Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sentient Creature Products

Every morning I go through the same ritual. I take a shower and wash, paying particular attention to the stinky bits. Dry off. Add additional deodorants to the stinky bits. Brush and gargle the food ingestion bit. Put makeup on the presentation identity bit. Make sure nothing is hanging out of the primary oxygen intake bit. Etcetera. Which made me ponder the Creationist argument; "All this is so complicated, it must have a designer."

Nightline had a Creation vs. Evolution debate awhile ago with Kurt Cameron and Ray Comfort on the Xtian side and the Blasphemy Challenge on the other. One piece of "evidence" the Xtian side used, I don’t remember if it was Cameron or Comfort, was a painting. Perhaps it was the Mona Lisa. Their argument was that if you looked at something created, like a painting, you knew there had to be a painter, or creator, behind it.

I’d like to run with this concept for awhile.

First off, a painting like the Mona Lisa doesn’t just happen. Leonardo da Vinci, brilliant as he was, wasn’t born one day and creating the Mona Lisa the next. He learned his skills as an apprentice of another artist, Verrocchio, who learned some of his skills from Donatello, who received some of his training from Lorenzo Ghiberti. Leonardo learned anatomy, performed dissections, observed and produced studies, was exposed to technical skills along with the various artistic skills from other artists. His work would have started raw and progressed as his skills grew. In other words, his work, the Mona Lisa, was his later contribution in the evolution of his own skills and to the evolution of art as a whole. It was not the first painting ever produced by anyone.

Second, a painting doesn’t do anything. I am a complex system, made up of thousands of other, smaller complex systems. Looking around at complex systems that we know for a fact have been created, were created by teams of people. They were also advancements of other simpler complex systems. Bill Gates didn’t just wave his hands and create Windows Vista. He’s got hundreds of developers and engineers that have been working for years, advancing technology from simpler operating systems. Even the ancestor of operating systems, older than DOS, the CP/M (Control Program/Monitor), was composed of other systems (the console command processor or CCP, basic disk operating system or BDOS, and basic input/output system or BIOS.)

Third, and last, I’d like to point out that even if I and my operating system were the result of designers, there is no celestial patent office around to prove who gets the credit. It might be Yahweh and Son, Allah Inc., Xenu & Co., or even Taiowa. Just because a company is popular and currently dominates the market share, doesn’t mean they created the product. It could be they bought it from Sentient Creature Products for $50,000.

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