Re: What does D mean?

George Murphy (
Tue, 14 Apr 1998 16:44:00 -0400

Dennis Feucht wrote:

> What Behe and others are doing is a
> kind of reverse engineering, which assumes _a posteriori_ what "forward"
> engineering assumes _a priori_ about the nature of design. Much of what
> design entails is finding ways of putting given components together to
> accomplish a desired (or observed) function, within physical constraints.

The engineering metaphor may be the most helpful here, but it
may be worth noting some analogy with what mathematicians do.
They generally don't just move from one step of an argument to another &
see what will turn up, but have some idea what they want to prove. To
cite recent famous examples, "everybody knew" that the 4-color problem &
Fermat's last theorem were true _before_ they were actually proved -
i.e., newsworthy as the proofs were, there would have been a lot _more_
attention if it had been shown that the theorems were false!
BUT - no mathematician is satisfied with knowing the end result
without the steps that lead to it! It may have been intuition which
suggested the result, but in a sense that piece of intuition becomes
disposable once a rigorous proof is found. & the analogy (no more than
that but no less) with the ID argument is evident: The complexity of
some biochemical structures or processes may lead some scientists
to intuit design, but scientists in general will not be satisfied with
that until the way in which the design is accomplished through natural
processes is understood - an understanding which may require radical
changes in present-day theories. (Dogmatic Darwinians take note!) &
if/when that is done, the design intuition for that particular process
is no longer needed _as a scientific explanation_.

George L. Murphy