advancement of our knowledge of the world and universe we live in. Most of the modern scientific disciplines owe their founding to Biblical Creationists

Is the Creationist stance a hindrance or a help in the advancement of science?

The Creation view of nature is one that sees order and discoverability in the designs seen in nature. This view sees real design and not illusions or appearances of design, and it is from this perspective that investigation proceed from scientists such as Galileo, Newton and many others including modern scientists in many fields.

Is algebra, physics or chemistry taught from the Bible as if it were a text book? Of course not, but the philosophical and inspirational roots can be found in the investigations of many scientists and engineers, past and present.

Next is the perspective from the point of view of  Naturalism/Materialism and Evolutionary Biology.

Finally we take a look at Mr. Nicolas’s god – ‘Deep Time’, and  this god’s prophet Charles Darwin…, along with the priesthood of Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Laurence Krauss and others.  

Again … the questions, this time directed at Materialistic Evolution:

  • who or what is the designer?
  • what did it do?
  • how did it do it?
  • where did it do it?
  • when did it do it?

So let’s take a look:

  • who or what is the designer?
    Deep Time
    image
  • what did it do?
    “ … tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged” Stephen Hawking
  • how did it do it?
    Dawkins, in his book “The Blind Watchmaker”, states regarding the origins of the universe and life: “given enough time, and an infinite number of chances, anything is possible.”
                 meaning:

    Random mutations + Natural Selection
    image
  • where did it do it?
    Everywhere throughout the universe.
  • when did it do it?
    During ‘Deep Time’

In short, Darwinian Evolution requires an unknown “deep Time” such that when left alone and given enough time, nothing will borrow nothing from nothing and turn itself into into something. I’m beginning to understand – but my head hurts.


So we have three perspectives and I will leave it up to the reader to carefully examine each and draw appropriate conclusions.

But please – let’s teach our kids the art of critical thinking.

A Glutton for Punishment –- Revisiting The National Center For Science Education (NCSE)

image
(click on the image above)

Yes … I have once more jumped into the shark tank known as NCSE. After more than a year of reading and commenting at the NCSE Blog site, I was finally kicked off after responding rather forcefully to a militant Atheist commenter called CdnMacAthiest, who over the course of a year has accused me of all manner of evil such as treason, sedition, pedophilia, child abuse and more …

So dummy me jumps once more into that shark tank, this time at their Facebook page where it seems I haven’t been banned.

And again, after offering up a good science article from Discovery Institute, the blow back came quickly and in abundance from commenters there.

So once more, I will be leaving NCSE, but not without a parting comment as you can read here.

Why do I do this you ask?

I do this because NCSE is one of the most influential and effective advocates for “evolution only” teaching in schools. This may sound fine to you since it is well known that evolution is “fact” and there is no controversy over it, and those like me who wish to point out the weaknesses and failures of Darwinian Evolution are considered to be and labeled as IDiots, “science deniers” and worse.

But this so called fact of evolution is far from fact, and there is indeed significant controversy centered around evolution, and that is what I attempt to address in my contributions at NCSE, and what I once more will attempt to do in this essay.

I have grandchildren in the public schools, and have had children in the public schools, and know and have known a number of teachers over the years, and it irks me that Atheism is pushed down the throats and into the minds of students.  And NCSE is for the most part pushing an Atheist world view in the guise of science  — at least in their evolution stance though I do not make the same charge in their ‘global warming’ stance. .

Yes, teach evolution by all means as the Discovery Institute advocates,  but teach the whole truth including the warts and failures of the Darwinian theory of Evolution and its successors such as Neo-Darwinism.

In this essay I will present strong evidences of design in nature – Intelligent Design — and follow with a series of serious questions and gaps in the main stream world view of evolution. The evidences for design are compelling because they have very close correlation to designs we commonly see and use in our everyday life of designed things and systems. Modern science and technology can actually look into the cells of nature, including the several trillion that are in each of our own human bodies, so in many cases we can actually see the evidences. Other evidences are what we experience on a daily basis in our own bodies.

My hope and vision for presenting this is as follows:

  • To provide information to the reader.
  • To cause a reader to pause and reconsider a world view — to reexamine the evolution/Intelligent Design/Creation controversy and puzzle over evidence both pro and con.
  • To open minds that may be closed due to long term educational and cultural influences that may have been in error.
  • To counter the bullying, shaming, name calling and career ending persecution that is all to prevalent when a contrary point of view is pursued or presented.
  • To recover the art and decency of civil conversation.

 As a lead in to this discussion I present a somewhat typical article describing research into micro biology – in this case, the human genome.

In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the genetic material of an organism. It consists of DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses). The genome includes both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA/RNA.

RecA.jpg

The article is at this link:
http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/key-prediction-of-darwinian-evolution-falsified/#comment-573890

Excerpt:
Biological life requires thousands of different protein families, about 70% of which are ‘globular’ proteins, each with a 3-dimensional shape that is unique to each family of proteins. An example is shown in the picture at the top of this post. This 3D shape is necessary for a particular biological function and is determined by the sequence of the different amino acids that make up that protein. In other words, it is not biology that determines the shape, but physics. Sequences that produce stable, functional 3D structures are so rare that scientists today do not attempt to find them using random sequence libraries. Instead, they use information they have obtained from reverse-engineering biological proteins to intelligently design artificial proteins.

Indeed, our 21st century supercomputers are not powerful enough to crunch the variables and locate novel 3D structures. Nonetheless, a foundational prediction of neo-Darwinian theory is that a ploddingly slow evolutionary process consisting of genetic drift, mutations, insertions and deletions must be able to ‘find’ not just one, but thousands of sequences pre-determined by physics that will have different stable, functional 3D structures. So how does this falsifiable prediction hold up when tested against real data? As ought to be the case in science, I have made available my program so that you can run your own data and verify for yourself the kinds of probabilities these protein families represent. More.

_____

Before continuing  let me make a few remarks about the comments that have been generated on the NCSE Facebook page from my posting:

  • The referenced article is a fascinating and informative look into the proteins in our cells – all several trillion of them.  The article also shows the science and technology that allow a look at these proteins and how they function and how they are constructed. This particular article describes the 4 dimensional character of proteins … 3-dimensional folding and a 4th dimension of time. 
  • As fascinating as this is, none of the comments (and I emphasize none)  spend any time with the article itself. They don’t rebut or take issue with it, they don’t ask questions, they don’t seem to show any interest in the scientific study or reporting. Most likely the article hasn’t been read. And this is the pattern when I offered up similar articles at the NCSE Blog … little or no discussion on the articles presented, but much gnashing of teeth over where the information came from.
  • They spend all their time and energy attacking the Discovery Institute where this study was reported. And they spend a considerable amount of time and energy towards me and my views.
  • There seems to be very little sense of wonder at peering into life at the smallest detail … little indication of curiosity or wanting to know more.
  • The NCSE site itself seldom if ever reports on these kinds of ‘machines’ we see at the cellular level – plenty of articles on fossils, the Grand Canyon  and Scopes and Dover legal cases … but none on the machines of life itself. Sad from a site holding themselves up as an educational advocacy organization.
  • I recently met a professor from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University o0f Pennsylvania. I was able to ask the professor about the animations I have seen  such as the Kinesis Motor, and the one I reference above in this article.  The professor was able to answer my layman level questions because that is his area of research. He recommended I search on “systems biology” and “computational biology” in order to learn more.
    I wonder why NCSE has little or no interest in these two fields of biology, and why they don’t present these growing fields of study to their members and readers, and thus to the schools and students.

_____

And now to continue the contrast between ID and Neo-Darin Evolution…


In a comment to this article reported on at http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/key-prediction-of-darwinian-evolution-falsified/#comment-573890, reader ‘tjguy”  gathers together a list of life characteristics and systems that present A strong case for design in nature. I will use and enhance his list for purposes of this article.


Things we see in life:

  • Nano molecular machines, such as the Kinesin Motor and the Flagellum Motor.
    These machines are among the many that have been discovered in the cells of life in recent years.
  • The 3D genome.
  • Biological codes, some of which can be read backwards and forwards.
  • Information, as contained in DNA. From a Harvard study we read that” … One gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data. That’s 14,000 50-gigabyte Blu-ray discs… in a droplet of DNA that would fit on the tip of your pinky. … “
  • Self-correcting biological software.
  • irreducibly complex systems and machines.
  • A 4D world coordinated by internal clocks … see the article referenced above.
  • GPS like biological systems as in the navigational systems found in many animals.
  • Sonar capabilities as found in whales and dolphins.
  • Fantastically complicated and effective information processing, storage, and retrieval systems.
  • Magnets.
  • Amazing and purposeful designs accomplishing a wide variety of useful tasks.
  • Transportation systems, as in the Kinesin Motor.
  • Quality control systems.
  • Flight.
  • Computer like biological systems.
  • Temperature control systems,
  • And more …

This partial list presents a compelling case for a purposeful and deliberate design contained throughout nature from the cellular level to the complete body plan such as the human plan.

In the case of our human bodies, one example (of many) of the culmination of such design is the double play in baseball.

DoublePlay

_____

Serious questions showing Dawkins’ ‘Mount Improbable’ really is improbable in the extreme – a case against Darwinian Evolution.

“… tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged” ... Stephen Hawking

Since Darwinian Evolution is asserted as indisputable fact and without controversy, I would like to offer up a serious list of questions … questions that unanswered would seem to shake that confident assertion. I would say that until these questions are definitively answered, or at least the strong majority, the Evolutionary Biologist and Materialistic Atheist can make no such claim of absolute irrefutable fact of evolution,. 

  • We don’t know how the laws of nature evolved.
  • We don’t know how the 240+ physical and natural constants evolved.
  • We don’t know how the first cell evolved.
  • We don’t know how the DNA code evolved.
  • We don’t know how replication evolved.
  • We don’t know how RNA polymerase evolved.
  • We don’t know how transcription evolved.
  • We don’t know how genes evolved.
  • We don’t know how translation evolved.
  • We don’t know how hemoglobin evolved.
  • We don’t know how the electron transport chain evolved.
  • We don’t know how ATPase evolved.
  • We don’t know how eukaryotes evolved.
  • We don’t know how multicellular organisms evolved.
  • We don’t know how the vision cascade evolved.
  • We don’t know how visual pattern recognition evolved.
  • We don’t know how hearing evolved.
  • We don’t know how audio pattern recognition evolved.
  • We don’t know how the kidney evolved.
  • We don’t know how the liver evolved,
  • We don’t know how the circularity system evolved.
  • We don’t know how mammals evolved.
  • We don’t know how male/female anatomical sexuality evolved,
  • We don’t know how bio sonar evolved,
  • We don’t know how the hummingbird tongue evolved.
  • We don’t know how the whale evolved.
  • We don’t know how photosynthesis evolved.
  • We don’t know how the butterfly evolved.
  • We don’t know how turtles evolved.
  • We don’t know how consciousness evolved.
  • We don’t know how biological information (i.e. DNA) evolved.
  • We don’t know how the various machines within the cell evolved.
  • We don’t know how altruism evolved.
  • We don’t know how bees evolved.
  • We don’t know how all of the body organs, including skin co-evolved to their present form.
  • We don’t know how human intellect evolved (i.e. music, art, literature etc.)
  • … and more I’m sure.

So we have a mountain of questions … do we have a mountain of evidence?

I know the principles at NCSE will reject what I have presented here, as well as the most vocal commenters. My hope is that there are  many other readers at NCSE that will consider what I have presented,  seek the truth, investigate the ID alternative  and present their students with honest science.

I know such teachers, administrators and school board members are out there, and I hope I have in some way compelled you to dig a little deeper and ask more probing questions.

 

Regards,

Don Johnson — August 2015

Evolution Funding vs. Intelligent Design Funding

image

Discovery Institute offices in Seattle – second floor

One of the common criticisms of Intelligent Design, and in particular, the Discovery Institute in  Seattle WA is that it is a “well funded” religious organization funded by wealthy anti-science right wingers.

Take a look at the following:

Excerpt:

From Genesis To Dominion
Fat-Cat Theocrat Funds Creationism Crusade

[dlj] Definitions of dominion:  1.dominance or power through legal authority

by Steve Benen
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
from: Church & State, July/August 2000
http://www.au.org/churchstate/cs7003.htm

Anti-evolution crusader Phillip Johnson, dedicated his 1997 book, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, to “Roberta and Howard, who understood ‘the wedge’ because they love the Truth.”

The mysterious reference is apparently a note of thanks to Howard F. Ahmanson Jr. and his wife Roberta, a wealthy and secretive Orange County, Calif., couple who have generously funded the anti-evolution movement and other right-wing causes that advance their fundamentalist Christian outlook.

    .  .  . 

According to Reason magazine, promotional materials from the Seattle-based Discovery Institute acknowledge that the Ahmanson family donated $1.5 million to the Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture

 

 

On the other hand:

image

Michigan State University gets $22.5M to continue evolution research, education

And that is only one of many grants from the federal government – tax payer funds, and in this day and age much of it borrowed money I suppose.

The irony is that many of these universities are studying biology and biological systems as if they were designed, and are discovering the designs of these systems. But they don’t dare hint they are engaged in Intelligent Design.

Click https://youtu.be/kOeJwQ0OXc4 to take a look at one of these intelligent machines.

 

Don Johnson – July 2015

The Eye – A Biological Miracle … but of what sort?

The eye and its origin is a constant battleground contested between those in the Darwinian evolutionary camp and those in the Intelligent Design camp. I have written about this controversy in these pages in the past, and visit the topic once more here. The reason I tackle this once more is a discovery  I stumbled across recently, where the authors have compiled, in engineering terms, a quite fascinating list of the attributes of the eye.

The eye is essentially a very sensitive radio receiver and image sensor.

  • It has a wide band tuner, the retina, with a bandwidth of 390 THz (TeraHertz = 1012Hz) which can detect electromagnetic radiation in the frequency range from 400 to 790 THz, (200,000 times higher than microwaves). In more detail:
    • It has an automatic gain control system, the iris, which protects against signal overload.
    • It has a broadband, narrow beamwidth, directional, variable focus antenna, the lens, which captures the radiation.
    • It has an automatic focusing system, accommodation by cilary muscles, which optimises the reception for different distances, from close-ups to infinity, by controlling the shape of the lens.
    • It has a rangefinder function, as well as 3D vision, provided by the eyes taken in pairs, parallax between the images.
    • It has an image scanning system, the rods and cones, with a resolution of 150,000 pixels/ sq. mm. which enables the relative spatial position of the sources to be identified.
    • It has signal amplitude sensors, the rods, which measure pixel luminance (brightness) with a dynamic range of more than 10 million to 1
    • It can detect amazingly low photon fluxes of 5 to 9 photons per millisecond. (See Photon Energy above)
    • It has signal frequency sensors, the cones, which identify the pixel chrominance (colour) with a frequency range of 390 TeraHertz..
    • It has a spectrum analyser display mechanism, colour. The received radiation itself has no colour. Colour is the way the eye perceives and represents the frequency of the radiation.
    • It has a self cleaning and protection mechanism, the eyelid.
    • It has an expected lifetime of 70 years or more.

There is no electronic equipment which comes anywhere near to this level of performance.

You will read my take on this list below at:  The Eye – An Intelligently Designed  Biological Miracle.

But first I revisit the standard evolutionary tale explaining how the eye evolved from a simple sheet of cells to the complex organ of today’s mammals – including you and I. 

 

I.  The Eye – A Mindless Evolutionary  Biological Miracle

From Richard Dawkins:  “ … Creationists and supporters of Intelligent Design like to point to what they call the “irreducible complexity” of the eye as proof of the existence of a designer/creator. In other words, they like to say that complex components of our physiology like the eye could not have come about through a process of evolution because they are not of any use until everything is in place and working.  … “
Source:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwew5gHoh3E

From The University of Utah:  “ … 96% of animal species have eyes. The first animal eyes did little but detect light—they helped to establish day/night cycles and coordinate behavior—but more-complex eyes soon evolved. A predator who can see its prey from a distance, or a prey animal that can see the shadow of a predator approaching, has a clear survival advantage over those who can’t. Even a slight improvement in image quality provides a significant survival advantage, allowing for the step-by-step evolution of increasingly complex eyes. … “
Source:
http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/selection/eye/

image

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwew5gHoh3E    (or click on the image above)

The evolutionary world view relies heavily on the concept of design in nature as being merely the “Appearance of Design.”  Take a look at a sampling of comments on evolution’s concepts of design – – from Yahoo.com.


** Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins writes, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

** Likewise, Nobel laureate Francis Crick writes, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”

**  “Evolution is a form of design, where form follows function through an adaptive process where successful mutations and refinements genetically succeed and the failures die out. The design is a function of environmental adaption and successful exploitation of resource niches. There does not have to be a designer (and, in fact, there isn’t) for this to occur.”

Source: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070623200210AATiQhn

 Analysis

A deeper look at Richard Dawkins in the video above shows a polished showman – an illusionist and magician … indeed an ideologue — a fraud — but not a scientist. The title of the video is “Richard Dawkins demonstrates the evolution of the eye”  and that is indeed his purpose in this demonstration. But look at what he shows – look at what he doesn’t show – and look at the props he uses in his supposed proof of the evolution of the eye and his debunking of Intelligent Design or creation views on the eye.
He does indeed give a somewhat good lesson on the fundamentals of optics using his homemade props, but is it anymore scientific that that?.
He attempts to show that this demonstration is indeed what has happened over the course of  ‘deep evolutionary time’ in developing the eye as we now know it.
But … the demonstration is the sort of slight of hand we would expect to be entertained with from stage illusionists and magicians such as David Copperfield.

image

Dawkins demonstrates a ‘just so story’ which looks and sounds plausible enough, but unlike a Copperfield who masks the illusion with exotic drapes and covers, Dawkins masks his illusion with pictures of the eyes of various animals which happen to fit his scenario of evolution,  and then drapes this scenario over with the cloth of “deep time”  – and he calls it reality and science.

Another of his props you may notice is his “Mount Improbable”, a paper mache model of a mountain seen on the table in the demonstration.

Furthermore, left out of this evolutionary ‘just-so’ story of the eye are countless other examples of “irreducible complexity” contained within (and without) the body … all of the body systems such as the skeletal system – the circulatory system – the hearing system – the digestive system … and more … each and every one working in concert with one another.  The trillions of cells that make up the body consists of multiple machines –  another example of what I see as “massively complex synchronicity.”

A significant weakness of the evolutionary tale of eye evolution is that it centers almost exclusively on the mechanical characteristics of the eye alone, and ignores the fact that the eye is but one component of the total visual experience. Left out in the evolutionary tale is the brain and the interface between the eye and the brain, namely the optic nerves, as well as the nervous system that interfaces the visual experience to the muscular system that is commanded to act on information provided by the visual experience of the eye and brain. My favorite example of this interaction is the double play in baseball …DoublePlay
where the many various parts of the human body – actually several bodies – work in synchronous harmony to execute an athletic performance that excites many a fan. So to counter the evidence and argument of Irreducible Complexity by “debunking” particular machines of life such as the eye or bacterial flagellum falls far short of a convincing case against the Intelligent Design of the entire organism, bacteria or man, let alone the vast scope of life itself on this planet. 

Dawkins, in his book “The Blind Watchmaker”, states regarding the origins of the universe and life: “given enough time, and an infinite number of chances, anything is possible.” 

Deep time is the drape that explains everything … deep time is the unifying theme in evolutionary thinking and theory.

Yes “deep time” explains how random mutations coupled with natural selection works to create the living world we all live in.

When we take a close look, or even a superficial look for that matter, at deep time what do we find in terms of an explanatory story of how life developed on this place we call planet earth.  We find “given enough time, and an infinite number of chances, anything is possible.” 

That’s it!!!

 


II. The Eye – An Intelligently Designed  Biological Miracle

Source: http://www.mpoweruk.com/radio.htm

The following is an excerpt from Electropedia, a source of  Battery and Energy Technologies. The site is quite different from the typical Evolution, Creation and Intelligent Design sites I frequently reference, in that it is quite technical in documenting  energy technologies.  But in this site I find a quite interesting synopsis of the characteristics and attributes of the eye:

The eye is essentially a very sensitive radio receiver and image sensor.

  • It has a wide band tuner, the retina, with a bandwidth of 390 THz (TeraHertz = 1012Hz) which can detect electromagnetic radiation in the frequency range from 400 to 790 THz, (200,000 times higher than microwaves). In more detail:
    • It has an automatic gain control system, the iris, which protects against signal overload.
    • It has a broadband, narrow beamwidth, directional, variable focus antenna, the lens, which captures the radiation.
    • It has an automatic focusing system, accommodation by cilary muscles, which optimises the reception for different distances, from close-ups to infinity, by controlling the shape of the lens.
    • It has a rangefinder function, as well as 3D vision, provided by the eyes taken in pairs, parallax between the images.
    • It has an image scanning system, the rods and cones, with a resolution of 150,000 pixels/ sq. mm. which enables the relative spatial position of the sources to be identified.
    • It has signal amplitude sensors, the rods, which measure pixel luminance (brightness) with a dynamic range of more than 10 million to 1
    • It can detect amazingly low photon fluxes of 5 to 9 photons per millisecond. (See Photon Energy above)
    • It has signal frequency sensors, the cones, which identify the pixel chrominance (colour) with a frequency range of 390 TeraHertz..
    • It has a spectrum analyser display mechanism, colour. The received radiation itself has no colour. Colour is the way the eye perceives and represents the frequency of the radiation.
    • It has a self cleaning and protection mechanism, the eyelid.
    • It has an expected lifetime of 70 years or more.

There is no electronic equipment which comes anywhere near to this level of performance.

Analysis

This listing above of  attributes of the eye lends itself very nicely to the idea of design – Intelligent Design.

Further, it lends itself to a powerful analogy that we see every day in the things that we see and use in our everyday world. We see it in the automobiles we drive … we see it in the computers we use … we see it in the TV programs we watch … we see it in the utilities we use around the house – gas furnaces – electrical outlets and appliances … we see it in the airplanes we fly in and the trains we commute in … in the military we see it in the weapons systems and training systems used by all branches of the military.

This analogy is the what’s known as “systems engineering” and now lets take a look at what that means in the context of the development of the eye. Since the majority of my working life (45+ years) has been associated with defense contracting, I will walk through a typical system life-cycle using the characteristics of the eye above to illustrate my point:

  • Operational Requirements Document (ORD).
    Somewhere a person or group identifies a need and documents this need in what is known as an Operational Requirements Document (ORD).

The Operational Requirements Document is the primary force driving the search for a realistic and affordable solution to mission need during Investment Analysis. The initial Requirements Document is developed early in Investment Analysis by the sponsoring line of business. It translates the “need” in the Mission Need Statement into initial top­level requirements addressing such concerns as performance, supportability, physical and functional integration, human integration, security, test and evaluation, implementation and transition, quality assurance, configuration management, and in-service management. The initial Requirements Document must not describe a specific solution to mission need, and should not preclude leasing, commercial, or non-developmental solutions. During Investment Analysis, these initial requirements are evaluated against the cost, benefits, schedule, and risk of various candidate solutions and brought into balance with an affordable solution.

At the Investment Decision, the Requirements Document defines exactly the operational concept and requirements the approved acquisition program is intended to achieve. It is the basis for evaluating the readiness of resultant products and services to become operational. Sponsor requirements not included in the Requirements Document at the Investment Decision are returned to the sponsoring line of business for disposition.

NOTE: The Requirements Document is NOT a design specification; it contains only top­level requirements.

  • Request for proposal (RFP)
    A request for proposal  is a solicitation, often made through a
    bidding process, by an agency or company interested in procurement of a commodity, service or valuable asset, to potential suppliers to submit business proposals.[1] It is submitted early in the procurement cycle, either at the preliminary study, or procurement stage. The RFP presents preliminary requirements for the commodity or service, and may dictate to varying degrees the exact structure and format of the supplier’s response. Effective RFPs typically reflect the strategy and short/long-term business objectives, providing detailed insight upon which suppliers will be able to offer a matching perspective.
  • System Developmental Process
    The winning bidder then goes thru a formal series of processes culminating in the delivery of the end item to the end user.
    In this developmental process, a typical series of documents and products are produced based on the requirements set forth in the ORD and the RFP.

    • Requirements Specification
    • Design Specifications
    • Prototypes
    • Manufacturing Drawings and Plans
    • Manufacturing Work Orders
    • Test Plans
    • Test Procedures
    • Acceptance Testing lends

The listing of attributes  identified by Electropedia lends itself to such an  intelligent design oriented process, and thus is a reasonable analogy between the naturally designed eye that is currently reading these words, and a human designed eye.

An example, though admittedly far-fetched, is if the Veterans Administration in an effort to restore sight to wounded warriors, issued an RFP to manufacture a replacement eye, fully compatible and interoperable with the naturally designed eye.

Though theoretically possible, we would be hard pressed to come up with a successful bidder. The point is that the pieces of an Intelligent Design are there and the progression from start to finish would be evident.

    ___________________

A Darwinian Evolutionary development process on the other hand would be almost impossible to document, let alone implement. Such a process would forever remain in the rich imagination of the Evolutionary Biologists such as a Richard Dawkins.

Perhaps they would start with proposing to gather up samples of the various eye types of the various animals Dawkins presents in his eye evolution “proof.” They would then proceed to somehow “evolve” to a fully functional eye by, perhaps, randomly mixing eye type combinations, and periodically selecting results that in some fashion approach the specification listed in the Electropedia  paper.

But such an approach would be forbidden by the terms of the RFP which would prohibit any sort of intelligence or design in the development of the end product.

But not to worry — the team building this version of the eye simply trot out their ultimate design process and tool – ready for this?

 —  Deep Time —

Coperfield

Yes, Deep Time — the exotic drape that will cover the collection of eyes and hide from public view the rich imaginations of Richard Dawkins, the lead researcher and Program Manager in this magnificent effort. 

In the meantime, the soldier needing the replacement eye will have to wait … wait to the limit of deep time, measured in unknown billions of years.

Not to worry: “given enough time, and an infinite number of chances, anything is possible.” 

________________

Why does it matter?

The Darwin Lobby is very effective in assuring that their version  of reality – this “illusion of science” called Darwinian Evolution  is the only game in town … the only version presented to the public and taught to present and future generations. 

I say … quit the censoring … quit the book burning!

Don Johnson – July 2015

 

 

 

Our Constitution – Our Morality – Our Court Decisions

John Adams wrote:

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

George Washington wrote:
”Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

                                          ________________________________

I’m afraid we are seeing this played out today in our culture. More and more we are losing the morality and religion that these two great men were talking about. And the more we lose of morality and religion, the more advantage will be taken of the Constitution in the form of demands for any number of rights of any and all sorts — and the subsequent law suites ultimately winding up in the high courts of the land. In short, the Constitution becomes not only irrelevant, but used against itself by those seeking any number of agendas.

And why are we losing the morality and religion Adams & Washington talked about?

Reason 1:  A very active atheistic world view has taken root in our educational system – especially at the university level … but it’s there in the lower grades as well. This world view actively seeks to destroy the very idea that God exists, especially the Judeo/Christian God of the Bible.
It seeks this destruction by attacking the idea that God created the heavens and the earth. The Judeo/Christian creation myth is replaced with the atheistic creation myth that something was created from nothing. Very prominent atheist “professors” teach and write about this and thus corrupt young and forming minds – people like Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne. In short – “evolution did it”

Church antidote 1: Don’t shy away from teaching Biblical creation from the pulpit and in the Sunday schools. Don’t be intimidated by the name calling that will ensue upon you. Look into and study Intelligent Design and bring these ideas and discoveries to the pulpit and into the church. A well-kept secret is that contrary to the popular belief, there is much controversy over evolution, and the case for “macro-evolution” is very weak – there is no “mountain of evidence” for Darwinian evolution .
I get the distinct impression that the church has given up on this issue and has conceded ground to Coyne and Dawkins et al – don’t give up … these attacks are at the very foundation of Jewish and Christian faith. If there is no god, then there is no creation, and the Bible becomes just a book written by ignorant and ancient Palestinian goat herders. If there is no God and no creation, then Jesus becomes just another myth peddler and liar. If you give up on this, you might just as well close the doors and start selling cars – it pays better anyway.
I was very fortunate at age 36 (and an atheist) that my first pastor was not shy about exposing his congregation to the idea of creation and encouraging us to study the issue. I am forever grateful to him since this controversy of evolution/creation was a huge stumbling block for me.

Bottom line: Teach and preach – often- the very foundation of Jewish and Christian faith – creation …

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

 

Don Johnson – June 2015

Science & Faith: A Conference

2015 Westminster Conference on Science and Faith!

image

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 6’th annual Westminster Conference on Science and Faith held in the Philadelphia area.

Some world-class thinkers, writers and scientists spoke at this conference, and I would like to  share them with you.  First the speaker line up:

  • “The Wonders of Creation and Its Creator” (Vern Poythress) A New Testament Professor at Westminster.
    • “Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis” (Michael Denton) –  Breakout session *
    • “The Importance of Creation” (Scott Oliphint)-  Breakout session
    • “Why Is Science Possible?” (Vern Poythress)-  Breakout session
  • “The Nature of Science and the Nature of Nature” (John Lennox)
  • “The Mystery of the Beginning of the Universe” (John Lennox)
  • “The Place of Life and Man in the Cosmos: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis” (Michael Denton)
    • “Counting to God: A Personal Journey through Science to Belief” (Douglas Ell)-  Breakout session
    • “The New Rise of ‘Totalitarian’ Science” (John West) –  Breakout session
    • “Apologetics: Principles for Presenting Your Faith” (Scott Oliphint) –  Breakout session  *
  • “Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s False Narrative about Science, Past and Present” (Casey Luskin)

 

A few short videos (~10 minutes) may interest you: these are snippets of debates between John Lennox and Richard Dawkins – Dawkins is one of the most prominent and outspoken atheists living today.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=dawkins+lennox+debate&FORM=VIRE2#view=detail&mid=A02D156F54AAC5F54920A02D156F54AAC5F54920

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=dawkins+lennox+debate&FORM=VIRE12#view=detail&mid=5F0C1F124E368E519A855F0C1F124E368E519A85

 

The following are full length presentations of lectures and debates.

Dr. John Lennox

A long but very good lecture by Dr. John Lennox

Is God a Delusion? John Lennox – March 14th 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPaBXf0gXNg&feature=youtu.be

A Debate: Richard Dawkins vs. John Lennox  – both of Oxford. A long debate, but well worth the time

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=dawkins+lennox+debate&FORM=VIRE2#view=detail&mid=A545AE818A76CEE0CAF5A545AE818A76CEE0CAF5

Dr. Michael Denton

Privileged Species with Geneticist Michael Denton Gets Its Online Premiere; See It Now!

An Interview with Michael J. Denton

Coming Downfall of Mechanistic View in Cell Biology – Michael Denton, PhD

 

Casey Luskin

Articles by Casey can be found here http://www.discovery.org/p/188

Casey is quite a prolific writer at Discovery.org, a Seattle based Intelligent Design organization. I’ve met Casey on several occasions and enjoy him very much. 

 

At the conference I had occasion for a bit of personal times with these folks – I bummed rides with them to and from the hotel to the conference.  

 

Don Johnson – March 2015

What Design Looks Like: An NCSE Document – with comments by Don Johnson

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In my year long back and forth with the folks at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) I have been made aware of an NCSE document titled “What Design Looks Like.” I have taken a look at this document and offer below my critique of it. Before reading my critique, however, I recommend you read the original at the link just below. 

Original document at: What Design Looks Like | NCSE by Mark Isaak

Keep in mind, that the NCSE document was written by an author with a Naturalist/Materialist world view.  It also seems difficult to find Mr. Isaak’s credentials, so I don’t know anything about the man other that what he writes here:

Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are the result of material interactions.

Naturalism is “the philosophical belief that everything arises from natural properties and causes, and supernatural or spiritual explanations are excluded or discounted.”[1] Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.

In other words:

Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1][2] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[3][4][5] Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist.[4][5][6][7] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[8][9] which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.

The Old Testament writer of Ecclesiastes might phrase it as follows:

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.
(Chapter 1 Verses 1-4):

So let us commence with the critique.

*****************************************

 

[Comments below by Don Johnson DLJ Sept/Oct/Nov 2014]

You know, people think it must all be very easy, creating.
They think you just have to move on the face of the waters and wave your hands a bit. It’s not like that at all. —Terry Pratchett, Eric

“Life looks designed” is a common refrain among a variety of creationists. The claim is intuitively appealing because we have experience with design. For most people, that is the only way they know for making a functional machine. Since design is the only explanation they can imagine, they naturally consider it the best explanation. To this extent, “looks designed” is just an argument from ignorance. But many creationists further claim that this appearance of design is objective, can be (and, some say, has been) demonstrated scientifically, and therefore is suitable for teaching in public schools (for example, Dembski 2001a). The little evidence they present, though, is maddeningly vague. In most cases, the supposed evidence for design consists simply of pointing to various examples from natural history and saying, “Look, can’t you see it?” Typically, this is accompanied by the usual creationist attacks on evolution and the claim, implicit or explicit, that design is the only alternative. Often there are vague analogies with human artifacts such as watches or writing, but never with objective standards of comparison. In design theory, “looks designed” has been left to the imagination of the believer.
When done properly, though, the “looks designed” method, or the method of analogy, is an effective method for detecting design. In fact, it is almost always how we recognize design in our daily lives. We learn through direct experience that some things are designed — by seeing the things made — or through testimony of the designers themselves. Most artifacts, though, we recognize as designed because they look like things that we already know are designed.
Analogy is used in science, especially in fields such as archaeology and forensics, to distinguish design from non-design. For example, archaeologists can tell whether a flint was broken deliberately or naturally because flints known to be worked by humans differ from naturally broken flints in features such as fracture angle (Cole and others 1978). SETI researchers, in searching for non-human design, use analogy by assuming human-like properties of extraterrestrials — namely, an interest in communicating and a desire to do so efficiently. And analogy is explicitly accepted, even promoted, by some creationists as a valid method of determining design (Moreland 1994; Thaxton 2001). Analogy to known design should be one way to detect design that evolutionists and creationists can agree upon.
Of course, the analogy method can only provide comparisons with designs produced by humans, since those are the only designs with which we have significant experience.

[DLJ: Then why not give this universal experience a weighted advantage going into the research/investigation – i.e. the benefit of the doubt?]

Other design arguments suffer a fatal weakness: Without knowing anything about a designer, we cannot say anything about what to expect from one (Hume 1779; Sober 2003).

[DLJ: Yet the evolutionist will claim much about a designer which they, by definition can never know anything about … i.e. deep time and natural selection. Further, and again by analogy, I don’t know anything about the designers of my Jeep Liberty, but can easily infer design without such knowledge. Knowing “about” a designer may be very helpful in determining certain aspects of a design, but is irrelevant to discovering and understanding the design in question … software developers charged with making modifications to existing software designs are well aware of this.]

Detecting a certain pattern does not indicate a designer until it can be demonstrated that the designer produces such a pattern, and this task would seem to be impossible when dealing with potentially supernatural designers.

[DLJ: And natural selection can produce such a pattern? Evolution, by definition, is undirected and purposeless  … thus incapable of producing the pattern the evolutionist insists the design advocate produce.]

By assuming at least some commonality between humans and the unknown designer, we can avoid that problem. The analogy argument, despite the weakness of its assumption of human-like designs, is one design argument which leads somewhere other than in circles. To use this method, though, we must first say what design looks like.

[DLJ: This idea of having to know the designer and what to expect of such a designer is quite strange … quite an unnecessary line of argument … and quite wrong. In my career of close to 40 years of software development, often times I was dumped into the midst of a complex design and tasked to make modifications. Whether the modifications were simple or extensive, the first order of business was to learn enough of the design such that the modifications could be made. Even what seemed like a simple change often was quite extensive depending on the underlying design of the code.

On some occasions I knew the designers and actually had some interface and tutelage from them. Other times – the common experience, I had little or no knowledge of the designers and only had the code to guide me. On one occasion, I knew of the designer … by name … but little else. My colleague and I were tasked with making some significant upgrades with only the code base and the computer itself to begin with – this was in 1976, and my colleague and I actually replaced the original designer. We didn’t even know much beyond how to start the computer and run the application, but in fairly short order figured it out, came up to speed on the software base and completed the modifications under budget and ahead of schedule. Again, that was in 1976 and at the time I knew the designer only as a passing acquaintance and received absolutely no help from him. I still know that man and on occasion we talk on the telephone. Knowing Bob then and all these years since had absolutely no bearing one way or another on what was accomplished then and in subsequent years with further modifications and upgrades. The mantra of our boss at the time was “the programs were designed and written by humans … and could be understood by other humans.”

And consider the science fiction idea of a primitive civilization having the same intellectual capacity and curiosity as us humans, but had never been exposed to any modern technology – say a Neanderthal tribe or a tribe living on an exo-planet in a non-existent multi-verse. One day while hunting and gathering, this tribe happens on a display of John Deere farm equipment, some skins filled with seeds and a bunch of Jerry Cans filled with gasoline. There are absolutely no markings of any kind on any of this array of equipment that would indicate where the machines, seeds and gas came from, or who might have made it, or how it was made.

Being of the curious type, some of these primitives started pushing buttons and pulling levers, and lo and behold strange noises came from the machine and it started to move about. But it quickly stopped, and they wondered why. Someone noticed a covered enclosure, and noticed that it smelled just like the Jerry cans … they also noticed that the enclosure was empty. They quickly deduced the aspect of this design confronting them and filled the tank and with a few more button pushes and lever pulls the thing started moving again.

Since the things were at the edge of an empty field, they began experimenting with some of the other things and actually hooked them to the main thing and saw they could make furrows easily and plant the seeds into the ground. Later in the season they noticed that edible food was growing at the ends of these new plants. This led to some more experimentation, and soon they found a thing that would actually pick the food from the plants.

This process eventually led to an exponential growth in the population and great cities and farms formed as a result. Language and writing came about as these primitives desired to preserve their findings for posterity. And all this without any knowledge of who left those machines behind, or how they were made.

Unfortunately, a much larger group of these primitives scoffed at the curious bunch, threatened them and even destroyed some of the progress of the more curious primitives, but over time the scoffers mostly slithered into the wilderness where they faced a continued future of subsistence living and starvation.

These two scenarios, one real and the other fiction, serve to show that knowing a designer is not essential to investigating and understanding the design of an unknown and unseen designer.] 

Determining what design looks like is no trivial matter. A communications satellite, a drainage ditch, OPEC, a mathematical proof, a jelly bean, false teeth, a limerick, the controlled burn of a forest, and shampoo have little in common, but all are designed. Probably no single criterion can ever describe them all. Still, design does have some properties that are fairly general. I examine some of these properties below and consider how they compare with what we see in life. I also consider other properties that creationists claim as indications of design. There are some similarities and some differences between life and design, but as we shall see, even the similarities argue against design as a scientific theory.

[DLJ: Follow the evidence wherever it may lead: This fundamental axiom of discovery is violated in the above introduction to this essay. The author starts out by immediately (a-priori) assuming that what looks like design is, in fact not design; an a-priori position not (yet) supported by any facts or evidence. The author ignores the first evidence he is confronted with – that the  ‘something’  before him appears to be designed. Good practice would seem to say that if something looks designed then it should be approached from that first-principle aspect until shown otherwise. The author has the perhaps designed cart well in front of the designed horse. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it would be good practice to treat it as if it were a duck until you can show it is a horse.]

Structure

Probably the most obvious aspect of designed things is an intermediate level of structural order. Unfortunately, this sort of structure is difficult to characterize quantitatively, but its quality is apparent. Almost all designs have an arrangement that is neither very regular nor very random, but instead is between those extremes. There are exceptions, of course; a brick wall is highly ordered, and a stew is very disordered. Most designs, however, are neither uniform nor random, neither regular nor chaotic. Such an intermediate level of structure arises as a consequence of design. Objects that are too highly ordered are limited in their applications by their simplicity. Objects that are too chaotic are generally more expensive to produce, or their disorder keeps them from fitting and functioning well with other designs.
An intermediate level of structure plainly exists also in life. It is probably the most important characteristic people have in mind when they say that life looks designed. It is related to concepts of information, so it may have inspired some creationist arguments about information theory. Since there is no commonly accepted word for this property, and since it is hard to characterize, it is not surprising that creationist claims about design are vague and ill-formed.

[DLJ: Wow … after reading the preceding paragraph several times, I find it to be  quite vague and ill-formed. It’s not clear if the author is talking here about Structure or Information. I will assume from the context he is talking about information. If so, then I would point out that information is clearly seen in the millions of books in millions of libraries around the world, and that the information recently discovered in DNA as a set of multiple languages, qualifies as a legitimate analogy to the human designed languages.]

Despite the lack of rigorous description, though, we can be fairly confident that having an intermediate level of structure is an important quality shared by both design and life.
This is not enough to conclude that life looks designed, though, because an intermediate level of structure can arise naturally, too. Such structure can be found in molecules, cave formations, the Northern Lights, and Jupiter’s atmosphere, to give just a few examples. Structure arises spontaneously from a variety of processes; in fact, it takes only a couple of seconds for structure to appear in a candle flame. With regard to life, there is evidence that structure not only can arise naturally from ordinary processes, but perhaps should be expected from it (Kauffman 1993; Adami and others 2000).

 [DLJ: The author here ignores the idea of functional specificity in which the suspected design exhibits purposeful design and engineering; for example the capability to play a violin or execute a double play in baseball – or to dive from great heights to capture a fish beneath the water whose actual location is distorted due to the parallax induced at the air-water boundary. Furthermore, the author implies here, and even states … “there is evidence that structure not only can arise naturally from ordinary processes … “ If so, then where is the documentary evidence that life itself; its very beginning, the simplest cells, the multi-cell life forms, the various machines operating within the cells have derived from these ordinary processes?]

Simplicity

An underappreciated aspect of design is simplicity. Although many people associate design with complexity, almost all designs aim for maximum simplicity. (Complexity is another concept whose exact meaning is hard to pin down. As I use it here, greater complexity indicates that something is generally harder to understand; simplicity, of course, is the opposite.) Simplicity is important in design because simple designs are easier to invent, easier to implement, easier to modify, and usually easier to use. A good design is a simple design.

[DLJ: Close, but not quite true … some things, human designed things, are by their very nature complex. For example, a computer operating system, a distributed real-time application such as the Tactical Aircrew Training System (TACTS), a chemical plant, a nuclear aircraft carrier or a telecommunications switching system. A good design can be characterized as one being as simple as practical and allowed by the surrounding complex circumstances.]

Of course, most designs require a certain amount of complexity. A home computer, for example, would not be able to do much if it consisted of nothing more than a solid block of silicon. (Although an advanced civilization could reputedly do a lot with a rectangular black obelisk.) It is in such seemingly complex designs, though, that the principle of simplicity is most important. A computer is actually a fairly simple arrangement of components — CPU, memory, various peripherals, and wires connecting them — with fairly simple interfaces among the components. Each of the components, in turn, is a simple arrangement of sub-components, which may themselves consist of smaller sub-components, and so on until the simplest level is reached. In this way, each component, at whatever level, can be treated as a separate, almost independent unit, making it relatively easy to understand

[DLJ: Makes me wonder if the author has experienced any long term immersive experience in complex design, or do his ideas derive mainly from book learning.].

Without such a simply-connected modular structure, each piece would have the potential to affect any other piece, and considering all the possible interactions would be impractical to say the least.
Simplicity is not what we see in life. Although most life has modular structure — that is, organisms made up of organs made up of cells made up of organelles — the complexity of life is far greater than we see in [DLJ: human caused] design. The individual parts are still very complex, the interfaces between parts are very complex, and individual parts can usually directly affect a large number of other parts. This complexity is compounded by the fact that organisms change a great deal over their lifetimes. After decades of work, biologists have scarcely begun to understand how a human body works, much less how all the various organisms in an ecosystem work and interact

[DLJ , and yet “evolutionists” are ready to pronounce unequivocally that life is not designed? ] .

A good illustration of the complexity of life is the difficulty of designing a drug with no unwanted side-effects. But I need not elaborate; creationists themselves cite complexity as one of the hallmarks of life. Notwithstanding disagreement over its source and significance, the complexity of life is another things that evolutionists and creationists can agree upon.
Although simplicity is a goal, complexity can still enter into design in some ways. One way that complexity enters into design is through the process of modification. If a change is made that renders part of a system obsolete, it is often easier to leave in some or all of the old parts, which then add unnecessary complexity to the design

[DLJ: Very true indeed from my own experience in creating such messes … has the author had such personal experiences?]

Modification also adds complexity when changes are jury-rigged onto the existing structure rather than incorporated into the fundamental design. For example, some fixes to the Y2K bug involved checking the 2-digit year and trying to determine which century was intended, rather than the simpler and more correct, but much harder to do retroactively, fix of using 4-digit years. Such complexity is not necessarily bad design, either, since a frequent requirement of design is to get a working product out quickly, even if it is not as elegant as possible

[DLJ: Again very true indeed from my own experience in creating such messes.]

Such complexity seems to appear in life, too, in the form of vestigial and jury-rigged features such as the appendix and the panda’s thumb. Evolutionists cite these as examples of poor design, which they may be from the standpoint of an omnipotent creator, but they are traits that life shares in common with our experience of design.
In summary, although creationists frequently cite complexity as evidence of design, simplicity would be the real evidence. Complexity can enter design through careless modification, but again such complexity can often be recognized as such, as with jury-rigged or vestigial parts. Besides, such complexity is what we expect from evolution.

[DLJ: This is simply not true! Design, whether human or natural origin, is of necessity complex, but with at least a nod to simplicity. Complexity is introduced by several factors; constraints imposed by the surrounding environment, functional requirements imposed on the objects(s) under investigation, modifications (either careless or otherwise) and other factors such as system security and built in redundancies, diagnostic and/or repair capabilities. To say simplicity would be the real evidence of design indicates the author has minimal real-world – in the trenches – experience in design, engineering and manufacturing. Aspects of complexity in a design must be examined in enough detail before pronouncing them to be “jury-rigged” or vestigial. A good example is the design of the eye, where it has been pronounced by top evolutionist thinkers to have been built backwards with the retina pointing away from the incoming light source. Recent studies have shown that frequency tuned “wave guides” filter and direct specific frequency band slices to the retina. This supposed backwards design thus allows optimal utility of the visual system to operate in the various ambient conditions of light and dark.]

Finally, design can become complex through evolutionary algorithms, which use repeated cycles of reproduction of initially random designs, selection from among them, and slight modifications and recombinations of the results (Davidson 1997). Such a design procedure does not need to minimize complexity because it always treats the design as a whole. The final design is extremely difficult to understand, but there is no need to understand it. The use of such a design method by humans is still in its infancy, but if it becomes widespread, we may then be justified in saying that life’s complexity looks designed. Of course, at that point “designed” and “evolved” become synonyms.

[DLJ: Perhaps better terms and concepts here would be “optimal” and “optimize.” Optimization recognizes that designed things are of necessity complex, and seeks to reduce and simplify the complexity through processes of optimization. Optimization has long been a staple in software development, especially in the earlier days when compute resources were minimal and were fiercely guarded against extravagant and wasteful design and programming – if it didn’t fit, in the space allotted or the time allotted,  you scrambled to find ways to get rid of wasteful/inefficient code or find other means such as overlay partitions in memory that took on multiple roles as needed by the executing program. Computer vendors constantly strive to provide the most efficient optimizing compilers to help guard against overstepping the sometimes very rare memory, disk and time boundaries. Those of us who programmed in the micro-processor, mainframe or mini-computer days understand well these issues. Ironically, with the huge advances in computer technology, these boundaries have largely disappeared, thus opening the door to sloppy and inefficient designs and coding.]

Reproduction

One of the defining features of life is that life reproduces itself. This is very different from [DLJ: human] designed things, which, with very few exceptions, are designed so that their production is separate from their other functions. A separate manufacturing process offers extreme benefits of efficiency for the simple reason that a manufacturing plant does not need to be built into each artifact. The few designed things that do reproduce themselves, such as computer viruses, can do so only because the production process and necessary resources are trivially cheap. And even the self-replicating human designs differ from life in that they do not go through the growth and development that living things experience before they can reproduce.
Let us suppose, along with Paley (1802, ch 2), that someone on a heath found a watch that “possessed the unexpected property of producing, in the course of its movement, another watch like itself.” Paley said, “The first effect would be to increase his admiration of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate skill of the contriver.” But would it? Such a watch, even with today’s technology, would be far too large to wear. Even if it were small enough, it would still be far larger than necessary. What’s more, the watch would need some way of obtaining raw materials, which would mean either the watch leaves its owner from time to time, or it manipulates its owner to bring it and the materials together. We could certainly admire the consummate skill of the contriver, but our admiration of the contrivance would be severely mitigated by the unnecessary impositions that reproduction would require. Reproduction may find some uses in design; for example, a self-reproducing factory for ordinary watches could conceivably produce an endless supply of useful watches with little requirement for labor. However, there is also a demand for non-reproductive manufacturing of designed items. Almost all designs that people are familiar with today would be useless if they had to include the capability of reproduction.
Repair of designed objects also has to come from the outside. The same economies that keep reproduction out of design also prohibit self-repair. Life forms, in contrast, include the ability to repair minor and in some cases extreme damage. This difference between life and design is so familiar that I need not go into further detail.

[DLJ: This discussion on reproduction seems a bit off target and largely irrelevant – perhaps a straw man. For example, the hen producing eggs and thus food and more chickens for the frying pan seems quite efficient and indeed very compact and portable. The author seems to be looking for a problem where none exists. And, our own self-healing skin is very compact, efficient, self-reproducing and portable. Simply because humans have not yet discovered how to duplicate natures ability for reproduction says very little about design one way or another.

There is no basis to assume that reproduction either can or cannot proceed from either inside or outside of the design under investigation.]

Form and Function

Another aspect of design is that form tends to follow function. A designer looking for a component to perform a particular function will, when possible, use an existing design rather than inventing a new one. When a useful innovation is introduced, it quickly gets applied to a wide variety of uses. This leads to the property that similar parts fulfill a common function even on very different products. For example, zippers of essentially the same design are found on clothing, tents, luggage, and other things. The same basic engine design can be found on motorcycles, motor boats, and lawnmowers. Some parts, such as screws, resistors, and software libraries, are even standardized so as to make it easy to use them in a wide variety of applications.
Life, in contrast, shows much less connection between form and function.

[DLJ: Beg to differ here. Life may show ‘much less connection between form and function’, but it does indeed show form following function … so the ‘in contrast’ assertion is greatly overstated. “Form follows function” means that the form of a body part or structure is related to its function. The form or shape of a structure within an organism is correlated to the purpose or function of that structure. For example, a bird’s wing and a human arm are homologous structures and have the same bones, yet are differently modified to serve different functions.”   In the preceding snippet, the presumed function is flight vs. the various functions of the arm such as throwing a baseball; however, if we look at ‘function’ a bit differently such as the function of providing ‘leverage’  and ‘propulsion’ to a downstream end-function such as flying or playing the violin, or flying an airplane, we see that the common design between an human arm and a birds wing accomplish the same function. The phrase ‘form follows function’ seems to have originated in the design world of architecture, so it’s use here to undergird Darwinian evolution has the appearance of smokescreen or straw man argumentation …  adds little but confusion to the discussion of design. The argument of the Creationist of ‘common design’ fits much more nicely in such discussion of form and function. ]

Different taxa achieve similar functions with very different forms. For example, bats, birds, insects, and pterosaurs all have quite different wing anatomies. In different groups of insects, various forms of hearing organs are found in at least 11 different places on the body (Yack and Fullard 1993; Hoy and Robert 1996). And similar forms in life do not imply similar function. A human hand, a bat’s wing, a mole’s paw, a dog’s paw, and a whale’s flipper all have the same basic bone structure, despite their different functions of grasping, flying, digging, running, and swimming.

[DLJ:  See my comment immediately above.]

This difference between life and design is most apparent in the fact that life arranges naturally into a nested hierarchy, but design does not. With life forms, taxa defined by major features fall either entirely inside or entirely outside other taxa. This property led to the familiar hierarchical classification begun by Linnaeus. The hierarchy is not perfect, but it is a natural hierarchy in that there are enough common traits to make most of the groupings obvious. With designed things, on the other hand, overlap is the norm. Although it is possible to form a nested hierarchy of designed things (indeed, it is possible to arrange any set of different objects in a nested hierarchy), there is no natural nested hierarchy. Consider sports, for example. There are lots of different features one could consider in classifying various sports: team sports, sports played on a rectangular field, sports played with a ball, and so on. However one classifies them, though, the groups overlap. The category of sports itself overlaps with other categories such as combat, art, and fitness. No obvious classification scheme presents itself. In fact, the only classification scheme that is commonly used with designed things generally is alphabetical order.

Trial and Error

Creationists seem to think of design as a single event that is done quickly and is over with. Even those creationists who see creation spread over time seem to envision many individual creation events. Real design, however, is a process. Designs are rarely completed in one attempt. They must be tested and modified to account for unforeseen consequences. Testing is done at many stages, from the first conception to field tests of the final product. Entire industries are devoted to the testing of structures, vehicles, computer systems, and other designs. All of these tests (if they are effective) result in information that guides the subsequent design. Furthermore, designers draw upon the experience of previous designers. When an architect designs a simple bridge or building, the process may seem straightforward, but that design is based on an education that comes from literally centuries of trial and error by earlier architects and builders (Petroski 1982).
This last point raises another observable property of design. Because designs are so often built upon previous designs, designs evolve over time, with new designs appearing as modifications of previous ones. This, of course, is also a property of life, as the fossil record shows. However, because people can intelligently combine a wide variety of innovations and other features, designs can change rapidly over time. Very few human designs have been around for more than a few thousand years, and most do not last nearly that long. Furthermore, the more complex designs are generally the shorter-lived. Although life changes over time, it does not do so nearly as fast as we see in human-driven modifications in design.

[DLJ: It is here in these paragraphs that we reach the heart of the matter, and it is here that I also will invoke, as Mr. Isaak does …  theology. In this section on Trial and Error, Mr. Isaak actually does a very good job in describing design- what he calls ‘real design.’  However, the design methodologies and activities he describes, although accurate, reflect design activities of human designed systems only, and do not necessarily reflect what the design methodologies of a transcendent designer (e.g. the God of the Bible) might be.  You may object, and claim Materialism/Naturalism/Atheism is not a theological stance, but given the very ideological faith positions I point out at the beginning of this critique,  the positions taken by Mr. Isaak appear to be very theistic and stake out a strong position that no such thing as a designer (i.e. the God of the Bible) exists. The arguments given take great pains to assure that ‘a divine foot not get in the door.’

So at this point I will bring into the discussion a few scriptural references from the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible (note that the Christian Old Testament and the Hebrew Bible are the same, but differ in the order of the books of the cannons used in each collection.)

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.   (Ecclesiastes  1 Verses 1-4)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”   (Isaiah 55Verses 8-9)

These verses are among others that set the stage for a world view that allows for a duality of domains: a domain ‘under the sun’ and another beyond that boundary of ‘under the sun.’

These verses do not, and are not used, to prove or disprove anything ‘under the sun’ (i.e. science), but serve to establish the playing field upon which discovery can proceed and science practiced. It is on this expanded playing field that the great founders of modern science played … a field they believed was created as an ordered, rational and discoverable world and a universe in which they could pursue the designs and creations of a designer, namely the God as described in the pages of the Bible.

So this is the theological basis and foundation of a world view that stands in marked contrast with the theological (i.e. religious) world view of Mr. Isaak and others of his persuasion.

But there is a logical horn to this dilemma as well … a dilemma that ultimately pushes each position into a corner of faith. There is a corner where people of Biblical faith line up behind “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth … “  On the other hand  … the other faith corner where Mr. Isaak resides is a corner of great faith where he must rely on unsubstantiated statements of faith such as:

“tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged” Stephen Hawking

“”The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.”  Carl Sagan

Statements such as Sagan’s and other Atheists exhibit a great deal of intentional arrogance, and indeed place him in that place where only someone who is indeed beyond time and space and can see the entire picture … from beginning to end … from top to bottom … from inside to outside … can occupy.  To usurp that place is nothing more than an act of of arrogance that no human can rightfully occupy and claim to be rational. So Mr. Isaak’s descriptions of design when it comes to natural systems and machines are without merit or logical basis when he ventures beyond his domain ‘under the sun’ … it boils down to a faith issue same as mine.

Faith as it applies to Darwinian evolution often gets boiled down to the idea of “deep time” plus natural selection:

To understand evolution, humans must think in much larger units of time than those we use to define our lives. After all, evolutionary change isn’t apparent in days, months, or years. Instead, it’s documented in layers and layers of rock deposited over 4.6 billion years.

The stretch of geologic history is commonly referred to as “deep time,” and it’s a concept perhaps as difficult to conceive as deep space. Can humans measure deep time? Yes. Will we ever truly comprehend such immensity of time? Probably not. But to develop a better understanding of evolutionary change in its proper historical context, we must try. This timeline provides a framework for doing so.

Earth has been significantly altered over its 4.6-billion-year history by climate swings, volcanism, drifting continents, [DLJ: extensive flooding … ] and more. These dynamic conditions, in turn, have influenced every living thing that has inhabited the planet. Clearly, Earth is more than just an inanimate, unchanging ball of rock.

As much as evolution is about life and its many forms, biology alone cannot fully explain it. By integrating the physical sciences, which include geology, chemistry, and physics, into our study of life on Earth, we can better understand the conditions in which life has evolved.”

So the key to evolution then is ‘deep time’ the idea that given enough time and enough opportunities, anything, and especially evolution can happen.

So this is the faith of the evolutionist … hidden in deep time, an exotic sounding phrase yet signifying nothing. Defining the age of the earth in years, centuries, millions, billions or even trillions of years has little to do with the rise of life, its development  and its diversity. We can measure the length and breadth of the football or soccer field, but that tells us nothing of the grass growing within its boundaries or the multitudes of insects, worms, bacteria and other life contained therein – where did they come from and how do they survive and replicate within the boundaries of the field? Two separate issues that by definition must be contorted and conflated together (but then I am redundant) in order to explain evolution. DLJ: end] 

Purpose and Function

Creationists often claim that purpose indicates design. But purpose is hard to specify without knowing the designer, and it is often conflated with function. Purpose, as I use it here, is what someone intends a thing to be used for; function is what the thing actually does. The intent is useless for determining design, because it can be whatever anyone proposes, and the same object can, and often does, have different purposes for different people. Purposes often conflict. For example, a lynx’s purpose for a rabbit is likely quite different from that of the rabbit itself. Undesigned things often have purpose. For example, a stone need not be designed for people to give it a purpose as a pounding stone. The designer of an object can design a purpose into it, but others can find their own uses, as any MacGyver rerun shows.
Function also fails to indicate design for many of the same reasons. People can find functions other than what the designer intended. And functions can change in a heartbeat, as when the muscles of the fleeing rabbit become food for the lynx. Most importantly, undesigned things can have function — in fact, we expect function to evolve (see below). In short, purpose and function are too variable and subjective, and do not discriminate designed items from undesigned items.

[DLJ: “People can find functions other than what the designer intended. Could it be that the intention of the designer is to allow a wide range of function? Functions such as an arm that can – play a violin – throw a football – cradle a baby – pen a musical or literary masterpiece – train a telescope towards a distant planet – scratch an itch – repair a failed heart? The author here demonstrates a shallow and superficial “2 bit” attempt to counter actual design in nature … a quarter of a mile wide and a quarter of an inch deep.]

Complexity-Specification

Dembski proposes to recognize some design through a property he calls complexity-specification. If a pattern is highly improbable and yet matches a specification that was given beforehand, then that pattern has complexity-specification and, he says, must have been designed (Dembski 1999). For example, if I deal a hand of 13 cards that exactly matches an example bridge hand you saw in the newspaper that morning, you can be confident the deal was designed to come out that way. To detect this sort of design, Dembski proposes an “explanatory filter” which, if it rules out regularity (natural law) and chance, finds design as the only alternative (Dembski 1998). But because complexity-specification is defined simply as the lack of known causes, it is nothing more than an argument from ignorance given formal mathematical form. It does not say a thing about the properties of design.
However, it is instructive to consider complexity-specification at greater length anyway. Specification means matching something that was given elsewhere. Complexity (in Dembski’s unorthodox usage) simply means unlikelihood of occurring by chance in its observed configuration. By these definitions, patterns of complex specification can be produced naturally, too, with chance providing complexity and regularity acting selectively to reduce it. Evolution proceeds in large part by random mutations causing variation and natural selection winnowing that variation according to constraints of the environment. The mutations produce a form of complexity, and natural selection acts as a specifier. Since evolution includes complexity (mutations) plus specification (selection), it is only to be expected that evolution would produce complexity-specification in evolved life.
[DLJ: I may be reading this wrong, but the author here seems to be describing how evolution has produced complicated and specified life forms … a convoluted description, but at least an attempt at describing/defining the natural design process. But what I see here is a form of backfilling that substitutes imaginations and wishful thinking for an actual documented and proven process.]
It is because Dembski’s filter fails to consider this combination of regularity and chance acting together that it will inevitably group together the products of evolution with design. Dembski claims that natural selection cannot create complexity-specification, but he only argues against the straw-man of creating it de novo. Even he admits that natural selection can bring the specification in from the environment (Dembski 2001b). And this, after all, is what natural selection is all about.
Actually detecting the results of specification, though, can be a tricky business. Ideally, we conclude specification when an observation matches a complex pattern that was given earlier. This does not work, though, when the observation comes before we know what we are supposed to match it with. In such cases, the “specification” comes from finding a pattern in part of the object and seeing the same pattern carry through the rest of the object. (This is the general procedure that Dembski suggests. To the best of my knowledge, he has never provided a way of detecting complexity-specification in life that is objective and practical enough for two people to get the same results.) In other words, complexity-specification implies, in practice, some amount of regularity, but not so much that the word “complex” no longer applies. This just describes the intermediate level of structure discussed in a previous section. And since this property originates via both natural processes and design, it cannot be used to distinguish between them.

[DLJ: I find it curious that all of this supposed design process attributed to evolution seems to be hidden in “deep time.” Somewhere – sometime – somehow, the first life came from non-life … somewhere – sometime – some how,  the first single cell life emerged with all of its necessary complexity and function  … somewhere – sometime – somehow, the first multi-cellular life was formed … somewhere – sometime – somehow, the first functionally complete and viable fish was formed … somewhere – sometime – somehow, the first land dwelling mammal was formed …  somewhere – sometime – somehow, the first DNA molecule was formed … somewhere – sometime – somehow, the first cellular motors such as the Kinesin  Motor were formed …  somewhere – sometime – somehow, the common ancestor to humans was formed, although we are not presented with an abundance of credible physical evidence to show that ancestor.

On the other hand, in all of recorded history (say 6000 years) we would be hard pressed to fine any credible and documented evidence of the various movements of nature on the earth – volcanoes, earthquakes, mud slides, rock slides, floods, fires, meteor landings etc. – events that certainly produce plenty of random changes to the environment … none of these event, taken singularly or in total has ever produced even a simple structure such as a dog house.  It just hasn’t happened … nor do we expect it will.]

Functional Integration

Another property that has been taken to indicate design is functional integration, or multiple parts working together to produce a particular function or end (Lumsden, quoted in Alters 1995). This property seems intuitively appealing because much design consists of assembling parts to create a particular function. But functional integration may be claimed even when origins are known to be natural. For example, the climate of the Mississippi Basin is determined by the Rocky Mountains, the Gulf of Mexico, trade winds, and other factors. Since the climate is a functional end (it allows an ecology suitable for certain organisms) produced by multiple factors, it fits the definition of functional integration. And in fact this example was used as an argument for design by the 19th-century creationist George Taylor (Morton 2001). Obviously, though, any arrangement of physical factors, whether designed or not, is going to create some kind of climate. Since functional integration arises from non-design, it cannot reliably indicate design.
It may still be argued that functional integration that arises naturally is not necessarily very functional (the inland Antarctic climate is not terribly hospitable) or very integrated (we do not often think of trade winds, mountains, and a gulf as a single unit). Again, however, functional integration is a quality of evolution as well as of design. Evolution cannot proceed without units to reproduce. “Unit” already implies some integration, and reproduction is itself a function. Furthermore, survival entails many additional functions such as finding food and escaping predators. Natural selection would ensure that such functionality and integration are maintained. So functional integration indicates evolution at least as much as it indicates design.

[DLJ: So how did a fully functional and integrated Derek Jeter, Michael Jordon or Richard Dawkins come to be?]

Fine Tuning

Although it applies not to life but to the universe around it, the fine-tuning argument for design deserves some consideration here. This argument claims that many physical constants and other features of the universe fall in the only narrow range that would allow life to be possible — so many features, in fact, that the combination could not be explained by chance and must be designed (Barrow and Tipler 1986; Ross 1994). Others have shown the problems with this argument (Le Poidevin 1996; Stenger 1997). Of interest here is a prior question, namely whether fine-tuning indicates design in the first place.
Fine-tuning is an aspect of design, of course; the term even comes from engineering. Designing components to mesh well with other components or with the outside environment is a common necessity. However, designers are not entirely stupid. When they fine-tune, they tune the parts that are easy to change. If parts are added later that have not been built yet, they fit the new parts to the existing design, making the fine-tuning of the new parts part of designing them. Fine-tuning is done to malleable parts and parts that come later.
This is very different from the fine-tuning argument from “intelligent design theorists”. The physical constants of the universe, to all appearances, are not easily changeable, if they are changeable at all. Life, on the other hand, is extremely adaptable. Furthermore, life appeared much later than the universe and exists in only a minuscule fraction of it. The universe we see is compatible with a universe designed in fine detail to support life as we know it (design theory is compatible with anything), but an argument based on analogy to design would claim that life is fine-tuned to the universe, not vice versa. The claim that the universe was fine-tuned for life is the very opposite of a design argument.

Conclusions

Table 1 ( p 34) shows a summary of the similarities and differences between life and design. Although there are a number of similarities, the differences are large and important. In particular, life’s growth and reproduction alone are enough, it seems to me, to place life and design in quite separate categories. Life’s complexity and its nested hierarchy of traits are also highly significant differences. The overall conclusion is clear: life looks undesigned.

It bears repeating that the properties of design that I have considered are properties of human design, and they do not necessarily apply to a supernatural designer. However, human design is the only model of design we have by which to tell what design looks like, to the extent that design can be said to look like anything. If it does not look like this, it does not look designed.
The reader has probably realized by now that most of the aspects evidences of life that look designed may also be are also illusions of evidence of its evolution. In the cases of evidence of careless modification and change over time, the connection is explicit.

[DLJ: Here I am going to have to turn a favorite phrase of evolutionists back at them – “Evolution is the study of complicated things that, among other things, give the appearance or illusion of careless modification, thereby negating any concept of design” Thus, like a Richard Dawkins, we can a-priori begin with the premise that appearances can be deceiving and that with further examination we may find that what looks like careless modification, in actuality is an efficient, even elegant design (e.g. the backwards design of the eye).] ,

An intermediate level of structural complexity probably arises from the selection and recombination inherent in evolution, but note that “probably arises … “ is a far cry from established irrefutable fact, and is simply wishful thinking. Functional integration is not necessarily evidence for evolution but is an essential aspect of it. Modular structure is the only other aspect that design has in common with life that is not also evidence for evolution, but it is at least consistent with evolution. Even fine-tuning argues for life’s changing to fit the environment.
To the extent that life looks designed, life looks evolved. This should not come as a great surprise, because the process of design and the process of evolution share some important commonalities (see also Shanks and Joplin 2000). Both processes build upon what has gone before, and both processes select the “good” features and discard what does not work. There are also important differences, to be sure, but the similarities in process should not be overlooked.
Creationists have been criticized for their misrepresentations of biology and other sciences. Their representation of design is no less faulty. They consider complexity to be a hallmark of design, while simplicity is typically the designer’s aim. They believe that design and chance are mutually exclusive, whereas trial and error is sometimes used in design and, in the long run, is an inevitable and invaluable part of it. Finally, they treat design as an event, when in fact it is a process — a process that itself can be designed. Such misconceptions not only make for flawed theology, they cannot be good for engineering practices, either.
In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that “intelligent design theory” is not about design at all. Since most of the people who espouse it seem to view the design as a sudden all-at-once event, their model (not surprisingly) seems to be that of the fiat creation described in the Bible and Koran, not the extended process that familiar design entails. If creationists want to describe a different mechanism than design, they should use a different label for it. I suggest “decree”, which has the advantage of fitting the theological position that underlies their ideas.
In both science and engineering, precise specifications are important. Two hundred years have passed since Paley popularized “intelligent design theory” (Paley 1802), and creationists have not yet satisfactorily clarified what they mean by “design”, much less suggested useful tests for detecting it. At best, “intelligent design theory” is undefined and thus wholly useless. At worst, taking the phrase “looks designed” at face value as indicating analogy to human design, “intelligent design theory” is contradicted by the evidence.

[DLJ: “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist” (Dawkins 1986, 6).I’ve long believed that a required part of obtaining a PhD in Evolutionary Biology is for the candidate to have spent at least two years totally and personally immersed in the maintenance, not design,  of a very complicated system such as a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, with its associated aircraft; a large chemical plant; or a complex, real-time and distributed software based system. In this way, the newly created PhD will have a hands on appreciation of what design really is.  I’m afraid too many such as Dawkins spend a lifetime, and a career drinking their own bathwater … and worse, they pass it on to future generations. They are provided with a cover story as Dawkins states above, and they smother any dissention from the party line, most commonly with ridicule and name calling … and career ending ‘tow the line or else’ threatenings.

This NCSE study of “design” has all the earmarks of having been written in an academic  vacuum with little real-world design experience exhibited.  ]

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About the Author(s): 

Mark Isaak
c/o NCSE
PO Box 9477
Berkeley, CA 94709-0477

Don Johnson – March 2015

More Evidence for Intelligent Design

In the Darin debate, Casey Luskin of Discover Institute offers the following very informative article —

In the Darwin Debate, How Long Before the Tide Turns in Favor of Intelligent Design?

 

Don Johnson – January 2015