This is the funniest I’ve seen of Neil deGrasse Tyson. Amazing (and perfectly logical) rant about “stupid design”. Wait until you get to the entertainment system in the middle of a sewage plant 😉
Thank you Shah Auckburaully !
Originally shared by Shah Auckburaully
Actually what he is discussing isn’t Intelligent Design, what he’s discussing is Creationism
Adam Boenig This looks like part of a larger talk that I have not heard..is it on creationism?
I don’t know. But this doesn’t rip apart Intelligent Design by any means. Intelligent Design isn’t just God, it also includes the possibility that we were the result of alien DNA or experimentation by an alien race, which you can’t disprove.
I’m not saying he’s clueless. What I am saying is he’s not disproving what he thinks he is. It’s easy to get Intelligent Design and Creationism confused.
Seems to me that he hits the whole broader Intelligent Design argument – that we are not well-designed and intelligent design would have done a better job.
Oh, okay I get what you’re alluding to, Adam. The point he makes is that if there was a thing such as intelligent design, it sure could have been better..there is more bad engineering around than we see. In that sense, he is criticizing intelligent design by poking fun at it.
Mary Lignoul Robinson We”, he’s starting by assuming that we weren’t an experiment. How many mistakes do we make in the process of science? He’s not tearing it apart by any means.
I don’t know what’s right or wrong; I wasn’t there. No one was. We are just getting to the point where we are capable, as human beings, of exploring these answers. I’m not saying he’s stupid; I’m not saying he does not know what he is talking about. What I am saying is he’s not really disproving it; all he’s doing it giving us factors that make it unlikely.
Adam Boenig , I agree he is not “tearing it apart” or “destroying” as the video title suggests..he is using the fine art of sarcasm and humor to reveal the flaw in the logic of an “intelligent” designer (whoever that may be, God or alien). 🙂
We could also have been an accident. Some alien species loses a jar of single celled organisms. shrugs it off and just takes it as a loss.
It’s a little flippant to attack the notion of design by saying it’s not perfect. Design doesn’t have to be perfect to perform a function. Anyone who has experienced wind shear understands that.
Adam Boenig He clearly is discussing Intelligent Design, it’s the point of what he is talking about – that for everything that looks clever there are numerous things that are not.
I would also like to note that Occam’s Razor cuts ID to pieces. We could just as well be living in a simulation or this could be a dream or … These are all possible but they will NEVER be experimentally proven and have no effect on our lives. They are not necessary to explain what we know to be true. Even if we find out that the universe is the product of 2 membranes colliding in 12 dimensional space, there could always be gods or aliens in 13 dimensional space that caused all this.
If we ever find experimental evidence, I would gladly accept that our universe is some failed experiment that the technologically advanced flying spaghetti monster put together on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but until then, I am not going to assume this to be the case. We’ve been waiting for Russell’s Teapot to show itself for more than 60 years and we haven’t had any luck on that either.
I’m not going to assume anything. Which is my point. Realistically, it won’t give you anything except one more thing to be depressed about, or simply react to.
Adam Boenig Sorry about my earlier post. The page hadn’t updated and I didn’t see the whole discussion.
You are correct that we may have been created as part of an experiment (or lab accident) but that isn’t part of intelligent design. Because intelligent design refers to a supernatural designer who is outside of nature. Whereas an alien experimenter may itself have been living in a computer simulation created by a creature that was in turn created in a high school science project by a creature that evolved from natural processes.
So intelligent design is irrelevant if the designer originally came from a natural process because they achieved their high level of capability subsequent to a random process of nature which in turn still means that we are an outcome of that same random process of nature and in some way subject to the rules of that ultimate nature because we are still a part of it.
The only reason to push intelligent design is to pave the way for a supernatural God to have created nature and ultimately humans in a manner consistent with our observations. The only mildly interesting question here is whether the proponent believes we have souls that evolved or that they were implanted at a certain stage of development in a non evolutionary intervention by God.
Adam Boenig, maybe you’re using a different definition of “Intelligent Design”? The idea behind Intelligent Design is that living organisms are so well designed that they must have been built by a conscious entity. ie
(1) organisms are well designed
(2) it is impossible for the blind forces of Nature to produce that design.
Showing that organisms are not well designed destroys point (1); and in fact contributes to destroying point (2) too, because bad design is the hallmark of natural selection.
Noooo, intelligent design refers to an intelligent being involved in creation of life, to include god, aliens, or all of the above.
Creationism refers to a supernatural being creating life, the universe, and everything.
Dan Suggitt , the chief argument for intelligent design is that the eye or ear or whatever is so complex, perfectly formed and functional that it must have been put together by an “intelligent being” rather than by the messy, imperfect process of evolution. One can’t argue both ways then..that the design need not be perfect to function.
Edit: also see David Ratnasabapathy response two comments up.
I really don’t care who created what or how it came about. What I do care about is respected scientists who support an opinion as fact without proof. Sure, it’s an intelligent opinion; but it remains just that: an opinion. And that is all I have to say on the subject.
Adam Boenig, you might want to research the idea of Intelligent Design further. If all it was, was the idea that life on Earth was designed by Intelligent aliens, it would be interesting; but not useful because there’s no compelling evidence to suggest any such thing.
Intelligent Design, as it is used in the States, is a tactic used by Creationists to smuggle their religion into public school science classes.
Proponents of Intelligent Design turn out to be Creationists; and Intelligent Design arguments turn out to be as flawed, and as mendacious, as Creationist arguments.
Here, have a look at Kitzmiller v Dover, the case where Creationists tried to use Intelligent Design as a wedge to insert religion into science.
That is what religion does best. The evolutionary arms race in ideas causes religion to constantly refine itself in such a way that it can’t be disproven. They started out by saying everything was perfect but now they avoid that word and just use complex…
Sneaky bastards :p
This is the same process that created monotheistic religions. Religions with multiple gods didn’t work very well because people had a tendency to find out how the “work” of a certain god was actually caused by nature, too many questions resulted in the removal of said god from the pantheon. In the end they only had one left, the sun god, which was so magical that of course people would never be able to understand or explain it… Which of course turned out to be bollocks as well so then they got really creative and started making him invisible and stuff like that.
You’ve got to hand it to them, they are really good at squirming themselves into the gaps of knowledge.
And that us your opinion. It is, nonetheless, an opinion. And again, I did not say it was only about aliens; nor you’re putting words in my mouth. I know exactly what it is because, hey, I read. A lot. Wikipedia? Not the best source. They’ll put whatever they think you’ll believe in there. This post is getting muted, mostly because it is carrying on pointlessly and no one has said anything to sway me.
There’s plenty of evidence around, Adam, to which aspect are you referring? Let me know and I’ll try to respond. There are the building blocks of DNA and RNA (nucleobases) found on meteorites that are proof of these early biochemicals. Polymers that can self replicate, lipids that coalesce to form membranes, sequestering primitive enzymes made of RNA..simply following the rules of chemistry. There’s a whole science to this. I would not believe in the chemical origins of life or in evolution if it was just somebody’s opinion. My understanding comes from decades of immersion in the field of science.
Adam Boenig Erm, I stated facts. Can you point at which of my statements are opinions?
This is actually yet again an excellent example of what religion does best! Word manipulation. Adam Boenig is completely correct if he were talking about intelligent design in the actual meaning of the words. Aliens intelligently designing us. It’s no coincidence that religion chose to use that specific term. They deliberately chose to obfuscate the meaning of the word so that the debate will become much harder. Always use ID when talking about biological intelligent design and use intelligent design when you are talking about universal or subatomic design.
Religion “knew” that this idea of god tuning our universe could never, or at least not in the foreseeable future, be disproven so they use this fine tuning of our universe as one of their arguments as to why ID must be true. It doesn’t matter to them that this is a god of the gaps argument, they only care about science not having information to disprove the claim outright. They fail to realize that the burden of proof is on them and that they can’t actually demonstrate that it MUST be the case that our universe is fine tuned nor can they demonstrate that it MUST have been tuned by intelligence if it really was tuned. This is their fallback position and the reason for them not caring about the fallacy of this logic is simply because it doesn’t matter. the public doesn’t care either and just looks at the numbers and thinks Wow! If these were different by 0.0001% we wouldn’t be here! > God. Which is a total fail of reasoning capabilities but try explaining that to a hard core conservative religious fellow.
You can already see the cogs at work, the system repositioning itself, they can see the implications of abiogenesis rushing toward them. We are getting an ever more detailed picture of how inanimate matter came to life. They know this and need this fine tuning to save their souls. (pun intended :p) They realize that their biological and evolutionary arguments are growing weaker by the year so they are starting to turn their attention to the knowledge gap at the edge of the universe and to the time before the big bang. The origin of the universe, which according to Hawking lies beyond physical time because, according to him, time was created by the universe and not the other way around.
Religions find it easier to assume the opposite, that the universe was born within already existing time. Again, according to Hawking a place and time before the universe doesn’t exist in a physical sense since the universe could have given birth to itself through a quantum fluctuation. This quantum fluctuation would be omnipresent, eternal and depend on probabilities. He describes it as; physics not liking stuff so; universes turning into empty space by being pulled apart (entropy) and ultimately fizzling out of existence, while at the same, physics doesn’t like empty or nothing either so if there is nothing happening in an incredible large region of this quantum field, it would spontaneously create a universe in a way similar to particles popping into existence if you lower the energy content of a given space (vacuum). Anyway, getting off-topic; Religions will be relatively safe in this zone for quite a while, if not forever, because it’s really hard to experimentally prove such things although his math does point in that direction. Then again there is other math that points to M theory and if that turns out to be true they will again have to move their gap. By now they have done it so many times that it won’t be a problem.
While we are on the topic of religion…
It still surprises me that no one in the English language has ever objected to using the word religion itself… What the hell does that word mean? Doesn’t anybody realize that its deliberately chosen to again make sure that people have no clue of its origins?
Religion (from O.Fr. religion “religious community,” from L. religionem (nom. religio) “respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods,” “obligation, the bond between man and the gods”) is derived from the Latin religiō, the ultimate origins of which are obscure.
Nobody really knows where it came from. Try defining it…
In dutch we don’t have such silly words that don’t have an intrinsic meaning. We say it how it is. Godsdienst. Dienst means service, we for example also use “dienst” in relation to “legerdienst” which means (leger)military service. This avoids a lot of confusion. Many people don’t believe in a god yet call themselves religious or even christian because they think that “christian values”, another monster of a word, really are christian values. The christian monopoly on moral should have ended a long time ago but how can it if you keep using words like that? In Belgium it is impossible to be religious/godsdienstig when you don’t believe in god because the word doesn’t allow it. This probably plays a large part in why religion is almost non existant on mainland Europe.
PS: soz for spamming your posts with walls of text :p
Intelligent design has generated considerable controversy which is not surprising as there are many definitions and views! My view is that Chemical origin of life, or evolution of species is not the same as what is defined as ID
Maybe dolphins are the ones intelligently designed. We’re just a busted experiment gone awry. Dolphins get to have a hole each for eating and breathing, as he states. Dolphins live in a world protected from cosmic radiation; away from sever weather, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanos. Maybe dolphins are the blueprint for a designed species while we’re just a dirty petri dish shoved in the incubator by mistake. He shall come bearing fish and a smile and you will know him as “Flipper.”
Before you know it they are going to be wishing us farewell and thanking us for all the fish…
Damn you dolphins!
IMO it’s impossible to debate with someone who keeps demanding proof/evidence and consistently ignores the said proof/evidence when shown. I’m not sure if these people are just willfully obtuse or just dim. This cartoon illustrates it quite well (http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/11/24/yes-the-religion-and-science-conflict-only-cuter/). They’re a bit like the bunny who keeps insisting the puzzle is of a duck, because unless ‘every single piece is in place you haven’t proven it is not a duck’.
Not worth feeding the trolls 🙂
I don’t know if any of you have watched this A New Kind of Science – Stephen Wolfram or read his “big” book. I don’t particularly like his style of writing but I spent quit a bit of time studying his book. Wolfram asks many of the same questions asked here. He (along with many others in, most of whose names I found out from Gleick’s book and Stuart Kaufmann) and Chaitin gave me some nice tools and frameworks to start thinking about complexity and what it means.
Wolfram demonstrates two things: simple systems can give rise to unimaginable (essentially random) complexity and the converse is also true. Chaitin gives us a mechanism to measure the information content (at least the upper bounds) of a system (though most of that is beyond us right now). Though I haven’t been able to do it yet, I think in many instances of “irreducible complexity” can be reduced if one looks at it from a information theoretic perspective. At least that is what I think.
ID is essentially creationism in disguise since it does not really explain how the design of the designers come about so its a purely teleological system to explain us. But I do not dismiss its essential spirit out of hand, for it asks some really profound questions. For instance, is the Universe as a whole irreducible in its complexity? Are the laws of nature “moral”?, Is there a purpose to it all?
My own pet opinion is that most of this “confusion” stems from the way we are wired together. This confusion is explained brilliantly by Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Suffices to say that its an old problem dealing with “subject-object” duality which was to me insightfully explained by John Archibald Wheeler in “Gravitation” (no, I do not have the skill or training to have read all of it 🙂 that if there is an ultimate “law” of nature, this law would have to be self referential in that it would have to explain itself.
I would also heartily recommend this lecture given by Chaitin at Carnegie-Mellon in 200 (how the world has changed since then!) http://youtu.be/HLPO-RTFU2o. There are six parts to it. One of the reasons I got into all this was to try and understand what exactly complexity is (you can blame Stuart Kauffman for that!) and see if I can answer the question : “is complexity a conserved quantity?” Its been a good ride so far, I have had to dip in and out of all sorts of fields. So far, all I have to show is a beaming grin on my face and a profound respect for all the people working to extends our horizons.
Rajini Rao I don’t think I’m read up on what the video was mocking but it’s clearly a simple task to give examples of imperfection on anything. The kindle fire was rooted days after it was released.
I find it far more interesting that terms that imply design are borrowed by the scientific community to describe discoveries in nature. ‘Sequence’, ‘System’, ‘Code’, ‘Building Blocks’ etc. These terms are just a succinct way of describing what is going on not some inadvertent admission of premeditation.
However it does put up a roadblock on the path to reducing it to absurdity. Design is either completely absurd or it’s not. You can’t have it both ways.
Dan Suggitt How is that? In nature the laws of physics stack the building blocks. There is no implication of purposeful design. Think of the design of a system as all the features and characteristics of a system. We could call just as well call it “schematics” or “maps” but that doesn’t sound very nice. You can follow the road on a map, but there are an infinite amount of roads and not a single road is better than the other one. You can arrange letters or numbers any way you like and always end up with a sequence or code, it’s impossible to not get a sequence. I don’t see how this puts up a roadblock. I think you are looking at the word design in the wrong way. The design or look of a cloud has no intelligence or purpose behind it was created but a better word would be caused by a complex system of variables.
Koen De Paus My point is a linguistic one. Everything you just described was contained within a model. Everything you described was wrapped in a ‘law’ before any of the infinite options were taken. That’s the premise of your entire approach and you chose to describe it as a set of rules. This flies in the face of ‘chance’ because our brains choose not to interpret it in such a way.
Not necessarily. That is what I was hinting at with the fine tuning of our universe being a knowledge gap that ID loons try to use as proof for design. We simply don’t know how the laws came to be, but it is just as likely that they were created like our earthly clouds, produced by a complex systems of variables beyond the scope of our current knowledge. There are many theories that explain the fine tuning of our laws. From multiple universes, parallel universes and top-down cosmology to bubble universes.
You also have the anthropic principle which says this fine tuning is not that surprising; if the numbers were different, we wouldn’t be here wondering why they are that way. Perhaps every possible universe that can give rise to life has its inhabitants pondering why its just right for them. Not realizing this is a stupid question to ask because if it wasn’t right for them, they wouldn’t be able to ponder its existence.
Koen De Paus Yes, everything you previously described was wrapped by the ‘laws of physics’. All you have done now is walked up the tree and speculated how those laws were formed. But who is to say that those theories are not also wrapped in such terms? I don’t know I haven’t studied them but terms such as ‘bubble’ and ‘parallel’ strongly suggest they are.
Let me make myself clear. I’m not arguing for the existence of a creator. I’m only arguing against the claim of utter absurdity in interpreting what we perceive as ‘designed’. In fact our brains can’t help it. You demonstrated this yourself by using the term ‘fine-tuned’.
I am not sure I am getting your point. Creatonists argue that our universe is fine tuned while scientists suggest that even though it might appear that way, it is not necessarily true. Who is to say that the universe or multiverse hasn’t created itself? What if math is the basics of all reality? Math could be eternal, omnipresent and omnipotent. This would qualify as God in the eyes of some although it is not an intelligent or personal god so using that word would just cause even more confusion.
Is Reality A Mathematical Structure? – Horizon: What Is Reality? – BBC Two
My point is in how you have just described the scientists point of view – “It might appear that way”. Under closer scrutiny ID may fall down but something that looks a certain way but turns out not to be is not blatantly absurd. I just found the video to be a little facile that’s all.
You seem to be stating the ID argument. While we can easily tear apart any scientific claims that ID (biological) tries try to make, you can’t scrutinize the core idea behind intelligent design (universal) because it is unknowable. The problem with that argument is that it is a teleological one. There is no way to experimentally determine whether the universe was created by aliens or gods which makes it a matter of faith instead of facts. So far we have never seen any evidence or even a single clue that points to the existence of gods. We can only know what we can find out and the rest is not worth thinking about.
I’m not. I’m stating your argument. “It may appear that way” and how that does not marry to the notion of absurdity.
Imo it is waste of time to think about intelligent design when we have never seen it before but I think I get what you are trying to say. You aren’t defending ID(biological) but just intelligent design(universal) as in maybe gods/aliens made our universe right? It is not absurd to entertain such thoughts but when you start assuming that this is the case that is when it becomes absurd. Mankind has a lot of problems with saying; I don’t know.
I compare it to thinking about nothing, we have never found nothing to exist yet many people waste time thinking about it… Although I must admit that I too like to philosophize on such matters but they are not practical thoughts that will advance knowledge.
Rajini Rao Check this out: Stephen Colbert Interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson at Montclair Kimberley Academy – 2010-Jan-29