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Monday, January 10, 2005

Quick Note on the Intelligent Design Debate

We had a lot of posting on Intelligent Design several days back, but I remembered something worth sharing. When Lawrence Van Dyke (sp?), a student on the Harvard Law Review, published a positive notice on Francis Beckwith's book about Intelligent Design and the law, several hard core Darwin types freaked out. I wrote about it for National Review Online and had an email correspondence with Mr. Van Dyke in which he told me he was an engineer by training. He said something that has stayed with me since that time:

"As an engineer, I know that nothing EVER works unless it was well-designed."

I mentioned Van Dyke's sentiments to my father, who was an accomplished engineer for the Monsanto Corporation for many years and now works on missile defense. He heartily agreed.


Jay D. Homnick said...

Wonderful. Van Dyke has put his finger on it.

Tlaloc said...

"As an engineer, I know that nothing EVER works unless it was well-designed."

Mr Van Dyke has a poor sense of history since a great many inventions have been pure accidents. Furthermore he's apparently unaware of the field of computer science in which software is "designed" in evolutionary steps by allowing it to go through a number of iterations of changes and periodically weeding out the non-fit results. It's unfortunate that Mr. Dyke's poor knowledge of his own field has reinforced your misguided beliefs.

The reference to missile defense is amusing though given what a total waste its turned out to be despite massive funding ($10 billion this year alone) and, one would suppose, lots of design. Perhaps if they tried using some evolutionary design methods they could actually hit a target with a homing beacon on a clear day more than 6 out of 10 times.