The Main Problem With "An Intelligent Agent"
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02-05-2012, 01:55 AM
RE: The Main Problem With "An Intelligent Agent"
(30-04-2012 04:25 PM)SixForty Wrote:  I would give anything I could to help people see the truth.

Here ya go:

Read it.

Watch it.





Or to sum it - entropy is the engine of creation. Wink

I wouldn't give anything to help people see the truth - what I did was research a topic I knew from before and come up with more knowing - why I did it was that dang Gwynnies. So if there is a designer, it's Gwyneth Paltrow. Heart

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02-05-2012, 10:53 AM
RE: The Main Problem With "An Intelligent Agent"
(02-05-2012 01:55 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Here ya go:

Read it.

Watch it.

Or to sum it - entropy is the engine of creation. Wink

Read it. Watched it. Completely irrelevant to the issue of the comment I made which you were quoting, and completely irrelevant to the original topic of discussion.

Well dodged.
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02-05-2012, 02:10 PM
RE: The Main Problem With "An Intelligent Agent"
(02-05-2012 10:53 AM)SixForty Wrote:  Completely irrelevant to the issue of the comment I made which you were quoting, and completely irrelevant to the original topic of discussion.

Not at all. You were talking about paradigms being molded to fit preconceived notions. The scientific method starts off with Observation/Hypothesis/Experimentation, sop of course the experiments are going to be designed to test the hypothesis. There's a real danger of falling in love with your own theory, but any decent scientist knows this and will take steps to minimize the effect.

The problem with ID is its proponents taking an observation of us as designers and going, therefore god. Entropy, chaos, geometry, emergence; all give the illusion of design, yet none are ever mentioned by the ID crowd because they are in love with their theory. Evolutionists, however, do consider these things; that's why it is science and not religion.


PS It's gonna be geometry and entropy for the win. I'm a prophet, I know these things. Big Grin

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02-05-2012, 03:02 PM
RE: The Main Problem With "An Intelligent Agent"
(02-05-2012 02:10 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Not at all. You were talking about paradigms being molded to fit preconceived notions. The scientific method starts off with Observation/Hypothesis/Experimentation, sop of course the experiments are going to be designed to test the hypothesis. There's a real danger of falling in love with your own theory, but any decent scientist knows this and will take steps to minimize the effect.

Except in the case of evolution, where the data is forced into it, and only interpretations that allow for evolution are accepted, regardless of how absurd they are.

(02-05-2012 02:10 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  The problem with ID is its proponents taking an observation of us as designers and going, therefore god.

From that statement, I really doubt you've read or researched anything by a serious ID scientist.

(02-05-2012 02:10 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Entropy, chaos, geometry, emergence; all give the illusion of design, yet none are ever mentioned by the ID crowd because they are in love with their theory.

Now I'm almost positive you haven't looked into ID very much, since things like this ARE considered and discussed. ID can actually account for much more of this than any naturalistic/materialistic method of science. But if you want to blanket deny it, that's fine. Feel free.

(02-05-2012 02:10 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Evolutionists, however, do consider these things; that's why it is science and not religion.

"We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door." Richard Lewontin, evolutionary geneticist.

Yup - sounds like open mindedness to me! He's definitely not forcing his philosophical viewpoint onto the evidence at all.
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02-05-2012, 03:40 PM
RE: The Main Problem With "An Intelligent Agent"
Yeah, but you missed the important part. I'm a prophet. Chosen to speak for another - a.k.a. god, so I win. Big Grin

I've looked into ID, but it was back in 2007. It sounded good for a minute, then I did some research, and it wasn't so good no morez.

And they're not discussed, they're dismissed. Emergence and chaos theory especially. Most times when having a discussion with an ID proponent, I hear "I don't accept chaos theory," and I'm like... Huh Cause I'm a math geek, so it's like having a conversation where the other guy goes, yeah, but English ain't a language. And what would you recommend? Behe? Guy's a total tool. Dembski? Even worse. Who's left?

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02-05-2012, 08:25 PM (This post was last modified: 02-05-2012 08:29 PM by Starcrash.)
RE: The Main Problem With "An Intelligent Agent"
(02-05-2012 12:29 AM)SixForty Wrote:  
(01-05-2012 07:22 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  You said several times that there is reasoning behind a single creator rather than several --- "I personally have several reasons to believe in one God only" --- but you didn't support it with evidence. You claim to have several reasons and you didn't even provide one. What am I supposed to do with that? Do you assume that I'll just take you at your word?

Well, quite frankly, I did. Back in my first post (it was post #3 in this thread) I'll quote it again here for you:

SixForty Wrote:There are also valid reasons to consider a single designer. A single designer would likely use similar design techniques across the design: common DNA structure and language, single source physical laws (i.e., there is only one law of gravity), etc. A host of designers would likely show a number of different design techniques. Consider a painting that was painted by 10 different painters each doing a different part - it would likely look quite different from a painting done by one painter only, and you'd probably be able to detect the different styles, and where one's work stopped and the next started. Some people think the specifics of the design can give good clues about the designer(s).

I provided valid examples on the same level of thought and depth as your initial reasoning for multiple designers. If you had wanted a more thorough discussion, you would probably have been more likely to get it had you provided a more thorough initial premise.

As for my second post (#7), I didn't provide reasons or examples because you weren't discussing the topic, you were attacking me personally. You claimed I didn't accept that the premise of several gods was possible, when in my first post I clearly did not dismiss your premise. Everything I said in that post left it open as a possibility. You also attacked my upbringing, claiming indoctrination. You assumed that I was taught certain things and accepted them with blind faith. So when someone makes a claim like that, I don't really feel the need to answer them with complete detailed refutations.

(01-05-2012 07:22 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  Belief in a single entity that is omniscient or omnipotent in order to carry out these tasks alone is not observed, because we have zero examples of omniscience or omnipotence (unless you want to cite "God", in which case you are begging the question by assuming the conclusion as a premise).


If you look back at my first post again, my initial comment didn't even consider omniscience. I simply referred to a higher intelligence that was above the threshold necessary to design the universe. The same would be true for omnipotence - it wouldn't necessarily be needed. If we look at it, the universe is a finite entity. Therefore, it seems logical that there is a finite level of knowledge that went into the design, and a finite level of power that went into it's creation. What's to stop us from postulating a designer who has a finite amount of knowledge and power that are simply above those levels?

Or let's look at it another way. I'm going to assume that you don't think there was an infinite number of designers here. If you want to postulate that there was, let me know. So for now let's say that there were N designers. Now let's find the most intelligent one. We'll label his level of knowledge K, and all others have a knowledge level less than K. Next, we find the most powerful designer. We'll label his level of power P, and all others have a power level less than P. Now, it seems to me that the cumulative total of knowledge and power for the set of designers you've postulated would be less than {N*K, N*P}. The question then becomes, can we simply postulate a single designer whose level of knowledge is N*K and level of power is N*P? Such a designer would be sufficient to do the job, but is definitely neither omniscient nor omnipotent. Would you agree?


Now, we could start slinging accusations back and forth of logical fallacies and such, but since you and I have had thoughtful and productive conversations before, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. And I'll give you the reasoning and evidence that you are looking for.

First of all, I'm not going to bother trying to defend the concept of ID here. From this point, we'll assume ID is true and points to a designer or designers. I think this is fair, given your initial post. Your question is mainly, "Why come to the conclusion of a single designer instead of multiple designers?" So the choice is one vs multiple. I hope you will accept this as a fair starting point to discuss the question you've brought up.

So if we accept the fact that we can determine if something has been designed, we want to know if it is possible to determine with a sufficient level of certainty whether or not two separate things were designed by the same designer, or by different designers. I believe that it is possible, through careful study of the things in question. (I'm going to use the word "things" here loosely, but you will see why as we go along.) I'll give you 3 examples of circumstances where we as humans use our ability to determine a common designer or a different designer.

The first example is paintings. A highly educated art critic can often look at a painting and tell you "that was painted by X". They can determine who the painter was without any hints, just by looking at it. Often a painter will use certain style, composition, brush strokes and colours which form a unique combination that becomes a type of signature. These elements of the painting are observable and testable by the art critic, and form a basis for their opinion. The similarity of highly complex features is strong evidence that they come from the same source. The chance combination of the same features by another painter would be highly unlikely. That same art critic can also look at a second painting and tell you "that was NOT painted by X". They can describe the various elements of the painting which differ from the painter's style, and why they come to the conclusion for a different painter for the second painting than the first. And this is not just something that I am making up on a whim - big money and big business is based on these concepts. The field of art restoration uses such concepts to ensure that restored paintings retain the look, feel, and style of the original painter as much as possible. Also, these concepts are used in the area of art forgery - first by the forger to make the best product they can, and second by investigators, to determine if a painting is a forgery or is authentic.

The second example is computer software. Like painters, programmers will often have their own style. Whether it be variable naming conventions, syntax, or use of specific favoured constructs or subroutines, programmers can leave a type of signature (over and above any intentional signature that may be left!) The project manager for a software development team can sometimes tell which one of the programmers wrote a specific section of code just by looking at the code itself. Again, the similarity of highly complex features implies the same source. This concept is used in the real world when tracking computer crimes. For example, programmers who write software viruses often leave behind a specific signature (explicit or implied) which can be used to tie a virus down to a certain programmer.

The third example is criminal investigations. Suppose a there is a run of murders in a city. After a couple of such crimes, police will begin to look for similarities to see if the crimes may be related. Maybe each murder was committed by suffocation. Maybe each victim had similar burn marks from a taser that may have rendered them helpless. Maybe each murder occurred on a Thursday night, each victim was a waitress at a coffee shop, and their bodies were found in a ditch next to the freeway. There are many details which may all align, and as such, the police will come to the belief that a single person is responsible for all the murders. They will then use this same set of common elements to compare the next murder to decide if it too was committed by the same person. But if the next murder has some of the features (i.e., coffee shop waitress, burn marks) but not others, (found stabbed in her apartment on a Sunday) the police may then suspect a different killer. It may be entirely unrelated. If more of the features line up, it may be a copycat. Or maybe enough convinces them that it is the same killer who has changed their pattern for some reason. But ultimately, they are using the concept of similar features to determine a single killer. And this is used in law enforcement all the time. It's even used to charge people with crimes for which there is no direct evidence, but there was direct evidence for similar crimes, so it's likely they committed the one in question also.

So those are 3 strong examples of ways in which we use evidence to make a determination whether a "thing" (painting/software code/murder) is the result of a single "designer" (painter/programmer/murderer). We could go through numerous other examples (i.e., writers, architects, gardeners, etc) but they would all come back to the same process. The thing in question will have certain features or elements to it. Those elements are all based on the designer, and the combination of a large enough number of them is enough to determine uniqueness of a designer.

Now if we take this back to the issue of life, IDers would point to numerous aspects of biology to show such similarities across effectively all living things. For example: the cell as the basic unit of life; carbon as the backbone element of life; DNA as the method of trait inheritance; the language of the genetic code; the expression of the information in DNA as proteins through an RNA intermediary; the exclusive use of left-handed amino acids in proteins; the bi-layered construction of cell membranes; the common use of such biological elements as ATP, riboflavin, vitamins B12 and K, and folic acid across metabolic processes. And these are only on the basic, low level of comparison. It's not to mention high level comparisons such as morphology, behaviour, or ecology. All of such similarities would be good grounds for accepting a single designer. The chance correlation of so many different elements across all life if there were multiple designers seems highly unlikely.

Basically, you can look at it like this: if the concept of ID is accepted, then ANY evidence or reasoning that pointed to a common ancestor under evolution would now point to a common designer under ID. To take it further, some might say that any evidence or reasoning for multiple designers under ID would probably support the idea of multiple original ancestors under evolution. But I'm not sure many evolutionists would like that idea.

So, that's the scientific side of it. I think those would all be good evidence and reasoning for accepting a single designer over multiple designers. Is it conclusive? Not at all. Does it tip the scales to the side of one as opposed to the side of multiple? I think so.

As mentioned, I also think there would be compelling historical and philosophical reasons for accepting a single designer. I won't go into them in too much detail, but I will lay them out for you. Remember, at this point, the premise is that ID had already been accepted, and we are just looking at the question of one designer vs multiple designers.

As for historical reasons, I think you'd likely agree that the history of the monotheistic religions of the world have a much larger and stronger tradition than any polytheistic religions. If we go looking through history for the answer to the question of one designer vs multiple, so much will fall to the side of the one. Whether it's historical support for what's written in various holy books, or simply the foundation and growth of certain belief systems, the monotheistic religions have a significantly stronger and more developed history.

As for philosophical reasons, I'll quickly present two. I think Occam's Razor would lend support to the idea of one designer as opposed to many. If it's possible to envision a single designer that could do it all, why increase plurality without necessity? In addition, the concept of infinite regress termination may be considered. It's the age old question of who designed the designer/designers? If ultimately there is a termination point to avoid an infinite regress, it makes more sense to have such a termination point at a single entity than a group of entities. A group leads to all the same "who designed the designers" question, along with postulating more: what is the structure of the group, how did it come together, etc, etc? Both Occam's Razor and the infinite regress termination would, in my opinion, point to a single designer.

So when you add all that up, the scientific, historical, and philosophical, I think there's a strong case for making the rational determination of a single designer. Is it conclusive? Definitely not. Is there a possibility for multiple designers? Absolutely. As you've shown, there are good reasons for accepting that idea as well.
Thank you for the detailed post. I appreciate being answered with exactly what I asked for. Now let's look at your evidence:

When you run the math for knowledge and power, you posit that there must be someone with the greatest amount of knowledge and power among those groups. You'll find no disagreement from me there --- that's sound reasoning. But for some reason you assume that the person with the greatest amount of knowledge must know everything that people with lesser knowledge know. This doesn't make sense. You gave the example of computer software, and I also think that's a good analogy. If you were the project manager of a team making a new video game, you're probably the same person who has the greatest insight into all branches of the video-game-making process. But does that necessarily mean that you understand sound better than the guy composing your music? Do you know more about animation than the guy making your characters move? Do you know more about coding than the guys writing the processing data? Even though you have more combined knowledge than any one member, that doesn't make you the ultimate authority on every aspect. Nor should we expect that. When examining power, just because you can crank out more output than any one team member, that doesn't mean that you can finish the whole project faster than the rest of the team combined.

Now I didn't explain why omniscience or omnipotence would be assumed, so let me explain that now. If one person is in charge of designing the whole universe, that person would have to know every aspect of the universe, correct? And they'd also have to be able to put their design into practice on every aspect of the universe. Omniscience (defined here as knowing everything there is to know) and omnipotence (defined here as being able to do anything possible to do) are natural assumptions if the given is that the universe is the product of one agent.

Now your analogies, despite their fair number, don't take into account a collaboration. The example I gave, the Burj Khalif, is homogenous in structure throughout. I think it's very unlikely that someone could wander through the building and point out the aspects of each designer. The reason for so many designers is that the knowledge for structural integrity with a tall building rest with one or a few people, and the knowledge for outfitting such a huge building with electricity rests with one or a few people, and the knowledge for how to design comfortable rooms rests with one or a few people, etc.

In every example you gave, we already know what the design of one person looks like compared to the design of several people. If we're examining a painting for the first time --- and it's the only painting in existence --- are you certain that we'd know what the work of one person looked like compared to the work of two or more? Would an expert critic (and I don't know how such a thing would be possible in this more accurate analogy) be able to tell, from examination of the frame, whether it was made by the same person who painted the picture inside the frame? It's apples and oranges in my mind. If we didn't have any other software to examine but the one, could we tell if it was made by one programmer or several? Would we know if a difference in naming convention is the work of two programmers or just a different situation that calls for a different word usage? If we had only the one murder to examine, could we tell if two shots in the victim meant a single shooter firing two shots or two shooters using the same gun? We don't have a method for figuring that out even with others murders and established patterns to relate that situation to.

When you bring this back to explaining the natural universe, you compare apples with apples again by comparing consistencies within biology. But how could you know if the same agent who designed DNA is the same agent who designed our atmosphere, or if the agent who designed the structure of an atom is the same agent who designed Saturn? Furthermore, even where there's appearance of consistency (such as the structure of a cell) there's variation (such as eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells). Why should we assume that variation comes from one single mind? Again, I'm going to accuse you of trying to draw a conclusion that's consistent with your worldview, not one that follows logically from the facts.

You mention the "lasting power" (stronger and more developed history) of monotheistic religions, and you assume the cause is because they make more sense. Let me posit a hypothesis that's more consistent with history. Each country has its god or gods, and those countries assume that their strength and ability to conquer comes from those gods. When one country conquers another, it assumes this is because its god is the stronger one, and this typically leads to a country losing its faith when it is conquered by another empire. The conquering empire comes in and replaces the nation's religion with its gods. This isn't my hypothesis yet but rather what I've drawn from others. So why is Christianity, for example, still thriving? The Roman Empire, led by Constantine, adopted Christianity and made it widespread. And later on, the Roman Empire collapsed for numerous reasons, none of which was "getting conquered by a stronger empire". So Christianity didn't fall under the sword. Neither did Islamic nations, which are still Islamic and still thriving today. There's no reason why a religion would continue to the present day "because it made more sense". There are plenty of Mormons and Scientologists in the US, and it has nothing to do with the rationality or consistency behind their holy books.

You cited Occam's razor, and you apparently don't understand it. It's true that we shouldn't assume extra agents that aren't necessary, but in removing physical "agents" from the equation you're adding properties to the remaining agent. Is it "simpler" to posit that a school contains one super fast, extremely brilliant teacher running every class, or to distribute the multiple subjects to multiple teachers? It doesn't seem like a fair analogy because no school filled with classes is ever run by a single teacher, but I'm sure you can understand why that is --- a school is very complex. The more subjects it teaches, the more likely it is that there are many teachers. The more classrooms it contains, the more likely it is that there are several teachers conducting the education. And should we assume that a universe containing trillions of planets was designed, built, and run by one guy over trillions? Your conclusion has been posited before by many, that a single god is simple just because he's "one", but doesn't take into account the growing complexity of the "one" compared to the simple makeup of several less complex agents.

And please, the infinite regress argument? Again, like everyone before you, you still stop the regress where you want to stop it. The question still looms: "who designed the first designer", and the answer is still obvious: not everything requires a designer. You posit that God is the one who, despite being complex, doesn't require a designer. We say that it's the singularity that formed the big bang. Restating your position on this matter will never bring us closer to an answer any more than restating my position. Just please stop with the unwarranted assumptions. We have no idea how far back the regress goes, and there's absolutely no evidence that your God, even if he exists, is not the creation of another god or gods.

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03-05-2012, 12:17 AM
RE: The Main Problem With "An Intelligent Agent"
(02-05-2012 12:29 AM)SixForty Wrote:  
(01-05-2012 07:22 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  You said several times that there is reasoning behind a single creator rather than several --- "I personally have several reasons to believe in one God only" --- but you didn't support it with evidence. You claim to have several reasons and you didn't even provide one. What am I supposed to do with that? Do you assume that I'll just take you at your word?

Well, quite frankly, I did. Back in my first post (it was post #3 in this thread) I'll quote it again here for you:

SixForty Wrote:There are also valid reasons to consider a single designer. A single designer would likely use similar design techniques across the design: common DNA structure and language, single source physical laws (i.e., there is only one law of gravity), etc. A host of designers would likely show a number of different design techniques. Consider a painting that was painted by 10 different painters each doing a different part - it would likely look quite different from a painting done by one painter only, and you'd probably be able to detect the different styles, and where one's work stopped and the next started. Some people think the specifics of the design can give good clues about the designer(s).

I provided valid examples on the same level of thought and depth as your initial reasoning for multiple designers. If you had wanted a more thorough discussion, you would probably have been more likely to get it had you provided a more thorough initial premise.

As for my second post (#7), I didn't provide reasons or examples because you weren't discussing the topic, you were attacking me personally. You claimed I didn't accept that the premise of several gods was possible, when in my first post I clearly did not dismiss your premise. Everything I said in that post left it open as a possibility. You also attacked my upbringing, claiming indoctrination. You assumed that I was taught certain things and accepted them with blind faith. So when someone makes a claim like that, I don't really feel the need to answer them with complete detailed refutations.

(01-05-2012 07:22 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  Belief in a single entity that is omniscient or omnipotent in order to carry out these tasks alone is not observed, because we have zero examples of omniscience or omnipotence (unless you want to cite "God", in which case you are begging the question by assuming the conclusion as a premise).


If you look back at my first post again, my initial comment didn't even consider omniscience. I simply referred to a higher intelligence that was above the threshold necessary to design the universe. The same would be true for omnipotence - it wouldn't necessarily be needed. If we look at it, the universe is a finite entity. Therefore, it seems logical that there is a finite level of knowledge that went into the design, and a finite level of power that went into it's creation. What's to stop us from postulating a designer who has a finite amount of knowledge and power that are simply above those levels?

Or let's look at it another way. I'm going to assume that you don't think there was an infinite number of designers here. If you want to postulate that there was, let me know. So for now let's say that there were N designers. Now let's find the most intelligent one. We'll label his level of knowledge K, and all others have a knowledge level less than K. Next, we find the most powerful designer. We'll label his level of power P, and all others have a power level less than P. Now, it seems to me that the cumulative total of knowledge and power for the set of designers you've postulated would be less than {N*K, N*P}. The question then becomes, can we simply postulate a single designer whose level of knowledge is N*K and level of power is N*P? Such a designer would be sufficient to do the job, but is definitely neither omniscient nor omnipotent. Would you agree?


Now, we could start slinging accusations back and forth of logical fallacies and such, but since you and I have had thoughtful and productive conversations before, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. And I'll give you the reasoning and evidence that you are looking for.

First of all, I'm not going to bother trying to defend the concept of ID here. From this point, we'll assume ID is true and points to a designer or designers. I think this is fair, given your initial post. Your question is mainly, "Why come to the conclusion of a single designer instead of multiple designers?" So the choice is one vs multiple. I hope you will accept this as a fair starting point to discuss the question you've brought up.

So if we accept the fact that we can determine if something has been designed, we want to know if it is possible to determine with a sufficient level of certainty whether or not two separate things were designed by the same designer, or by different designers. I believe that it is possible, through careful study of the things in question. (I'm going to use the word "things" here loosely, but you will see why as we go along.) I'll give you 3 examples of circumstances where we as humans use our ability to determine a common designer or a different designer.

The first example is paintings. A highly educated art critic can often look at a painting and tell you "that was painted by X". They can determine who the painter was without any hints, just by looking at it. Often a painter will use certain style, composition, brush strokes and colours which form a unique combination that becomes a type of signature. These elements of the painting are observable and testable by the art critic, and form a basis for their opinion. The similarity of highly complex features is strong evidence that they come from the same source. The chance combination of the same features by another painter would be highly unlikely. That same art critic can also look at a second painting and tell you "that was NOT painted by X". They can describe the various elements of the painting which differ from the painter's style, and why they come to the conclusion for a different painter for the second painting than the first. And this is not just something that I am making up on a whim - big money and big business is based on these concepts. The field of art restoration uses such concepts to ensure that restored paintings retain the look, feel, and style of the original painter as much as possible. Also, these concepts are used in the area of art forgery - first by the forger to make the best product they can, and second by investigators, to determine if a painting is a forgery or is authentic.

The second example is computer software. Like painters, programmers will often have their own style. Whether it be variable naming conventions, syntax, or use of specific favoured constructs or subroutines, programmers can leave a type of signature (over and above any intentional signature that may be left!) The project manager for a software development team can sometimes tell which one of the programmers wrote a specific section of code just by looking at the code itself. Again, the similarity of highly complex features implies the same source. This concept is used in the real world when tracking computer crimes. For example, programmers who write software viruses often leave behind a specific signature (explicit or implied) which can be used to tie a virus down to a certain programmer.

The third example is criminal investigations. Suppose a there is a run of murders in a city. After a couple of such crimes, police will begin to look for similarities to see if the crimes may be related. Maybe each murder was committed by suffocation. Maybe each victim had similar burn marks from a taser that may have rendered them helpless. Maybe each murder occurred on a Thursday night, each victim was a waitress at a coffee shop, and their bodies were found in a ditch next to the freeway. There are many details which may all align, and as such, the police will come to the belief that a single person is responsible for all the murders. They will then use this same set of common elements to compare the next murder to decide if it too was committed by the same person. But if the next murder has some of the features (i.e., coffee shop waitress, burn marks) but not others, (found stabbed in her apartment on a Sunday) the police may then suspect a different killer. It may be entirely unrelated. If more of the features line up, it may be a copycat. Or maybe enough convinces them that it is the same killer who has changed their pattern for some reason. But ultimately, they are using the concept of similar features to determine a single killer. And this is used in law enforcement all the time. It's even used to charge people with crimes for which there is no direct evidence, but there was direct evidence for similar crimes, so it's likely they committed the one in question also.

So those are 3 strong examples of ways in which we use evidence to make a determination whether a "thing" (painting/software code/murder) is the result of a single "designer" (painter/programmer/murderer). We could go through numerous other examples (i.e., writers, architects, gardeners, etc) but they would all come back to the same process. The thing in question will have certain features or elements to it. Those elements are all based on the designer, and the combination of a large enough number of them is enough to determine uniqueness of a designer.

Now if we take this back to the issue of life, IDers would point to numerous aspects of biology to show such similarities across effectively all living things. For example: the cell as the basic unit of life; carbon as the backbone element of life; DNA as the method of trait inheritance; the language of the genetic code; the expression of the information in DNA as proteins through an RNA intermediary; the exclusive use of left-handed amino acids in proteins; the bi-layered construction of cell membranes; the common use of such biological elements as ATP, riboflavin, vitamins B12 and K, and folic acid across metabolic processes. And these are only on the basic, low level of comparison. It's not to mention high level comparisons such as morphology, behaviour, or ecology. All of such similarities would be good grounds for accepting a single designer. The chance correlation of so many different elements across all life if there were multiple designers seems highly unlikely.

Basically, you can look at it like this: if the concept of ID is accepted, then ANY evidence or reasoning that pointed to a common ancestor under evolution would now point to a common designer under ID. To take it further, some might say that any evidence or reasoning for multiple designers under ID would probably support the idea of multiple original ancestors under evolution. But I'm not sure many evolutionists would like that idea.

So, that's the scientific side of it. I think those would all be good evidence and reasoning for accepting a single designer over multiple designers. Is it conclusive? Not at all. Does it tip the scales to the side of one as opposed to the side of multiple? I think so.

As mentioned, I also think there would be compelling historical and philosophical reasons for accepting a single designer. I won't go into them in too much detail, but I will lay them out for you. Remember, at this point, the premise is that ID had already been accepted, and we are just looking at the question of one designer vs multiple designers.

As for historical reasons, I think you'd likely agree that the history of the monotheistic religions of the world have a much larger and stronger tradition than any polytheistic religions. If we go looking through history for the answer to the question of one designer vs multiple, so much will fall to the side of the one. Whether it's historical support for what's written in various holy books, or simply the foundation and growth of certain belief systems, the monotheistic religions have a significantly stronger and more developed history.

As for philosophical reasons, I'll quickly present two. I think Occam's Razor would lend support to the idea of one designer as opposed to many. If it's possible to envision a single designer that could do it all, why increase plurality without necessity? In addition, the concept of infinite regress termination may be considered. It's the age old question of who designed the designer/designers? If ultimately there is a termination point to avoid an infinite regress, it makes more sense to have such a termination point at a single entity than a group of entities. A group leads to all the same "who designed the designers" question, along with postulating more: what is the structure of the group, how did it come together, etc, etc? Both Occam's Razor and the infinite regress termination would, in my opinion, point to a single designer.

So when you add all that up, the scientific, historical, and philosophical, I think there's a strong case for making the rational determination of a single designer. Is it conclusive? Definitely not. Is there a possibility for multiple designers? Absolutely. As you've shown, there are good reasons for accepting that idea as well.
It's late, and I'm way too tired to think about this perfectly clearly, so please forgive me if I don't make too much sense.

Anyway, I like your analogy of a computer program. Yes, one made by a group will look different than a program made by a single person, but we don't have two universes, one made by a pantheon and one made by a single god, to compare side by side.

You mentioned things like every creature using DNA, being carbon-based, and so on. To me, that's like saying a specific computer program is made with Java, or C++. No matter if it's made by one person or several, it's still using the same computer language throughout. Compare that to our designer(s) all using the same building blocks for life. All the creatures use the same basic structure, but that just means the committee decided on that structure before any work began.

Want something that points to a group rather than an individual? Here's one I came up with (and I'm sure others can come up with more ideas): Dolphins. Specifically, the differences between dolphins and other aquatic mammals, and fish. It's like the committee told a few different deities to come up with something to put in the water, and while they had the same basic ideas, one deity decided to make creatures that need to surface for air to breathe and are more like the mammals on land, while the other deity made something that was more like lizards and could breathe underwater. There you go, evidence that reality was the work of more than one designer. (Very weak, hardly justified evidence, I'll admit, but like I said - I'm too tired to think too hard on this Tongue)
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03-05-2012, 04:12 PM
RE: The Main Problem With "An Intelligent Agent"
(03-05-2012 12:17 AM)Sethala Wrote:  Anyway, I like your analogy of a computer program. Yes, one made by a group will look different than a program made by a single person, but we don't have two universes, one made by a pantheon and one made by a single god, to compare side by side.

You mentioned things like every creature using DNA, being carbon-based, and so on. To me, that's like saying a specific computer program is made with Java, or C++. No matter if it's made by one person or several, it's still using the same computer language throughout. Compare that to our designer(s) all using the same building blocks for life. All the creatures use the same basic structure, but that just means the committee decided on that structure before any work began.
I like your response, Sethala. The first part is what I said, but made so much simpler. Reading your explanation, mine feels stupidly complicated.

As a coder, I was also going to make the point how every programmer comes out with the same product, but it felt like SixForty didn't really have a grasp of computer programming and so it all felt wasted and I deleted it. I contribute to an open-source project called Forge, a program that allows you to play Magic: the Gathering against a computer opponent. Most of my contributions are cards, and since they're designed to specifically interact with Forge itself, there's only one right way to make any card. There's absolutely no way to tell who designed or coded any specific card, because the end product looks exactly the same in any case. But that's just nifty nerd info... it doesn't really prove my point about the possibility of multiple designers, but rather goes to prove that the programming analogy wasn't a great one.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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03-05-2012, 04:16 PM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2012 05:44 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The Main Problem With "An Intelligent Agent"
The main problem with an "intelligent agent", is the agent has to "act". End of story.


"There are also valid reasons to consider a single designer. A single designer would likely use similar design techniques across the design: common DNA structure and language, single source physical laws (i.e., there is only one law of gravity), etc. A host of designers would likely show a number of different design techniques. Consider a painting that was painted by 10 different painters each doing a different part - it would likely look quite different from a painting done by one painter only, and you'd probably be able to detect the different styles, and where one's work stopped and the next started. Some people think the specifics of the design can give good clues about the designer(s)."


Trouble is, you don't KNOW that there IS only one design, or that they are similar. It's just god of the gaps, until the gap is filled, (which is inevitable).

"From this point, we'll assume ID is true and points to a designer or designers"

No it doesn't and we won't until you give ONE good reason for it.

" Read it. Watched it. Completely irrelevant to the issue of the comment I made which you were quoting, and completely irrelevant to the original topic of discussion. Well dodged."

Speaking of dodging. Well done. It IS totally relevant. Saying it's a dodge is not an argument. You just can't give one argument to any of those in the vid.

We're still waiting for you to explain in detail how existence happens without time, how an intelligent desiger "designs" without time, and how it "acts" without time.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist and Levitating Yogi, CAAT-LY.
Assistant Manager, Vice Detection, Whoville : Jebus no likey that which doth tickle thee unto thy nether regions.

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03-05-2012, 05:36 PM
RE: The Main Problem With "An Intelligent Agent"
(03-05-2012 04:12 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  I contribute to an open-source project called Forge, a program that allows you to play Magic: the Gathering against a computer opponent.

Blink that's kinda cool. i don't do shit. Tongue

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