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Hallmarks of Design: Evidence of design in the natural world [Paperback]

By Stuart Burgess (Author)
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Item Number 38702  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.34" Width: 5.82" Height: 0.52"
Weight:   0.69 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 31, 2004
Publisher   DAY ONE PUBLICATIONS #1219
ISBN  1903087317  
EAN  9781903087312  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The Design Argument contends that design in nature reveals a Designer. Hallmarks of Design presents this in the light of the latest discoveries about the complexity and beauty of the natural world. Features of the book include - Six clear hallmarks of design - Over 30 diagrams - Description of how the earth is designed for mankind - Description of the Creator's attributes

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More About Stuart Burgess

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dr Stuart Burgess, BSc, PhD, CEng, MIMechE, is a Reader in Engineering Design at Bristol University. His research areas include the study of design in nature. He previously worked in industry, designing rocket and satellite systems for the European Space Agency. He is winner of the Worshipful Company of Turners Gold Medal for the design of the solar array deployment system on the 1.4 billion ENVISAT earth observation satellite.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A World of his own design.  Nov 21, 2003
Dr. Burgess is an accomplished mechanical engineer and, throughout this book, he makes it clear that he sees biological organisms from this perspective. This and his strong Creationist convictions lead him to present a view of the natural world that is diametrically opposed to mainstream evolutionary theory. He arrives at this position via a series of misconceptions.

For example, in chapter 1 he says:

" BURGESS: The genetic code is analogous to a complete set of engineering drawings"

In this, Biologists will recognise shades of the "Homunculus (little man)" model that their discipline dispensed with in the 18th century and the Author's subsequent arguments demonstrate that he really believes this to be true:

"BURGESS: The fact that the knee joint must be grown in the developing embryo adds further complexity to the design. As well as specifying all the characteristics of the knee joint, the cell must also specify how the knee will grow and become assembled."

Genetic information is NOT analogous to a set of engineering drawings, and many 19th/20th century biology books regard some variant of the recipe idea as being much more appropriate. Modern biology books emphasise how misleading it is and that DNA information is "Generative and not Descriptive".

The difference here is fundamental and many of the factual and conceptual errors in "Hallmarks of Design" can be traced back to this.

Information that determines what biologists call "development" and Dr. Burgess calls "growth and assembly" is entirely sufficient and "Engineering Drawing" information does not exist in the DNA of any living organism. ( For a fascinating account of current concepts in this area see "The Art of Genes by Geneticist Enrico Coen).

Rather ironically, if Dr. Burgess COULD find a Homunculus in ANY living organism then he would have a devastating argument against evolutionary theory which would not be able to explain it. A point he seems to have missed.

Instead he goes on to argue that Evolution by Natural Selection is an "absurd deception" because organisms exhibit exquisite levels of adaptation to their environment. He is apparently oblivious of the fact that it was just this that led Darwin to think of the idea in the first place.

Dr. Burgess doesn't see it that same way that Darwin did:

"BURGESS: Such reasoning is absurd for several reasons. Firstly, if a random change is made to the information on a drawing of a motorbike steering system, this will at best cause no change the in basic functions and at worse have fatal consequences. "

Here we see the consequences of the false "Engineering drawing" analogy in full flight. He obviously fails to recognise that a single random change to a development recipe could result in the duplication of the whole motorbike to produce a viable "organism" that had four wheels instead of two. Mutations of this kind are induced in fruit flies on a routine basis in biology labs. At a level, the genes that control development are analogous to Subroutine calls in computer programming. If a call is mistakenly duplicated by a single mutation then the functionality of the subroutine is reiterated and another complete copy of the corresponding structure is produced.

Dr. Burgess cites "The Blind Watchmaker" as a reference . In this book, Richard Dawkins says on this point:

DAWKINS: It is easy to believe that individual snakes with half a dozen more vertebrae than their parents could have arisen in a single mutational step

This mechanism allows evolution to neatly circumvent the Author's second reason for supposing that evolutionary theory is an "Absurd and shallow deception":

"BURGESS: Secondly, there are no intermediate mechanisms between a motorbike steering system and a car steering system whereas evolution would require hundreds of fully functional intermediate forms.

A simple duplication of a call to a development subroutine could deliver a four wheeled organism in a single step. Intermediate forms between two wheels and four wheels are therefore unnecessary. In "Climbing Mount Improbable" Richard Dawkins speculates that the shovel nosed lobster "Scyllarus" acquired its odd shape by just this mechanism.

It is easy to see where the analogies used by Dr. Burgess fail and, in consequence, he is led seriously astray. Consequently, the evolutionary concepts depicted in this book and described as an "Absurd and shallow deception" bear little or no relationship to the theory that any competent evolutionist would recognise as the modern Theory Of Evolution. Dr. Burgess is therefore simply attacking a simplistic and fictional little world of his own design.


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