I'm about to go to a talk by Stuart Burgess on Intelligent Design. It seems to me that one of the reasons why evolution is a better theory than ID is because ID begs the question, 'Who designed the designer?'. Burgess would probably reply that if there are instances where evolution doesn't provide an explanation, there must have been an intelligent designer. In an article he has co-authored he explains his view on creationism. He says:
According to evolution, the immense information that exists in the world has arisen by genetic mistakes. However, according to information theory, information cannot spontaneously arise by random processes.
Surely information can spontaneously arise by random processes.
  • If you look at clouds going by, sooner or later you'll see something you recognize.
  • Sometimes there's a story in the media about a stain on wallpaper that looks like the face of Jesus.
  • Vegetables in rude shapes were always on That's Life on British TV.
The point is that some rare mutations in DNA will make it better adapted to its environment, but most of the mutations will disappear. We're only seeing today the DNA that has had beneficial mutations throughout its history. So the mutations are random, but whether they persist is not random, it's determined by the environment. Burgess goes on to say:
A bird cannot have evolved from any land creature because all the mechanisms needed for flight are very different from anything required for land.
Hold on, are they that different? I'm no biologist, but a bat doesn't look completely different from a rat. What about those halfway-house mammals that glide from tree to tree?The talk In Stuart Burgess's talk, he focussed on the beauty of nature. Stuart is a professor of engineering and his exposition of the aesthetic aspect of nature was very illuminating. He presented with great clarity with excellent use of visuals and audio. Stuart went on to ask how this beauty could have arisen. He said it was inconcievable that it could have arisen by accident, so there must have been an intelligent designer.
At the end of the talk there was an opportunity to ask questions. I put up my hand ready to ask, 'If there's an intelligent designer, who designed this intelligent designer?'. But I wasn't picked.
One of the problems with the talk was that he didn't explain Darwinism properly. He said that beauty doesn't arise randomly, but that's not true. Most mutations detract from beauty, but occasionally one happens that increases beauty. Where beauty is an advantage to that organism it persists, while the other mutations don't survive. Over a very long time, beautiful organisms gradually arise.
I'm very glad I went along, Stuart Burgess showed us loads of interesting stuff. He didn't show that Intelligent Design is a better theory than evolution though.