Re: NTSE #11

Pim van Meurs (
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 20:41:43 -0400

> Possibly but that is perhaps too easy an explanation ? Everything we
> cannot explain or which appears contradictory can always be explained as
> "we don't know god's will and intentions" ? That is not science since it
> lacks the basics of science, predictability and refutability.

"I'm wondering with Mr. Jones how a flaw can be deduced in a creature. It
seems perfectly reasonable to ask someone who postulates that an organism
is flawed from what perspective they are judging the flaw: aesthetics?
("It's ugly, I don't like it.") utility? ("It would be more efficient if
it killed its food with a stinger") It sounds like a bogus critique to
me--the sort of handwaving that would be called out of court in any
refereed journal. The critic must assume *he* knows a lot more than he
can possibly know. Perhaps the explanation is easy because the argument
is silly."

We observe certain features in nature which make perfect sense in an
evolutionary sense but wonder why an intelligent designer would design it
that way. It is not mere aesthetics but questions like why have a whale
with legs for instance or snakes with 'vestigial' legs.

> On the contrary, you are the one claiming not only 'design' but
> intelligent design. Naturalists can show how this apparant design can be
> the result of random change and natural selection. The idea that
> complexity requires a designer and even more an intelligent designer
> requires proof.

"I think it is harder to prove the universal negative proposition that
there *isn't* an intelligent designer, especially by an argument that
amounts to no more than: "Well, if *I* were God, I'd have done it

Personally I see no reason to try to disprove a supernatural entity whose
existance is guided by faith not science but I wonder at the poor design
and how people who do think that god designed it this way believe why he
did it this way. Especially since from an evolution's perspective the
'design' makes perfect sense.

> You don't understand what I am saying here. Why is the flaunder born with
> eyes on both sides and then the eye moves to the top ? I do understand
> that the flaunder presents an excellent example of evolution in action
> I also believe that it shows some poor design if an intelligent designer
> were involved.

"Sir, to make this claim, you must have a definite idea of what a "better"
design would be judging by an essentially subjective criteria (or
critter-ia since we're talking about a flounder and I'm from the American
South) Would you make the flounder a better predator? Prettier? Better
able to digest its food?"

No I would just have his eyes on the side they end up at rather than have
it be born with two eyes on either side and then have to move them.

> This is not true. It could also be that no mutation has taken place to
> allow for selection or that such change is beyond the realm ? That
> something is a major feature in animals does not mean it is the best
> solution, just the best of those
> available. But for an intelligent designer there is the choice to reroute
> this
> problem area.

"Again, do you know enough about the cell and developmental biology to say
that rerouting this problem area wouldn't have drastic consequences on the
health of the organism? I just sat through a (mostly boring) lecture on"

point of view this doesn't.

"prostate cancer and how the epithelial tissue of the prostate needs the
surrounding tissues to differentiate into the prostate. You must be quite
well versed in the fields that pertain to this area--more well versed than
anybody living in fact--to make such a claim. Developmental biology is
pretty far along for such organisms as C. elegans and Drosophila and such,
but not nearly well enough advanced for you to make claims like this about
higher organisms."

> And the reason is ? Have you ever looked at the route the urinary tract
> makes in males ? Looks like a plumber gone haywire.

"So you don't suppose that we'll figure out why the tract does this
(rather, why it couldn't be otherwise)? Is this an unbelief of the gaps?"

No just an unbelief of the poor design. Perhaps you are right and there is
a reason for the prostate's location. Perhaps the location close to the
anus means that we are to enjoy anal sex <g> ?

> Why would a designer design a whale with hind legs ? Why would a designer
> design Or whale embryos growing teeth which then 'disappear' ? There are
> plenty of examples.

"Gosh, you aren't just an expert on prostates and flounder eyes, your
knowledge extends to the inner workings and necessities of the
developmental biology of marine mammals, too! Maybe I should be
worshiping you!"

Not at all, I am pointing out examples of poor design. Why have a whale
develop teeth which then whither away. Again from an evolutionary point of
view this makes perfect sense, from a design point of view I wonder what
the designer was thinking.

> I am confused that a supernatural, all powerful being could not design
> more properly ?

"Perhaps the confusion comes from the fact that none of us are in a
position from which we can judge the whole of creation in such a manner as
would allow us to call any particular organism "flawed". Whether we
believe in the God of the Bible or not."

Perhaps but that assumes that we can not wonder about the whales with
feet, the whales with teeth that disappear for instance and marvel at how
well they are explained by evolution and wonder why a designer would use a
similar approach. Perhaps because the designer is working through
evolution ?