In my prior post CalvinsBulldog has some interesting questions, which I address here:
Calvin, Thank you for your comments.
While ID tries to be comfortably agnostic about the designer, orthodox Christians know that the designer is none other than God
I would put the case somewhat differently. I would say orthodox Christians “believe” the designer is none other than God. Here the ontology/epistemology category issue arises again. Ontologically (the reality of the matter), design is obvious. Even Dawkins admits the appearance of design is “overwhelming.” Epistemology (what we can know about design): Without question the data warrant a design inference. On the face of it, operating empirically, what can we know about the designer? Not much other than that he/she/it is able to design and leave behind the indicia of design that warrant the design inference. The data, on their face, do not give warrant to a Christian (nor anyone else) to infer that God is necessarily the designer. To say that it does would be, quite simply, false. Certainly God is a plausible candidate for the designer (duh), and that is what many ID proponents (myself included) believe. But the issue is whether the data compel that conclusion. They do not. You say that ID is “comfortably agnostic” about the designer. I would say ID is “modestly agnostic” about the designer, because it does not push its conclusions beyond what the data will bear.
It is obvious that many features of living things were designed by an intelligent agent for a purpose.
(1) We KNOW empirically a designer did it.
(2) A Christian BELIEVES by faith the designer was God.
(3) Saying that the empirical data compel the conclusion that the designer is God is simply false.
(4) When ID refuses to say the empirical data on their face compel the conclusion that the designer is God, it is not being coy or false. It is simply telling the truth.
For while ID-advocates propose a designer, they philosophically shy away from revealing anything about it, or indeed, even speculating too much about the designer. This is quite puzzling
I don’t know why it should be puzzling. As explained above the ID proponent makes conclusions that are warranted (indeed, practically compelled) by that data (i.e. many aspects of life are best explained by design). The ID proponent does not say the data compel a conclusion that the data do not, as a strictly logical matter, compel (i.e., the designer is God).
So I am afraid I do not see where Spearshake’s logic breaks down. He is being perfectly consistent with his own position.
Of course Spearshake is not being consistent within his own position. His position rests on two presuppositions: (1) That supernatural acts are absolutely unnecessary for life to begin and evolve. (2) If a designer designed life the designer must be supernatural. Do you not see that the first presupposition is not only not consistent with the first presupposition; it is in fact absolutely precluded by the first supposition.
He rightly identifies that the only rational candidate for designer even with an Intelligent Design framework is God.
No. Spearshake believes life is nothing but super-sophisticated physics and chemistry. Given that premise “God is the designer” is not, as you suggest, the only rational conclusion. Certainly “God is the designer” is a plausible conclusion. But for that conclusion to be the only rational one, “God is the designer” would have to be the only possible conclusion. As I explained above, if, as Spearshake says, it is all just chemistry and physics, “God is the designer” is not the only possible conclusion. Spearshake’s own premises preclude him from saying that a supernatural act is required for life to begin and then evolve.
The problem here should be quite obvious: this is a recipe for an infinite regress. . . . the old atheist chestnut finally becomes relevant: “Who designed the designer?”
Yes, it is a chestnut, a chestnut that has been refuted so many times we have put the response in the WAC (Click on “Resources” above. I quote WAC 22 in full:
22] Who Designed the Designer?
Intelligent design theory seeks only to determine whether or not an object was designed. Since it studies only the empirically evident effects of design, it cannot directly detect the identity of the designer; much less, can it detect the identity of the “designer’s designer.” Science, per se, can only discern the evidence-based implication that a designer was once present.
The only way to resolve this is to posit an intelligent designer that exists outsider of nature – that is, by definition, a supernatural being.
As a matter of logic this is simply false. There is another way to resolve the matter. What is wrong with saying “the empirical data compel the conclusion there was a designer. The empirical data do not compel any conclusion about the identity of the designer”