User:Random account 47/Intelligent design

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This is a rewrite of the current ID article that I am working on.

  • things to consider: Biological intelligent design vs. Cosmological intelligent design. Current article severely conflates the two.

Cosmological intelligent design, generally speaking, is a reference to theories, and the collection of theories, which are an attempt to prove the teleological argument, an argument based on the philosophical perspective of teleology which supposes that there is purpose in nature—an organizing principle or design. In the case of Intelligent design, the organizing principle is said to be an intelligent being, usually a deity. Philosophically speaking, the teleological argument is generally regarded as untestable and thus unprovable by empirical (scientific) means. In addition, each of the theories which propose to prove the argument have their own problems.

The three major arguments and theories which propose to prove that nature was designed are the argument of a fine-tuned universe, irreducible complexity, and—the latest theory—specified complexity. All theories attempt to provide evidence for the teleological argument. They are often regarded as fundamentally identical or extensions of one another.

--general theme is anthropic principle? greater/lesser?

--life can only exist with "key pieces" (cannot have arisen naturally)

The fine-tuned universe argument is perhaps the simplest of the three. This argument simply contends that the existence of life is improbable enough that it could not have arisen naturally, based on the observation that physical laws and constants are necessary for life to exist as we know it. Therefore, the argument goes, the universe must have been designed for life as we know it to exist. One of the main critiques of this proposition is that it is an argument by lack of imagination. While scientists generally agree that life as we know it would not exist if certain constants were changed, that is not to say that life as we don't know it could not exist in its place. Additionally, the argument is not airtight as, scientifically speaking, improbable is not the same as impossible, and no attempt to measure the improbability can be made.

--The above is the cosmological, not teleological, argument?

--life does not exist without "key pieces" (has not arisen naturally)

The theory of irreducible complexity What it does is show flaws in evolutionary theory. Developed by Michael Behe, the argument is that certain structures in nature, specifically biology, could not have evolved to their present state and thus, he concludes, must have been designed. To observe this, he argues, one must prove that a system would not function without a key piece which could not have developed from a previous state. He likens it to a mouse trap, in which removal of any one piece renders the mechanism non-functional and, as such, without purpose (to trap and kill a mouse). No other combination of these elements would be able to trap a mouse. While mousetraps clearly are designed, Behe argues many biological systems are similar and removing key elements would render the system without purpose as well.

Behe's theory has been criticized broadly as a "God of the gaps" argument, in which that which is unexplained is automatically attributed to the work of a deity, rather than studied empirically. Behe however acknowledges that "gaps" and missing explanations in the theory of evolution do not constitute a refutation of the theory.

William Dembski's specified complexity theory renewed interest in attempts to empirically prove the teleological argument. Unlike the preceding arguments, Dembski's theory is mathematically based.

The Discovery Institute, an advocate of Intelligent design theories, says "the theory of Intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."