Design Features

Applied science has to do with science that is bent on real-world applications of the research. For example, researchers can attempt to understand the “design features” of the human brain in order to advance computer technology.

So, consider for a moment, the techniques of reverse engineering. A scientist attempting to develop an artificial limb may consider how a human’s limb functions and its design characteristics. Darwinian evolution has nothing to contribute here, and basically almost nowhere in the realm of applied science (apart from simple natural selection algorithms).

I recently ran across an interesting article comparing computer technology to the human brain. (1) There are those who are doubtful that we will ever be able to match the engineering feat that is the human brain. I am one of those people. At every point along the way there have been different prevailing analogies for the functioning of the human brain. All have proved insufficient, just as the computer analogy also proves insufficient. However, this reductionistic framework is not without implications. It is a viewpoint that leads to further reductionistic and materialistic ways of viewing the world.

A comment attached to the bottom of the article was also amusing:

Get real. Think. If design principles were active in our creation, then there was a Designer who employed those principles. This includes the hardware and the software. You would not be able to consciously think about anything without an embedded BiOS (Bible Input-Output System) that the Designer built in, which gives you the preconditions for intelligibility of the world. Everyone has it. You couldn’t run the thinking application without it. But just as a good computer can be tricked into running malware (malicious software), a created being can be tricked into thinking its brain is a product of evolution. That is necessarily false. The brain could not even run that malware without the BiOS.
When you’re infected with this deep-seated, entrenched virus, or any of the other malware that information terrorists inserted into the global shipment, the only solution is to recognize that fact, then wipe, reinstall, and patch. Fortunately, outstanding technical support is just a call away (Isaiah 55:6-9) – and it’s free, straight from the Designer himself. Operations Manuals are also freely available by request (see BlueLetterBible and Bible Gateway, or that book in your hotel room drawer).

(1). http://creationsafaris.com/crev200809.htm#20080914a

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3 Responses

  1. I don’t see why the design perspective is incompatible with materialism. Let’s assume that the designer is God. Why couldn’t He have created a material device which is able to implement rationality? The traditional view that we are created in the image of God can be interpreted, I suppose, to mean that God is a rational being and He created us as rational beings, but that by itself doesn’t give us any reason to suppose that we cannot also be material.

    Furthermore, it seems to me that if we are created in the image of God, and it is one of His powers to create rational beings, then there’s every reason to suppose that we could succeed in creating a genuine AI — a rational, intelligent machine.

    There may be deep philosophical or even theological worries and problems here — I don’t know — but it does seem to me that there’s nothing in the idea of design that rules out either (i) that we ourselves are rational machines or (ii) that we could create rational machines — not even if the designer is God.

  2. Carl wrote:

    I don’t see why the design perspective is incompatible with materialism. Let’s assume that the designer is God. Why couldn’t He have created a material device which is able to implement rationality? The traditional view that we are created in the image of God can be interpreted, I suppose, to mean that God is a rational being and He created us as rational beings, but that by itself doesn’t give us any reason to suppose that we cannot also be material.

    I suppose that’s possible. Also, I think we don’t understand all there is to know about “natural law,” so it would really be impossible for me to say.

    Furthermore, it seems to me that if we are created in the image of God, and it is one of His powers to create rational beings, then there’s every reason to suppose that we could succeed in creating a genuine AI — a rational, intelligent machine.

    Perhaps. I just can’t imagine it at this point. In the past I thought I could imagine it. The more I learn about the mind, the less I think it’s possible. I think it is also possible that we don’t possess the intellectual prowess to achieve that end.

    There may be deep philosophical or even theological worries and problems here — I don’t know — but it does seem to me that there’s nothing in the idea of design that rules out either (i) that we ourselves are rational machines or (ii) that we could create rational machines — not even if the designer is God.

    I think that’s a reasonable point. I’m not sure about the worries from either a theological or philosophical perspective either. I’d have to think about your point (i) a bit more. You might have a point. And (ii), I think that depends on just how complex we truly are. I don’t think we can solve every problem, no matter how much time we have. That doesn’t mean that I think the attempt shouldn’t be made, but I also think that one needs to consider the possibility that certain things are beyond us (there are a lot of things that have definitely been beyond us throughout history, and I feel that’s unlikely to change).

  3. That computer thingy got my wood stove burning…..now let’s say that life is akin to a computer and the hard drive of that computer is akin our brain. It can do all kinds of cool things and process and store all types of information.

    The atheist, I believe, takes this for granted and starts their thinking from this point and moves forward. The thinking being that we are already programmed but they give little thought as to HOW we became programmed. Hold on…..the room is spinning here as I don’t believe I have ever thought this deep on any subject….OK, crisis averted, I had to put one foot down on the floor. To continue….so let’s go back to the starting point of “A” because as I see things many people start at C or D and move forward, not giving much thought on “A”, and “A” being our starting point.

    Now back to the computer thingy….when I got my computer I put it all together myself with lots of caulk and duct tape but it works but my hard drive was blank. I could push the start button and it would whirl, stutter and every so often spark but nothing would come up on the screen? Why? Well because my hard drive was blank!

    So then I had to unwrap the Windows CD and load it up and transfer data to my hard drive so it would function properly. If there was no operating system how can my computer recognize or receive data input and then translate this into working information?

    So now lets say that our minds are the hard drives but if, as many atheists believe, we are born with blank hard drives (minds) then how can they be programmed to accept input and translate information (knowledge)? It may be answered…”Well society programs us, we gain knowledge through observation” This works and is suitable only IF our starting point is placed at C or D but not if we wish to go back to “A”. Now I am no rocket mechanic but the above reply doesn’t take into account that FIRST human…or even sub-human. Who or what programmed that being with the needed tools in order to turn what they observe into knowledge?

    Even going back further….isn’t stating that we gain information through observation placing the proverbial donkey before the cart? Doesn’t there need to be information placed in the brain and/or hard drive prior to any type of observation? If not then how on earth does the atheist KNOW they are observing anything in the first place? If the very first (according to evolution) human/sub-human or “IT” looked out across a vast land but had a blank mind how would “IT” even be able to acknowledge that it was even alive, let alone looking, unless it had information in its brain to translate the incoming data into working and understandable information ??

    OK, I need a nap now.

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