Evolving Design

This article has a nice counter-argument to Paley's Watchmaker design argument, which is still being used (more or less) by IDers. It's obvious that when you see a watch or an iPod that there was some design behind it. What IDers fail to do is look at the history behind that design:

In the real world, design is Darwinian. To consider the iPod, it did not spring fully formed from the mind of a powerful Designer, but rather it represents one distinct point on a long evolutionary timeline. We would have to go back at least as far as the introduction of recorded music, then trace the increasing portability of that music, through car radios and miniaturized transistor radios after World War II. We would then have to move from the transistor radio with single earpiece to the stereo cassette Walkman, which gave the user the opportunity to listen to what they wanted, when they wanted, in a hermetically sealed mobile environment.

Furthermore, an iPod is just another step in the evolution of media distribution.

The point is that design is usually very iterative and evolutionary. Many times I've had an idea in a software program, only to have that design altered, poked, pushed, and process by external forces (known as users and bugs). IDers want people to see the watch and go, "what a wonderful machine! It must have a designer behind it." What they fail to acknowledge is the evolution behind that machine.

And, of course, who designed the designer? Oh, never mind...

* Posted at 10.18.2005 01:41:25 PM CST | Link *

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