Not intelligent 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.

When discussing the topics of evolution and Christianity, of course the topic of intelligent design will come up.

Spiritual enzymes (catalysts)

The view of why intelligent design is needed:

Evolution is basically true, but needs to be "kicked" occasionally so that complexly designed features are produced "randomly". This is analogous to enzymes in biological organisms. Without them, many chemical reactions would simply not occur. (But why is not every chemical reaction in need of this "kicking" by an intelligent designer?)

But even with the spiritual enzymes triggering evolutionary progress, not all designs are good. Many fail to survive the onslaughts of natural selection. And of those that do, some are poor designs or flawed designs.

But it's not like there is a God up there micromanaging every detail of what every organism will look like; rather, there is a living spiritual energy seeking to create low probability interactions of matter. Natural selection will determine which are viable.

It's almost as if, a spiritual entity (God) notices that conditions are ripe for a certain kind of significant gene mutation or gene copy error event that could generate interesting new "designs". There is no concern by this "God" to whether these evolutionary events are good or bad, or whether they cause other organisms to go extinct, or whether they result in carnivores that eat their prey alive, causing much suffering.

The question God asks is: when can I (God) intervene to trigger a low probability event having significant future consequences. God doesn't want things to stagnate but, rather, he/she wants to keep things moving forward.

It is obvious that this kind of God is not the God proposed by religions such as Christianity.

Evolution of complexity

About the complexity of brain function:

I saw a video of someone showing how to build a simple simple simple homemade computer. By the time they added the data bus, it was very complex.

Societies/civilizations: How a civilization evolves. They become more complex over time as people add features to solve problems. For example, they want to catch fish from such and such river so they have to build a bridge, but they need stones to build the bridge, and etc. In a very complex civilization having systems all tangled together, a disturbance to one area will affect the others, and it will come crumbling down in a civilizational collapse. This will happen when the oil runs out; everything depends on the concentrated and cheap energy from oil.

The brain is evolved over time in an analogous manner.

Yet consider: The computer and the civilization were guided and evolved by the intelligence of the designers. But who designs and builds the brain? Does something more complex than a civilization (the functioning human brain) really evolve via random processes? People who say yes often claim it's natural selection that does the designing. Somehow this seems like a weak answer. What intelligence directs natural selection?

But if there is a God and/or intelligent designer, he/she created bad and evil, and is, therefore, bad and evil. What good is a bad and evil God?

You could say natural selection guides the evolution of building better and better computers. Things that don't work, that can't work, are selected out. But the designs come from human creativity and the mental powers of reason, not by sheer randomness.

An insight into evolution:

I do my laundry at home 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 tobalance, 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.

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

I noticed a dead moth laying flat on the surface of the water of my dogs' water bowl. I figured I'd let the dogs deal with it, so I left it.

What kind of emergent property of water, of nature, trapped the moth so it couldn't escape and fly away? Was it surface tension? Was it stickiness? Maybe there's another emergent property of water called "drowning moths". It grabs the moth and sucks it in, preventing its escape.

The problem of defining distinct emergent properties is one of categorization. Each seems to be a merely arbitrary definition based on some observed event of nature, such as birds flying or fish swimming in a group, or the molecules of water at the surface. But why isn't every phenomena beyond merely atomic forces its own emergent property?

I finally decided to take the drowned moth out of my dogs' water bowl, so I fished it out with a round stick, and as it came out of the water it wrapped around the stick. It looked like it was alive and was doing this on purpose, but it was just the electrostatic forces of the water molecules attaching it to the stick and etc.

Some things that happen in evolution, you might think someone is designing it that way because it seems familiar to us as something designed, as something living. But it's actually just molecules and electrons acting under the forces of nature.

There is a tuft of grass in the back that grows tall. The other week I cut off the long blades with scissors and left them lying on the ground. Today, they are still green but are curled up like tiny long straws, tiny tubes. It seems like it was designed that way that they will do this because it is such a remarkable phenomena. But it's just a side effect of the structure of the leaves.

Who designed this?

I walked past some mushrooms along the trail and remembered that it's mostly a large underground network of fibers of fungi with the need for reproductive spores resulting in the part that pops up above ground, and we see this as the mushroom. This is a terrible design for an organism. Who designed this?

Anyone who wants to promote intelligent design needs to explain why there are so many horrible designs. Sure, they work, but they're horrible. It is assumed that the intelligent designer is super smart.

The toad

For the past week I've been observing a cute toad living in a hole it probably dug in the dirt of a small steep embankment. It sits in the entrance and all I see is its cute mouth and chin and face with it's bulgy toad eyes. So cute. But then it started raining and I haven't seen it since.

Seems the life of a toad is horrible. The rain washes away their homes, the dogs and I step on them, and the dogs chew on them (but I don't chew on them). So sad that such a tiny vulnerable creature is treated so badly in life. Whoever designed them did a terrible job. Another mark against intelligent design; why would a good God cause such misery?

Randomness = intelligent design

Intelligent design is random.

For a while I've been exploring whether the intelligent designer operates by decreasing entropy, by manufacturing physical structures having decreased entropy. This would make the intelligent designer a machine-like robot; nothing like what we might expect God to be like.

But it is not necessary to even have an intelligent designer at all to accomplish this goal! Here's why. Since the quantum mechanics wave function collapse is random, sometimes the electron (for example) will appear in a location that triggers subsequent events to result in decreased entropy, as if the intelligent designer did it. The intelligent designer is not required at all!

And thus, if you try to find a mechanism by which an intelligent designer could interact with the universe to do his/her designing, it turns out he/she is not needed after all. The only way is if the miraculous interventions violate the laws of physics, and no miracle-believer has adequately explained how you can suddenly stop the earth's rotation (for example) and not have severe side effects.

In the case of evolution: randomness triggers design, and natural selection locks it in place. In the case of crystals forming: the stability of the chemical bonds causes stable and enduring structures.

Bad design 

I just had a small piece of food go down the wrong pipe into my lungs, and spent the next 10 minutes upside down to assist the cilia using gravity to move it back out. This sharing of eating and breathing is a terrible design. Those promoting intelligent design assume the biological designs are marvelous and obviously thought of by God.

Other examples:

  1. Diseases from viruses and bacteria.
  2. Parasites, especially those that cause suffering in their host or even kill them.
  3. When my dogs go #2, they are clean afterwards (watch carefully to see why). Not so with humans, who have to use leaves or fingers to clean; and then they sit on it.
  4. Sharing the organs of procreation and excretion. Weird.
  5. The sense of having moral and social obligations which eclipse your life, dominating your thoughts and activities.

Craving food

Remembering a time I was fasting and hungry and craved specific foods that I had the habit of eating. I wasn't craving such and such nutrients, but rather, a certain kind of pizza I had purchased from a certain market and cooked a certain way.

I doubt these specific foods even had the nutrients I needed anyway. They merely satisfied the mental craving of hunger. This is a poorly designed system.