Intelligent Design

Sean Samis Affirms Key ID Principle

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Sean Samis is one of our most inveterate opponents here at UD.  It is gratifying, therefore, to lean that he has no use for all of those ID opponents who say that ID theory is invalid because it does not identify the designer.  Sean’s exact words:

There’s no problem here. If scientists investigating phenomena X theorize that and as-yet unverified cause Y explains X, then all scientists need to do is to verify (or falsify) Y. The question of Y’s cause or origin will eventually need to be investigated, but if Y can be empirically confirmed then that is enough.

To be fair, Sean was speaking in the OOL context, but I’m sure he will agree that the principle is solid and transcends that context.  Thanks Sean.  We expect you to come to our defense the next time one of your materialist buddies throws the old “who designed the designer” chestnut into the discussion.

29 Replies to “Sean Samis Affirms Key ID Principle

  1. 1
    sean samis says:

    I already responded to this kind of folly on another thread, but apparently you have a pretty tight quota on you Cut-and-Paste allowance, so you omitted that.

    Or was it mendacity that caused you to omit it?

    I’ll leave it to your ever-present on-lookers to decide.

    You are correct that IFF “we have established” that something X was designed by non-terrestrial thing Y, that claim is set. But that is a very big IFF. And that “IFF” is not misspelled, IFF means “if AND ONLY if”; a mathematical and logical connector indicating that either both statements are true or both are false. ONLY IF “we have established” that something X was designed by non-terrestrial thing Y, that claim is set. IF “we have NOT established” that something X was designed by non-terrestrial thing Y, that claim is FALSE.

    The problem is HOW DO YOU DEMONSTRATE THAT THE CLAIM ABOUT X HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED? Given object X, it was either created naturally or artificially. That’s actually quite hard to prove.

    Things like Stonehenge bear a resemblance to other things which we KNOW were made by humans, so the conclusion about Stonehenge is no great leap.

    Things (like living things) which do not resemble objects created by humans cannot leverage the same logic. A natural origin remains on the table.

    At the end of the day, the mere fact we don’t know how life might have arisen naturally is not any kind of evidence that life is designed.

    It gets worse for you: What kind of non-deity could have designed us? It must have been a living thing. Since it is a fundamental claim of yours that life cannot arise naturally, this non-deity living thing must also have been designed. And so the infinite regress begins.

    But your REAL PROBLEM is that you cannot “establish that terrestrial life is or must be designed.” so the rest of your analysis is left in abeyance until you can.

    So your ““who designed the designer” chestnut” remains indefensible until you ESTABLISH THE LOGICAL NEED FOR YOUR “DESIGNER”. So far, every ID comment fails that test. So I’m off the hook.

    sean s.

  2. 2
    sean samis says:

    … but thanks for the complement of a headline. I’ll treasure it.

    sean s.

  3. 3
    beau says:

    Sean, this is off topic but why do you find it necessary to leave “Sean S” after your posts?

  4. 4
    Box says:

    Sean Samis is an embarrassment to reason and logical thought.

  5. 5
    Barry Arrington says:

    Does anyone else notice that Sean ignores his own principle and drags out the “who designed the designer” chestnut?

  6. 6
    scottH says:

    Who says the designer has to have been designed? How about the idea that matter is eternal? Talk about infinite regress

  7. 7
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis:

    But your REAL PROBLEM is that you cannot “establish that terrestrial life is or must be designed.”

    We can and we have.

  8. 8
    StephenB says:

    sean samis

    The problem is HOW DO YOU DEMONSTRATE THAT THE CLAIM ABOUT X HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED? Given object X, it was either created naturally or artificially. That’s actually quite hard to prove.

    Irrational formulation: Only those two possibilities exist. No proof is necessary or even called for. If you disagree, provide a third option.

    Things like Stonehenge bear a resemblance to other things which we KNOW were made by humans, so the conclusion about Stonehenge is no great leap.

    Bad logic: You haven’t explained how you know that Stonehenge “bears a resemblance” to anything ever made by a human. Are there similar features? For that matter, how do you (or the archeologist) know that Stonehenge was even designed at all?

    Things (like living things) which do not resemble objects created by humans cannot leverage the same logic. A natural origin remains on the table.

    Error in ignorance. You simply assert, without warrant, that living things do not resemble objects made by humans. In what ways does ID argue that living things do resemble things made by intelligent agents? Don’t you think it would be a good idea to know something about the subject before you start writing with such reckless abandon?

    At the end of the day, the mere fact we don’t know how life might have arisen naturally is not any kind of evidence that life is designed.

    First, sean says that life might have arisen by some means other than nature or design. Then, he says that life doesn’t have to be designed because nature could have produced it in ways not yet known, which contradicts the claim that neither nature or design is required.

  9. 9
    Axel says:

    The mere fact of the existence of such an incredibly spectacular universe, bespeaks a God as by far the mot likey author. In fact, it is the ONLY plausible explanation for its existence.

    So, apart from proving that something can come from nothing…. it’s incumbent on atheists to prove nature isn’t designed, as, even at the mechanistic level, all of nature gives that APPEARANCE (Richie…) of being designed, and at the microscopic level the design is more manifest than ever, to the point of blowing anyone’s mind, unless they have an implacable Lewontinian agenda.

  10. 10
    bFast says:

    sean samis, good save. For a moment we thought you were speaking good sense.

    Scott H, “Who says the designer has to have been designed? How about the idea that matter is eternal? Talk about infinite regress.”

    Um, we are bumping into that frustrating thing called science. (This is not merely a philosophical exercise, you know.) The scientific world seems pretty convinced that there was a big bang. Any mechanical sort of life form, such as we are, would not possibly have survived a big crunch and big bang. The idea therefore that there is an infinite regress of potential non-supernatural designers is a bit of a stretch.

    Worse than that, the scientific community speaks of “nothing” preceding the big bang, including time itself. Now this is less established as a theory than the big bang itself, but the big crunch hypothesis has been pretty much toast ever since the discovery of dark energy (the fact that the universe’s rate of expansion seems to be increasing.)

  11. 11
    Peter says:

    Sean Samis @1

    HOW DO YOU DEMONSTRATE THAT THE CLAIM ABOUT X HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED?

    1) DNA, only a person devoid of intellect would say DNA is not designed. It is the most intelligent information system ever seen. Nothing humans have done come even close.

    2) There is NO proof of any intelligence off-word. So until there is the only reasonable conclusion is that a creator God did it.

  12. 12
    scottH says:

    Bfast
    Umm, I was just commenting on the who designed the designer argument doesn’t do much good when the alternative is nothing begat something, or matter/energy must have always existed.

  13. 13
    sean samis says:

    Barry Arrington @5:

    Does anyone else notice that Sean ignores his own principle and drags out the “who designed the designer” chestnut?

    Barry, what have you against chestnuts? They are tasty. And “chestnuts” are not inherently false. The one you mention (that I use) is a very valid “chestnut”.

    sean s.

  14. 14
    sean samis says:

    scottH @6:

    Who says the designer has to have been designed? How about the idea that matter is eternal? Talk about infinite regress

    If life must be designed, then either the Designer is a deity (and outside science) or not a deity.

    If the Designer is not a deity, it must be alive, and therefore designed because all life must be (or so creationists claim).

    Whether or not matter is eternal is irrelevant, as bFast notes @10.

    sean s.

  15. 15
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @7:

    sean samis:

    But your REAL PROBLEM is that you cannot “establish that terrestrial life is or must be designed.”

    We can and we have.

    Citations, please.

    sean s.

  16. 16
    sean samis says:

    StephenB @8:

    Irrational formulation: Only those two possibilities exist. No proof is necessary or even called for. If you disagree, provide a third option.

    Third option: we don’t know. Actually this is quite common, and quite unable to settle which of the other two are correct.

    sean s.

  17. 17
    sean samis says:

    bFast @10:

    Worse than that, the scientific community speaks of “nothing” preceding the big bang, including time itself.

    Actually no. What most cosmologists say is that NOTHING OF OUR UNIVERSE existed before it was created, which makes a lot of sense. Before a fire is started, nothing of the fire exists. Before a bell is rung, nothing of the ring exists.

    But that is also VERY DIFFERENT from saying “nothing existed”.

    You may have heard of “multiverses”? They are what some scientists posit existed before our universe did; eventually they will be in a position to test that theory.

    sean s.

  18. 18
    scottH says:

    Sean s
    So the question of the designer being designed or a supernatural deity is a problem, yet you see no concern for questioning eternal matter/energy or nothing then poof?
    Also, don’t the elements for fire and a ringing bell need to exist prior to the event?

  19. 19
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis:

    Citations, please.

    All papers on ATP synthase. All papers on any bacterial flagellum. PLUS the fact that your position has nothing.

  20. 20
    scottH says:

    Sean
    Disregard second part of what I wrote

  21. 21
    sean samis says:

    scottH @18

    …yet you see no concern for questioning eternal matter/energy or nothing then poof?

    Nothing then poof” never happened and is not what is postulated. Something (a multiverse) existed; something happened within this multiverse and our universe was created.

    Something from something.

    sean s.

  22. 22
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @19

    All papers on ATP synthase. All papers on any bacterial flagellum.

    I’ve read a lot of these papers, I’ve never read one that concluded that life must be designed. Please provide a specific citation.

    PLUS the fact that your position has nothing.

    All those papers you just mentioned–the ones that don’t conclude that life must be designed–they are something. Not enough to settle the question in full detail, but they are not nothing.

    sean s.

  23. 23
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis:

    I’ve never read one that concluded that life must be designed.

    There isn’t any other explanation for life nor the genetic code. And not one paper concludes that life was the result of blind and unguided processes, ie natural selection and drift. Not one paper shows such processes can produce ATP synthase. No one knows how to model such a thing.

    You have nothing but equivocation with the word evolution.

    All the papers that pertain to the genetic code support ID as codes can only arise via intelligent agency involvement: The Origin of Information: How to Solve It– I am sure some evolutionist could use 3.1 million dollars and it is very telling the offer remains not only unclaimed but there haven’t been any submissions.

  24. 24
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @23:

    There isn’t any other explanation for life nor the genetic code.

    Sure there is; you see them written about a lot on this site. They’re called “abiogenesis” and “evolution”. You might not agree with either of these, but THEY EXIST. There are “other explanations for life and the genetic code”.

    Not one paper shows such processes can produce ATP synthase. No one knows how to model such a thing.

    Not yet. That is what science is about: figuring out the unknown. And not one paper has documented that blind, unguided processes are unable to produce life and the genetic code. We just don’t know how it happened. Yet.

    You claimed (back @7) that we can and have established that terrestrial life is or must be designed but so far you’ve produced no citation backing that claim up. Because there is none. We just don’t know what you claimed we do know.

    The prizes from CosmicFingerprints have not been claimed. Yet.

    WE DON’T KNOW how terrestrial life originated; only abiogenesis and evolution are testable.. All an IDer can do is sit around and hope no one figures this out.

    sean s.

  25. 25
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis:

    Sure there is; you see them written about a lot on this site. They’re called “abiogenesis” and “evolution”.

    “Evolution” means several different things. Which definition are you using? And abiogenesis is a hope without anything else.

    There are “other explanations for life and the genetic code”.

    I was talking about scientific explanations. Something with supporting evidence.

    Not yet. That is what science is about: figuring out the unknown. And not one paper has documented that blind, unguided processes are unable to produce life and the genetic code. We just don’t know how it happened. Yet.

    It didn’t happen. It can’t happen. Ever.

    You claimed (back @7) that we can and have established that terrestrial life is or must be designed but so far you’ve produced no citation backing that claim up.

    All one has to do is apply the design criteria to ATP synthase and it passes with flying colors.

    The prizes from CosmicFingerprints have not been claimed. Yet.

    It will never be claimed. Never.

    WE DON’T KNOW how terrestrial life originated; only abiogenesis and evolution are testable.

    Nonsense. Neither are testable- well if you define “evolution” as Dawkins’ does, as the modern synthesis does- untestable. There is no way to test the claim that natural selection or drift produced ATP synthase. However we do have a way to test to see if it was intelligently designed.

    All evos can do is sit around and gripe because they haven’t figured out how to test their claims. You flail away at ID when you have the power to put an end to ID by just finding support for your position’s claims.

  26. 26
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @25:

    “Evolution” means several different things. Which definition are you using?

    Biological evolution, simply put, is descent with modification. This definition encompasses small-scale evolution (changes in gene frequency in a population from one generation to the next) and large-scale evolution (the descent of different species from a common ancestor over many generations).” — http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary

    And abiogenesis is a hope without anything else.

    That’s what you wish. Abiogenesis is a theory that can be tested; it is being investigated even now.

    I was talking about scientific explanations. Something with supporting evidence.

    Well, then that’s what you should have said; but you didn’t.

    Evolution and abiogenesis are the ONLY scientific explanations. Period. There is supporting evidence for both. Conclusive evidence? Not yet. But no evidence that forecloses either. And science does not work on a schedule.

    Creationism (ex: ID) is not scientific in even the most generous sense of the word. It is not testable.

    All one has to do is apply the design criteria to ATP synthase and it passes with flying colors.

    I’m sure it does. After all, that’s the result the “criteria” was designed to reach!

    Can you name even one thing that could not possibly be designed? If not, then concluding that X “could have been designed” is meaningless.

    Proving that ATP synthase was definitely designed is a whole different problem. And when we ask who the designer could possibly be it all falls apart.

    There is no way to test the claim that natural selection or drift produced ATP synthase. However we do have a way to test to see if it was intelligently designed.

    History cannot be tested, we can only find out if something COULD HAVE produced or designed ATP synthase.

    We cannot test history to show that ATP synthase WAS DESIGNED, only that it could have been, but as we’ve already seen, ANYTHING COULD HAVE BEEN DESIGNED, so that conclusion is meaningless until we have evidence of a designer available to do the job.

    We can test the theory that natural processes are capable of producing ATP synthase. That’s sufficient. WHEN the natural process is elucidated, then no one will take the design option seriously until a capable designer is proved.

    Science does not reject design because it must be false, science rejects design because it’s a dead-end.

    All evos can do is sit around and gripe because they haven’t figured out how to test their claims. You flail away at ID when you have the power to put an end to ID by just finding support for your position’s claims.

    Scientific tests and experiments are on-going. Their results are encouraging but they’re not done.

    Creationists sit around and gripe because the work’s not done. But of course, they can’t help because creationists cannot test their theories.

    sean s.

  27. 27
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis, TECs accept descent with modification. And there is no way to test the claim that descent with modification can produce the diversity of life.

    Abiogenesis is a theory that can be tested;

    What’s the theory and how can it be tested?

    Well, then that’s what you should have said;

    Shouldn’t have to say it.

    Evolution and abiogenesis are the ONLY scientific explanations

    Without the science, of course.

    Creationism (ex: ID) is not scientific in even the most generous sense of the word. It is not testable.

    ID is testable and we have said exactly how to test it. OTOH all you can do is bluff.

    Can you name even one thing that could not possibly be designed?

    Well, if we follow Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation, parsimony, Occam’s Razor and the explanatory filter, we don’t infer design if mother nature could produce it.

    Proving that ATP synthase was definitely designed is a whole different problem.

    Umm, science isn’t about proving. We have the scientific methodology. That is what counts with science.

    And when we ask who the designer could possibly be it all falls apart.

    Only in your limited PoV.

    History cannot be tested, we can only find out if something COULD HAVE produced or designed ATP synthase.

    And you don’t have a mechanism capable.

    We can test the theory that natural processes are capable of producing ATP synthase.

    Nonsense. If that could be done it would have been done and we would be talking about that.

    That’s sufficient. WHEN the natural process is elucidated, then no one will take the design option seriously

    That’s exactly what we have been saying for decades! No one will ever show that natural processes can do it. It is an untestable claim.

    Scientific tests and experiments are on-going.

    And nothing supports evolutionism nor abiogenesis. Science is not your friend.

  28. 28
    sean samis says:

    Science is my friend, even if you are unacquainted with it.

    Like most creationists, you seem to think science works on a schedule, that if it’s not done now with evolution, it never will be. But that’s not how science has ever worked. Heliocentrism took about 300 years to prove (and that’s a relatively simple thing to prove.)

    Evolution and abiogenesis will get there unless creationists succeed in obstructing the scientific process.

    sean s.

  29. 29
    Virgil Cain says:

    I am well acquainted with science and I know that your position doesn’t have any.

    Like most evos you think science is conducted via imagination and promissory notes.

    Evolutionism and abiogenesis will join the ranks of the aether and astrology, except astrology is more useful than those will ever be.

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