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Dialogue with ChatGPT on Intelligent Design

William A. Dembski
Photo credit: John Schnobrich via Unsplash.

Here is an interesting chat between me and OpenAI’s ChatGPT on the topic of intelligent design. Interesting especially how it ended. Think of ChatGPT as a context-dependent natural language generator that tries to respond relevantly to textual prompts from human users to simulate conversation. The first of these conversation bots goes back to the 1960s with Joseph Weizenbaum’s Eliza program. The current incarnation of these programs have become much more sophisticated, exploiting machine learning and big data.

ME: What is intelligent design?

ChatGPT: Intelligent design is the belief that certain features of the universe and living things show signs of having been designed by an intelligent cause. It is often seen as an alternative to the theory of evolution, which proposes that species have changed over time through natural processes. Proponents of intelligent design argue that certain features of the natural world are too complex to have evolved through natural processes, and therefore must have been created by a higher power. This belief is not supported by scientific evidence, and is considered a form of creationism by many scientists.

ME: Why do you say that the belief in intelligent design is not supported by scientific evidence?

ChatGPT: There is no scientific evidence to support the belief in intelligent design. The theory of evolution, on the other hand, is supported by a vast amount of scientific evidence, including fossil records, genetic data, and observations of natural selection in action. Scientists have studied the natural world for centuries, and the evidence overwhelmingly supports the idea that species have evolved over time through natural processes. In contrast, there is no scientific evidence to support the belief that certain features of the natural world were created by a higher power.

ME: Seriously, no evidence? What do you make of the specified complexity that is evident in the genes and proteins of the cell? Why don’t you consider this as constituting evidence for intelligent design?

ChatGPT: The complexity of genes and proteins does not constitute evidence for intelligent design. In fact, scientists have been able to explain the complexity of these structures through the theory of evolution. The genetic code, for example, is the result of natural selection acting on random mutations over countless generations. The same is true for the proteins found in cells. While these structures are certainly complex, that complexity can be explained through natural processes.

ME: But all organisms share the genetic code and would not be alive without it. So the genetic code must in some sense predate existing life forms. Natural selection, by contrast, requires life already to exist. So it is misguided to claim that natural selection acting on random mutations can “produce the genetic code.” Wouldn’t you agree?

ChatGPT: An error occurred. If this issue persists please contact us through our help center at help.openai.com. [Yes, this final output was in red.]