Intelligent Design

A Response to Stephen Barr

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My grandfather was a prolific arrowhead collector.  He spent countless hours walking back and forth over the plains, hills and creek bottoms of Texas looking for “points,” as he called them, and by the time he passed away his collection ran into the hundreds.  When I was a young boy in the 60’s papa sometimes let me come along with him to look for points, but I did not have the patience required for this game.  Instead of emulating my grandfather’s painstaking and systematic search techniques, I mainly wondered around with my head in the clouds.  From time to time I would snatch up a random rock and run to show it to papa, yelling, “What about this one?”  My efforts invariably yielded the same response.  Papa would glance at the rock and hand it back to me while shaking his head and muttering “shah, shah, shah” under his breath.

What was the difference between my random rocks and the points my grandfather was looking for?  The rocks he rejected and the rocks he collected were all rocks, so what made the “points” special?  Just this.  In my grandfather’s judgment each rock he added to his collection was different from the thousands upon thousands of rocks he rejected because it bore complex marks that conformed to a specified pattern.  In short, like every other archeologist who has ever separated artifacts from natural objects, he made a design inference. 

Design inferences like the ones my grandfather made are everyday occurrences.  They are not the least bit controversial.  Does anyone dispute that intelligent agents leave behind objectively recognizable indicia of design?  Of course not.  Indeed, these indicia of design are the very marrow of certain scientific endeavors (e.g., forensics, archeology, and cryptology).  It would be absurd to suggest that my grandfather had stupidly succumbed to the “Indian of the gaps” fallacy, or that his conclusions were based on an irrational or sub-rational “intuition.”  Far from being controversial, his design inferences were obviously correct.  Moreover, his conclusions are in principle falsifiable and inter-subjectively testable. 

Once one concedes that at least in some instances intelligent agents leave behind objectively discernable indicia of design, the intellectual jig is up – you have left the door wide open for the theory of intelligent design.  The fundamental premise underlying the intelligent design movement’s program is utterly uncontroversial.  We know beyond the slightest peradventure that intelligent agents leave behind objectively discernable indicia of design.  It is the secondary premise of ID that causes consternation – that certain biological structures, both at the micro and macro level, exhibit indicia of design, and therefore the most reasonable explanation for the existence of those structures is that they were in fact designed for a purpose.

One can argue that as an empirical matter ID has failed to demonstrate that living things bear indicia of design.  Many scientists would disagree, but competing interpretations of the data are what good science is all about.  May the best interpretation prevail.  But some scientists go further than advancing competing interpretations of the data and argue that the search for indicia of design in living things is in principle illicit. 

This argument makes no sense.  “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose,” wrote arch-atheist Richard Dawkins in The Blind Watchmaker.  So why should a theist like Dr. Stephen Barr object so vehemently when ID theorists advocate for the proposition that the design even an atheist sees is not simply apparent but reflects a fundamental reality?  Does Barr know for a certain fact that no intelligence has ever acted on any living thing to bring about a result?  I am sure he will admit he does not.  If the design hypothesis has not been falsified, then it must be considered an open question.  It follows that far from being illicit, an investigation into whether the appearance of design in living things is an illusion or based on actual design should not even be controversial. 

I must confess that I am truly bewildered by Dr. Barr’s antagonism toward the intelligent design movement, as evidenced in his recent polemic attacking ID.  Dr. Barr is obviously a person of high intelligence, integrity and goodwill.  Yet he seems determined to mark a place for himself as perhaps the preeminent Christian opponent of ID and defender of the neo-Darwinian status quo.  So why is an orthodox Christian like Stephen Barr so keen to discredit ID, the primary challenge to the neo-Darwinian hegemony over our institutions? 

Certainly the answer does not lie in the oft-repeated canard that ID is nothing but Biblical creationism in a cheap tuxedo.  My grandfather knew absolutely nothing about the Indians that carved his points; yet that did not preclude him from making a design inference.  Similarly, ID acknowledges that the empirical evidence tells us nothing about the identity of the designer, who may be natural or supernatural.  Why is this simple concept so hard for some people to get their heads around?  Life is a matter of chemistry and physics – super-sophisticated chemistry and physics beyond our present technology to be sure – but there is nothing in principle that will prevent human technology from eventually creating artificial life in the laboratory.  The artificial life humans eventually produce will be “designed life.”  So why is it so hard to accept that ID does not rest on the premise that “God did it”?  Even Dawkins admits that a non-supernatural ID hypothesis is valid in principle:  In the documentary “Expelled” Dawkins told interviewer Ben Stein:

It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now, um, now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer.

Perhaps Barr believes the ID hypothesis has been sufficiently investigated and found to be empirically unsustainable.  No, that is not either.  Barr acknowledges this when he writes that none of his attacks on ID mean “that the conclusions the ID movement draws about how life came to be and how it evolves are intrinsically unreasonable or necessarily wrong.”

If ID is not theoretically beyond the purview of scientific investigation, as even Dawkins admits, and it is not empirically unreasonable as Barr admits, why then does Barr oppose it so vehemently?

Part of the answer lies in Barr’s failure to understand the true metaphysical cost of Darwinism.  In his 2006 article in First Things entitled The Miracle of Evolution Barr defended neo-Darwinism on the ground that God might have used Darwinian processes as a secondary cause to create the complexity and diversity of life.  Barr advised Christians to make their peace with Darwin, and near the end of the article he wrote this:  “And what happens to morality and natural-law ethics if neo-Darwinism is right?  Nothing . . .” 

Barr apparently believes he can have his Darwinism for free, that there is no metaphysical price to be paid for the triumph of blind watchmaker evolution.  The naiveté of this statement beggars belief. 

Let us be clear about what we are talking about here.  We are not talking about “theistic evolution” where God comes down and helps the evolutionary process over the bumps.  We are talking about a “mud to me” process in which nothing but blind unguided forces of nature act on matter and bring about the diversity and complexity of life with no intervention from any intelligent agent, including God.  This hypothesis has profound metaphysical implications.  Stephen Jay Gould wrote:  “Before Darwin we thought that a benevolent God had created us.”  Now, “No intervening spirit watches lovingly over the affairs of nature . . . No vital forces propel evolutionary change.  And whatever we think of God, his existence is not manifest in the products of nature.”

That last sentence is where the metaphysical rubber meets the road.  Barr writes:  “We need not pit evolution against design, if we recognize that evolution is part of God’s design.”  This is nonsense.  Barr does not seem to understand that the whole purpose of evolutionary theory is to demonstrate that nature can do the job of designing without God, and if God played any role (e.g., by setting initial conditions so that evolution would unfold the way it has), his hand is completely undetectable. 

In his review of Dawkins’ Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder, Barr wrote:

Those who believe in God, including the very substantial proportion of scientists who do, are every bit as able to thrill to scientific discovery as Dawkins is. They embrace scientific understanding and rejoice in it, as he does. But they have as well the joy of their faith, which tells them that the beauty of Nature points to something higher, to a Wisdom greater than their own. For Dawkins it points to nothing. He is welcome to that conclusion, but there is not the slightest reason why any scientist or scientifically minded person should share it.

Surely Barr’s conclusion is false.  Again, the whole point of the neo-Darwinian project is to demonstrate that nature can go it alone, and that if there is a designer he is not, in Gould’s words, manifest in the products of nature.  Therefore, if neo-Darwinism is true, Barr is wrong and Dawkins is correct – the beauty of nature points to absolutely nothing beyond itself. 

Darwin’s great achievement was in providing a plausible materialist mechanism (i.e., natural selection) to explain the staggering diversity and complexity of living things without resort to any sort of guiding intelligence.  This made it far easier for those already so inclined to deny the existence of God and adopt a materialist philosophy.  That is why Dawkins wrote, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”  Materialist philosophy goes back to the Greeks, but its long march through our institutions with calamitous consequences alluded to above began with Darwin.  I do not agree with Daniel Dennett about much, but surely he is right when he calls Darwinism the “universal acid.”  That acid has eaten through to the core of our culture, and from an orthodox Christian’s perspective it has had baleful ethical consequences of cataclysmic proportions.  The 100 million dead at the hands of the communists lie in silent testament to the pernicious effects of materialist social systems.  The 50 million and counting abortions performed in this country since 1973 are an indirect consequence of the materialist takeover of American law beginning with the influence of committed materialist Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (see my Darwin’s Path of the Law on how these dots are connected).  Examples could be multiplied ad nauseam

It is a mystery, therefore, why Barr believes in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary that he can have his neo-Darwinism without paying a staggering metaphysical price for it.  The fact that neo-Darwinism paves the way for the acceptance of materialist philosophy does not mean that neo-Darwinism is necessarily false.  But it certainly means that a theist should not blithely roll over and accept it while there is any viable alternative in the offing. 

In addition to his failure to appreciate the metaphysical costs of neo-Darwinism, Barr seems to crave the good graces of the scientific establishment.  He writes: 

Science must fail for ID to succeed. In the famous “explanatory filter” of William A. Dembski, one finds “design” by eliminating “law” and “chance” as explanations. This, in effect, makes it a zero-sum game between God and nature. What nature does and science can explain is crossed off the list, and what remains is the evidence for God. This conception of design plays right into the hands of atheists, whose caricature of religion has always been that it is a substitute for the scientific understanding of nature.

Implicit in this statement is that there is “science” and there is “ID” and they are at war with one another.  But why should this be so?  We would not say to an archeologist, “for your design inference regarding this arrowhead to succeed, science must fail!”  The day-to-day nuts and bolts of the ID theorist’s work in terms of interpreting data are no different in principle from the archeologist’s work.  They are both attempting to determine whether a design inference is appropriate based upon what we know about the “markers” of design. 

ID’s metaphysical implications make many scientists uncomfortable, which motivates them to erect a sign over the gate to the science club that says, “No ID Allowed.”  Barr desperately wants to be a member in good standing of the club, and if accepting neo-Darwinism is the price of admission, he is willing to pay, metaphysical calamity be damned. 

That may be OK for Barr, but what about the rest of us?  Should we meekly submit to the bully boys and girls in the science club and give up on a promising research project because it gives materialists the metaphysical willies?  Whatever happened to freedom of inquiry and “follow the evidence wherever it leads”?  The scientific establishment pays lip service to “self-correction” and “eternally contingent conclusions,” but the plain truth of the matter is that scientists may be the most brassbound, obdurate and reactionary people on the planet, clinging to their pet theories and received orthodoxy with an intransigent stubbornness that would make a medieval churchman blush. 

Science should be about searching for the truth.  We do not know for an absolute certainty whether certain aspects of living things were designed.  If design did in fact occur, any research program that rules design out of court from the very beginning is bound to take us away from the truth instead of towards it.  Therefore, as long as the design question remains open, ID researchers should pursue their work, preferably with the support of the scientific establishment, and if that support is not forthcoming, then in the teeth of their scorn.

36 Replies to “A Response to Stephen Barr

  1. 1
    Frost122585 says:

    Offtopic:

    A story of some note and susual interest to this site and it’s contributors

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech.....scientist/

    Maybe we could get a post on it.

  2. 2
    Charles says:

    So why is an orthodox Christian like Stephen Barr so keen to discredit ID, the primary challenge to the neo-Darwinian hegemony over our institutions?

    Barr’s Theistic Evolutionary Authorized Version apparently reads:

    Mar 10:5-6 TEAV But Jesus Darwin said to them, … 6 “But from the beginning of creation Abiogenesis, God Natural Selection MADE EVOLVED THEM MALE AND FEMALE.

    The “orthodoxy” of theistic evolution should not be given a pass.

    Jesus was a Creationist. There is no getting around that, except by heterodoxy, and all of Barr’s digs at Creationists are likewise directed at the same Lord that Barr professes.

    That is not to say Barr is “no true Christian”, I believe he is, but rather that Barr hasn’t reconciled his severely conflicted positions. Would that Barr scrutinize his own theology, ID, and Darwinism as honestly and competently as he scrutinizes physics.

  3. 3
    Charles says:

    Let’s try those “strike thru” tags again…

    Mar 10:5-6 TEAV But Jesus Darwin said to them, … 6 “But from the beginning of creation Abiogenesis, God Natural Selection MADE EVOLVED THEM MALE AND FEMALE.

  4. 4
    Charles says:

    FYI to the UD website folk, single ‘s’ strike thru tag support is inconsistent: ‘s’ struck text previews correctly, but is not struck thru upon posting, whereas ‘strike’ strike thru tags work consistently.

    Perhaps single ‘s’ strike thru tags ought to be disallowed on preview, or rendered on posting.

  5. 5
    the wonderer says:

    The trouble both sides of this debate have is the problem of the missing “known”. Science is in the business of measuring/ comparing. Without a definitive known to measure against, analogies must suffice, but weakly so.

    Finding an organism with a “Made by God” label would be definitive. Likewise I would like to see the definitive million year old rock that the standard by which to date fossils.

    I find it hilarious that this debate can never be settled intellectually but must rely on faith at every level.(I do not mean blind faith, but trust in unverifiable unknowns)

  6. 6
    Leslie says:

    “If design did in fact occur, any research program that rules design out of court from the very beginning is bound to take us away from the truth instead of towards it.”

    This is exactly the question I have often posed to skeptics (or anti-ID folk in general) – let’s just assume for a second that ID is true. Assume that the world actually is designed. How could we know it; how could we find that fact out?

    If the response is that we can’t know it and that the only thing we could know is a naturalistic answer, then it seems to me you have just admitted a failure in your worldview. If you can’t know something that could actually be the case through a certain worldview, why take said worldview?

    If, on the other hand, the response is that there could be some way of finding it out, then why fight so strongly against it as if it is a totally worthless enterprise?

    A lot of skeptics come off to me as disingenuous at this point, and I simply don’t understand that. And they often confuse the source of the study for the conclusion. That is, if my belief in God is what interests me in the possibility of finding design in the world, that does not mean the conclusion of my work has to be supernatural or something. Obviously that is precisely what motivated many scientists of the past to study the world, but they didn’t come away with some functionally useless response of “God did it” although they did come away with a teleological response. But without the teleology, it seems to me that the study is irrelevant anyway.

    The question of design, in my mind at least, is not a question of who did it or how that designer might have done it. Those are separate and certainly valid questions, but that’s not what the particular question at hand is about. It’s simply about whether or not the world bears the marks of design. Why all the fuss over a simple question … especially from Christians who agree that God created it?

  7. 7
    Toronto says:

    Leslie @6,

    This is exactly the question I have often posed to skeptics (or anti-ID folk in general) – let’s just assume for a second that ID is true. Assume that the world actually is designed. How could we know it; how could we find that fact out?

    I don’t think that’s possible because it would remove the requirement of faith in the designer on one side and the trust that physics is constant on the other.

    Is it necessary for us to know?

  8. 8
    Collin says:

    Leslie,

    I find your approach very reasonable.

    I think that theistic evolutionists usually are former creationists and when they found evidence contradicting their beliefs, they were embarassed. So, they took a position that insulated them from practically any science that may contradict their belief in God (which is probably founded on totally sincere and real experiences with Him). It’s a safe position, although contradictory. They just don’t want to take the risk of getting their hopes up about a creationistic (or other) explanation, only to have it dashed and have their faith shaken.

  9. 9
    Upright BiPed says:

    Collin,

    cha-ching

  10. 10
    Leslie says:

    Toronto,

    No, I suppose it’s not necessary for us to know. But I’d disagree with this:

    I don’t think that’s possible because it would remove the requirement of faith in the designer on one side and the trust that physics is constant on the other.

    This isn’t the case because for one, as I mentioned previously, who the designer is turns out to be a totally different question than whether or not things are designed. So even if we completely knew that everything was designed, it wouldn’t mean we suddenly had secured the identity, meaning faith still plays a role. Even the apostle Paul in Romans 1 assumes that the world is designed, to the point that he argues that everyone knows it is by default. Yet he also makes it clear in Romans that faith is a necessary part of being a Christian. Point being, for the Christian at least, knowledge of design and faith in the designer are separate matters.

    Secondly, I don’t see how it would cause problems for any concept of constant physics. I’m not sure exactly what you mean, so I’ll just say that one could argue for a designer who is within creation, or even one with it (going back to the point about the identity question). Also, one could argue for a designer who is “outside” of creation, but who set it up with a definite purpose in mind. So this designer didn’t just wind it up to see what happens, but wound it up with a specific plan in mind such that everything is designed though perhaps not in a direct sense that would cause for any suspension of physical constants. There are other options too, but you get my point.

  11. 11
    Toronto says:

    Leslie @10,

    Yes, I can agree with the gist of that.

  12. 12
    Leslie says:

    Toronto @11,

    You realize this is the internet, right? You’re not allowed to agree. 😉

  13. 13
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Arrington,

    Without objecting to much of what you are saying, I think you go too far in saying that we can discern the indicia of design left by any intelligent agent. We know a good bit about detecting human design. Can you tell me the indicia of design for a dolphin, or a giant squid? Even SETI only aspires to find other intelligences like ourselves. Similarly, ID can detect design if the Hand of the Designer has five fingers and an opposable thumb. 🙂

  14. 14
    StephenB says:

    Leslie, I celebrate your success in making the distinction between ID and religion and in doing it in so few words. Clearly, you get it.

    Also, I love your following question:

    —“Assume that the world actually is designed. How could we know it; how could we find that fact out?”

    Yes, indeed. What kind of evidence would satisfy them short of a DNA molecule signed, “built by Yahweh.”

    On the subject of Romans 1:20 [and Psalm 19] and the relationship between faith and reason, here is my take:

    St. Paul is saying, just as you suggest, that the world is designed, and further, it is so obviously designed that anyone who disputes the point is without excuse, meaning that their motives for doing so cannot be based on reason.

    However, these passages constitute a philosophical argument rather than a theological argument: St. Paul’s purpose is to provide a rational foundation [the “natural theology” of God speaking in nature] for the leap of faith into the Christian religion [the “dogmatic theology” of God speaking in Scripture], insuring that the latter is grounded in the former and is, therefore, reasonable. In other words, we can, unaided by faith, infer the existence of God from nature prior to our leap of faith into the Christian religion, which is another way of saying that the Christian religion, though it transcends reason. is also compatible with and grounded in reason and, therefore, can be rationally defended.

    That means that we can confidently allow our faith to illuminate our reason because it has first been made legitimate by having passed the test of reason. Put another way, the leap to the Christian faith is reasonable because the evidence for God’s existence requires no leap. This is why we don’t want to totally separate faith from reason.

  15. 15
    Toronto says:

    StephenB @14,

    Put another way, the leap to the Christian faith is reasonable because the evidence for God’s existence requires no leap.

    The evidence presented for God’s existence requires you to perform a very large leap just to cross the limits imposed by the forces of physics.

    In order for any miracle to occur, the forces of physics must in some way be defied, or let’s say suspended.

    Suspending the forces of physics is not something that is reasonable at all.

  16. 16
    Miguel_de_Servet says:

    Interesting, your “Parable of Grand-Papa, Little Barry, the Rocks and the Arrow-Heads”. Surely, though you must admit that there is a limit: some cases must have been “borderline”, whereby it was NOT obvious whether the objects “bore complex marks that conformed to a specified pattern”. As you say yourself, in such cases, the discrimination natural/artifact is NOT obvious: it is an inference, a “design inference”.

    This remains true even if, in your following paragraph, you abandon all critical sense and go as far as to declare: “…his [Grand-Papa’s] design inferences were obviously correct”.

    BTW, what you call “objectively discernible indicia of design” are ONLY objective within the same or similar culture, IOW, the “patterns” must be recognizable, somehow, by the observer, and they can only be if they resemble at least something vaguely familiar.

    The “search for indicia of design in living things” is NOT “in principle illicit”. It is only “illicit” under the (tacit or explicit) basic stipulation of ALL Sciences of Nature, viz. what Richard Dickerson called “Rule no.1” (Richard E. Dickerson, “The Game of Science: Reflections After Arguing With Some Rather Overwrought People”, 1992), that is “methodological naturalism”. Something like:

    “Thou shall not resort to immaterial causes for the explanation of natural structures, functions and events”.

    It is simply absurd to advocate ID, which essentially consists in keeping the door open for an immaterial Intelligent Designer/Agent, and then, with disconcerting inconsistency, go on to affirm that …

    “ID acknowledges that the empirical evidence tells us nothing about the identity of the designer, who may be natural or supernatural”.

    Who are you trying to fool? Are you trying to imply that the Intelligent Designer/Agent may be some “unknown civilization from outer space”? As Fred Hoyle and James Crick seemed to fancy, at some point? And isn’t this just a way of moving the goal-post to … outer space?

    With reference to Barr’s negative attitude towards ID, you say:

    “Part of the answer lies in Barr’s failure to understand the true metaphysical cost of Darwinism.”

    This may be a “metaphysical” remark, but what has it got to do with the goal of Science, “search for truth, lead where it may”? In fact, this is not even a (poor) “metaphysical” argument, but entirely theological-political. By making it yours, you give substance to the worst suspicions and accusations raised against ID by ToE advocates: maybe ID is not YEC “in a cheap tuxedo”, BUT it would certainly be “theology masquerading as epistemology”.

    I fully agree that Stephen M. Barr arguments against ID are mostly nonsense, and, having participated in the debate that followed his article at First Things, I told him openly so: the position of “theistic evolutionists”, who mimic their “a-theistic evolutionist” counterparts in all aspects, except for the “belief” in a rather lazy God, whose role in creation would have been, at the most, to set up the right parameters and to “kick-start” the Universe at the Big-Bang, is simply grotesque.

    But, certainly it would be a very weak (nay, non-existent) epistemological motivation to uphold ID against ToE simply because …

    “if neo-Darwinism is true, Barr is wrong and Dawkins is correct”.

    Even less acceptable, because it would have no epistemological motivation whatsoever, would be to oppose ToE because it is, as Daniel Dennett calls it, the “universal acid”.
    Your argument that an archaeologist’s work is not invalidated by his search for design is manifestly flawed: archaeology IS a human science, NOT a Natural Science, and therefore does NOT have to accept the constraints of Dickerson “Rule no.1”, that is “methodological naturalism”.

    So where does all this leave us:?

    IMSO, three points about ID are worth mentioning, one negative ant two positive:

    1. ID will never replace ToE as a valid “theory of the emergence and development of life” (or even complement it) for the simple reason that it is NOT Natural Science: it refuses a priori the constraints of “methodological naturalism”.

    2. Nevertheless, ID has a useful function, because it is a constant reminder that, contrary to what Ernst Mayr affirmed, in 2000, ToE remains theory, NOT fact.

    3. Another important function of ID is that, if the examples of Irreducible Complexity that have been proposed (in particular by Behe) will resist the “universal acid” of ToE, then they will be evidence that, at least locally, ToE breaks down. IC may become for ToE something similar, in a way, to Black Holes for Astrophysics, or rather for Physics tout court: the ordinary Laws of Physics break down near/inside a Black Hole.

  17. 17
    Barry Arrington says:

    Miguel_de_Servet,

    Thank you for your comment.

    “Surely, though you must admit that there is a limit: some cases must have been ‘borderline’, whereby it was NOT obvious whether the objects ‘bore complex marks that conformed to a specified pattern’”

    Of course I admit that. It does not diminish my argument to the slightest degree.

    “BTW, what you call ‘objectively discernible indicia of design’ are ONLY objective within the same or similar culture, IOW, the ‘patterns’ must be recognizable, somehow, by the observer, and they can only be if they resemble at least something vaguely familiar.”

    Your statement is obviously wrong. The fact that a particular observer does not recognize the significance of a phenomenon does not make the phenomenon cease to exist. Someone who reads/speaks only Chinese might look at the sentence you are reading and perceive only gibberish. Nevertheless, the preceding sentence contains objectively discernible indicia of design.”

    “Thou shall not resort to immaterial causes for the explanation of natural structures, functions and events”.

    As I explained in the OP, ID does not resort to immaterial causes. Either you are not able to understand my arguments or you dismiss them on grounds other than logic. Either way, I can’t help you.

    I will ask you to consider this though. Suppose Craig Venter succeeds in creating an artificial life form. Suppose further that the life form is handed to a researcher who is tasked with coming up with a theory of its origins. If the researcher is bound by the rule “intelligent causes are ruled out of bounds prior to the investigation” will he not be bound to reach an erroneous conclusion? The answer is “yes” BTW. Write that down.

    “And isn’t this just a way of moving the goal-post to … outer space?”

    No. It beats me why you would even ask the question. What part of “You don’t have to know the designer to recognize design” do you not understand?

    You quote my statement: “Part of the answer lies in Barr’s failure to understand the true metaphysical cost of Darwinism.” And you ask “what has it got to do with the goal of Science,”

    As far as I know, Barr’s failure to understand the metaphysical cost of Darwinism has nothing to do with science. BTW, I notice that you capitalize “science” the way some people capitalize the deity. Makes me wonder.

    “you give substance to the worst suspicions and accusations raised against ID by ToE advocates: maybe ID is not YEC ;in a cheap tuxedo’, BUT it would certainly be ‘theology masquerading as epistemology’.

    ToE advocates will say that no matter what I say. It is so much easier to dismiss an argument by attributing illicit motives to the arguer than to meet it with evidence and logic. I can’t be held responsible for the ToE advocates’ intellectual laziness.

    “I fully agree that Stephen M. Barr arguments against ID are mostly nonsense”

    It is good to know we agree on something.

    “But, certainly it would be a very weak (nay, non-existent) epistemological motivation to uphold ID against ToE simply because … ‘if neo-Darwinism is true, Barr is wrong and Dawkins is correct’. . .”

    I never made the argument you attribute to me. In fact, I was careful to explain that I was NOT making that argument. Did you really read the OP at more than a superficial level?

    “Even less acceptable, because it would have no epistemological motivation whatsoever, would be to oppose ToE because it is, as Daniel Dennett calls it, the “universal acid.”

    I agree that the mere fact that ToE may be ‘universal acid” is no ground to believe it is necessarily false. In fact, I said as much in the OP. Go back and read it again.

    “Your argument that an archaeologist’s work is not invalidated by his search for design is manifestly flawed: archaeology IS a human science, NOT a Natural Science, and therefore does NOT have to accept the constraints of Dickerson “Rule no.1?, that is “methodological naturalism”

    1. And just who are you and/or Dickerson that I or anybody else should care about the arbitrary constraints you would impose on the scientific endeavor?

    2. That said, ID does not posit non-natural causes (unless you think Craig Venter is a supernatural being).

  18. 18
    Toronto says:

    Barry Arrington @17,

    2. That said, ID does not posit non-natural causes (unless you think Craig Venter is a supernatural being).

    Doesn’t that statement make ID equivalent to MN?

  19. 19
    Frost122585 says:

    In regards to two of the things that miguel said

    “you give substance to the worst suspicions and accusations raised against ID by ToE advocates: maybe ID is not YEC ;in a cheap tuxedo’, BUT it would certainly be ‘theology masquerading as epistemology’”

    Actually if secularists are correct the design arguments in Theology would be devised by man- and hence ID would be Epistemology… period. That is the reverse would actually be true, that epistemology (in the ID from) would be masquerading as Theology in religious texts.

    The other point made regarding “borderline” cases where ID and purely unintelligent processes could have been involved:

    Yes you can have a grey area. IN fact you can have BOTH intelligent and purely materialistic processes (matter reacting to redundant laws and chance) acting at once- or working together to produce the characteristics of a structure- as in the case of a rusted automobile. It is both the result of intelligent design and the result of unintentional processes. And as regards God and religion- of course a Deity could very easily have used matter and laws in tandem with special design to produce information rich structures. So the hypothetical aliens have done this. Intelligent agents know how to use laws to the advantage of their aims.

    Furthermore, it is also possible that EVERYTHING is designed- that is from cancer to general laws like gravity. But ID is not trying to do what Darwinism does and just make valueless generalities like “ID s everything” or that “everything must be explained in light of ID”

    This is what proponents of De do. They make claims like “everything”- from the big bang to astrophysicists- must be understood in light of materialistic processes and DE. And this is also why IDists think they have a better theory and scientific program and DE- because ID invokes another category of explanation and only tries to distinguish between what can be attributed to intelligent processes in all likelihood- and what is explained well enough by unintelligent processes alone.

    Instances of gray areas are not a strike against the theory of Intelligent Design- but in actuality are areas where further scientific research, investigation and development, regarding ID, may be done.

  20. 20
    Charles says:

    Miguel_de_Servet at 16:

    I appreciate your clear articulation of your arguments.

    I take expection with one premise of yours:

    1. ID will never replace ToE as a valid “theory of the emergence and development of life” (or even complement it) for the simple reason that it is NOT Natural Science: it refuses a priori the constraints of “methodological naturalism”.

    Setting aside what ID will or will never do, on what planet [no pun intended] has ToE stayed within Dickerson’s Rule 1 of Natural Science, the constraints of “methodological naturalism”?

    ToE advocates have taken of late to asserting that the (allegedly) plausible (but untestible) existence of multiverses provides enough time and random events for life to have evolved in some universe, i.e. our universe (even though such time has not elapsed in our universe). The mathematical postulation of such parallel universes by physicists, while mathematically rigorous, has no basis in physical reality other than the abstract math does not preclude other universes. It would seem in this regard physics too has gone off the rails of Rule 1, the constraints of “methodological naturalism”.

    Eugene Koonin himself has expressed dissatisfaction with Darwinists seeking refuge in multi-verses to find enough time and chance for Evolution to work its miracles.

    ID, OTOH, at least as being developed by Dembski, Behe et. al., and Darwinian critics such as Spetner, Haldane, Hoyle et.al., at least attempt a degree of mathematical rigor heretofore unknown to Darwinists.

    It is this “uneven playing field” to which I object in principle, without even getting to evidenciary arguments.

  21. 21
    Barry Arrington says:

    Toronto writes: “Barry Arrington @17,2. ‘That said, ID does not posit non-natural causes (unless you think Craig Venter is a supernatural being).’ Doesn’t that statement make ID equivalent to MN?”

    Toronto, I assume by “MN” you mean methodological naturalism. If the designer(s) is not supernatural (an issue to which ID proper does not speak), then ID’s conclusions may be reached within a MN framework.

  22. 22
    Miguel_de_Servet says:

    @ Charles [02/17/2010 – 2:25 pm – post #20]

    I can understand the reluctance of most people who favour ID to accept the constraints of “methodological naturalism”, especially in the unforgiving terms in which Richard Dickerson puts it in his “Rule no.1”.

    I can only recommend that you read, seriously and without prejudice (unless you have already done it) his article (“The Game of Science: Reflections After Arguing With Some Rather Overwrought People”, 1992) for which I have already provided reference and link at my previous comment, #16.

    What he says, once again, is no different from what Galileo Galilei already said at the beginning of the XVII century (NOT Francis Bacon: he was a lousy scientist, and an even lousier epistemologist).

    The fact that ToE advocates often cheat at the “game of science” (again, the expression is in Dickerson’s paper, at the very beginning) is NOT a good reason for it to be disregarded.

    In fact, IMO, they should be mercilessly pinned down to it every time they transgress it.

    A hint on where to “attack” ToE in its weakest point (which Behe totally failed with at Dover): are “exaptation”, “cooptation” et similia serious scientific (viz. empirical, falsifiable) concepts?

  23. 23
    Miguel_de_Servet says:

    @ Barry Arrington [02/17/2010 – 11:48 am – comment #17]

    Your reply to my comment, after your ritual “Thank you for your comment”, makes it manifest that you took my critical remarks as personal attack, rather than criticism, as they are.

    Just few counter comments.

    1. The identification of “designed patterns” DOES require discriminating natural patterns from “intelligent patterns”. Otherwise the SETI project would be an exercise in futility from the very start.

    2. Of course “ID does not resort to immaterial causes“! What else is an Intelligent Designer/Agent? Even if ID, modestly avoids to identify it/him with the Bible-God, or with the God of Deists, it/he MUST be endowed with a Rational Designing Mind. Or are you affirming, like “staunch ToE advocates” would do, that mind is a natural process? If such was the case, what, pray tell, would distinguish ID from ToE?

    3. Whether Craig Venter succeeds in producing artificial life forms is certainly a challenge. And, of course, if he did, indeed, succeed, the Intelligent Designer would be … Craig Venter. Who else? No more and no less that we do not doubt that the Intelligent Designer of the Ford Model T was Mr. Henry Ford. Where is the problem?

    4. [Patiently and again] If, as Fred Hoyle and James Crick fantasized, life was “seeded” on earth from outer space, that would not solve the problem of the ultimate origin of life on Earth, would it? Is it really so difficult to understand?

    5. Perhaps it is true that the “staunch ToE advocates” are simply prejudiced against ID, whatever ID says. But there is no doubt that resorting to “metaphysical arguments” as the ultimate raison d’être of ID (which, BTW, is the transparent motive for Phillip E. Johnson) does not exactly help the ID cause.

    6. This is what you wrote in your article:

    “…the whole point of the neo-Darwinian project is to demonstrate that nature can go it alone, and that if there is a designer he is not, in Gould’s words, manifest in the products of nature. Therefore, if neo-Darwinism is true, Barr is wrong and Dawkins is correct – the beauty of nature points to absolutely nothing beyond itself.”

    It is beyond me how, in face of your own WRITTEN EVIDENCE you can now write:

    “I never made the argument you attribute to me. In fact, I was careful to explain that I was NOT making that argument. Did you really read the OP at more than a superficial level?”

    Anyway, what else would be your point in criticizing Barr for espousing ToE (or the hypocritical version of it called “Theistic Evolution[ism]”) because, as you put it , of “Barr’s failure to understand the true metaphysical cost of Darwinism.”? [emphasis MdS]

    7. It is quite obvious that you totally fail to appreciate the distinction (fully legitimate and necessary, IMSO) between Natural Sciences and Human Sciences (or, as the Germans would say, “Sciences of the Spirit”), so I will not bother insisting.

    8. As for your question “just who [is] Dickerson that I or anybody else should care about the arbitrary constraints [he] would impose on the scientific endeavor?” I suggest that you do two things:

    a. Read seriously what Michael J. Behe says about Dickerson and his “Rule No. 1” in his Darwin’s Black Box.

    b. Read seriously Dickerson’s article (“The Game of Science: Reflections After Arguing With Some Rather Overwrought People”, 1992: relatively old, but, IMSO, still perfectly valid), for which I have already provided reference and link at post #16.

    As you can see, Behe ultimately rejects Dickerson’s constraints, but his objections are IMSO very weak.

    The ultimate reason why “methodological naturalism” CANNOT be blotted out, is that, if you assume natural/material mechanisms, preferably describable in mathematical terms, you can make predictions that you can then test with experiment. If you admit as part of the “scientific endeavor” the recourse to an Intelligent Agent, the testability of predictions through experiment is, in principle, voided of sense.

    BTW, it is a pity, that you did not even bother to confront the 3 “concluding remarks” in my previous post, because, IMIO, the are possibly the main place here (comments and main article included) where the merit of ID is seriously confronted.

  24. 24
    Charles says:

    Miguel_de_Servet at 22:

    The fact that ToE advocates often cheat at the “game of science” (again, the expression is in Dickerson’s paper, at the very beginning) is NOT a good reason for it to be disregarded.

    Indeed. Neither can you disregared it when you imply the ToE to be Natural Science: [that conforms to] a priori the constraints of “methodological naturalism”, which, as you’ve acknowledged, ToE often does not. And since, as acknowleged, ToE often violates “methodological naturalism”, there is no basis on which to presume its proclamations (about either evolution or ID) are any better founded than other endeavors which likewise violate “methodological naturalism”, and that would include both ID and multiverse cosmology, wouldn’t it.

    And without such a qualitative distinction (or preferably the consistent imposition of standards), there is little basis for your point 1 in your post 16, is there.

    (which Behe totally failed with at Dover)

    Can you demonstrate at what point in Behe’s testimony he could have introduced your scientific rebutal argument, and what legal argument you’d offer to counter objections at its introduction?

  25. 25
    Charles says:

    Miguel_de_Servet at 23:

    4. [Patiently and again] If, as Fred Hoyle and James Crick fantasized, life was “seeded” on earth from outer space, that would not solve the problem of the ultimate origin of life on Earth, would it? Is it really so difficult to understand?

    And if, as Fred Hoyle and James Crick fantasized, life was “seeded” on earth from outer space, that would not be detectable by a theory that requires it to evolve from inanimate matter on earth, would it? Is the cul-de-sac of those limitations so difficult to understand? Do meteorites not bring extraterrestrial material to earth? Do we not bring extra-terrestrial material elsewhere?

    Detecting design versus the limits of evolution offers the potential to explain more than just the origin of life on earth. Can you not see value in a theory that strives to distinguish between random accidental causes and non-random directed causes? The insurance and gaming industries see value in such distinction. The pharmaceutical industry sees value in being able to design antibiotics and antiseptics for which immunity can’t be accidently aquired by random mutations.

    Is that so hard to understand?

  26. 26
    Charles says:

    Correction:

    Do we not bring extra-terrestrial material elsewhere?

    should be:

    Do we not bring terrestrial material elsewhere?

  27. 27
    StephenB says:

    —Toronto: “The evidence presented for God’s existence requires you to perform a very large leap just to cross the limits imposed by the forces of physics.”

    I was not presenting my argument; I was presenting St. Paul’s argument. According to Romans 1 :20 and Psalm 19, God is made evident through his handiwork and anyone who says otherwise is unreasonable and without excuse– no leap required. That is what he says about you. If you disagree, you will have to take it up with him.

  28. 28
    StephenB says:

    —-“Miguel_de_Servet: [to Barry] “Of course “ID does resort to immaterial causes“! What else is an Intelligent Designer/Agent?”

    ID is in the best position to know what it does and does not resort to since it takes the trouble to defines its own terms. Based on its scientific paradigms, ID doesn’t presume to know the texture of the intellectual cause—only that it is an agent cause. If, in your philosophical/nonscientific/ judgment, all agent causes must be immaterial, I will accept that concession.

    —“Even if ID, modestly avoids to identify it/him with the Bible-God, or with the God of Deists, it/he MUST be endowed with a Rational Designing Mind.”

    Again, that is a very good philosophical argument, and I would join you in making it—but it has nothing to do with ID science, which is based solely on observable data and can only make inferences to the best explanation on the strength of that data.

    —“Or are you affirming, like “staunch ToE advocates” would do, that mind is a natural process? If such was the case, what, pray tell, would distinguish ID from ToE?”

    Darwinists do not know what they mean when they use those terms. They are just throwing words around in order to muddy the debate waters and fog the issue. It is illogical to call either an immaterial mind or a material brain a “process”; the former, by any rational definition is a faculty and the other, by any rational definition, is an organ.

    —“Perhaps it is true that the “staunch ToE advocates” are simply prejudiced against ID, whatever ID says. But there is no doubt that resorting to “metaphysical arguments” as the ultimate raison d’être of ID (which, BTW, is the transparent motive for Phillip E. Johnson) does not exactly help the ID cause.”

    ID’s scientific paradigms have nothing to do with motives.

    —-“It is quite obvious that you [Barry] totally fail to appreciate the distinction (fully legitimate and necessary, IMSO) between Natural Sciences and Human Sciences (or, as the Germans would say, “Sciences of the Spirit”), so I will not bother insisting.”

    It is quite obvious that you do not fully appreciate the reason Barr is trying to make such a hard and fast distinction. Archeology, forensic science, and other research specialties routinely make inferences to design, transcending natural causes, and violating the principle of methodological naturalism. Barr doesn’t have the nerve to declare that these many specialists who draw inferences to design are not really scientists, or that they are not really doing science, so he downgrades the status of their practice to a lower level of science so he can have it both ways—claiming that “human sciences” can violate MN but “real science” cannot, which means that everything turns on his arbitrary definition of science. Ridiculous.

    —-“The ultimate reason why “methodological naturalism” CANNOT be blotted out, is that, if you assume natural/material mechanisms, preferably describable in mathematical terms, you can make predictions that you can then test with experiment.”

    Methodological naturalism is an irrational rule which states that the scientist must study only “natural causes”—it is irrational because its proponents cannot even define the meaning of a “natural cause,” which is the very standard of the rule they are trying to enforce. It doesn’t get any more irrational than that.

  29. 29
    Miguel_de_Servet says:

    @ Charles [02/17/2010 – 6:11 pm – post #24]

    [MdS] The fact that ToE advocates often cheat at the “game of science” (again, the expression is in Dickerson’s paper, at the very beginning) is NOT a good reason for it to be disregarded. In fact, IMO, they should be mercilessly pinned down to it every time they transgress it.

    [Charles] Neither can you disregard it when you imply the ToE to be Natural Science: [that conforms to] a priori the constraints of “methodological naturalism”, which, as you’ve acknowledged, ToE often does not. And since, as acknowledged, ToE often violates “methodological naturalism”, there is no basis on which to presume its proclamations (about either evolution or ID) are any better founded than other endeavours which likewise violate “methodological naturalism”, and that would include both ID and multiverse cosmology, wouldn’t it.

    Yours is a total non sequitur and an abusive spin on what I have said. Once again, the rule for ALL (of course the ToEs, but also the “reluctant” Behe) should be to accept and to abide by “methodological naturalism”. Period.
    —————————————————————————————
    [Charles] And without such a qualitative distinction (or preferably the consistent imposition of standards), there is little basis for your point 1 in your post 16, is there.

    On the contrary! What could be a remedy against those who don’t comply with “Rule No.1”? Simple! To denounce, to expose the non-compliance with it … but you have to believe it yourself, first … and IDers seem to have quite a few problems there …
    —————————————————————————————

    [MdS] A hint on where to “attack” ToE in its weakest point (which Behe totally failed with at Dover): are “exaptation”, “cooptation” et similia serious scientific (viz. empirical, falsifiable) concepts?

    [Charles] Can you demonstrate at what point in Behe’s testimony he could have introduced your scientific rebuttal argument, and what legal argument you’d offer to counter objections at its introduction?

    Sure, all you have to do is look at his testimony. The critical reference is “Cross examination of Behe, Wednesday, October 19, 2005, a.m. pp. 65-67 [Q: Eric Rothschild; A: Michael Behe]

    As you can see the, the word “exaptation” is first brought up by Eric “Smarmy Attorney” Rothschild, at p. 66, and repeated 5 times altogether (3 by Rothschild, 2 by Behe).

    Look at the whole exchange carefully, starting at p. 65, line 12, down to p. 67, line 22 (and beyond, if you like).

    Now, my contention is that, instead of ah-umming as he did, instead of appearing to be reticent, instead of letting Rothschild play with himself like cat and mouse, Behe should have shown more courage, come out of his trench, and said loud and clear that “exaptation” is a lousy, laughable a non-empirical ad hoc verbal invention, whose purpose is precisely to circumvent the problem of Irreducible Complexity.

    But he didn’t. He played right in the hands of smarmy attorney Eric Rothschild, making it easy for Judge John Jones III to abet the position of the Plaintiffs with his “Memorandum Opinion” of 12/10/2005, which was nothing but the rehashing of the memorandum “Plaintiffs’ Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” prepared by the ACLU, less than a month before the ruling.

    Nevertheless, there NEVER was any “admission” from Behe (however incredibly clumsy in court the man has proved to be) of the possibility of the flagellum to evolve through a fancy “process” of “exaptation”.
    —————————————————————————————

    @ Charles [02/17/2010 – 6:37 pm – post #25]

    [MdS, post #23] If, as Fred Hoyle and James Crick fantasized, life was “seeded” on earth from outer space, that would not solve the problem of the ultimate origin of life on Earth, would it?

    [Charles] And if, as Fred Hoyle and James Crick fantasized, life was “seeded” on earth from outer space, that would not be detectable by a theory that requires it to evolve from inanimate matter on earth, would it? Is the cul-de-sac of those limitations so difficult to understand? Do meteorites not bring extraterrestrial material to earth? Do we not bring extra-terrestrial material elsewhere?

    Yours is a total non sequitur and an abusive spin on what I have said. Once again, the point I wanted to make, and made perfectly clear, was and is that to pretend that the question of the identity of the “Intelligent Designer/Agent” responsible for the origin and development of life on earth is left open by ID, and that it/he/she might even be, for instance, some “Extraterrestrial Intelligence”, which might have “seeded” life on earth from outer space, is no solution to the identity of the ORIGINAL “Intelligent Designer/Agent”, but only a mediocre “moving of the goalpost”.

    The rest of your post is just red herring.

  30. 30
    Charles says:

    Miguel_de_Servet at 29

    Yours is a total non sequitur and an abusive spin on what I have said. Once again, the rule for ALL (of course the ToEs, but also the “reluctant” Behe) should be to accept and to abide by “methodological naturalism”. Period.

    Your exact words again were:

    1. ID will never replace ToE as a valid “theory of the emergence and development of life” (or even complement it) for the simple reason that it is NOT Natural Science: it refuses a priori the constraints of “methodological naturalism”.

    You juxtaposed ID with ToE and cited as a deficiency of ID that it refused “methodological naturalism” leaving your juxtaposed premise that ToE does conform to “methodological naturalism”, even though as you acknowledge ToE often cheats. The “rule for all” includes you and ToE, which inclusion was conspicuously absent in your original point. That is hypocritical.

    The non-sequitur is all yours and your hypocrisy deserves the abuse.

    On the contrary! What could be a remedy against those who don’t comply with “Rule No.1??

    Well there is mercilessly pin down to it every time it is transgressed’, including your having given ToE a pass on that very transgression in your original point 1 as quoted above and objected thereafter.

    …to pretend that the question of the identity of the “Intelligent Designer/Agent” responsible for the origin and development of life on earth is left open by ID, and that it/he/she might even be, for instance, some “Extraterrestrial Intelligence”, which might have “seeded” life on earth from outer space, is no solution to the identity of the ORIGINAL “Intelligent Designer/Agent”, but only a mediocre “moving of the goalpost”.

    But it is left open. Where, in fact, does ID purport to solve the identity of the ORIGINAL “Intelligent Designer/Agent”? Indeed, the goal posts were moved, by you, and the red herring is all yours and again deserving of abuse.

    The rest of your post is just red herring.

    Do you seriously claim that the pharmaceutical industry is disinterested in the limits of evolution, and disinterested in exploiting those limits to produce more efficacious antibiotics and antiseptics, and disinterested in what design inferences may reveal about how to exploit those limits? Or if design detection theory can be reduced to practice, that the insurance and gaming industries could not benefit from distinquishing random causes from intentional, purposeful causes?

    Do you seriously think that a costly trial and error “shotgun” study of “junk” DNA could not be improved upon by instead detecting design in said “junk” and then find more predictable genetic engineering to exploit any design? Or is it your view that looking for design in “junk DNA” only has merit if the identity of the “ORIGINAL Intelligent Designer/Agent” can be solved first?

    It rather seems “red herring” is your intellectual refuge for whatever lies outside your expectations.

    Regarding Behe’s Dover testimony, I’ll look over your response.

  31. 31
    Toronto says:

    StephenB @27,

    —Toronto: “The evidence presented for God’s existence requires you to perform a very large leap just to cross the limits imposed by the forces of physics.”

    I was not presenting my argument; I was presenting St. Paul’s argument.
    According to Romans 1 :20 and Psalm 19, God is made evident through his handiwork and anyone who says otherwise is unreasonable and without excuse– no leap required. That is what he says about you. If you disagree, you will have to take it up with him.

    But that handiwork is what we see as the forces of physics.

    And a fine job it was, since it resulted in us.

  32. 32
    Miguel_de_Servet says:

    @ Charles [02/18/2010 – 10:29 am – post #30]

    [omissis]

    Regarding Behe’s Dover testimony, I’ll look over your response.

    I will simply ignore your post #30, which is undeserving of comment (and worse …) and wait for your forthcoming post on “Behe, Rothschild and excruciating exaptation at Dover” …

    … hoping it won’t be a “Dover sole” …

  33. 33
    Adel DiBagno says:

    Charles @30

    Do you seriously think that a costly trial and error “shotgun” study of “junk” DNA could not be improved upon by instead detecting design in said “junk” and then find more predictable genetic engineering to exploit any design?

    That is an excellent challenge to all devotees of junk DNA. Can you suggest any testable design hypotheses?

  34. 34
    Charles says:

    Miguel_de_Servet at 31

    I will simply ignore your post #30, which is undeserving of comment (and worse …)

    lol – of course you will. Whatever you feel is in your best interest…

  35. 35
    Charles says:

    Adel DiBagno at 32

    That is an excellent challenge to all devotees of junk DNA. Can you suggest any testable design hypotheses?

    I personally can not, certainly not “testible”, and certainly not at this stage.

    I suspect there exist others who work in industry and do have more fully developed ideas about the purposes of “junk DNA” and how those purposes might be tested, but likely fear publication might bring repercussion.

    It is the ‘uneven playing field’ that disadvantages such open publication (and potential benefits therefrom) to which I wanted to draw attention.

  36. 36
    Adel DiBagno says:

    Charles @34,

    Thank you for your response. I asked because I am genuinely interested in the topic and I think it would be grand if a testable ID hypothesis could be generated. That would be a strong point in favor of the ID approach to design detection.

    I don’t understand your concerns about fear of publication by ID scientists. If a hypothesis is tested and yields new information as a result of those tests, that accomplishment would rest on firm naturalistic grounds. I would expect that such a discovery would earn accolades, not untoward “repercussions.”

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