Atheists: How do you explain the appearance of design?

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janesix
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Dawkins wrote: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose"
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Dawkins takes several hundred pages to explain appearant design - i can't do it in a forum post.

In my mind's eye I can see how the interplay of mutation and natural selection gives rise to apparent design.
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I've read his explaination, and it is just a cobbled together just-so story. 

design is design.
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Here's the trick, the "design" is observed in the end product not necessarily the process but the end result of that process. So even though the naturalist/materialist acknowledges the apparent design, they deny it in the process of things. Because they want to focus in on the process of the design, thinking there was no need of anything other than that "process" denying the designer Creator, the One that implemented that process and even though you can see the intelligence/awareness behind it. It's a very strange little play, fun though. It makes for an interesting creation for sure. 
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they have to convolute themselves to believe that silly nonsense
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Are you aware of the SETI program and their role in discovering the first pulsars?

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yes sort of
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Then you understand how easy it is to mistake a natural occurrence for a purposefull design with intelligence behind it.
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Nature is filled with complex patterns that, at first glance, appear to be designed, but for which we now have a better explanation. Take snowflakes, for instance. If you understand crystal formation, then the complex patterns of snowflakes become explicable without resorting to a designer. Biochemistry is orders of magnitude more complex than crystal formation, but there is no reason to believe it is different in principle.

One might also turn the question around and ask theists to give an example of a non-designed object.

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Since i can imagine a spiritual platform where nothing was designed... i really don't know what to think of this world being designed. It seems more likely to me that humans are an incorporeal force that manifest life into a platform that is already there. So it is conceivable to imagine a spiritual platform that doesn't say all this is created. But then, there could also be a god that created all this or these incorporeal sources have a way to create... i'm really ambivalent on this. I can see it happening both ways. 

But... the level of difficulty seen in life does make me think i may be wrong. Maybe these sources i think of have a way to mess with the laws of a reality before manifesting into that reality. Which would mean we should be able to see signs of design at a quantum level. Which one could say you can. 
**P.s. Isn't this platform much better than D.I.? That site seems so cluttered. It's hard to find comments with everyone. Nice to see you here n.t.l. 
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It goes back to what I wrote above, you are willing to acknowledge the "appearance" of design, but then deny that in the process of implementing that design claiming "look, we can explain how snowflakes form so there's no need of a Creator", that's a non sequitur. Snow flakes are a poor example anyways because snowflakes are the result of atmospheric conditions, and atmospheric conditions are the results of another and so on and so on....but, it's the atmosphere itself and the manifestations within it that make snowflakes possible to exist...why does the atmosphere even exist at all? We are looking at the whole not just the snowflake itself. So when we say "design" we are referring to what the world is currently, not how it began. The process is the implementing of that design, plan or thought whatever you wana label it but that which comes from the mind of God. That process is being asserted by materialists/naturalists that it's just a natural phenomena no God needed, no design and no Creator and that is what we believe is absolutely false. 

For example planets, suns and moons.....these obviously appear to be "designed" in such a way where there could be potential life. Fruits, herbs, vegetation and food "appears" to be designed for consumption. The distance the sun is positioned from the earth appears to be designed to sustain human life in these material bodies. The balance of the eco system appears to be "designed" and in such a way where is maintains itself, water, oceans and ocean life, the forests, the deserts, the mountains, the flowers and all the creatures that inhabit them all look just like a design. It's not that we can't explain how these things form and how they function rather its WHY do they exist. Just because we can explain the process and mechanics of our universe doesn't mean the very process and mechanics were not implemented from design, from a Creator. 
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It really just comes down to two interpretations really. That either all this happened spontaneously or that there is a designer behind the implementation of our universe and beyond. Just because we can explain the process of these designs, doesn't negate the reality that there is a "Designer". It's obvious to Theists that there is indeed a conscious reality implementing designs in the created worlds. 
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How do you tell that something is designed? What properties does it have that non-designed objects lack?

Here the theist runs into a problem. If everything is designed, then there is no non-designed object you can point to as an example. To be consistent, you must maintain that a run-of-the-mill rock appears just as designed as the most complex living thing. You lose any distinction between a watch and a rock, from the standpoint of the appearance of design.

The argument from design gets things backwards. Life evolved to fit the universe, not the other way around.

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The appearance of design is not the same thing as design.
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The ID advocate has no way to distinguish between Paley's watch and the rock it is found on, according to the IDer they are both designed.
In that paradigm the word design is meaningless.
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So...design is not the same thing as an appearance of design? then what does a design appear like? 
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So...design is not the same thing as an appearance of design? then what does a design appear like? 

it's not skep that claims to be able to determine design or non-design from appearances.

Living things do indeed appear to have been designed... but it ain't necessarily so!
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Why not?
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What does un-designed look like?
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You asked 'Why not?'

I guess you mean why 'it aint necessarily so' that something that looks designed is actually designed.  If you don't know why not there's not much point trying to explain that sometimes things are not quite how they seem.

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--> @janesix
Dawkins wrote: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose"
Yeah, being that we are cerebral animals, we necessarily seek patterns and as a result we tend to design things that represent and employ these patterns, so when we encounter something that contains the same types of patterns we've sought and employed, we associate what we have encountered with what we have designed.
We see triangles and assume a triangle maker because we're self-centered triangles makers.
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I dont claim to know, E. My point is just because we think something LOOKS designed doesnt mean it actually IS designed.
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I think that a big problem is that there is no convenient analogy for Darwinian evolution.   That is to say nothing other than life self-reproduces and undergoes natural selection, so there is nothing one can point to and say 'it's like that'.

I can close my eyes and imagine self-reproducing entities competing with each other to survive evolving into ever more complex and efficient forms, but no form of mere words conveys the image - certainly not to anyone determined to reject it.

There is so much high-quality material about evolution available on the 'net that anyone with a genuine interest in it wouldn't post questions about it on religion forums  - certainly not if their reaction to any reponse is to dismiss Darwinism as a 'baseless just-so story' as janesix did.

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How do you explain the appearance of design?
Our brains are hardwired for pattern matching. Anything we look at, our brains instinctively try to match it with something we've previously experienced. We are natural categorizers. This is the root of animism, anthropomorphism, of seeing bunny rabbits of clouds and - yes - in seeing design in things that were not designed.

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Look at people. We weren't intelligently designed. We're full of useless bits and leaky sacs and we can be killed by just about anything.