Questions for Intelligent Designers

I’ve posted several questions that ID proponents always run away from in other blog posts and various forums, so I thought I might consolidate them in one place.

If any pro-ID person wishes to answer them, I could be persuaded to post the response. Please understand that handwaving, “that’s not relevant”, non-answers, links to non-peer-reviewed material, and the like will not be considered answers.

If any pro-science person wishes to add to the list, post in the comments and, if there are several, I’ll update the post itself.

Part of the reason for this is that ID proponents demand levels of detail and knowledge from science that they refuse to provide about their own theory.  Often, they demand that scientists disprove them, when they have failed to even show that their notion is even possible.

Questions after the break in 3… 2… 1…

  1. Can you distinguish a non-designed thing from a designed thing of the same class and size?
  2. If so, please describe the process in detail (such that anyone with high school algebra skills will be able to copy your work) and include your success rate over multiple trials (you have done this multiple times right?).  If you need to practice, I can provide blind or (probably) double-blind examples for you to work with.
  3. Please describe, in a sufficient amount of detail (see the graphics here for examples) the history of life on Earth.  Be sure to include points where the designer acted.
  4. Provide unambiguous evidence for #3 above.
  5. Explain how to calculate complexity, include process, units of measure, and examples.
  6. From #5 above, what values indicate design?  Why?
  7. From #5 above, what values indicate non-design?  Why?
  8. Explain how to calculate the information content of an organic system.  (Include a sufficiently detailed description so that your readers will know that you understand the difference between information and meaning.)
  9. From #8 prove mathematically that evolution cannot increase the information content.
  10. What/Who is the designer(s)?  What is the evidence for this?
  11. What are the designers’ limits?  (whole universe, just Earth, just life, just meddling in some life?)  What is the evidence for this?
  12. When did the designer(s) first act?  What is the evidence for this?
  13. When did the designer(s) last act?  What is the evidence for this?
  14. What did the designer(s) do when he/she/it last acted? What is the evidence for this?
  15. Given that non-intelligent sources can be responsible for complexity, why must the designer be intelligent (especially considering the poor design choices made in living things)?
  16. Given that non-intelligent sources can be responsible for irreducibly complex systems, why are IR systems considered to be evidence for design?
  17. Given that the diversity of life needs to be explained, please describe a lesson plan of 3-5 days in length that explains how you would teach Intelligent Design to a high school biology class.  Because of Texas law, you must include a minimum of 40% lab time (1 day for a three-day unit and 2 days for a 5 day unit).  This lab must show, unambiguously, that ID works.
  18. What are the principles of Intelligent Design?  Include in your answer evidence that the leaders of the ID movement don’t know what they are talking about when they unambiguously say that ID is religion.
  19. What are some of the tools developed by or because of ID principles?
  20. How do they work and what do they do?
  21. Why do no biology based businesses use ID principles in their work?
  22. Why are there no research labs working on ID?
  23. Why do ID proponents push for ID in high schools, instead of providing the evidence that supports ID so that it will be accepted everywhere?
  24. Why do Pro-Intelligent Design bills push for an examination of the “controversial nature” of evolution, but not Newton/Einstein or String Theory/Loop Quantum Gravity or Dark Matter/MOND (which are way more controversial?  Add to this why, often, stem cells, human cloning, and global warming are included, but the ones I mentioned above are not.
  25. How do the predictions and/or observations differ in a significant way from what evolutionary theory and other sciences predict or observe.  In your answer, be sure to provide that you know enough about what the real version of evolutionary theory is, don’t use the strawman version that you or someone else made up to specifically attack evolution.
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10 Responses to Questions for Intelligent Designers

  1. Wolfhound says:

    You think any of them will actually meet your challenge? Yeah, who’s REALLY living in fantasy land, Evo Boy? ;)

  2. Eugen says:

    Holy mama!

    You are a tough customer.

  3. ogremkv says:

    Eugen, why? It’s what would be expected of a scientist offering the same claim.

    I can answer all of those questions using evolutionary theory as a base. No one has ever been able to answer them using Intelligent Design as a base.

    I freely admit that some of the answers for these questions would be tentative and I’m willing to accept tentative answers from an ID proponent, provided that they can provide further information about possible predctions, observations, and/or experiments that would support or refute their tentative hypotheses.

  4. Eugen says:

    Did Designer use nano tweezers to manipulate molecules? I don’t even know how to imagine that ,especially not to model, prove or convince somebody.

    Small talk.
    You mentioned Chutlu once. Did you read any Lovecraft’s books ,are they any good?

  5. ogremkv says:

    Yeah, the mind boggles at how it might be done. On the other hand, if it was done, then there should be evidence of it. I mean, we can find a crater buried under 65 million years of sediment. We can nearly watch proteins fold in real time. Why can’t we find a single bit of evidence for something happening as the result of a designer?

    I haven’t read lovecraft. I have read a lot about them. Personally, I don’t like much of the writing of that time period (pre-1950). I am interested in the concepts and the ideas, so I read the modern analysis of older works like that.

    I use Chutlu (or the flying spagetti monster or thor or whatever) as a silly replacement for ‘god’.

  6. Eugen says:

    Hi Ogre

    Same here, I read about Lovecraft but not his books. It looks interesting but there is only so much time to do anything including reading.

    Evolution makes sense when you “zoom out” and get a big picture. Evidence fits , transitions flow smoothly. Predictions are confirmed. Biologists are having well deserved, long careers. Few small issues here and there but overall solid. Great picture for me 2 years ago.

    After reading a few articles in Science Daily about cell mechanisms involving nano machines I was shocked. What? What’s going on here? These are suposed to be just chemicals! I could not believe it. That is the key question for me Ogre, are these bio-chem assemblies machines?

    Big questions re. ID, it’s philosophy, science etc I’ll leave for experts.

  7. ogremkv says:

    Eugen, that last is a very good question. I have taken a general course in biochemistry and when I left that class I was absolutely shocked that ANYTHING in ANY cell actually worked. Just the process of replicating DNA is so fraught with peril it’s amazing that organisms can reproduce at all. When you get to that level, you are totally right, it’s stunning, confusing, awe inspiring all at the same time.

    The machines part… if you mean machines in the classic science sense, a device that converts energy into work, then yes. Some of these cellular structures are machines (flagella, ion pumps, cytoskeleton, etc.).

    The problem comes from the connotations that the word ‘machine’ has. That is something developed by a designer to accomplish a specific function. This, I do not believe is the case with cellular (or any biological) systems.

    A few months ago, I had a rather long painful discussion with an ID proponent who wanted me to agree that DNA was a code. His entire argument was that DNA was a code. Codes are only known to be developed by intelligence. Therefore ID is right.

    First of all, the logic in that is pretty twisted. He used a number of fallacies, not the least of which is false dichotomy and assumption of the point he’s trying to prove. Further, his ‘logic’ is based on an analogy for something that is exceedingly difficult to understand.

    When biologists say that proteins are machines and cells are factories and DNA is a blueprint… those are analogies that are used in teaching (very, very) basic concepts to those that might not understand exactly what’s going on. As a teacher, I’ve used those same analogies. Once the student has a lot more education under their belt, it becomes obvious to them that the analogies are flawed. Instead they start thinking about the proteins as proteins and DNA as DNA. There’s much less chance for ambiguity and mistaken interpretations that way.

    So for Sciencedaily or a high school level text book or a popular book on cells/DNA/etc, you will find a lot of these kinds of analogies. When you start looking at the actual mechanics of what’s going on in the flagellum (for example, but this applies to everything) and how MotA uses ATP to cause MotB to temporarily bend resulting in a step-wise motion around another protein that’s the core of the flagellum (I am going from memory here, any resemblance to an actual flagellum is purely luck on my part) resulting in a spinning motion, you stop thinking of it as a designed machine and start realizing that it is just another very complex system… like a hurricane for example… that natural forces have produced. Especially once you find out that the core of some bacterial flagella uses the same proteins, albeit modified slightly, that are in the Type III Secretory System. And that flagella without MotA can work just fine (if slower) and that even flagella with critical mistakes still act as secretion points. It gets even more interesting when you find out that there are more than 40 types of bacterial flagella and proteins that are critical in some are totally missing from others. Plus, there’s a nested hierarchy of bacterial flagella, just like we find in mammal species.

    So, the details of evolution, the principles, the processes, still work. Even at the protein level.

    BTW: I’m about halfway through my RNA replicator post. It should be up in a few hours. Which will result in more questions than answer probably, but that’s the way science is.

  8. Eugen says:

    Neo is little less full of himself :)
    I’m so busy today. I ‘ll check in tomorrow.

  9. Eugen says:

    Ogre, I’m glad we share amazement about cell biochemical processes. So far, I only learned about few in detail and each one leaves me stunned. I could go on and on with my mechanistic explanations but this is not a time.
    When cell processes are considered mechanistically the whole new set of possibilities open up. Most interesting field right now is bio informatics but the best mix IMHO would be someone with degree in biology and robotics/automation ( my field ) or biology/electronic communications.
    I have the faintest taste of possibilities when combining two fields at my level of education. Of course, being layman in biology. Ideas are completely “out of the box” but that happens when you combine the two. Something new and unexpected emerges.

    All this has nothing to do with religion. For ex. I’m religious but also realistic about it. Recently I was put in moderation on UD when I disagreed with somebody talking about eternity. I posted how eternity is a long time so it may get boring and when I get bored I start bugging people. Therefore I may end up in trouble. Well I don’t know about trouble in eternity but I got in trouble at UD.

  10. ogremkv says:

    yeah, UD is like that. There are two 10,000 post threads and a third almost full here: http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=4d7adbfc1a54b47c;act=SF;f=14

    About how UD bans users, and deletes and modifies posts.

    Unfortunately, ID, in its present form, is inherently religious. In fact, the designer must be a deity or the whole thing breaks down into ‘who designed the designer’. Which results in either a deital designer or evolution at some point, but not now.

    That all being said, I agree with you that multi-disciplined approaches seem to work best when dealing with certain aspects of cellular structures.

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