Class Warfare Blog

October 19, 2020

Intelligent Design . . . Right . . .

Filed under: Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 12:31 pm
Tags: , ,

Some claim that all order in nature is due to them being designed by some sort of intelligent designer. Here is an example.

This photo isn’t of an abstract painting. It’s a portrait of the crystals that form after two amino acids — L-glutamine and beta-alanine — were heated in a solution made of ethanol and water. One of the compounds, L-glutamine, is a building block for proteins and ensures that the immune system can function. The other, beta-alanine, helps with muscle endurance.

Look carefully. This phantasmagoric image was created by amino acids forming crystals all on their own.

Nature is self-organizing. This is not an article of faith. It is an observation.

Photo by Justin Zoll of Ithica, New York.

40 Comments »

  1. It is also an example of how the brain works. The picture is totally non-representational, but we still try to find patterns, especially faces. GROG

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by grogalot — October 19, 2020 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

  2. “Nature is self-organizing.”.

    How is that different from “intelligent”? Can something be intelligent without a Designer?

    Like

    Comment by James Cross — October 19, 2020 @ 12:48 pm | Reply

    • Your anthropomorphism is showing.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by shelldigger — October 19, 2020 @ 12:59 pm | Reply

      • How you define intelligence?

        Like

        Comment by James Cross — October 19, 2020 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

        • My first thought is this. Do what you can to not be a dumbass.

          My second thought is this, if you think anything AIG, or the ICR, or any of their desperate for attention sycophants, has anything to do with an intelligent discussion, you are a dumbass.

          Like

          Comment by shelldigger — October 19, 2020 @ 6:58 pm | Reply

          • I believe that is an evolution of the admonition “Don’t be a dick.”

            I find those AIG/ICR people suspiciously dishonest. They rake in millions of dollars every year from donors to carry on their “work.” I guess, for them, it beats having a real job. (If I couldn’t recognize that their “work” is dishonest, I would go back to my university and ask for my money back.)

            On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 6:58 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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            Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 8:08 am | Reply

        • Oh, almost forgot the DI. It’s been a long day.

          Like

          Comment by shelldigger — October 19, 2020 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

          • Didn’t dilute your message. I got the point. After a long day we should have the right to rest in peace, but that phrase has been co-opted.

            On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 7:10 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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            Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 8:09 am | Reply

        • Thanks, shelldigger, you’ve proved what you are.

          And totally totally missed my point.

          So many discussions of intelligence fail to define it. In fact, many discussions of human capabilities conflate intelligence and consciousness as if they are either the same or that at least the first requires the second. Point being that intelligent order arises in physical systems (self-organization) without any directing conscious intention or plan.

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          Comment by James Cross — October 20, 2020 @ 7:31 am | Reply

          • Lol. I have no issues with what I am.

            See, I know what your bait, “what is intelligence?” actually is. I will not get drawn into the semantics debate.

            At some point,all that matters, is who is convinced by a scientific consensus supported by facts and decades of observations/study, and who is convinced by creationists in lab coats pretending to do science, with the hope of sneaking creationism into classrooms and politics?

            Yep, I know exactly what I am. And I’m fine with it. Now piss off.

            Like

            Comment by shelldigger — October 20, 2020 @ 10:35 am | Reply

            • Okay, now, be nice. I like James! And, well, you too if the truth be known.

              James is worth following … if you are a physics and philosophy geek like me.

              On Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 10:35 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 10:54 am | Reply

              • Well, I may have got off on the wrong foot. Sure seemed to me he was advocating for ID and looking to drag me into a pile of steaming stuff I have no interest in.

                I’ll play nice. And hey if I’m mistaken and I can be more than I care to admit, but I have no problem admitting that when the time comes.

                … and I like you too Mr. Steve 🙂 But you haven’t made my x-mas card list yet. (I don’t do x-mas cards anyway so there’s that)

                Liked by 1 person

                Comment by shelldigger — October 20, 2020 @ 11:54 am | Reply

                • Yeah, I stopped doing Xmas cards when I realized I was getting very few in return, so I was just irritating the people I was sending them to, reminding them of their decision.

                  I can assure you, James is not an ID advocate! A more rational man I am not aware of. :o) And he plays well with others, even if I can’t understand much of the stuff he posts, it is appealing!

                  On Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 11:54 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                  Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 12:01 pm | Reply

                  • Well dammit! James I had you pegged for an ID-er. Sorry about my attitude 🙂

                    In a fair response then to the question “what is intelligence?” I will toss this out there for perusal.

                    https://www.sciencealert.com/this-single-celled-animal-can-make-complex-decisions-even-without-a-nervous-system

                    My simplistic view of intelligence with some form of consciousness, is simply being capable of finding find food to eat and knowing to attempt escape if you are about to be eaten or injured. (So most humans pass the test even if they be creationists. But it’s a very low bar.) 🙂 Best I can tell this is intelligence at its most basic primal form.

                    And even that linked study can’t really rule out anthopomorphism, but it’s intriguing.

                    This is interesting:

                    The paramecia were a bit slow to respond, but once they realized they were lunch they sure looked like they freaked out. But am I anthropomorphizing?

                    I used to put much stock into instinct being a main factor in food finding/survival but instinct is a claim easier made than actually proven, so I’m in some doubt there. But I still blink when something comes at my eye.

                    Like

                    Comment by shelldigger — October 20, 2020 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

                  • If my wife didn’t remember significant birthdays, and send out x-mas cards, I’d look like I just didn’t give a damn.

                    I swear it isn’t that I don’t give a damn, I do, I’m just usually so busy with day to day it doesn’t occur to me to look at the calendar in that regard.

                    Like

                    Comment by shelldigger — October 20, 2020 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

                    • I have my browser calendar remind me of important dates so I can send a birthday email. (Don’t know if I will go back to sending physical cards when the pandemic is over … we’ll have to see.)

                      On Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 1:04 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 9:39 pm

        • Since there are competing definitions (a sure sign that no one actually knows at this point) I resort to a dictionary-esque definition “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.” I like this definition because with it, my dog is quite intelligent (able to learn new tricks) and we are not just talking about a property of people (we tend to glorify ourselves, if you haven’t noticed :o).

          I tend to favor simpler definitions which creates broader discussions, e.g. my definition of a mind is a “set of mental abilities.”

          On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 1:20 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 7:54 am | Reply

    • So all over nature, due to gravity and winds and water movement we get rocks being ground down to smaller and smaller pieces and then moving downhill, so we end up with beaches near the shore, all of which seem like they were made like that. (I live next to an artificial beach on Lake Michigan. I believe the sand was trucked in from Florida. The artificial beaches are the work of intelligent designers and the natural ones … intelligence? Not a scrap was employed.

      Intelligence, to me, seems like an emergent property of brains once they achieve certain properties (I am not sure which … complexity? perhaps the ability to communicate from one specialized part of the brain to another? perhaps). I think intelligence is vastly overrated. It doesn’t seem to be employed very often. It seems like a veneer added to human capabilities.

      On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 12:48 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 7:48 am | Reply

  3. That is an incredible pic. Art even.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shelldigger — October 19, 2020 @ 12:59 pm | Reply

    • A submission to a small scale photography contest. Imagine all of the images that evoke little to nothing that were picked over to find the submission. Like the beauty to be found in nature … you really have to look for it.

      On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 1:00 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 7:50 am | Reply

  4. People struggle with emergent phenomena – extreme simple things in large numbers giving rise to complex things. Neural networks (brains) work this way, as does embryo development, evolutionary processes, star formation, etc. this was a great illustration. Shame people struggle to understand emergent behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Matt Barsotti — October 19, 2020 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

    • I agree totally. It would be nice if people knew what said properties were and knew of some examples. Understanding is a big ask, I think. I struggle understanding them myself.

      On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 1:52 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 7:55 am | Reply

  5. “An ambitious new paper published in Physical Review Letters seeks to describe intelligence as a fundamentally thermodynamic process.”

    “The first author on the paper, Alex Wissner-Gross, describes intelligent behavior as a way to maximize the capture of possible future histories of a particular system”.

    https://phys.org/news/2013-04-emergence-complex-behaviors-causal-entropic.html

    Like

    Comment by James Cross — October 19, 2020 @ 2:02 pm | Reply

    • I am plagued by probabilists. I feel a little like the classical physicists who were struggling to embrace that thermodynamics was a probabilistic subject … or rather I should say susceptible to probabilistic interpretations. Some things, like atomic orbitals we are forced to take a probabilistic approach. We have an unfortunate propensity to attach meaning to whether or not a subject requires such an approach, however.

      And, the paper is intriguing but statements such as “When following a causal path, entropy is based not on the internal arrangements accessible to a system at any particular time, but rather on the number of arrangements it could pass through on the way to possible future states.” are more than a bit disturbing. By what mechanism could systems seek out clusters of future states that had higher numbers. This seems to describe a system in which water flows uphill instead of down.

      On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 2:02 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 8:02 am | Reply

      • But isn’t this exactly the self-organization you already described?

        I’m not arguing for ID but, more or less conceding a point. The world looks (!) intelligently designed because there are self-organizing principles in every level. The brain and its intelligence emerges as an aspect of the overall self-organization.

        Like

        Comment by James Cross — October 20, 2020 @ 10:26 am | Reply

        • My first comment above applied to your statement: “Intelligence, to me, seems like an emergent property of brains once they achieve certain properties”

          I can at least see how the ID proponents can be fooled.

          Like

          Comment by James Cross — October 20, 2020 @ 10:28 am | Reply

          • I wonder if they are “fooled” from studying the situation and coming to an incorrect conclusion or from having been led to a conclusion they are now wedded to and unwilling to scrap just to be accurate. I tend to think the latter rather than the former.

            On Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 10:28 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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            Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 10:52 am | Reply

        • I haven’t studied this in depth, but the source of the existence of the laws of physics isn’t well established; they just are. (We studied nature and consistent behaviors became the laws.)

          It is possible that any set of such laws would lead to some degree of self-organization. I suggest this because for a law to be a law, the behavior at its base has to be consistent and that consistency should lead to organization.

          When people refer to “intelligent design” they are not referring to some abstract intelligence that the universe might possess, they are referring to an external intelligence which is not subject to said laws.

          I think I am fighting out of my weight class here.

          On Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 10:26 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 10:50 am | Reply

          • Yes, that is what most people mean by ID and (you know me) I’m not arguing for it.

            There are some self-organizing principles in the world. There are things that are predictable or mostly so. Our brain arises in the world as a mirror to it. Hence, our brain has intelligence. Then we look at the world and see intelligence reflected back.

            There is not coincidently an entropic brain hypothesis which is part of the REBUS model which theorizes that the brain operates below (but not far below) the area of criticality where it slips into disorder that could account for how this works.

            https://mind-foundation.org/rebus/

            “Carhart-Harris’s hypothesis is that the adult human brain normally pushes down its measure of entropy, away from a point known as criticality, into sub-criticality. Criticality can be seen as the ‘perfect balance’ between order and disorder in the brain at which information processing is maximally efficient – exactly the point between the two examples given above”.

            Like

            Comment by James Cross — October 20, 2020 @ 11:19 am | Reply

            • Sounds like a Le Chatelier’s Principle for information. You do come up with interesting discussions, many of which are beyond my fading 74 year old brain.

              On Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 11:19 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 11:59 am | Reply

              • A lot are beyond my 71 year old brain too. That’s even the ones I start. 🙂

                Like

                Comment by James Cross — October 20, 2020 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

                • I remember reading Scientific Americans while in high school. My mother brought home donations from her colleagues. I found out later that SA (at that time) wrote so that everyone could understand the first third of any article, then the middle third became more sciency, with the final third for those who were knowledgeable of the topic. Would that I could write/edit that well!

                  I keep trying … but I don’t get as far into articles as I used to.

                  Cheers, my friend! Keep up the good work!

                  On Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 12:00 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                  Liked by 1 person

                  Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

              • Actually it almost exactly like Le Chatelier’s Principle (I had to look that one up).

                Carhart-Harris uses it to explain why we are resistant to change in our ideas and behaviors and how psychedelics might work therapeutically to enable change.

                Like

                Comment by James Cross — October 20, 2020 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

                • Even Michael Pollin is recommending psychedelics now. Too many productive and therapeutic medications get scheduled as “dangerous narcotics” by people who can’t even spell “chemical.”

                  LeChatelier’s principle is the basis for biological homeostasis and many other natural change resistant systems. It itself is based in thermodynamics and, as almost always, at its root we find physics.

                  I advocated forever that physics should be the first science taught in high school, followed by chemistry, then biology, as each informs the next. But the desire to teach physics mathematically always drove physics to the “last” position, which I think was our loss.

                  On Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 12:03 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                  Liked by 1 person

                  Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

  6. Magnificent photo!

    There are other (many?) other examples too of emergent phenomenon that survive successfully after a period of time—just as many as failed emergent phenomenon, if not more! In fact, many living entities do not last more than 1-3 generations, or 10-20. Why don’t Grand Design Faithers talk a lot more about a Divine Designer’s utter failures? “Things that make you go Hmmmmm.” 🤔😄

    Like

    Comment by Professor Taboo — October 19, 2020 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

    • You mean the 99% of all species now extinct? I wonder why the Great Designer, blessed be his name, would create such a wasteful system. Hmmmmm, indeed!

      On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 6:53 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 8:04 am | Reply

  7. That would look great as a huge picture on my wall, much better than the stuff passed off as modern art.

    Like

    Comment by sklyjd — October 20, 2020 @ 5:31 am | Reply

    • I have seen quite a few similar pieces. Imagine an art gallery featuring the artist “Mother Nature.”

      On Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 5:31 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2020 @ 8:10 am | Reply

  8. Hello! Long time, no chat! Beautiful and thought provoking. I thought at first it was too perfect too be an abstract painting, I thought it was a computer generated painting – but the real answer is much more interesting!

    Like

    Comment by Martina — October 22, 2020 @ 5:14 pm | Reply


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