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As the design revolution continues, Darwinism slips into irrelevance

Last month I pointed out the unwitting admission by some Darwinists that Darwinism is useless to modern medicine (and for that matter modern science). [see: Darwin dissed by doctors, and a design revolution continues at MIT].

This month I’m pleased that world’s most prestigious scientific journal, Nature, has published a letter from a biophysicist who has (perhaps unwittingly) shown that the design revolution continues, and Darwinism is slipping into total irrelevance.

Look at biological systems through an engineer’s eyes

Physiologists have successfully analysed a large range of biological systems using this ‘device-oriented’ approach. For more than a century, medical students have used it to learn that the kidneys filter blood to make urine; the lungs transport oxygen from air to blood; muscles contract; sodium channels produce action potentials; and so on. Each device description in physiology — on each length scale from organ, to tissue, to cell, to organelle, to protein molecule — is associated with a device equation, just as a device description in engineering (for example, of a solenoid) is followed by an approximate device equation for its function, for example, its input–output relation.

it seems clear, at least to a physiologist, that productive research is catalysed by assuming that most biological systems are devices.

Productive research is catalysed by assuming the systems are devices? As in designed rather than mindlessly evolved?

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29 Responses to As the design revolution continues, Darwinism slips into irrelevance

  1. “For more than a century, medical students have used it to learn that the kidneys filter blood to make urine; the lungs transport oxygen from air to blood; muscles contract; sodium channels produce action potentials; and so on. Each device description in physiology”

    Its true, this is exactly what I’ve been learning the past three days and its amazing how the instructor can’t teach any of it w/o saying “it was designed for..” and when he talked about the hormonal regulation of pregnancy he asked, “have any of you wondered how this evolved?”

  2. This very true and is why Darwinism is a science stopper. Darwinism sees junk and vestigal organs due to its assumption of a random and meaningless world. True scientific discovery occurs when design is assumed and research is undertaken to determine the purpose of the design.

  3. Jehu:

    That is an interesting thought, one I have not actually thought of myself. I can see how the presupposition of meaningful world can lead to research in an area – espically biological. While I won’t say all organs should have meaning, it does seem like a viable mindest to have in the lab.

  4. Step aside, Darwin. Let science progress. No time for victorian myths posing as science.

  5. I cannot penetrate the ppv online, but there was an interesting free gateway link on molecular signaling which most should find interesting to peruse.

    http://www.signaling-gateway.org/molecule/

    Question, how does a signal arise that is beneficial and stays turned on? Is not the entire system of signals preset? Whereas a mutation may turn one off; example limb regeneration switch Wnt signal in chicken embryo.

    There was a recent discovery about hair regrowth in mice touted as big news. At the very end the scientist admitted the hair grew back white. Sounds like he managed to fine one important switch, but not the entire cascade of switches and resulting signals.

    If these events happened billions of years ago by RM&NS then there should be no logical path backwards for core and periphery processes. Scientist should never be able to backtrack. Shouldn’t ID predict the opposite? Ability to backtrack as in FL and effective device dependent causation, flow, cascades of information for all life forms and plans.

    Or am I on the wrong track?

  6. “have any of you wondered how this evolved?”

    You should come up with a just-so story and see how your instructor and classmate respond ot it.

  7. I’m reading this book called “Billions Of Missing Links” and in the foreword the author describes just a simple overview of a human being being born into this world. Just the overview itself is astonishing in its intricate complexity. But instead of misleading the reader and/or student by asking “have any of you wondered how this evolved?” He impresses upon the reader the sheer wonder of it all and then points them in the right direction by pointing out the insanity of thinking it happened by billions of tiny s.
    I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the book. He is quite the wordsmith and appears to be loaded for evolutionary bear.

  8. Darwinism is slipping into irrelevance for a very simple reason: It didn’t happen that way, which is why the theory has produced nothing of any substance, only fanciful stories that are totally disconnected from reality.

  9. Oh..no…Darwinism is a religious dogma, remember, and it will remain so.

    The dogma is: Design without a designer.

    So, “devices” without the engineer.

  10. Consider the following link: http://www.physorg.com/news99235788.html It discusses the natural abilities babies have with language. I’ve been puzzling the necessity of all of this. Why should babies retain the ability to hear sounds that their language group does not use? Did our ancestors share babies between diverse laguage groups sufficiently to warrant this ability?

  11. You all seem to forget or perhaps you never learned the simple principle of evolution; these adaptations you speak of are there because they gave that particular individual an advantage. That is why they continue to appear in future generations. Don’t forget that intelligent Design does not “refute” Evolution. As a matter of fact it embraces evolution. The general idea behind Intelligent Design is that evolution although true does not explain “ALL”. Be careful what you say otherwise you are simply teaching creationism and not intelligent design.

    Why would the theory of evolution be useless to Modern Medicine? It was through genetics and the study of evolutionary processes that scientists learned humans and pigs shared enough genetic material for organ transplants

  12. “As the design revolution continues, Darwinism slips into irrelevance”

    As much as I would like to believe this, this seems to me to be rather premature. The inertia of our society in the interlinked structure of big establishment science, education, government, and much of business seems to be maintaining the (outmoded) paradigm quite well. Unfortunately some of the facts, namely the apparently slow, gradual development of life over hundreds of millions of years appears on the surface to confirm Darwinism. Sure, there are very few transitional forms from the fossil record, but the overall picture at the class, order and sometimes family levels as opposed to the species level is slow elaboration and innovation over geological ages, with each (major) step apparently based on the previous. I am an ID advocate, but I think it should be recognized that this pattern in the facts elucidated by paleontology from the fossil record is superficially much easier to jibe with Darwinism than with a simplistic conception of intelligent design by a superintelligent Designer. This inevitably leads naive observers to favor Darwinism.

  13. I believe the fossil and other evidence favors a mechanism for major changes in species over time. The specific mechanism for these major changes is certainly open to debate.

    The gradualistic approach of Darwin and neo Darwinism has essentially failed. There is too much that should be there that isn’t for a gradualist mechanism to be at work.

    So if one is to accept a gradualistic approach, then one has to provide evidence that this in fact happened. Otherwise it is all speculation.

    In reality all is speculation in supporting a particular mechanism for the origin of new species but gradualism has such negative findings for it that it is the least likely that it occurred.

    So yes the naive favor Darwinism because they know nothing and have only been told that there is evidence for it when there is none. There is no supportive evidence for a gradualistic approach and much counter non-supportive evidence.

    It is only accepted because Darwin published a highly persuasive book without any empirical evidence. Essentially rhetoric won the day.

  14. t_hardymon wrote:

    You all seem to forget or perhaps you never learned the simple principle of evolution; these adaptations you speak of are there because they gave that particular individual an advantage

    Welcome to our weblog. You give a few options as to why we reject Darwinian evolution:

    1. we forgot the simple principle of evolution

    2. never learned the simple principle of evolution

    You omitted the following option:

    3. We decided the evidence was not in favor of it

    You wrote:

    these adaptations you speak of are there because they gave that particular individual an advantage

    I respect the fact you believe that, but that is not supported theoretically nor empirically. A complex trait has to emerge in the first place to be selectively favored. Why would we expect natural selection to be able to construct complex traits. I point out one particular capacity which is found in abundance in organism, which can be shown to be mathematically almost invisible to the power of natural selection, and yet there it is. See : Airplane magnetos, contingency designs, and reasons ID will prevail

    t_hardymon wrote:

    It was through genetics and the study of evolutionary processes that scientists learned humans and pigs shared enough genetic material for organ transplants

    The idea of comparing sequences and anatomies owe nothing to evolutionary theory. We don’t need the assumption of Darwinian evolution to compare one thing to anything else. It’s understandable you may think it is essential since the similarity seems explainable by Darwinian evolution. But the similarity can even be accepted by creationists. In fact the similarity is and was accepted and recognized by creationists. This should be unsurprising since comparative anatomy began with the creationists not Charles Darwin.

  15. Sal: “Productive research is catalysed by assuming the systems are devices? As in designed rather than mindlessly evolved?”
    No, as described in the letter, “assuming the systems are devices” means modeling the systems as black boxes.

  16. Sal, you often assume that an engineering perspective will somehow lead a person away from the theory of evolution or towards an ID position. Well, the author of the letter points out that a device-oriented approach, which he compares to engineering, is a tradition in physiology going back over a century. I’ve never heard that physiologists, in general, have any problem with the theory of evolution or that they are particularly attracted to ID.

  17. This shows that even if you are a philosophical materialist, it pays to be a methodological non-materialist in order to make certain scientific discoveries, especially in medicine and biology.

  18. StuHarris,
    Is your comment a response to mine? Surely you are not saying that an engineering perspective is methodologically non-materialist. If you were responding to something else, then nevermind …

  19. Freelurker

    I agree an engineering perspective isn’t anti-MN. The point is that viewing it like an automated factory complex is increasingly the most fruitful heuristic. In all human experience so far where there’s what appears to be an engineered system, and the origin can be determined, there was intelligence involved. Maybe life is an exception. Or maybe not. I have no idea why so many are so bothered that there might be another intelligence with good enough biochemistry and design skills to have done what surely does appear to be an engineered system at many levels.

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

  20. StuHaris:

    This shows that even if you are a philosophical materialist, it pays to be a methodological non-materialist in order to make certain scientific discoveries, especially in medicine and biology.

    Very nice quoteable.

    FreeLurker, the only ID world that is universally recognized is the intelligent design that is done by humans. It turns out that when we examine biological systems, we must envision them to be like the stuff that we humans intelligently design. That’s the way that allows biology to make the most sense. StuHarris is correct.

  21. DaveScot wrote: “I have no idea why so many are so bothered that there might be another intelligence with good enough biochemistry and design skills to have done what surely does appear to be an engineered system at many levels.”

    I can understand why people in science and engineering would be quite skeptical; the practice of anthropomorphizing those processes we don’t understand has a long and fruitless history. When we have come to better understand such processes we haven’t found non-human intelligent agents behind them; we have found other forces or factors of which we have not yet dreamt.

  22. Freelurker said: “When we have come to better understand such processes we haven’t found non-human intelligent agents behind them; we have found other forces or factors of which we have not yet dreamt.”

    What do you exactly mean by “other forces or factors”? It sounds like you’re conjuring “unknown” natural laws to argue against ID. We actually understand the processes that’s why we postulate that those processes couldn’t have been brought about by RM&NS. We actually base our conclusion from “known” natural laws, laws that are continually being supported by multitudes of qualitative and experimental data. To postulate other forces that would allow for seemingly intelligently designed systems to naturally arise requires the overthrowing of current physical laws, which is unscientific at best because to do that, you have do discard the millions to billions of experimental evidence supporting them.

  23. “What do you exactly mean by ‘other forces or factors’?” I just meant newly discovered things that were not intelligent agents.

    I’m not conjuring unknown natural laws; I’m just saying it’s easy to see why people keep looking for natural explanations, given the history of discovery. It turned out that some guy didn’t carry the sun across the sky in a chariot; people figured out the that we were on a round earth that rotated. The idea that sick people are being afflicted by evil spirits was overturned by the discovery of bacteria and viruses. When the unknown has become known we haven’t found an intelligent agent.

  24. Freelurker wrote @ 9:39 am, 05/27/2007:

    I’m not conjuring unknown natural laws; I’m just saying it’s easy to see why people keep looking for natural explanations, given the history of discovery. It turned out that some guy didn’t carry the sun across the sky in a chariot; people figured out the that we were on a round earth that rotated.

    The story of or belief in Helios did nothing to stop the ancients from looking at the motion of the sun from an engineering standpoint.

    The idea that sick people are being afflicted by evil spirits was overturned by the discovery of bacteria and viruses. When the unknown has become known we haven’t found an intelligent agent.

    The attribution of disease and sickness to unintelligent, nonliving agents was no more successful than the evil spirit hypothesis.

    Only when we realized that life could exist in smaller forms than we could see did we make advances. The idea that tiny animals too small for the naked eye to see could cause practically all disease probably would have seemed more “magical” a hypothesis to an ancient doctor than the mechanical hypothesis. It would have been as preposterous as believing in little sickness fairies, or miniscule disease goblins.

  25. “The story of or belief in Helios did nothing to stop the ancients from looking at the motion of the sun from an engineering standpoint.”

    That’s fine; my point was that the expected intelligent agent was not found.

    “The attribution of disease and sickness to unintelligent, nonliving agents was no more successful than the evil spirit hypothesis.”

    There are probably lots of failed models of disease out there, but none of the ones considered today to be successful include non-human intelligent agents.

    “The idea that tiny animals too small for the naked eye to see could cause practically all disease probably would have seemed more “magical” a hypothesis to an ancient doctor than the mechanical hypothesis. It would have been as preposterous as believing in little sickness fairies, or miniscule disease goblins.”

    Well said, and you make my point. These tiny animals were past examples of what I referred to above as “other forces or factors of which we have not yet dreamt.” The long history of agent-based explanations being supplanted by non-agent-based explanations explains why people today keep looking for models that do not include agents even when a non-agent model might need to be seemingly “magical.”

    BTW, I am not saying that anyone has proven that no non-human intelligent agent has ever affected the history of life or of the cosmos. I’m also not saying that the ID position is rejected merely out of historical bias.

  26. I’m sorry if I misunderstood you, Freelurker. I just wanted to drive home these points:

    1) Belief in a deity, no matter how irrational it may seem, is not an automatic “science stopper”, as illustrated by my Helios example.

    2) Science that automatically rejects undetected beings in its hypotheses can be just as wrong as a set of “fairy tale” beliefs.

    3) Science is advanced only by seeing beyond currently accepted models, not by holding onto them as if they were religious dogma.

  27. “1) Belief in a deity, no matter how irrational it may seem, is not an automatic “science stopper”, as illustrated by my Helios example.”
    I agree. My favorite discussion of this is here.

  28. My link above doesn’t work. This is the article: A Philosophical Premise of ‘Naturalism’? by Mark Isaak.
    [http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/naturalism.html]

    BTW, angryoldfatman, no apology is necessary; thank you for letting me know where I was not being clear.

  29. [...] The design revolution continues [...]

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