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Memo to Barry Arrington: Why baloney arguments against ID are much more effective

credit Laszlo Bencze

In “Ken Miller’s Strawman No Threat to ID” (December 12, 2011), Barry Arrington comments on Miller’s baloney arguments:

I have to wonder. If, as the Darwinists say, ID theory is so weak, why don’t they take it on squarely? Why do they feel compelled to attack a strawman caricature instead of the real deal? Indeed, Darwinists’ apparent fear of taking on ID on its own terms is one of the things that gives me great confidence in the theory, and that confidence will be shaken only if Darwinists ever begin to knock down the real ID instead of their ridiculous caricatures of the theory.

Of course, Arrington’s right in principle. But after ten years on this beat, I think that, in general, we are missing something.

Ken Miller fronts baloney arguments because we live in a time of decline when – on most subjects – baloney is all that Top People have to offer.

If government economists can convince the public that two plus two adds up to five, why should Ken Miller have trouble pretending that wildly improbable statistical events are normal science explanations?

In truth, vast throngs of people today want explicitly false and stupid reassurances. Miller, a Brown University professor, could say nothing  so false or stupid that it would not be accepted. From an elite position, he gives others permission to believe false and stupid things too. As do so many others in many fields.

We live in a time of steep civilizational decline. In disproportionate numbers, our top people are cowardly, narcissistic clowns, not even very good at deceit. But they do not need to be good at deceit, they need only cater to rampant self-deceit.

One example: Childless couples confidently reassure themselves that other people’s children will pay their government pensions, not noticing how many other couples have made the same decision. Dogs outnumber children in area households, and no inferences are drawn, as to the future.

Why doesn’t Miller come up with good arguments against ID? Because good arguments are deeply threatening to his typical audience.

Good arguments for his position are somewhat like mustering a defence that 2+2=5, given sufficiently large values of 2. That implies a question. What if the proposed answer doesn’t really work?

Miller’s audience doesn’t want that uncertainty. The question was never supposed to be raised!

His audience wants to hear that a Brown professor who claims to be a believing Catholic thinks that the universe shows no credible evidence of design.  And the stupider his argument, the more it sounds like the support they need. It authenticates their own stupid ideas.

Miller Time means never having to wonder whether the neighbors’ dogs will support one’s pension. After all, nobody adds up to somebody, given large enough values for nobody, right … ?

What, after all, is so threatening about ID? At bottom, the threatening part is Dembski’s No Free Lunch hypothesis. In a world looking for secular magic, a No Free Lunch hypothesis is the most deeply threatening idea imaginable.

It means, among other things, that in this or any other universe 2+2 does not  equal 5. And that no number of opinion leaders is adequate to make Darwinism, in its present corrupt and collapsed state, a science. One could say the same for many other branches of supposed learning. Which is why an idea that implicitly demands that accounts be rendered is so deeply threatening. And why a defence against it is best conducted via a barrage of top flight nonsense.

Does that make sense, Barry?

See also: Social science’s house is on fire, and Top People don’t seem to notice But can they afford to?

Perfect sense Denyse. I laughed at this: “One example: Childless couples confidently reassure themselves that other people’s children will pay their government pensions, not noticing how many other couples have made the same decision.” Here in Denver we have traffic problems. Instead of building the roads we need, the government put a ballot question to the people: “Should we spend several billion dollars on light rail?” Of course voters usually don’t have a degree in municipal planning. If they did, they would know that Denver does not have sufficient population density to make light rail economically feasible. The average voter never intended to ride the train; they reasoned that it would reduce traffic congestion because all the OTHER drivers would ride it. Of course, all the other drivers were thinking the same thing. Needless to say, the ballot question passed. Now, years later, we sit in traffic and watch as massively taxpayer subsidized but nearly empty trains go by. Barry Arrington

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