Friday, January 12, 2007

A brief sidebar about design and evolution

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Categories : Intelligent Design, Irreducible Complexity, Evolution, Philosophy

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published: vendredi 12 janvier 2007 0:02:58

In my last post I gave Michael Behe's definition of design: "a purposeful arrangement of parts." After he writes this he goes on to say that using this definition, everything could be designed. He says that the problem, then, is to reliably detect design. How do we do this?

"For discrete physical systems - if there is not a gradual route to their production - design is evident when a number of separate interacting components are ordered in such a way as to accomplish a function beyond the individual components. The greater the specificity of the interacting components required to produce the function, the greater is our confidence in the conclusion of design." (Darwin's Black Box, p. 194)

He then goes on to give a number of examples, from Scrabble to boobie traps to art. He then says that in order to reach a conclusion of design for an artificial system, "there must be an identifiable function of the system." One of his examples, though - steel rods on another planet - suggests, if not directly, that this isn't quite correct.

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