Re: "Body's defense mechanism worsens asthma symptoms" - a challenge for ID?

From: Iain Strachan <>
Date: Thu Aug 11 2005 - 14:16:44 EDT

On 8/11/05, Ted Davis <> wrote:
> Jack writes:
> The article below (assuming the science holds up) offers a current
> challenge for ID proponents. What say you?
> Jack
> Ted replies:
> In his subtle treatise on the doctrine of creation, Robert Boyle noted that
> the design of the human body had to be set up to help the body in the
> majority of situations, and that in some situations this would be
> detrimental to the body: the same mechanism would harm a person in those
> situations.

I would say that any form of design (be it via an evolutionary process
or by an intervention) would always end up making a compromise, or
trade off between conflicting requirements. For example, a fault
detection system has to make a trade off between two types of mistake
a "False alarm" ( fault diagnosis where none exists) and a failure to
detect a real fault. If you eliminate the second type of error, then
you may well get far too many false alarms, to the detriment of the
usefulness of the device. By contrast, you relax the false alarm
threshold, and you inevitably miss some real faults. This sort of
thing could well go on in biological organisms - detection of danger
leads to an increase in cortisol levels and the ability to flee or
fight. But if there are too many false danger detections (e.g. a
person may get over-sensitive about germs and obsessively was
themselves), then the resultant anxiety leads to permanently raised
cortisol levels which leads to anxiety, depression, and all kinds of
bad physical effects.

So I don't see that this prevents a threat to "Intelligent Design" -
the universe is probabilistic, and you can't get round the maths. It
neither proves nor disproves intelligent design.

Received on Thu Aug 11 14:18:07 2005

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