• WISDOMfromPO-MO
    554
    Being designed, in a loose sense, means that you were created for some purpose, or at the very least you are not an accident. Most theology would tell you that purpose is to worship/serve god.ProbablyTrue

    But comparing humans to a clock/watch means that God is not very good at designing some things.

    If humans were designed to worship/serve god, and if the overwhelming majority of humans have not worshipped/served God, then God did a lousy job of designing.

    Do people think about what they are saying?
  • WISDOMfromPO-MO
    554
    It's a joy only because it offers an alternative to the depressing notion that we exist by accident. It's comfy to think our bodies were made "with us in mind", as if it's all a great gift. It's kind of sad how people will froth at the mouth when they marvel at the cherry-picked beauty of a biological system. :-|darthbarracuda

    Yet, a clock/watch is used as an analogy.

    Nobody thinks that a clock/watch was made with the clock/watch "in mind".
  • Wayfarer
    4.8k
    It may not be the point that is trying to be made, but it seems to be a logical conclusion of such thinking, nonetheless.WISDOMfromPO-MO

    Sure, that’s perfectly true. I think the comment I was reacting to was your ‘comparing humans to alarm clocks’ and what you see as the weird implications of design. Which is why I said, the underlying issue is really intentionality rather than design. The idea that humans are like mechanisms of any kind is pushing the analogy too far, as humans are organisms, and there are profound differences between the two, starting with the obvious fact that machines really are designed. So the whole analogy is that, just as a complex object like a watch must have a builder, so too must a complex world in which there are living things have one. Fred Hoyle recapitulated the idea in his ‘junkyard tornado’ argument https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkyard_tornado

    In any case, Richard Dawkins has written a number of books specifically to show, in enormous and painstaking detail, what is wrong with ‘the argument from design’, including his ‘Blind Watchmaker’, ‘Unweaving the Rainbow’ and others. He says that ‘a deity capable of engineering all the organized complexity in the world, either instantaneously or by guiding evolution ... must already have been vastly complex in the first place ..." He calls this "postulating organized complexity without offering an explanation." However as numerous critics have pointed out, the classical understanding of deity is precisely not a complex being at all, but is utterly simple.
  • WISDOMfromPO-MO
    554
    The idea that humans are like mechanisms of any kind is pushing the analogy too farWayfarer

    I think that it is a false analogy to begin with, never mind how far it is pushed.

    How do I know? I know because of the properties that the argument says corresponds between the two.

    A watch has the function of keeping time. If anything were different about the size, arrangement, etc. of the parts of the watch, the function of keeping time would not be possible.

    A human has the function of...

    Uh, I don't think they ever tell us what the function of a human is that corresponds to a watch's function of keeping time.

    I am sure that that barely scratches the surface.

    I am sure that I could think of and list other discrepancies if I had the time and energy.

    So the whole analogy is that, just as a complex object like a watch must have a builder, so too must a complex world in which there are living things have one.Wayfarer

    We say that much earlier human societies/cultures were not complex. Yet we say that their creations, such as Egyptian pyramids, were complex.

    Go figure.

    He says that ‘a deity capable of engineering all the organized complexity in the worldWayfarer

    I think that we already have fallacies there alone. Who says that everything in existence must be the product of a recent human invention called engineering? Who says that things that are not organized or complex were not "engineered"?

    Engineering is a process.

    Who says that things that exist--organized or not; complex or not--must be the result of a process? Who says that things cannot exist due to appearing or being made to appear spontaneously?

    must already have been vastly complex in the first place ..." He calls this "postulating organized complexity without offering an explanation."Wayfarer

    I think that that is a valid criticism.

    Like I already said, if you ask the people who say that humans were "designed" by God for the steps/process of that design, they probably have nothing to give you.

    The drafting table that God used, was the finish cherry or oak?

    Maybe it was "espresso". It seems like most of the ready-to-assemble furniture these days says on the package that the finish is "espresso". So, speaking of design, maybe the people designing the furniture today are just now catching up with God's tastes.

    I prefer matte black.

    However as numerous critics have pointed out, the classical understanding of deity is precisely not a complex being at all, but is utterly simple.Wayfarer

    Which is probably why a lot of these attempts to support belief in the existence of God with the scientific method, cosmology, etc. sound so ridiculous.

    But I do not think that a lot of it really is about God, faith, spiritual well-being, etc. I think that it is mostly culture wars being fought for political gain.

    Which is why I said, the underlying issue is really intentionality rather than design.Wayfarer

    Thanks to Google I was just now able to take a random, 10-minute crash course in intentionality.

    Everything that I saw said that intentionality is about mental states.

    Designed or accidental/random--I don't see what difference it makes.
  • Wayfarer
    4.8k
    Designed or accidental/random--I don't see what difference it makes.WISDOMfromPO-MO

    Like I said.....
  • Akanthinos
    267
    Who says that things that exist--organized or not; complex or not--must be the result of a process?WISDOMfromPO-MO

    Complexity studies categorises two types of complexity; organized and disorganized. Disorganised complex systems are like large scale social phenomenon, they are studied mainly through the lenses of statistics. Organised complex systems are, specifically, living beings, machines, and some rare forms of mineral and chemical reactions.

    A system, organised or not, is always a process. In system theory, a description of this process is accepted as a valid definition of the system.

    Intentionality is, here, a false flag. Evolution theory now has a pretty good grasp on the idea of attractors, which somewhat validate the use of design as an analogy (with strong restrictions), but intentionality goes beyond the bounds of this analogy. Especially since intentionality is rather nebulous, and it's pretty certain neither Brentano nor Husserl would've admitted to the validity of its usage here.
  • WISDOMfromPO-MO
    554
    Like I said.....Wayfarer

    If it is about intentionality, and if design has nothing to do with intentionality, why are people bringing arguments for and against design into it?

    I am trying to understand.
  • Wayfarer
    4.8k
    Intentionality might have been a poor choice of words. All I meant was that the ‘argument from design’ is only one aspect of a much larger issue.
  • Cuthbert
    102
    I don't think arguments from design are valid. But the problem they are trying to address is a good one. Given that there is a material universe, why isn't it just an undifferentiated soup of stuff?
  • Rich
    2.2k
    A couple of points:

    1) Explaining human existence as the result of God's Design is no different than explaining human existence by Natural Evolution. Both explanations are based upon faith that such forces exist.

    2) In so far as the evolution of the human body and mind is concerned, it is no different than anything else, it is the result of a process of creative experimentation. In other words, just like art, it is a continuous process of learning and change.
  • Akanthinos
    267
    1) Explaining human existence as the result of God's Design is no different than explaining human existence by Natural Evolution. Both explanations are based upon faith that such forces exist.Rich

    Both are belief, theories, expressed in a set of propositions. Stating this does not help anyone. The reason one is prefered is not that it is not constituted by beliefs, but because of the reasonnings one goes through in justifying those beliefs.

    2) In so far as the evolution of the human body and mind is concerned, it is no different than anything else, it is the result of a process of creative experimentation. In other words, just like art, it is a continuous process of learning and change.Rich

    Evolution is not art. Nature is not art. Art, as artefact, is opposed to Nature, and as creativity it is opposed to science. Art is a form of pursuit of knowledge, even if it is a knowledge in its purest form, and a pursuit without designs.

    I don't think arguments from design are valid.Cuthbert

    Do you mean 'valid', or 'true'? Because I don't readily see why all arguments from design would be a priori invalid. It could be the case that something such as an intelligence had a hand in our creation. It's just that it seem like little evidence could ever be brought forward to support this.
  • Rich
    2.2k
    Both are belief, theories, expressed in a set of propositions. Stating this does not help anyone. The reason one is prefered is not that it is not constituted by beliefs, but because of the reasonnings one goes through in justifying those beliefs.Akanthinos

    There is always goal oriented reasoning whether it be God-based or Natural Evolution based. They are equivalent. One can interchange the phrases without loss. Of course, one will always maintain their reasoning is superior to the other. That is the nature of the conversation.

    Evolution is not art.Akanthinos

    Actually it is. It is the creative expression of mind that is exploring. It's pretty interesting what we are coming up with.
  • Wayfarer
    4.8k
    1) Explaining human existence as the result of God's Design is no different than explaining human existence by Natural Evolution. Both explanations are based upon faith that such forces exist.Rich

    It is completely different, in that there is abundant evidence for evolution by natural selection - fossils, DNA studies, geological data - and zero evidence for 'God's design', beyond inference that it is 'what must have happened'.
  • Akanthinos
    267
    There is always goal oriented reasoning whether it be God-based or Natural Evolution based. They are equivalent.Rich

    Equivalence of goal isn't equivalence of proof isn't equivalence of belief.

    take :

    1) I want to eat. I know there is food in my fridge because I put it there and have no reason to think someone else might have taken it. I hold the belief that the food that I believe to be in the fridge will satisfy my goal of wanting to eat.

    2) I want to eat. I know that food is something that happens from time to time in the world (i.e. I hold the belief that food is). I hold the belief that if I remain immobile and do nothing, I will likely obtain food, because I believe that food is just a statistical occurence of the world, and that this food will satisfy my goal of wanting to eat.

    I, in both 1) and 2), expresses the same goal. The whole object of both these reasonnings is to arrive to the point where I have formulated what is necessary for me to formulate in trying to satisfy my goal of eating. But it is however evident that 2), even tho it might be tangentially a valid reasonning, does not share the same a priori plausibility in formulating what is necessary to arrive to our goal. See H. Putnam for the necessity to thematize a priori plausibility in the comparison of the worth of theories, Philosophy of Logic, p. 56-69
  • Cuthbert
    102


    I don't think arguments from design are valid.
    — Cuthbert

    Do you mean 'valid', or 'true'? Because I don't readily see why all arguments from design would be a priori invalid. It could be the case that something such as an intelligence had a hand in our creation. It's just that it seem like little evidence could ever be brought forward to support this. - Akaninthos

    I meant 'valid'. I was referring to the false dichotomy referred to near the start of the thread, i.e. the dichotomy between 'random' and 'designed'. Something might be neither random nor designed, e.g. a beaver's dam. To avoid that (false) dichotomy any argument for the existence of a designer-God needs to show that the universe is designed. Showing that it has form and and is non-random is not enough.

    As it happens, I think there is a designer God and that, as you say, an intelligence had a hand in our creation. But that's a matter of religious faith. It does not follow in any way from the fact that the universe is ordered. It's the other way round. The ordered universe results from God's creation. And you can grant there is an ordered, non-random universe without believing in a designer God at all. The two propositions are logically distinct.
  • Rich
    2.2k
    It is completely different, in that there is abundant evidence for evolution by natural selection - fossils, DNA studies, geological data - and zero evidence for 'God's design', beyond inference that it is 'what must have happened'.Wayfarer

    There is an abundance of evidence that things change. There is zero evidence for some external super-Natural force that governs change whether it be named God its synonym Natural Evolution. But then again, depending upon the tastes of the adherent (purely a matter of nomenclature) one will prefer one naming device over another.
  • Rich
    2.2k
    Equivalence of goal isn't equivalence of proof isn't equivalence of belief.Akanthinos

    No difference between a belief in Natural Evolution as the Almighty Force or God. As for me, I don't believe in either.
  • Akanthinos
    267
    No difference between a belief in Natural Evolution as the Almighty Force or God.Rich

    That's a statement of position, not an argument. Do you not see that between 1) and 2) there is a world of difference in validity as an hypothesis? That's about the world of difference that exist beween an explanation in terms of evolution and one in terms of intelligent design. If you do not, you are more than welcome to argue for it. Stating your position once again does not help anyone.
  • Rich
    2.2k
    You cannot argue over similarities, only over differences. I already explained that both are used in exactly the same manner to explain the same thing.

    It would be like arguing over the differences between H2O and water. Which word do you prefer? The more "scientific" or the more colloquial? Is there something to argue about?

    Quite simply, scientists don't like using the word god so they made up another term Natural Evolution.
  • AngleWyrm
    36
    Watching from the sidelines while people quarrel over things like the origin of humans has often left me shaking or scratching my head.

    A big head scratch-er is the concept of design in that aforementioned quarrel. Maybe it is just a figure of speech. Maybe neither side of the quarrel uses "design" in the conventional sense like in the work of an architect, engineer, etc. If they are using "design" in that conventional sense, that is strange.

    I find it very awkward and counter-intuitive to say "I was designed..."
    WISDOMfromPO-MO

    Design, as you've deftly pointed out is not used in the traditional sense, but as a somewhat more poetic passive culling-the-herd design rather than active design. Snowflakes are all about the same size, because water. Deer are brown because the ones that weren't got eaten.

    A point not often made is that evolution is a relationship to the current environment, a spread of slightly different around a norm. It's not the norm that survives best, it's the best match to the current environment.
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