Saturday, April 02, 2005

Intelligence: Designed or Evolved

Been reading about the Intelligent Design for how we got here. I’m not going to try and parse the theory to prove why it can’t be so, but I do have some comments on its properties. First, I agree that evolution is just a theory. So is the theory of gravity, but we know the force we call gravity exist – we just don’t know what it is or how to explain it. Is it caused by warped space? Does it come from the exchange of quantum particles like gravitons? We don’t know but we certainly know how to use gravity. All of us who stand erect have come to master that which we don’t fully understand.

The same is true of evolution, only more so. All this talk about genetically modified foods. You go in any supermarket and almost every form of food in there has been genetically modified using the same force that drives evolution. If evolution is not real, then horticulture is a joke. They both use the same force of nature: the variability of the DNA molecule and its selection.

There is one aspect of Intelligent Design that intrigues me and it’s a problem in the theory of evolution: how did life begin? While the theory of evolution takes care of everything from some primal single cell life form to what we see to day – we don’t know all the particulars but the overall theory appears sound – we can’t come up with how it all began. The theory of the idealistic pond in which lifeless chemical happened together in some random katrillion and one chance and bang life began begs the questions. What is life? It is simple everyday chemistry that goes on in the universe all the time but it is chemistry with a purpose. It is chemistry with an attitude. It is a chemical reaction that exploits its surrounding to replicate itself.

I agree with the proposal that however life began, this generation of life should be going on all the time. We have not found it for one of three reasons. One, we are not looking in the right place. Two, we are not looking in the right way. One possible reason is that in life, higher life forms consume lower life forms. The precursors to life may be constantly generated and just as quickly consumed by some bacteria before these precursors can come together to start life or be discovered by some future Nobel candidate. Or third, life did not begin on this plant. It was introduced and flourished.

That aspect of Intelligent Design holds water. Maybe the DNA molecule was downloaded onto the planet by some intelligence. We talk about terra forming our closes planets so that we may one day live there. The best way to do that is to inject life. Those carbon dioxide clouds of Venus could be home to a host of bacteria that would slowly and surely break it down into a fixed carbon and oxygen. The DNA molecule is a rather intelligently designed program. Part of that intelligence is the ability to reprogram itself over time. Once this program is introduced on to the earth, no other action is needed. It can populate the world in life, ever adapting, ever changing, always evolving, and never needing any further tweaking from the programmer. It is self tweaking. Given time the whole earth could become alive.

Even if disasters were to come to the earth and all human and higher life form were extinguished, evolution might return an intelligent life form like us one day – or maybe not. Perhaps the intelligent designer prefers the dinosaurs. Who knows, maybe one day some advanced biological unit will be digging up our remains studying us and wondering what we were like.

But back to the creationist clinging to intelligent design in an attempt at giving solidity to something for which their can be no firmness or validation: faith. If there were facts to back up faith, it would make the definition of faith meaningless. Some people need the turning of water into wine or raising the dead to support their faith. It was true in Jesus’ time; it is still true today. The creationists are like those people who could not give up the idea that the earth was the center of the universe and everything revolved around it. Maybe they still believe that too. Besides, intelligent design only referrers to the beginning of life on earth, it does not include the creation of the universe.

The best theory I’ve seen on the universe is that it is a chaotic system and the bodies such as planets, suns, solar systems, galaxies, and groups of these are the strange attractors in chaos theory. However, how can you have any good theory of the universe when over half of it missing in what is labeled dark matter? And then there is dark energy. I prefer dark data. It is more nebulous than dark matter or dark energy which by sheer definition of terms categorizes our ignorance. If we are going to be true to our intelligent design, let’s admit when our intelligence is lacking.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gravity is not a theory. Gravity is a law that can be scientifically proven in a controlled environment with predictable results. Evolution is just a theory that has yet to be proven as fact.

4/15/2005 11:15 AM  
Blogger scout29c said...

The law of gravity applies to the effect of gravity not the theory of what it is. As I alluded to perhaps to cryptically in my post, we can certainly use the force of gravity or the mathematics of the attraction of two masses to do wondrous things from launching a missile from one side of the planet to the other or to a different planet or even to send a object into space and fly by a planet to pick up gravity assistance to just throwing a football at a moving target 50 yards down field.

But using the masses of objects and the inversed proportion of the square of the distance between to the two masses tells you no more about the theory of gravity than selectively breeding various plants or animals tells you about the theory of evolution. And the point of my post was not evolution of life but how life started – which I maintained is a more lacking theory than that of evolution or gravity.

4/26/2005 10:19 PM  

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