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Intelligent Design Vs Skepticism

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Posted by Richard Ruquist on September 27, 2004 16:48:04 UTC

Please read

This is a paper presented at a PSICOP conference that purports that intelligent design is a threat to Skepticism; say for example what is published in the Skeptical Enquirer.

The claim is that Skepticism is based on the 'normal' materialistic laws of science and that the paranormal should be excluded from our perception of reality. The role of the Skeptic is to debunk all paranormal phenomena.

Intelligent Design seems to threaten therefore the totally materialistic view of reality, and therefore threaten the basis of Skepticism.

Now that is an interesting question for me. My view is that the world is based on mechanisms, but that these mechanisms are more subtle than the usual thinking on materialism. The mechanisms of the world are not only classical, but also include the quantum and the relativistic. I think that God does not stand outside these mechanisms or laws of the universe, but rather operates through them. Therefore, as we learn more and more about the fundamental laws of physics, chemistry and biology, we may learn more and more about how God operates. In short, intelligence and consciousness, even of God, is materialistic.

It seems that evolution happens, but that the Darwinian mechanisms of mutation and natural selection cannot explain the origin of life. It seems to have happened almost all at once in the Cambrian explosion where 35 of the 41 phyla came into existence in just 5 million years. The essence of the argument for Intelligent Design is that based on Information Theory, the mechanisms of mutation and natural selection could not suddenly create the design forms of most of the species that ever existed.

This is real science that seemingly undermines the materialistic view of the universe. Skeptics cannot debunk it. Instead, perhaps esoteric but real mechanisms to explain the fossil record will be needed to counter the argument of Intelligent Design.

Kauffman of the Sante Fe Inst has proposed such a mechanism based on the mathematics of complex systems and developed computer simulations that verify his hypotheses. He says essentially that when molecular structures get to a certain threshold of complexity, then they automatically can reorganize themselves thereby producing new designs and seemingly extra information from nothing. But actually it comes from energy and is consistent with thermodynamics.

The new designs that are not optimal for survival would fail to propagate. So the mechanism of self-organization is not so different from mutation except in comparison a tremendous amount of new information can be introduced all at once.

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