Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

New UD FAQ Coming Soon!

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In November 2008 I recruited three of UD’s most insightful and prolific commenters – StephenB, GPuccio and Kairosfocus – to craft a revised “Frequently Asked Questions” section for our homepage. I am very pleased to announce that after three months of intense effort by these gentlemen, the new FAQ – which is entitled “Frequently Raised But Weak Arguments Against Intelligent Design – is nearing completion. Watch for the final product to appear on this page soon.

Here is an even more exciting part for our readers. We at UD are going to subject our FAQ to the crucible of public scrutiny and comment. You, dear reader, are going to have a chance to comment on, and suggest improvements to, every single entry in the new FAQ. Over the coming weeks and months, I am going to devote a unique post to each entry in the FAQ. Everyone – whether pro-ID, anti-ID or neutral – will have an opportunity to point out weakness in logic or evidence underlying each entry and suggest improvements to it. I especially invite our opponents to participate in this process. I assure you that if you raise any fair objection, it will be treated with respect, and you could very well prompt us to modify the FAQ. Our goal is that at the end of this process UD will have the best ID FAQ in the world!

Best regards,

Barry Arrington
For the UD administration

tribune7 @24 Thanks for taking this and running with it! JJ JayM
A fine idea from JayM from the Mathematically Defining Functional Information In Biology Thread
How many ID papers and research proposals have been rejected? That’s not a rhetorical question. I’m pulling this one out so it doesn’t get lost. It’s a subject that’s often discussed here ROb. This came up in a different thread, but got lost in the noise. Is there a website somewhere with ID friendly papers that have been rejected by mainstream, peer-reviewed journals (preferably with some indication as to why they were rejected)? That would be a great resource. JJ
We'll also need to kick Wikipedia in the- Ok, I'm taking this too far. Eventually we will need to do something about Wikipedia as well. Drew Mazanec
Drew, Now THAT is a good idea- both. That is answering TO's nonsense and punching TO in the face. ;) However you have to get in line- that is the punching part... Joseph
Folks: On behalf of the team, thanks for some kind words. I think we should note: 1 --> Our work stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before, i.e. significant credit is due to those who have contributed to this blog -- as original posters, as moderators and as commenters (on both [or, however many] sides of the issue) -- and especially to those who have worked on the present weak arguments page. This is no de novo tabula rasa effort. 2 --> We have extended such work in light of trends in the ID debates [how I wish it were dialogues instead!], and observations on the underlying case being argued or asserted or implied. (There is, as a result, also a glossary of major ID-relevant terms, e.g. info, Science, ID, CSI, FSCI, even the Drake Equation. [I think this eqn and the associated Great Filter issues show a coherent framework in which the overall cluster of underlying issues can be profitably discussed.] ) 3 --> Since the cluster of typical objections to ID form an integrated -- albeit, on inspection, a sadly largely incoherent, irrelevant and/or strawmannish -- whole, even the present page shows that the answers to individual questions are not isolated. (So, each answer should be addressed in the light of the whole.) 4 --> In effect, there is a certain minimum of integrarted content, knowledge with understanding of which is required for productive discussion of ID. To attain to that minimum, some basic information and some correction of commonly encountered misunderstandings -- and/or in some cases, sadly, misrepresentations -- of ID has to be reckoned with. (Hopefully, the set of arguments and responses will help us all do that with a minimum of fuss and bother.) 5 --> For one instwance, it is essential to understand that ID is not strictly a theory of BIOLOGY, but of [especially functional] complex, specified information and its underlying causes. That is . . .
--> ID is that science which studies signs of intelligence; of which complex, integrartedly functional information in various forms, is a chief manifestation. --> We also know (per massive empirical observation and experience), that such information reliably traces to purposefully directed contingency; i.e. intelligence. --> Next, we know that at its best, science is the unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) empirically based search for not only the facts but also the truth about our common world of experience. --> In that pursuit, we empirically and reliably know that (i) certain things (or certain aspects of things) happen by mechanical forces that lead to law-like natural regularities, (ii) others happen by undirected contingency (chance; perhaps following certain statistical/probabilistic distributions), (iii) yet others happen by directed contingency (i.e intelligent design). --> The debates over ID and its scientific status happen because in certain cases where the signs of intelligence point to design, the implications do not sit well with the now dominant evolutionary materialist school of thought on origins science. --> That's where the issues over "the unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) empirically based search for not only the facts but also the truth about our common world . . ." become important.
6 --> We therefore hope that we can move beyond debate games and agendas such as was so revealingly stated by Lewontin a bit over a decade ago, in his now well known 1997 remarks in the NY Review of Books:
. . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . .
7 --> Alas, TO etc are so large that we cannot even think of trying to do a point by point "fisking" of what amounts to several entire sites. (And -- rhetoric about "Intelligent Design Creationism" notwithstanding [cf ENV here] -- much of TO addresses a quite different movement, Creationism. We suggest that you see what the Creationists have to say for themselves qua Creationists, e.g. at not only well-known sites like AiG, but also the other TO. [Note, too, how the Creationists also sometimes have more or less critical appraisals of ID.]) 8 --> However, many of the arguments at TO and in other similar sites, share the same common core of weak, flawed arguments. That common core is therefore what we have addressed; we trust, not without some positive effect. Okay, trust that helps set up the discussion to follow. Cheers, GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Could it at least have a point-by-point refutation of talkorigins. The Darwinists keep referencing it in Amazon.com threads so often, that I often just want to punch talkorigins in the face. Drew Mazanec
Thanks Apollos, I'll give it a try. Charlie
FAR OUT!!! Thanks Barry...I'm constantly refering people to UD, and a new FAQ will be of great help. You're doing an awesome job with the site, btw.... THANKS!!! FtK
I meant to say: If Intelligent Design is a religion then bald is a hair color. And Drew, to rival talkorigins UD would have to post strawmen and red herrings. I don't think that is what Barry is shooting for... Joseph
ID is a religion as bald is a hair color. I would put that in the new FAQ. I would also include designER-centrism, for example at least by a link to MikeGene's articles on the topic: Designer-Centrism and Neglecting Designer-Centrism Joseph
Awesome. We can finally rival talkorigins. Drew Mazanec
GO FOR IT!!! We could use something along the lines of a talk origins index to creationist claims. I started a FAQ of my own for an IDEA Club I plan on starting, but after collecting several hundred different claims which I have either come across, or predict will show up in a given debate, it looks like it will take me AT LEAST five years to complete....... BTW: Here's a debate I had with PvM (yes, the same guy from the panda's thumb) over those early panda's drafts. You may find something useful: http://www.opposingviews.com/comments/sorry-about-my-prior-views F2XL
Great idea, Barry. I commend you for choosing able assistants. There are many here who make valuable contributions, but these three are among the best. Jack Golightly
Charlie, I think the links are broken because "uncommondescent.com" no longer resolves properly to "www.uncommondescent.com". You should be able to fix them by manually adding the "www." to the beginning of the addresses. 8) Apollos
Not only is SEARCH broken but old links I've saved no longer work. Any chance for repair on this? Charlie
Borne, the search is broken for me also (Firefox 3.0). In case it's helpful, you can get the same functionality from Google this way:
[search] site:uncommondescent.com
This will restrict the search results to this domain.
csi site:uncommondescent.com
Brilliant idea Barry. Atom
good idea, now hows about fixing the search function? Borne
I agree with Jerry, this has been needed for a long time. Lord Timothy
Hi Barry, I appreciate the call for all points of view regarding comments on the FAQ, but in order to properly comment on the FAQ or any topic, those of us on the moderation list are at a disadvantage. Sometimes my post doesn't appear for 24 hours. The point is that no one monitoring a topic is going to go back and see if an unknown moderated post has been made visible. I believe that moderating a poster solely due to an anti-ID viewpoint hurts open debate and ultimately will cause some people to simply quit trying to engage the other side. Unless someone is crass or insulting, I see no benefit to either side for using the moderation que. Toronto
Excellent!!!! tribune7
This is wonderful! Thanks Barry for being brave enough to submit the FAQ to "peer review", as blogging ultimately is. bFast
Congratulations on your election to this, gentlemen. All three of you are very good contributors to this site. nullasalus
Barry, You have chosen wisely. This has been needed for a long time. jerry
Excellent... I hope it addresses the ID = Religion/CS issue. Gods iPod

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