Talk:Argument from poor design

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Untitled[edit]

  • It appears the merger has been completed. Can I removed this tag? Kerowyn 03:50, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Merge[edit]

As suggested by User:duncharris, I have merged the article "poor design" into this one. Except for additional creationist arguments, most of the text was redundant, and except for the blind-spot example, all of the examples were, in my understanding of the argument, not apropos:

  • Overproduction of estrogen and testosterone is not a species-wide design feature, as are all examples typically considered to be "bad design."
  • Elbow caps, limb regrowth, and infinite life would seem to be part of the "argument from lack of infinitely-perfect design," not the "argument from bad (or poor) design."--Johnstone 01:59, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Isn't that what the prefix "omni-" means? The argument is that an omniscient, omnipotent creator wouldn't make mistakes. ANY mistakes, not just mistakes you think are important. --Llewdor 19:42, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
And Swift would argue that infinite life is poor design. 213.48.182.7 22:09, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Logical fallacy[edit]

We need to point out that this argument is fallacious, although a humourous repost to argument from design, otherwise it implies that the argument from design is logical, which it isn't. Dunc_Harris| 20:15, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

What's not logical about it? Philip J. Rayment 17:18, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Barbara Shack 14:30, 8 December 2005 (UTC)Looks like the logical fallacly has been pointed out. It seems to me the article is now neutral.

The argument is logically valid.
If X then Y
~Y
Ergo: ~X
It is a basic Modus tollens. X = All Powerful, Perfect, Creator God. Y = Make Perfect Design.
It seems to be a perfectly sound argument that contradicts the core of the argument from design. If this argument is correct it means that the argument from design is automatically false. Thus, it does not suggest the argument from design is logical, rather it necessitates that it is flawed. Tat 11:18, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Watchmaker analogy has examples[edit]

Watchmaker analogy has some examples of "bad design" better than the ones already here. I'm not sure which would be appropriate, however. --AySz88^-^ 00:09, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Arguments against[edit]

I have removed the following text as an argument against:

Finally, it is a bit incongruous to argue that life is imperfectly designed, when humans create only imperfect works.

I think it is a bit of a non-sequiteur as humans are perfect, whereas the general conception of God is that of a perfect being. There are certainly better arguments against already listed. I make mention of it here because I may have missed the point, and if somebody wants to reinstate it, I would reqeust that they reword it. Conrad Leviston 02:57, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

As an argument regarding God[edit]

Almost half of what is under this header on the article page looks as if it belongs higher up in the article (thus proving poor design does not indicate no designer, rather design by committee :) ). I think this article needs major structural changes, but as I am a little bemused by some of the distinctions and arguments made on this page I am probably not the person to do it. What do others think? (unsigned)


I have removed the following sentence:

"We can know what God is like to a certain extent, but ultimately we cannot know everything about him because he is, by definition, a being superior to us, and who necessarily exists on a higher plane than we."

...because it breaks the line of thought and style. I feel that if it has to be there, it should be revised from a NPOV. Koornti (talk) 09:41, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Weasel words[edit]

Suggest that contributors wishing to insert a "Weasel words" template in the article should make a case, since I don't think it belongs. --Vjam 16:48, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

"Some creationists respond that the argument is non sequitur, because it is comparable to arguing that the poor design of the Ford Pinto means that the Pinto was not designed."

"Some creationists" is an instance of weasel words, because the creationists who are making these claims are not attributed. For all we know, "some creationists" may refer to the next-door neighbors of whoever wrote that into the article. There are other examples throughout the article, you are free to seek them out yourself.—jiy (talk) 16:54, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Hi Jiy. I've removed the reference to "some creationists". I'd agree that the section isn't written in the best NPOV style available. However, on balance, I would be more concerned that adding a weasel words tag here might look like poisoning the well, given the potentially controversial nature of the topic.
I'd suggest that the tag should not be used without a talk item identifying alleged weasel words to they can be removed or otherwise dealt with as appropriate.
Please note that weasel words are not generally considered to have occurred (please don't ask me to cite authors ;)) where a point is uncontroversial, where the belief in question is what is under discussion (likely to be the case in a section entitled "criticism"), or (where quantification is the issue) where the number of opinion- holders is too numerous to quantify. See Wikipedia: Avoid weasel words.
Thanks --Vjam 17:20, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

A version of this argument[edit]

I heard a version of this argument a long time ago used to refute benevolent God. It went something like this (IIRC):

1. Omnipotent God could create perfect organisms
2. Organisms, including human, are not perfect (eg. organisms can die, trip, fall ill, fight with each other, etc...)
3. Therefore God is not benevolent.

- G3, 04:57, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

This argument is not valid or sound. An omnipotent god could create imperfect organisms. If you can do anything you can add flaws to something. Premise two is correct. The conclusion is a non sequitur. For example, God could be impotent. This would resolve the issues with the argument. Furthermore, there is no reason to assume that humans were created by this god. The argument would need to be tweaked to actually fit: An omnipotent benevolent creator god (who created us) would create us to be perfect. Organisms, including humans, are not perfect. Therefore, God is not omnipotent, benevolent, or did not create us. -- If sound, the conclusion follows. One could argue against soundness, that the first or second premises don't follow. That a benevolent omnipotent creator god wouldn't create perfect things; I'm not sure what this argument would look like but it would make the argument unsound. Second, somebody could say that organisms are perfect. This would be pretty nutty, but it would also resolve the argument by removing soundness. These resolutions, reject premise 1, reject premise 2 -- If neither premise is rejected then God is either not-omnipotent, not-benevolent, or not-creator. One should also note that this fixed argument is the argument given in the article, these are *all* of the proper resolutions to the given argument. In short, your version is crap. Tat 11:38, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Examples[edit]

Maybe someone should remove the argument about "Junk"-DNA, since it is still much unknown about this feature of life. There are some indications that noncoding DNA really is of most importance to many organisms, especially in regulating mechanisms. And it certainly is a source of new genes by random mutation. Though I think ID-people wont like this reason to remove the argument:)

Arguments are listed because they are made, not because they are valid. And please sign your contributions. -- Jibal 08:43, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
If an arguement is invalid, then it should say so, or else the article is conveying false information. This is an encyclopedia. It should have true information, no matter what. RJRocket53 (talk) 19:16, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Noncoding != Junk. Junk != Noncoding. [1] Tat 11:40, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I remember seeing commercials for the Chevrolet Silverado pickup a few years back. The commercial showed the truck running through heavy dirt and was shown driving in slow motion. I noticed that the hood on the truck was bouncing up and down slightly.

I said to my brother, "That truck sucks. It's so poorly put together that the hood is loose and bouncing up and down."

After all, that sounds logical, right? Have you ever opened and closed the hood of your vehicle, and notice it able to move at all when closed?

Unfortunately, I was wrong with my observation. He said if the hood didn't bounce, it would eventually break off. It has to be able to give a little, just like your suspension, or otherwise it would break too easily. Since he is an auto mechanic, I'll take his word for it.

The point that I am making is, is that as a non-mechanic, I looked at this as bad design or manufacturing, not knowing any better and jumping to conclusions.

Richard Dawkins in The Blind Watchmaker on page 93, said he would never "wire" the retina of vertebrates backwards, as this would be bad or perhaps inefficient design. If we were to stop here like he did, and just accept this as evidence of bad design so as to rule out God, we would be guilty of not practicing science. Yet, it appears that is what he wants us to do.

I find it hypocritical that evolutionists often make such claims as "Creationists would have us abandon science and give up," while it seems they do the same thing when it comes to bad design.

We can do research, employ the scientific method, and see how while it may be a more complex design, it helps with UV radiation damage, helps you not go blind for weeks after being exposed to a flash from a camera, serves as a heat sink, and others. For example, have you ever noticed it takes some time to adjust from a dark room to a light room? This is because how much light can reach your eyes is partly determined by how much blood flows through those vessels. This is partly why there is much more blood flow than what is actually needed to give your eye oxygen. If it were just your iris doing this, you could adjust within a split second to a change in light, but you notice it takes about 20 seconds to fully adjust.

This page also states having "The existence of the pharynx, a passage used for both ingestion and respiration, with the consequent drastic increase in the risk of choking." Well, if both were separate, and say, we ate with our mouth and breathed with your nose, we couldn't smell food when chewing thus losing our enjoyment of eating (like what happens when you have a stuffed nose due to sickness such as a cold). Or, you couldn't talk since this requires you to expel air through your voice box, out your mouth. Ever try talking through your nose? Also, do you breathe only through your nose while exercising (in fact, even though you have your mouth open to breathe, you are taking in air through your mouth and nose. Put your hand on your nose with your mouth open and feel for yourself)? While it is true that it would prevent choking, it seems that they would not explore the other problems solved by this "defective" design.

Another point about the vitamin-C deficiency:"Thus, higher animals are mostly unable to return to a purely "vegetarian" lifestyle; while conservation of such pathway genes is of no apparent cost to the animal." I thought humans can be purely vegetarian. All the amino acids you need can come from soybeans. Is the fact that we cannot make all the amino acids also bad design?

Second, if a random mutation caused this, wouldn't natural selection have favored against loosing these traits? Wouldn't humans clearly survive better if we could make vitamin-C and not suffer the effects of its absence? Why did it fail in this case? So either:

1. It is bad design, coming forth from a bad mutation, but which should not have been allowed to survive due to natural selection, which means that the very fact this bad design came into existence means natural selection failed its job. And if it failed here, what next? Can we believe Richard Dawkins who argues that natural selection and gene duplication could make the eye as complex and feature rich as it did over millions of years, yet couldn't keep a beneficial trait found in lower organisms? The very presence of the pseudogene supports this coming from a mutation and nothing else, showing that a family of primates lost the ability to make vitamin-C while others kept it. Or...

2. It is a loss of a beneficial trait, thus bad design, but natural selection did not favor against its demise, thus doing its job, since it would not be detrimental to life. But if that is the case...

3. We cannot call this bad design since it causes no hardship since humans can readily eat citrus fruit and thus it should not be an example of bad design in the first place.

4. We simply do not know all the facts yet as to why this is the case, and cannot reliably conclude this is really evidence for/against naturalistic evolution or creation. As Michael Behe pointed out:

"The peril of negative arguments is that they may rest on our lack of knowledge, rather than on positive results. The contention that unintelligent processes can account for complex biological functions should, to the extent possible, be supported by positive results, rather than by intuitions of what no designer would do. Hirotsune et al’s (3) work has forcefully shown that our intuitions about what is functionless in biology are not to be trusted." Source: http://www.arn.org/docs2/news/behepseudogene052003.html

And in the other article about plants not being 100% dark, the author of that page ends with something important to think about,"Why aren't plants black? Try creating an entire universe from scratch, and you might find the answer." Source: http://www.rae.org/perfect.html

The point being made "Other critics argue that if these design failures are the deliberate products of an intelligent designer, then the designer must be either inept or sadistic," is somewhat true. God is perfect and would never do it any other way, but, he never designed us to be perfect without him. Why this is not sadistic though, is that Adam and Eve chose to disobey, knowing full well that independence from God meant death. They knew what death was since animals never had everlasting life.

That is just my opinion here and my contribution to this page for discussion. Good arguments are made in the criticism section. But, here is my question to post for the criticism section and what I feel is the bottom line: You can intentionally make things work to be dependent on other systems, just as it appears that primates need to get our vitamin-C from fruit, and since God made both at the same time, no real problem exists in this example. Natural selection however, is supposed to make things better and select against bad traits. Saying it can cherry-pick and allow bad traits to come in to explain bad design is inconsistent in how it works, and no law can be inconsistent when it feels like it. You don't see the law of gravity cherry pick who it brings to the ground, even when it would benefit the person by saving their life, do you?

Sprockkets (talk) 09:04, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

A poor defense for teleology in the guise of a scientifically sound criticism.
Our retina structure "helps with UV radiation damage" - please elaborate and source. "Helps you not go blind for weeks after being exposed to a flash from a camera" - how so? "serves as a heat sink" - it wasn't my impression that the area around the eye produced alot of heat, please source. "This is because how much light can reach your eyes is partly determined by how much blood flows through those vessels" - please source, light enters the eye through the size of the iris, which is controlled by muscles (obviously they can't do this within a "split second" - it takes about a second, and then the extra adjustment time is more likely due to the time taken for retina cells to adjust in response to a different intensity of light). And please explain how the possibility of blood flow through our eye blood vessels is related in any way to the structure of our retina, preferrably in a compare-and-contrast style to an eye structure different from ours (e.g. the octopus).
"Well, if both were separate, and say, we ate with our mouth and breathed with your nose, we couldn't smell food when chewing thus losing our enjoyment of eating" - Incorrect. We can't breathe through our nose when we are chewing, we can only minimally smell the food becuase the pharynx connects the airways and food passages, allowing vapours from the food we're chewing to reach the nose. If the breathing and food passages were separate, we could chew and breathe through our nose simultaneously, allowing us to sniff the food while chewing, allowing a stronger food smell and arguably giving a better taste experience.
"Or, you couldn't talk since this requires you to expel air through your voice box, out your mouth" - there's many ways of achieving a purpose. Humans could have been 'designed' to have two mouths, one for breathing and one for eating, guarding against choking once and for all. You're just lacking imagination :P
"Also, do you breathe only through your nose while exercising (in fact, even though you have your mouth open to breathe, you are taking in air through your mouth and nose. Put your hand on your nose with your mouth open and feel for yourself)?" - strictly not correct, optimal design would have us grow hairs in our mouths just like in our noses to warm and moisten the air before it flows into our lungs. This is why we preferentially breathe through our noses when we do not exercise, because breathing through the mouth is not as comfortable. We only breathe through the mouth during exercise because of the large rate of breathing demand which the nose alone cannot fulfil.
"Another point about the vitamin-C deficiency:"Thus, higher animals are mostly unable to return to a purely "vegetarian" lifestyle; while conservation of such pathway genes is of no apparent cost to the animal." I thought humans can be purely vegetarian. All the amino acids you need can come from soybeans." - there seems to be logical contradictions here, food from animals is supposed to be lacking in vitamin C, not vegetables. I think you're mistaken, vitamin C is not an amino acid. Higher animals are mostly unable to return to a purely vegeterian lifestyle because of the lack of certain amino acids which many plants as food do not provide. Primates cannot produce vitamin C and therefore many are omnivores, needing to consume plants as well as other animals. Note: higher animals are MOSTLY unable to return to a purely vegetarian lifestyle. Humans are a subset of higher animals. You can't equate humans with higher animals, and while humans can become purely vegetarian, there are many higher animals whose digestive system cannot cope with non-animal foodstuffs, see any detailed source about carnivores' digestive systems. And besides, using your argument about food enjoyment, who can really survive on a diet consisting entirely of soybeans? The foods you can make with soybeans are limited (and some people are allergic to soy protein).
"Second, if a random mutation caused this, wouldn't natural selection have favored against loosing these traits? Wouldn't humans clearly survive better if we could make vitamin-C and not suffer the effects of its absence?" Incorrect. For this argument to be valid you would also have to assume that the primates back then who lost the ability to make vitamin C were also suffering of vitamin C deficiency. Obviously there was plenty of vitamin C back when this mutation happened, and as such this ability to produce vitamin C was no longer useful and possibly energetically unfavourable (requiring the production of proteins which were not used). Losing the ability to produce vitamin C was therefore obviously not detrimental to survival in any way.
Note: Michael Behe has yet to come up with a complex biological function which an unintelligent process can't do.
Note: Why aren't plants black? should be a question scientists are asking creationists, not the other way around. This whole debate is on poor design, and thus non-black plants cannot utilise energy from all across the electromagnetic spectrum. Evolution is by definition, not perfect; however your god's creations should be perfect. So, why aren't plants black?
"The point being made "Other critics argue that if these design failures are the deliberate products of an intelligent designer, then the designer must be either inept or sadistic," is somewhat true. God is perfect and would never do it any other way, but, he never designed us to be perfect without him. Why this is not sadistic though, is that Adam and Eve chose to disobey, knowing full well that independence from God meant death. They knew what death was since animals never had everlasting life." - You are postulating an answer that is unfalsifiable, and therefore your answer is unscientific.
"I admit design is imperfect."
"Therefore god must not have designed us to be perfect without him."
"Therefore any imperfections are caused by The Fall of Adam and Eve."
This sort of answer does nothing to advance our knowledge of biology. You are making these religious assumptions then interpreting all available results with these assumptions.130.216.218.74 (talk) 04:42, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

NPOV tag[edit]

I think the NPOV tag was added due to use of 'weasel words' and I've made some related edits. At root the problem is a lack of sources which leads to the fallback 'some critics say' wording so I've added a {{unreferenced|date=August 2006}} tag instead. As a passing note, I suggest using the NPOV tag rather than just the category since readers of the article deserve to know up front if there is potential bias in the article. Antonrojo 00:21, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Accuracy Tag[edit]

Some background on this would be helpful. The tag was added with the comment 'adding "factual accuracy" tag: the 'argument from poor design' is usually a counterargument to an argument FOR God, not itself a general-use argument AGAINST God, per se'. In what context is this 'usually' the case? Antonrojo 02:38, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

All contexts. The argument from poor design is a specific response to the argument from design (i.e., the teleological argument), and thus a counterargument to an argument for God; that's not the same thing as an "argument against God", and can only be considered one in the loosest possible sense. "Argument from poor design" is no more an "argument against God" than a refutation or criticism of Pascal's wager is an "argument against God"; it might deconstruct certain people's rationales for believing in God, but it's not an attempt to show that "Deities can't exist if life is poorly-designed", as the current article repeatedly claims (a non sequitur, since only certain conceptions of God or gods require that the Creation be optimal: hence "argument from poor design" is only functional as an anti-teleological argument, not a general-usage "there can't be a God" argument). Someone could fully accept the examples of "poorly-designed" entities while still being a theist, just as one could accept the counter-arguments for the ontological argument without renouncing God. -Silence 02:53, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Criticism.[edit]

There is a major problem in the criticism section.

"Greater energy efficiency in plants would result in damaging chemical reactions" is critical to the comment that "Photosynthetic plants that reflect green light, even though the sun's peak output is at this wavelength. A more optimal system of photosynthesis would use the entire solar spectrum, thus resulting in black plants." -- It's not true. There is no reason at all to assume that this would result in damaging chemical reactions, it would result in more sugar. I looked around for a while to see if anybody ever argued this and came up with nothing. This comment seems to be pulled out of somebody's ass. In fact, a number of comments in that little paragraph were just invented, and the rest are stock creationist argument.

If a creationist argument is factually flawed should it still be given, or given and refuted? What about the other criticisms which are non-sequiturs themselves? Is it an honest criticism that the argument makes an assumption, when it states the fact that it assumed these in an assumptions section?

Does an argument which fails to even understand the argument and invents an incorrect conclusion and calls the argument a straw man (the irony!) really qualify as a criticism? It doesn't argue that there is no design, it argues that, if design exists, it's really poor.

And from the other side, we can't delete the entire criticism section because it's all extremely weak, misguided, and factually inaccurate. Can we? Tat 11:04, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

"If a creationist argument is factually flawed should it still be given, or given and refuted?" - It should be given if it is a noteworthy creationist argument from a valid source. It should be refuted if there is a noteworthy refutation of it from a valid source. WP:NOR forbids us from contributing to the debate ourselves, no matter how good our ideas may be; we can only report on the ongoing discussion as a tertiary source. It is our job to provide readers with the facts and let them decide what to believe or not; it is not our job to judge the various arguments on our own, though we can certainly report on noteworthy sources that have done so. -Silence 11:17, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
This would work out well for the arguments which are stock creationist arguments. I could actually dig up cites for those, as well as refutations. The thin air comments would need to just be deleted. Tat 11:46, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
criticisms should be to the point. There should not be a whole essay on a criticism. If one finds a flaw in critique, then it is either changed, kept, or deleted. An added paragraph is not nessesary. Somerset219 21:18, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

original reasearch[edit]

this article is mostly original research, which is agianst policy, either citations are put into place or in 3 days i will put this page up for deletion -ishmaelblues

A lot of the assertions are a bit dodgy (mainly the list of supposedly 'poor designs', but the correct course of action would be to clean it up (e.g. move the ones you feel are original research to the talk page). Deletion is only for articles where there is a question with the notability of an article, not just articles that are needing work in a certain area. Richard001 21:27, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Subluxations?[edit]

Forgive my ignorance, but do we want a reference to vertebral subluxations as an example here? I thought this was pure chiropractic stuff, but spinal conditions aren't really my strong point. Rat 21:47, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Prostate Gland[edit]

"In the human male, a portion of the urethra is surrounded by the prostate gland. If the prostate gland is enlarged for any reason, the urethra becomes impassable, making urination difficult and painful and in extreme cases impossible. Prior to modern surgical techniques, inability to urinate usually resulted in death."

I've removed this. While it is true that the urethra travels through the prostate, this is biologically useful. I'll summarise (mostly from here[2] but feel free to do your own research. The prostate: 1. surrounds the urethra which allows the prostate smooth muscle to control the normal flow of urine 2. secretes seminal fluid/semen into the urethra (to then mix with sperm) during orgasm. 3. also secretes fluid rich in chemicals and nutrients to help sperm survive in the female reproductive tract 4. forms a muscular sphincter at the neck of the bladder which tightens and closes, preventing urine from passing into the urethra during intercourse.

It's not logical to say that its bad design if it doesn't work when something goes wrong. You could equally say that the airway shouldn't go through the neck because if the neck/airway became enlarged for any reason, the airway could become blocked and the person would die. Tsumo@ 10:55, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

But then in all fairness, our airways are also used for swallowing. An accident waiting to happen. Not to mention that an omnipotent being should be capable of a third possibility, in which neither danger is present. --THobern 01:55, 10 April 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by THobern (talkcontribs)

Allah (the one and only God) created us as mortal being not as immortal beings... and we have the most beautiful design as a mortal.Doxtor Aeymon 11:28, 13 September 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aeymon (talkcontribs)

Criticism section[edit]

It is very strange to see that all the criticisms are answered. In neutral articles, arguments are in the article and criticisms are in the criticism section, which contains criticisms (not criticism-refusal constructions). What it happens is that the points of this section mainly refute the examples. This is strange and should be avoided: wrong examples should be deleted, wrong criticisms too.

I propose to rename this section to something like 'criticism of the examples above', and write a proper Criticism section containing criticism to the argument from poor design, in particular, to statements 1. and 2. (which in fact are controversial).Oriolpont 20:11, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

While I disagree with your assessment that criticism sections don't normally include responses to the criticism (I have seen many articles that are formatted that way), I agree that this criticism section is very sloppy. I see nothing wrong with briefly mentioning a published counter to a criticism, but the entire section reads like a back-and-forth - I think I even noticed some run-on sentences. It could definitely stand to be tidied up. - Drlight11 (talk) 01:06, 15 April 2009 (UTC)


Since it actually IS a back-and-forth, i'd at least format them in that way. I.e. show both sides arguments in blocks. 92.229.235.51 (talk) 15:52, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 03:46, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Appendix[edit]

Recent research has shown that it maybe not entirely useless, but nonetheless still suboptimal. --Deleet 22:53, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

That should be in the article, where's the citation? RJRocket53 (talk) 19:15, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
There are some here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermiform_appendix#Latest_Interpretation:_Maintaining_gut_flora --Deleet (talk) 22:41, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

perfection or imperfection[edit]

what means perfection? perfection means nor lack or surplus, means "balance" or union of the two opposites, if god created us only to live and not to death then that must be unballanced and then imperfect, life is just a side of the coin and death is the other side, a coin cannot have only 1 side, nothing can only have 1 side because all the entire universe is ruled by dualistic laws, even the atom is madded of opposite particles, therefore union cant exist without opposite things complementing each other, two males cant reproduce because they are same, they need the opposite, when you eat you need to defecate because it needs opposite, if exist day exist night, all is a circle and the mid point is called perfection. comment added by --mashaj 03:18, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

If perfection means "balance" or union of the two opposites, as you sad, show us where this is applied with God who is, by definition, perfect ¬¬

201.54.129.89 (talk) 12:01, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

The words "perfection" and "perfected" in a Biblical context has NOTHING to do with "balance". Rather, it means "complete" and "to be completed". So, something may be "perfect" in the sense of being "complete" although not necessarily "perfect" in the sense of being without error or without inefficiency. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 19:43, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Argument from poor design is anti-god or anti-intelligent design?[edit]

i would assume the poor design attacks intelligent design and not the existence of god. for the reasons that god can exist even if it is not part of the creation of human life from other organism. it could also attack religions that suggest the direct creation of human by god. but religion is not god itself, people needs to correct their understanding of god; things like the crusade, holy war doesn't exist in modern european society because their understanding has change, i hope the hardline church can one day understand that science is not capable of attacking god, just the church for their misguided believes on what is truely important. Akinkhoo (talk) 15:22, 16 February 2008 (UTC)


Is this a Book?[edit]

Is this a book? Or is it just a list of anti-God arguments. I know that wikipedia discourages lists of, reasons why...... Saksjn (talk) 14:35, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Panda's Thumb[edit]

I do not think Stephen J. Gould uses Panda's Thumb as an example for poor design, he rather uses it to demonstrate the indirectness of evolution. He does state in his original essay that panda's thumb does its job very well. It is creationists who reframe Gould's argument as an argument of poor design, so that they can use it as a strawman, since panda's thumb indeed does its job very well, and is not suboptimal in that sense. Therefore, I think that panda's thumb should be removed from the list of examples for poor design. Heapify (talk) 05:39, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

DNA self repair[edit]

If an x-ray photon strikes a DNA strand or ionises a local molecule causing a break in DNA it can self repair. Indeed unless DNA is broken in such a method within 4 base pairs it can self repair ergo whoever included DNA's inability to self repair needs to take a good look at themselves Barryferguson6 (talk) 10:41, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

It's an incomplete ability, though. Cancer, for example, is a massive stumbling block to anyone arguing that DNA's ability to self-repair is perfect. So, no, I don't believe that "whoever included DNA's inability to self repair needs to take a good look at themselves". dT 11:27, 22 November 2014 (UTC)

WP:V[edit]

Can anyone provide a reference identifying the concept of "argument from poor design"? I get the impression that this article is created of, by, and for Wikipedians, in response to the "argument from design" of intelligent design. I note that a google search for "argument from poor design" turns up no reliable sources discussing the topic. If this article does indeed violate WP:V, I intend to propose it for WP:AFD. Gnixon (talk) 05:27, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Added prod tag. Gnixon (talk) 15:38, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Try searching for "dysteleology". Merzul (talk) 01:08, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I'll do that now, but my reading of "dysteleology" was that it refers to a broader concept. Has the phrase "argument from poor design" been used outside of Wikipedia? Thanks for your attention to this article. Gnixon (talk) 01:10, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I find many references to "dysteleology," which already has an article on Wikipedia, but none on the first page of a Google search seem to use the phrase "argument from poor design." Gnixon (talk) 01:14, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
True, I only just noticed that there is an article on dysteleology. This should probably be merged with that article. I'm not sure. In any case, I'm not aware of any notable atheist philosopher, who argues this line. The closest to this that I can think of is (agnostic) Paul Draper's arguments about evil and evolution, but that's more about the wastefulness of the process. However, Dembski could be used as a reliable source that this line of reasoning is "often used". He states that it is often used before he rebuts it in his book, it's on google books if you want to check. Merzul (talk) 01:19, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I concur that a merge is probably the way to go, but I wonder how serious philosophers would feel about this intruding on the article. There seems to be evidence (e.g., Dembski) that people are countering ID with dysteleological arguments, but the existence of this article implies that there's a "thing" known as "the argument from poor design," much like there is in fact something known as the "argument from design" (I think). I mean, are there verifiably people out there saying "Oh yeah, he's using the argument from poor design"? I think the answer is No. Gnixon (talk) 01:36, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Must rename now[edit]

I'm going to take this article to AfD unless it gets renamed shortly. The phrases "argument from poor design" and "dysteleological argument" get zero hits on Google Scholar, and the only hits from Google Web derive from this article. Looie496 (talk) 21:53, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

dysteleological[edit]

I have removed the phrase "dysteleological argument" from the lede because, after a couple of hours researching this, I find that it means something different. It is used by numerous sources, but always in the sense of "the argument that God does not exist because the universe lacks meaning or purpose". I have not found any source that uses it in reference to suboptimal design of organisms. I don't object to adding it back if any source can be found that uses the phrase in this way -- although even in that case there should be a footnote to indicate that this is not the most common usage. Looie496 (talk) 19:00, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

I found, continuing to look into this, that Ernst Haeckel had used the word in a relevant way, and have added that information. Looie496 (talk) 21:32, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

sweaty armpits?[edit]

This one strikes me as pretty funny: The existence of apocrine sweat glands in the armpits. Unlike the sweat glands in all other parts of the body, the sweat glands in the armpits produce sweat that contains proteins and lipids. This causes yellowish stains on clothing, and also creates an odor when bacteria start to digest the proteins and lipids. No other sweat glands release proteins and lipids through sweat, and as a result, sweat from other parts of the body is virtually odorless. So the design is poor because it makes us smell bad? I've removed this from the list. Can perhaps be added back if properly sourced. Looie496 (talk) 21:05, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Photosynthetic plants[edit]

Photosynthetic plants that reflect green light, even though the sun's peak output is at this wavelength. A more optimal system of photosynthesis would use the entire solar spectrum, thus resulting in black plants. This is a weak argument unless a biochemical pathway is found that would use the entire spectrum. A much stronger argument would be possible, based on the fact that chloroplasts are actually modified bacteria, just as mitochondria are in animals -- surely a very inefficient way to build in a photosynthetic capability. But it would be OR to mention that without a source, and certainly the argument as it was written is too weak to keep without a source. Looie496 (talk) 21:05, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

dystrophin[edit]

The dystrophin gene is the largest ever found in nature — 2.4 million DNA base pairs; or 0.08 percent of the human genome. Its only known function is to inhibit muscular dystrophy; and such a large gene is highly susceptible to harmful mutations. This is inconsistent with the dystrophin article re function. Also, according to that article the protein product is only 3500 units long, so the bulk of the gene consists of introns, and it isn't clear how harmful a mutation at an intron is on average. There may be a valid argument in here somewhere, but it at least needs a source in order to be listed. Looie496 (talk) 21:19, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

rodent incisors[edit]

If rodents do not regularly wear down their incisors, which self-sharpen by chewing on wood, such upper and bottom teeth curl toward the rodents' skull. Bad argument. This happens because the teeth continuously grow; and continuous growth is useful because rodents commonly spend a lot of time chewing on hard things that wear down their teeth. In nature the growth almost never causes a problem, only in laboratory settings where rats/mice are fed by somebody who doesn't know that they need hard food. I'm deleting this one. Looie496 (talk) 21:32, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

I trashed like half the criticism section.[edit]

Starting to feel the other half should go too. Bad studies on pseudogenes and lies about the plantarus muscle. Now the section looks silly. Tat (talk) 14:57, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Appendix[edit]

The article claims the human appendix has no function, but a new theory suggests otherwise (Vermiform_appendix#Function). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.9.5.128 (talk) 01:15, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Logical Fallacy (This Argument is a Non-Sequitur)[edit]

This argument is logically fallacious. Consider the premise:

An omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent creator God would create organisms that have optimal design.

That premise is really an assumption which may or may not be true, and thus commits the Non sequitur (logic) fallacy. Why would such a God have to create organisms that have optimal design? The answer is that He doesn't. Rather, God could easily create organisms that served His purpose adequately yet were not optimally designed. And if one doesn't know God's purpose, then one can not make any judgments regarding how well, or poorly, that something was designed.

For example, let's say that I take a plain sheet of binder-paper and use a scissor to cut out a little paper shovel. I put the paper shovel down and leave the room. Someone else comes into the room, takes the paper shovel, goes outside and tries to shovel snow with it. Now, here's the question: Does that mean that the paper shovel was poorly designed? The correct answer is maybe.

If the paper shovel was intended to shovel snow, then it is a poor design. However, if my intention in creating the paper shovel was to use it in an art piece that included paper dolls shoveling snow at Christmas time, then it is adequately designed.

In other words, without knowing God's purpose for an organism, there is simply no way to determine if it was optimally, or even adequately, designed and thus the "argument from poor design" logically fails from the very beginning. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 18:25, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Certainly the argument is fallacious. Its point, as I understand it, is not to convince anybody that God does not exist, but to make it clear that the Argument from Design is fallacious in the same way. In any case, I think your criticism already is covered by the article, in the Unproven assumptions section. Regards, Looie496 (talk) 18:36, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Let me add, by the way, that I think a person with an extensive knowledge of theology could make some substantial improvements to this article. The Argument from Poor Design, I think, dates back to Babylonian times if not further, in the form of the Problem of Suffering -- why would an infinitely powerful God create a world that contains evil and pain? The Bible's own answer, I believe, appears in the Book of Job -- that whole book was basically written as a response to this problem. But if I added that information to this article, I would basically be inserting my own opinions -- I wouldn't be able to cite sources to back up these statements. Looie496 (talk) 19:01, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
If the point of this argument is merely to show that that argument from design is also fallacious, then it fails in that regard too. The argument from design is logical (although not provable) whereas the argument from poor design is simply logically unsound. Also, I missed the "Unproven assumptions" section, which is why I gave the "paper shovel" example above. The quote from the Book of Job, however, probably wouldn't be understood by most people, so I may modify my paper shovel example above a bit and insert it after the Job quotation (unless you think it is unnecessary). Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 19:50, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
The purpose of the article is to describe the argument (with sources). We don't also decide whether the argument is valid, and we do not insert our opinions. Johnuniq (talk) 23:53, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry Johnuniq, but you misunderstood what I'm getting at (perhaps I didn't word it properly?). I'm not asking if an argument is "valid" in the sense of being a good/bad or weak/strong argument. Rather, if an argument is logically fallacious, then the article is providing nonsensical information, or at the very least, misleading information. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 19:43, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
The book of Job obviously shows that god was a primitive human construct that is not capable of fitting into the moral standards of today. It is not a 'solution' to anything. People will gasp in horror if you let a man be tortured (when you could have stopped his suffering) by allowing him to obtain horrible diseases and allowing his family to be murdered in an effort to proclaim his undying loyalty to you. It is also inhuman to just replace his family with another one and proclaim 'they lived happily ever after', treating the death of his previous family as insignificant. It is also your own imagination that the argument from poor design is illogical. The argument from poor design is the attempt to explain the logical flaws of 'argument from design', and succeeded in doing so, which means, by your own standards, the argument from design is providing nonsensical or misleading information.130.216.218.74 (talk) 04:53, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

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All arguments?[edit]

All arguments from poor design are "an argument against the existence of God"?Tstrobaugh (talk) 22:45, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

What sort of answer are you hoping for? Looie496 (talk) 00:35, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Just a yes or no will do. Yes, all arguments from poor design are "an argument against the existence of God", or No, there are other arguments from poor design that have nothing to do with "an argument against the existence of God", and the article needs editing. Why would I "hope" for either a yes or no? I do "hope" and also follow through with action, that wikpedia articles are true and free from bias. How about you?Tstrobaugh (talk) 17:15, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
The term "argument from poor design" was invented by the people who wrote this article -- it's not clear to me exactly what it is supposed to mean. I nominated the article for deletion last year on the rationale that it constitutes original thinking, but the AFD was declined. I then took a shot at improving the presentation as best I could, based on Haeckel's writing, but I can't claim that I or anybody else can give an authoritative answer to your question. Regards, Looie496 (talk) 23:48, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Evidence of unintelligent design[edit]

I see this article focuses on the logical argument, although it has a good list of examples of evidence. Should a separate Evidence of unintelligent design exist that merely presents evidence of this nature? Then The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution could link to it, as the book covers this topic. Tayste (talk / contrib) 19:29, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

What would be the point of such an article? I mean, couldn't you just add to the list already in this article? Also, a person can quite easily be a theist and also accept evolution (see here) so I'm not sure what the point would be for a reference to Dawkins' book mentioned above. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 20:45, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
If nothing else it would be valuable to give references for the examples here using that book -- many of the examples here currently look like original thinking. Looie496 (talk) 21:35, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I have no problem with that. One must be careful, however, when using Dawkins as a source. He tends to mix his philosophy of atheism with science, and sometimes this results in Dawkins engaging in a diatribe, which is not what a wiki article is all about. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 05:26, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

material moved here from article because it needs more discussion[edit]

I have moved the following material here from the article because it needs discussion. I think there is useful material here, but it is too long and not presented in a sufficiently neutral way. There should be some liberality about what goes here, but this passes the bounds. At the very most it should be one-third as long; ideally shorter. I could take a shot at editing it myself, but it would be better if the editor who added it could rework it. Please bear in mind that this must be presented as a depiction of the views that some people hold -- it should not come across as an attempt to persuade readers. Looie496 (talk) 18:49, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Regarding this question, the following may be informative. The framework of this debate, as outlined, presumes that all engaged parties agree that we mortals, while uncertain as to the existence, let alone the personality or nature of "God," nevertheless do possess a relatively comprehensive understanding of any potential God, and have accordingly outlined the defining requirements of Godhood. Indeed, we comprehend and discern not only the logic, benevolence, art, elegance, etc. or lack thereof, in the physical composition and, if any, the design, of ourselves and of the rest of nature, but also (and this despite our above-asserted uncertainty) of His/Her/Its motivation in all Its creative activity; Her purpose in placing us here; what "here" is, and why, given a Grand-Scheme scenario; what He intends our purpose to be, both as individuals and as a whole, and what extra-existential, extra-mortal component(s) this does and/or does not include; the full extent, whether potential or certain, per Its design, of the eventual nature and state of our existence, both as mortals and otherwise; the physical or other composition and workings of our post-mortal bodies and of other "nature" with such as which we should exist post-mortally, etc.

In other words, the entire debate, as framed above, is fatally flawed by some inevitable presumptions,

  • The most basic of which is the existence of an exclusive and wholly shared set of assumptions across the board;
  • Notably, absolute common knowledge that life does not persist beyond the grave, or that, if it should, then that post-mortal existence could be of no particular interest or relevance to mortality; or perhaps more precisely: the framework admits neither the concept of eternal progress, nor the possibility for any significant interbearing between mortality and a pre- and/or post-mortal existence (scope of creation and existence);
  • That God must therefore reasonably intend for the temporal subsumption between birth and death of all that would be significant to an individual; or at least, that everything that affects a person (or, for that matter, an animal or a plant) during their mortal life must be contemporarily relevant and unambiguously interpretable within the context and bounds of that life (immediate transparency and self-evidence of everything);
  • This conceptually fixes – prematurely – the acceptable nature and scope of the design considerations admissible for ascription to divine intent;
  • Critically, then: the incompletely informed, garden-path reasoning of this circumscribed debate seems to demand a negative conclusion, viz., the impossibility of the existence of (a) God.

Whatever the facts may ultimately be regarding God, however; a valid determination cannot reasonably be made based on the arguments here presented – those for nor those against. Neither can they credibly serve as the valid underpinnings of a serious hypothesis.

Split into TWO - creationism vs theism[edit]

Argument from poor design against creationism IS logic, only because creationists use perfection as a proof of creationism !

Argument from poor design against god IS illogic, since god is not defined, its pointless to use God in a logical framework. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 202.92.35.71 (talk) 04:01, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, I don't understand what you are saying should be done. Looie496 (talk) 05:43, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Neutrality dispute[edit]

Someone please add a neutrality dispute tag to the top of this article; it looks like the Christians have been hard at work on this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.241.46.187 (talk) 14:02, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

Could you be more specific? IMO, we risk putting "needs more work" tags on every page. It would also help if you could find at least few good sources for the claims you want rebutted. If you find some qualified individuals/sources, I will write them in.-Tesseract2(talk) 15:48, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Right. I have numerous issues with this article, but I have even more issues with putting tags on the top of a page without any specific explanation of what problems they refer to. Looie496 (talk) 17:45, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Effects of the Curse[edit]

On the argument's premise that God would create organisms that have optimal design, there is an important objection not in the article. The objection is that the expectation of an optimal design is backwards, and that the following should actually be expected: While God initially created the world with optimal design, in response to the sin of man, he cursed the world intentionally making it sub-optimal to bring about death in judgement. Moreover, following the curse, God uses the effects of the non-optimal design to afflict his people for purpose of developing their character and drawing them closer to himself spiritually, such that the blessing far outweighs the harm.

I've seen this argument put forth formally in at least one place, but I don't remember where off hand. If this jogs someone's memory and you know a source, please update the article accordingly. Otherwise, I'll see if I can find a source when I get time. --Ed Brey (talk) 11:05, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

That would imply that God altered body designs subsequent to the expulsion from Eden, wouldn't it? Strikes me as a bit bizarre. Looie496 (talk) 15:31, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

Layout and the panda's thumb[edit]

Having had to clarify who was putting arguments such as saying the panda's thumb works well, I find that the scientific rejoinder to these creationist claims is in a separate section. Gould's essay doesn't claim it doesn't work well, it quotes Davis saying that "The panda's thumb provides an elegant zoological counterpart to Darwin's orchids. An engineer's best solution is debarred by history. The panda's true thumb is committed to another role, too specialized for a different function to become an opposable, manipulating digit. So the panda must use parts on hand and settle for an enlarged wrist bone and a somewhat clumsy, but quite workable, solution. The radial thumb is, to use Michael Ghiselin's phrase, a contraption, not a lovely contrivance. But it does its job and excites our imagination all the more because it builds on such improbable foundations." Gould concludes "throughout nature almost every part of each living being has probably served, in a slightly modified condition, for diverse purposes". We cite ToA which describes this as a "jury-rigged" trait, and concludes that this is not good design without claiming it doesn't work well.
WP:STRUCTURE cautions against splitting sections on the basis of POV, the article presents a series of creationist views, with mainstream responses segregated into the next section. Propose that these sections be merged. . . dave souza, talk 12:18, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

I agree that it is appropriate that these sections be merged. I had similar thoughts myself.
Re: Panda's thumb. I originally simply put that article there as a reference for the unreferenced statement "It is noted by theists..." I suppose it is somewhat an irrelevant piece of information, since it is not in dispute. There is much more than just that said in the reference I gave, though. It seems to me that the gist of the argument in the artle at the CMI website falls under general argument of unproven assumptions. But since many specific examples are given of claimed poor design, even though there is a general overview of the argument, I think it would also be appropriate to give specific responses to these examples of claimed poor design, if they exist, even if they also happen to fall under a general artugment (even at the risk of seeming somewhat repetitive). Gott wisst (talk) 23:39, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Intelligent design[edit]

I think it would be really good if there could be a (reliable and appropriate) source for the example given for an argument from intelligent design. Actually, I've never heard/read anyone hinge an argument from intelligent design of the "well-designedness" of life - and anyway, "well-designedness" is necessarily somewhat subjective. Most/all arguments for intelligent design I've seen hinge off specified complexity. Gott wisst (talk) 11:16, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

ID proponents have largely stopped using that argument because it is too easy to counter, but historically it has been used very frequently -- see teleological argument for an overview. Looie496 (talk) 15:51, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Somewhat my point (and I am assuming you were referring also to "well-desigendness" there). Should we be using a currently irrelevant example? I think not. 202.180.118.109 (talk) 21:04, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Oh, I see you were referring to specified complexity. Gottistgut (talk) 11:10, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

Proposed merge with Evolutionary failure[edit]

I have noticed that someone recently created an article on a similar topic, namely evolutionary failure, and I am proposing that we merge that article into this one. Jinkinson talk to me 18:38, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

That has the form of a class Wikipedia-editing project, so merging it might cause problems for the author. My luck at starting a productive discussion in situations like this has not been very good, though. Looie496 (talk) 18:48, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

While I agree that these pages are related, I think the 'Evolutionary failure' article is not about theology (or atheism), merely about the topic that evolution may not produce perfect adaptation. Do you know if that topic is discussed elsewhere on evolution-related pages? You're right that this is for a class project, but I know the issues related to that can be resolved. :-) I just don't feel that everything that is about evolution is therefore about atheism. Dornhaus (talk) 19:23, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

The page has been moved to Unintelligent design, but remains essentially duplicative of this page, only without the coherent central topic. I suggest merging them. HCA (talk) 16:21, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

17 July 2014 edit[edit]

The appendix in humans is still considered a vestigial organ. Vestigiality: "apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function". So, "vestigial organ" should be restored. Jim1138 (talk) 18:40, 17 July 2014 (UTC)