Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 59 (9094 total)
7 online now:
AZPaul3, dwise1, PaulK, Phat, Stile, Tangle (6 members, 1 visitor)
Newest Member: d3r31nz1g3
Post Volume: Total: 901,523 Year: 12,635/6,534 Month: 2,128/1,988 Week: 249/460 Day: 11/91 Hour: 7/2


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   The I in ID
chicowboy
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 146 (123670)
07-10-2004 6:37 PM


How does intelligent design theory define intelligence? My first visit to an ID website was disappointing. I expected at the very least an essay that explained the concept. Instead, I was presented with a one-page site consisting of a large graphic of Mt. Rushmore. The caption noted the difference between the sculpture and the eroded edges of the mountain, the former a product of design with the latter a product of random weathering. The caption went on to compare this to the ToE, claiming a designer must be behind the existence of species.
Let’s put aside the fact that random erosion is a poor model for the ToE, and that ID addresses abiogenesis more than it does evolution. I’d like to discuss ID theory assumptions of design and intelligence, as I see them.
The first thing that struck me about this ID website’s mini-claim was that Mt. Rushmore is obviously man-made. So, the basis for this claim is that of human intelligence. I don’t think the author is suggesting life is a creation of man’s intelligence, but what exactly is he saying? Is he saying that because it takes the intelligence of a human to design and create a sculpture, it must follow that it takes a higher intelligence (god) to create life? I hardly see the connection.
Framing unknowns within the bounds of the human psyche misses the boat; it’s a philosophical error, IMO. Just because we cannot create life does not mean it takes some higher form of intelligence to do so. Just because we don’t have all the answers does not mean we will forever be ignorant. Human knowledge is not a determining factor anyway, so using it as a jump-off point gets us nowhere.
What is intelligence then, and why might it be relevant? I’ve read many discussions on complexity, randomness, design, and how they are supposedly related. Beyond the problems associated with quantifying complexity and randomness, it appears that intelligence, as we generally describe it, is not necessary to build complex structures.
Man is not the only creative species; that’s understood. If I’m given a human creation as evidence of intelligent design, can I not look to the creations of other species to determine their relative levels of intelligence? If I compare the works of a bed-of-leaves building lowland gorilla to those of macrotermes bellicosus, a mound building African termite, can I then conclude the termite is the more intelligent creature, based on its creation? If the answer in no, then ID theory fails on its premise, i.e., an intelligent designer is necessary for the creation of complex entities. If we were to accept ID theory, it would then follow that the termite is indeed more intelligent than the tree-dweller. If this be the case, then we need to revisit the general definition of intelligence: the ability to think, reason, gather knowledge. Hence, an Intelligent Creator need not possess infinite wisdom at all; he need only "know" how to create. (Quite a paradox)
Philosophically speaking, the notion of intelligence can be highly subjective. Who’s to say that the ability to survive is not more "intelligent" than the ability to think? An interesting question might be, What is more intelligent, street-survival skills, or the ability to speak a foreign language? This surely depends on the situation, but instinct without thought can at times be more beneficial than thought without instinct. I then must ask: If survival is the ultimate goal, and survival is not dependent on intelligence out of necessity, why raise the issue? If there is a Great Designer, he apparently doesn't require intelligence to perpetuate a species. (Indeed, although man is at the top of the food chain, his ability to survive would be greatly enhanced with another pair of legs, a set of wings perhaps.) Therefore, Mt. Rushmore simply illustrates the fact that man has the ability to design and create it, nothing more. Mt. Rushmore does not indicate an innate superiority of man, upon which a claim of devine high intelligence is made. (I’m reminded of certain Native American beliefs, where everything is said to have a spirit, or contain a part of the Great Spirit. It’s said, A rock knows exactly how to be a rock. Not at all scientific, but thought provoking, IMO.)
So, what is the I in ID? It is certainly a great enigma. Enter the theologians who tell us it is an intelligence incomprehensible to the mind of man. That doesn’t speak well for a coherent theory. As I’ve shown, design is not always indicative of intelligence. That effectively leaves us without the I in ID. We also see that intelligence is not prerequisite to survival; it’s not necessarily desireable. The African termite successfully propogates in its exquisite mound with no need for a synaptically complex brain. We could argue that social insects display a degree of complexity in their interactions as a unit. Is this the I in ID? Why should we expect a Creator to be any different than this, the interaction of individual entities working toward a specific goal?
I, myself reject ID as a viable theory because it cannot define intelligence. Until I can be shown what the I in ID means, I will have to shelve the theory.
This message has been edited by chicowboy, 07-11-2004 12:37 AM several 'clean-up' edits
This message has been edited by chicowboy, 07-11-2004 12:39 AM HOW'S THIS?
This message has been edited by chicowboy, 07-11-2004 05:41 AM
This message has been edited by chicowboy, 07-11-2004 06:27 AM

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by AdminNosy, posted 07-10-2004 6:43 PM chicowboy has not replied
 Message 4 by RAZD, posted 08-06-2004 11:26 AM chicowboy has not replied
 Message 12 by ID man, posted 08-21-2004 9:48 AM chicowboy has not replied

  
AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 146 (123671)
07-10-2004 6:43 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by chicowboy
07-10-2004 6:37 PM


A rather good essay
While a good piece of writing I'm a bit concerned that this will be hard to keep on topic.
Could you add a bit focussing on the nature of the "I"? And make clear that this is the topic as indicated by the title. We have several ID threads already but the nature of the "I" might be a different slant on it.
Is that acceptable to you?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by chicowboy, posted 07-10-2004 6:37 PM chicowboy has not replied

  
Adminnemooseus
Administrator
Posts: 3963
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 3 of 146 (130915)
08-06-2004 2:21 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
A lost "Proposed Topic".
May well be redundant with other active topics (Really don't know) but I'll boot it into circulation.
Adminnemooseus
This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 08-06-2004 01:23 AM

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 829 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 4 of 146 (130986)
08-06-2004 11:26 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by chicowboy
07-10-2004 6:37 PM


welcome to the fray.
One could also argue that "The Old Man of the Mountain" in New Hampshire also showed evidence of design, but has been weathered more than Rushmore due to its greater age:
this leads to the question of whether the intelligence is just in the eye of the beholder?
good post.

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by chicowboy, posted 07-10-2004 6:37 PM chicowboy has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by jar, posted 08-06-2004 11:34 AM RAZD has not replied
 Message 6 by Loudmouth, posted 08-06-2004 1:38 PM RAZD has replied

  
jar
Member (Idle past 38 days)
Posts: 33957
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 5 of 146 (130992)
08-06-2004 11:34 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by RAZD
08-06-2004 11:26 AM


The Old man has Evolved.

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by RAZD, posted 08-06-2004 11:26 AM RAZD has not replied

  
Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 146 (131022)
08-06-2004 1:38 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by RAZD
08-06-2004 11:26 AM


quote:
this leads to the question of whether the intelligence is just in the eye of the beholder?
I think most of us can agree that intelligence can not be gauged by the products of that intelligence. Jar's example of the termite mound and a pile of leaves created by a gorilla is a perfects example, in that most of us think that gorillas are more intelligent than termites.
The inference that ID put's forth is therefore weakened because of this. Through inference, we can conclude that the design is not a measure of intelligence. (I only say this as an example of the logic put forth by IDers)We could then infer that God is not necessarily that bright. What we run into when looking at design, especially designs in nature, is that the complexity and purpose of these designs is reached through following very simple rules. I wish I had a copy handy, but in my brief readings of Dawkin's book "Climbing Mt. Improbable" he argues that tree design (tree branching and leaf patterns) follows very simple rules. He was able to follow these rules and mutate tree designs into both useable and fanciful designs. IOW, the I in ID could have simply followed cookbook-like recipes to create the designs we see today.
These same cookbook-like instructions can also be found within the innate instincts of organisms that we see today. Termites, again, are a perfect example. I argue that termites do not plan ahead, or discuss amongst themselves, about the design of the mound. Instead, they are react to environmental cues, such as pheremones and humidity, in combination with instincts to create design. By inference, we could then conclude that it is possible that the I in ID didn't even consciously design. The "I" may be reacting to outside stimulus and had no choice in the matter.
My argument is that ID theory unfairly limits their inferences to human design and ignores the designs created through instinctual or rule guided design. In doing so, they mistake all design as being from an intelligence that is human-like. Using the same inference, it is possible to infer that design in nature, if not the result of naturalistic evolutionary mechanisms, does not necessarily point to a forward looking, goal oriented, conscious designer.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by RAZD, posted 08-06-2004 11:26 AM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by RAZD, posted 08-06-2004 6:17 PM Loudmouth has replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 829 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 7 of 146 (131076)
08-06-2004 6:17 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Loudmouth
08-06-2004 1:38 PM


scales
loudmouth writes:
....most of us think that gorillas are more intelligent than termites
Most ID stuff does seem to be very ?egotist? ?sapientist? in that it assumes points of view that have no reason to be so.
There is also the question of scale: Rushmore looks carved and honed to portray familiar images because of the scale and distance at which we normally observe it. From outer space it would not have that aspect, nor would it at the scale of bugs (termites?) crawling on the surface and building nests in the many cracks and crevasses that cover the surface - in fact climbing on the face(s) it is hard to see the proper image and easy to see the small details inconsistent with the design.
Likewise there is the matter of observable light and how that affects our observations and the patterns we see: butterfly wings look different under ultraviolet light, which many butterfly predators can see, so which vision is the one the pattern is designed for?
So many questions created by the concept while (as yet) not one is answered....

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Loudmouth, posted 08-06-2004 1:38 PM Loudmouth has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Loudmouth, posted 08-09-2004 12:59 PM RAZD has replied

  
Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 146 (131899)
08-09-2004 12:59 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by RAZD
08-06-2004 6:17 PM


Re: scales
quote:
Most ID stuff does seem to be very ?egotist? ?sapientist? in that it assumes points of view that have no reason to be so.
Perhaps human-centric, or anthropomorphic? But, yes, I agree. Anyway, they still haven't given logical reasoning that there is another "human-like" intelligence anywhere in the universe. For instance, using the same inferrence technique in the following argument:
Premise: Every time there is written language humans are the authors.
Conclusion: Therefore, the only possible author of the Bible is humans.
This isn't a conclusion that christians want, but nonetheless it is a byproduct of their same logical reasoning. Of course, I could extend the same logic to biological design:
Premise: Whenever there is complex specified information, humans are the cause.
Conclusion: Therefore, biological design is due to human design.
Of course, this is ludicrous, but so is the ID argument. They still have no argument for extrapolating beyond human intelligence as the cause, as human intelligence is the only inferrable source for specified complexity. You must first assume, without evidence, that another intelligence exists to arrive at a conclusion that another intelligence exists. This is known as a logical fallacy.
quote:
Likewise there is the matter of observable light and how that affects our observations and the patterns we see: butterfly wings look different under ultraviolet light, which many butterfly predators can see, so which vision is the one the pattern is designed for?
Given the advances in technology, I don't think one can really argue this. We can transfer UV illumination by transferring those light wave excitations to wavelengths we can see. Also, Behe often references proteins that are too small to observe with the naked eye, and therefore do no depend on direct reflected light. I do understand what you are saying, but I don't think it applies to the shape or physical characteristics of something on the scale of organisms on this planet.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by RAZD, posted 08-06-2004 6:17 PM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by RAZD, posted 08-09-2004 2:17 PM Loudmouth has replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 829 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 9 of 146 (131938)
08-09-2004 2:17 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Loudmouth
08-09-2004 12:59 PM


Re: scales
the point your raise are further examples of the basic incompatibility between ID taken to it's logical conclusions and literalist christianity.
the other problem with ID is the premise that it could be aliens that are doing the design work, which then begs the question of who designed their worlds and life forms ... it's turtles all the way down!
the point about scales is that they are looking with human eyes filtered by human brains with human ideas.

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Loudmouth, posted 08-09-2004 12:59 PM Loudmouth has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Loudmouth, posted 08-09-2004 3:40 PM RAZD has replied

  
Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 146 (131986)
08-09-2004 3:40 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by RAZD
08-09-2004 2:17 PM


Re: scales
quote:
the point about scales is that they are looking with human eyes filtered by human brains with human ideas.
Point taken. This is why intersubjective is actually a better term than objective, since we all have the same bias due to interpretation through common mechanisms. However, without anything else to measure something to other than the experience of other human beings we loosely use "objective". I am not saying that objective evidence is actually subjective, only that humans come to the same agreement and therefore the the intersubjective becomes an agreed upon objective fact. Hope that wasn't confusing.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by RAZD, posted 08-09-2004 2:17 PM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by RAZD, posted 08-09-2004 5:55 PM Loudmouth has not replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 829 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 11 of 146 (132021)
08-09-2004 5:55 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Loudmouth
08-09-2004 3:40 PM


Re: scales
lets say it was interconfusing.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Loudmouth, posted 08-09-2004 3:40 PM Loudmouth has not replied

  
ID man
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 146 (135908)
08-21-2004 9:48 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by chicowboy
07-10-2004 6:37 PM


intelligence is defined as "nature didn't do it"
As a long time lurker I feel it is time to throw my hat in the ring.
What is the I in ID? Yes it is for intelligence. It is not for any level of intelligence, rather for every level. What does that mean? All the I in ID means is that whatever the event/ object/ phenomenon under question is not the product of natural processes. IOW some entity or entities were responsible. The I is also used, according to Bill Dembski, to show it is different from two other modes of design- apparent (Darwin, Dawkins, Crick, et al.) and optimal. ID does not mean optimal design. The design could be optimal but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. I am sure the people here can point out many designs that are not optimal. Apparent design is used when objects give the appearance of having been designed but were not.
So there it is in a nutshell. The I just signifies that nature did not produce X (that is the inference anyway).
In biology the same stands. I does not mean some level of intelligence, although many would argue that apparently whatever intelligence designed life is a higher intelligence than ours due to the fact that we cannot do that. Religious fanatics will harp on that to promote their brand of religion. ID says nothing about a designer. ID says nothing about how to worship or give service to that designer (or designers). Therefore ID is not religious. IDists may or may not be religious. That has no bearing on ID. Evolutionists may or may not be religious also.
Intelligence in ID need not be defined any more than an entity or agent acting in nature, doing things nature alone couldn’t or wouldn’t do. Could nature produce the figures observed on Mt. Rushmore? Highly unlikely. Therefore we conclude the figures are the result of some entity other than nature acting by itself. The same goes for any artifact.
If you really want to learn about ID you have to visit more than one website and reading books on the topic will be required. Most, maybe even all, arguments I have read could be answered if the people making those arguments would just take the time to read a little bit about the subject- from IDists, not anti-IDists whose main purpose appears to be misrepresentation (I can give plenty of examples but that would not add to this discussion). Point being is that it took more than 10 minutes to learn the theory of evolution, and plenty of reading is required to keep up, so before anyone dismisses something they should at least open up the hood and take a look inside. I will recommend some literature if you are seriously interested.
To Loudmouth- the intelligence (or even lack of) is inferred from the evidence. It is not assumed without evidence, as you put it.
There you have it.
This message has been edited by ID man, 08-21-2004 10:35 AM

"...the most habitable place in the solar system yields the best view of solar eclipses just when observers can best appreciate them." from "The Privileged Planet"

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by chicowboy, posted 07-10-2004 6:37 PM chicowboy has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by pink sasquatch, posted 08-21-2004 11:06 AM ID man has replied
 Message 16 by RAZD, posted 08-21-2004 12:01 PM ID man has replied

  
pink sasquatch
Member (Idle past 5447 days)
Posts: 1567
Joined: 06-10-2004


Message 13 of 146 (135913)
08-21-2004 11:06 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by ID man
08-21-2004 9:48 AM


evidence for intelligence
...the intelligence (or even lack of) is inferred from the evidence...
Would you give a real example of such evidence, and specifically how it suggests intelligence as its source?
Please do not use man-made objects as evidence by analogy, but rather evidence in "nature" that points to an intelligent source.
Thanks.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by ID man, posted 08-21-2004 9:48 AM ID man has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by ID man, posted 08-21-2004 11:32 AM pink sasquatch has not replied

  
ID man
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 146 (135920)
08-21-2004 11:32 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by pink sasquatch
08-21-2004 11:06 AM


Re: evidence for intelligence
Life is such evidence. From what we do know only life gives rise to life. Nature is not life. Life exists in nature but that does not mean nature produced life.
Biological organisms contain DNA & RNA. We have never observed either molecule forming in nature. We have observed humans synthesize these molecules. Biological organisms also contain structures that are irreducibly complex. These structures cannot be explained by nature acting alone. From what we do know about irreducibly complex structures is that it takes more than nature to design and contruct IC systems.
Then there is evidence from the laws of nature. Newton understood that we were part of some grand design. Why is it hundreds of years later some people want to turn their back on the obvious?
This message has been edited by ID man, 08-21-2004 10:34 AM

"...the most habitable place in the solar system yields the best view of solar eclipses just when observers can best appreciate them." from "The Privileged Planet"

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by pink sasquatch, posted 08-21-2004 11:06 AM pink sasquatch has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by crashfrog, posted 08-21-2004 11:36 AM ID man has replied
 Message 40 by MrHambre, posted 08-25-2004 6:11 PM ID man has not replied

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 891 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 15 of 146 (135922)
08-21-2004 11:36 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by ID man
08-21-2004 11:32 AM


From what we do know only life gives rise to life.
Actually, from what we know, intelligence has never given rise to life.
Nature is not life.
Life is, by definition, natural.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by ID man, posted 08-21-2004 11:32 AM ID man has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by ID man, posted 08-22-2004 10:01 AM crashfrog has replied

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2022 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.1
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2022