Re: Design (was Re: Meat)

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*
Sat, 14 Feb 1998 14:54:53 -0800


Not word games, not "my need for an argument"--real philosophy that you may
not have considered thoroughly. Sorry to have been perceived that way.

OK, I'll go for a counterexample--bear with me, here, and I'll avoid any
trace of irony. You have my word.

Do you know what a "Rattleback" is? It's a kid's toy. Edmund's sells them,
you can get them at the Exploratorium gift shop, etc.

It is based on (fundamentally identical to) the shape of certain water-worn
stones. It has the curious physical property that when you set it on a flat
surface, it has a preferred direction of spin.

Nature did the work of shaping the stones. Humans noticed the curious

OK, now you tell me: 1) Who designed the rattleback toy? 2) Where did the
design come from?

One counterexample is all it takes. :) I believe this shows that a blind
watchmaker still makes watches. Please poke substantive holes in this
reasoning--if you do so, you will help me to learn to think better.


At 02:33 PM 2/14/98 -0800, you wrote:
>"Michael M. Butler" <butler@comp*> writes:
>[regarding the "design" of the human body]
>>It is designed. I am designing my body right now. Many other people
>>designing theirs, including bodysculptors.
>There is a difference between design and modification. If I take my
>car to a shop and have it painted a new color or change the muffler I
>can make no claim to the design of the car. When you can "design"
>yourself another liver come and talk to me...

No, you miss my point--I have a high level list of things I want my body to
be able to do. I lack the technology to implement my design--but that
doesn't mean I'm not doing design.

>>Oh. I see. You think anyone who uses the word "design" to refer to
>>that did not take the conscious effort of some human is a (perhaps
>>Creationist/Deist/Teleological BAD PERSON, and NEEEDS to have the
>>reinstated, or a kick in the behind.
>Oh. I see. You want to play silly word games. To create new
>meanings for words to fit your need for an argument. You think that
>just because the definition of the word "design" in the context it is
>being used here requires a designer (e.g. "conscious effort" to
>attain a predetermined goal) there is no reason that you cannot make
>up a new definition and then attack the original argument for not
>using your new definition.

No, see above. The question of where design comes from really matters to
me. I avoid cheap thinking on the subject. I should probably have prefixed
my comments with (po), but you may not know what that word means either. :)

Peace, Jim: I was playing, but seriously--sorry if my litany was
interpreted as me ragging on you.


"Love is the product of compassion and liberty,
not one at the expense of the other." -- Liam A. Chu

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