The comments our Darwinist friends put up on this site never cease to amaze. Consider, as a for instance, Kantian Naturalist’s comment that appears as comment 9 to kairosfocus’ Infographic: The science of ID post. The post sets forth a simple summary of the case for ID, and KN responds:
What I like about this infographic is that it makes really clear where the problem with intelligent design lies.
Here’s the argument:
(1) We observe that all As are caused by Bs. (2) Cs are similar to As in relevant respects. (3) Therefore, it is highly probable that Cs are also caused by Bs.
But this is invalid, because the conclusion does not follow from the premises.
KN has been posting on this site for years. He is obviously an intelligent man. He is obviously a man of good will. I will assume, therefore, that he is attacking ID as he believes it to be and not a straw man caricature of his own making. And that is what is so amazing. How can an intelligent person of good will follow this site for several years and still not understand the basics of ID? It beggars belief.
Maybe it will help if I explain ID using the same formal structure KN has used.
(1) We observe that all As are caused by Bs.
ID as it really is:
(1) For all As whose provenance is actually known, the cause of A was B.
Here “A” could be complex specified information or irreducible complexity.
B, of course, stands for “the act of an intelligent agent.”
In step 1 KN is actually not far off the mark. I have reworded it slightly, because ID does not posit there is no possible explanation for A other than B. ID posits that in our universal experience of A where its provenance has been actually observed, it has always arisen from B. Now, there may be some other cause of A (Neo-Darwinian evolution – NDE – for instance), but the conclusion that NDE causes A arises from an inference not an observation. “NDE caused A” is not just any old inference. We would argue that it is an inference skewed by an a priori commitment to metaphysical materialism and not necessarily an unbiased evaluation of the data.
(2) Cs are similar to As in relevant respects.
ID as it really is:
(2) We observe A to exist within living systems.
In (2) KN starts to go off the rails in a serious way. Here we have the tired old “ID is nothing by an argument from analogy” argument. KN is saying that the complex specified information in a cell is “similar in relevant respects” to the complex specified information found, for example, in a language or a code. He is saying that the irreducible complexity of any number of biological systems is “similar in relevant respects” to the irreducible complexity of machines.
No sir. That is not what ID posits at all, not even close. ID posits that the complex specified information in a cell is identical to the complex specified information of a computer code. The DNA code is not “like” a computer code. The DNA code and a computer code are two manifestations of the same thing. The irreducible complexity of the bacterial flagellum is identical to (not similar to) the irreducible complexity of an outboard motor.
ID proponents obviously have the burden of demonstrating their claims. For example, they have the burden of demonstrating that the DNA code and a computer code are identical in relevant respects. And if you disagree with their conclusions that is fair enough. Tell us why. But it is not fair to attempt to refute ID by attacking a claim ID proponents do not make.
(3) Therefore, it is highly probable that Cs are also caused by Bs.
ID as it really is:
(3) Therefore, abductive reasoning leads to the conclusion that B is the best explanation of A.
The Wikipedia article on abductive reasoning is quite good. [I have changed the symbols to correspond with our discussion]:
to abduce a hypothetical explanation “B” from an observed surprising circumstance “A” is to surmise that “B” may be true because then “A” would be a matter of course. Thus, to abduce B from A involves determining that B is sufficient (or nearly sufficient), but not necessary, for A.
For example, the lawn is wet. But if it rained last night, then it would be unsurprising that the lawn is wet. Therefore, by abductive reasoning, the possibility that it rained last night is reasonable. . . . abducing rain last night from the observation of the wet lawn can lead to a false conclusion. In this example, dew, lawn sprinklers, or some other process may have resulted in the wet lawn, even in the absence of rain.
[Philosopher Charles Sanders] Peirce argues that good abductive reasoning from A to B involves not simply a determination that, e.g., B is sufficient for A, but also that B is among the most economical explanations for A. Simplification and economy call for the ‘leap’ of abduction.
For what seems like the ten thousandth time: ID does not posit that the existence of complex specified information and irreducibly complex structures within living systems compels “act of an intelligent agent” as a matter of logical necessity. ID posits that given our universal experience concerning complex specified information and irreducibly complex structures where the provenance of such has been actually observed, the best explanation of the existence of these same things in living structures is “act of intelligent agent.”
KN, I hope this helps. If you disagree with any of the premises or the abuction that we say follows from the premises, by all means attack them with abandon. But please don’t attack an argument we do not make. That just wastes everyone’s time.