The Theory of Intelligent Design
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06-01-2015, 03:22 PM (This post was last modified: 06-01-2015 03:28 PM by Stevil.)
The Theory of Intelligent Design
From the website intelligentdesign.org http://www.intelligentdesign.org/

Quote: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.

I'm a bit surprised that they are calling it a theory.

Then under "What is Intelligent Design" link they have
Quote:Is intelligent design a scientific theory?
Yes. The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. Intelligent design begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function. When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.
A scientific theory! Really!
I suspect they ought to have said a pseudo scientific theory. But let's see if this is science or pseudo science.
These people have referenced from a very high level, the outline of the scientific method "observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion" but they haven't described what makes a "theory" as opposed to a "hypothesis" as opposed to an "idea".

From http://www.ucsusa.org
http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integri...Kw8HmOxnP0
Quote:Intelligent design is a scientific theory: A scientific theory is supported by extensive research and repeated experimentation and observation in the natural world. Unlike a true scientific theory, the existence of an “intelligent” agent can not be tested, nor is it falsifiable.
So a theory needs to be "testable" and "falsifiable"
Let's explore this. How do we assess whether the "theory of Intelligent Design" is testable and falsifiable?
From http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/id_checklist
Quote:Uses testable ideas?
Scientific ideas generate specific expectations about observations of the natural world that would support or refute the idea. However, because Intelligent Design doesn't specify what the Designer is or how the Designer operates, it cannot generate expectations specific enough to help us figure out whether the basic premises of Intelligent Design are correct or incorrect. Intelligent Design is untestable.
Here is a document from Discovery.org http://www.discovery.org/f/494
Quote:There is a belief among media commentators that intelligent design is unscientific
because it is unfalsifiable or untestable: no empirical evidence can count against it.
Though common, this charge is demonstrably false. Of course there’s no way to falsify a
mere assertion that a cosmic designer exists. This much we are agreed on. But
contemporary design arguments focus not on such vague claims, but on detectible
evidence for design in the natural world. Therefore, the design arguments currently in
play are falsifiable
OK, I'll play ball. How are they falsifiable?
Quote:Consider the argument that Michael Behe makes in his book Darwin’s Black Box.
There he proposes that design is detectable in many “molecular machines,” including the
bacterial flagellum. Behe argues that this tiny motor needs all its parts to function—it is
“irreducibly complex.” Such systems in our experience are a hallmark of designed
systems, because they require the foresight that is the exclusive jurisdiction of intelligent
agents.
So here the "theory" of Intelligent Design predicts irreducible complexity. Is this testable? Is it falsifiable?
Quote:How does one test and discredit Behe’s argument? Describe a realistic,
continuously functional Darwinian pathway from simple ancestor to present motor.
The Behe argument referred to above is not an argument offering a falsifiable criteria of irreducible complexity but instead is an argument stating that the "tiny motor" of the bacteria flagellum needs all its parts to function. This argument is asserting that the bacteria flagellum IS irreducibly complex but in no way does the validity of irreducible complexity rely upon irreducible complexity being found within the bacteria flagellum.
For example, If I told you that Polar Bears exist and live on an ice continent and you scoured the Antarctic continent and came back to me and said that you could not find any Polar Bears on the Antarctic continent and hence have falsified the theory of the existence of Polar Bears. Well, I would merely come back to you and say that you haven't falsified the theory of Polar Bears, that instead you were looking in the wrong place.
The idea of irreducible complexity has also been applied to the idea of the eye, which was once touted as "proof" of god's existence. With scientific advancement the evolution of the eye has been mostly explained http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreducible_complexity#Eye
Quote:Behe used the "development of the eye problem" as evidence for intelligent design in Darwin's Black Box. Although Behe acknowledged that the evolution of the larger anatomical features of the eye have been well-explained, he claimed that the complexity of the minute biochemical reactions required at a molecular level for light sensitivity still defies explanation.
So we see that with scientific advancement the proofs of god retreat to more obscure gaps rather than having been falsified. We have evidently not been looking in the right places.
So let's assume science has accounted for the evolutionary steps of the "tiny motor" of the bacteria flagellum. The Catholic scientist, Kenneth Miller, has offered evidence and explanation for the motor system. The IDers refuse to accept this. But still this is beside the point with regards to falsification. For now, let's assume science has accounted for the evolutionary steps, then what. Do the IDers admit that the idea of irreducible complexity has been falsified or do they instead say that we were looking in the wrong place. Perhaps we should be looking at the blood clotting cascade mechanism instead?
Quote:The argument is riddled with problems, but it shows that Miller, at least,
understands perfectly well that Behe’s argument is testable. Similarly, the Internet is
filled with supposed refutations of contemporary design arguments, many written by
scientists using information from the natural world to make their arguments. An
argument can’t be both open to falsifiability and unfalsifiable at the same time.
The above is incorrect. Complexity does present a challenge to evolution, the complexity of the motor system of the bacteria flagellum presents a puzzle for the theory of evolution. If evolution is correct then how can the complexity be explained. The theory of evolution predicts that there will be a stepwise path towards the development of the complex motor. Those interested in evolution will go looking for the answers. But not finding the answers does not disprove evolution and does not disprove the idea of "irreducible complexity". Not finding the answers simply means "WE DON'T YET KNOW".
Finding the answers helps to substantiate the theory of evolution as it shows the prediction was correct, but it does not prove that the "theory" of Intelligent Design is false.
The "theory" of Intelligent Design is not testable and is not falsifiable. At best the ID scientists can only point to gaps in scientific knowledge and appeal to incredulity http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_from_incredulity. These gaps provide for an as yet unresolved mystery in evolution but provide no supporting evidence for the "theory" of Intelligent Design.
Since the "theory" of Intelligent Design is not testable and is not falsifiable then it isn't a scientific theory.
So how does the Theory of Evolution stack up? Is it testable and falsifiable?
From rational wiki http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Disproving_evolution
Quote:Consequently any of the following would destroy the theory:

If it could be shown that organisms with identical DNA have different genetic traits.
If it could be shown that when mutations do occur, they are not passed down through the generations.
If it could be shown that although mutations are passed down, no mutation could produce the sort of phenotypic changes that drive natural selection.
If it could be shown that selection or environmental pressures do not favor the reproductive success of better adapted individuals.
If it could be shown that even though selection or environmental pressures favor the reproductive success of better adapted individuals, "better adapted individuals" (at any one time) are not shown to change into other species.
So the theory of Evolution is falsifiable.

These "scientists" from the discovery institute ought to know better. Are they being intentionally dishonest? Are they lying for Jesus?

The media presented by the discovery institute seem to be presented in a way to blur scientific definitions, to confuse non scientific people into accepting what the "scientists" such as Behe are claiming. It's main focus appears to me to be a way to leave the door of belief open to people whom are not really interested in understanding science but are merely looking for confirmation of their already held beliefs.
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06-01-2015, 03:53 PM
RE: The Theory of Intelligent Design
(06-01-2015 03:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  From the website intelligentdesign.org http://www.intelligentdesign.org/

Quote: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.

I'm a bit surprised that they are calling it a theory.

Because it gives it the ring of truthiness...




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N.B: I routinely make edits to posts to correct grammar or spelling, or to restate a point more clearly. I only notify edits if they materially change meaning.
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06-01-2015, 04:05 PM (This post was last modified: 06-01-2015 04:15 PM by Stevil.)
RE: The Theory of Intelligent Design
From Evolution News they have an article on How Do We Know Intelligent Design Is a Scientific "Theory"? http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/10/how...51841.html

Here they are looking to water down the definition of "Scientific Theory", they also attempt to water down many other definitions.

Quote:philosopher Peter Kosso explains that calling something a "theory" says little about the degree of certainty backing the idea. As he states, "neither 'theoretical' nor 'law' is about being true or false, or about being well-tested or speculative." In Kosso's view, a theory "describes aspects of nature that are beyond (or beneath) what we can observe, aspects that can be used to explain what we observe." Thus "[s]ome theories are true (atomic theory), some are false (caloric theory), and the scientific method is what directs us in deciding which are which."

Does ID meet this definition of theory? Yes, it does.
The caloric theory offered falsifiable criteria and was falsified.
"God did it" is not a scientific theory even though many people use this to explain what they observe.
Quote:Let's use that method here to analyze whether ID is a theory:"
Element 1: ID must be an "explanation of some aspect of the natural world" and a "comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature."

Element 2: ID must "incorporate many facts, laws and tested hypotheses."

Element 3: ID must be "well-substantiated" and "supported by a vast body of evidence.""

Their answer for Element 1 "ID must be an "explanation of some aspect of the natural world" and a "comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature."
is
Quote:"ID is not just an explanation of "some aspect of the natural world": in fact it explains many aspects of the natural world. If we think in terms of just broad categories, ID proposes that intelligent agency is the best explanation for historical events like:

the origin of the fine-tuning of the cosmos for advanced life.
the origin of extremely high levels of complex and specified information in DNA.
the origin of integrated systems required for animal body plans.
the origin of many irreducibly complex systems found in living organisms.

So ID satisfies this element: It is an explanation of many aspects of the natural world, especially many aspects of biological complexity."
This is not what is meant by "comprehensive explanation". They are trying here to say the explaination is comprehensive if the explanation encompasses many observations.
E.G. "God did it", encompasses all of life, all of nature, on the macro and micro level therefore they are saying that "God did it" is comprehensive.
But actually, by "comprehensive explanation" it means that the explanation itself must be comprehensive. i.e. a detailed explanation incorporating the what, how, the mechanism, how it would account for the fossil record, the continental shift, the ring species, the genetic traits, the epigenetic traits, the behavioral traits, the variation within species and the variation across species, how animals such as whales and dolphins are mammals whereas they live somewhat like fish. Evolution theory provides a comprehensive explanation, whereas Intelligent Design merely asserts that if science doesn't know the answer then an Intelligent Designer (a.k.a. God) did it.

Their answer for Element 2 ID "incorporates many facts, laws and tested hypotheses."
Quote:ID easily meets this criterion. ID incorporates many facts, laws, and tested hypotheses, including:

ID incorporates the known laws and constants of the universe and ties them together in a unified theory to explain why they are coordinated to produce life-friendly physical parameters.
ID incorporates many known facts about DNA sequences, as well as tested hypotheses showing they are finely tuned to perform biological functions.
ID incorporates a myriad of tested hypotheses about the geologically abrupt appearance of body plans in the fossil record, as well as numerous facts from biochemistry and animal biology regarding the kind and amount of integrated information necessary to coordinate new types of proteins, cell types, tissues, and organs into new functional body plans.
ID incorporates many tested hypotheses about the presence of irreducible complexity in biological systems, evidenced by genetic knockout experiments which have shown that irreducible complexity is a real phenomenon.
ID does all of this by proposing new laws such as the law of conservation of information, new principles about the causes of high CSI, new methods of measuring functional information and complexity, and new hypotheses about the ubiquity of fine-tuning throughout both cosmology and biology.
This focuses purely on the assumption of "fine tuning". It is again an argument from incredulity. The "theory" of Intelligent Design does not predict fine tuning and does not rely upon fine tuning. What they are saying is that it appears that things are fine tuned, and they assume that it would take an intelligent designer to chose just the right laws and constants to support human life.
Even if there wasn't the appearance of "fine tuning" they would still claim that an intelligent designer created it all. Lack of fine tuning does not falsify the idea of Intelligent Design.
Although it does provide mysteries to be investigated by science, it does not support the idea of Intelligent Design.

Their answer for Element 3 ID is "well-substantiated" and "supported by a vast body of evidence."
Quote:This element is unique because it places "theory" in the eye of the beholder. If you think ID is correct (i.e., "well-substantiated"), then it will qualify as a scientific theory. If you don't think it's correct, then you won't think it's well substantiated, and ID won't qualify as a theory. In practice, this element thus measures subjective questions about what people believe about an idea rather than posing objective questions about the basic nature of the idea being considered. This is probably why careful thinkers like Peter Kosso expressly exclude this element from their definition of "theory."
This is a cop out.
But they do list things that they consider as evidence for ID
Quote: Studies of physics and cosmology continue to uncover deeper and deeper levels of fine-tuning. Many examples could be given, but this one is striking: the initial entropy of the universe must have been fine-tuned to within 1 part in 10(10^123) to render the universe life-friendly. That blows other fine-tuning constants away. New cosmological theories like string theory or multiverse theories just push back questions about fine-tuning, and exacerbate the need for fine-tuning.
Mutational sensitivity tests increasingly show that DNA sequences are highly fine-tuned to generate functional proteins and perform other biological functions.
Studies of epigenetics and systems biology are revealing more and more how integrated organisms are, from biochemistry to macrobiology, and showing incredible finely-tuned basic cellular functions.
Genetic knockout experiments are showing irreducible complexity, such as in the flagellum, or multi-mutation features where many simultaneous mutations would be necessary to gain an advantage. This is more fine-tuning.
"fine tuning" and "irreducible complexity" is all they got as evidence.
The appearance of fine tuning doesn't support ID. There is no evidence supporting why constants and laws are the way they are and certainly no supporting evidence that these were tuned by an intelligent designer.
Irreducible complexity is non testable and unfalsifiable. No evidence can support Irreducible complexity.
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06-01-2015, 04:10 PM
RE: The Theory of Intelligent Design
Quote:I'm a bit surprised that they are calling it a theory.

Because they don't have a fucking clue what a scientific theory entails.

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06-01-2015, 04:28 PM
RE: The Theory of Intelligent Design
(06-01-2015 04:10 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  
Quote:I'm a bit surprised that they are calling it a theory.

Because they don't have a fucking clue what a scientific theory entails.
They ought to. They have educated, graduated scientists on their team.
These guys can't not know that ID isn't a scientific theory.

Their claims are intentionally misleading. They know what they are doing. They know that they are lying and misrepresenting things to their audience.

Surely.
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06-01-2015, 07:19 PM
RE: The Theory of Intelligent Design
Well, if you really want to delve into the cess pool that is ID then you'll want to read the infamous Wedge Document. For those who prefer their sanity uncontaminated the punchline is:

Quote:Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

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06-01-2015, 07:22 PM
RE: The Theory of Intelligent Design
Of course it's intentionally misleading and well known to be. The entire concept is built upon that misleading idea. The reason they've done it which was obvious, there was even emails of some people involved in the 90s admitting it to eachother, which was to try and make creationism passed off as something scientific to win court cases about.

There has never been a shred of doubt to the observant legal situation on what this concept actually is about.

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06-01-2015, 07:53 PM
RE: The Theory of Intelligent Design
(06-01-2015 07:19 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  
Quote:Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.
If they are trying to redefine science, redefine "scientific theory" to no longer have a requirement of being falsifiable or testible then we can insert whatever abstract concept we like in the gaps, as long as the concept being inserted does not lend itself to be testable.

Science would be an endevour to highlight existing gaps. It would not longer be an endevour of discovery. They would find a gap and then insert their own personal abstract belief into it.

We would no longer have biological science, physics, quantum physics, cosmology. What we would have is:
Christian science = YHWH did it
Islam science = Allah did it
Hindu science = Vishnu and his friends did it
Maori science = Tane did it
Greek science = Zeus did it
Aztec science = Ra did it
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06-01-2015, 08:11 PM
RE: The Theory of Intelligent Design
Actually you can just boil it all down to Goddidit.

Creationism works as follows, regardless of whether or not it's wearing a rubber nose and mustache:

(1) Start with a dogmatic assertion that is defined as True.
(2) Look around until you find something that looks vaguely like it might support the conclusion
(3) Cherry-pick your data and ignore any other phenomena until you've demonstrated that (2) supports (1)

Their problem is that they run up against consilience, which wipes out steps 2 and 3. That leaves them with just their dogmatic Truth, which is exactly where they want to be anyway.

I still want to see a faith-based space program.

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06-01-2015, 08:36 PM
RE: The Theory of Intelligent Design
(06-01-2015 08:11 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  Actually you can just boil it all down to Goddidit.

Creationism works as follows, regardless of whether or not it's wearing a rubber nose and mustache:
But ID is supposedly different to creationism.

http://www.intelligentdesign.org/faq.php
Quote:Is intelligent design theory the same as creationism?

No. Intelligent design theory 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 is focused on defending a literal reading of the Genesis account, usually including the creation of the earth by the Biblical God a few thousand years ago. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design is agnostic regarding the source of design and has no commitment to defending Genesis, the Bible or any other sacred text. Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he "agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement." Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are "the easiest way to discredit intelligent design." In other words, the charge that intelligent design is "creationism" is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case. For more information read Dr. Stephen Meyer's piece "Intelligent Design is not Creationism" that appeared in The Daily Telegraph (London) or Dr. John West's piece "Intelligent Design and Creationism Just Aren't the Same" in Research News & Opportunities.

However, there are a few issues with this.
"Intelligent design theory 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)"

1. ID isn't a scientific theory
2. ID cannot make use of empirical evidence because ID is untestable.
3. It is impossible to know if a complex biological mechanism is a result of genuine design, at best there can be found a gap in current scientific knowledge.
4. Who is the Intelligent Designer if not "god"?
5. If god, which god?
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