The Instigator
Sswdwm
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
joepalcsak
Pro (for)
Winning
23 Points

Is Intelligent Design Sound?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
joepalcsak
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 826 times Debate No: 46134
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (5)

 

Sswdwm

Con


1st Round - Acceptance
Round 1 - Opening Arguments
Round 2 - Rebuttals + Further Arguments
Round 3 - Rebuttals + Further Arguments
Round 4 - Closing Arguments, No New Arguments

Round 1 for Pro starts in round 1 and for Con in round 2. Pro will leave last round with the statement "This Round has been left empty as per request" to keep the number of rounds even (4 each).

BoP is Shared
joepalcsak

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for inviting me to my very first debate, and wish him the best of luck.

This is a very interesting topic as it is worded and is subject to a certain degree of subjectivity, both in the debate period and in the voting period as well. I think it prudent as my first task to do my best to minimize how much subjectivity enters into both phases. For the sake of clarity, I am dividing my opening statement into four sections...

I: MINIMIZING SUBJECTIVITY WITH CLARIFICATION

The first order of business is to point out that Intelligent Design is a proposition that concerns itself specifically with the issue of the origin of life. As such, there is no direct conflict between ID and evolution. Evolution addresses the history of living organisms. Thus, it is possible to accept both evolution and intelligent design. Indeed, microbiologist Michael Behe, who is often identified as one of ID's founding fathers, has also been identified as a proponent of common descent. A little later I will have more to say on this notion that it is possible to accept both evolution and ID.

Second, ID is not, as many of its hostile opponents claim, a theory about God. As I have pointed out, concerning living systems, ID is strictly an origin of life question. [1]

Next, I want to point out exactly what is at issue here: It is not whether ID is true. It is not whether ID is science. The question at hand, offered by my opponent, is whether ID is sound.

II: DESIGN AS A REASONABLE PROPOSITION

So is design a reasonable proposition when it comes to the question of the origin of life? Richard Dawkins, arguably the world's most recognizable apologist for both atheism and evolution thinks so:
"Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose"[2]
Now I'm not claiming that Dawkins is an ID advocate, but he certainly concedes that biological systems appear to be designed. This is noteworthy because if even those who oppose the conclusions of ID agree that there is an appearance of design, then we have at least advanced the question to the point where it is worth asking: if there is an appearance of design, what sort of propositions possess the explanatory power for this appearance? For Dawkins and his devotees, the mechanisms of evolution can explain that appearance. But what of the very first life? If living systems manifest an appearance of design, it follows that the first living system also manifested the appearance of design. How did the very first living organism arrive on the scene? How did life arise out of aimless, inanimate matter?

Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the DNA structure went on to propose the sequence hypothesis; that genetic information exists as a linear DNA code [3]. Like Dawkins is, Crick was an atheist. He went even farther than Dawkins on the appearance of design:
"Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved."[4]

It is important to note that Crick and Dawkins are very prominent figures in evolutionary lore and that they are by no means alone. Indeed, the appearance of design in living systems is so prominent that it cannot be ignored and is acknowledged by virtually all. Is it sound to propose that the appearance of design could be due to actual design, or is it unsound?

III: FROM DARWIN TO DAWKINS

Crick understood all too well the implications of his sequence hypothesis. If biology is run by code and genetic language, he knew that the origin of this code had to be intelligent agency. Not even his atheist metaphysic could give his rational mind an escape on this point. This drove him, along with fellow atheist and chemist Leslie Orgel to propose that aliens (read: intelligent designers) seeded our planet for life [5]. Indeed, Orgel adds this:
"One might have to conclude that life, in fact, could never have originated by chemical means"

From Darwin forward until the time of Crick, it was thought that the origin of life could be explained as a purely natural event; a combination of physics and chemistry. This view largely prevails to this day. In showing that coded information and not the stuff of physicality is what drives life, Crick changed everything. Coded information - to be understood here as the manifestation of code, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics - only comes about deliberately. This specific type of information, labeled Universal Information (and hereafter designated as UI), comes about exclusively by the volition of agents capable of envisioning pragmatic goals, and intentionally manipulating physicality in order to achieve those goals. UI is non-material; it is abstract. The creation of UI is not a physical process at all. It is an abstract process. The creation of UI is a process altogether different from the physical results of purely physical processes. This was Crick's insight and it is what drove him to the only reasonable conclusion he could possibly reach: life is the result of intelligent agency! It was reasonable scientific inference that got him to this point. It was his metaphysic that fueled his proposal that "aliens done it!" .

Since Crick, we have learned much more about the information of life. We have learned that this information system of life is by far the most advanced and efficient information storage and processing system we have ever encountered. We have uncovered several additional genetic codes in addition to the protein synthesis code. Evidence is accumulating, that independent multiple codes usher forth from the same genetic sequences. [7] We are still in the very infancy of our understanding of the genome, yet the more we learn, the more we realize that we are gazing into an arena of technical brilliance way beyond our ability to grasp it. We are discovering ever deeper levels of purpose, function and design.

Does it not follow that the more we recognize advanced information protocols, advanced engineering principles, and greater purposes manifested in biological systems, the more reasonable it becomes to conclude that the "appearance of design" that characterizes all living systems could in fact be due to actual design?

This is all that intelligent design asks. This is all that intelligent design says.

IV: MY OPPONENT'S BURDEN

My opponent has proposed this debate and willingly chosen the "con" side. What he must do is demonstrate why it is that intelligent design is not sound; why intelligent design constitutes an illegitimate candidate for the appearance of design. If my opponent attempts to show that intelligent design is not true, he is arguing a different case. If he attempts to show that intelligent design is not science, he is arguing a different case. The case that my opponent has willingly chosen is to demonstrate that ID is not sound; that in considering our options when it comes to the appearance of design, ID does not even deserve a place at the table at the marketplace of ideas.

I wish him luck.

[1] FAQ about ID, access research network
[2] The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins 1996
[3] Encyclopedia Online
[4] Science Today; Scientific quotes by Francis Crick
[5] Directed Panspermia, Crick and Orgel, 1972
[6] The Origin of Life on Earth, Science, 10/94
[7]http://www.washington.edu...

p.s. Just for fun, I can't help but offer Dawkins' tacit (albeit qualified) endorsement of Crick's directed panspermia and ID:
Debate Round No. 1
Sswdwm

Con

Sswdwm forfeited this round.
joepalcsak

Pro

I am deeply disappointed that my opponent has forfeited this round.

The record clearly shows that he has been active on debate.org several times since my opening round was posted.

The debate my opponent proposed promised me two rounds for rebuttals. Due to the forfeit, there is nothing for me to rebut in this round, leaving me with only one round for rebuttals. As the debated unfolds, I will weigh this promise of two rounds for rebuttals against the requirement that I leave the final round empty. Indeed, if he forfeits round #3 and then presents an argument in round #4, he can certainly expect a rebuttal!
Debate Round No. 2
Sswdwm

Con

Sswdwm forfeited this round.
joepalcsak

Pro

Regardless of what my opponent does this round, I will have something to say in the final round.
Debate Round No. 3
Sswdwm

Con

Sswdwm forfeited this round.
joepalcsak

Pro

I have been debating an "empty chair."

The bizarre thing is this: it was the empty chair who proposed the debate.

It was the empty chair who specifically sought me out to participate.

I know that my opponent has remained active on debate.org throughout the debate period, having contributed many posts to several different forums. I have reached out to him.

The sad thing is that those of you who checked in to see a spirited debate on a controversial topic have been short changed.
Is there any possible rescue? Perhaps there is someone who shares my opponent's position and would be willing to stand in for him. If that is the case, please come forward in the comment section of this debate before the voting period begins. I too was looking forward to a good debate and would still love for that to happen. If anyone is willing, I would be happy to debate on this same subject on these same terms. I will even copy and paste my opening statement to get the ball rolling!

One thing is clear: my opponent has lost this debate. In the absence of a champion stepping forward to stand in his place, there is only one vote that could possibly be cast.
Debate Round No. 4
Sswdwm

Con

Sswdwm forfeited this round.
joepalcsak

Pro

This round has been left empty as per request.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by joepalcsak 3 years ago
joepalcsak
I really don't understand this, but there may be an explanation: I have been unable to post on this website for more than a day. I keep receiving an error message: out of memory. Perhaps this is happening with my opponent. I really expected a spirited debate
Posted by etherealvoyager 3 years ago
etherealvoyager
Well, that was disappointing.
Posted by joepalcsak 3 years ago
joepalcsak
Sswdwm: Really? What gives? This is not like you!
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Pro is an amazing writer, I hope Con can match him!
Posted by etherealvoyager 3 years ago
etherealvoyager
I look forward to this.
Posted by Sswdwm 3 years ago
Sswdwm
My mistake, I ahve rectified this. Please reread the format terms and let me know if they are agreeable
Posted by joepalcsak 3 years ago
joepalcsak
I would love to accept your invitation, but you have decided to take the position I would be interested in defending
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by jh1234l 3 years ago
jh1234l
SswdwmjoepalcsakTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Full forfeit, with no arguments raised by pro.
Vote Placed by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
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Reasons for voting decision: Arguments to Pro because his went unrebutted, and conduct to Pro because Con instigated the debate, and remained active on this site, yet forfeited and ignored Pro's messages.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 3 years ago
Krazzy_Player
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Zarroette 3 years ago
Zarroette
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro formed a formidable argument, and was met with no opposition.
Vote Placed by Skepticalone 3 years ago
Skepticalone
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited with no arguments submitted. Points awarded to Pro accordingly.