Thursday, August 11, 2005

Intelligent Design is just religion under the covers

Kansas moves to stem role of evolution in teaching. If you think this is not about religion, ask yourself this question; where are all the atheists supporting this?

When you're done pondering the quesiton, visit Some Objections to Intelligent Design (ID) by Carl Drews, a self-described Christian.

Porkopolis has no problem with History or Sociology classes comparatively studying religons and their foundational beliefs, but as noted earlier, ID is not science.

Update: Fellow local blogger Nixguy has a post entitled Straight from the Source in which he offers quotes from a major proponent, William Dembski, of ID.

Porkopolis posts the following comment on Nixguy's site in response to Demboski's statement that "The evidence for design in biology is now overwhelming.":



This is where I think ID falls apart. ID supporters look at complex mechanism and say, "Gee, that looks really, really complex. There's no way that could have come about on its very own".

I would even agree with the Dembski's statement that, "The evidence for design in biology is now overwhelming." The question however is, did that design come about by natural everyday chemical and physical forces/processes over a very, very, very long time or was there a 'Designer'. IDers can't just say, "Hey there's some design here!", without saying who/what is the designer.

Evolution acknowledges design, and even goes further and offers the process by how the design came about...genetic mutations and natural selection.

I'll offer just one illustration of how 'design' spontaneously occurs in the natural world. Ever been to the beach and observed sea foam on the water? That sea foam is made up of thousands of bubbles. Wave action, interaction with air and a number of other forces are involved in creating the bubbles. These bubbles are very complicated physical structures. The physical nature of bubbles is an area of intense study to this very day.

If you don't agree that bubbles are complex and spontaneously generated, there's no need to read any further. However, if you're with me so far then the next section should be thought provoking at a minimum.

Research is being conducted on this already complex, naturally occurring physical phenomena as a possible precursors to living cells.

From the November 1995 issue of Discover Magazine (archive copy of it here: "First cell - biophysicist David Deamer believes that protective cells predated the first DNA")

...For most of the others, explaining the origin of life means explaining the origin of the genetic code: How did DNA arise from chemical reactions on the early Earth? How did the original building blocks of today's genetic code assemble themselves into crudely self-reproducing units? Were the first life forms based not on double-stranded DNA but on single-stranded RNA?

For the past 18 years, though, Deamer has been gently reminding his colleagues that these questions define only part of the puzzle of life. DNA does not float loosely through the oceans. Life is constrained in a place--or, to be more specific, within a boundary. Life is chemical interaction, and for that interaction to occur, life's molecules must be close to one another. Without a physical boundary of some sort, without a skin, a bark, or a cell membrane, an organism is nothing more than a diffusing blur of molecules. To explain how the first creature came to be, you have to explain how its innards got to be distinguished from its surroundings. In other words, you've got to explain how the first single-celled creature got encapsulated in a cell.

Over the years Deamer has persistently been teasing out some answers to this thorny question. Now he has reached a milestone. Under conditions something like those on the early Earth, he can create something like a cell: an enzyme-carrying bubble that draws in nutrients from its surroundings and crafts them into genetic material. Call it a quasi cell--and say that Deamer has created quasi life. A cell membrane's importance to life is often underappreciated, says Deamer. "People say, `Well, it's just a little bag., But it's much more. It's the interface between life and everything that's outside." The membrane of any cell has to do many things at once. It has to be impermeable enough to keep essential things (like DNA) in and harmful things (like viruses and poisons) out. Yet a cell membrane can't form a perfect seal. It has to be able to flush out waste and heat from its own system and take in nutrients from the surrounding medium. And the first cell membrane, like the membranes of many single-celled organisms today, probably had to be able to collect energy as well...

[Update: Simple membranes could have allowed nutrients to pass into primitive cells]

This type of research is what the scientific method and Evolutionary Theory are all about. It's by no means proof that this is the way life started. It has to be challenged and go under peer review. It's a working hypothesis. It's not just simply saying, "there is design, therefore there must be a 'designer'".

One of the questions I would have for this scientist is, what historical evidence is there for your lab conditions emulating the early conditions of the earth. His research should stand up to that simple challenge; and so the process would continue. But the process of discovery (the scientific method) is what's important.

Everyone knows there's design. The Theory of Evolution is about using a systematic approach to explain that design. My problem with IDers is that they want to recursively use the design in nature as evidence itself of the 'designer'; "the design is evidence of the designer." Evolutionist simply say, "The design is evidence."

As, I noted earlier , I offered a complex design, a bubble in the sea, with no designer. Don't think bubbles are 'complex' enough? How about a snowflake? ; yet another example of an everyday design without the intervention of a 'designer'. And by no means am I claiming that a bubble or snowflake 'are' life, just simple evidence of complex design(s) without a designer.


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