What do people think are the best current arguments against Design? I’m using ‘Design’ as Joshua suggests: “Something that leaves a detectable signal of a Designer”. Now, one could say that providing a “step-by-step, validated model of abiogenesis via chemical mechanisms present on Earth a few billion years ago” would be a good argument against Design. But it’s not likely that we’ll know about that either way within our lifetimes. What I’d like to hear about are examples within range of current technology or likely advances in the next few years.
This is similar to asking someone like Mike Behe to describe the simplest IC system with the best historical record of a pre-IC, past state that he thinks couldn’t evolve via natural mechanisms. So, I guess I’d like to hear about Design proposals that have been challenged recently or ones that may reach resolution shortly.
So far, we’ve had threads on ‘bad arguments against design’ with ID proponents participating. I’m holding out the hope that we will see what proponents consider “good arguments against design”. The most common type I’ve seen are best classified into ‘good arguments for common descent and evolution’.
I keep coming back to the asymmetry, that the best arguments against design being good arguments for evolution. It’s largely an argument based on negatives. I think this arises because we don’t yet have a solid, positive theory of Design to evaluate. Instead, we have a ‘gappy’ collection of disjointed ideas about what natural mechanisms can’t do. Walter ReMine had a positive theory of Design with his Biotic Message idea. I don’t think it turned out to be viable because observations ran counter to criteria he’d established. Still, one could say that his proposal was testable, even if it ultimately failed after evaluation.
Similarly, Fred Hoyle had a hypothesis of virally-driven panspermia. It was an interesting hypothesis that made generally testable predictions. Again, subsequent evaluation argued against the idea, but it at least made positive statements about the world that didn’t require negation of common descent to demonstrate.