Friday, August 24, 2007

Delusion XIII - Design Defined

Design - To plan out in systematic, usually graphic form.

Before having children, I planned what they were going to look like. I chose a partner knowing what I wanted the children to be like. I had their early childhood education planned out quite in advance. Hey presto! I'm a genetic engineer!

That is what I think when people say "look at the wonderful things this or that person designed" Sure he designed a 747, but there was a very similar looking 707 mass-produced before it, and other planes before that. All the designer is doing is putting in a mutation to a design already available, testing it thoroughly (discarding failed species) over and over again (through multiple un-noticed generations) In fact, if there was a God, that is exactly the process of design one would expect. He couldn't have come up with a human without extensive experimentation with primates etc. etc. Evolution is *exactly* the analagous process of design to how humans come up with new designs in their sphere.

eg. Page 157 "2 The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself. In the case of a man-made artefact such as a watch, the designer really was an intelligent engineer.It is tempting to apply the same logic to an eye or a wing, a spider or a person."

This is a bad analogy - Sure, the engineer does have to be intelligent, but a fancy design of a watch has to be seen in the context of there existing an extensive watch industry. The first wristwatch was some clever engineer thinking of putting a strap onto a pocket watch. The first pocket watch was just a scaled down clock. The first clock was funny shaped stick placed in the sun etc. If you correctly transfer this analogy to the need for God to design a fancy wing, one must have it in the context of wing genes being spread through the population already. The clever designer saw something goodlooking in the flight of some cute bird :) and sought to kill off some of other lesser birds, and procreate that one.


Dr. Clam said...

I'm not sure I believe your genetic engineering story. :P

Personally, I am against family planning in all its forms and have been happy to have a spin of the genetic roulette wheel to see what came up. And my ideas for my children's education have only congealed properly once it was too late, rather like the Tristapaedia...

Marco said...

I don't know if you or Winstoninabox accept this point. When creationists (and Atheists) think of God's creation, it is instantaneous and miraculous. Analagous complex human-designed artefacts have precedents with extensive blueprints available. Creation via evolution with a Spinozan-style God/Nature is clearly the correct lesson of apparent "design".

Dr. Clam said...

Yes, I think I do accept your point, though I would not say "the correct lesson". The evidence is clearly consistent with directed or unidirected evolution. I reject 'design' as you outline it on moral grounds, rather than scientific grounds, because it would make God too wicked.

Marco said...

Strange. What you see as wickedness, I see as design flaws. Then again, I've always accepted "God/Nature"'s perfection (in a moral as well as design sense) as just a close approximation to reality - Just as Newtonian physics is accurate with exceptions associated with Einsteinian physics, a deterministic absolute morality is accurate in almost all practical cases. I don't think human design is as "directed" as almost everybody else makes out. Maybe it is my experience with clothing design that has corrupted my view :).