Over the last ten years in these pages we have seen versions of the following basic progression hundreds of times:
1. Materialist makes false claim about ID.
2. ID proponent explodes false claim and asks materialist to acknowledge his error.
3. Materialist never gives an inch, bobs and weaves, and tries to change the subject.
In this post E.Seigner gives us such a pristine example that I decided to use it as a paradigmatic illustration of the progression.
At 265 E.Seigner trots out a version of the hoary old “ID proponents just think complex things must be designed” error. He writes:
The further problem is that the contrast is not solid, but it’s a point on a continuum, where the point is “a threshold of sufficient complexity”, i.e. the continuum is continuum of complexity, where one end is said to be caused by chance and mechanical necessity and the other end by “design by intelligence”.
At 274 Barry puts up two 12-line groups of text, one random, the other designed. The random group is more complex than the designed group, and Barry asks:
If the designed group is less complex than the chance group, there must be something other than complexity that allows you to detect design. What do you think that something is?
At 278 Silver Asiatic makes a prediction:
I’m going to guess that [E.Seigner] doesn’t want to answer and therefore learn about ID, but rather play on the little amusement park ride we call the merry-go-round.
At 282 E.Seigner confirms Silver Asiatic’s prediction:
When I am not convinced by your typing some scribble first and then English I’m not being hyperskeptical but as rational as usual. How many of you here can tell from Chinese characters if they mean anything or were typed by a cat?
Notice E.Seigner’s strategy. Dismiss the question and change the subject.
E.Seigner’s response might be funny if it were not so pathetic. It boils down to “I’m not convinced because I’m so smart. Let’s talk about something else now.”
Tactics like E.Seigner’s make me more and more convinced that ID proponents are onto something. If the materialists had logic and evidence on their side, surely they would employ those against us and launch devastating irrefutable attacks on ID. Instead, I ask them a simple little question and instead of answering it they bob and weave while bragging about how they are being “rational as usual.”
As reader’s know, I enjoy little shorthand handles for typical materialist tactics (“Berra’s Blunder,” Miller’s Mendacity,” etc.). I am trying to come up with a handle for this bobbing and weaving and avoiding simple questions tactic. Silver Asiatic has suggested “Merry-Go-Round.” Other suggestions?
In all fairness to E.Seigner I should note that after I posted this post, he made the following comment at 297 of the prior post linked above.
I am not a materialist. See the last paragraph of #87. I came here to discuss philosophy and theology, but ID theory is annoyingly in the way.
Let us summarize, E.Seigner made a false claim about the nature of design detection. I refuted that claim and asked E.Seigner a simple follow-up question. E.Seigner evaded that question and tried to change the subject. I called him on his evasion. E.Seigner ends the discussion by pointing out an irrelevancy (“I’m not a materialist”) and continuing to evade and dodge.
At 299 in the post linked above E.Seigner finally answers the question:
We recognize English text because we learned the language.
Of course, this is just another way of saying that we detect the design in the non-random text because it conforms to a specification, i.e., the conventions of the English language.
Note that this is exactly contrary to his first (false) assertion, which was: ID proponents say “it is complex; therefore it must be designed.” ES now admits that he recognizes design in the complex 2nd string of text not merely because it was complex, but because it conformed to a specification.
Now ES was that so hard? Welcome to the ID movement.