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Miller Redefining Design

Originally written by uoflcard. I’d rather not distract from the main point of the other thread: HGT. So I created a separate thread for this topic, duplicating this info.

There is ‘Design’ in Nature, Biologist Argues

It is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read. A biologist says that the ID movement garners attention because it is appealing to believe there is design in nature. “To fight back, scientists need to reclaim the language of ‘design’”, he says. What the article and the biologist don’t explicitly say is basically they completely misuse the word “design”. Listen to his personal definition of design:

“Miller will argue that the scientific community must address the attractiveness of the “design” concept and make the case that science itself is based on the idea of design — or the regularity of organization, function, and natural law that gives rise to the world in which we live.

What does regularity or natural law have to do with information-rich design?? Could people possibly buy this?

Look at any dictionary definition of “design” and it is clear they a philosophical naturalist wants nothing to do with the word “design” in nature:

verb:

1: to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan : devise , contrive

2.)
a: to conceive and plan out in the mind
b: to have as a purpose : intend
c: to devise for a specific function or end

noun:
deliberate purposive planning (more by accident than design)

…Sooo we came about by a long, long LONG series of accidents that somehow produced their antonym, designs (and wildly complex ones, at that). Makes sense, if you close your eyes and click your heels three times.

The article closes with this:

“There is, indeed, a design to life — an evolutionary design,” Miller said. “The structures in our bodies have changed over time, as have its functions. Scientists should embrace this concept of ‘design,’ and in so doing, claim for science the sense of orderly rationality in nature to which the anti-evolution movement has long appealed.”

Basically, let’s just forget trying to scientifically prove that all of the design in nature came about naturally, including some things that are more complex than anything a human has ever created, and let’s just use their language even though it directly contrasts our hypothesis…err I mean 100% proven theory. That way, we WIN! “But sir, I thought the point of science was to discover truths.” Well whatever we say IS the truth. We are the scientists, gatekeepers to all true knowledge on this Earth.

We might need to keep our eyes on new editions of dictionaries to make sure the materialist agenda doesn’t infiltrate the definition of “design”. They have already taken over wikipedia, youtube and google searches (google “design in nature” and the first thing that comes up is this ridiculous article I posted here)

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28 Responses to Miller Redefining Design

  1. uoflcard,

    Miller’s definition is predicated based upon his personal beliefs as a theistic evolutionist (even though Miller personally rejects that term) since “design” only comes in when it comes to the formation of laws (aka cosmological ID; the laws are designed to produce life and then cause creative evolution). A discussion about this is available on Telic Thoughts.

    Interestingly enough, in “Darwin’s God,” I’ve heard that Miller’s “god” would need to act through indeterminate quantum events. This is interesting because Dembski mentioned this as a possibility years ago as a method of design in one of his books.

  2. the regularity of organization, function, and natural law that gives rise to the world in which we live.

    This is a complicated, convoluted definition.

    That said, I think that one could argue that natural selection, a simple filter, is the designer. My hand, it could be argued, is “designed” to grasp things, even if one holds that the designer is the simple filter of natural selection.

    It is for this reason that the ID community includes the I in its title. The ID community holds that the designing agent must be an intelligence, that a simple filter such as natural selection, is not capable of pulling off the foresight that we beleive was necessary to produce nature as we know it.

  3. that science itself is based on the idea of design — or the regularity of organization, function, and natural law that gives rise to the world in which we live.”

    And ID shows that design is evident in life. Now, can we all be in agreement that there is a designer?

    Could people possibly buy this?

    Betcha Richard Dawkins doesn’t LOL.

  4. It seems to me that this Miller guy hasn’t done any research about the claims of intelligent design, but only heard the word “design”. Why do I think this is the case? Basically what he is saying is that the intelligent design movement is founded on emotional basis and not on a scientific one.

    To answer Miller I would say something like this: Yes there is design in nature, yes there is evolutionary design in nature, yes nature is perfectly intelligently designed and capable of microevolutionary changes. But to call the product of chance and time “design” is ridiculous. So read this: http://www.uncommondescent.com/id-defined/ and give me one example of a “design” with proven darwinian pathways.

  5. Basically, let’s just forget trying to scientifically prove that all of the design in nature came about naturally,

    Is there anything Miller said in the article at issue (or has ever said) that is anything like this?

  6. And I believed that my dislike of Miller could not increase…

    Well, after all the guy is smart. Perhaps we should admire him. And he likes to win!

    Moreover, he has definitely some taste for tie clips.

  7. Ken Miller is typical of most theistic evolutionists. He likes to resurrect the same bulls@%# straw men back from the grave time and time again.

    I think I know the answer to this but did Miller ever admit he lied to potentially millions of people when he claimed functionality of the TTSS makes the flagellum reducibly complex?

    Asking this only because he seemed a bit hasty to defend his misrepresentation of what part of the the BC cascade Behe said was IC. I’m surprised he hasn’t done the same for the flagellum.

  8. They are loosing the fight and so they grab to everything to hold the water.

  9. “There is, indeed, a design to life — an evolutionary design,”

    As in living organisms were DESIGNED to evolve.

    Miller then demonstrates his ignorance:

    Scientists should embrace this concept of ‘design,’ and in so doing, claim for science the sense of orderly rationality in nature to which the anti-evolution movement has long appealed.

    Not an anti-evolution anything. Rather it is an anti- blind-watchmaker steamroller that is exposing the evolutionary fairy tale for what it is.

  10. What does regularity or natural law have to do with information-rich design??
    The way I read it, Miller is listing natural law as a type of regularity. He is using the term “design” in the sense of pattern, not purpose.

  11. @Joseph:I completely agree.

  12. In fact, Miller is simply recyling his same old strategy: Use the rhetoric of design while arguing for non-design. There is nothing new in his approach; he is simply finding new ways to express it. The theme is clear enough: No matter what insanity you are peddling, use euphemisms.

    To support his manipulative use of words, Miller also abandon’s reason itself. As Brown’s resident Darwinist, he agrees that design is an “illusion,” but, as a TE apologist, he acknowledges it is real. If this seems strange, remember that for Miller’s brand of theistic evolution, a thing can be and not be at the same time. Once one restricts himself from the pesky rules of logic, all things are possible.

  13. StephenB wrote: “No matter what insanity you are peddling, use euphemisms.”

    And therein lies the danger: euphemisms can be used to misrepresent important issues. Miller’s stating that evolution (itself a blind, naturalistic process with no goal in mind) is akin to design is like an alcoholic claiming to be a social drinker.

  14. The term “design” has more than one standard meaning. IDists don’t have the one true definition.

    Miller’s use of “design” as “the correlation of structure with function” is conventional, albeit different from the usage in ID. The correlation of structure with function is precisely what engineers review when they conduct a design review.

    You see it as manipulative for Miller to use “design” in a way that leaves out purposefulness. But he is no more manipulative than IDists are if they insist that the term “design” implies purposefulness.

  15. Miller’s attempt to re-define “design” presupposes concept existence in nature, while ignoring and defying the objective claims of Darwinism since acceptance in the 19th century. This objective claim says design does not exist in nature (Darwin, Autobio:87; Dawkins 1986:sub-title of book).

    Darwinists argue vehemently against the existence of design in nature because the concept corresponds—-directly—-to the work of invisible Designer.

    To suddenly admit to the existence of design is to concede the Creationism-ID-Evolution debate.

    Miller is either genuinely confused or ignorant. He is probably both. But whatever he is, he is saying “if we can’t beat em’ join em.’”

    Ray

  16. Stephen B (msg. #12): “In fact, Miller is simply recy[c]ling his same old strategy: Use the rhetoric of design while arguing for non-design.”

    You are spot-on!

    Miller corresponds to the concept seen in “double agent.” He is self-evidently dishonest, pernicious, a wolf in sheeps clothing, who only has the hen house in mind.

    There is no evidence supporting his claim of being a Christian, and much contradicting. The support he enjoys from Atheists is the best evidence that he is not a real Christian because Atheists would never support a real Christian.

    Ray

  17. Barb (msg. #13): “And therein lies the danger: euphemisms can be used to misrepresent important issues. Miller’s stating that evolution (itself a blind, naturalistic process with no goal in mind) is akin to design is like an alcoholic claiming to be a social drinker.”

    [happy face]You are simply making too much sense—-stop it![/happy face].

    Ray

  18. Stephen B (msg. #12): “As Brown’s resident Darwinist, he agrees that design is an “illusion,” but, as a TE apologist, he acknowledges it is real. If this seems strange, remember that for Miller’s brand of theistic evolution, a thing can be and not be at the same time. Once one restricts himself from the pesky rules of logic, all things are possible.”

    Once again you are spot-on!

    Aristotelian Logic says: “A” cannot be “A” and not “A” at the same time.
    This logic is foundation to Naturalism, the philosophy of Darwinism and modern science since the advent of Darwinian evolution.

    Theism and Supernaturalism, based on the fact of the Incarnation, is not subject to Aristotelian Logic.

    Miller is a clown, making moronic fundamental errors. This is what happens when one attempts to “de-atheize” evolution. Since all Atheists are evolutionists this fact tells us that Darwinism is Atheism ideology packaged as “science.”

    Ray

  19. Joseph (msg. #9): “Miller then demonstrates his ignorance:

    ‘Scientists should embrace this concept of ‘design,’ and in so doing, claim for science the sense of orderly rationality in nature to which the anti-evolution movement has long appealed.’”

    By placing quotes marks around the word design, Miller is engaged in willful deception since no such thing as ‘design’ exists.

    Deception, of course, reveals the effects of the invisible presence of Satan. Miller is admitting that science should accept the concept for the stated ulterior motive. It’s simply a bad idea since we will be able to argue more easily that the concept corresponds to work of invisible Designer.

    Ray

  20. The term “design” has more than one standard meaning. IDists don’t have the one true definition.

    First IDists qualify “design” by adding the word “intelligent”. That is to differentiate between optimal design on one hand and apparent design on the other.

    Secondly all the main defintions of “design” do refer to the same meaning as ID.

    Miller’s use of “design” as “the correlation of structure with function” is conventional, albeit different from the usage in ID. The correlation of structure with function is precisely what engineers review when they conduct a design review.

    Except that what engineers review has been designed for a purpose.

    Also if Miller wants to use “design” differntly he has to demonstrate that non-telic, ie blind, undirected processes can account for structure with a function.

    You see it as manipulative for Miller to use “design” in a way that leaves out purposefulness. But he is no more manipulative than IDists are if they insist that the term “design” implies purposefulness.

    Again that ius why IDists qualify the word “design” with the word “intelligent”.

    And it is very manipulative for Miller not to qualify his use.

    BTW can you point us to a definition of “design” that fits the “correlation of structure with function” and also says this can be achieved via non-telic processes?

    That would help your case.

  21. The way I read it, Miller is trying to counter the way IDists (manipulatively?) frame the ID issue as being a choice between (1) an accidental universe, as promoted by “chance-worshippers” and (2) an organized universe under the direction of a designer. This frame leaves out regularity, which is what science actually looks for and builds upon when it does its job of describing (modeling) how the universe works. (It’s job is not, per se to determine whether or not there is a designer ultimately in control — and very, very few scientists would claim that an answer to that question has been proven either way.)

    Miller wants to popularize the regularity that is fundamental to the mainstream scientific view. He believes that this will show it to be less frightening than the way it is portrayed by IDists. Personally, I don’t know how successful that will be.

    Although you don’t like it, he uses “design” in the sense of “pattern” and makes the case that regularity is a form of pattern.

    Joseph:

    First IDists qualify “design” by adding the word “intelligent”.

    And Miller does not, which shows that he is talking about something different.

    That is to differentiate between optimal design on one hand and apparent design on the other.

    And what IDists call “apparent design” is called “correlation of structure and function” by Miller. (As best I can tell.)

    Secondly all the main definitions of “design” do refer to the same meaning as ID.

    Most on-line definitions are similar to “the purposeful arrangement of parts” but most are different from “the complement of chance and regularity.”

    Except that what engineers review has been designed for a purpose.

    My point is that engineering provides one example of where the term “design” does not include purpose. Engineering has another term for that, which is “requirement.” As another example, one might say “snowflakes have such beautiful designs” and be referring only to their structure.

    Also if Miller wants to use “design” differently he has to demonstrate that non-telic, i.e. blind, undirected processes can account for structure with a function.

    Miller is free to use a definition that is different from the one IDists use, especially when his usage is quite common. Everyone should, of course, be forthright and clear about the definitions they are using. BTW, one doesn’t demonstrate a definition.

    Again that ius why IDists qualify the word “design” with the word “intelligent”. And it is very manipulative for Miller not to qualify his use.

    Like everyone in this discussion, Miller certainly needs to always be clear about the definition he is using. (In my experience, IDists are notorious for equivocating (unintentionally or otherwise) between pattern and purpose when discussing design.)

    BTW can you point us to a definition of “design” that fits the “correlation of structure with function” and also says this can be achieved via non-telic processes?

    This fits: “A basic scheme or pattern that affects and controls function or development.” (from: thefreedictionary.com) Whether or not a particular pattern was produced by an intelligent designer is a separate issue.

    Also, look at an engineering design document; it lays out the structure of a system and shows how the structure correlates with system functions. Here’s a typical template: http://tinyurl.com/czxhlk. (Again, yes, engineering is a purposeful activity, but that is beside the point about what engineers mean by “design.”)

  22. BTW can you point us to a definition of “design” that fits the “correlation of structure with function” and also says this can be achieved via non-telic processes?

    This fits: “A basic scheme or pattern that affects and controls function or development.”

    That doesn’t fit.

    Whether or not a particular pattern was produced by an intelligent designer is a separate issue.

    that IS the issue!

    As for regularity how mdid that arise in the anti-ID position if not by chance?

  23. BTW I am an engineer.

    And if Miller wishes to use the word “design” pertaining to something that was not puposefully manufactured then it is up to him to demonstrate the meaning fits the bill.

  24. That doesn’t fit.

    Pretty close:
    1) structure that is correlated with function
    2) pattern that affects or controls function

    that IS the issue!

    The issue I’m addressing here is whether or not Miller is redefining “Design,” which is the topic of this thread. With the dictionary definition I cited and with the usage of “design” in engineering, I’ve shown that Miller is using one of the common definitions of that term.

    As for regularity how mdid that arise in the anti-ID position if not by chance?

    I may be projecting the nature of my own field (engineering) onto science, but I see science as a practical activity. Scientists are developing static and dynamic models of the universe and of its history — models that are judged based on their fidelity to our observations. To do their job, scientists don’t need to know (any more than engineers do) how regularity arose, if it arose, or if it is even reasonable to ask about an origin of regularity.

    BTW I am an engineer

    Then you know why engineers maintain a distinction between purposes (requirements) and patterns (designs.)

    And if Miller wishes to use the word “design” pertaining to something that was not puposefully manufactured then it is up to him to demonstrate the meaning fits the bill.

    Then I suppose you will object if someone says that a snowflake has a beautiful design.

  25. —–freelurker: “Although you don’t like it, he uses “design” in the sense of “pattern” and makes the case that regularity is a form of pattern.”

    In that case, maybe you can explain why in an earlier book he insisted that evolution is a purposeless, mindless process that did not have man in mind, while in a later book he covered all the bases and said that man’s arrival was inevitable.

  26. StephenB,
    I don’t see the connection between my statement and your response. Even if I did, I couldn’t address your claims of what Miller said in his books. I haven’t read them other than recently looking through “Only a Theory.”

  27. Freelurker, the connection is as follows: Miller denies the reality of design in the first instance by saying that our appearance here is a coincidence; he affirms design in the second instance by saying that our appearance was inevitable.

    I provided the relevant quotes on another thread, and they are somewhere in my archives. But I don’t think I will invest the time trying to find them since you don’t see the connection. I assume that most everyone else does.

  28. StephenB

    Miller denies the reality of design in the first instance by saying that our appearance here is a coincidence; he affirms design in the second instance by saying that our appearance was inevitable.

    I am not here as an explainer/defender of everything Miller has ever said. Your point, valid or not, has little to do with what I was trying to say. But that’s nothing against you; you were responding to a statement of mine which was rather obtuse:

    Although you don’t like it, he uses “design” in the sense of “pattern” and makes the case that regularity is a form of pattern.

    My awkward statement was an answer to the question raised by uoflcard about what the regularity of organization, function, and natural law that gives rise to the world in which we live has to do with design.
    uoflcard was using “design” to mean purpose. To understand what Miller was saying you have to understand that Miller was using the word to mean pattern. Saying that something is regular is saying that the thing exhibits a pattern.

    It’s unfortunate that there are (at least) two common, but different, uses of the term “design.” Miller must be very careful and clear about what he saying, because he will have good reasons to use both meanings under different circumstances. It is surprisingly easy to equivocate between the ID-style and the engineering-style use of that term. It’s easy even when one’s intentions are good. For an example, see this UD thread from a while back: http://tinyurl.com/dlbmv2 [The issue of equivocation comes up starting at Comment #28.]

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