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Beauty In Nature... Evidence Of Id


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#1 Springer

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 10:44 AM

There are many examples of beauty in nature that do not have any obvious survival purpose, but appear to be the result of imaginative design. A good example is the myriad of species of tropical reef fish. I find this compellling evidence of ID.

Any thoughts?

#2 Adrian7

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 03:07 PM

That certainly is very interesting, other creatures that have always fascinated me are insects that look exactly like leaves(alive or dead) and certain types of catepillars whose rear-ends resemble the head of a snake and some that even look like bird droppings. These examples do serve a specific purpose, camoflauge, but are so precise in their resemblance to the environment or to other creatures that they also appear to be the result of imaginative design.

#3 Springer

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 07:52 PM

That certainly is very interesting, other creatures that have always fascinated me are insects that look exactly like leaves(alive or dead) and certain types of catepillars whose rear-ends resemble the head of a snake and some that even look like bird droppings. These examples do serve a specific purpose, camoflauge, but are so precise in their resemblance to the environment or to other creatures that they also appear to be the result of imaginative design.

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Those who have studied asthetics realize that there is more science to it than meets the eye. Beauty is not completely subjective, but adheres to predictable laws.

#4 chance

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 02:12 PM

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, one could look at a tropical reef from different perspectives:

a. it a beautiful construction and habitat (to human eyes).
b. its a constant battle of survival for the inhabitants. Take your eye of the ball for a moment and your lunch for something higher up on the food chain.

Those who have studied asthetics realize that there is more science to it than meets the eye. Beauty is not completely subjective, but adheres to predictable laws.

Are you referring to the “golden ratio”?

#5 Springer

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 06:43 AM

quote=chance,Dec 11 2005, 02:12 PM

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, one could look at a tropical reef from different perspectives:

a. it a beautiful construction and habitat (to human eyes).
b. its a constant battle of survival for the inhabitants.  Take your eye of the ball for a moment and your lunch for something higher up on the food chain.


I have two points I’d like to emphasize:
First, the beauty in tropical reef fish seems to be a display of beauty only for the sake of beauty itself. In male birds, the beauty appears to have a function. I don’t see any survival function with the artistically dazzling coloration of reef fishes.
Second, I suppose that evolutionists think that man’s appreciation of beauty evolved just like everything else. For this to have happened, man would have to have been exposed to objects of beauty during his evolution for his appreciation of beauty to have evolved. How would you explain the beauty of tropical reef fish given the fact during the millions of years that man has been “evolving” that he likely was never exposed to many of these species. Thus, if the fish “evolved” completely independent of man, why does man appreciate them as objects of beauty? In other words, man’s perception of beauty was not formulated because he was exposed to tropical reef fish… tropical reef fish were created as objects of beauty before they were ever encountered by man.

Are you referring to the “golden ratio”?

Yes... ancient Greeks studies asthetics and found that beauty was predictable and followed laws

#6 Springer

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 06:44 AM

quote=chance,Dec 11 2005, 02:12 PM

Beauty is not totally in the eye of the beholder.
I have two points I’d like to emphasize:
First,  the beauty in tropical reef fish seems to be a display of beauty only for the sake of beauty itself.  In male birds, the beauty appears to have a function.  I don’t see any survival function with the artistically dazzling coloration of reef fishes.
Second, I suppose that evolutionists think that man’s appreciation of beauty evolved just like everything else.  For this to have happened, man would have to have been exposed to objects of beauty during his evolution for his appreciation of beauty to have evolved.  How would you explain the beauty of tropical reef fish given the fact during the millions of years that man has been “evolving” that he likely was never exposed to many of these species.  Thus, if the fish “evolved” completely independent of man, why does man appreciate them as objects of beauty?  In other words, man’s perception of beauty was not formulated because he was exposed to tropical reef fish… tropical reef fish were created as objects of beauty before they were ever encountered by man. 
Yes... ancient Greeks studies asthetics and found that beauty was predictable and followed laws

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#7 chance

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 02:13 PM

I have two points I’d like to emphasize:
First, the beauty in tropical reef fish seems to be a display of beauty only for the sake of beauty itself. In male birds, the beauty appears to have a function. I don’t see any survival function with the artistically dazzling coloration of reef fishes.


Functions of coloration:
Warnings (don’t eat me I am poisonous),
signalling of what species or s@x you are,
signalling what reproductive state you are in,
signals how healthy the individual is,
aids schooling behaviour, keep together don’t be distracted by all the colour.
Distraction to predators (e.g. eyespots or stripes)


Second, I suppose that evolutionists think that man’s appreciation of beauty evolved just like everything else.


Yes. Some however is learned behaviour.




For this to have happened, man would have to have been exposed to objects of beauty during his evolution for his appreciation of beauty to have evolved. How would you explain the beauty of tropical reef fish given the fact during the millions of years that man has been “evolving” that he likely was never exposed to many of these species. Thus, if the fish “evolved” completely independent of man, why does man appreciate them as objects of beauty? In other words, man’s perception of beauty was not formulated because he was exposed to tropical reef fish… tropical reef fish were created as objects of beauty before they were ever encountered by man.


Colour vision is a primate trait, this allows them to forage for brightly coloured ripe fruits in the absence of poor olfactory abilities – following on then – Ripe fruit looks pretty (survival advantage) and bright shiny objects (Rocks/Fish/Sports cars) also look pretty (a coincidence).



Are you referring to the “golden ratio”?

Yes... ancient Greeks studies asthetics and found that beauty was predictable and followed laws


There is some support that the Golden ratio has some human factor in appreciation of the bodily form, LINK it appears to be the ‘ideal template’ that is sought after. Logically then anything designed around such figures is tapping in to our human bias of what is beautiful.

#8 Springer

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 02:39 PM

quote=chance,Dec 12 2005, 02:13 PM

Functions of coloration:
Warnings (don’t eat me I am poisonous),
signalling of what species or s@x you are,
signalling what reproductive state you are in,
signals how healthy the individual is,
aids schooling behaviour, keep together don’t be distracted by all the colour.
Distraction to predators (e.g. eyespots or stripes)

You cannot ascribe the beauty of a tropical reef fish to survival alone. If anything, the colors make the fish more attractive to predators. Also, there is incredible color coordination. I'm sure you're aware that dozens of species exist, and if you seriously examined each and attempted to ascribe all of the stripes, spots, subtle tones and shades to survival, all coordinated to form such a beautiful form, you would have to at least call it an incredible coincidence that natural selection could produce such a piece of art.

Some however is learned behaviour.

I read of a study where babies only a few weeks old were exposed to photos of "pretty" women and "ugly" women. They reacted far more positively to the "pretty" women. The conclusion of the study was that the perception of "beauty" is somehow imprinted in our genes. In any event, I don't believe it is totally learned.


There is some support that the Golden ratio has some human factor in appreciation of the bodily form, LINK it appears to be the ‘ideal template’ that is sought after.  Logically then anything designed around such figures is tapping in to our human bias of what is beautiful.

I understand your point. The Greeks designed ionic capitals with volutes that resembled the curvatures of sea shells. It could be argued that the design was beautiful because it recapitulated nature. However, one could also argue that nature is inherantly beautiful. Don't you think it's peculiar that there is beauty in nature that everyone recognizes as beautiful but cannot be ascribed to our interaction with it... my example of tropical reef fishes illustrates this.

#9 chance

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 07:22 PM

chance> Functions of coloration:
Warnings (don’t eat me I am poisonous),
signalling of what species or s@x you are,
signalling what reproductive state you are in,
signals how healthy the individual is,
aids schooling behaviour, keep together don’t be distracted by all the colour.
Distraction to predators (e.g. eyespots or stripes)

You cannot ascribe the beauty of a tropical reef fish to survival alone. If anything, the colors make the fish more attractive to predators.


There is more to survival than just avoiding a predator, attracting a mate can and does have greater survival advantage, e.g. the peacock’s plumage is a veritable hindrance in avoiding being eaten, yet offers more advantage in the area of selecting a mate.


Also, there is incredible color coordination. I'm sure you're aware that dozens of species exist, and if you seriously examined each and attempted to ascribe all of the stripes, spots, subtle tones and shades to survival, all coordinated to form such a beautiful form, you would have to at least call it an incredible coincidence that natural selection could produce such a piece of art.


Each life form is just surviving, if coloration works then so be it, other strategies are also available e.g. song, scent, size, possessions, skills. To call it artistic is implying it’s all here for our viewing pleasure.


Some however is learned behaviour.

I read of a study where babies only a few weeks old were exposed to photos of "pretty" women and "ugly" women. They reacted far more positively to the "pretty" women. The conclusion of the study was that the perception of "beauty" is somehow imprinted in our genes. In any event, I don't believe it is totally learned.


Agreed.

There is some support that the Golden ratio has some human factor in appreciation of the bodily form, LINK it appears to be the ‘ideal template’ that is sought after.  Logically then anything designed around such figures is tapping in to our human bias of what is beautiful.

I understand your point. The Greeks designed ionic capitals with volutes that resembled the curvatures of sea shells. It could be argued that the design was beautiful because it recapitulated nature. However, one could also argue that nature is inherantly beautiful. Don't you think it's peculiar that there is beauty in nature that everyone recognizes as beautiful but cannot be ascribed to our interaction with it... my example of tropical reef fishes illustrates this.


I would expect that being in-tune with your environment would naturally impart a sense of beauty for what you need or desire. E.g. you might seek shelter and a cave with a clean dry interior overlook a majestic canyon is indeed beautiful, deeper in we might find a bat faeces encrusted floor running alive with beetles and millipedes, as this is not conducive to our need we instinctive do not find it beautiful, a naturalist might disagree however :)

The tropical reef just happens to mirror what we desire/need, much like jewellery, total impractical yet pretty.

NOTE - This rather apparent callous way of looking at the universe of mine might give the impression that I despise art, beauty etc, but the point I am making is that knowing the origin of such feelings in no way diminishes the actual feelings I have for art etc.

#10 Springer

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 08:07 AM

quote=chance,Dec 12 2005, 07:22 PM

Colour vision is a primate trait, this allows them to forage for brightly coloured ripe fruits in the absence of poor olfactory abilities – following on then – Ripe fruit looks pretty (survival advantage) and bright shiny objects (Rocks/Fish/Sports cars) also look pretty (a coincidence).


Now that you mention it... somone in a different thread said that if a species possessed something that was not beneficial to itself but useful to another organism (such as a horse with a saddle), then such would be evidence of ID. What do you think of the fact that brightly colored ripe fruit helps survival of animals that feed on it, but does nothing to help survival of the tree?


There is more to survival than just avoiding a predator, attracting a mate can and does have greater survival advantage, e.g. the peacock’s plumage is a veritable hindrance in avoiding being eaten, yet offers more advantage in the area of selecting a mate.

Yes, I agree that you can make such a case for bird plumage. However, I don't see those factors in tropical reefs.

Each life form is just surviving, if coloration works then so be it, other strategies are also available e.g. song, scent, size, possessions, skills.  To call it artistic is implying it’s all here for our viewing pleasure.

I think that the beauty of a tropical reef is evidence of a creator... that it was done for beauty's sake. If there is no other obvious reason and ID is ruled out, then it must be ascribed to coincidence.

I would expect that being in-tune with your environment would naturally impart a sense of beauty for what you need or desire.  E.g. you might seek shelter and a cave with a clean dry interior overlook a majestic canyon is indeed beautiful, deeper in we might find a bat faeces encrusted floor running alive with beetles and millipedes, as this is not conducive to our need we instinctive do not find it beautiful, a naturalist might disagree however :)

The tropical reef just happens to mirror what we desire/need, much like jewellery, total impractical yet pretty.


In other words, it's beauty is a coincidence? Remember, that I'm not referring to one or two isolated species, but hundreds... all of which display striking beauty.

NOTE - This rather apparent callous way of looking at the universe of mine might give the impression that I despise art, beauty etc, but the point I am making is that knowing the origin of such feelings in no way diminishes the actual feelings I have for art etc.

However, such a point of view does imply that you believe that asthetics are completely in the mind of man and do not adhere to any absolute rules. Obviously, just because something is natural, it is not necessary "beautiful". Most would consider the wart hog to be a very ugly creature. The enigma I see with the tropical reef is that, as you suggested, it "just happends to mirror what we desire/need." I find it very difficult to ascribe such to chance, especially when you consider the great number of creatures with such adornments. Evolution does not predict such, because natural selection is only concerned with reproductive success.

#11 chance

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:44 PM

chance>
Colour vision is a primate trait, this allows them to forage for brightly coloured ripe fruits in the absence of poor olfactory abilities – following on then – Ripe fruit looks pretty (survival advantage) and bright shiny objects (Rocks/Fish/Sports cars) also look pretty (a coincidence).

Springer>
Now that you mention it... somone in a different thread said that if a species possessed something that was not beneficial to itself but useful to another organism (such as a horse with a saddle), then such would be evidence of ID. What do you think of the fact that brightly colored ripe fruit helps survival of animals that feed on it, but does nothing to help survival of the tree?


It’s the tree that benefits the most, it is employing the animals to take the fruit and disperse the seed within. Even if the animal is partial to the seed e.g. Acorn and Squirrel, the tree relies on the fact that squirrels hide the nuts under leaf litter etc and forget where they are sometimes. It’s a very common and symbiotic situation found in nature.
Not sure if a species possessed something that was not beneficial to itself but useful to another organism would be evidence of ID, as symbiotic relationships might fall under that umbrella.



There is more to survival than just avoiding a predator, attracting a mate can and does have greater survival advantage, e.g. the peacock’s plumage is a veritable hindrance in avoiding being eaten, yet offers more advantage in the area of selecting a mate.


Yes, I agree that you can make such a case for bird plumage. However, I don't see those factors in tropical reefs.


Recognition of same species in a crowded environment would my guess. S@xual preference should not be overlooked as a general sign of heath in a mate.


Each life form is just surviving, if coloration works then so be it, other strategies are also available e.g. song, scent, size, possessions, skills.  To call it artistic is implying it’s all here for our viewing pleasure.


I think that the beauty of a tropical reef is evidence of a creator... that it was done for beauty's sake. If there is no other obvious reason and ID is ruled out, then it must be ascribed to coincidence.


I think a tropical reef is a concentrated example of general survival trends. I mean you see the same sort of strategies everywhere, it’s just that the tropical reef can harbour a lot of them in all those nooks and crannies.


I would expect that being in-tune with your environment would naturally impart a sense of beauty for what you need or desire.  E.g. you might seek shelter and a cave with a clean dry interior overlook a majestic canyon is indeed beautiful, deeper in we might find a bat faeces encrusted floor running alive with beetles and millipedes, as this is not conducive to our need we instinctive do not find it beautiful, a naturalist might disagree however

The tropical reef just happens to mirror what we desire/need, much like jewellery, total impractical yet pretty.

In other words, it's beauty is a coincidence? Remember, that I'm not referring to one or two isolated species, but hundreds... all of which display striking beauty.


Yes the tropical reef is beautiful to us because it triggers the same emotions we evolved for survival reasons of desire/need, or what is good for us is beautiful. The problem I fear is that you do not appreciate that a reef is just the exact same feeling one might have when looking at a single peacock, it just a matter of scale not absolute.


NOTE - This rather apparent callous way of looking at the universe of mine might give the impression that I despise art, beauty etc, but the point I am making is that knowing the origin of such feelings in no way diminishes the actual feelings I have for art etc.


However, such a point of view does imply that you believe that asthetics are completely in the mind of man and do not adhere to any absolute rules. Obviously, just because something is natural, it is not necessary "beautiful". Most would consider the wart hog to be a very ugly creature.


I absolutely agree, one must be careful not to over generalise these matters, they are statistically significant but you will always find exceptions.

The enigma I see with the tropical reef is that, as you suggested, it "just happends to mirror what we desire/need." I find it very difficult to ascribe such to chance, especially when you consider the great number of creatures with such adornments. Evolution does not predict such, because natural selection is only concerned with reproductive success.


I don’t see the problem at all, it’s almost inevitable that some aspect of the natural world triggers our artistic side, bright, colourful and shiny objects appear to be the human condition, and so is a tropical reef.

#12 Springer

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 10:15 AM

quote=chance,Dec 13 2005, 01:44 PM



Recognition of same species in a crowded environment would my guess.  S@xual preference should not be overlooked as a general sign of heath in a mate.

Those needs could have easily been met with a far less elaborate display.




Yes the tropical reef is beautiful to us because it triggers the same emotions we evolved for survival reasons of desire/need, or what is good for us is beautiful.  The problem I fear is that you do not appreciate that a reef is just the exact same feeling one might have when looking at a single peacock, it just a matter of scale not absolute...

...I don’t see the problem at all, it’s almost inevitable that some aspect of the natural world triggers our artistic side, bright, colourful and shiny objects appear to be the human condition, and so is a tropical reef.

That's a very simplistic way of looking at it. Tropical reef creatures are not random conglomerations of bright colors... their design shows purposeful composition. Take a look at this one... http://www.batnet.co...cs/malbut_b.jpg
If you analyze each stripe and the hue of each color, there is obvious design in it. The vertical blue stripe at the end of the tail... artistically, it brings all the colors together. The lines of dots on the base of the tail, and continuing up the posterior aspect of the fish.... Another thing... he's got a vertical stripe through his eye that matches the stripe on his skin! Then there's the black stripe through the base of the pectoral fin that matches the adjacent skin on the body. These are not attempts at camoflauge... it's purpose is asthetic enhancement. How did DNA copying errors happen to pull that off? Coincidence?
Have you ever tried to draw or paint something like that? What do you think it would look like? Why is "natural selection" going to produce something that pleasing to the human eye... something that very few humans could do even if they spent hours trying?

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 02:02 PM

If you analyze each stripe and the hue of each color, there is obvious design in it.  The vertical blue stripe at the end of the tail... artistically, it brings all the colors together.  The lines of dots on the base of the tail, and continuing up the posterior aspect of the fish....  Another thing... he's got a vertical stripe through his eye that matches the stripe on his skin!  Then there's the black stripe through the base of the pectoral fin that matches the adjacent skin on the body.  These are not attempts at camoflauge... it's purpose is asthetic enhancement.  How did DNA copying errors happen to pull that off? Coincidence?
Have you ever tried to draw or paint something like that?  What do you think it would look like?  Why is "natural selection" going to produce something that pleasing to the human eye... something that very few humans could do even if they spent hours trying?

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While an interesting observation, you have to remember that fish do not see the same way we do. While we see brightly colored fish, that's usually only when we bring in more light to the environment than normally filters to that depth. Many fish do not see color at all and while some have excellent vision you have to concentrate on the weaknesses of the vision of predators and prey to try and see the advantages of a particular color scheme as camoflage. Also keep in mind that coloration may serve as a lure for prey and mating partners rather than simple camoflage.

Yes fish are pretty, amazingly so, but I don't see that as a convincing argument for ID. There are plenty of ugly bugs out there right along side the living jewels. Are they just there for contrast or something?

#14 Springer

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 02:40 PM

quote=wepwawet,Dec 14 2005, 02:02 PM

While an interesting observation, you have to remember that fish do not see the same way we do. While we see brightly colored fish, that's usually only when we bring in more light to the environment than normally filters to that depth. Many fish do not see color at all and while some have excellent vision you have to concentrate on the weaknesses of the vision of predators  and prey to try and see the advantages of a particular color scheme as camoflage. Also keep in mind that coloration may serve as a lure for prey and mating partners rather than simple camoflage.

A lure for prey would be a selective disadvantage. I'm at a loss to understand why you're arguing camoflage and lure to prey at the same time. If they were just "brightly colored" that would be one thing. They have artistic composition, and it's hard to believe that a mating partner would have any artistic appreciation.

Yes fish are pretty, amazingly so, but I don't see that as a convincing argument for ID. There are plenty of ugly bugs out there right along side the living jewels. Are they just there for contrast or something?

The existence of so many species which exhibit such striking beauty is evidence of ID. In addition, there is a wide variety of colors, not just one or two patterns. Have you ever noticed that none of the colors "clash" with another? What would be the selective advantage of color coordination? It's hard to conceive that such ubiquitous beauty could be produced by chance, because there is no survival purpose for it. Some fish are ugly for camoflage purposes... why a creator would design "ugly" fish is a philosophical question.

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 03:07 PM

quote=wepwawet,Dec 14 2005, 02:02 PM
A lure for prey would be a selective disadvantage.

Angler fish seem to get along well. It's only a disadvantage if the lure draws things that can eat you.

I'm at a loss to understand why you're arguing camoflage and lure to prey at the same time.

Merely pointing out that coloration and patterns can serve different purposes.

If they were just "brightly colored" that would be one thing.  They have artistic composition, and it's hard to believe that a mating partner would have any artistic appreciation.

Your argument is basically that nature cannot produce something pretty or something that contains a complex pattern. Marcus Aurelius points out that all arts imitate nature in a way convincing enough to at least offer the counter argument that perhaps our own idea of what is pleasing visually is formed from our observations of nature. And so artistic composition exists only to imitate the beauty we see in nature...we should expect to see the elements that compose it in nature.

The existence of so many species which exhibit such striking beauty is evidence of ID.

You'll have to do better than simple assertion here.

In addition, there is a wide variety of colors, not just one or two patterns. Have you ever noticed that none of the colors "clash" with another?  What would be the selective advantage of color coordination?

Wouldn't a clashing color combination tend to attract attention to the owner? Attention may not be a good thing when the big fish are hungry.

It's hard to conceive that such ubiquitous beauty could be produced by chance, because there is no survival purpose for it.

Perhaps it is hard for you...I don't have any problems with it at all.

Some fish are ugly for camoflage purposes... why a creator would design "ugly" fish is a philosophical question.

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It's more than a philosophical question if we use beauty as an indicator of ID and also try to use ugliness as an indicator of ID. No matter what the outcome, beautiful or ugly, functional or not, beneficial or dangerous: we can always say the creator had a purpose for the creation and so that evidence becomes useless for identifying design. Would a clown fish work just as well if it were blue instead of orange? I think blue is prettier than orange myself, so why didn't the designer make them blue? Or at least make them all sorts of different colors so people could find the ones that suited their tastes?

I'm not saying those are rational questions for a creator, I'm trying to point out the impossibility of selecting a trait as a marker for design and then refusing to accept that if it is a marker then that marker should be present in everything claimed to be designed unless there is significant reason to infer differintiation from the pattern. We cannot know the creator's purpose and we know that not everything the creator is supposed to have created is beautiful...so how is beauty an indicator of creation?

#16 Springer

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 04:58 PM

quote=wepwawet,Dec 14 2005, 03:07 PM


Your argument is basically that nature cannot produce something pretty or something that contains a complex pattern. Marcus Aurelius points out that all arts imitate nature in a way convincing enough to at least offer the counter argument that perhaps our own idea of what is pleasing visually is formed from our observations of nature. And so artistic composition exists only to imitate the beauty we see in nature...we should expect to see the elements that compose it in nature.


The problem with Marcus Aurelius's argument is that tropical reef fishes were not known to exist to early man, at least many of the species. Therefore, man's supposed evolution of asthetic appreciation could not have been influenced by tropical reef fishes.
The coloration of reef fishes is far more than a "complex pattern". There is adherance to rules of design and color coordination.

Wouldn't a clashing color combination tend to attract attention to the owner? Attention may not be a good thing when the big fish are hungry.

If you're going to use that argument, then you've got to consider why would a fish evolve with bright colors in the first place, making it easy prey?

It's more than a philosophical question if we use beauty as an indicator of ID and also try to use ugliness as an indicator of ID. No matter what the outcome, beautiful or ugly, functional or not, beneficial or dangerous: we can always say the creator had a purpose for the creation and so that evidence becomes useless for identifying design. Would a clown fish work just as well if it were blue instead of orange? I think blue is prettier than orange myself, so why didn't the designer make them blue? Or at least make them all sorts of different colors so people could find the ones that suited their tastes?

It's not a matter of personal taste or philosophy. Mutations are random, as all evolutionists concede. The coloration of tropical marine life is not random... it adheres to laws of asthetics. They're not just brightly colored... they're pleasing to the eye.
If you're going to use the argument that "laws of asthetics" are only in the mind of man, and that his appreciation of beauty evolved as a result of his observance of nature, then ask yourself, why is there a pattern in nature? Why is it that only certain colors are found together? It's not random.


I'm not saying those are rational questions for a creator, I'm trying to point out the impossibility of selecting a trait as a marker for design and then refusing to accept that if it is a marker then that marker should be present in everything claimed to be designed unless there is significant reason to infer differintiation from the pattern. We cannot know the creator's purpose and we know that not everything the creator is supposed to have created is beautiful...so how is beauty an indicator of creation?


You may think that this discussion is beyond the realm of scientific inquiry. Those who study the arts know that asthetics follow laws. I am not offering one example. There are dozens and dozens of species that show spectacular design. Since there is no obvious survival function for this design, then you must ascribe it to coincidence. If you do, you must realize that we're talking about numerous examples, all of which just happen to be asthetically pleasing.
You have claimed to be open minded to the possibility that God exists. You have not denied that there is beauty in nature... I don't think anyone does. Evolution does not predict that such non-random phenotypic expressions would occur without some selective pressure to cause their development. Therefore, why is it so difficult for you to see this as evidence of intelligent design?

#17 chance

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 08:06 PM

Recognition of same species in a crowded environment would my guess.  S@xual preference should not be overlooked as a general sign of heath in a mate.


Those needs could have easily been met with a far less elaborate display.


Perhaps, perhaps not, preferential S@xual selection can drive evolution to extremes e.g. the peacock, no reason why fish wont do the same.

Yes the tropical reef is beautiful to us because it triggers the same emotions we evolved for survival reasons of desire/need, or what is good for us is beautiful.  The problem I fear is that you do not appreciate that a reef is just the exact same feeling one might have when looking at a single peacock, it just a matter of scale not absolute...

...I don’t see the problem at all, it’s almost inevitable that some aspect of the natural world triggers our artistic side, bright, colourful and shiny objects appear to be the human condition, and so is a tropical reef.

That's a very simplistic way of looking at it. Tropical reef creatures are not random conglomerations of bright colors... their design shows purposeful composition. Take a look at this one... http://www.batnet.co...cs/malbut_b.jpg
If you analyze each stripe and the hue of each color, there is obvious design in it.


I don’t see any obvious ‘design’, how do you determine how much design there is in it?


The vertical blue stripe at the end of the tail... artistically, it brings all the colors together. The lines of dots on the base of the tail, and continuing up the posterior aspect of the fish.... Another thing... he's got a vertical stripe through his eye that matches the stripe on his skin! Then there's the black stripe through the base of the pectoral fin that matches the adjacent skin on the body. These are not attempts at camoflauge... it's purpose is asthetic enhancement. How did DNA copying errors happen to pull that off? Coincidence?


It is quite likely that female fish find colourful males desirable to breed with (and visa versa), it need have nothing to do with camouflage but what fish finds attractive. e.g. “darling I just love the way the sunlight glints off your blue scales……...” :lol:

Why is "natural selection" going to produce something that pleasing to the human eye... something that very few humans could do even if they spent hours trying?

Coincidence, for every pretty thing in nature we could find an ugly thing, sot of balances it all out I would think.

#18 Springer

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 09:24 PM

quote=chance,Dec 14 2005, 08:06 PM


Perhaps, perhaps not, preferential S@xual selection can drive evolution to extremes e.g. the peacock, no reason why fish wont do the same.


A large number of beautiful tropical reef fishes are not s*xually dimorphic. Therefore, there is no obvious reason for their bright coloration.

I don’t see any obvious ‘design’, how do you determine how much design there is in it?


I'm looking objectively at asthetics. There is no reason for a fish to evolve by chance mutations into something that visually conforms to laws of asthetics, because evolution is random. There is no natural selective process that can be invoked to direct such adornment.
I've pointed out that beauty is evidence of creative design. Randomly throwing paint on a canvas does not produce anything of artistic worth. If reef fish were not designed and somehow needed bright colors, you would expect the colors to be a random conglomeration of unmatched colors. I'm really thinking that you're inability to see this as evidence is only a reflection of your materialistic perspective.

It is quite likely that female fish find colourful males desirable to breed with (and visa versa), it need have nothing to do with camouflage but what fish finds attractive. e.g. “darling I just love the way the sunlight glints off your blue scales……...” :lol:


In the first place, many male and female fish are equally embellished. Secondly, if you are suggesting that a fish has the intelligence to recognize beauty, then you are also contradicting what you said before, i.e., that man's appreciation of beauty evolved because of our interaction with nature... in other words, you're saying that beauty is an absolute... that both fish and man recognize and appreciate it. If you adhere to that idea, then the probabilty of "beauty" evolving by chance mutations becomes increasingly smaller.

Coincidence, for every pretty thing in nature we could find an ugly thing, sot of balances it all out I would think.

Whatever you think can be sited as "ugly" does not cancel out the beautiful, because you still can't explain in terms of probability why random mutations can create something as ordered as the coloration of a reef fish.

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 07:05 AM

quote=wepwawet,Dec 14 2005, 03:07 PM
The problem with Marcus Aurelius's argument is that tropical reef fishes were not known to exist to early man, at least many of the species.  Therefore, man's supposed evolution of asthetic appreciation could not have been influenced by tropical reef fishes.

But it can be argued that these fish are natural and no more colorful really than some bird species. Regular markings and bright colors are not only found in tropical fish. I don't really know how aesthetic tastes developed, I was pointing out how the argument may be made from either side.

The coloration of reef fishes is far more than a "complex pattern".  There is adherance to rules of design and color coordination.

You still only assert this, you don't provide examples or quote the rules. I do not believe your assertions.

If you're going to use that argument, then you've got to consider why would a fish evolve with bright colors in the first place, making it easy prey?

My guess is this (and it's just a guess) tropical reef dwelling fish exist in a fully three dimensional environment. They do not hide from predators on the bottom rather they use schooling and evasion to avoid them. The coloration of the fish varies depending on their prefered depth...if predators can be expected to attack from below then lighter colorations are preferable (making the fish look like a shimmer on a wave) or if from above or the sides a darker coloration might be selected. The gradiated markings may be such things as false eyes or false depth cues which have evolved to throw off an attack.

I'm not going to assert that these are the reasons for tropical fish evolving this way because I have not studied them in the kinds of detail necessary to get more than a general idea. It's just an example of a naturalistic explanation.

It's not a matter of personal taste or philosophy.  Mutations are random, as all evolutionists concede.  The coloration of tropical marine life is not random... it adheres to laws of asthetics.  They're not just brightly colored... they're pleasing to the eye. 

Mutations are random but natural selection is not. Patterns of coloration can be a selected trait if they provide a benefit. To quash the natural explanation you have to show that these patterns are not just neutral to survival but negatively affect the survival of the fishes. That would be a very interesting experiment but I suspect it could be done.

If you're going to use the argument that "laws of asthetics" are only in the mind of man, and that his appreciation of beauty evolved as a result of his observance of nature, then ask yourself, why is there a pattern in nature?  Why is it that only certain colors are found together?  It's not random. 

It doesn't have to be random. Pattern recognition is one of the things that the human brain is good at...we see patterns in clouds, moire print wallpaper, under bridges and all sorts of places. But I believe patterns can evolve naturally.

You may think that this discussion is beyond the realm of scientific inquiry.  Those who study the arts know that asthetics follow laws.  I am not offering one example.  There are dozens and dozens of species that show spectacular design. 

And many thousands that do not.

Since there is no obvious survival function for this design, then you must ascribe it to coincidence.  If you do, you must realize that we're talking about numerous examples, all of which just happen to be asthetically pleasing.

No I don't have to ascribe it to coincidence nor do I admit that there is no obvious survival function to bright colors and patterns.

You have claimed to be open minded to the possibility that God exists.  You have not denied that there is beauty in nature... I don't think anyone does.  Evolution does not predict that such non-random phenotypic expressions would occur without some selective pressure to cause their development.  Therefore, why is it so difficult for you to see this as evidence of intelligent design?

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Because the marker you have selected is inconsistant. You say that beauty is a marker for design but we don't see this beauty everywhere. Does this mean that only some of what we see, the beautiful stuff, was designed? No...you see it as an indicator that everything was designed and I wonder how you can use beauty as a marker when it is not a common trait of design.

#20 Springer

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 08:59 AM

quote=wepwawet,Dec 15 2005, 07:05 AM

But it can be argued that these fish are natural and no more colorful really than some bird species. Regular markings and bright colors are not only found in tropical fish. I don't really know how aesthetic tastes developed, I was pointing out how the argument may be made from either side.


Beauty in birds is also evidence of ID. However, the argument has been made that man’s asthetic taste evolved because he had interactions with peacocks and ring necked pheasants. If that was the basis for how he perceived beauty, how do you explain the fact that tropical reef fish also evolved and happened to fit that preconceived standard of beauty?


You still only assert this, you don't provide examples or quote the rules. I do not believe your assertions.


Everyone is in agreement, including you. You agree that reef fish are beautiful and so does everyone else. If they did not adhere to rules that define beauty, then they would not be universally regarded as beautiful.


My guess is this (and it's just a guess) tropical reef dwelling fish exist in a fully three dimensional environment. They do not hide from predators on the bottom rather they use schooling and evasion to avoid them. The coloration of the fish varies depending on their prefered depth...if predators can be expected to attack from below then lighter colorations are preferable (making the fish look like a shimmer on a wave) or if from above or the sides a darker coloration might be selected. The gradiated markings may be such things as false eyes or false depth cues which have evolved to throw off an attack.


The overall coloration of tropical reef fishes is not camouflage, so you’re argument that their color is to avoid predators doesn’t make sense. Their design if anything would call attention to themselves, and they would be like a brightly painted lure. Besides, I’m not talking about how or why coloration evolved, but how asthetically pleasing patterns evolved. These are not random patterns. If they were, they would not be asthetically pleasing. If you would care to take a look at the example I cited…..

Just a few points: The vertical blue stripe along the trailing edge of the tail matches the color of the body, uniting the design. The vertical stripe of the skin which continues through the eye, as well as the horizontal stripe at the base of the pectoral fin… these are asthetic embellishments that in and of themselves serve no survival advantage. They are not random, i.e., the eye stripe matches the surrounding skin and the fin stripe matches the stripe of the trunk, …so why should anyone ascribe their existence to chance? I could cite numerous other example such as this in other species.



Mutations are random but natural selection is not. Patterns of coloration can be a selected trait if they provide a benefit. To quash the natural explanation you have to show that these patterns are not just neutral to survival but negatively affect the survival of the fishes. That would be a very interesting experiment but I suspect it could be done.


What benefit is it to a fish to exhibit beauty? I’m not just referring to bright coloration. Evolution needs to show that the patterns increase reproductive success, because they are not random. Simply stating that a fish needs to be brightly colored is not enough. You need to show why the vertical stripe needs to go through the eye, because the likelihood of a chance mutation causing that is extremely remote. I think much of our disagreement is in the significance of the patterns. I think you’re suggesting that the patterns are random and just happen to be beautiful.

It doesn’t have to be random. Pattern recognition is one of the things that the human brain is good at...we see patterns in clouds, moire print wallpaper, under bridges and all sorts of places. But I believe patterns can evolve naturally.


Then we are in agreement that the patterns in reef fishes are not random. DNA copying errors are random. Why, then, is natural selection going to select out a non-random pattern that does not in and of itself have any bearing on reproductive success?


… nor do I admit that there is no obvious survival function to bright colors and patterns.


You haven’t given any indication that a pattern, which is not random, offers any survival advantage.



Because the marker you have selected is inconsistant. You say that beauty is a marker for design but we don't see this beauty everywhere. Does this mean that only some of what we see, the beautiful stuff, was designed? No...you see it as an indicator that everything was designed and I wonder how you can use beauty as a marker when it is not a common trait of design.


Beauty is very consistent, in that numerous species are endowed with it. You are willing to deny the evidence under the pretext that, in your opinion, if a creator endowed one creature with beauty he would have similarly endowed all creatures with beauty. I think this is getting too much into religion and is beyond the scope of objective science. You need only to look at the evidence of the numerous species that do exhibit beauty, and ask yourself if this does show evidence of intelligent design. There’s no reason to suppose that a creator would have elected to create other species with less beauty.




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