Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

A Ratio Christi head at U Washington responds to anti-ID prof David Barash


Here, Timothy Foutz:

In addressing the argument from complexity, Dr. Barash makes reference to William Paley’s famous watchmaker analogy: “Just as the existence of a complex structure like a watch demands the existence of a watchmaker, the existence of complex organisms requires a supernatural creator. Since Darwin, however, we have come to understand that an entirely natural and undirected process, namely random variation plus natural selection, contains all that is needed to generate extraordinary levels of non-randomness.” But I think he misunderstands the argument. Neither Paley nor modern adherents of Intelligent Design are saying: “Look how complex things are! Only God could create that kind of complexity.”

The point of this argument isn’t the degree of complexity we find in organisms, but that the complexity shows the presence of design. Perhaps no one addresses this better than William Dembski: “The world contains events, object and structures that exhaust the explanatory resources of undirected natural causes and that can be adequately explained only by recourse to intelligent causes.”6 Dr. Dembski coined the phrase “specified complexity.” By this he means that complexity by itself is not telling, but when something forms a recognizable pattern we will want to look toward design.

For example, let’s say you came into a room and found a set of Scrabble pieces spread out on a table. The pieces have a high degree of complexity, but they’re not specified. But if we came into a room and saw that some Scrabble pieces spelled out “when you wish upon a star” we would know right away that an intelligent person arranged those letters.

Wow. Someone actually gets the main point of the discussion. Isn’t just hollering safely for God somewhere.

Barash is possibly the last person in North America to believe in evolutionary psychology. There might be a guy in Sweden somewhere too, but he hasn’t been getting the mail so …

Random variation?! Thats the point too. nothing could be so variationish as to create or reorient complex biology. The randomness is chump change in biology when dealing with the kids from parents. Mutationism must be the faith of evolutionism. Mutants as the driving force in biology must be proved and in the meanwhile dismissed as improbable. Robert Byers

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