Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stupid Design

The complexity of human physiology is hardly a reason to think humans were intelligently designed. In fact, I believe it is the exact opposite. Machines designed by humans, i.e., by intelligence, are simple. Consider the wheel, the catapult, rope, chariot, spear, gun, all the way to more "complex" machines like the internal combustion engine, the hot air balloon, refrigeration, electricity, or even the semi-conductor which utilizes a system of electric 1's and 0's. Are these "complex"?

If you were God, why in the hell would you have created humans this way? Why would He have created a liquid like blood to convey oxygen to different cells and organs pumped by a heart all governed by an intricate web of electric nerves? Why don't we have 20 arms, eyes in the back of our heads, or wheels for feet? Instead, we are an upright, slow, plodding hunk of fragile flesh and bones that must be constantly nourished by air, water, and food.

If simple, beautiful machines are evidence of intelligence then why would "complexity" also be a sign of intelligence? What would constitute evidence of natural evolution over billions of years?

12 comments:

Burgess Laughlin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Burgess Laughlin said...

For my next long-term project, I hope to identify particular individuals who are the well-springs of each of the many forms of mysticism active in our culture: faith, intuition, revelation, Authority, Tradition, "common sense" (as an oracle), "just knowing," and others.

Perhaps you or one of your readers could help by suggesting an articulate formulator of the notion of Intelligent Design. Is there one person who stands out in that particular debate?

Assuming he isn't the originator of those ideas, I hope to be able to read his works and trace his ideas to their philosophical or theological source.

Can you or your readers suggest such a person?

Doug Reich said...

Burgess,

I know Keith Lockitch discussed it in his lecture and in some of his writings.

Here is a good place to start

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design

Lot's of history and references

Doug

Steve D said...

Doug,

Hmm. I don't think complexity is a good argument either for or against intelligent design.

"If you were God, why in the hell would you have created humans this way?"

Perhaps God is not as competent as we think?

On the other hand if the 'designer' was an advanced alien race they may have had to work with what they had.

The argument for natural selection is from the process of elimination. There is no other known mechanism for evolution - natural selection can lead to evolution (to a certain degree with almost mathematical certainty) so we extrapolate that natural selection is the cause of almost all evolution (with the exception of a little genetic drift)

That said if some 'designer' were to intervene either by modulating the environment or causing specific mutations to gain a desired effect, that would be very hard to detect.

Steve

garret seinen said...

Doug, Doug, Doug: How can you say stupid design? The Intermingled physical limitation were just enough to keep the better ones ahead of the slower bait, breed fast and back out there, one step in front the guy with the big teeth.
From your atomic theory class, you should recall that fast breeding give almost unlimited energy, and, as you can see, fast breeding has given us almost unlimited people.
Further to the near absolute perfection of the human design, that built in slowness cause a lot of warning yells, in turn developing speech, dropping the clubs and voila, indirect exchange, and.. space travel.
So you see the design was a little too good or the lion a little too bad as a lot of the slow ones escaped to become bureaucrats, leading to the everyone becoming lion bait once again.
That said I do offer you a challenge about an intelligent designer. Since man designed god, are you saying man is stupid?
cheers, gs

Doug Reich said...

GS,

"That said I do offer you a challenge about an intelligent designer. Since man designed god, are you saying man is stupid?"

No, on the contrary, God is a very simple idea - it is claimed that He created the universe and is omniscient. As such, it is a primitive attempt to understand the nature of the universe. Such a concept bares all the hallmarks of intelligence. The concept of a God is one of intelligent design - not nature.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. We are complex in our simplicity. Blood is not just a liquid for transferring oxygen, it carries ions, white blood cells, and a myriad of other items, such as acellular platelets to clot off the wounds caused by the knife. We are simple and yet complicated. We are just tapping the depth of the complexity that is the human body.

BTW if we had 20 arms procreation would be a bit of a problem, wouldn't it? ;-0

Doug Reich said...

Anon,

I think you missed my point. I was arguing that the human body IS complicated as opposed to simple machines wrought by human intelligence. If we were the product of "intelligence", I believe the various systems would be much "simpler" than something like blood which does all the things you cited.

You said: "We are complex in our simplicity"

That is a contradiction

20 arms would make procreation more fun...I think

Dave Aguilar said...

How does intelligent design account for design defects like male pattern baldness? Seriously.

Doug Reich said...

Dave,

Simple. The Devil's work.

garret seinen said...

Obviously Doug, you then don't share the religious view, that God only made so many perfect head, the rest he covered with hair.

Doug Reich said...

I know I'm getting old when I find bald jokes amusing...:)