Which explanation is better? Intelligent Design or Natural Processes

Many of us are convinced that the natural processes we see operating in biology today are sufficient to produce the differences we see between species. I would suspect that the DNA evidence is perhaps the most convincing to the majority of us. If you want to understand why we are convinced that life evolved, then the DNA evidence is probably the best place to start.

For example, starting at moment of our conception when we are a single cell, how do we develop from that single cell to a human with joints, muscles, hearts, lungs, and the rest? It has to do with DNA, right? Why are species different from each other? Once again, its due to the differences in their DNA.

What do we see in those differences? We see the massive fingerprint of common ancestry and mutations. @glipsnort has a great article here at BioLogos on why we have concluded that the same processes producing mutations in species today is also responsible for the genetic differences between species. I would strongly recommend the article if you are interested in why we have reached the conclusions we hold.

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I actually read that article several weeks ago and found it interesting. I as a physician, obviously, have no problem with scientific research.

My question is where did the genes (waslb, vav2, Hox 11, etc) come from in the first place.

The universe has this habit of refusing to change itself just because we believe it should be different.

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I am very very familiar with the scientific literature about DNA, common anscestry, etc etc.

As I said before, I have been a physician (MD) for 38 years. My undergraduate degree was in engineering.

If there is some science you would like to discuss I would certainly be open to it.

The article on mutations I linked to above would be a great starting point. You could discuss how intelligent design is a better explanation for why we see more transitions than transversions when we compare genomes between species. Perhaps you could show us genetic differences between the chimp and human genomes that are explained better by intelligent design than by the process of mutation we observe happening in the present.

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We know quite a bit about where new genes come from and we’re currently learning more pretty rapidly. We have good evidence for multiple mechanisms of gene formation: gene duplication, gene fusion, conversion of noncoding sequence into de novo genes, and repurposing of genes from transposable elements.

This will not tell you where the very first genes came from, of course, but that’s a different question.

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My personal interest has not been so much on various types of mutations, duplications, common anscestry, etc etc. But I am certainly familiar with the scientific literature on these topics.
I obviously have no problem or objection to objective scientific findings, data, research etc.

I have been more interested in abiogenesis, the origin of genes, embryonic development, macroevolution, etc.

I’m a board certified radiologist. I don’t pretend to be a molecular biologist or moleculur geneticist.

Looking at the human body, I have been impressed with “intelligent design” for 40 years. Long before the current meaning of “ID” even existed.

I am actually at work as we speak, so I don’t have the time (or the desire honestly) to endlessly debate or discuss these topics.

Abiogenesis is a very different topic. If the first simple organisms had been created by God that really doesn’t affect the concept of all life evolving from a common ancestor.

If you are interested in the origin of genes, embryonic development, and macroevolution then that will necessarily involve mutations, duplications, and common ancestry. For example, the mutations and duplications of Hox genes has direct application to the questions surrounding the evolution of animals. For example, this paper:

In general, evolutionary developmental biology (aka Evo-Devo) might be a field that would interest you.

I can understand why people would conclude that life was intelligently designed. It’s a very attractive and intuitive idea. However, it does break down when you get into the nitty gritty of the biology.

That’s fine. I hope that you can get something out of these posts. If nothing else, you may have a better understanding of where the disagreements lie. All the best!

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Thank you.

Best regards to all of you also.

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As @glipsnort said, there are various ways genes can come about through mutations.

Abiogenesis is a bit tricker. Some evolutionary creationists think God created the first cell, and others are fine with the process (there’s a lot of diversity in the community). I’m personally agnostic about abiogenesis, since it’s quite hard to know for certain.

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Did God create the first cell on the trillions of living worlds in our mediocre universe?

What is life? Is it some kind of substance or magic that you can add to non-living material in order to make it alive? Everything we have learned in modern science shows that there is no such thing – no such stuff or magic. Life is a dynamic organization of material that maintains itself in response to a variety of environmental challenges and it gathers energy and materials from its environment in order to do so.

Life is quantitative. Life grows, learns, and becomes more. So as far as what you recognize as life, I am sure that it does only come from other life. But what about viruses? Are they alive? See now that is a point where it is difficult to recognize something as alive even though it does much of the same things – that is a dynamic organization of material with so little life that it stands in between life and non-life. And frankly the universe is filled with many other self-organizing process with many of the same features of life which we would not consider to be alive. And yet they gather energy and materials from their environment to maintain their own structure.

The evidence shows that we have a continuous spectrum from non-life to life. But there does seem to be a kind of crossing point where life becomes more creative, producing more and more life in increasing variety, complexity, and abundance.

It is one thing to choose not to believe something regardless of what the evidence says and quite another to make it the premise of an argument that is suppose to convince other people. Ok, you can say this is just an argument for your own belief… to convince yourself… even though it will not convince anybody else… ?

Watch an AI program called alpha-go (which learns how to play a game by trying random things and then discarding those which lose) beat the top professional human players of the game and you will see that a purely mechanical process is all that is required for the things we have always attributed to intelligence. And yes the same algorithm can be used to design superior machines.

So does that mean AI can design living things? But I do not believe that living things are designed. That is the difference between living things and machines. Living things organize themselves making their own choices and learning things in their own way. But I certainly think that AI can design machines as complex as any living organism we see in the world.

And that is the problem with your characterization of evolution as random mutations and natural selection. That may be how it starts out, but it eventually learns to repair the purely random sources of variation and introduce its own variations in a much more controlled manner

corrected: The premises of your conclusion are false but I also believe that God created the universe and was involved in the evolution of living organisms.

my original comment was colored by the title you chose and casting God into the role of intelligent designer which I do not agree with at all.

So do you believe in the Bible or do you believe in your logical argument for the Bible? Do you believe in God or do you just believe in the argument you have made for an intelligent designer. That is problem with such logical arguments made to justify things in which you believe – you replace your faith in the things you should have faith in with a faith in things that might well be wrong (and in fact what all the evidence shows to be wrong). Don’t you think that is tragic?

The great watchmaker intelligent designer is the God of Deism not the Bible. The God of the Bible is a shepherd.

Your mistaken presuppositions are showing.
 

I’m not sure what to think of all this. I don’t have the time (or the desire frankly) to respond in detail.

But I do believe in the God of the Bible. And I put my faith for salvation in Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

And I believe in the God of the Bible. But I could not do so without evolution. Without evolution, the god of the Bible is either a total incompetent or a despicable being who torments little children and little old ladies. If I believed that such a creature existed I would dedicate my life to opposing it in any way I could. Without evolution, I would conclude that the the Bible and the god in it are nothing but evil fabrications of people for the purpose of power and manipulation. After all, the examples of people using Christianity in particular for power and manipulations to justify rape, murder, slavery, and genocide is quite overwhelming.

But because of evolution, I know that the harsh realities of life are inescapable. Without suffering and death, life would not and could not exist. And that makes it so much easier to swallow the necessity of the horrible things God did in the Bible as well. The Bible and evolution fit together like hand in glove.

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200,000,000,000 x 200,000,000,000 = 400,000,000,000,000,000,000

Four hundred million trillion.

With an order of magnitude or two more worlds.

Four billion trillion.

How many of those four billion don’t have life? Reasonably? If only one in a billion do, that’s four trillion worlds.

I agree, it’s bound to be orders of magnitude more.

There are other ‘fine tuning’ criteria that you are not taking into account.

One thing I often see misunderstood is macro evolution versus micro evolution. They are both the same processes, one is just further down the road. The same adaptations that occur within one species creating subspecies is the same process that continues to favor various aspects of each morphological difference that later on becomes it’s on species, it’s own genus and eventually it’s own family ( potentially ).

We know this because we see it in the fossil record. We can see the curve of a spine, the shape of a hip knowing it indicated bipedalism. We can see the gradual changes overtime. Superimposition let’s us know that these geological layers attest to this or that change.

Now days we can also look at genetics.

We can see morphological snd genetic similarities ( basal traits ) and differences ( divergent traits ) between us and chimps and see more similarities between us than with monkeys and we can see more similarities between the three of us than dogs and with the four of us more so than with a jawed fish. Genetics really help us sort out issues with convergent evolution. Such as how eyes have evolved many times unrelated to ours such as the eye of a Erythropsidium. (which is really cool to see and it’s a “camera” style eye. It’s also a single celled organism.

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Good that you figured that life was not created by God as it would imply that the God of the proponents of God having created life believe in a not living God.

If you understand life to be the ability to move energy or matter at will you can even see how we codes we generate can propagate our will either in computercode or in our spoken will. So if you follow someones will by accepting it for yourself, that will -and therfore it’s source - lives on in you.

When you look at evolution, we find it so clever that we adopt the process for our own design optimisation - as if it was a process that had no purpose and was a stupid random process :slight_smile:

I’m not aware of any at all.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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