Why I Am an ID Proponent

You are using far too narrow a definition of “designed”. The basic idea of “design” has nothing to do with the materials used. It has to do with “purposeful arrangement of parts” and “means directed to an end”. The parts arranged, the means used, don’t have to be metal, wooden two-by-fours, etc.

Well, you must be baffled by Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin then, because both of them conceded that parts of organic nature gave the strong appearance of design.

And that tendency, to fully restore a function or organ that is temporarily dysfunctional or damaged, doesn’t strike you as possibly resulting from an internal design built into the living organism? It strikes me as completely in line with the old Aristotelian idea of the telos.


See for example the following:

Darwin’s Greatest Discovery: Design Without Designer

Yeah I think that really just begs the question then. By calling it designed you are assuming it was “purposefully arranged/directed to an end”. I don’t see that in biology either. I don’t see purpose or “directions”. Except when I see animals behave in ways I recognize in myself, such as seeking out food, or company. There I see intent, because I see those same things in myself and I experience having intentions, I feel hunger and act on it and so on.

But when it comes to the constituents and arrangements of living organisms, sorry I just don’t see it. I see what things do, and I see that they are some times good or effective at doing them, but I don’t see that that is their purpose, or that they are “directed” to do it. I think that is something you WANT to see, but it actually isn’t there. The arrangements or constituents of living organisms are no more “directed” or “purposefully arranged” in my view, than the leaves scattered on the ground by the wind. They are often times really well suited for what it is they do (like the heart is good at pumping blood), but I couldn’t claim to say that I see that it is “purposefully directed” to do it. I am honestly mystified by the claim that someone claims to be able to see that. How the hell could you?

Yes, I am baffled by them too. I am not impressed by who said it or when, and neither Charles Darwin or Richard Dawkins are authorities on what is true about reality I’m sure you would agree. In fact that was one of the first big disagreements I discovered I had with Richard Dawkins about a decade ago when I learned of him for the first time. I remember thinking the same thing back then, that this appearance of design he talks about was utterly mysterious to me. I’ve just never seen it. What was he talking about?

No, not at all. When you use the word design, you mean (as you have just explained) that it has an “internal purposeful arrangement directed towards an end”. I don’t see that, that seems to me simply to beg the question. I can only repeat myself, I see that things do something and that some times they are good at it. But how can one see that it was purposefully arranged and directed to do it? Merely because it does it well? That seems to me like saying the wind is good at scattering the leaves, so it must be invisible pixies carrying each leaf around and placing it with intent.

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Have you ever worked with a cell and subjected it to something analogous to the blowing of the wind in order to see if it was just like the scattering of leaves?

No one said anything about invisible pixies and intent.

But if the wind blowing happened to arrange the leaves into piles that when viewed from a distance spelled out the phrase “time to burn the leaves” that too, in your mind, would not indicate any purpose or directionality.

btw, you’re comparing two different things and saying you can see no difference, but by the very act of comparing them you are indicating that you do see a difference. You should be comparing leaves to landslides.


[1] i agree with “appears”. It is true… and not a scientific claim. But you may not have intended it this way?

[2] The statement about the first cell is probably true, but science cannot prove it so.

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Where Eddie Agrees With PS

I think you know that the results of a wind scattering leaves in no particular order, and the results of the co-operation of the parts of a camera eye, are quite different in character.

You’re putting the view of design proponents backwards. They don’t start from the assumption that “the eye is designed” and then say, “therefore we can be sure that all its parts will be purposefully arranged”. It’s the other way around. It’s because they see what looks like a purposeful arrangement of parts that they infer the design. You can question the validity of the inference, but it is an inference, not an assumption dogmatically laid down at the beginning of the investigation.

And surely non-design is something atheists and materialists WANT to see, isn’t it? Because if there is real design in nature, as opposed to only apparent design, then there must be some mind behind, above, or within nature that is the source of the design – and atheists and materialists have a very strong desire that such a mind should not exist – since that mind might well be God, an idea which repels them.

I hope you aren’t claiming anything so naive as that atheists and materialists are purely objective, fair-minded individuals who simply call reality as it is, whereas those who infer design are biased by subjective, irrational factors and can’t see reality as it is. That sort of “rationalism” went over big here in North America back in the 1920s and 1930s, but is pretty quaint now, given what we know today about the history and philosophy of science, history of ideas, etc.


No, I haven’t tried blowing wind on cells, what would that show?

It seems to me talk of purpose and direction can meaning nothing else than intent. If intent is not part of the implications when words like purpose and direction are used by you, then this whole thing becomes doubly mysterious to me because then I have no idea what you mean by purpose and direction.

That would indicate it was time to burn the leaves, but that’s because I can read. I have yet to find writing in living organisms.

No actually I was hoping to show why the idea of seeing purpose and direction in the arrangement of things is silly by an analogy. Merely because something is “good” at what it does, and in my analogy the wind is good at scattering leaves, that doesn’t mean it is done “purposefully” or being “directed”.

For what purpose? (all puns intended)

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They are not the same thing and because they’re not the same thing, they are different. What else is new? The scattering of the wind is not identical to the cooperation of the parts that form an eye. Right. And?

I understand that perfectly well. And I’m questioning the claim that there is such a thing as something that appears to have “a purposeful arrangement of parts”.

I fully well understand that this is what you claim to experience when you look at biological entities. And that is what I find mysterious, and I’m trying to explain why.

I understand and accept that this is what you do. If I have communicated otherwise that has not been my intent.

No I think this is just a story religious believers tell each other and yourselves when you try to grapple with the idea that there are people who just don’t buy into the fabulous nonsense some of you believe. There’s few things I would welcome more than the idea of a fair judgement of bad people who (otherwise seem to) get away with it, an immortal mind that loves me and wants a relationship with me and just wants to forgive me for my shortcomings and sins and give me an eternal existence in happiness, and getting to see long lost loved ones again. But talk about a self-serving fairy tale.

Not at all, I’m routinely confronted with delusional atheists with all sorts of strange beliefs, be they political, social, economic, or even supernatural of some non-theistic kind or another(some still believe in ghosts and an afterlife for example). I’m sure they’d say the same about me.

I don’t believe atheists are these mythical “bright” (yuck!) reasoning-machines immune to cognitive biases, wishful thinking or what have you. And I have even met atheists I thought were atheists for bad and fallacious reasons, such as the typical “religions were invented to control us by the elites”. Nor do I claim to be a person free of cognitive biases, motivated reasoning, self-serving thoughts or any of that stuff by any stretch. All I would claim here is that on the God-question, I’m closer to a better justifiable position that theists are. And many of the reasons I’m not your particular brand of theist can be found by consulting the reasons given by other brands of theists who reject yours, and vice versa.

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That cells and their structures and functions are not like leaves.

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They are not like leaves in all possible respects, sure. I believe I knew this already. I see we can agree on something. :smile:


Why use ad hominem attacks? They add nothing to the discussion. What about the fabulous nonsense you believe. Does it help if I go there? As soon as you claim people want to believe something, you are open to the same accusation. As soon as you claim others believe a fairy tale, how do you know it’s not you that believes a fairy tale? That’s a waste of time.

You are coming across half the time like a troll.

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Yes, @gbrooks9 I think we’re on the same page here.

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I see that I have written something above in my response to Eddie inconsistent with what I wrote earlier. Some times having to type out your thoughts and reading other people’s responses forces you to think more clearly about things. Allow me to retract this earlier statement of mine:

Yeah I think that really just begs the question then. By calling it designed you are assuming it was “purposefully arranged/directed to an end”.

Eddie responded by explaining how ID proponents make their inference, and it is not guilty of the question begging fallacy in the way I portrayed it.

Rather what I think is wrong with how ID proponents infer design is in the idea that things that work well together “looks like a purposeful arrangement of parts”. This is the part I was trying to call in to question with my analogy with the wind scattering the leaves. I was trying to explain with this analogy why we should not infer, merely because something is good at what it does, or has some arrangement that makes them function well together in performing some action or process, that it is actually purposefully arranged or directed to do it.

The heart is good at pumping blood, so it must have been purposefully arranged to do it.
The wind is good at scattering the leaves around, so the wind must be directed to do it.

I believe these are both unjustified inferences for the same reason, and I do not share the intuition that because X is conducive to performing Y, it is justified to believe that X was purposefully arranged/is being directed to perform Y.

I hope I have explained my use of the wind analogy now in a way that makes sense.


Hi, Neil.

Not always, and not completely different. Take the example of the camera eye. Yes, it is obviously different from a refractor telescope, but it has certain structural things in common with a refractor telescope – and those things in common are connected with similar functions.

Now, we know that the refractor telescope is designed. The question arises whether the camera eye in human beings (and other animals that have it) is designed. In both cases there is a careful coordination of means with an end (or, if you want to be more verbally cautious, with a clearly identifiable function). In the case of the eye, the coordination of means is many times more elaborate. Are you denying that it is a reasonable question, to ask whether or not the plan of the eye was the result of design? Even Darwin granted that it was a reasonable question, and that reasonable arguments could be given for the design of the eye and other “organs of extreme complexity”.

I actually agree with this. Purpose implies intention. Many things appear intentional that are not. Many unintended consequences, become intended. The transition from unpurposed to purposed might be entirely extrinsic to the “thing.” It is very hard to discern intention, even in every day interactions with other humans, without the ability to ask them directly what they intended (revelation).


By all means tell me what you think. I’m not shy.

Edit: Actually I do take your point, and my statement you quote is unnecessarily provocative.


FWIW I have interacted with Rumraket for a long time. I think he’s sincere. I don’t think he is a troll. He and I even manage to find things we agree on! Also, he is very interesting to talk to, knows some interesting things, is typically a good contributor, and does not go all repetitious.

It made sense before, it just wasn’t a good analogy. :smiley:

Try it this way:

The heart is arranged in such a way that it is effective and efficient at pumping blood, and pumping blood appears to be its function and purpose.

Now in light of that construction how would you frame your wind and leaves analogy?


Thanks for this. It makes conversation easier, to feel some flexibility at the other end.

I agree with you that as a formal logical argument,

is not valid. But surely design inferences take place in a larger argumentative context, and are not merely hasty inferences of the above kind. Most people who would make such a statement about the heart also have in mind a whole series of observations about the fine-tuning of all kinds of organs and systems in the body, and the pile-up of such “useful coincidences” strongly points to design – unless something like Darwin’s explanation is correct.

And that is Mung’s point. If for whatever reason, Darwin’s argument comes to be doubted, then the main alternative to the design inference is removed. (Remember, Darwin himself was an ardent disciple of Paley’s design arguments until he came up with natural selection as a designer-substitute.)

As for the “wind scattering the leaves” example, you would do best to let it go, since it does not match up very well with the heart and eye examples. No one is claiming that the way the leaves happen to lie after a gust of wind indicates a “purposeful arrangement of parts,” whereas in the case of the heart, the eye, etc., that is what is being claimed.

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The wind is effective at scattering leaves, so scattering leaves appears to be it’s purpose.

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