Poor Design 

Within this website I explore whether there is a spiritual realm, a supernatural realm, containing God, mind, souls, consciousness with its contents (ideas, emotions, love, reason, etc) — this, from a purely philosophical and unreligious point of view.
In this article, I first assume there is a spiritual realm so as to explore the implications; then I present my conclusions elsewhere.

The poor design of computer software and applications reminds me of the poor design of natural selection; design by a process that just doesn't care.

The same for the poor design of social programs enacted by legislators who are trying to appease their voters to get re-elected and who squabble with others of opposing political parties. Programs designed under such stresses are poorly designed, having many unintended (intended?) consequences.

Biological organisms seem to be designed like this. Not by a good and beautiful (and all-knowing and supremely wise) God.


What's wrong with intelligent design 

I've never heard anyone explain the mechanism by which an intelligent designer could function in the actual universe. Instead, they are content to merely say, "there is an intelligent designer"; but merely saying so is not sufficient. If they seriously expect their view to be considered as scientific, they must find a mechanism within the dense soup of rapidly vibrating particles, each operating under electrostatic forces and quantum mechanics.

What the intelligent design movement is really trying to do is insist there is a God who can do miracles. From their perspective, it is unnecessary to explain the mechanism by which the miracles occur, nor to consider the side effects. That's why they are not bothered when they claim the earth stopped rotating for several hours one afternoon, and etc. Or that water molecules of the sea magically collected together to form a wall. But what force counteracted the electrostatic and gravitational forces?

In this website, I postulate that there is an intelligent designer (because there seems to be one); and so, I try to explain how an intelligent designer operates in the universe to accomplish his/her amazing work.

But I notice that this intelligent designer did not (could not) prevent pain and suffering. The constraints imposed upon this universe does not allow it to be a utopia. The best you can do is provide for the conscious sensation of pleasure, but the side effect is conscious suffering, with some creatures having more than others.

In other words, if there is an intelligent designer, he/she is not the good and beautiful creator God. Rather, he/she is some sort of uncaring robotic machine, created by God. But if God creates an intelligent designer such as this, God is therefore not good and beautiful since God is responsible for the actions of everything he/she creates, including the intelligent designer.


Quantum field theory

Molecular biology can be triggered by fiddling with the randomness of the wave function collapse of the electron.

But how do you control macro events by fiddling at the atomic level? Even a micromanager God could not perform the mathematical calculations to ensure the desired consequences. (Maybe that's the source of suffering; the inability to control the creation.)

But anyway, adding considerations of quantum field theory along with quantum theory adds nothing to the basic dilemma, and that's the point of this post. I was studying quantum field theory wondering if it changed anything in my basic views, and it didn't.


Did God create chickens?

I was looking after my neighbor's chickens, pondering what it must be like to be them, and came to the conclusion that God would not design, manufacture, and create such a creature as chickens. The quality of their conscious life is too restricted and mundane.

Therefore, it just happened on its own, just as the materialistic (usually) atheistic scientists say.

But you might object: chickens are domesticated by humans. Therefore, humans created chickens (and cows, pigs, dogs, etc.)

Does this mean we are gods, taking over some of God's responsibilities for him/her?

And what about us humans? (Especially some of us, living in undesirable and unpleasant circumstances.) Did God create us with our tendency to harm ourselves and others?

Perhaps God has to create certain lifeforms as a prerequisite for his/her final goal, his/her final creative masterpiece? (with lots of pain and suffering needed along the way). Perhaps humans are not that final masterpiece, but there is something better yet to evolve from us?


God the gardener

I was spraying weeds and accidentally sprayed a good plant, thereby ensuring its ultimate demise weeks from now. Oops!

Is it like this for God? Does he/she accidentally do something he/she wishes could be undone; but it's too late? Perhaps creating this universe to be a place having conscious creatures who would suffer?

But what use is a God like this who, like me, gets in a hurry and makes life and death mistakes, even creating a universe having creatures who suffer as they: (1) eat each other alive, and (2) torture each other to death?

I was like god to the plants, choosing which would live and which would die. Is this the kind of God we have? A God who, in his/her hurry, makes mistakes from time to time?


Intelligent designer of carnivores

Those believing in evolution involving intelligent design of every detail of biological life needing purposeful designing must explain how such a powerful being (God) could design things used to inflict pain and suffering on other conscious creatures.

Is it possible that the being who designed sharp pointy teeth for carnivores (for example) was unaware these teeth would be used to kill its prey and eat it while still alive, inflicting savage pain and suffering? What kind of designer would design such a horrible thing, even accidentally?

Perhaps we should blame it on the mindlessness of natural selection which chooses which designs win out based only on its usefulness? In this case, we should suspect that even more horrible designs were created by this designer but were rejected by natural selection.

I think this argument is used by materialist atheistic science to prove there is no good God who created everything good. If there is a good God, then only goodness should exist. But we see pain and suffering which is bad.


The seed

As I was sitting in the forest, I noticed a furry, fluffy, floaty dandelion seed gently wafting in the breeze, slowly drifting toward the ground, finally touching down. I wondered if it would become a new dandelion next growing season.

I also wondered about the view of God in which he/she guides, orchestrates, controls, and dictates every detail of what occurs; an omnipotent omnipresent omniscient kind of God who micromanages every tiniest detail. In other words, had God planned from eternity past that this seed would land exactly in the spot it landed on? And that I would witness it? And reflect on it? And write about it?

I doubt God is like this.


Intelligent design

How to insert an intelligent designer into evolution and abiogenesis (the creation of biological life)?

Ideas are created and develop, such as: A religion developing, or tribal identity. Passed on from generation to generation with modifications, analogous to evolution with its mutations and gene copy errors operated upon by natural selection.

But with ideas, there is an initial development, a creative moment. For example, the prophet who founds a religion hears the voice of God containing the message. These use the process of creativity, the same as used by a composer (for example) when composing a symphony. This is true also as ideas change when passed on to others; creativity adds information to the message.

So too with evolution. Existing biological structures can be modified by random mutations, but new structures require external design introduced somehow into the system. This is intelligent design.

It's hard to find a mechanism for this, I admit. I discuss this elsewhere.


Fundamental Chaos

I was reflecting on a lecture of Christine Hayes, a Yale Ph.D. professor, from her YouTube YaleCourses called "Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible)".

She outlines a theory of pagan thought in which there is originally a primal chaos from which water and sea monsters arise who then create the gods who then create humans.

In considering my modification of this idea (having God instead of sea monsters and gods): if there is some sort of fundamental chaos (created by God) from which the universe (physical realm) and the spiritual realm derive, it's easy to explain pain, suffering, evil and sin, and death. (But it's hard to imagine why God would create such a thing as fundamental chaos if God is good. But ignoring this for now...)

In my view, God creates everything good and beautiful. So God transforms (imprints) this fundamental chaos to become goodness and beauty, in both the physical realm and the spiritual realm, from outside of both where God resides. And we thus have our current reality with its mixture of good and bad and its apparent absence of God's presence.

In the spiritual realm time exists (not physical time), and to the perspective of the souls living in the spiritual realm, God unfolds in time as he/she does this creating of everything good and beautiful.

The problem with even my modified view (having God instead of sea monsters and gods) of fundamental chaos is: you have something before or outside of God which God transforms. Fundamental chaos is like a second God, and perhaps the true God arose out of it. But of course God didn't arise out of anything, otherwise he/she would not be God; rather, the thing he/she arose out of would be God.

Anyway, in this pagan view; pain, suffering, evil, and death all arise from the fundamental chaos. (Weirdly, the Christian view of Satan as the source of evil is similar in this regard to the pagan view.)

I like the idea that God imprints his/her goodness and beauty on something; this, occurring ongoing in real-time from instant to instant, but leaving gaps in which the fundamental chaos shines through untouched. Like punching holes in thick fog allowing visibility of the light beyond the fog layer.


The purposelessness of creation

In creating the possibility of suffering:

The Christian view is that God chooses and controls everything out of his good divine purpose. God chose to make a world of suffering because it has some higher benefit, perhaps providing a way to test whether his created creatures will choose to love God.

This is a shocking view of God. It allows for people being tortured to death and for animals to eat each other alive. Who would want to worship a God like that?

I think it's the opposite. Part of what God creates is purposelessness; things that have the ability to structure and to function and with causality and even to be designed (such as the teeth of carnivores), but there is no purpose. Later, God intervenes and injects goodness and beauty into it.

Sadly, faced with the reality of conscious suffering, and desiring for God to be good and beautiful, this is the best God can be. Notice that this kind of God in this kind of universe is woefully lacking in the glorious and divine attributes we think God should have.


Patterns

Is there a pattern in the spiritual realm for forming planets or plate tectonics or stars which form other elements from hydrogen? Or are the natural physical laws sufficient to result in all of geology?

I doubt biological life could have formed merely from the natural physical laws, as it seems designed in a way not true of mere geology. There is an exponential infinite difference between the structure and functioning of non-biological chemistry and biological organisms. Merely saying that "it exists, therefore, it evolved via randomness"; this is not sufficient evidence. And merely saying that mutations and gene copy errors occur with such and such a frequency; this is not sufficient evidence.


Laundry and evolution

An insight into evolution:

At the cabin in the forest, I do my laundry in a small portable machine having only two small compartments: one for wash and rinse, and a smaller one for spin. You have to fill and drain the water manually, and you have to transfer to the spin compartment manually. The spinner is hard to balance, similar to a regular washer during the spin cycle with a big load of heavy clothes.

At first I tried to methodically place the clothes in the spinner, coiling them around the outside edge, evenly distributing the weight. Sometimes it worked, but all-too-often I had to redo it.

Then I tried merely plopping the wet clothes into the spin compartment with little consideration for the balance. To my surprise, it often works the first time. When it bangs around unbalanced, I merely pull the clothes straight up, and plop them back in. It never takes more than three tries to get it right. Way easier than the methodical placement method.

An analogy to natural selection: the spinner bouncing triggers my stopping it and reloading it. The reality of it being unbalanced is controlling the situation, communicating to me to take action. Just as in nature, natural selection "chooses" which adaptations and mutations survive and which don't. And I just randomly plop the clothes back it, I don't attempt to control their balance. Just as in nature, the mutation and gene copying errors are random; no one is controlling them.

But there is an important difference: in evolution, there is no intelligent designer, but with my laundry, I am overseeing the process and determining which procedures are most effective in controlling the outcome of the physical machine I am using. I am the one who administers the random component and I'm the one who determined that randomness is a suitable mechanism for organizing the clothes in the spinner. If randomness didn't work, I would use some other means.

Reality itself is the "intelligent designer".

Seems to me, there must be an intelligent designer involved somehow with evolution.

But based on the analogy above, all this intelligent designer needs to do is establish the laws of nature in such a way that evolution works as it does. This is a deist kind of God; one who creates the universe and ignores it after that. (But what good is a deist kind of God?)


The universe like a game

The universe is like a video game, except it's physical, actual, instead of electronically virtual. Someone (God?) set up all the rules and the arena of play, the properties of nature, the mathematics of the natural laws; then pressed the start button.


The murder-mystery universe

The universe is like a murder mystery. The writer writes all kinds of grizzly plot elements having seedy and unwholesome characters, to entertain the reader.

And so with the universe: it has lots of suffering. But God is not about suffering; he/she is good and beautiful. Yet God provides the backdrop in which this universe was created, much like the publishing industry provides the backdrop against in which the murder mystery writer must write.

Whoever created the universe is analogous to the murder mystery writer, not to God.

Notice that in trying to explain the universe having both (1) suffering and (2) a good and beautiful God; you must always make God smaller somehow, so that he/she is somehow not responsible for the suffering.

Some of these writers (and songwriters, and filmmakers, and etc) have the audacity to say, "God inspired me to create this work", (the work having all kinds of nasty unwholesome elements). I say, "no he/she didn't". We should not blame God for pain, suffering, evil, sin, or death; or for artistic representations of any of these.

An example, the "Left Behind" series of Christian books starts with a character having an extramarital affair. Why would a Christian write such a thing, thinking, "God is using it for the good"?


The Himalayan butterfly

How can a butterfly in the Himalayas know that if it flaps its wings at such and such a time and such and such a place, that a hurricane will form in the Atlantic? Or perhaps this butterfly is benevolent and doesn't want there to be anymore life damaging hurricanes, so it skips a flap of its wings at just the right time.

This highlights the problem of any of the intelligent design scenarios. The intelligent designer can only interact with the universe at the very small atomic scale, probably at the level of quantum mechanics by triggering wave function collapse of choosing where the electron (for example) will appear. There is no large scale, large level, architectural design occurring except in the mind of God. It's as if a contractor working from a blueprint of an architect has to construct every tiny particle of every nail and screw, and loses sense of the overall high-rise he/she is constructing.

And thus, this kind of intelligent design fails miserably.


Intelligent design = decreased entropy

The example: a container having air connected by a closed door to another container having a vacuum. When you open the door, the air flows into the other container and, on its own, will never flow back to its original state. Entropy has increased. But you can put the system into its original state by putting a pump in the door and pumping all the air back; this decreases entropy and it took an intelligent designer to do it.

So I was wondering, maybe all decreases of entropy are the result of an intelligent designer whose only goal is to do something that decreases entropy.

This explains why there is suffering in the world. The intelligent designer is not a moral agent; rather, he/she is a mere technician, an opportunist looking for ways to decrease entropy.


Expanding universe necessary for life

I'm exploring this idea: that the function of an intelligent designer is to decrease entropy. This intelligent designer resides in the spiritual realm but is able to affect activities in the physical realm.

And this is the problem: there is no way for a supernatural being to impact events in the physical world.

Examples:

  1. Quarks combining into hadrons.
  2. Loose hydrogen atoms combining into H2.
  3. Matter collapsing under the influence of gravity to form stars and planets.
  4. Building large complex molecules such as proteins and DNA.
  5. Building large complex biological machines.

But I need to provide a mechanism by which the intelligent designer could accomplish this goal. The only thing I can think of is directing the random wave function collapse, for example, choosing where the electron will appear so as to result in decreased entropy. If it appears on one side of the atom, the electrostatic forces won't be strong enough for a chemical reaction to occur, but if it appears on the other side of the atom it is just close enough that the attractive force triggers the formation of a chemical bond.

Fact: The expansion of the universe increases entropy (because there is more space for the same number of particles to reside within; they have increased freedom of movement).

I'm proposing that every time the intelligent designer causes decreased entropy, this forces the universe to expand a little bit to offset (since the total entropy of the universe can never decrease, but only increase).

In the very young universe just before the quarks joined together, the intelligent designer trigger a massive project of combining quarks into hadrons (by forcing the universe to expand sufficiently so it would be cool enough. Cooling decreases entropy.)

Similarly to hydrogen forming H2. This required cooling.


Intelligent designer creates complex molecules

Proponents of intelligent design (ID) usually remain aloof from the biochemical aspects regarding the mechanism by which he/she would perform his/her designing. They are all too happy to point out complex biological structures requiring intelligent design, but they neglect to propose a way he/she could create these.

No wonder ID is not considered to be a science by actual scientists.


Gravity is the intelligent designer

I'm exploring this idea: that the function of an intelligent designer is to decrease entropy. This intelligent designer resides in the spiritual realm but is able to affect activities in the physical realm.

And this is the problem: there is no way for a supernatural being to impact events in the physical world.

Gravity is the intelligent designer (among other things which are also the intelligent designer).

Gravity pulls the dust particles into stars and planets, thereby decreasing entropy. In fact, every action of gravity decreases entropy.


Electrostatic force = intelligent design

I'm exploring this idea: that the function of an intelligent designer is to decrease entropy. This intelligent designer resides in the spiritual realm but is able to affect activities in the physical realm.

And this is the problem: there is no way for a supernatural being to impact events in the physical world.

Just like gravity. But only attractive forces decrease entropy (because the particles now have less freedom of movement). Repulsive forces increase entropy (by causing the particles to have more freedom of movement).

By determining where the electron (for example) appears after wave function collapse, the intelligent designer can decrease entropy. This is the mechanism by which the intelligent designer builds complex molecules.

Therefore, even the formations of crystals are caused by the intelligent designer. Usually proponents of intelligent design don't consider crystals or planets within the purview of the intelligent designer's activities.


High quality consciousness

I'm exploring this idea: that the function of an intelligent designer is to decrease entropy. This intelligent designer resides in the spiritual realm but is able to affect activities in the physical realm.

And this is the problem: there is no way for a supernatural being to impact events in the physical world.

The goal of the intelligent designer is to maximize his/her pleasure (I use the term "pleasure" in a metaphorical sense.) Reducing entropy results in increased pleasure for this intelligent designer. He/she is always influencing wave function collapse such that it results in decreased entropy.

Apparently conscious creatures, especially self-reflective ones, cause pleasure for the intelligent designer.


Guided randomness

Perhaps science can come up with experiments to demonstrate that the location of the electron (for example) upon collapse of the wave function, is not random.

For example, if you repeatedly toss a coin and it comes up with the pattern HHTTHHTTHHTT etc, unless you notice the pattern, you will say it's random. No matter how many tosses, it lands heads 50%.


The laws of physics

Very odd that this universe obeys laws, that it works in certain ways but not other ways. There are only certain particles in the standard model and each has a certain specific set of properties. And the fundamental constants of nature are each a very specific value, and no other value. Gravity has certain properties and it only has those properties, it doesn't have other properties.

Very odd. Even materialist atheists marvel at it.

The thing we are all marveling at: this is God. God shows himself/herself in the universe.

But this is God in name only, a truncated God. If you want to call certain aspects of the universe "God" (such as its ability to exist and to function as it does and to spawn conscious creatures); this God is not the God of religions and spirituality. Those have additional attributes and stories associated.

Somehow God set it all up and its existence is, in some way, God's nature. (Not his/her complete nature.)

The universe is the body of God, or at least a small part of his/her body, maybe a spot on his/her arm. (This is only an analogy.)

A potter makes a pot from clay. God is the clay (see next section), the substance with which the potter must do his creative and artistic work.


The potter and the clay

An analogy of God. He/she is a lump of clay (the physical universe, I call it the physical realm). (God is not only this.) The potter can work on the clay to fashion it into whatever he/she wants.

The potter (the intelligent designer) sets up the laws of nature and fundamental constants based on whatever options are possible. Perhaps even entropy and the rules of quantum mechanics were chosen by the intelligent designer. The potter wants to experience the working out of his/her choices.

The potter gets to establish these parameters for the functioning of the universe, perhaps as a kind of experiment, and then, bang, off it goes. He/she might say, "I'm going to create a universe that does such and such and I hope there will be conscious life eventually."

This idea reminds me of Deism, that God creates the universe and then doesn't get involved with its operation after that. Set it up, let it go, and see what happens. But even with this, God likely experiences something about what goes on, and gets pleasure from it. (But I don't think God experiences pain or suffering from the bad things that conscious creatures experience.)

God creates the souls of conscious creatures to attach to each individual conscious creature. These conscious creatures also have power over the universe moment by moment with their free will choices and, therefore also, they are the potter.

But there is only one God. The intelligent designer is not God but, rather, is a created creature himself/herself, residing in the spiritual realm and given vast powers over the functioning of this universe.

So we have three categories of living entities:

  1. God
  2. Intelligent designer
  3. Conscious creatures

And, in addition, the consciousness which conscious creatures enjoy; this "raw" power of consciousness comes from God, perhaps as God's spirit (in this analogy). Therefore, the universe with its created conscious creatures is the body and spirit of God.

The key is that God doesn't actively create a universe having pain and suffering.


The spirit of God

An analogy for God being "raw" consciousness (as God's spirit).

God's spirit is like the components of an electronic circuit: resisters, capacitors, diodes, transistors, etc, and also to electrons and the electrostatic force. The intelligent designer assembles these (via random mutations and natural selection) into biological lifeforms. Conscious creatures also assemble these into its conscious experience: ideas, thoughts, emotions, and etc.

If the intelligent designer can only use capabilities of the physical universe in the process of designing and creating, why assume there even is an intelligent designer? Why not, instead, assume the universe has built-in capabilities to construct such structures all on its own?

Therefore, just as we mold the "clay" of God (the universe, the physical realm) as we move our body, so also, we mold the "spirit" of God (the spiritual realm) as we think, create, love, and etc.


Is information physical?

The example of ink on a page: the ink is not the information. The information is encoded within the letters created with the ink, in the patterns of the ink.

In the case of the ink on a page, a conscious rational human invented a code (language) using ink with which to communicate ideas (information). This code must be taught to the reader.

In my view, these conscious agents reside within the spiritual realm and interact with the universe (the physical realm). Information also resides in the spiritual realm, meaning; chemical or biological machines must somehow be energized from instant to instant in order to function. God is micromanaging the processing, molecule by molecule, atom by atom, electron by electron, instant by instant.

But there is also information not involving conscious beings, for example, the genetic code of the DNA.

Either one of two possibilities:

  1. Information is merely an emergent property of matter.
  2. All information is created by a conscious being outside of the physical universe.

There is a third option: 3) Information is a property of the universe, just as energy and entropy are.

If option 2) above, I suppose once a biological machine is constructed utilizing the information, there is no longer the necessity for a conscious being. The machine containing the embedded information can function on its own.

Perhaps this is how the natural laws of physics came to be: an intelligent designer created them and created a universe in which the laws would operate. He/she then energized the system (wound it up) and let it go (the big bang).

In order to believe that information is physical, you have to conclude that consciousness is equally physical, since consciousness is required to understand the ink on the page (for example).


Suffering comes from incompetence

Concerning the way the physical world is structured, having conscious creatures capable of suffering; and with its scarce resources, the need to replenish these, competition for these, sense organs of pain, and the conscious mental capability of experience suffering.

Whoever created this universe was incompetent in allowing all this suffering. Perhaps it was a kid doing a science experiment. And having the unintended side effect of suffering by conscious creatures.

Why would God (who is good and beautiful) allow for such creator-creatures to create a universe like this?


Misc

It might be hard to accept that God would be interested in this kind of complexity, but we have another example: the brain, especially the human brain.

Just as the soul micromanages brain development and functioning, so also, God micromanages the universe, and especially, biological organisms, natural selection, and evolution.

The topic of intelligent design is all tangled in the topic of evolution.

Seriously consider the implications of God having created the universe and souls.

We are composed of elements of God's nature; for example, love, consciousness, beauty, goodness, etc. But God did not build us.