Glenn sent me this post, and I thought some of the commenters might want to tackle his questions. I can’t just now. On deadline:
I am writing you because I could not find a place for feedback or “Contact us” on the Uncommon Descent website.
Under “ID Defined” I have two concerns.
One is that the definition says “best explained by an intelligent cause”. Shouldn’t this read “an intelligent cause or intelligent causes”? By presenting the word “cause” in the singular, we are taking the focus off the intelligent design we can observe, and we are speculating that all observable intelligent design has a single cause, such as a creator God. ID as a scientific theory should not assume that a single cause is responsible for every “certain feature” addressed in the definition. Also, even if you are saying that each given feature has an intelligent cause, that also seems to be too limiting of the possibility that a single feature could have more than one single intelligent cause.
Second, it says that ID is in disagreement with the idea that apparent design is an illusion. Well, the definition holds that “certain features” are best explained by intelligent causes, not that “all features” are best explained by intelligent causes. I think that someone can hold to ID theory and still tend towards the idea that much apparent design is an illusion, while still falling under the umbrella of ID for believing that some apparent design is best explained as actual design. In other words, instead of disagreeing with the core claim that apparent design is an illusion in all cases, it would be better to say that ID disagrees that “all” apparent design is an illusion.
I also wonder sometimes about the phrase “features of the universe and of living things”, but my thoughts are not as clear and definitive about that. 1 – Does “features” include behaviors? 2 – Are we clear that we are not simply looking at those “certain features” which are manmade? It is plain to everyone that certain features such as watermelons not having seeds is best explained by an intelligent cause. 3 – Would it be sufficient to distinguish between manmade and natural, or would there need to be a category of neural intelligence versus non-neural intelligence, so as to include all animal intelligence along with human intelligence?
I have tried to address things like this in my book, and with Casey Luskin and Michael Behe, but I don’t seem to get anywhere with it. I did hear Paul Nelson mention “intelligent causes” (in the plural, I’m pretty sure) at a debate with Michael Shermer at Penn State Berks, but on your website it has “an intelligent cause” in the singular.
– Glenn Shrom
[From Denyse: Glenn, what book do you mean? I’d link to it if in print. By the way, re Contact Us, well you found me … ]