What is 'designed'?

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Which of the following were 'designed'? Select all that apply

Poll ended at Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:53 am

A Snowflake
1
5%
Round smooth stones on beach
1
5%
The fact that the moon in the sky 'just' covers the sun during an eclipse
0
No votes
The fact that ice floats
1
5%
Methane
1
5%
A virus
1
5%
How an eye works
1
5%
The radio signal from a pulsar
1
5%
A fountain pen
7
33%
This forum
7
33%
 
Total votes : 21

What is 'designed'?

Postby darkumbra » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:53 am

The poll is intended to highlight something about the word/concept 'designed'

As best you can? Post something to explain either all your answers - or at least the ones that gave you 'pause'.

Have fun

p.s. I wish the POLL options were a bit more flexible... it would be interesting of course to know if a believer/atheist were answering... but that will come out in the responses (if any) I suppose

I'll hold off replying until some others have responded - I've already 'influenced' this enough by posting the poll

p.s. I enabled the ability for you to change your input - IF you change your mind... could you please post something to explain what you changed... and why?
The "god experience"? I have no idea what you are talking about. This sounds like COMPLETE BULLSHIT that you are just making up. How do you define "god experience" in objective scientific terms?-Mitch - a Christian beyond compare.
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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby spongebob » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:49 am

You know where I stand of this. But here's a question; I've never seen round, smooth stones on a beach before. The beaches in the Gulf all have sand, shells and other junk, but no stones. I saw a beach in Mexico once, the Gulf of California; no smooth stones there either, just some jagged ones. So what beaches have smooth stones?

Oh, and I should add that several of these items certainly appear to be designed, but doesn't mean they are designed.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby NH Baritone » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:10 am

spongebob wrote:You know where I stand of this. But here's a question; I've never seen round, smooth stones on a beach before. The beaches in the Gulf all have sand, shells and other junk, but no stones. I saw a beach in Mexico once, the Gulf of California; no smooth stones there either, just some jagged ones. So what beaches have smooth stones?

Oh, and I should add that several of these items certainly appear to be designed, but doesn't mean they are designed.

SB, try going to the coast of Maine. There you'll find loads of smoothed stones, although some of them are so ubiquitous, most people would not call the place where they're found a "beach."

In order to smooth out, they have to be small enough (approximately baseball sized or smaller) for waves to toss them about and thus be abraded by the sand. The more massive rocks stay put and keep many of their jagged points.
Last edited by NH Baritone on Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby darkumbra » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:42 am

Okay... a few responses so I feel I can put my $0.02 into the mix.

One of the 'problems' with the word design is that people do NOT use it in the same way. The current poll results indicate the truth of this.

The things that are OBVIOUSLY 'designed'... because WE KNOW we designed/made them are this 'forum' and the 'Fountain Pen'

Those are the mundane examples.

I'm going to make the argument that ALL of the other items with one exception are also 'designed'... in almost the exact same sense that we used to categorize 'forum' and 'fountain pen' as 'designed'.

Let's do the snowflake first - Here's the starting premise ... when we examine a 'snowflake' we know, without reasonable doubt, that it is NOT a 'random collection of ice crystals'... This is confirmed when we examine snowflake after snowflake. They are NOT identical... but they do seem to follow the 'same' shape... (ignoring tubes, plates etc. for this discussion) We know they are all of the same 'kind' and they are not 'random'...

Fact is, if we look deeper we can uncover the process by which snowflakes are 'made'... those 'processes'... design the shape of the snowflake as surely as if we set out to create/shape a similar stricture 'by hand'.

Snowflakes are designed/shaped by natural forces. They are not random... they ARE what they MUST BE given the nature of the forces that shapes them.

The same is true for
1) round stones (random friction and the consequence of convex and concave shapes on the nature of friction)
2) Pulsar - gravity and the laws of motion combined with the physics of radiation
3) Ice floats - the nature of the water molecule and how the chemical bonds are affected by a loss of energy
4) Methane - chemistry and valency bonds

5) How the eye works and the Virus example - theory of evolution - ie. the selective process. --- this is where most of the controversy swirls.

6) Snowflake - covered above

None of the above could be reasonably classifies as 'random' objects or occurrences. They are ALL designed. So a legitimate question is... what separates NATURAL design from INTELLIGENT design?

The last one... the size of the moon that neatly and almost precisely covers the image of the sun in the sky? Random chance... There is no process (that we're aware of) that could 'construct' this situation. No tidal force, no orbital tendency etc. etc.

#5 poses the problem, as yet unsolved - how did the process of evolution get started. Contrary to several misguided statements on the internet - evolution says NOTHING about biogenesis --- despite this - there are several speculations as to how life began - and several laboratory experiments suggest that some of these speculations have merit.

The design question - seems to ignore that the natural world ABOUNDS with design. Design that results in the most intricate and complex structures.
The "god experience"? I have no idea what you are talking about. This sounds like COMPLETE BULLSHIT that you are just making up. How do you define "god experience" in objective scientific terms?-Mitch - a Christian beyond compare.
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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby JustJim » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:37 pm

spongebob wrote:I've never seen round, smooth stones on a beach before. The beaches in the Gulf all have sand, shells and other junk, but no stones. I saw a beach in Mexico once, the Gulf of California; no smooth stones there either, just some jagged ones. So what beaches have smooth stones?

You could also try the entire eastern coastline of Michigan along the Great Lakes, where there are HUGE rounded, smooth stones all over the place. I don't know about the upper peninsula or the western coast, 'cuz I haven't been there. Also, a couple of my desktop background pictures that came with my Mac are pictures of smooth rounded stones just like those along the coast of Michigan's lower peninsula.

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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby JustJim » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:02 pm

darkumbra wrote:So a legitimate question is... what separates NATURAL design from INTELLIGENT design?

Natural design doesn't require a designer, while "intelligent" design does?

I think you're right about people not using the word "design" in the same way, and maybe that's why I'm having trouble following your reasoning that just because something wasn't formed by "random" processes, it is therefore "designed". I think when most people think of something as being "designed", they associate that with a designer, which also includes some intention and/or purpose on the part of that designer. I don't think they'd classify your examples of non-random things formed by natural processes as "designed", simply because they lack the intention and purpose of a designer. They're formed by processes governed by the "laws of nature", which makes them, in that sense, not "random". But that doesn't mean they're "designed", does it? Designed by whom? For what purpose?

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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby darkumbra » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:27 pm

JustJim wrote:
darkumbra wrote:So a legitimate question is... what separates NATURAL design from INTELLIGENT design?

Natural design doesn't require a designer, while "intelligent" design does?

I think you're right about people not using the word "design" in the same way, and maybe that's why I'm having trouble following your reasoning that just because something wasn't formed by "random" processes, it is therefore "designed". I think when most people think of something as being "designed", they associate that with a designer, which also includes some intention and/or purpose on the part of that designer. I don't think they'd classify your examples of non-random things formed by natural processes as "designed", simply because they lack the intention and purpose of a designer. They're formed by processes governed by the "laws of nature", which makes them, in that sense, not "random". But that doesn't mean they're "designed", does it? Designed by whom? For what purpose?

Jim


Well... there's no doubt this is the issue. It's all about how we use the word. You seem to use it, and you're not alone by any means, to imply a 'designer' as in an intelligence of some sort. Hence - you don't think a snowflake is designed...

I'm quite happy to state that a snowflake is 'designed' by the rules of physics. It is shaped by those rules to be what it is. There is no 'intent' involved. There's not even a 'goal' involved. Snowflakes ALL look the way they are because that's how the laws/rules of physics come together... the result? A VERY non-random object.

For me? 'designed' is equivalent to 'shaped by' something OR somebody.

What word do you use to describe what's going on to form a snowflake?

Why is this all important to me? Because when ID uses the word 'designed' they ALWAYS mean 'by an intelligent hand'... and they seem to ignore that natural processes (ie. no intelligences involved) DO generate both order and structure in the world - sometimes very complex structures.
The "god experience"? I have no idea what you are talking about. This sounds like COMPLETE BULLSHIT that you are just making up. How do you define "god experience" in objective scientific terms?-Mitch - a Christian beyond compare.
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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby spongebob » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:20 pm

darkumbra wrote:What word do you use to describe what's going on to form a snowflake?


How about "formed". To me, "design" infers volition.

Why is this all important to me? Because when ID uses the word 'designed' they ALWAYS mean 'by an intelligent hand'... and they seem to ignore that natural processes (ie. no intelligences involved) DO generate both order and structure in the world - sometimes very complex structures.


A point well made, since apparently many creationists aren't aware of the underlying complexity in nature. But by co-opting their own favorite buzz word, you might be inviting further confusion. As you put it, the word "intelligent" almost always precedes the word "design" when a creationist speaks. To leave out the first word would just make them ask, "created by who?".
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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby JustJim » Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:17 am

spongebob wrote:
darkumbra wrote:What word do you use to describe what's going on to form a snowflake?

How about "formed". To me, "design" infers volition.
Why is this all important to me? Because when ID uses the word 'designed' they ALWAYS mean 'by an intelligent hand'... and they seem to ignore that natural processes (ie. no intelligences involved) DO generate both order and structure in the world - sometimes very complex structures.

A point well made, since apparently many creationists aren't aware of the underlying complexity in nature. But by co-opting their own favorite buzz word, you might be inviting further confusion. As you put it, the word "intelligent" almost always precedes the word "design" when a creationist speaks. To leave out the first word would just make them ask, "created by who?".

Yeah... I agree with that....

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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby darkumbra » Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:50 am

spongebob wrote:
darkumbra wrote:What word do you use to describe what's going on to form a snowflake?


How about "formed". To me, "design" infers volition.


And 'formed' suggests the existence of a 'former'? I don't see that this advances the need to clarify that things are designed/formed/made without designers, formers or makers...

When someone says to me 'this looks designed' my internal response is "Duh! of course it's 'designed'! AND the question is HOW? not automatically WHO?"

Intricate design can, and does, exist without conscious thought. ie. without intelligence.

But if the way I'm positioning this doesn't work for you... not a problem - I'm merely relaying more how I think on these matters more than anything else.
The "god experience"? I have no idea what you are talking about. This sounds like COMPLETE BULLSHIT that you are just making up. How do you define "god experience" in objective scientific terms?-Mitch - a Christian beyond compare.
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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby NH Baritone » Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:52 am

DU (et al.)

Well, Dictionary.com, the American Heritage dictionary, and the Oxford Dictionary all indicate that design involves intent & purpose. Since those qualities encompass volition by sentient beings, it appears that referring to design in nature is inaccurate wording. Its frequent use, even by scientists, may contribute to the ID arsenal. If there is a design, then there was a purpose that preceded the design.

It is common for any particular language to fail in adequately describing an event or process. Maybe this is where English stumbles. Or perhaps by looking primarily at the outcome itself, we are falling down. Rather than looking at snowflakes or methane as whole entities, perhaps we should begin from their base molecules and the forces that are exerted upon them. Thus snowflakes & methane result from discreet processes, without sentient intervention. As such, they possess emergent qualities that are greater than the sum of their parts.
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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby JustJim » Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:44 pm

NHB wrote:Rather than looking at snowflakes or methane as whole entities, perhaps we should begin from their base molecules and the forces that are exerted upon them. Thus snowflakes & methane result from discreet processes, without sentient intervention. As such, they possess emergent qualities that are greater than the sum of their parts.

Excellent points. Do ID'ers ever focus only on the (appearance/inference of) "design" underlying the processes and forces? My suspicion is that they wouldn't limit their claims to the underlying processes and forces only, since that would take away their claims of a post-creational, personal, purposeful, "volitional" god that intervenes in the day-to-day happenings of the universe. Deists would probably be fine with that, but not theists, huh?

I wonder what Sue thinks about all this - from a deistic perspective....

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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby spongebob » Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:32 am

darkumbra wrote:Intricate design can, and does, exist without conscious thought. ie. without intelligence.


That's the part that I think most creationists would take issue with. Without intelligence, there would be no complexity. And to use one of your examples, I've spoken to several christians who actually use the snowflake as a primary example of this. God, by way of the complexity inherent in a snowflake, has left us a clue to his existence.
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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby darkumbra » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:28 am

spongebob wrote:
darkumbra wrote:Intricate design can, and does, exist without conscious thought. ie. without intelligence.


That's the part that I think most creationists would take issue with. Without intelligence, there would be no complexity. And to use one of your examples, I've spoken to several christians who actually use the snowflake as a primary example of this. God, by way of the complexity inherent in a snowflake, has left us a clue to his existence.


Then they a) don't understand the concepts/rules that drive water to crystallize it a particular way... OR b) They choose to ignore the 'science' behind the formation of crystals.

And... given how relatively simple the process? They are practicing intellectual dishonesty by not accepting that what is happening is perfectly natural. For these types of folks? I reserve the right to call them idiots.
The "god experience"? I have no idea what you are talking about. This sounds like COMPLETE BULLSHIT that you are just making up. How do you define "god experience" in objective scientific terms?-Mitch - a Christian beyond compare.
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Re: What is 'designed'?

Postby JustJim » Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:53 pm

darkumbra wrote:Then they a) don't understand the concepts/rules that drive water to crystallize it a particular way... OR b) They choose to ignore the 'science' behind the formation of crystals.

It's been my experience that they would claim it's you who doesn't understand that it was God who created those rules and processes contained in science, and that you're giving "credit" for the creation to the created. IOW, they'd say "you choose to ignore the God behind the 'science' behind the formation of crystals." (Nevermind they can't prove there is such a God, of course, and spongebob is absolutely right in saying they'd claim such complexities as snowflakes (and everything else we examine closely enough) are clues he left to his existence.) One of their favorite quotes:
The author of Romans, in Chapter 1, verses 19-20, wrote:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (ESV)

Ya gotta love 'em... :D

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