07 January 2007

Engineering and ID

I've been mixing it up on the Uncommon Descent blog on ID. It's a bit frustrating because they are choosy about what they will pass through their moderation filter and the moderator tends to react rudely to dissenting views. Sometimes it seems that comments only get through for which they have a convenient rejoinder. But I have had some good interactions there. To their credit, they have moderated me though for an interesting exchange today.

The article and discussion are at the link attached to the title of this piece.

Brief synopsis:
The article says that engineers can appreciate ID because they engage in it every day and can see the design in nature more clearly than others.I claim that engineers do not design complex systems, but rather simple systems. When they get *truly* complex, the process becomes evolutionary.

DaveScot says this is the scotsmans fallacy (he should know!). So there.

I reply that *truly* complex is not subjective (as in the scotsmans fallacy) but defined as a system too complex to be practically predicted, citing Wolfram's "A New Kind of Science." When designs get complex, they have unintended consequences that cannot be predicted but can later be exploited by incorporation into an evolving design.

DaveScot says I still am committing a scotsmans fallacy and besides who the heck is Wolfram?

Some of the rest of the participants begin to engage on this, and I reply. One interesting line concerns intelligent selection, which is what happens with animal husbandry, or the guidance of complex system evolution by intelligent engineers.

DaveScot never actually engages on the points under discussion but rather makes a fuss about Wolfram being a crank, and accuses me of being a crank too. He gets pretty unfriendly and admonishes me to refrain from logical fallacies, or citing cranks, and says that he only allowed my posts because I work for NASA, "an organization for which he has the highest respect". Then, he commits what for me is an unpardonable offense: he edits the link I have provided in my personal profile to my web site, connecting it to my NASA site. I'm outta there...

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