From time to time we see materialists raising the “poof objection” against ID. The poof objection goes something like this: An ID theorist claims that a given organic system (the bacterial flagellum perhaps) is irreducibly complex or that it displays functional complex specified information. In a sneering and condescending tone the materialist dismisses the claim, saying something like “Your claim amounts to nothing more than ‘Poof! the designer did it.’”
I have always thought the poof objection coming from a materialist is particularly ironic, because materialists have “poofery” built into their science at a very basic level. Of course, they don’t use the term “poof.” They use a functional synonym of poof – the word “emergent.”
What do I mean? Consider the hard problem of consciousness. We all believe we are conscious, and consciousness must be accounted for. For the ID theorists, this is easy. The mind is a real phenomenon that cannot be reduced to the properties of the brain. Obviously, this is not so easy for the materialist who, by definition, must come up with a theory that reduces the mind to an epiphenomenon of the electro-chemical processes of the brain. What do they do? They say the mind is an “emergent property” of the brain. Huh? Wazzat? That means that the brain system has properties that cannot be reduced to its individual components. The system is said to “supervene” (I’m not making this up) on its components causing the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts.
And what evidence do we have that “emergence” is a real phenomenon? Absolutely none. Emergence is materialist poofery. Take the mind-brain problem again. The materialist knows that his claim that the mind does not exist is patently absurd. Yet, given his premises it simply cannot exist. So what is a materialist to do? Easy. Poof – the mind is an emergent property of the brain system that otherwise cannot be accounted for on materialist grounds.