Design inference Fine tuning Intelligent Design Naturalism

Looking back at a 2017 paper that risks saying that ID is “not necessarily stupid”

Spread the love

This morning, Researchgate sent me (O’Leary for News) this 2017 open access paper: Intelligent Design: Maybe True, Maybe False, But Not Necessarily Stupid

Let me say from the outset that this is not an essay arguing for intelligent design. Rather, it is a protest against a certain attitude. Everywhere I turn today, I hear voices, with varying degrees of smugness and contempt, telling me that intelligent design — the position that there is some ordering intelligence behind the whole cosmic shooting match — is straightforwardly ridiculous. “No intelligent person believes such a thing.” “How unscientific!” “It’s always a cover for a religiously based, evolution-denying creationism, trying to sneak in the back door in the guise of science.” Highly visible, scientifically informed public intellectuals such as Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris pop up everywhere, telling us that, if any proposition about the origins or design of nature is unsupported (or unsupportable) by scientific evidence, that proposition is ipso facto without any merit or legitimacy whatsoever. Since intelligent design fails this requirement, they assert, it is unworthy of our entertaining it even as a possibility, much less a belief.

I do not want to argue today that intelligent design is true. I don’t know if it’s true. I also do not wish to argue that it is a scientific position. I believe that it is not, but is instead an empirically undecidable, metaphysical one. I wish only to argue, contrary to the current intellectual zeitgeist, that it is neither stupid nor ridiculous either to believe in it or to entertain it as a possibility. I am referring here, not to a version of intelligent design that claims that the world was created 6000 years ago just as we find it today, but to one stating simply that there is now, or may have been at some time in the past, an ordering intelligence behind the structure of the universe and its contents. I also want to argue that the position most commonly posed in opposition to it at the cosmic level (which is where I will focus), which I shall refer to as “accidentalism,” is not, as many would have it, itself a scientifically open and shut case.

– Bergner, Raymond. (2017). Intelligent Design: Maybe True, Maybe False, But Not Absurd. 10.13140/RG.2.2.15653.91367.

One would feel vaguely sorry for Raymond Bergner if he found himself dealing with a horde of Darwin trolls. But it is so much easier to sympathize with people who are prepared to acknowledge facts more forthrightly and honestly.

Nothing about the universe is more evident than the fine tuning that evidences design. The need to pretend otherwise has generated many degenerate but funded research programs in the name of science. The naturalist (materialist) mood has not been good for science in general but many make a living off it.

One senses, however, that the whole thing may need to degenerate into a giant Sokal Hoax before any such acknowledgement could even be considered—and then only by people who are brave and honest.

See also: Rob Sheldon of why string theory’s inflationary cosmos is a degenerate research program Sheldon: The inflationary proposal has always been ad hoc. That is, a huge, faster-than-light expansion of the universe was proposed as a solution to the “flatness” problem, where the universe expands at a rate just sufficient to counter the gravitational attraction, where “just sufficient” means one part in 10^60 power. The inflationary model was invented to solve this fine-tuning problem.

5 Replies to “Looking back at a 2017 paper that risks saying that ID is “not necessarily stupid”

  1. 1
    Fasteddious says:

    I am sure that Bergner is a thoughtful, intelligent person, but I cannot fathom why he claims that ID is “an empirically undecidable, metaphysical” position. If he has read any ID publications, he must surely know that they are chock full of scientific evidence supporting design. If he says that about ID, one wonders what he thinks of SETI research or forensic science. Are they also empirically undecidable or metaphysical? Yet ID is no different: looking for the best explanation for the collected evidence, based on what various possible explanations are truly capable of explaining. How is that not empirical? How is that metaphysical? Of course, the interpretation of what the “best explanation” means may be metaphysical, but surely the comparison of alternative theories regarding the known evidence is one hallmark of good science.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    There isn’t any scientifically viable alternative to Intelligent Design. ID makes testable claims. Testable claims is a hallmark of science.

  3. 3
    Ed George says:

    ?I do not wish to argue that intelligent design is true. I don’t know if it’s true. I also do not wish to argue that it is a scientific position. I believe that it is not, but is instead an empirically undecidable, metaphysical one.

    On this we agree.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    Acartia Eddie “agrees” only because he doesn’t understand what science is nor what it entails. He will definitely never be able to make the case that ID is not a scientific position. He will never be able to show there is a scientifically viable alternative to ID. And he will never be able to make the case that ID is a metaphysical position.

    In other words, Acartia Eddie is an insipid troll

  5. 5
    ET says:

    Anyone and everyone that says that Intelligent Design is not scientific is either ignorant of Intelligent Design or ignorant of what science entails. And those same people cannot present a viable scientific alternative to ID. That alone says it all, really.

Leave a Reply