Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Intelligent, Intelligent Design

This article is for those who just love science, and in paraticular, the debate about Darwin vs Creationism vs Intelligent Design (ID). It was part of one of the longest forum debates ever over at blogcritics.org. You can read the whole thing for yourself, but plan to spend an hour or two.

Here was the amazing postulate developed by my new friend Graham. Enjoy.

"OK so I did a little scratching around in an attempt on various ID sites to try and find what I would incorporate in an ID class if I was asked to teach one. I don't know at what level such a class would be given - probably college but concepts may be transferable to secondary education levels. Few of these ideas are my own and are borrowed and modified or re-ordered to appease those that demand that the metaphysical be separated from the scientific. I therefore broke it down into two sections.

These ideas are preliminary and not fully developed but may indicate a potential path forward.


What it means to be Human
Identify and examine those aspects of “humanness” that are best attributed (at present) to an intelligent Designer.

Philosophical Implications – What is the driving force behind Intelligent Design – How are the Designer’s effort frustrated?

What is the Anthropic Principle?
The universe appears “fine-tuned” and designed for life. This general idea that the universe seems to be designed for life is called the “Anthropic Principle.” How does ID support the “Anthropic principle”. Do other Origins theories support the Anthropic principle?

Postulate a defensible design strategy that offers insight into the Designer’s intent.

Who or what is the Designer?


Deductive and inductive reasoning - Inferences vs. Deductions:
There are essentially two types of valid reasoning: inductive reasoning (inference) and deductive reasoning (deduction). Inferences are made when a person (or machine) goes beyond available evidence to form a conclusion. Deductions are made when one fact necessarily mandates another fact. Deductions are "stronger" forms of reasoning than inferences, however inferences are used constantly in science. What is the basis for inference?

Scientific method
Apply the scientific method to design theory by drawing on related fields such as forensics, SETI, etc.

Components of designed systems
a. Assembly of parts functionally arranged to achieve a purpose
b. Step changes in complexity with the launch of a new system
c. Design upon a common blueprint (re-use of parts)
d. Efficiency of resource utilization (i.e. no junk DNA)
Predictions of ID
a. High information content, machine-like irreducibly complex structures will be found.
b. Forms will be found in the fossil record that appear suddenly and without any precursors.
c. Genes and functional parts will be re-used in different unrelated organisms.
d. The genetic code will NOT contain discarded genetic baggage code or functionless "junk DNA".

Examine the origin of Cosmological and Biological Complexity with a view to matching contending theories to observed phenomena.

Design theory – can we quantify intelligence – could we come up with a mathematical formula that would tell us within certain confidence limits that an event was “random” or “designed”. Can we quantify "complex-specified information" (CSI)?

Examine and / or create a list of “just-right” conditions that are necessary for life. Explore the interdependence of these conditions with a view to quantifying “irreducible complexity”

A primary goal of science is to understand nature, where "understanding" means "relating one natural phenomenon to another and recognizing the causes and effects of phenomena." Progress in science consists of the development of better explanations for the causes of natural phenomena. Develop a time line of design activity consistent with available data."

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