Intelligent Design

Gobsmackingly Stupid Things Materialists Say, Entry 7,687

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Tom English writes:

Folks, there is no empirical evidence that intelligence exists. Psychologists and ethologists refer to it as a hypothetical construct, and define it operationally. Intelligence may play the role of a cause in a model, but it is merely an abstraction of unidentified causes.

Well.  One is tempted to agree with Tom’s first sentence at least if it is constrained to apply to materialists ranting on the Internet.  But “no evidence” Tom?  What about the post you just wrote.  Was that not a product of your intelligence?  If Tom gives the standard materialist answer, he would say “no, that post is nothing but the product of the amalgam of physical causes that resulted in a twitchy bag of chemicals called Tom English acting in accordance with physical laws, no different in principle than a rock rolling down a hill.  Some of those twitchings led to a blog post.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.”

Sure Tom.  If materialist metaphysical premises are true, that is exactly what happened.  But how do you know that materialist metaphysical premises are true?  Certainly science did not lead you to that conclusion.  Science does not address metaphysics.  That is why they call it “metaphysics” and not “physics.”  So, again, Tom, how do you know?  The answer, of course, is that you accept materialist metaphysical premises on faith without demonstration, just like everyone else accepts their first principles.  Everyone has faith commitments.  The difference is that theists acknowledge their faith commitments; materialists largely lie to themselves (and everyone else) and deny that they do.

The problem with lying to oneself about one’s faith commitments is that it prevents one from taking those faith commitments out and examining them critically.  If one refuses to acknowledge that something even exists, how would one even begin to examine it?  But if Tom ever does examine his faith commitments critically, he will quickly come to realize that there are good reasons to reject them.  Materialism leads to numerous absurdities, as we have discussed on these pages before, not the least of which is the absurdity of pretending that “Tom English” even exists and that “Tom English” has free will and that “Tom English” has employed his free will to arrive at a conclusion about a truth claim, which means that a mere bag of chemicals is conscious and demonstrates subjective self-awareness, the perception of subject-object duality and  intentionality.  None of these things is possible if materialist metaphysical premises are true.  Yet Tom English blithely acts for all the world as if not only are these things possible, they are ordinary.  And of course they are ordinary.  Therefore, Tom English is on the horns of a dilemma.  He is forced to say that ordinary everyday commonsense facts that he knows for an absolute certainty are true, are in fact false and mere mere illusions.  Or he is forced to live his entire life acting as if his most deeply held metaphysical premises are false.  And that, dear readers, is good reason to reject those premises.  As Phil Johnson said years ago and I have repeated often, I would love to be a materialist.  My life would be so much easier.  I just can’t manage the massive faith commitments required to swallow it.  I prefer to act as if that which I know for a certain fact is true is actually, you know, true.

Finally, I will address the “evidence” question.  Tom English is like most materialists.  He defines “evidence that does not compel my personal assent” as non-evidence.  That is how he is able to say there is “no evidence” for the existence of intelligence even as he provides such evidence in the very act of denying its existence.  I am going to trial next week on one of my cases.  I would like to be able to employ the materialist shtick and say to the judge something like:  “You know all of that evidence that the other side introduced you honor.  Well, it does not convince me personally.  Therefore, it is not really evidence at all. I win.”  But I would be ashamed to say something that stupid in public.  Which means that I have a much lower shame threshold than Tom English.  Hmmm?  Maybe we can rework Tom’s first sentence to something that is actually true:  “Folks, there is no empirical evidence that Tom English has any shame.”  Yeah, that works.


22 Replies to “Gobsmackingly Stupid Things Materialists Say, Entry 7,687

  1. 1
    bFast says:

    “materialists largely lie to themselves (and everyone else) and deny that they do [have faith commitments].” Nail hit squarely on the head — well almost.

    The tool used by materialists to convince themselves that they have no faith commitments is that they define “faith” religiously. We know what we know, and are pretty sure that this is “knowledge” even when it truly is metaphysics. Somebody else knows differently that we do, and his position is “blind faith” — especially if he has a classically religious perspective.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Is this the guy from Shoutout to Tom English: How much of the animus you display against Marks and Dembski is scholarly?

  3. 3
    bFast says:

    But, News, he was obligated by his nature, nurture and situation to express this animus. He is, after all, a total victim of circumstance.

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    ‘Folks, there is no empirical evidence that intelligence exists.’ – Tom English

    ‘Well. One is tempted to agree with Tom’s first sentence at least if it is constrained to apply to materialists ranting on the Internet.’ – Barry Arrington

    Indeed, Barry, it can be read as a hilariously satirical put-down of materialism ; my first thought on reading it.

  5. 5
    Origenes says:

    Folks, there is no empirical evidence that intelligence exists.

    If Tom’s post is caused bottom-up by fermions and bosons, then what is its rational merit? Why would anyone expect fermions and bosons, which are concerned about neither empirical evidence nor intelligence, to produce true statements about these matters?

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    One wonders what Tom English would think if his sentence “Folks, there is no empirical evidence that intelligence exists” slowly wrote itself on the wall. Would he think the atoms of the wall conspired to write the sentence on the wall? Or would he find his materialism weighed in the balances and found wanting?

    Daniel 5:27
    tekel; thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:


    Oldest fossils on Earth discovered in 3.7bn-year-old Greenland rocks – August 31, 2016
    Excerpt: Scientists have discovered the oldest physical evidence for life on the planet in the form of fossils in Greenland rocks that formed 3.7bn years ago.
    The researchers believe the structures in the rocks are stromatolites – layered formations, produced by the activity of microbes, that can be found today in extremely saline lagoons in a few locations around the world.
    The new fossils are 220 million years older than any previously discovered.
    “Up until now the oldest stromatolites have been from Western Australia and they are roughly 3,500 million (3.5bn) years [old],” said Clark Friend, an independent researcher and co-author of the research. “What we are doing is pushing the discovery of life earlier in Earth’s history.”,,,
    the shape of the newly discovered structures, together with clues from their chemical make-up and signs of layers within them, suggests that they were formed by microbes,,,

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, excellent summary. Of course, utter incoherence and self-refutation do not mean that such a scheme of thought is not persuasive to many or that it cannot become entrenched in our educational, media, legal and governmental policies and institutions. That is exactly what is happening all around us. KF

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:


    Tom Wolfe on Language and Evolution – Michael Egnor – August 31, 2016
    Excerpt: Language is a beautiful example of the exercise of the immaterial human intellect. Wolfe raises the question about evolution of human language, and of course, while the brain structures necessary for human language may have “evolved” in some sense, our language ability itself, because it is an immaterial power, cannot evolve, but must be created.
    It is in Chomsky’s refusal to follow his own reasoning to that conclusion — that language is a created human ability — that he falls short. Yet his theory of universal grammar and recursion and of the necessity of language for thought are profound insights.
    It remains for us to follow the logic Chomsky has opened to us, and to acknowledge that our language abilities are created immaterial powers of the human soul.

  10. 10
    harry says:

    Folks, there is no empirical evidence that intelligence exists. Evidence is defined as the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid. It shouldn’t surprise us then that since recognizing that which facts or information indicates would require intelligence, and it doesn’t exist, there can be no such empirical evidence for intelligence. Nor can there be, for that matter, any such things as facts, information, indications or evidence. So it is even worse than we thought. There is no empirical evidence for anything. There is no basis for knowledge whatsoever. I am now certain of that. Well, the electrochemical activity of my physical brain is producing the experience of certainty, anyway. Thanks for letting the electrochemical activity of your brain experience this expression of the electrochemical activity of mine. Don’t worry. It doesn’t mean anything.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Harry at 10, always nice for my electro-chemical activity to see the metaphysical musings of other electro-chemical activity 🙂



    The Insurmountable Problem of “Form/Shape” for Darwinian Explanations – video

    Scientific Evidence That We Do Indeed Have A Soul – video

    “Form/Soul” – Video Playlist

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    Harry, I am going to cite you, thanks!

  13. 13
    steveO says:

    As a suggestion it would be both useful (and of course make for more great reading) to have the list of major unacknowledged faith commitments of materialists recorded in one place.

    Perhaps in the “Resources” area of UD we could have a section: “Materialist Metaphysical Premises Accepted on Faith”?

    Or maybe someone might already have a link or article?


  14. 14
    soundburger says:

    harry writes, “Thanks for letting the electrochemical activity of your brain experience this expression of the electrochemical activity of mine. Don’t worry. It doesn’t mean anything.”

    But, remember, we didn’t have any choice in the matter of letting the electrochemical activity of our brains experience the electrochemical activity of yours, as ‘free will’ is an illusion and options have never existed, anywhere, at any time, in the universe. Stop being so quaint. 😉

  15. 15
    velikovskys says:

    Just reading thru the literature there seems to be several theories of what intelligence consists of, so far no one has offered an actual definition of what intelligence consists of.

    Is there a definition which design advocates agree on?

  16. 16

    Just plain dumb. Tom English should know better. Embarrassing.

  17. 17
    Dionisio says:

    Barry Arrington:
    The third word (writes) in the text of this OP contains a link to another website where they say that VJTorley’s latest OP -here in UD- about Doug Axe’s recent book has disappeared?
    Did I understand that right?

  18. 18
    harry says:

    soundburger @ 14,

    Good point.

    I should have said “I could thank you for letting the electrochemical activity of your brain process this expression of the electrochemical activity of mine, but I won’t since neither of us had any choice in the matter.”

  19. 19
    Origenes says:

    Folks, there is no empirical evidence that intelligence exists.

    Empirical evidence, or the lack thereof, has to be interpreted by an intelligent mind. What is more, without an intelligent mind, there is neither empirical evidence nor science. The existence of an intelligent mind does not depend on science — it’s the other way around.

  20. 20
    Phinehas says:


    The existence of an intelligent mind does not depend on science — it’s the other way around.

    Great point!

  21. 21
    tjguy says:

    Materialism destroys all possibility of ever knowing anything and yet they pride themselves as intellectually superior to everyone, especially those poor “creationist” types who actually believe that real knowledge and intelligence and intentional design and objective morality exist.

    So while it is an incredibly stupid belief, it makes total sense in their belief system.

    Once you have committed yourself to that system, it’s easy to believe what your worldview requires.

    You can believe that:
    – something comes from nothing.
    – life comes from non-life
    – software writes itself
    – there is no free will
    – consciousness comes from chemicals
    – the brain – the most complicated thing in the universe – is simply the product of directionless random mutations
    etc etc etc


  22. 22
    soundburger says:

    #18, harry;
    Much better! You had me a bit worried there……

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