The Applied Science of Intelligent Design-Part I

I recently read a brilliant paper(1) written by Joey Campana, in which he details what he terms the Figure 1-Design IsomorphDesign Isomorph and Isomorphic Complexity. His ideas have practical applicability to both applied technology research and the applied science of biology. As I’ve stated before, Darwinism has little practical utility beyond designed algorithms (i.e., genetic algorithms) utilized for optimal design (this is basically an advanced trial and error system). Then, there is the design isomorph, which has practical implications for biology and technology.

From its beginnings, the empirical study of life has been earmarked by the idea that tiny machines are at work in living tissues. The discovery of protein machines and the illumination of the genetic code during the 20th century revealed a profound similarity between many aspects of technological devices and biological components, and this fulfilled many of the musings of early biological thinkers. The stronger similarities between biology and engineering are so clear that there are pervasive cases of design isomorphs, where precise technological designs are found to preexist in living organisms. This isomorphic congruence has been thought by many to be a mere coincidental outcome of undirected evolutionary processes, making the similarities superfluous to scientific practice, and inconsequential to the question of the cause of life.

The author also details several design isomorphs and explains in detail how considering biological components from a design perspective can be an effective strategy in understanding biology. Likewise, utilizing the tried and true methods of design oriented fields (e.g, engineering) in tandem with considering the analogous nature of machines designed by humans, we can greatly increase our understanding of how biological systems work. Reverse engineering was mentioned as one specific approach (e.g., remove a part to see what happens to get an idea of its function). Also, when one considers biological systems as analogous technology, it may lead to breakthroughs in applied technological science. This has already happened in a number of areas, but I won’t detail those things in this brief introduction.

The author also has started compiling a list of design isomorphs.(2) I am planning to work with some other IDers to develop a database of design isomorphs, which may be useful for inventors as well as biological scientists….to be continued….

(1). The Design Isomorph and Isomorphic Complexity

(2). Catalog of Design Isomorphs in the Wild

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31 Responses

  1. I’m not sure I would consider an elaborate argument via analogy ‘brilliant.’ I guess I just have higher scientific standards. And I am not inclined to be swayed by a quote form Yockey, either. DNA may be laid out in a ‘sequence’ as a ‘code’just like english letters in sentences, but that is where the analogy ends.

    You wrote something in another article that I found interesting:

    When it comes to any field, be it psychology, medicine, physics, whatever it may be, when you find someone acting as if they have all the answers, and that the traditional paradigm is venerated as religious doctrine, you ought to be very skeptical.

    I hear you. I also hear this, though, if I may:

    When it comes to any field, be it psychology, medicine, physics, whatever it may be, when you find someone acting as if they have all the answers, and that the traditional paradigm is all wrong because it excludes what I hold dear, you ought to be very skeptical.

  2. A further comment on Joey’s paper – I note that there seem to be far more papers on how ID-based research could be done, and why it should be done, and so on, but I do not see many papers in which ID-based research IS being done.
    I wonder why?

  3. Papers such as this one do a lot to show that we can model biological structures as if they are designed, but unless we’re justified in asserting that there must be some designer for every design, these papers don’t do anything to advance the cause of intelligent design.

  4. I wonder why?

    I’ll bet you do.

    Papers such as this one do a lot to show that we can model biological structures as if they are designed, but unless we’re justified in asserting that there must be some designer for every design, these papers don’t do anything to advance the cause of intelligent design.

    You say so Carl. These are methods that have actually yielded practical results, and will continue to do so. If you are not willing to consider the advantage of this perspective, then that’s up to you. You’ll never be convinced of anything, because you don’t believe anything could be true (other than evolution is true, there is no God, and there is no truth). Either that or you’re just not interested in discovering any kind of truth. Either way, I’m not writing about ID for your benefit, because that would be fruitless. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but that’s the way I feel about the issue.

  5. Well, yes and no, Country Shrink.

    Whether evolution is our best available theory at present, and whether God exists, are entirely separate questions. Obviously, some answers to the first question will have implications for some answers to the second, and vice-vera. But that’s not the case for all of the responses we can give to those questions. If I were to come to see that God exists, it wouldn’t affect my estimation of the theory of evolution. Likewise, even if I were to decide that intelligent design is a better theory than evolution, it wouldn’t lead me to think that God exists.

    My point here is that it’s twofold:

    (a) only under very specific assumptions that one can read a paper like this as indicating either that there is an intelligent designer, or that the intelligent designer is the God of the Bible;

    (b) other people can hold very different assumptions and still be reasonable, decent people who are part of the conversation.

    Now, I don’t regard (a) or (b) as controversial claims here — we’ve been at this for a few months now, and I don’t think there’s much disagreement about these points. But maybe I’m wrong?

  6. Whether evolution is our best available theory at present, and whether God exists, are entirely separate questions. Obviously, some answers to the first question will have implications for some answers to the second, and vice-vera. But that’s not the case for all of the responses we can give to those questions. If I were to come to see that God exists, it wouldn’t affect my estimation of the theory of evolution. Likewise, even if I were to decide that intelligent design is a better theory than evolution, it wouldn’t lead me to think that God exists.

    I don’t really buy Gould’s non-overlapping magisteria notion. I think it was a rather clever way of saying “God has no power. There can be no evidence for his existence.”

    From the theological perspective of YEC, evolution (i.e., common descent) can have implications for the existence of God. The case can be made, that if the Bible is the trustworthy inspired word of God, then such a glaring falsehood of Genesis would call into question the rest of the Bible. The explanation of sin and death (and redemption through Jesus) do not make sense without with Genesis explanation. I’m not completely dogmatic on this point, because I think the YEC’s could have missed something, but they have a very logically consistent position. You’ll never get me to buy the non-overlapping magisteria notion, because I put too much stock in the law of non-contradiction.

    a) only under very specific assumptions that one can read a paper like this as indicating either that there is an intelligent designer, or that the intelligent designer is the God of the Bible;

    (b) other people can hold very different assumptions and still be reasonable, decent people who are part of the conversation.

    Now, I don’t regard (a) or (b) as controversial claims here — we’ve been at this for a few months now, and I don’t think there’s much disagreement about these points. But maybe I’m wrong?

    I would rewrite a.

    a) only under very specific assumptions that one can read a paper like this and conclude that chance processes resulted in high technology that is beyond the design capabilities of the highest known level of intellect in the universe.

    As for b, I understand the need for cognitive constructs. Labeling some folks as “decent” and others as “indecent” can be useful. And in fact it’s somewhat important on a human level for law and order. However, you must understand that I consider no person to be decent or good. That includes you, and myself. So, take out the decent people part, and I will grant you b.

    So, I don’t grant your (a) at all, and (b) I grant with qualification.

  7. a) only under very specific assumptions that one can read a paper like this and conclude that chance processes resulted in high technology that is beyond the design capabilities of the highest known level of intellect in the universe.

    I feel compelled to come to your assistance, because there’s a tension in how the point has been put here.

    Since the intelligent designer is divine, then of course the traditional attributes must be assigned to it, such as omniscience.

    But notice a few things: since the only intelligent beings we know of are human beings, something that it “beyond the design capabilities of the highest known level of intellect in the universe” only means “beyond the design capabilities of the most intelligent human thus far.”

    For another thing: on the hypothesis of intelligent design, human intelligence is clearly capable of recognizing these structures as designed. That is, we’re not baffled and confused by them — we can make the reasonable inference that design is as work. But, given that we can see them as having been designed, it’s surely a leap to say that they are “beyond our design capabilities”. Maybe we can’t design anything like them yet, but since we can see that they are designed, it’s at least arguable that it’s only a matter of time before we’re able to design comparable biomolecular machines — and even improve on those we already have.

    I don’t know if that undermines or threatens the divine status of the designer — on reflection, I don’t see how it does — after all, there is a long tradition within Judaism (Lurianc Kabbalah) which regards human beings as co-creators with God — so improving on divine technology might be part of that!

    • I mean no offense Carl, but I have no need of your assistance to make points, unless you are expressing your own thoughts. I’m not interested in lines of hypothetical thought that don’t express your opinion. When I wrote “known,” I meant “known for certain.”

      But Darwinists do not recognize biological technology as being designed. The consistent theme in biology, cosmology, whatever field you want to look at is, “Things are more complex than we previously thought.” I think that’s a point that Joey makes quite effectively in his paper.

      Question: When will the prevailing pattern of “things are more complex than previously thought end?” Do you think there will be an end point? Why do you think this continues to happen?

      Indeed, we should be baffled and confused by the complexity of the “natural machines” because we are only beginning to scratch the surface about how some of them work. Nor do we comprehend the universe. Can you comprehend what is beyond the boundary of the universe? If there’s not a boundary, can you comprehend that? Can you comprehend what things were like before time existed? Can you truly comprehend how a singularity that pops in and out of existence results in the primordial goo that eventually resulted in you contemplating philosophy? Maybe you can. I can’t.

  8. Maybe we can’t design anything like them yet, but since we can see that they are designed, it’s at least arguable that it’s only a matter of time before we’re able to design comparable biomolecular machines — and even improve on those we already have.

    This has come up before somewhere… Wouldn’t you say that man-made biomolecular machines would be intelligently designed? Or would you say they evolved all by themselves, just by having the right compounds sitting around in the lab?

    Don’t you see the irony and the archetype you’re affirming here? Isn’t the human biological machine infinitely more complex than any man-made biological machine could ever be? Are we not made out of the same molecular stuff, after all?

    But yet, you would assert that that biomolecular machine, that is, the human one, did come about all by itself in the cosmic lab that is the universe, that also came about all by itself (the lab built itself).

    Just think about the creative act, as it applies to science. Isn’t this how science shows us real truth? Isn’t it simply a small indication, a sign, of a greater Science that we can’t quite understand, but long to? Just the same as a man’s love for his wife is only a small dose of the real thing, or similarly, his forgivness of his transgressors. So, why deny science this inherent ability to teach us more about ourselves that just the stuff were made of? Let’s be aware of both the horizontal AND vertical orientation of our wisdom and knowledge. Only in this integrated approach can we get a better glimpse of the full picture.

  9. If I were to come to see that God exists, it wouldn’t affect my estimation of the theory of evolution.

    Carl, you can not know that this is true, since belief in God transforms the way we see ourselves, others and the world!

  10. Shrink,

    I don’t see that Joey’s paper is either brilliant or applied. But then again, I do real work on molecular motors and use my limited intelligence to modify them so that we can determine what individual ones do.

    You see, evolution (or, if you prefer, a really stupid designer) produced loads of motors that have partially overlapping functions and use the same fuel (ATP) and many of the same regulatory components (calcium and calmodulin), so we intelligent humans have figured out a way around that inelegant situation.

    Why doesn’t Joey do any actual research? I just can’t comprehend how, if we’ve got it all wrong, we’re productive and you can’t produce a single new datum.

    • John calls God stupid….okay. Producing datum is not applied science. The ATP approach is much more efficient than anything we’ve ever produced. You want to call that stupid go ahead. I disagree.

  11. Even given the hypothesis of intelligent design, I cannot see how biomolecular machines can be “infinitely more complex than any man-made biological machine could ever be,” since we can recognize them as designed according to principles that we have a clear understanding of.

    And I simply don’t see how it follows from the hypothesis of intelligent design that biomolecular machines are more complex than any man-made machine could ever be. How are supposed to know what sorts of biomolecular machines we’ll be capable of making in a hundred or two hundred years?

    As for my own views, it is my contention that we simply don’t know enough yet about the basic laws of physics and chemistry to know whether or not complexity could emerge by “chance” or not — nor, for that matter, do we really have a good understanding of what “chance” is.

    And as for the origin of those laws, I don’t think that scientific reasoning alone — whatever that is — is sufficient to decide in favor of the hypothesis of intelligent design at the cosmological level.

    Carl, you can not know that this is true, since belief in God transforms the way we see ourselves, others and the world!

    You’re right, DB, and I accept the point. So allow me to re-phrase it:

    Given my present understanding of the world, and given my present understanding of what it would be like to believe in God, I don’t believe that if I were to believe in God (in terms of how I presently understand what that would be like), I would reject the theory of evolution (given how I understand that theory) as the best available theory we have for explaining the emergence of biological diversity and distribution.

  12. The Country Shrink, commenting on Gould, wrote:

    I don’t really buy Gould’s non-overlapping magisteria notion. I think it was a rather clever way of saying “God has no power. There can be no evidence for his existence.”

    Because NOMA is quite close to my own views, I’m going to speak in my own voice here, rather than hypothetically. I see NOMA as doing something quite different. NOMA shifts the conversation from being a debate about epistemology and metaphysics (e.g. “what is there and how do we know?”) to a conversation about different sources of authority as played out in human life.

    It begins — in my reconstruction, which is not quite Gould’s version — with the simple observation that human beings engage in a wide variety of practices: we describe and explain, but we also hope, fear, love, pray, do wrong, do right, forgive, refuse to forgive, feel shame or remorse.

    From this fact of our pragmatic pluralism — that is, a plurality of things people do — the advocate of NOMA argues that different institutions embody different norms for regulative guidance of these practices. So our practices of description and explanation are guided by the norms of scientific inquiry, but that’s not to say that those norms are appropriate for other practices. We should reject a “one size fits all” approach.

    And I think that it’s because of this basic pluralism — the rejection of “one size fits all” — that the NOMA defenders get hit from both sides. They annoy the Dawkins and Harris group — the “New Atheists” — and they also annoy Thomists, design theorists, and creationists.

  13. I cannot see how biomolecular machines can be “infinitely more complex than any man-made biological machine could ever be,”

    Carl, I have absolutely no idea what you are saying. You changed my words completely! I said that *HUMANS* are more complex than biomolecular machines.

    This is what I wrote:
    “Isn’t the human biological machine infinitely more complex than any man-made biological machine could ever be? Are we not made out of the same molecular stuff, after all?”

    Oh, just forget it… I don’t know why I keep coming back…

  14. Even given the hypothesis of intelligent design,

    What hypothesis? Like it or not, intelligent design exists in nature. I only have to look around me to see things made of the same energy and molecules that everything else is, that are intelligently designed. We have, TVs, cars, toasters, computers. etc.. and now we may have intelligently-designed biomolecular machines on the horizon. Imagine if we get to the point where we can make these things so well that they can spawn more of themselves, and become self-aware, develop their own language etc….! What idiot would claim that these man-made biological entities are NOT intelligently designed? Who would say that they evolved all by themselves in the lab? Perhaps, I guess, the little buggers not knowing any better, may say that about themselves, while the proud scientists who created them can only look on and smile.

  15. The Shrink went for deliberate misrepresentation:
    “John calls God stupid….okay.”

    No, I didn’t, Shrink, and you know it. You claim that you can discern intelligent design. I claim that I can discern unintelligent design. It’s clear, as someone who unlike you, has successfully modified more than one of these designs, that amazing as they are, they were not designed by any intelligent being.

    “Producing datum is not applied science.”

    You’re not even speaking English.

    Applied science, just like basic science, produces data. Your allegedly brilliant Joey has yet to produce a single datum. The question you can’t even bear to consider is, if you understand this stuff better than I do, why am I producing data while you are praising someone who produces no data as brilliant?

    “The ATP approach is much more efficient than anything we’ve ever produced.”

    But you’ve never produced anything of the sort! So you’ve evaluated our approach? What exactly do you mean by the “ATP approach,” anyway?

    “You want to call that stupid go ahead. I disagree.”

    You don’t have the slightest base of knowledge from which to disagree. Do you call it intelligent to use a toxic ion as a second messenger?

    You don’t have the slightest idea what we’ve done, how we’ve done it, or why we’ve done it. Suffice to say that it demolishes the assumptions of every ID hack (i.e., Dembski and Denton), who makes any claims (actually easily-testable hypotheses falsely presented as facts) about what proportion of amino-acid sequences are functional.

  16. John, did you utilize evolutionary principles (RM+NS) to modify these proteins, or did you use design principles (i.e., engineering)? You seem to have difficulty taking your ideas to their logical conclusion. If God is the designer, then He is stupid, based upon your reasoning. What role has God played in the universe from your perspective, if any? You noted that molecular motors are stupidly designed without providing any specific evidence of that, did you not?

    I reassert my previous questions: How has your research actually been applied? How has humanity benefited? What role did you ideas about evolution play in this benefit to humanity, if any?

    By the ATP approach, I mean God’s approach at design. You view this as “stupid.” Please detail how it is stupid. What fuels would you view as being “non-toxic?” Give specifics about how it could have been designed better. I may not have the “slightest idea of what we’ve done,” but that is because you don’t reveal the slightest amount of specific information about what you’ve done. I’m quite willing to hear about it. So, go ahead and demolish Dembski et. al. if you can. I’m ready and willing to hear about how you’ve helped people through your evolutionary ideas. Suffice it to say, I’m extremely doubtful that you will provide anything specific, because you cannot. If you could have, you already would have. Please marshal all of your intellectual resources towards something specific. We’re all eagerly awaiting the way in which you will demolish our stupidity.

  17. “Pride goeth before the fall,” John!

    You don’t have the slightest idea what we’ve done, how we’ve done it, or why we’ve done it. Suffice to say that it demolishes the assumptions of every ID hack (i.e., Dembski and Denton), who makes any claims (actually easily-testable hypotheses falsely presented as facts) about what proportion of amino-acid sequences are functional.

    Honestly, you sound like a defensive child here who has just been caught in a lie.

    Two commenters have asked you to be specific, over and over again, and yet you specify nothing. Instead, you demean them and others while screaming “foul!”

  18. Don’t you see the irony and the archetype you’re affirming here? Isn’t the human biological machine infinitely more complex than any man-made biological machine could ever be?

    I had some fun with the concept of automatons in a short story (That’s probably too long.) here.

    It’s not just that humans are complex, they are made of the complexity typical to life:

    As Von Neumann pointed out, the construction of any sort of self-replicating automaton would necessitate the solution to three fundamental problems: that of storing information; that of duplicating information; and that of designing an automatic factory which could be programmed from the information store to construct all the other components of the machine as well as duplicating itself. The solution to all three problems is found in living things and their elucidation has been one of the triumphs of modern biology.
    So efficient is the mechanism of information storage and so elegant the mechanism of duplication of this remarkable molecule that it is hard to escape the feeling that the DNA molecule may be the one and only perfect solution to the twin problems of information storage and duplication for self-replicating automata.
    The solution to the problem of the automatic factory lies in the ribosome. Basically, the ribosome is a collection of some fifty or so large molecules, mainly proteins, which fit tightly together. Altogether the ribosome consists of a highly organized structure of more than one million atoms which can synthesise any protein that it is instructed to make by the DNA, including the particular proteins which compromise its own structure — so the ribosome can construct itself!
    The protein synthetic apparatus is also, however, the solution to an even deeper problem than that of self-replication. Proteins can be designed to perform structural, logical, and catalytic functions. For instance, they form the impervious materials of the skin, the contractile elements of muscles, the transparent substance of the lens of the eye: and, because of their practically unlimited potential, almost any conceivable biochemical object can be ultimately constructed using these remarkable molecules as basic structural and functional units. The choice of the protein synthetic apparatus as the solution to the problem of the automatic factory has deep implications. Not only does it represent a solution to one of the problems of designing a self- duplicating machine but it also represents a solution to an even deeper problem, that of constructing a universal automaton. The protein synthetic apparatus cannot only replicate itself but, in addition, if given the correct information, it can also construct any other biochemical machine, however great its complexity, just so long as its basic functional units are comprised of proteins, which, because of the near infinite number of uses to which they can be put, gives it almost limitless potential.
    It is astonishing to think that this remarkable piece of machinery, which possesses the ultimate capacity to construct every living thing that ever existed on Earth, from a giant redwood to the human brain, can construct all its own components in a matter of minutes and weigh less than 10^16 grams. It is of the order of several thousand million million times smaller than the smallest piece of functional machinery ever constructed by man.
    (Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton :337-338)

  19. I had some fun with the concept of automatons in a short story (That’s probably too long.)

    Nice job! I left a comment over there.

  20. Country Shrink wrote:

    An omni-annoying philosophy. What could be better? Thanks for expressing your own opinion.

    Nicely put! But omni-annoying? Really? Well, it’s annoying to everyone who wants a one-size-fits-all science-cum-metaphysics-cum-theology. But I don’t think everyone wants that.

    Mike wrote:

    “Isn’t the human biological machine infinitely more complex than any man-made biological machine could ever be? Are we not made out of the same molecular stuff, after all?”

    First, I apologize for having not paid sufficient attention to your use of ‘human.’ Second, I disagree with you. The hypothesis of intelligent design is compatible with the thought that human beings just are composed of trillions (or more) of holistically integrated biomolecular machines.

    One may have good reasons for believing that materialism is false, but the hypothesis of intelligent design does not offer much succor for the opponents of materialism. For it can result, at most, in the inference that there exists at least one intelligent being who is not bound by the laws of our universe, and so not ‘material’ or ‘physical’ in that sense. That does not license the inference that intelligence, or consciousness, or rationality, just as such, must transcend the physical world. For all that can be established on the basis of design theory alone, human beings could be nothing more than conscious, intelligent, rational machines composed of trillion of biomolecular components.

    Mike also wrote:

    What hypothesis? Like it or not, intelligent design exists in nature. I only have to look around me to see things made of the same energy and molecules that everything else is, that are intelligently designed.

    In talking of a “hypothesis,” I am doing my level best to be faithful to the letter of Demski, Behe, etc. They fairly clearly do not think of design as something that is ‘just there’, like the hand in front of one’s face. The whole point of their work is to show that under certain conditions, the probability of design is higher than the probability of chance or of necessity — but these probabilities need to be calculated and inferences made about what is reasonable to believe given those probabilities.

    Furthermore, a hypothesis is (obviously) testable — so if design theory has got legs as a scientific theory, then it ought to be treated as a testable hypothesis — and testable means not just for conceptualizing re-organizing what’s already known, but yielding new and more powerful explanations and discoveries.

    That said, if you’re interested in discussing intelligent design as a scientific theory, that’s fine by me — but that is where I’ve been coming from.

  21. The Shrink wrote:
    “John, did you utilize evolutionary principles (RM+NS) to modify these proteins,…”

    Shrink, evolutionary principles are not synonymous with “RM+NS.” I used evolutionary analysis and assumptions to decide which modifications to make.

    “… or did you use design principles (i.e., engineering)?”

    I used simple engineering to redesign the proteins. The point that’s whooshing over your head is that if any of the ID proclamations about the designs of these “nanomachines” had the slightest validity, our approach would not work at all. Oh, and it gives me great pleasure to say this, but it turned out to be simpler than we thought it would be. By the second one, we only bothered with a single amino-acid substitution and tested only 5 synthetic analogs to ID one that served our purposes.

    “You seem to have difficulty taking your ideas to their logical conclusion.”

    You seem to be confused. I’m taking YOUR theology to its logical conclusion to show that YOU are trivializing God.

    “If God is the designer, then He is stupid, based upon your reasoning.”

    But since I see zero evidence that God designed these amino acid sequences, He is not stupid in my opinion.

    You, OTOH claim that God designed these sequences, so at a minimum, I’m in His league since I can successfully modify His designs. Please try to keep in mind that I am taking YOUR claim to its logical conclusion, not mine. I’m sure you won’t.

    “What role has God played in the universe from your perspective, if any?”

    A huge one, not the trivial ones you ascribe to Him. But if you’re right, I’m much closer to the mind of God than you’ll ever be because I’m actually studying the machines you claim that He designed.

    “You noted that molecular motors are stupidly designed without providing any specific evidence of that, did you not?”

    Have you provided any evidence that they are intelligently designed?

    “I reassert my previous questions: How has your research actually been applied?”

    It isolates the functions of these motors.

    “How has humanity benefited?”

    We have a better understanding of hearing/balance and learning/memory. If God designed these things, why are you so uninterested in them that you can’t be bothered to study them in any detail?

    “What role did you ideas about evolution play in this benefit to humanity, if any?”

    The approach is entirely dependent upon basic ideas about evolution–unless, of course, God is an unintelligent designer, which I don’t believe.

    “By the ATP approach, I mean God’s approach at design.”

    No, you don’t. You’re just backpedaling.

    “You view this as “stupid.” Please detail how it is stupid.”

    Because it prevents control of individual motors.

    “What fuels would you view as being “non-toxic?””

    Fuels? You can’t even read, Shrink. I wrote, “Do you call it intelligent to use a toxic ion as a second messenger?” Where in the hell did you get “fuels” out of my question? And while you’re at it, why don’t you have the integrity to take a stab at answering my question?

    “Give specifics about how it could have been designed better.”

    How can I give specifics when you conflate fuels with ions that are used as second messengers?

    “I may not have the “slightest idea of what we’ve done,” but that is because you don’t reveal the slightest amount of specific information about what you’ve done.”

    But it would be lost on someone whose reading skills are so poor as to be unable to distinguish between ATP and a toxic ion that is used as a second messenger. Besides, if you knew much of anything, you’d have figured out who I am by the information I’ve already provided.

    “I’m quite willing to hear about it.”

    I don’t believe you. Prove it by answering my questions straight up. Start with explaining how using a toxic ion (Ca++) as a second messenger was an intelligent decision.

    DB wrote:
    “Two commenters have asked you to be specific, over and over again, and yet you specify nothing.”

    False, DB. Mynym has falsely accused me of specifying nothing when I directly and specifically answered his question immediately. Besides, I thought you claimed that you weren’t reading everything?

  22. False, DB. Mynym has falsely accused me of specifying nothing when I directly and specifically answered his question immediately. Besides, I thought you claimed that you weren’t reading everything?

    Actually I said I wasn’t reading all of your long, long (Oh God, they’re long) winded replies, as I didn’t read above!

  23. Shrink,

    Olorin is alive and well….in John!

  24. Actually I said I wasn’t reading all of your long, long (Oh God, they’re long) winded replies, as I didn’t read above!

    Yet you are compelled to produce vapid replies!

    So how could you possibly even claim (right or wrong) that I had specified nothing if you weren’t reading all of my replies?

    Here’s a simple question: how is designing cells to use a toxic ion as a second messenger intelligent?

    • Here’s a simple question: how is designing cells to use a toxic ion as a second messenger intelligent?

      Here’s an equally simple question: If it’s so toxic, how was it selected for by Darwinian principles?

      What would you have used as a second messenger if you were to redesign things John? Careful, don’t break anything else in the organism.

  25. The Shrink refused to answer my simple question:
    “Here’s a simple question: how is designing cells to use a toxic ion as a second messenger intelligent?”

    Showing intellectual cowardice and the weakness of his faith, the Shrink tried to obfuscate by answering a question of his own: “Here’s an equally simple question: If it’s so toxic, how was it selected for by Darwinian principles?”

    Any one of a number of reasons, Shrink.

    My first choice would be that systems that kept excess calcium out of the cell were coopted after duplication (or grand duplication in the form of an increase in ploidy), probably to be sensors. See Paramecium for a well-understood mechanism–I know you won’t.

    Conversely, another likely selection mechanism would be cooption of a sensing mechanism that would keep organisms out of high calcium concentrations, in the lack of an active pumping mechanism.

    So we see that you have so little faith that you can’t even begin to see how your allegedly better explanation might explain biological complexity, while I can easily see how the complexities of biology arise from iterative, unintelligent processes–unless, of course, you endorse Dembski’s definition of intelligence, which clearly includes natural selection. Then your rhetorical game is over.

    “What would you have used as a second messenger if you were to redesign things John? Careful, don’t break anything else in the organism.”

    Now this is funny! I’d use less toxic ions or design unique small molecules to so. The other funny thing about this is that you are completely ignorant of the fact that the number of second messenger pathways is ridiculously tiny relative to the number of first messenger pathways that feed into them (i.e., what’s the ratio of the number of G protein-coupled receptors to the number of G proteins, Shrink?).

    This profoundly unintelligent design results in truly preposterous amounts of crosstalk, which in turn accounts for most of the adverse side-effects of the drugs we design. So at a minimum, an intelligent designer wouldn’t have multiple first messengers acting on the same second messenger pathways except in rare cases in which this has a computational function.

    So what else would I break in the organism if I designed things that way from the outset, Shrink? Feel free to limit yourself to a subject you should know something about, like neuropharmacology.

    But hey, we both know that you lack sufficient faith and courage to subject any of your biological religious beliefs to any kind of empirical test.

  26. John, I didn’t answer your question because I felt it was based on a false premise. I challenged your premise. You appealed to the scientific method of imagination in response to my questions.

    Your approach is ridiculous. I’ll explain by example. Let’s say I’m a researcher who studies ONLY termite antennae. I then ask you to explain some arcane molecular aspect of the termite antennae and then call you stupid and lacking in faith when you do not.

    I’ll help you out a bit here. You need to first establish that the calcium ion as a second messenger is toxic. Is it toxic in all contexts? What do you mean by toxic? What type of cell are you talking about specifically? What is your reference for that? If you can’t establish that first, you have no basis for calling it “stupid design.” As a “stupid design” proponent, you need to be able to define your stupid concepts a little better. As for your lame theological assertions, that I lack faith, etc.. that’s for God to decide. You may be right there. It’s not exactly for me to decide either.

    The other funny thing about this is that you are completely ignorant of the fact that the number of second messenger pathways is ridiculously tiny relative to the number of first messenger pathways that feed into them (i.e., what’s the ratio of the number of G protein-coupled receptors to the number of G proteins, Shrink?).

    So, if I understand you correctly, you’d break whatever cell (most likely some mouse cell) that you are talking about. Who knows??

    What is the weight ratio of a termite’s antennae to its body? What is the point of your question?

    So what else would I break in the organism if I designed things that way from the outset, Shrink? Feel free to limit yourself to a subject you should know something about, like neuropharmacology.

    I take it you thought of something you would break. Show us what intelligent design would look like from the perspective of a stupid design researcher starting over from the beginning if you’d like.

    This profoundly unintelligent design results in truly preposterous amounts of crosstalk, which in turn accounts for most of the adverse side-effects of the drugs we design.

    It could be that you’re mucking with a highly advanced system that’s beyond your ability to understand. This happens all the time in ecology. Introduce a new predator species into an environment to take care of a certain pest, and guess what? Unintended consequences. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense, but a lack of understanding and appreciation of the variables leads to stupidly designed interventions.

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