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A Case for Intelligent Design

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Postby capricorn » Thu May 17, 2012 10:38 am

humphreys wrote:Usually good design, especially where programming is concerned, minimizes waste. The Universe is a mind-blowingly wasteful system, so yes, from a design perspective I would say it is flawed.

Take a look into space, there are trillions upon trillions of useless and unused planets. So many extinct species, so much death, the whole system is based on the survival of one over the death, destruction, and suffering of another.


But you are basing your judgement of waste (or usefulness) from an egocentric viewpoint. If the universe was indeed "programmed", did it take into account the perception on waste from only mankind's perspective? Most likely not since we are simply a result of this "program".

Who is to say that the void dark desolate planet light years away from earth serves no purpose? Who is to say that an extinct species served no part in greater steps towards more advanced progeny? Who is to say that the death, destruction and suffering of million of lifeforms in the past did not account for the privileges of future generations?

Waste is an subjective term. Ever hear the phrase, "one mans garbage is another mans treasure? In regards to the universe this can't be more true. A humans feces (the epitome of waste) has been adopted as a breeding ground for other forms of life. The universe always finds way to make use of itself which is a brilliant system and demonstrates that it is anything but wasteful.
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Postby at1with0 » Thu May 17, 2012 10:57 am

I think a case can be made that the universe is a type of computer.

Would that imply that it has a programmer outside itself or could it be a type of self-modifying, adaptive program?
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Postby humphreys » Thu May 17, 2012 11:10 am

capricorn wrote:But you are basing your judgement of waste (or usefulness) from an egocentric viewpoint. If the universe was indeed "programmed", did it take into account the perception on waste from only mankind's perspective? Most likely not since we are simply a result of this "program".


Biblically speaking, this was all created very much with us in mind, so when debating Christianity it is valid to take an egocentric view and see if it holds up. In my opinion, it doesn't. You may not be a Christian, so that argument may not sway you, but I know frrosted is, and this is his thread.

If we step away from Christianity, it does make more sense to argue against egocentric, subjective opinions of what "waste" and "usefulness" is, and you are right, perhaps all those planets serve a different purpose that is not clear to us, but then you'd have to admit that the "intelligent Universe" argument suffers from exactly the same problems - it's an equally subjective opinion on what a "Universe that appears intelligent", or a "Universe that shows signs of being designed" really is.

You see the dandelion and see design in its function, and I see the harsh reality of a survival of the fittest Universe where species are constantly going extinct in a cruel trial and error system, which to me is evidence of blind, indifferent randomness.

capricorn wrote:Who is to say that the void dark desolate planet light years away from earth serves no purpose? Who is to say that an extinct species served no part in greater steps towards more advanced progeny? Who is to say that the death, destruction and suffering of million of lifeforms in the past did not account for the privileges of future generations?


Who is to say there might not have been a better way of doing things? Me. I certainly think so. Less pain, less suffering, less waste, less pointlessness.

Again, these are subjective statements - my personal opinion - but this whole discussion is just that, from both sides.

As I said, by every definition of waste I can possibly imagine, as far as I can reasonably tell, the Universe shows far more hallmarks of randomness and lack of design, than it does design.

capricorn wrote:The universe always finds way to make use of itself which is a brilliant system and demonstrates that it is anything but wasteful.


To what end? What is the point of it? You cannot say whether it is wasteful or not if you do not know its purpose.

Like the Texas sized contraption of my previous post, if its function is to make ice-cream it is appallingly designed and wasteful, but if it is a creator of Universes it's pretty damn impressive, size-wise, at least.

If the Universe has a creator, it surely has a purpose for existing. In Christianity, we are part of that purpose, to what purpose does your creator make his Universes? If it is all for us, then of course it is wasteful overkill.
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Postby DIss0n80r » Thu May 17, 2012 11:59 am

Maybe the intelligence is extremely alien to our limited human understanding and even though it created this universe, it doesn't care about humans.
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Postby humphreys » Thu May 17, 2012 12:20 pm

Possibly, but one cannot make an argument from design based on an alien type of intelligence that gives the appearance of blind randomness.
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Postby frrostedman » Thu May 17, 2012 6:33 pm

at1with0 wrote:I think a case can be made that the universe is a type of computer.

Would that imply that it has a programmer outside itself or could it be a type of self-modifying, adaptive program?


I'm not doing this thread any justice right now and hump I'm not doing you any justice either by making a quick reply to just this. But I've only had these past few minutes to visit the BV and I jumped straight to this thread to review and there is too much here for the time I have.

However I had something in mind before coming here, which at1with0 made a segway into. I can type it quickly then I gotta go.

A programmer programs a computer like at1 did in a previous thread:

10 PRINT "TYPE A NUMBER AND HIT RETURN ";
20 INPUT A
30 IF A=1 GOTO 60
40 PRINT "WRONG ANSWER, TRY AGAIN."
50 GOTO 10
60 PRINT "CORRECT! YOU ARE A GENIUS!"
70 END

I'm trying to remember this stuff from 30 years ago but if I'm right, the user will be asked to type a number and if the user types anything but the number 1, it goes back and asks for input again.

Now then. Can the user after dabbling with this program, conclude that the reactions from the computer come because the computer is intelligent? No. Can the user discern some form of intelligence exists in this computer's apparent ability to make a decision? Yes. What is the source of the intelligence and different outcomes based on different outputs? The intelligance of the Programmer.

All I have to do is replace the program to accept or reject "survival" in the species that is "programmed" to reject extinction.
Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein
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Postby at1with0 » Thu May 17, 2012 8:32 pm

frrostedman wrote:Can the user discern some form of intelligence exists in this computer's apparent ability to make a decision? Yes. What is the source of the intelligence and different outcomes based on different outputs? The intelligance of the Programmer.



I am hesitant to agree.

I think programs are just "proper" types of statements. The program you cited is 7 lines long when expressed in the language you expressed it in (BASIC in this case).

I believe all statements already exist. They are merely cited and referenced. Selected. I do not think they are invented by humans or computers. The only issue is neologisms. But I would argue that neologisms are still made of strings of elements of the alphabet and all strings of letters already exist and are likewise selected.

This is related to the notion that no ideas are completely original. That's because the set of all ideas already exists; we merely choose to think of ideas that have up until that point never been thought of by a human. The human brain is form and ideas are formless. The form cannot create the formless.

As a corollary, all programs already exist. To get back to the quote, the source of the perceived intelligence is not in the programmer as the programmer merely selected one out of infinitely many programs that existed prior to the inputting of that program into the computer for which the subject is entering numbers. This is interesting because it's a reversal of the Turing Test (a test to determine if a computer can pass for a human--like as portrayed in Blade Runner). In this case, the subject/user is discerning how intelligent the programmer is. The intelligence in this scenario is in how crafty the programmer is in selecting a program to run for the subject.
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Postby event_horizon » Thu May 17, 2012 11:09 pm

capricorn wrote:I think part of what frrosted man is saying is that; the universe in itself is intelligent.

In his example of the dandelion; its is obvious that the dandelion has no choice over it's offsprings design. However, the universe's inherent design (or state) has permitted the dandelion to thrive and indirectly order itself.

Mainstream Science states that the Big Bang was the start of the universe. Assuming this is true, this would mean that, the universe created itself; then proceeded to organize itself into units of galaxies, then within those galaxies organized further into units of solar systems; then within those solars systems organized into stars, planets and moons. Then, on plant earth, an extremely violent environment organized into a stable and consistent climate. Then the elements organized into single cell life forms. Then these single cell life forms organized into multicell life forms.

We all know where the rest of the story goes, but its seems that the point is that the universe inately strives to bring order out of chaos. The dandelion is caught in the cycle of order. The universe created itself and now its organizing itself. I would argue that there is a certain amount of intelligence associated with the feats already carried out by the universe.

Those that disagree may think that all these examples provided are simply outgrowths of chance; however humans are an outgrowth of the same process and our principle of science are based on the exact same concepts of trial and error that have been practiced by the universe for billions of years.


There's only one force that gives a slight appearance of order in the universe -- gravity. If it wasn't for gravity there would be no galaxies, stars, or planets. It also keeps Earth in the Habitable Zone. Out of zillions of chances for a planet to exist in this zone, there's bound to be a very tiny fraction of planets that exist in it...Earth just happens to be one of them.

I see plenty of randomness and chaos in the universe. There's no real "organization." All the stars and galaxies are at completely random distances from one another. Galaxies are colliding with each other; black holes are wandering around swallowing up stars and planets; an asteroid or comet could wipe us out at any given time; 30 supernovas go off in our universe every second.

Gravity is solely responsible for allowing life to thrive here on Earth...abiogenesis, photosynthesis, H20, the atmosphere, are all byproducts of gravity.

As gravity gave life to Earth, it will also taketh away. While you see all these different processes and elements to it all, there is still only one force at work letting it all happen.

Gravity is your creator.
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Postby humphreys » Fri May 18, 2012 2:34 am

frrostedman wrote:Now then. Can the user after dabbling with this program, conclude that the reactions from the computer come because the computer is intelligent? No. Can the user discern some form of intelligence exists in this computer's apparent ability to make a decision? Yes. What is the source of the intelligence and different outcomes based on different outputs? The intelligance of the Programmer.

All I have to do is replace the program to accept or reject "survival" in the species that is "programmed" to reject extinction.


Hmm, I think any intelligence discerned from the program comes from our inherent bias of knowing that all computer programs are created by human intelligence. Otherwise, all you're witnessing is simple cause and effect.

This is not much different to:

1) wind blows feather
2) feather moves
3) feather hits tree
4) feather stops due to force of tree
5) when wind becomes strong enough to overcome the resistance of the tree, it flies again

This is similar to your computer program but it is the real world in action, and I don't think we can discern intelligence, we can only discern that there are laws of physics in place which create a consistent cause and effect Universe that is suitable for life to emerge within it.

So again, this is not, to me, a question of intelligence, it is a question of where those laws come from, and why they create such an ordered consistent cause and effect Universe, and I think that has been addressed already by the Multiverse theories and so on.
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Postby humphreys » Fri May 18, 2012 2:38 am

Given a computer, and a random key pressing machine, frrosted's simple program could come into existence purely by random chance, even if the odds are astronomical. Given enough chance and opportunity, it will happen.

Given evough chance and opportunity, with the right materials and conditions being present, the computer itself could even assemble by pure luck! It may seem absurd, but it's true.

Of course, it's not anything we're going to witness, but somewhere in the vast multiverse, it seems likely.

Evolution is a process that occurs incrementally, so it's not as unlikely as a computer assembling itself, but the initial replicators that predated life may have been created by a similar freak event, and that's perhaps why life seems so rare in the Universe.
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