Sunday, April 02, 2006

Was it designed?

Certain ID proponents (who shall remain nameless) have pointed to Mt. Rushmore as a clear example of design, therefore "proving" that they can detect design in nature.

Mt. Rushmore was designed by humans. There is a lot of evidence that someone designed it (and constructed it, by recognizable means). Historical records and rock shards with tool marks (people sometimes take these as souvenirs) to name two.

But that argument has been covered other places (here, here and here for example) and anyway it still wouldn't be very strong evidence for ID.

There is, however, a structure that looks designed, and was for centuries believed to have been designed. The Giant's Causeway. Then some scientists came along and explained how it, in fact, formed naturally. It seems Finn MacCool didn't do it after all. Actually, it (and similar formations) had been thought to be natural for some time, but the mechanism of formation was not well understood.

Stick that up your "explanatory filter."

The point is, most humans can reliably recognize human design because, being human, we typically understand how humans design things. Artifacts designed by humans are not arguments for a non-human designer.


2 people have spouted off:

Virgil Libertas said...
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Qalmlea said...

One major problem with the very idea of ID is that humans are very good at seeing patterns where none exist. A good way to demonstrate this is if you've got a tv that still does black and white static rather than going to a blue screen. As a kid, I would watch the black and white static, and if you watch it long enough, you start seeing "patterns", even pictures. They're meaningless, but kind of fun. However, by an argument analagous to ID, they're evidence of intelligence in the static, so there must be an intelligent broadcaster.

(Similar to looking at clouds or inkblots, btw)