Saturday, April 28, 2012

Argument from design - Teleological argument

     The first error is in assuming that natural selection is a random unguided process.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Natural selection is the filling of a need via necessity.  Let's look at a few examples;

  1. Foals can walk and nurse within an hour of being born, can trot and canter within several hours and can gallop within a day.  They need this ability to be able to move away from predators.  This ability can be confidently suggested to be rooted in natural selection.  A horse which is born and has to sit around for days will be killed more easily than a quickly mobile one.  That causes the more mobile horse to be more likely to pass along it's genes and as a result eventually cause horses in general to be able to move faster after birth.
  2. Let's look at a predator.  Cheetahs are a rather optimized predator.  They are stealthy, accurate, fast and deadly.  These abilities came when the cheetah was hunting prey animals and I'll use gazelles as an example.  The gazelle is fast and can turn in an instant.  To be able to hunt and kill a gazelle the cheetah must be able to move very fast after stealthily hunting.  Any cheetahs which didn't have these traits wouldn't as easily catch their prey and would find survival and thus reproduction hard to sustain.
  3. The crocodile looks rather like a log to the unsuspecting creature.  It sits still and watches until a creature wanders past or comes to drink and launches itself at the animal.  It then often drags the creature underwater, drowning it and allowing the crocodile to eat it's prey at leisure.  These traits have solid roots also in natural selection.  
     Chance is involved in the mutation used in evolution and defined by natural selection.  Take a boggle game and decide on a configuration you'd like to see.  The first thing you need to do is make sure that your dice have all of the sides required, if they don't, your metaphorical species will go extinct.  So assuming that you picked a possible combination, let's begin.  Each time a dice falls in the correct position, have it not change any more.  You'll find that eventually through dice rolls you get an incredibly unlikely configuration which for all intents and purposes would be nearly impossible to come to through chance.  Now think of each dice as a trait in a genome or a phenotype.  When one of them is beneficial, it goes on to be reproduced.  That's the dice you keep.  To take the boggle analogy to another level you could land the wrong dice on the right trait and by doing that lose the potential for another trait you need.  This has a couple of possible results.  The first is that your species cannot survive.  The second is that your species has to make another change.
     Let's take the native's watch.  The native living in a primitive culture finds a watch on a beach, he doesn't know what it is, but he knows that it was designed.  The watch is correlated with the universe and us with the native. Theists will take that to prove God.  The problem is that the watch has clear markings on it which indicate design, and that watches are to my knowledge only ever created by humans.  If I, right now found a machine with effects beyond our current level I would have to postulate a more advanced person than myself.  The tribesman, were he wise could do the same.  We should not aspire to be the ignorant tribesman, we don't see the clear markings of design (later post more based on lack of design).

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