First, my apology to my debate partner and to all the readers who are patiently and eagerly following this debate. I have no excuse for being lazy the past months. OMG! It's been two months since the last time I posted in this particular thread. It's really quite difficult for me to give my full attention to forums like this as my personal affairs are more important and my top priorities in life. I am not retired yet from work and most of time are spent pursuing things I want in life. Need not to elaborate, I was busy the past months. Having said that, I hope my opponent will lend his understanding on my short absence from this thread. I guess, I have some time to spare for a couple of weeks so I guess I will be able to respond to his posts then.
One more thing, I've noticed a very long post is not possible here as posts that long might be truncated when displayed on the page due to the limits of characters allowed in a post. I had a terrible experience before when the last parts of my posts were gone. To avoid such a disaster, I will post my presentations in two parts, instead for Round 1, POST 1.
So here's the first installment of two.
For ROUND 1, Post 1
, my presentation shall be divided into three (3) parts namely:
- Declaration of Debate Position.
- What Intelligent Design is...
- Honestly, I don't have a single idea what Zzyzx will be arguing for in this debate except that he doesn't like the ID. But as to what in particular he will be arguing for, that remains a mystery. Anyway, it doesn't really matter to me what path he will take to dismantle my claim as long as he sticks to the rules and scopes of this debate. I'll just wait for his declaration when his turns come.
It is a common knowledge to all that Zzyzx usually never takes a position in any debates he would engage into. Though it came as no surprise to me, I somewhat have wondered why he did not grab the opportunity to present his favoured concept to explain the origin of the Universe and all its contents.
Zzyzx's refusal to present an alternative concept or explanation proves that he has no legitimate case to present to us in this debate. A mere rhetoric question is not a case. I don't think he has something to prove before us to begin with. It is really unfortunate to learn that Zzyzx, chooses a different path in this debate. The very concept (ID) that he wanted to refute is primarily a response to Darwinism. I was actually expecting a toe-to-toe battle of idea between ID and atheistic Evolution as promoted by Darwinism.
Let me remind my opponent that by attacking ID as not a valid concept to explain the origin of the Universe and all its contents, particularly the origin of life, he is indirectly invoking Un-intelligent design â€“ that the origin of the Universe can be explained without invoking ID.
The only assumption left is that my opponent (Zzyzx) might be thinking to explore another avenue for debate like disputing ID as not science or unscientific. I guess this is the only area my opponent has grounds for engaging me in this debate.
Here, I will hope to prove that ID is as valid as any other scientific explanations for the origin of the universe and of life that any atheists would willingly consider and accept.
In this particular debate, I'll be drawing my arguments mostly from the works of Dr. William Dembski, Dr. Stephen Meyers, Dr. Michael Behe, Dr. William Lane Craig, Dr. Hugh Ross, and among others. I do hope that my opponent is well acquainted with the writings/works of these gentlemen as they are considered the forerunners of ID and experts in their own fields.
- Declaration of Debate Position.
The subject Zzyzx and I agreed upon for debate is "Is Intelligent Design a valid concept to explain the origin of the universe and its contents?" and in this particular Head-to-Head Debate I will be taking the affirmative stance.
I believe that ID is a viable and a valid concept to explain the origin of the universe, for reasons that I hope to address in this particular debate.
And so to get things going, I would like to define what ID is all about first. By this, I hope to avoid any misconception, misrepresentation of ID by my opponent and avoid addressing the wrong issue. I would be very specific in this debate and will only address the counter-claim my opponent will make against ID.
- What Intelligent Design is...
I do believe that with the evidence we have, points to only one direction - that is, our Universe and all its contents, including life, existed not by mere chance or accident or random acts of nature, rather by the aid of an intelligent agent. That the Universe and life in particular, display characteristics that only an Intelligent Mind can perceive. Thus, I will be arguing that such a system that is so complicated, specific and precise cannot be a product of such undirected act or event unless such act or event is directed by and as foreseen by an intelligent mind.
Intelligent Design can also be defined as a theory for detecting and measuring information, explaining its origin, and tracing its flow. -- William Dembski
Intelligent Design, therefore, examines certain features in the Universe for signs of Intelligent Causation , detects and measures information and tracing its flow to explain its origin.
- Why ID is a valid concept:
Having defined Intelligent Design in its common acceptable terms. And before proceeding further to our discussion, I would like to define as well some key words that are essential to our understanding on the viability of Intelligent Design to explain the Universe and its contents, particularly the origin of life. Is ID theory acceptable?
It seems to me that the answer to this fundamental question lies on the outskirts of Methodology and Evidence offered by ID Theory in explaining the Origin of Life and universe. Whether the application of the method used to acquire evidence/information and whether there is a valid evidence to support the conclusion are two of essential factors that determine the validity of ID.
So basically, we will be stripping down ID by examining its Method and the Evidence it offers. The method will tell us whether the evidence is acquired correctly and the evidence collected will tell us whether the conclusion in valid. So the validity of ID lies in the method's used and the evidence presented.
While I argue for the validity of ID as a concept/theory, another important thing to consider in this debate is whether any competing theories or concepts that best explains the origin of the universe and all its contents exist? Is there any other theories out there other than ID that best explains our origin and that of the Universe? If none, I don't think my opponent has the case against ID.
The default position of my opponent is that he will not present any competing theories as he is not in any way obliged to do so. Basically, he was saying that there is no need for him to present an alternative explanation to dismantle my claim, which I think is ridiculous, because in any debate, for the other side to successfully dismantle his opponent's arguments he needs to discredit the claims by pointing out its flaws and at the same time presents what he think is the correct explanation. Skipping this part of the debate clearly shows the lack of valid grounds to erect your own case against the claims made by your opponent.
In any case, I shall wait for Zzyzx's presentation against ID.
The ID THEORY/CONCEPT EXPLAINED.
The ID theory states that certain features of the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, and are not the result of an undirected, chance-based process such as Darwinian evolution.
It is important to note that the modern or the new generation ID was basically established having an idea that the present explanation on the origin of life and the universe is flawed and inadequate, and that it needs to be revolutionized in terms of building a theory that adequately explains the origin of life and the Universe. Thus the birth of the new generation ID was born. ID, therefore, is a science that explains the origin of life and the Universe.
In establishing ID as a valid concept, it is very important to understand what processes, methods or techniques are employed in determining whether a particular system is intelligently designed. It is important to know how these methods are used to posit conclusion that points to ID. Another thing to consider is that, in employing ID theory to explain a particular system, let's say the origin of the Universe, ID uses the common scientific data available to everybody to posit its conclusion.
ID scientists are not introducing new scientific methods uncommon to scientists when they claim that the origin of life, was intelligently designed. Neither it's advocating new methods of performing experiments nor a new form of scientific techniques. In most cases, ID scientists use available scientific data corroborated with another experiments of their own or done by others. ID, therefore, is an explanation using the same acceptable scientific practices that any man of science would adhere to as an explanation of what could have been the cause or causes of natural phenomena. The data available to explain how life could have evolved in the beginning, the ability of the DNA to replicate or the appearance of specific and complex systems in the cell, the formation of simple components into specific and complex systems, like the formation of galaxies or clusters, the expanding Universe, are all based on scientific evidence and theories gathered and formulated by people who adhere to science as a means or tool to explain natural phenomena through scientific means. In explaining, for example, the Origin of the Universe, the same data is by ID scientists to arrived to its conclusion.
To further explain, when ID says that the universe and life were intelligently designed, it is not to say that ID used pseudoscience by employing unknown methods or experiments or new scientific techniques for gathering data to show that the universe were intelligently designed. To assumed that is ridiculous. Rather, ID used preexisting data from previous observations, experiments, existing theories and physics laws to support its claim.
Let's take an example this true story from early scientists. The existing field equations of Einstein's theory of general relativity in 1916, was all what Georges Lemaitre needed to published his calculation and arguments of an expanding Universe in "Annales de la Societe scientifique de Bruxelles in 1927. It was actually Einstein who first take noticed of an expanding universe, which he personally disliked as it contradicts his belief of an stable and eternally existing universe. And so Einstein introduced his infamous cosmological constant to conform to his belief. Two years later, Einstein realized that it was the biggest blunder of his career - for introducing the cosmological constant to his field equation to make the universe stable from the very beginning. It was through Hubble's discovery that Einstein began to consider the theory now known to us as the Big Bang as proposed by Lemaitre in 1927 (detailed explanation in the latter part of my presentation). Well, Einstein was among the leading scientists of his time supporting a no-beginning Universe.
So, if that is the case what is actually wrong with Intelligent Design, then? Which part really of the ID theory my opponent objects to?
Well, that's what I hope my opponent will establish in this debate.
EVIDENCE AND ARGUMENT.
As stated in my opening statement, ID covers a variety of subjects to offer for evidence under its roof. As the question for debate is all about origin of the Universe and its contents, I split the presentation into two categories, namely the (1) Evidence from The Formation and Origin of Life, and (2) The Cosmological Fine-Tuning of the Universe, which I hope to confirm and support my claim for the validity of the ID Concept.
Please note that this presentation is a fusion of various ideas and information I gathered upon my investigation and exploration on the subjects that supports ID. Basically, my arguments were formed based on the information available to us that includes but not limited to the areas of Physics, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Philosophy of Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Information Theory, Computation, Linguistic Interpretation.
As defined above, ID examines for traces of information found in physical world most especially the information embedded in DNA molecule. Given the recent knowledge we have on humane genome (DNA), I will establish my arguments for design, as follows:
Evidence from The Formation and Origin of Life
In Darwin's time, very little is known about the physical structure of living organism. Human body is literally thought to be made up of matter and energy only. Cell is thought to be as â€œhomogeneous and structure-less globules of protoplasm,â€� 32
Contrary to common misunderstanding, ID does not seek to address the nature or the identity of the Designer. Rather, it follows where the physical evidence leads us to: that the Universe and life in particular cannot be a product of undirected acts or events and that life did not originated from a mere chance of random acts of nature, unless such acts or events is directed by an intelligent mind. Thus, ID eliminates the prevailing assumption that we (human beings) and everything around us are mere products of accidents (unguided process of nature).
THE ORIGIN OF LIFE; DNA AND INFORMATION.
Information found in DNA exhibits characteristics same that of Shannon's "Theory of Information". Such type of information is recorded in each DNA in digital format same as we use in our communications systems and computer machines. The information-bearing properties of DNA provided strong evidence of a prior but unspecified designing intelligence.
Nobel laureate Dr. Francis Crick who posits an extraterrestrial origin for life on Earth, is not alone in this viewpoint within the scientific community. The same year that Life Itself was published (1981), Sir Fred Hoyle authored Life from Space, in which he took essentially the same position.
In fact, in an article that year in Nature, he wrote:
"The likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate mater is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it.... It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence."
(Hoyle: 1981, 294:148)
What these all suggest to us? That is what I hope to present in the fist part of presentation of evidence.
In the book "The Design Inference" author and mathematician William Dembski asks, "how do we know that something has been purposely arranged? how do we know there is a mind behind a particular event?" These are another set of questions that I hope to address, as well, in this debate. And these are also the questions that I hope my opponent will address by refuting the claim of the ID. To answer these questions, Intelligent Design Theory uses Design Inference in seeking detectable evidence of design in the physical world.
We ask, "What are these detectable traces of design in the physical world that ID hopes to explain?"
As William Dembski points out "Intelligent Design is . . . a scientific investigation into how patterns exhibited by finite arrangements of matter can signify intelligence.â€�
Once common error directed to ID is that, it seeks to account the natural order or process of things found in the universe to a Creator. Well, that is a huge mistake. ID does not account any creator for the design found in nature, it only examines whether design exists and whether this design had occurred or can occur without the aid of intelligent agent. If such design exists, it is not the scope of ID to identify the designer. We leave that part to theology.
Applying the logical process in detecting design in biology, what are the evidence for design?
- As I have mentioned in my opening statement, ID is a broad concept and covers a whole lot of subjects to offer as evidence for its claim. For convenience, I have decided to cherry-pick the evidence that I will present to narrow down the scope and save space and time. And also, that would work for my convenience, as well, since I don't have the luxury of time under my disposal.
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- Information in Biological Systems
Any person who has a working gray mass stuck in his head can easily understand the function of Information in accomplishing specific and complex tasks. Either human or machine, needs proper information to process in order to accomplish specific and complex tasks and even simple tasks. But for the sake of argument, I will focus on the necessity of information in specific and complex tasks.
For those folks who have crossed-swords with Information Theory in their undergrad or post grad (which I have limited recollection), we come to know that Shannon's theory advances the digital information quantities of information, a source is essential prior to of information theory in various fields in sciences such as cryptography. The application of Information Theory in computer programs and algorithm. But when James Watson and Francis Crick discovered DNA in 1953 in their
When scientists during the late 1940s began to define information, they did not make
reference to physical parameters such as mass, charge, or watts. Instead, they defined
information by reference to a psychological stateâ€”the reduction of uncertaintyâ€”which
they proposed to measure using the mathematical concept of probability. The more
improbable a sequence of characters or signals, the more uncertainty it reduces, and thus
the more information it conveys.
- Molecular Machines - The Bacterial Flagellum
- Origin of First Life Chemistry
Now, I have presented herein the appearance of design found in living things, i.e. DNA. It is a universal truth that DNA carries genetic information. Information that has been transmitted from the very fist appearance of life on earth. This information is said to have been present from the very beginning life started to appear. Thus, in billion of billions of years, this same information is transferred to
I would like to begin my explanation for the validity of ID with the words from a known Atheist proponent, Richard Dawkins. The following quotes are from Dawkinsâ€™ book "The Blind Watchmaker":
â€œEvery single one of more than a trillion cells in the body contains about a thousand times as much precisely-coded digital information as my entire computer.
â€œEach nucleus, as we shall see in Chapter 5, contains a digitally coded database larger, in information content, than all 30 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica put together. And this figure is for each cell, not all the cells of a body put together.â€�
IF DNA is known to exhibits information to build its own, then information is not reducible to natural causes and that the origin of Information is best sought in Intelligent causation.
ID is valid not only because in respects, first, the appearance of design, second the way
[*]Applying this logical process in detecting design in Cosmology, what are the evidence for design?
- Cosmic Fine Tuning - In one of the books I read about our Universe, the author Mario Livio in his book "Accelerating Universe, Page 237", he asked the questions "Is it possible that properties of our universe are determined by our existence? Or to put it differently, is our universe fine-tuned for life?
[*] Rational Thought and Consciousness
In the 1940s, the study of Information is limited to Psychological State
- I. Understanding How Intelligent Agents Operate Yields a Positive Case for Design
- A designer conceives a purpose.
- To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan.
- To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions.
- Finally, the designer or some surrogate applies the assembly instructions to the building materials.
Objection 1: ID is not Science.
As philosopher of science Philip Kitcher put it in
an anticreationist text, "postulating an unobserved Creator need be no more
unscientific than postulating unobserved particles" (1983, 125)
THE BIG BANG.
If Zzyzx wants us to believe that ID is not a valid concept to explain the origin of the Universe and all its contents, especially the existence of life, he needs two (2) things in order to do that:
- Tear down the evidence I presented for ID as a valid concept to explain the origin of the universe and all its contents, especially the arguments for the existence of life;
- And then in its place erect a case of his own that is more convincing than believing that ID is a valid concept.
Unless and until Zzyzx does these, I believe that evidence for ID as a valid concept is pretty clear.
Please note that on Page 1 of this thread, Zzyzx refused to present an alternative concept to explain the origin of the universe and therefore, will not present an alternative explanation from science about his belief in the existence or origin of the Universe and all tis contents.
Now, that sounds ridiculous because Zzyzx will only have his objection against ID for reasons that he believes that it is not a valid concept to explain the origin of the Universe and all its contents. From where he will base his objection, is another thing that, I think, he also needs to explain convincingly to prove his case against ID.
Another fundamental question that needs to be answered and understood in this one-on-one debate is "Is the objection against ID based on scientific evidence or based on prejudices?
In order to answer this, Zzyzx needs to do one thing only and and nothing more. That is to show the exact opposite of the ID concept: that ID is scientifically not valid by showing to us that life was formed not according to design, it was not engineered, rather, life was formed through other process except intelligent causation. He also needs to nullify my claim on how the universe existence was aided by an intelligent mind to form a system that supports life. He needs to show that scientifically ID erred in its assumption that the Universe and all its contents could not possibly be a caused of an intelligent mind.
The fundamental issue is not whether ID satisfies some highly controversial and subjective definitions of what is scientific; the real question is whether dissenting opinion of my opponents provides stronger arguments for rejecting ID than mere rhetoric questions can do.
Now, let's hear it from Zzyzx.
32. Haeckel, The Wonders of Life, 135
"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." -- Dr. Robert Jastrow, Director Emeritus of Mount Wilson Observatory and founder of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies