Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Some Positive Arguments for Intelligent Design

The D.I. has issued a rather professional, and well written, argument for intelligent design. The arguments are bogus, of course, but it is much more eloquently written B.S. than I have seen from other creationists.

In the article, the author attempts to present the positive evidence for intelligent design, since I.D. is so often accused of being a negative argument against "Darwinism"; whatever that is. I encourage all of my readers to read the article.

Here are their evidences for intelligent design:

1. Natural structures have been found that contain many parts arranged in
intricate patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. complex and
specified information), such as irreducibly complex machines in the cell.
The bacterial flagellum is a prime example. The specified complexity of
protein bonds, or the simplest self-reproducing cell are other examples.

As most of my readers will know, the irreducible complexity argument does not hold water. The reason is that it assumes that evolution cannot change the function of parts (also called co-option or exaption). It also ignores the fact that organisms can become dependent on structures that were once less important (for instance jelly fish have no heart, brain, or liver, yet we need both of them to live.) This video explains the evolution of the flagellum. If you are looking for a more prestigious source, try this peer reviewed article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For more, click here for NOVA's take on Intelligent Design.

2. Biological novelty appears in the fossil record suddenly and without
similar precursors. The Cambrian explosion is the prime example.

"Some Late Precambrian Ediacaran fossils (~580-560 Mya) bear strong resemblances to colonial coelenterates called pennatulids, or sea pens.

There is also evidence for the presence of arthropods as well as echinoderms before the beginning of the Cambrian."


Another thing to think about is that many of the organisms before the Cambrian did not fossilize well, as they did not have hard parts (And of course many fossils are just bone).

3. Similar parts have been found in organisms that even Darwinists see as
separated by more closely related forms that do not contain the similar
parts in question. Clear examples include genes controlling eye or limb
growth in different organisms whose alleged common ancestors are not
thought to have had such forms of eyes or limbs.

Now, I am just speculating here, but couldn't hox genes have evolved in the common ancestor of all of these organisms, and then later co-opted in all of the lineages to control the development of eyes and limbs? It's just a speculation on my part, but really, why couldn't it have? Also, I consider this a restatement of the "common design" argument, which I have already slaughtered.

4. Genetic research continues to uncover functions for “junk-DNA,” include
functionality for pseudogenes, introns, LINE, and ALU elements.
Examples of unknown DNA functions persist, but design encourages
researchers to investigate functions, whereas Darwinism has caused some
scientists to wrongly assume that non-coding DNA is junk.

I am in agreement with them on this... partially. I think that so-called "junk" DNA should be studied, because who knows? Maybe junk DNA was co-opted for a very important purpose. I would say this is a fulfillment of design prediction, but I would also say that evolution does not predict pseudogenes functionless. It really is not negative prediction for evolution. I also think it is important to point out that this hasn't been ignored, at least not completely. Francis Collins, a theistic evolutionist, and head of the Human Genome Project, led an investigation into this, and found these pseudogenes to serve a purpose.

So, all in all, out of 4 lines of evidence, they got one right, which turns out to not be incompatible with evolution. The Intelligent Design Movement was started about 15 years ago, and this is the best they can do? It is obvious that this is a movement which is big on ideology and not on science.


Ute said...


And thank you for your lovely compliment. :)

BT Murtagh said...

If they were into science they'd be doing research, performing experiments and the like. They're not fooling anyone but the choir.

You're doing a great and valuable job with your site here. Keep it up! :)

Terry S said...


I just found your site through the Atheist Blogroll. Interesting stuff. You obviously have a far greater scientific background than I, but I have read a number of things, not the least of which is Victor J. Senger's current book on science disproving god's existence.

I remember Dawkins pointing out the fact that it's somewhat of a miracle that we have the little fossil record that we've found owing to what you noted - the poor fossilizing properties of the majority of pre-cambrian and many other organisms.

Both Senger and Dawkins discuss how poorly "designed" many organisms and organs actually are, that if someone set out to "design" the eye, it could have been accomplished in a much more logical and direct fashion.

Is the "junk" DNA you refer to the apparently unnecessary genes found in all of us? If they are indeed without function, that does not speak well for any "designer" either.

One of the great tests for evolution is the fact that no fossil or any other evidence of life has ever been found out of place. If something that supposedly lived during a particular place and period in time were to be found in another place and time, that could be the death knell for evolution. That bell hasn't been rung yet.


AIGBusted said...

Hi Terry!

Thanks, I'm glad you like the blog. Anyway, there was a study done recently that suggested "junk" DNA may play a role of some kind. There was also an experiment carried out in which 1/3 of the "junk DNA" in a mouse was removed, yet it turned out healthy. I think it should be studied, who knows what insights it might yield? But anyway, about the fossils, creationists will often tell you otherwise. One of my earliest posts debunked a claim that a Human being was found in the Cretaceous (dinosaur) strata! Then again I had a debate with a fellow named Dave, who pointed to a list of several hundred out of place fossils... The thing is, 90% of these "finds" were pollen and fungal spores! It turns out that pollen/spores can seep into the rock sometimes.

I have come to realize that I can never, ever, ever take a creationist at their word about anything.

Terry S said...


They're a devious lot, those creationists. You'd think they were politicians. Come to think of it, I guess they are.

By the way I noticed that I misspelled the author's name for the book I made reference to. It's Victor J. Stenger, not Senger, and the book is GOD: The Failed Hypothesis. I made the same error on a post at my site and carried it over through the vast reaches of cyberspace to yours.

I find your work interesting and I will check in here from time to time.

Stay well,


Anonymous said...

From the ID point of view, it does NOT follow that if there is no junk DNA then our genome must have been designed. ID proponents who believe that it does are merely betraying their belief that the designer is a god (and therefore capable of producing a perfect genome). But ID proponents who believe, like the Raelians, that the designer is an alien species view the presence of junk DNA as proof that we were designed! So junk DNA can't really be used as a prediction for ID since whether or not junk DNA means anything depends on whom one believes the creator to be.

That's one less prediction IDers can make.