Humans Copy Nature, Therefore Intelligent Design!

The Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page — are repeating themselves again, and therefore so shall we. This silly item appears at their creationist blog: Intelligent Designs in Nature Make Engineers Envious. It doesn’t have an author’s byline, so we assume this is a statement of dogma on behalf of the whole “think tank.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and their links omitted:

We’ve reported numerous times about the vibrant field of biomimetics: the science of imitating nature. There are whole departments at universities dedicated to this. There are journals like [list omitted] that regularly report on it. Entrepreneurs have started companies to build products mimicking nature. Biomimetics is on a roll.

That’s nice, but what does Biomimetics have to do with the Discoveroids’ claims about a magical intelligent designer — blessed be he! — who runs around invisibly tinkering with things so that we have a universe, a planet (which is unique), and our whole biosphere? They tell us:

Here are a few of scientists’ latest attempts to copy nature’s designs. They wouldn’t try so hard if the designs weren’t intelligent.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Intelligent? No, all that would make something worth copying would be that it has a desirable function. They give some examples, like the scales on a butterfly’s wings that seem to improve flight aerodynamics, and also something about using solar energy, and something else about the dolphin’s use of sound. Those are neat biological developments, and perhaps worth emulating. So what do the Discoveroids make of it? We note that they’re not involved in any of the scientific projects they describe; they’re merely observers. But they’re so wise! They say:

Occasionally, news stories like these attribute the designs in question to natural selection. “Through billions of years of evolution, life on Earth has found intricate solutions to many of the problems scientists are currently grappling with,” the item from Cambridge says. But then, most of the story marvels at the intricate design that blind nature supposedly arrived at. [Emphasis in the Discoveroids’ original.]

The Discoveroids, however, somehow know that these things couldn’t have evolved. And they’re annoyed at the arrogance of the scientists and their Darwinism. Look at this:

The Darwin language gets to be as annoying as those pop-up ads on the Internet that have nothing to do with the story. The focus is on design — “intricate solutions” so good, they occupy the best minds in the world’s finest academic institutions; designs so attractive, they are worth six-figure government grants to imitate.

We’ve previously debunked the Discoveroids’ claim that because copying something found in nature requires conscious effort on our part, this somehow means that nature required intelligence to produce the results we try to copy. It’s a goofy claim. If mere humans can copy what nature does, and sometimes improve on it (for example, our telescopes are better than anything found in nature), then it obviously doesn’t require a supernatural being to accomplish such things. See our discussion in Common Creationist Claims Confuted under the heading Copying Nature Requires Intelligence.

However, we don’t want to close our minds. Do the Discoveroids, with the aid of their “theory” of intelligent design, have a better way to accomplish the scientists’ work? If so, it’s time they told the world about it so they could finally earn some respect. Here’s their last paragraph. Perhaps they’ll tell us something we couldn’t know without their awesome insights:

You wouldn’t want to insult bioengineers with the suggestion they are mimicking blind, unguided processes in their work. No, from our uniform experience, a good design comes from a good mind.

That’s all there is. As we suspected — after all their “research” and their public relations work, the Discoveroids have nothing of any value to tell us. They never do.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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25 responses to “Humans Copy Nature, Therefore Intelligent Design!

  1. Richard Olson

    ‘You wouldn’t want to insult bioengineers with the suggestion they are mimicking blind, unguided processes in their work. No, from our uniform experience, a good design comes from a good mind.’

    Just so!

  2. So all this time the parrots really were talking to me? I knew it!

  3. Ceteris Paribus

    Does the DI ever stand in awe and consider that humans invented transportation using wheels on axles, with no copying at all from a pre-existing “kind”? Probably not. Otherwise the DI would have to face the possibility that maybe humans also invented their Intelligent Designer™ ,

  4. Just you wait! Deep in some dark, hidden, remote area of the earth where humans have yet to explore are likely to be found little mammalian creatures that move via wheels at the extremity of their limbs rather than feet / hooves / etc. There might even be a string attached to the nose of the creature so that even a child could help it move forward. Who’s to deny that the great designer doesn’t have that in store for us! Then all of the wheeled vehicles can they trace their true origin to these little creatures and give credit where credit is due. BTW, I much prefer “stink tank” to “think tank.” It seems to be a far more fitting description.

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    So what’s the logical fallicay here, I’m not an expert. A copies B, therefore B equals C. Let me try …

    Discovery Institute copies organization of a ship, therefor the DI must be a Ship of Fools.

    How’d I do? Can I be a fellow now?

  6. Charles Deetz asks: “So what’s the logical fallicay fallacy here”

    It’s in the title, “Humans Copy Nature, Therefore Intelligent Design!” That wasn’t intended as a joke. It’s literally the Discoveroids’ argument. It has a premise and it has a conclusion; but in the middle … nothing.

  7. Charles Deetz ;)

    Oh, so more just like A therefor C. I guess I was over-thinking it, was expecting some classic logical error when they were just really pulling out of the ass. Kinda like my spelling of fallacy.

  8. “a good design comes from a good mind.”

    … so where did the lumbar spine come from?

  9. That was the evil lumbar imp. Always messing with the great designers plans.

  10. No, from our uniform experience, a good design comes from a good mind.

    Actually, my experience includes the natural world, which produces some pretty fine designs through its own natural processes. I don’t know where they get their “uniform experience”, but evidently it is greatly removed from the real world.

  11. A major challenge to the notion that “good design comes from a good mind” has to be computer simulations of “organisms” formed by random mutation and natural selection. One recent experiment was able to evolve walking, jelly-like cubes just by giving evolution a few very basic building blocks (like “bone” and “expanding muscle”) and telling the computer that the cubes that moved the fastest were to have more virtual offspring. After a thousand or so generations, really impressive (and hillarious) gaits emerged. The video is well worth three and a half minute of your life:

    Interestingly, the comments on YouTube touch on the topic of whether this disproves Intelligent Design or not. One of the researhers behind the project explains: “Evolution did all the heavy lifting: there is no human in the loop after we start the Darwinian process. It is definitely evidence for evolution doing impressive things, not for intelligent design.”

    Apprently they tried to have engineers deliberately design “walking cubes” from the same building blocks, but the results were far inferior to the results obtained by random variation + natural selection (and some patience). So no, good design does NOT always require a good mind. In fact, a mind may get in the way, since it will come with some preconceived ideas about what “may” work well (but doesn’t necessarily). “Blind evolution” (a favorite creationist phrase) has no such biases, and its results can be all the more impressive.

  12. What they’re saying is that we have no examples of intelligent design of such-and-such, but only of intelligent copying of it. Because such-and-such is nothing like what we know of that comes about by intelligent design, it must be intelligently designed.

  13. Off-topic–and what’s worse, even something of a ‘vanity’ post–but jeepers! Somehow, I failed to spot this 1 minute audio-turd from Ken Ham, which AiG posted in August: Megalonyx – The Gentle Giant

  14. Ceteris Paribus

    The DI says: “No, from our uniform experience, a good design comes from a good mind.”

    The DI believes creationism is not just merely good, but really most sincerely good because their god’s intricate designs are made available to be copied by humans for the further glory of the creationists god.

    But it depends on what the meaning of “good” is. In contrast to the godly DI view of good, evolution boils down good to mean “merely sufficient for the purpose”.

    Consider the barnacle species discovered by Darwin, in which he found the males to exist as tiny, short-lived bags of sperm with a penis. Or the deep sea angler fish in which the males spend their lives as tiny parasitic gonads attached to a female fish.

    Since almost everyone pushing DI creationism seems to be male, I suspect their writings may reflect some deep seated personal issues they really should seek help to overcome.

  15. It’s all even more thrilling than I realised! The previous Hambo link was actually to Part 2. Here’s the link to part 1 of Megalonyx – The Gentle Giant (Part 1)

  16. “No, from our uniform experience, a good design comes from a good mind.”

    So, bad design comes from a bad mind? Like the creator god that they believe designed the female hyena’s reproductive system?

  17. Charles, I think it’s a two-fer. Equivocation (of imitation with design/intention, as pointed out above) and their all-time favorite, the undistributed middle (All design implies purpose, biological structures can be incorporated in design, therefore biological structure implies purpose – as would magnetic dipoles, arches, etc. all of which I’m sure they believe as well).

  18. Sam Harris, are you the author with that name? If so, welcome to our humble blog. If not, perhaps you shouldn’t be using his name.

  19. Megalonyx exclaims: “It’s all even more thrilling than I realised!”

    So, you are not only reviled by Olivia, but you are acclaimed by ol’ Hambo. We are not surprised.

  20. Thanks to the inspirations from the Intelligent Designer, we are able to fly through the air and even leave our planet in craft that flap their wings just like birds.

  21. And how would we be able to eat soup without the serendipitous example of this handsome creation?

  22. @gnome de net –
    Indeed, how can one explain that airplanes and rockets defy the Law of Gravity?
    How do planes fly? They are intelligently designed!

  23. Ceteris Paribus

    @ Megalonyx It’s pretty creepy that in Part 1 Ham mentions that it was difficult for Megalonyx to stand on two feet without the help of its large “tail” to keep its balance.

  24. @ Ceteris Paribus: Put that way, I can see how it might sound a tad unusual. But Olivia assures me it’s a hugely impressive asset that has spoiled her for anything less…

  25. Ceteris Paribus

    @ Megalonyx On reflection, I likely should never have made the comment – pretty much anything Ham says is pretty creepy and/or unusual in some respect.