Intelligent Design from a software engineering perspective.

I have been hearing from the grand old US of A a lot of trouble about Intelligent Design being used as a sneaky tactic (for people who make a habit of not using the little grey cells, this is sneaky) to get creationism into schools. I personally would not discount external interference in our development, I’m not an atheist, I don’t have a defined historical system of belief, but I do object to facts and reasoning (i.e. science) being replaced by a book that was told as a verbal myth by a group who have strange ideas about not eating shell fish (personally I’m a vegetarian, but if I wasn’t shellfish would be high up on my list of favorite sources of protein).

But ID as a theory it can explain the situation, but there was something nagging me, and I couldn’t work out what, then it hit me….

Human, Homo Sapiens, sapiens, the end product of 5 billion years of effort, um, excuse me I think there’s been a error in the future vision department. Are you telling me that someone INTELLIGENT spent 5 billion years on us? I can sing human praises, but generally only of singular individuals, as a species… There are a slight too many design flaws for this to be either the work of an engineer, or the end game of any project development.

I’m in part a software engineer by training, (it was my least favorite/favorite course in my first year and I by and large understood it by the second year of uni), I thought what was probably missing, was a list of requirements for the original design, so that when someone wants to finally work on the Human 2.1 (hopefully already bug tested), these ideas might prove useful, either as a starting point or as something to print out and use as lining for their cat basket smile

Functional Requirements
1. Walks
2. Talks
3. Loves (Optional)
4. Eats
5. Sleeps
6. Processes foodstuffs
7. Produces children (if wanted)
8. Listens to people and trys to understand their viewpoint.
9. Debates Intelligently
10. Does not use blind faith as a fact in an argument
11. Does not kill for power
12. Does not quest for power
13. Does not kill without a very good reason
14. Will feel wracked with guilt if killing has occured
15. Cannot hold gun (Think Vampire+Crosses)
16. 16 fingers and 16 toes (makes binary math easier raspberry)
17. Has stenciled on the inside of eyelids and in birthmarks on the back of hands
“Humans believe that they are more intelligent than dolphins because they have achieved so much, the wheel, new york, wars and the like, while all dolphins have done is kick around in the water and have a good time, dolphins believe that they are more intelligent than humans for exactly the same reason….
18. Mozart piped continually into the womb
19. Only one gender, let people define themselves without having pre-defined models enforced on them
20. NTSCOP – each person born should have their own unique skin colours and patterns, (Never the same skin color or pattern)
21. Universal language with many layers and shades of meaning, full of imagary and ideas.
22. Lives a 1000 years so they don’t think short term
23. Built in wifi connection so they can talk to anyone in the world instantly and comunicate to many people ideas, thoughts, hopes, dreams or even what they had for breakfast.
24. Bootproof head
25. Stomach/Chest kick proof
26. Bad eyesight, everybody needs glasses.

Non-Functional Requirements
a. Lower aggression levels
b. Cannot visulise guns
c. Patience
d. Compassion
e. Hope
f. lack of irrational hatred
g. intollerance of intollerance
h. reverance for terry pratchett
i. reverence for douglass adams
j. love of adventure
k. passion for the unknown
l. incapable of doublethink
n. respect for fellow sentients
o. respect for nature
p. respect for life in general
q. doesn’t trust politicians who wear suits.

I admit that separating out the functional and non-functional requirements may not be strictly accurate according to the definintions, but its late, I’m slightly tired and humans for all their flaws, are hard to put into little boxes like requirements.

Any more ideas for requirements functional or non-functional?

26 thoughts on “Intelligent Design from a software engineering perspective.

  1. Yes, the human body is the product of intelligent design…. A civil engineer to be precise…. Only a civil engineer could route sewage through a recreational area.

    I think some of us can pull out the blueprints…. Those who can’t, take note.

    But mostly I posit a civil engineer created the human body.

  2. Only a civil engineer could route sewage through a recreational area.

    LOL mrk!  But hey, it could be worse- we could have been like the reptiles and had only one hole down there for everything!

    And sure, civil engineers have created their share of stupidities, but I hold the politicians (and the voters ultimately) more responsible, for telling the engineers what to build where.  Engineering is a noble calling and largely unsung.

  3. And sure, civil engineers have created their share of stupidities, but I hold the politicians (and the voters ultimately) more responsible, for telling the engineers what to build where.  Engineering is a noble calling and largely unsung.

    Seeing that I’m currently slaving away on my civil engineering diploma (master thesis to you anglo-saxons), those were the words I needed zilch. Especially as I try to plan a railroad station with inadequate data.

    Then again, I already knew engineers were the true heroes. Heinlein told me, and he wouldn’t lie.

  4. I have engineers in my family- my uncle Bob the chemical engineer, and my stepgrandfather Aaron, the civil engineer, so I’m not unbiased.  And being an instrumentmaker, I pride myself on being a sort of engineer myself.

    As far as Heinlein not lying, well… he sometimes had his tongue in his cheek.  Not to mention being an old perv.  Daniel Dennett says engineers are heroes, though, and that’s enough for me.

  5. I have to admit that I’ve always been interested in engineering, but felt I lacked the focus and math skills necessary to actually succeed at the job. Mechanical engineering in particular has always held a fascination for me.

  6. Les, you don’t necessarily need to be GOOD at math to succeed at it. Adequate at math is enough (lots of sweat and shouting ‘I don’t understand this friggin’ bullshit, i swear its warping my mind!’ will help though).

    I got an A+ mark on my technical mechanics exam while failing the math exam on the first try (differential equations – I’ve already forgotten the little bit I learned there).

    Engineering, in my mind, is more about how to approach a problem than – neccessarily – higher math.

  7. (Ingolfson, where are you in Germany? I’ve got a good friend who’s a student at the Universitaet Potsdam… Are you there too?)

  8. I think the word “human” should be stricken from all school textbooks.  Allow me to explain.
    The word “human” is derived from the word “humus”, which means “soil”.  So a “human” being is actually a “humus” being, i.e. a being that came from the ground.  Well, Genesis claims that man was created from the ground, right?  So “human” is a religious reference.  We should say “sentient being” or “sentients” in place of “human”.

  9. I don’t know. In some way knowing that the root for the word human is “dirt” seems somehow appropriate at times.

  10. (Ingolfson, where are you in Germany? I’ve got a good friend who’s a student at the Universitaet Potsdam… Are you there too?)

    No, near Frankfurt/Main. And totally wasted after 11 hours of work. Going home soon…

  11. We should stop saying “Atheist” too, in favour of “Religiously Challenged”. “Atheist” derives from the Greek word “Theos” (Θηοσ) meaning “God”, with the ‘A’ prefix being a shortened form of ‘anti’. It’s not fair to label non-god people with a derivative of the word ‘god’ in it.

  12. Yeah, but religiously challenged has the same problem.  I prefer people-without-their-heads-in-their-asses.  Or maybe just “realistic”.

  13. bo$$- that is precisely why Daniel Dennett has proposed, instead of “atheist”, the term “bright”.  BTW, the “a” prefix in Greek is not a shortened form of “anti”, which is Latin, but rather means “not”.

  14. This comment is a bit of an aside, but this thread offers me the opportunity to field a question that I always wanted answered.  How do creationists (or you if you happen to be a creationist, I know there’s at least one of you that visits this site) account for new disease strains?  Now to me the development of novel bacterial and viral species seem to be a pretty clear indication that evolution is occurring.  However, if my guess is correct a creationist would have to argue that if there are new species coming into existence God must be somehow involved in creating them (despite the fact that such an argument would run contrary to a 6 day creation story) or somehow they were created at the beginning of time but somehow lay dormant until they were set off by something.  Now if you take the recently created position you’re left explaining why God would create a disease that more often than not afflicts the very young, the very old, and the poor, or in otherwords the meek.  Whom I thought were supposed to inherit the Earth, not terminal diseases.  If you take the dormant position, then I ask why don’t we from time to time run across dormant species or what would set off the dormant species?  Why would they for no apparent reason simply rear up their ugly heads and kill a crap load of people?  Is it more of God’s plan, which seems quite arbitrary and often downright mean?

  15. Indeed, that has always been one of my questions, too, Soc Swine.  How can you deny evolution when it’s right in your face? 

    One thought is that they accept that evolution happens but not that humans evolved from apes; a slightly more defensible position I think.  But I don’t want to put words in their mouths.
    Perchance they just hadn’t thought about it.  I think alot of the anger over evolution stems out of a lack of understanding what scientists are really saying.

  16. Not that I want to steal the creationist’s thunder, o bristly boar, but most of them have retreated to the position that the “kinds” of the Old Testament are more inclusive than species, and allow for variation (=evolution) within these kinds.  Exactly where they draw the line between “kinds” depends on their particular fundy flavor, but some would probably lump all bacteria and all viruses together as “kinds”.  Convenient, eh?

    One might think that, say, the nice fossil record of the transition between reptiles and mammals would transgress the “kind” boundary, but nothing of the sort-  they were all separate creations that “reproduced after their kind”, and it’s just a coincidence that they “seem” to represent an evolutionary series.  No doubt God put them there to keep the riffraff out of Heaven.

  17. That’s sad—to think that there’s a limited number of species and when they’re extinct, no more will evolve to take their place.  Especially at the rate things are becoming extinct.

    Of course, if you’re one of the lucky 144,000, then you won’t have to worry, right?

    Dude, where are they?  This thread is “ripe for Jesus.”

  18. elwed- there’s a good English language article about the same thing, the cane toad and keelback snake evolution, here:
    http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/enviro/EnviroRepublish_1250708.htm
    BTW- the usually careful Spiegel made a booboo, or at least a highly misleading statement, in the German article: they pointed out that the cane frog is not native to Australia; it had been introduced from Hawaii.  What they did not say is that it was not native to Hawaii either, but to Central America.  There are no native Hawaiian reptiles, amphibians, or mammals (except for bats and seals).  Picky picky.

  19. I’ll start right out apologizing for triple dipping, and blowing this thread further off-course, but the other part of shana’s remark

    That’s sad—to think that there’s a limited number of species and when they’re extinct, no more will evolve to take their place.  Especially at the rate things are becoming extinct.

    Of course, if you’re one of the lucky 144,000, then you won’t have to worry, right?

    reminded me of a passage in “The Last Battle” by C.S. Lewis, the concluding book of the Narnia septology, btw the most charming presentation I know of softcore Christian fundamentalism.  It occurred near the end, when all the good guys were in Aslan’s heaven and pigging out on fruit (well, there’s no sex there, so they made do).  It was simply the narrator’s observation: “…and there were no wasps.”

    This seems to me to sum up, not only the believer’s fantasy of heaven, but of their whole worldview: there’s the fruit, which is good, and there are wasps, which are evil.  The fact that the real world consists of many things, which cannot always be so simply divided up into right/wrong or good/bad, is not part of their mindset.  To ignore this complexity makes for easier decision making, but also for oversimplified and often simply false models of the way things are.

    I find it ironic that the fig leaves worn by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (or at least the fig trees that came after the Creation) presuppose wasps- figs can’t fertilize themselves without them.

  20. there’s the fruit, which is good, and there are wasps, which are evil.

    and then there’s the species they just don’t know or care about.

    Ideed, Zilch, indeed…

    BTW, I believe all theads go to the same place my last five pens and all my pocket change went to—who the hell knows?!  Perhaps they are worked into the fabric of the universe.

    og with dog my nos.

  21. west side is the best side!! east side is the least side!!!  what state do you live in les? we need legal cannibis there!!! hahahah

    my old grand poppy was en enjuneer!!
    yeee didly!

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