General interest ID

Design Disquisitions: Giving the Critics a Fair Hearing

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This is a short post explaining a little feature I’ll be doing on my blog called ‘Critic’s Corner’. Hopefully it will turn out to be a useful resource.

It goes without saying that ID isn’t the most popular idea in the world. Since its development and increased prominence in western culture, it has been widely derided and criticised. It has many, many critics.

Among those critics are people from a wide range of disciplines including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, philosophy, theology, and journalism. ID also has the misfortune of being disliked not only by atheists and naturalists (as one might expect), but also many theistic evolutionists, and even more surprisingly, many young-earth Creationists. There are of course many within those particular groups who take the design view, or are at least sympathetic towards it, but by and large it has critics from pretty much every discipline and metaphysical position out there.

Read more here.

15 Replies to “Design Disquisitions: Giving the Critics a Fair Hearing

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    How could young-earth Creationists not believe in ID, Joshua ?

    ‘Though I am an ID proponent, on this blog I aim to take a balanced and honest look at this issue.’

    To my mind, that would be unbalanced. I don’t believe you could count a single, rational ID denier, even on one hand. Not that I am an expert on the arguments in the slightest degree. It is simply that its unfeasability would be understood by a young child.

    Even in science assumptions tend to be very simple, and if an assumption is plainly impossible, no amount of discursive and erudite reasoning can bring inferences from it back into the fold of sanitty.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    “How can young-earth Creationists not believe in ID ?”

    Not biblical enough for some?

    Dr. Purdom, Answers in Genesis,,,
    “The central problem is they (IDists) have divorced the Creator from his creation. And by not having the history of the Bible and not understanding the fall of man and the curse on all creation, they have a difficult time explaining evil in the world such as carnivory and flesh-eating bacteria.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....69431.html

    It’s been among the more dishonest tactics of ID’s critics to paint intelligent design as just another shade of “creationism.” The more people watch Ham debate Nye, the better they will be able to appreciate the stark contrast between advocates of intelligent design and those of creationism.

    Creationists themselves are honest about saying what that distinction is. As Mr. Ham’s “Answers in Genesis” colleague Georgia Purdom has candidly said, the main difference is that creationists insist on faith’s directing the conclusions that science reaches. Devout materialists, while reaching opposite conclusions, come at the question of life’s origins in much the same manner. Naturalism demands an answer to the mystery of evolution that excludes intelligent direction. So that’s what it gets and what it offers.

    ID advocates follow the evidence where it leads. That, more than the age of Earth, is I think the distinction that drives everything else.

    This serious, open-minded engagement with the actual evidence of science is the reason that while the “Science Guy” at least was all too willing to debate a creationist, Coyne and Dawkins have consistently chickened out when invited to engage us in debate, whether live or in print.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....81511.html

  3. 3
    Joshua G says:

    Axel, as BA77 has pointed out, many YECs are hostile to ID because they think it says to little.

    As for your other comments, it’s simply absurd to claim that being honest and balanced is unbalanced. To be balanced then, am I to be dishonest and unbalanced? Most critics are extremely irrational. But I wouldn’t be so arrogant to claim that of every denier.

  4. 4
    Origenes says:

    To make the views of the critics easily accessible, I had the idea of feature a ‘Critic’s Corner’ series on this blog. Each post will focus on a specific critic of ID, and tell you a little about them.

    Excellent idea.

    Are there any serious critics? Yes. But I can count the number of serious, responsible critics (those who offer very strong objections to ID), on one hand.

    Very good idea. I did not know that there are serious responsible critics out there.

    I’m not always happy with the way some ID supporters engage with the opposing side. Some on the pro-ID side can overstate their case and dismiss the modern theory of evolution without fully understanding it.

    Maybe you can help me here also. To be frank, I hold that the modern theory of evolution cannot be understood because it doesn’t make sense.

  5. 5
    rvb8 says:

    Joshua G,

    “Since its development and increased prominance in western culture…”

    ‘Development’? There was no development, ID was intuited thousands of years ago by the first unlettered modern humans that roamed the savannah. They looked at their precarious existance, and the world around them and saw, ‘design’, just as you do today; this ‘design’ idea is ancient and intuitive.

    ‘Western culture’? Oh please! every culture worth its salt has come up with the same obvious teleological conclusion; ‘the design needs a designer’.

    “Since its development”. You make it sound like a revolution in thought, when you know, I know, and your readers know, it is merely the Genesis tale retold, with more confining, psudo-scientific gobbledegook.

    ‘Critic’s Corner’, nice title. However, you need go no further than any University Biology Dept, Pharmaceutical Co, Government Research Facility, or the generally informed public, including most Prtestant Churches, and the Catholic Church to find umpteen thousands of atheistic, and religious critics.

  6. 6
    Dionisio says:

    Neither ID or YEC or OEC, or another acronym identify the followers of Christ. Their true identity is in Christ alone. However, they generally may agree with scientific concepts presented by ID-proponents.
    ID, YEC, ORC proponents don’t have to be followers of Christ. Even some folks who call themselves ‘Christians’ are not necessarily followers of Christ in truth and spirit.

  7. 7
    DillyGill says:

    The thing that will finish off ID is the sheer volume of scientific papers that come out (publicised and unchallenged by anyone with out a philosophical commitment to materialism) where there is a blur between what has been observed, what it means, and where the imagination of the scientist (complete with his philosophical commitment to materialism) takes off. People just do not have the attention span required to take on the enormity of the task of sifting through the piles of crap scientism has heaped up at the door of the honest enquirer.
    Also working against ID is that they are fighting mans age old desire ‘to do right in his own eyes’ and scientism provides the justification for that. On a spiritual level rvb8 and his crew are utterly dead to this concept. A block head indeed. So blind that he thinks that denying the creator has left him enlightened (LOL and then I cry because they are many)
    Scientism is a deception. No matter how well it is argued for it will all end in tears. My son laughed when I told him people really believe that all this complexity can come around by chance and randomness, he thought I was joking.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    DG, you will see why I focus on a pivotal result, the empirically warranted, analytically plausible source of functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information, FSCO/I beyond 500 – 1,000 bits. On trillions of observed cases of its origin [e.g. our two comments], it is uniformly the product of intelligently directed configuration. On the blind search of config spaces of 500 – 1,000 bits or more of scope challenge, the search resources of the sol system and/or of the observed cosmos [the only actually observed cosmos] are hopelessly overwhelmed at the respective thresholds. To challenge this, simply provide credible counter-examples _____, much like how the laws of thermodynamics stand as best explanations to date. Likewise, search for a golden search that short circuits this runs into the problem that searches are subsets of a config space so they come from the power set of the config space; i.e. if the direct space is of scale N cells, the set of possible searches is exponentially harder, coming from a space of 2^N cells, so direct search is the most generous case. Consistently attempts to directly address the FSCO/I challenge fail and increasingly we see ideological impositions, distractions, atmosphere poisoning and the like, including abusive behaviour. All of which becomes a cluster of evidence that speaks volumes. KF

    PS: RVB8 presents a classic case of distortion. While unlettered idiots and ignoramuses like Plato and Cicero did put forth intuitive cases for design inferences 2000+ years ago, the modern scientific design inference awaited statistical thermodynamics and information theory. Match that to the discovery of complex algorithmic text in the DNA in the living cell and you will see the sort of evidence that is being dodged by too many objectors. Further to this, the discovery of a fine tuned cosmos had to await Relativity Theory, modern cosmology, astrophysics and more. The strawman caricature fails dismally. The objector needs to start by carefully reading the UD weak argument correctives, then he needs to drop his blinkers and actually take time to understand what we have argued.

  9. 9
    Dionisio says:

    DillyGill,
    Your son still has the sense of wonder that we unfortunately lose as we grow older in the midst of the mundane activities of daily living in this spiritually lost world. We should get that sense of wonder back. Delight in the Lord and He will give us that sense of wonder and the irresistible desire to learn about His wonderful creation. Thus God will use us to challenge the PhDs of the world academy, as it’s written in the first chapter of the first letter to the Corinthians. We won’t be able to understand how God does it but we’ll see distinguished professors failing to answer our simplest questions. It happened to me here in this UD site. It’s publicly available for all to read it. A distinguished professor of a known university failed to answer a most simple question. Why? Only God knows it.
    My first grandson was born a few days ago. Indescribable emotions that trash any “strong” AI concept.
    Yes, your son was right to laugh at nonsense. We adults should imitate him. But also weep and pray for the spiritually blind people.
    Apocalypse 22.21

  10. 10
    Latemarch says:

    Joshua G apparently quoting someone:
    “Disliked……many young earth creationists.”
    Changed by Axel to:
    “How could young-earth Creationists not believe in ID,…”

    As a YEC neither the words dislike or not believe are good choices for characterizing my position on ID. My world view and that of the IDist coincide in that we both know that there is a material and immaterial component to the universe. Design/Information only comes from mind and mind is not something that just emerges from the complex interactions of matter.
    So I don’t dislike nor disbelieve ID. IDists are doing science from what is logically the only rational position (worldview) that science can be done from.
    My only criticism is that they insist in dancing about the elephant in the room. There is, without invoking the Bible, sufficient evidence to characterize the designer. I can see that the refusal to do so has some strategic or tactical value in promoting the idea in the secular arena. I believe that it gives up too much ground to the materialists.

  11. 11
    Axel says:

    Thank you BA77 and Joshua G for your responses to my question:

    ‘Though I am an ID proponent, on this blog I aim to take a balanced and honest look at this issue.’ – JG

    To my mind, that would be unbalanced. I don’t believe you could count a single, rational ID denier, even on one hand. Not that I am an expert on the arguments in the slightest degree. It is simply that its unfeasability would be understood by a young child.

    What I was driving at, Joshua, is that taking a ‘balanced view’ of something void of any sense, as though it had a smidgeon of truth, itself makes no sense. It is according it an unwarranted cognitive dignity. As Chesterton put it : ‘The purpose of an open mind is to close on the truth.’ But when truth is all together missing, then taking a balanced view of it would be a kind of category error. You seem to take a different view of it, though.

    BA77, how ironical! IDeists strain out the theological implications, never mind the Christian and specifically-scriptural ones, as only unnecessary impediments in debates to nailing down the folly of the materialists. So what happens… why, they get flak from both sides !

  12. 12
    Axel says:

    Latemarch :
    ‘So I don’t dislike nor disbelieve ID. IDists are doing science from what is logically the only rational position (worldview) that science can be done from.’

    Yes.

    ‘There is, without invoking the Bible, sufficient evidence to characterize the designer. I can see that the refusal to do so has some strategic or tactical value in promoting the idea in the secular arena. I believe that it gives up too much ground to the materialists.’

    My heart says, ‘Yes’, again, but my head says the deficit is clearly one of grace not of intellect, as such. I say, ‘as such’, because reason is hardly independent of ‘right-thinking’, i.e. basing one’s life and thought on true assumptions, with access to the Creator in prayer.

    To me, it is a matter of utter astonishment that :

    a) Many Protestants will not countenance studying the Shroud of Turin, because it is viewed as Catholic ! And

    b) The mere fact of its being even a putatively-medieval photographic negative, without any need to consider the wealth of other confirmatory evidence, does not convince everyone that it is at the very least utterly mysterious, and should continue to be assiduously researched, as, in fact, has been done.

  13. 13
    Axel says:

    KF :

    ‘The modern scientific design inference awaited statistical thermodynamics and information theory. Match that to the discovery of complex algorithmic text in the DNA in the living cell and you will see the sort of evidence that is being dodged by too many objectors. Further to this, the discovery of a fine tuned cosmos had to await Relativity Theory, modern cosmology, astrophysics and more.’

    KF, I spoke to my friend Kevin about all that tommy-rot, and he said ; ‘It’s not FAIR ! He’s complicating fings!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLuEY6jN6gY

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    Axel, Einstein said everything should be as simple as possible BUT NOT SIMPLER THAN THAT. KF

  15. 15

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