Intelligent Design

Thought for the Day

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From Nietzsche’s The Gay Science:

Thus the question “Why science?” leads back to the moral problem: Why have morality at all when life, nature, and history are “not moral”? No doubt, those who are truthful in that audacious and ultimate sense that is presupposed by the faith in science thus affirm another world than the world of life, nature, and history; and insofar as they affirm this “other world”—look, must they not by that same token negate its counterpart, this world, our world?—But you will have gathered what I am driving at, namely, that it is still a metaphysical faith upon which our faith in science rests—that even we seekers after knowledge today, we godless anti-metaphysicians, still take our fire, too, from the flame lit by a faith that is thousands of years old, that Christian faith which was also the faith of Plato, that God is the truth, that truth is divine. (Nietzsche’s emphases)

Tip of the hat to Ed Oakes.

Then there is this from Oakes himself:

Such obtuseness is shared by most liberals today, who merrily fuse opposition to capital punishment, support for abortion and doctor-assisted suicide, condemnation of racism, and a vaguely appreciative acquaintance with evolutionary theory—without the least sense of the impossible dilemmas entailed in these contradictory positions.

94 Replies to “Thought for the Day

  1. 1
    Vance says:

    You know, this post sparked something I have been pondering for a while. Here is where so many of us Christians get it wrong:

    The problem lies in that too many Christians seem to be viewing science as “the search for truth” wherever it may lie. And that is understandable because we live in a society which has come to think that such truth does, indeed, lie within the grasp (eventually) of scientific inquiry. We have elevated science beyond its limited scope and into a role for which it was never intended: arbiter of truth. And if science is going to tell us what TRUTH is, we want to make sure that it is looking in all the right places!! Perfectly understandable.

    But, science can not be that, no matter how much we would like it to. The scientific method is a tool, a single method of inquiry (among others) providing evidence and information about the natural world, how it works, how it has worked (and here is the important bit) *in its natural state*. It is not meant to provide ALL the answers for what happens on earth, either in the past or in the present. Science can only provide a limited scope of inquiry because it uses very specific and limited tools. Any scientist who is a Christian will tell you that this is NOT because they have some agenda to leave out other areas of inquiry, like the supernatural, but because their tools and methods simply do not work to provide any analysis or testing or consideration of such phenomenon.

    As the importance of science as an arbiter of truth has expanded, people have wanted to expand what science is and what it can do, but this will just not work. There is no way for science to work with anything but the natural. Does that mean science will necessarily get things wrong when there IS a supernatural cause, and science is constrained to look for natural causes? Well, yes and no. It would definitely get it wrong if we were expecting science to provide THE ANSWER to the question. But, if we treat science as we should, then all science would say on a subject is that X is the most likely of the possible natural explanations. Science does a good job at providing us with this answer, and we all must admit that (since God allows things to just happen naturally in all but a very few specific instances) this is almost always the right answer. And for those who have naturalistic philosophies, their inquiry goes no further. For those who do NOT have such a philosophy, they take that scientific conclusion on board and keep going on with their analysis.

    What all of us Christians would love is for people to take the supernatural into consideration where appropriate when making their ultimate decisions about important issues, that is true. We want that to be part of the discussion, and part of our analysis. And this is exactly what we SHOULD promote. But that does not mean that SCIENCE, as a professional discipline, can do this. Instead, rather than expand science to force it to inquire into the supernatural, we must relegate it back down to its place as simply providing us a part of the puzzle.

    Now ID becomes an interesting middle ground. On the one hand, the actual ID scientists want to play by these rules and say that using natural evidence objectively, we can surmise a supernatural involvement. That is fine to an extent, since it is not trying to force science to analyze the supernatural at all, but simply consider “the supernatural” as part of the ultimate ANSWER to the natural evidence. Now, the scientific community could never confirm that the supernatural was or was not THE answer, since science is not equipped to do so. But, I suppose the ID proponents could attempt to establish by naturalistic evidence that there is an absolute failure of entirely natural explanations. But, my guess is that such a complete falsification is impossible, so we will never get there.

    In the end, the proper “foe” is not science, it is not evolution or an old earth. If we were to combat anything it would that philosophical naturalism which goes beyond mere science, and simply refuses to accept anything beyond the natural. To that, I think Shakespeare had the best response:

    “There is more to heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    We should be encouraging an open mind regarding what might make up the “ultimate answers”, not fighting over what the best naturalistic explanation might be. I personally have no problem with that explanation being evolution and an old earth, but that is besides the point. I think if we focus our fight that on that battle, we merely do damage to the more important issue of worldview.

  2. 2
    mike1962 says:

    “Why have morality at all when life, nature, and history are “not moral”?”

    C.S. Lewis said it well. If the universe was a-moral we would never know it. Just like if there was no eyes, we would never know it was dark. “Darkness” would be without meaning.

    Morality stems from certain meaning in one’s consciousness. Not a particular morality, but the very idea of morality itself.

    All meaning comes from consciousness, whatever that is, whatever we are. It is fundamental. Without consciousness “meaning” itself has no meaning.

    I’d call it a chief axiom.

  3. 3
    StuartHarris says:

    The quote from Ed Oakes brings to mind this one from P. J. O’Rourke:

    “Liberals have invented whole college majors – psychology, sociology, women’s studies – to prove that nothing is anybody’s fault. No one is fond of taking responsibilities for his actions, but consider how much you’d have to hate free will to come up with a political platform that advocates killing unborn babies but not convicted murderers. A callous pragmatist might favor [both] abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal point of view.”

  4. 4
    magnan says:

    “Why have morality at all when life, nature, and history are “not moral”?”

    Indeed, from purely materialist and Darwinist assumptions. I certainly agree that this is folly and also incoherent, the gist of this thread as expressed by Ed Oakes. However, many humanist atheists still consider morality to be desirable in that following its rules are seen to generally reduce human suffering. This is despite their viewing morality as purely a social construct.

  5. 5
    jjcassidy says:

    I concur with Ed, as I have written that the liberalism that finds evolutionary theory central can barely look the beast in they eye.

  6. 6
    russ says:

    But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal point of view.

    And much twisting of the language to defend those points of view. In no other context than the abortion question do we speak about the legal right to do a thing as the right to “choose” it. We do not say we have the right to “choose” to bear arms, or “choose” to assemble to petition our goverment for a redress of grievances. We are not pro-choice on free speech or religion, or anti-choice on school prayer or school vouchers.

    But the word “choice” somehow gives the impression that its not the “abortion” they want, but “the abortion or the not-abortion”, “if you would only let us choose”.

  7. 7
    Frost122585 says:

    To focus centrally on the appeasement and happiness of the self (the true aim of liberalism) is in the end not liberation but imprisonment and isolation from the things that are of true value such as our faith and principles and their inspiration which lead us to contribute to society. Ultimately liberalism is a chosen form of short sightedness that stems from our own refusal to own up to the totality of our fallibility and the starkness of life’s challenges which together amount to what is known as “the human condition.”

    The truth about liberal values is that they are incompatible with life’s reality and quickly wither away when confronted by the inevitable harshness of reality’s piper and his universal law of no free lunches. Our commitment should not be to thy self but to the belief in higher principles, values and standards by which humanity may try to rise to- not to the lowest common denominator of those values which seemingly come to us “naturally,” easily, and agreeably without thorough introspection, examination and inevitably sacrifice-

    Richness, intelligence and tenacity are no substitutes for faith, wisdome and virtue- and they do not equate into self worth. We are not given nor can be buy self love and respect- it must be earned.

    Liberalism ignores the objective reality of these high values. It is in this sense the philosophical excuse for life’s hard reality. It bestows on its fallowers a quick and seemingly inexpensive fix to the problems and provides relativly immediate gratification- but it cannot quench the thrist of the spirit-

    For where men do not address the value of their condition in the fullness of its claim their experience fails to cross the threshold of significance. For value can exist effectively only where there are men committed to it. Yet, we should have no illusions- no such values of high order and esteem can be born from a dishonest, nihilistic philosophy who’s center focus is the worship of “self” through immediate gratification, the easiest way out, and avoidance of responsibility by denial of reality and the totality of it’s claim on the spirit.

    Man is not designed to be an ignorent taker and so liberism leaves us empty and unfulfilled. History has proven that liberlism always leads us to a hopeless dead end and in this sense it should always be known as “the God that failed.”

  8. 8
    Frost122585 says:

    To focus centrally on the appeasement and happiness of the self (the true aim of liberalism) is in the end not liberation but imprisonment and isolation from the things that are of true value such as our faith and principles and their inspiration which lead us to contribute to society. Ultimately liberalism is a chosen form of short sightedness that stems from our own refusal to own up to the totality of our fallibility and the starkness of life’s challenges which together amount to what is known as “the human condition.”

    The truth about liberal values is that they are incompatible with life’s reality and quickly wither away when confronted by the inevitable harshness of reality’s piper and his universal law of no free lunches. Our commitment should not be to thy self but to the belief in higher principles, values and standards by which humanity may try to rise to- not to the lowest common denominator of those values which seemingly come to us “naturally,” easily, and agreeably without thorough introspection, examination and inevitably sacrifice-

    Richness, intelligence and tenacity are no substitutes for faith, wisdome and virtue- and they do not equate into self worth. We are not given nor can be buy self love and respect- it must be earned.

    Liberalism ignores the objective reality of these high values. It is in this sense the philosophical excuse for life’s hard reality. It bestows on its fallowers a quick and seemingly inexpensive fix to the problems and provides relativly immediate gratification- but it cannot quench the thrist of the spirit-

    For where men do not address the value of their condition in the fullness of its claim their experience fails to cross the threshold of significance. For value can exist effectively only where there are men committed to it. Yet, we should have no illusions- no such values of high order and esteem can be born from a dishonest, nihilistic philosophy who’s center focus is the worship of “self” through immediate gratification, the easiest way out, and avoidance of responsibility by denial of reality and the totality of it’s claim on the spirit.

    Man is not designed to be an ignorent taker and so liberism leaves us empty and unfulfilled. History has proven that liberlism always leads us to a hopeless dead end and in this sense it should always be known as “the God that failed.”

  9. 9
    BarryA says:

    Vance, you make several good points and one key error that blows everything else away. You write: “Now ID becomes an interesting middle ground. On the one hand, the actual ID scientists want to play by these rules and say that using natural evidence objectively, we can surmise a supernatural involvement.”

    This is wrong. ID does NOT posit a supernatural designer.

  10. 10
    Vance says:

    Barry, good point, there is no explicit claim of a particular supernatural deity. I agree that my description there was from the Christian perspective on ID, and accepting the underlying truth that most ID proponents do believe in a such a particular designer.

    While I had known that the major ID proponents did not specify the exact nature of the designer, I really was under the impression that the “designer” would, necessarily be “supernatural”. That is interesting. Could you point me to a description of the “natural designer” idea?

    Thanks!

  11. 11
    congregate says:

    Vance-
    The natural alternatives I’ve heard of are aliens or time travelers. I don’t think any of the major ID proponents have spent much effort in describing those ideas and their implications.

  12. 12
    BarryA says:

    Vance, ID theory does not speculate about the nature of the designer other than that he/she/it is able to design. The point is that we do not need to know anything about the nature of the designer, his/her/its motives, etc. in order to infer design.

  13. 13
    Vance says:

    Yes, Barry, that is what I thought, but would not such a designer, by definition, have to be supernatural if the ID argument is that the design couldn’t be the result of solely naturalistic processes? Doesn’t “not naturalistic” necessarily mean “supernaturalistic”?

    I know we don’t have to identify the designer (and I understand the political “issues” in doing so), but that much at least we would have to posit, don’t you think?

  14. 14
    BarryA says:

    Vance, look at your computer. It is a high complex machine that was designed and created by an intelligent agent. It could not possibly have been created by “natural forces.” Was your computer created by a supernatural power?

    Blind watchmaker Darwinism posits that chance and necessity alone are sufficient to account for the observed complexity of life.

    ID posits two things. 1. The probability that chance and necessity alone could produce the observed complexity of life is vanishingly small. 2. Agency is the best current explanation for the observed complexity of life.

    By confusing terms you have created a false dichotomy. When ID says that “natural forces” could not have produced the observed complexity of life, it means nothing more than that chance and necessity alone could not produce the observed complexity of life. It does not mean that a supernatural agent must have acted.

    Just as the human who produced your highly complex computer is not supernatural, it may be that the agent who caused the complexity of life is not supernatural. Or he/she/it may be. Thus, a supernatural agent is not necessary for, or posited by, the Id theory, and ID theory does not speak to that point at this time.

  15. 15
    Q says:

    BarryA, now I’m confused with your claim. You make two points “look at your computer….It could not possibly have been created by “natural forces.” and then mention Agency is the best current explanation for the observed complexity of life.

    We know the computer is not life. We know that was created by life – us. So, we know that the agency that created the computer was a living agency. As I understand it, ID doesn’t posit that the agency which created us was a living agency – that agency may or may not have been non-material.

    Is your comment that the agency that created Vance’s computer may not be of “natural forces”, or is the argument that not all agents need be of “natural forces”.

  16. 16
    bFast says:

    Q, let me translate for BarryA a bit. Exchange “natural” for “unintelligent”. “look at your computer…It could not possibly have been created by “unintelligent forces”.

  17. 17
    Vance says:

    But does that not get us back to the “question which must not be asked”, whether the entire concept of ID, which must be taken to its logical extreme to be tested for validity, ultimately requires something supernatural to create the intelligence? If you say what we have could not be the result of purely natural (or unintelligent) forces, then you are positing something *if you go back far enough*, that IS supernatural.

    Listen, I know that there are many political reasons for not wanting to tie ID to a particular theistic belief, but at some point, doesn’t this type of argument smack of intellectual dishonesty? Let’s face it, all of us are theists. Almost every proponent of ID is a theist. If there were compelling non-theistic arguments for ID, we would see a significant number of non-theistic scientists saying “yeah, that’s right!”. But we don’t.

    I just don’t think this strategy of attempting to secularize the ID movement is really fooling anyone, and so it just makes ID look dishonest.

  18. 18
    Mapou says:

    But does that not get us back to the “question which must not be asked”, whether the entire concept of ID, which must be taken to its logical extreme to be tested for validity, ultimately requires something supernatural to create the intelligence?

    Have you tried taking Darwinism to its logical extreme lately? If you had, you would have noticed immediately that it has no validity. Life never started in Darwinism for the simple reason that no naturalisitic mechanism or condition can start it.

    I just don’t think this strategy of attempting to secularize the ID movement is really fooling anyone, and so it just makes ID look dishonest.

    I just don’t think that the strategy of attempting to hide atheism behind evolution is fooling anyone either.

    Having said that, the reason, in my opinion, that the ID movement refuses to go beyond the design hypothesis to identify the designer has to do with the fact that education in the US is run by the government. The secular government is forbidden by law to teach any form of religion in the classroom other than as comparative study.

    There is nothing dishonest about the ID stance since no ID proponent is hiding their religious convictions from anybody, as far as I know. It is a strategic stance based on legal grounds. It is also a scientific stance since the design hypothesis does make predictions whithout having to identify the designer. Your vain attempt at making a lame point to satisfy your personal bias has been noted. If you don’t like ID, you can always go cry on PZ Myers’ shoulders. 😀

  19. 19
    bFast says:

    Vance,

    The argument for biological evolution does not require a supernatural intelligent force. This is clearly established at panspermia.org. The panspermia community rejects the big bang, and concludes that as the universe always existed, so intelligent agents have always existed. If matter could have always existed, it is just as reasonable that intelligence always existed, like why not.

    Alas, the cosmological ID is a bit of another kettle of fish. If our universe is the product of an intelligent agent then that agent must be outside of our universe, and even outside of time as we know it, as time itself seems to have started with the bang.

    It remains, the fundimental reason that ID must recognize the possibility that we are the product of a non-supernatural intelligent agent is this: if it is conceivable that we are the product of a non-intelligent agent, then the investigation of our intelligent causation is no longer of necessity an investigation of the supernatural. If it is possible to investigate intelligent causation by an unknown intelligent agent, then such an investigation cannot be eliminated from science “a priori”.

    Further, who’s to say that a supernatural agent didn’t create a natural, intelligent agent, and that we are the product of that agent’s work. If we are the product of an “natural” intelligent agent which is the product of a supernatural agent, then we are still the result of a natural intelligent agent; yet the “who created” question is moot.

  20. 20
    BarryA says:

    Q, I don’t understand why you are confused. I simply stated at the beginning what I restated at the end. Vance’s computer is a complex object. I was using it as a more accessible stand-in for the complexity of life. Neither Vance’s computer nor the complexity of life could have been created by “natural forces,” if by “natural forces” one means chance and necessity alone. Both are the result of the actions of, as bFast states, an intelligent agent.

    Q then writes: “As I understand it, ID doesn’t posit that the agency which created us was a living agency – that agency may or may not have been non-material.”

    You are correct. ID does not posit that the agent is “living” (by which I presume you mean a carbon based biological entity similar to a human only more advanced). Nor does ID posit that the agent is material or non-material. ID makes no statements about the designer other than that he/she/it designed.

    Q then writes: “Is your comment that the agency that created Vance’s computer may not be of ‘natural forces’, or is the argument that not all agents need be of ‘natural forces’.”

    Neither. My comment at 14 runs to this point. Vance created a false dichotomy when he said that the designer must be supernatural. The confusion stems not from poor logic but imprecise use of language. Wittgenstein again: “Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.”

    Vance states that “non-natural” means “supernatural.” His confusion is understandable because in one sense of the word “non-natural” he is correct. Unfortunately, that is not the sense of the word used in ID theory. When an ID theorists says “non-natural” he does not mean “supernatural.” He means “not caused by chance and mechanical necessity alone.” And here’s the important point: when one says that an effect was “not caused by chance and mechanical necessity alone,” that is simply not the same thing as saying it was caused by a supernatural agent, as the computer example was intended to illustrate.

  21. 21
    BarryA says:

    Vance writes: “But does that not get us back to the ‘question which must not be asked,’ whether the entire concept of ID, which must be taken to its logical extreme to be tested for validity, ultimately requires something supernatural to create the intelligence?”

    Consider this. Let us say for the sake of argument that Darwinism is a scientific project. Even though Darwinism is science and not metaphysics, many Darwinists are very sanguine about the metaphysical IMPLICATIONS of that theory. While atheism is not now and has never been a hypothesis that supports the theory, the theory nevertheless makes many atheists happy (or fulfilled as Dawkins says).

    Similarly, ID is a scientific project; it is not a metaphysical (or as you suggest, theological) project. Even though ID is science and not metaphysics, many ID theorists (but certainly not all; David Berlinski is an atheist or at least an agnostic) are very sanguine about the metaphysical IMPLICATIONS of the theory. While a supernatural creator is not now and has never been a hypothesis that supports the theory, the theory nevertheless makes many theists happy.

    You say that whether the creator is supernatural is the “question which must not be asked.” No, that is just the opposite of correct. Within the realm of science, that is the “question that cannot be answered.” There is insufficient data upon which to base any valid SCIENTIFIC conclusion about the nature of the creator (other than that he/she/it is able to create). Therefore, ID, as good science, remains silent. In other words, the question is simply not one that can be approached through the methods of science at this time.

  22. 22
    BarryA says:

    Vance writes: “If you say what we have could not be the result of purely natural (or unintelligent) forces, then you are positing something *if you go back far enough*, that IS supernatural.”

    No, I am not. See my comment 20. I hope you are getting your categories straight now.

  23. 23
    BarryA says:

    Vance writes: “Listen, I know that there are many political reasons for not wanting to tie ID to a particular theistic belief, but at some point, doesn’t this type of argument smack of intellectual dishonesty?”

    Piffle. ID’s refusal to discuss the nature of the designer has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the fact that ID is science, not theology. Some Darwinists say that Darwinism demonstrates there is no God. Utter balderdash. THAT is intellectually dishonest. And an ID theorists would be just as dishonest if he were to say that ID demonstrates that there is a God. ID, as science, simply does not deal with the question of the existence of God, just as Darwinism does not deal with the question of the existence of God. Whether God exists is not a question that can be approached through scientific means.

  24. 24
    jerry says:

    The designer of life could be of this universe or not of this universe. ID does not know or speculate. There is no scientific information that is presently available that lets one do more than provide wild speculations.

    If the designer of life was of this universe we would need data from his/her/its environments to make a judgment whether the designer could have arisen by natural causes. The designer may be of a form of life we cannot yet comprehend because it arose in a completely different environment. Thus, the designer would not have to be carbon based but might have found it necessary to use a carbon based basis for life on our planet.

    I am not saying I believe this but we have no information to rule it out. There is also some thinking that carbon did not exist in any great amount till about 8 billion years after the big bang and that corresponds to when our solar system was forming. So who says that the designer had to be carbon based.

    If for our planet someone showed a method how complex carbon based molecules could have arisen based on natural processes, we would probably not be having this discussion. So far no one has presented such a process. But we do not know what we would think if some other planetary system existed that had an environment that led to complex molecules because the planet formed in a completely different way.

  25. 25
    BarryA says:

    Vance writes: “Let’s face it, all of us are theists. Almost every proponent of ID is a theist.”

    “We” (by which I take it you mean ID proponents) are not all theists. As I mentioned above, David Berlinski is not a theist.

    Vance writes: “If there were compelling non-theistic arguments for ID . . .”

    This statement demonstrates a great deal of confusion on your part. Not only are there compelling non-theistic arguments for ID, ALL arguments for ID are non-theistic.

    Vance writes: “we would see a significant number of non-theistic scientists saying ‘yeah, that’s right!’

    Volumes have been written about why more scientists don’t follow the data to where it is obviously leading, and I won’t add to that literature here. I will say only that you obviously have no idea how difficult it is to swim against the intellectual current. Just ask Guillermo Gonzalez. Few people have the courage of Gonzalez to risk their careers bucking the enforcers of the rigid materialist orthodoxy that have ensnared our institutions.

  26. 26
    Q says:

    BarryA, in 21, says Similarly, ID is a scientific project; it is not a metaphysical (or as you suggest, theological) project.

    That is the part that doesn’t make sense. From all that I see, ID depends upon a dualist nature – material vs. non-material. There are some specific questions that are innate in ID that are beyond materialism. For instance, questions of what are the material boundaries of the intelligent designer are excluded, as per another current thread. Questions about the nature of intelligence seem to be inextricably intertwined with the philosophy that mind is the non-material side of brain. Questions about agency include a distinct separation from the material chance and regularity, which seems to include some characteristic beyond simple cause-and-effect, or even quantum indeterminism.

    To be only “scientific”, ID would only address the material aspects of its claims and predictions. There would be no limits as to what could be interrogated, questioned, and tested, so long as it was material. Other aspects that seem to be included in ID are philosophical, and are not “scientific”, in the sense that predictions are made, followed by observations, and conclusions.

    I think it should be fine that ID includes the non-material as part of its foundation, and that it not be necessary to hide it.

  27. 27
    DaveScot says:

    Q

    There’s nothing at all immaterial that I have ever needed to call upon in supporting the hypothesis that life on this planet required at least some input from an intelligent agency. It’s all based on probability, physical law, observational and experimental evidence.

    jerry

    Excellent take on the situation in your comment 24. I agree in all particulars.

  28. 28
    Frost122585 says:

    Vance says-

    You know, this post sparked something I have been pondering for a while. Here is where so many of us Christians get it wrong:

    The problem lies in that too many Christians seem to be viewing science as “the search for truth” wherever it may lie. And that is understandable because we live in a society which has come to think that such truth does, indeed, lie within the grasp (eventually) of scientific inquiry. We have elevated science beyond its limited scope and into a role for which it was never intended: arbiter of truth. And if science is going to tell us what TRUTH is, we want to make sure that it is looking in all the right places!! Perfectly understandable.

    Vance, your argument that “us” Christians get it wrong because we fail to grasp the proper role and definition of science from what it should be (i.e. not the search for truth but a physical process of discovery and explanation) is in fact just methodological materialism because the essence of science lies in the philosophical precepts of inquisition and desire. In other words while the process of science is materialistic the extent and range of its implications are not- yet the metaphysical reasoning that is considered by some as unscientific is nonetheless real- and many will venture to say that the thought of man are in fact physical and hence in this sense our metaphysical desire fro the search of reason and truth is in fact part of science.

    First of all we need to address ID in the fullness of its claim. It is a theory or explanation to the ultimate question of origins- It has a competitor which is called methodological materialistic Darwinism.

    Now, we Christians are not saying that we need to know the truth about what causes a disease before we can try to develop some treatments for it- no, we are not seeking ultimate truth but… when you are talking about an explanation which is a theory to a most illusive and important question of origins- anyone should want to debate the validity of that claim.

    To assert that the desire for truth is getting in the way of an explanation of origins is absolutely ridiculous. How we live our lives, rather we choose to worship- how we view philosophy and theology, how we live our lives and run society is influenced by ones interpretation of life, nature and science- so in this sense we are treating a patient called “Origins” and we need to know which treatment is gong to work the best. We don’t need to know for sure if one is ultimately true or not but we need to compare and weigh the options in all of their totality.

    There is no reason to exclude ID as a theory and expanation of origins unless you start from the position of negative (unfair) bias against ID- which will ultimately be rooted opinion and emotive thinking because no scientific reasoning has to date replaced or expelled the theory.

    Don’t confuse science with explanations and truth- truth is always the end goal in any search- (who would seek the wrong answer?) Science is merely the process whereby we work through to obtain truth- and to criticize anyone for expecting an explanation to be truthful is either guided by a dishonest personal agenda or is born out of ignorance of the importance of this subject.

    Truth and individualistic mindsets are real and in fact are part of any comprehensive definition of science. The anti Id people love to quote that “science is a verb” – but dare look it up in the dictionary and you may find to your dismay that it is in fact a noun. And like all things it is extended and exists connect to the rest of the physical universe. Nothing in this world exists in a vacuum and if a definition of science is merely this physical process where by everyone must agree with a given set of data for it to be considered scientific – science would be meaningless and of little use because its role always begins with a question- what your definition of science requires is all “facts” and most of science and especially theories are by this definition scientifically deficient- especially Origins.

    We are debating the validity of the scinece and the conclusions poeple draw from it as they stand on their on two feet. Lets not confuse conclusions and explanations and inferences with scinence. Id is a scientifically “supported theory” and explanation of origins- Id is not and never will equate to “science” per se’ in the vanacular- and neither will Darwinism.

    So to debate the definition of science is shortsighted and moot- the debate lies in the conclusions drawn from data and the facts weighed across comparative explanatory lines- and design finds itself very comfortable in this debate- that is after we stop the methodological materialistic legal rambling- 🙂

  29. 29
    Q says:

    DaveScot, 27, says There’s nothing at all immaterial that I have ever needed to call upon in supporting the hypothesis that life on this planet required at least some input from an intelligent agency.

    Oh, then there are two different discussions. One, as you mentioned, about life on this planet. Another, is life in general. If life on this planet arrived from the purely material and intelligent actions of other material beings, then the first question could be answered as purely material. But, for the second part – life in general – we would need to extrapolate back to that other life form, and see it’s origin. This is the only way to determine if life could arise through purely material actions – like chance and regularity – or whether it required an intelligent agent before any material intelligent agents existed. I.e., the question is still about whether the original life was designed as ID states, or whether it could have arrived anywhere through material chance and regulariry?

    According to the explanatory filter used by ID, life – in general – is too complex to have arisen through chance and regularity. So, it seems, at some point in the quest for understanding the origin of life through ID, some non-material aspects of nature must be introduced.

  30. 30
    bFast says:

    Q:

    According to the explanatory filter used by ID, life – in general – is too complex to have arisen through chance and regularity. So, it seems, at some point in the quest for understanding the origin of life through ID, some non-material aspects of nature must be introduced.

    Certainly the most obvious solution to the enigma of Intelligence is that there is “some non-material aspects of nature” — some pre-existing intelligence — God. Great, let us choose the logical path and believe in God.

    However, there may be other conceivable options:
    1 – within or outside of this universe, there may be an infinitely long chain of intelligences causing new intelligences. It may be that some day scientists create their own big-bang, spawning a new universe, and those scientists influence that universe to create a new intelligent species. Or it could be, like the panspermia people suggest, that the big bang is a scientific error, that the universe, and intelligences spawning new intelligences, always existed.

    2 – Within the framework of DNA, RNA and Proteins, the evidence that I see suggests that life spawning from non-life just didn’t happen without help. However, what about a different environment? Maybe a very different creature, thing the crystaline entity of Startreck TNG fame, was able to spawn from non-intelligence. Maybe that life-form somehow avoided the chicken-egg problem that DNA/Protein is, and the irreduceable complexity problems, and all of the other problems. Maybe it isn’t even information based, as we understand it.

    Hey, Q, why not just go with Occam’s Razor, and with Anthony Flew, and conclude that the designer might in fact be God.

  31. 31
    Q says:

    bFast, 30, Hey, Q, why not just go with Occam’s Razor, and with Anthony Flew, and conclude that the designer might in fact be God.
    I’m not arguing against that point.

    My concern is with claims such as BarryA’s (9)
    ID does NOT posit a supernatural designer.

    and DaveScot’s (27)
    There’s nothing at all immaterial that I have ever needed to call upon in supporting the hypothesis that life on this planet required at least some input from an intelligent agency. It’s all based on probability, physical law, observational and experimental evidence.

    Those type of comments suggest that ID’s claims about the origin of life can be investigated without including the non-material. That is contractictory to the tenets of ID, once the origin of all life is added to the discussion, because ID explicitely claims that life was too complex to have originated without an intelligent agent to design it, and ID posits that it must have happened before any material intelligence existed.

  32. 32
    Mapou says:

    Q: ID posits that it must have happened before any material intelligence existed.

    I don’t remember reading this anywhere. Somehow I doubt that this is part of the ID hypothesis. A material intelligence certainly could have designed life as we know it based on available evidence.

  33. 33
    bFast says:

    Q:

    ID explicitely claims that life was too complex to have originated without an intelligent agent to design it, and ID posits that it must have happened before any material intelligence existed.

    ID only posits the study of evidence of intelligent causation. Now, Dembski’s sub-theory of SC may make your claims, but SC is a subset of ID, SC is not ID.

  34. 34
    Joseph says:

    According to the explanatory filter used by ID, life – in general – is too complex to have arisen through chance and regularity. –Q

    That is false. The PROPER use of the EF demonstrates that both complexity AND specification criteria have to be met in order to infer design.

    That is contractictory to the tenets of ID, once the origin of all life is added to the discussion, because ID explicitely claims that life was too complex to have originated without an intelligent agent to design it, and ID posits that it must have happened before any material intelligence existed.–Q

    Also false.

    ID is based on three premises and the inference that follows (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):

    1. High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2. Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3. Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4. Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    ID argues against materialism in that ID states that not everything is reducible to matter & energy.

  35. 35
    Q says:

    joseph, aren’t your points above (in 34), basically what I was saying? That is, as you concluded, ID argues against materialism (for the reasons you explain), and so argues against purely material explanations for the origin of life.

    Although in theory subsequent life forms may be the source of yet-another-subsequent life form, doesn’t ID suggest that the original life form could not have been cause by a purely material event? Isn’t it skirting the problem to suggest that non-material can be exluded from ID’s investigation into the origins of life in the universe?

    bFast (33), fair point about Demski’s EF vs ID in general.

    Mapou (32) I don’t remember reading this anywhere. Somehow I doubt that this is part of the ID hypothesis.
    Maybe I’m reading it too far then. Does ID suggest that the original life could have occured through purely material intelligent agents? Were there any before there was life? Or, doesn’t ID essentially require that for the original life to have come about, there must have been a pre-existing intelligence not bound to material life in order to design that life?

    I’m not trying to be obtuse on this – it just seems that arguing that ID includes the option that life could have originated through purely material means, or to have not required a non-material intelligent agent, is to demote ID to being a simple mechanistic explanation with regards to the origin of life in the universe.

    I think it imperative to include that the intelligent agent of the design of the original life in the universe, according to ID, must have been a non-material intelligence.

  36. 36
    magnan says:

    jerry (#24): “The designer of life could be of this universe or not of this universe. ID does not know or speculate. There is no scientific information that is presently available that lets one do more than provide wild speculations.”

    Your post is an excellent summary overall. The evidence of massively greater amounts of specified complex information than can be explained as originating from stochastic processes indicates injection of design information by some intelligent agent(s). The intelligent agent(s) could be material, of this universe, or “supernatural”. The process by which this injection of design input took place is constrained by the available evidence of the fossil record and comparative genetics. This evidence can’t distinguish between genetic manipulation by physical advanced intelligent beings from elsewhere/elsewhen in the universe (ETs), and genetic manipulation by supernatural agent(s).

    However, the evidence of parapsychology (psi research) does seem to point more to a supernatural source of this intelligence. I have in mind the evidence that (at least human) minds can directly physically affect external objects, in particular quantum mechanical random events such as with REGs, that (human) minds can directly affect other life forms in particular individual cells and cell cultures, and that as implied by this and much other evidence (at least human) minds apparently are not identical with or purely functions of the physical brain. Surely this evidence must have a significant implication as to the nature of the intelligence behind life.

  37. 37
    bFast says:

    Magnan, I think that parapsychology has a number of valid points. It is interesting that it has been scientifically demonstrated that humans can tell when someone is staring at them. It is interesting that it has been scientifically demonstrated that humans have some ability to determine who is calling or e-mailing.

    Do you have a site link further discussing human interation with quantum events? I believe I have heard something about this, but would like to know more.

  38. 38
    Vance says:

    Frosti, my point was not to argue against ID in my original comment (#1), and I point out there your point that the real “opponent” is philosophical naturalism. And, I fully agree that our search for “truth” should extend beyond the reaches of mere methodological naturalism. We should take the results of scientific analysis (which can not, due to its limited methodologies) and not stop there, but move forward with philosophy and theology to seek the ultimate truth. We agree on that entirely.

    But what is essential to keep in mind is that science, in and of itself, can not get there. It is not equipped to deal with anything beyond the natural. There is no means by which it can analyze things which are not natural, so it’s best use is for determining the best *naturalistic* explanation for phenomenon. We Christians, and other theists, will always place a little mental asterisk by that conclusion which says “if it is happening entirely naturally”, but the bottom line is that this is all science can do: provide the best naturalistic explanation.

    We can not say that since the search for ultimate truth goes beyond the natural, then science, which is supposed to the be the search for truth must go beyond the natural as well. That would be nice, but science can not do that. Sure, we could expand the definition of “science” to mean more than it really should, sort of a “search for truth, wherever it can be found”, but that is not what science really is. We need to separate the two concepts and see science for just the limited tool that it is.

    I am an attorney, so figure a courtroom at a murder trial. They bring in the scientists who have very specific tools for answering very specific questions. And they provide the jury with the best explanation of the evidence using their specific tools. That is not the final answer, however. The jury has to take that testimony, that “best explanation from the expert within his expertise”, and then considering all the other evidence, weigh it all together and come to a decision on what the actual truth is. Just as we would not want the scientist in the trial to be the final arbiter of what the “truth” is in the case, we should not expect scientists to be the final arbiter of truth in areas outside of their “natural” bailiwick either. We do not call the jury “scientists” or the entire judicial process, which is a search for truth, “science”. We recognize that the scientific conclusions are just one part of the evidence we bring to bear. And, of course, as with the court case, very often that scientific (naturalistic) answer is SO convincing that we accept it AS truth. But not automatically. We accept that it is the best naturalistic explanation and then, if we are people of faith who have other evidence we bring to bear, we continue our analysis.

  39. 39
    StephenB says:

    Q: I think that you are confusing the science of intelligent design with the philosophy of dualism.

    Intelligent design, by definition, cannot comment one way or the other about the metaphysical realities that may illuminate the science.

    On the other hand, there are really only two philosophical possiblities: materialism or dualism. Thus, dualistic mataphysics does posit the presence of God and mind aprirori, just as it posits the presence of God.

    I will say this, though. Although one can be a good ID scientist and be an agnostic, I don’t believe that one can be a good philsopher and be an agnostic. The reason most ID scientists are theists is becasue they are also good philsophers.

  40. 40
    StephenB says:

    Excuse my repetitious phrase on 39 (just as it posits the presence of God.)

  41. 41
    Unlettered and Ordinary says:

    Greetings!

    ID is material investigation that put the facts first, and some conclutions may or may not lead to non-material. In other words follow the evidence. So until we can measure beyond our universe there is no comment.

    But after the science we can do other things. ID is science so it does have limitations.

    It is true scientific investigation is limited to the material universe, but it may lead to non-material conclutions.

    Unlike Darwinism, ID does not put the theory before the “facts.” And in some cases the non-material causes can be measured through material effects.

    Ultimately science is just one tool for unterstanding our universe.

  42. 42
    Q says:

    StephenB (39) On the other hand, there are really only two philosophical possiblities: materialism or dualism.
    Sure, I’ll not argue that. And, materialism is an insufficient tool to support ID’s explanation on the origin of life in the universe – that an intelligent agent existed before life.

    The only rational conclusion between these two choices – materialism or dualism – is that ID seems to depend upon dualism to explain the origins of life, and thus, the original designer must be non-material. Or is there some other means to have an intelligent agent design the original life while being material?

  43. 43
    RRE says:

    Vance,

    “Frosti, my point was not to argue against ID in my original comment (#1), and I point out there your point that the real “opponent” is philosophical naturalism.”

    I agree. The enemy is natural causes only– without intelligent causes being allowed.

    “And, I fully agree that our search for “truth” should extend beyond the reaches of mere methodological naturalism.”

    Things that we can observe, study, test and demonstrate fall into the science category, things that we cannot observe, study, test, demonstrate and repeat (as in an experiment) fall into the metaphysical category.

    “We should take the results of scientific analysis (which can not, due to its limited methodologies) and not stop there, but move forward with philosophy and theology to seek the ultimate truth.””

    You are right, scientific analysis has very limited methodologies to seek the origin of events in the deep past. A lot of people have sought philosophy and theology to seek an ultimate truth because they think there is a purpose for themselves within that faith.

    “But what is essential to keep in mind is that science, in and of itself, can not get there. It is not equipped to deal with anything beyond the natural.”

    This statement is not correct, and quite misleading. Science can detect intelligent causes, if you were in a murder trial as an attorney, then you know the difference between causes that are naturally occuring, versus those that are caused by intelligence. The fact that you are in a murder trial has already concluded that the ‘origin of the dead body’ was caused by intelligent and natural causes–not just purely natural causes.

    “There is no means by which it can analyze things which are not natural, so it’s best use is for determining the best *naturalistic* explanation for phenomenon.”

    We can analyze things and find out how those things work, but we cannot find the origin of those things using the same rules. How things work, and the origin of things are two separate concepts. How things work are always the product of natural phenomenon. How something causes to come into existence–the origin of ‘said thing’ is different. It has two options, naturalistic causes only, and naturalistic causes WITH intelligent causes as well.
    Materialist scientists in your education system and on your media have confused you into a circular pattern in which you think that that the human and his mind are part of nature, and are therefore only invoking natural causes. This helps in your mind to conclude a purely natural explanation as to the ‘origin of a dead body’, when in fact the mind from a murderer is working out intelligent causes that can go beyond those that are caused by pure nature.

    “We Christians, and other theists, will always place a little mental asterisk by that conclusion which says “if it is happening entirely naturally”, but the bottom line is that this is all science can do: provide the best naturalistic explanation.”

    You are excluding intelligent causes. Intelligent causes produce machines and codes. We are the only biologic machine that can add concept onto matter in the form of a code or machine. The only code that man did not create is the genetic code, and the only machines that man is not making is biologic machines copying themselves seemingly endlessly. Sorry you monkey lovers out there, a monkey using a ‘tool’ is not a machine or code. It’s a stick or a stone. Even the bird can beat them and make a nice nest. So don’t let the materialists confuse you on that one, the monkey has no way forward with respect to actualizing and producing a legitimate code or machine. This is the materialist who controls large portions of the media and the education system manipulating you into thinking a tool and a machine are the same. Science can detect intelligent causes too, that’s the bottom line. Show me some natural forces that can make a machine or code please, then I’ll believe you, until then, you are arguing in metaphysics.

    “We can not say that since the search for ultimate truth goes beyond the natural, then science, which is supposed to the be the search for truth must go beyond the natural as well. That would be nice, but science can not do that. ”

    Wrong. Forensic science deals with the detection of intelligent agency. That’s not a natural cause, it is separate and can be distinguished. Forensic science is a good example where they are not looking for natural laws or forces, but comparing their observations to natural causes and intelligent causes, and concluding whether it’s an accident or done on purpose. Science can detect purpose. I can tell a car has a purpose to transport you. I can make that logic.

    “Sure, we could expand the definition of “science” to mean more than it really should, sort of a “search for truth, wherever it can be found”, but that is not what science really is. We need to separate the two concepts and see science for just the limited tool that it is.”

    Expand the definition? I just don’t want to exclude intelligent causes when determining the origin of any given event in nature. If you want to exclude intelligent causes as your definition of science, then I would love to see it expanded.

    “I am an attorney, so figure a courtroom at a murder trial. They bring in the scientists who have very specific tools for answering very specific questions. And they provide the jury with the best explanation of the evidence using their specific tools. That is not the final answer, however. The jury has to take that testimony, that “best explanation from the expert within his expertise”, and then considering all the other evidence, weigh it all together and come to a decision on what the actual truth is. Just as we would not want the scientist in the trial to be the final arbiter of what the “truth” is in the case, we should not expect scientists to be the final arbiter of truth in areas outside of their “natural” bailiwick either. We do not call the jury “scientists” or the entire judicial process, which is a search for truth, “science”. We recognize that the scientific conclusions are just one part of the evidence we bring to bear. And, of course, as with the court case, very often that scientific (naturalistic) answer is SO convincing that we accept it AS truth. But not automatically. We accept that it is the best naturalistic explanation and then, if we are people of faith who have other evidence we bring to bear, we continue our analysis.”

    In a murder trial, you already gave up on purely naturalistic explanations and moved on to ‘intelligent causes’ as to the origin as to the death of a person’s body/s. How can you not see that? The origin had ‘intelligent causes’ (another person/intelligent agent shot/stabbed/blugeoned someoneelse). The fact that you got to trial suggests that your detectives found all kinds of intelligent agency around the dead body, probably in some cases literally written or ‘splattered’ on the wall suggested, ‘your man did it’. If you were a detective or policeman instead, you would realize the flaw in your logic. Say for example, a police officer was asked to go to the scene of an accident and by doing so finds out a boulder fell down a mountain and smashed into a car with someone in it, and that someone later died. Now, the ‘origin of the dead body’ in that case was the product of purely natural causes. Perhaps wind, and water erosion of the soil loosening the boulder to fall onto the road crushing that someone. You don’t go to trial notice. The witnesses said the rock did it. It’s over, pure natural in that case–but in everyone of your cases, intelligent causes were the cause as to the ‘origin of the dead body’.

  44. 44
    StephenB says:

    —–Q “The only rational conclusion between these two choices – materialism or dualism – is that ID seems to depend upon dualism to explain the origins of life, and thus, the original designer must be non-material. Or is there some other means to have an intelligent agent design the original life while being material?”

    Do you realize that you shift back and forth from philosophy to science, demanding from science philosophical answers and demanding from philosophy scientific answers.

    To say that either materialism or dualsim must be true is a philosophical assertion not a scientific assumption. Philosophy can certainly illuminate science, but not in the middle of a rigorous scientific investigation that requires a rigorous scientific focus.

    I do believe that, in order to be perfectly coherent, one must believe in rational minds, a rational universe, and a correspondence between the two. If one doesn’t believe that God left clues, then it makes little sense to go looking for clues. That is why, in my judgment, agnosticism is incoherent and self-contradictory. But that is a function of reason’s first principles and is in no way a prerequisite for doing intelligent design.

    It is NOT NECESSARY TO PRESUPPOSE rationality in the universe in order to DISCOVER RATIONALITY in the universe. Indeed, one can begin with an incoherent agnosticism and end with a vital deism. Just ask Anthony Flew. His story completely blows away your premise. If one had to assume rationality to discover rationality, then obviously it WOULD NOT BE A DISCOVERY.

  45. 45
    Q says:

    StephenB, To say that either materialism or dualsim must be true is a philosophical assertion not a scientific assumption.
    Yes, you said those were the choices back in 39. I was building on that concept.

    StephenB Do you realize that you shift back and forth from philosophy to science, demanding from science philosophical answers and demanding from philosophy scientific answers.
    I’m pretty sure that I’m keeping the science domain and the philosophical domain separate. But, there is fundamental overlap, because both dualism and materialism provide insights into the observable world, as does science. So, it may appear that they are being commingled. I mean, even you addressed both in the same sentence when you discussed the philosophy of discovering rationality It is NOT NECESSARY TO PRESUPPOSE rationality in the universe in order to DISCOVER RATIONALITY in the universe. Discovering things is one aspect of science.

    The point I’m trying to make (or to reconcile if I’ve got it wrong) is that ID makes claims about the origin of life that are both material (that an intelligent agent designed life is the best explanation for the origin of life in the universe) while also making philosophical claims (that intelligence is separate from chance and regularity, that non-intelligent agencies can’t be the origin of life, and that the intelligent agency existed before life.) Even if my explanation is a bit terse, ID makes both scientific claims and philosophical claims, and the existance of the boundary between those parts of ID should not be ignored.

  46. 46
    StephenB says:

    ——Q: “I mean, even you addressed both in the same sentence when you discussed the philosophy of discovering rationality It is NOT NECESSARY TO PRESUPPOSE rationality in the universe in order to DISCOVER RATIONALITY in the universe. Discovering things is one aspect of science.”

    Maybe the determinists are right, after all. I am beginning to think that either I was born to be misunderstood or else you were born to misunderstand.

    My last paragraph was not a comingling of philosophy and science. It was an attempt to dramatize the point that scientific inferences can be made from data WITHOUT making philosophical assumptions. Naturally, philosophy can interact with science in productive ways. However, part of the intellectual task is knowing when one is using philosophy as a complement to science and when one is not.

    You assume, no you doggedly insist, that the two cannot be separated long enough even to perform a design inference. I assume that this is why, if I understand some of your previous comments, you cannot bring yourself to acknowedge design even when it is the only reasonable explanation. As I recall, you seriously question the fact that the postings on this thread are products of design. There aren’t too many people in the world that would take skepticism that far.

  47. 47
    Q says:

    StephenB, I do doggedly insist that when we are making claims about the observable universe, that we are practicing some aspects of the scientific method. I also insist that advocates of ID not ignore that ID has fundamental claims about a designer that are beyond the ability of observation to validate. At the same time, these claims, are integral to the premises of ID. By being beyond observation – i.e. the scientific method – those claims push elements of ID into the philosophical domain. The claims about the designer of original life in the universe cannot be studied with a purely materialistic philosophical backing. ID, and claims about the designer of original life, must be studied with an inseparable dualistic backing.

    StephenB, As I recall, you seriously question the fact that the postings on this thread are products of design.
    Actually, I’m not rejecting design. I am insisting that if claims are made about tdesign, that the rationale be included. And, if the claims are about observations, then they qualify as scientific claims. If the claims can’t be supported with the scientific method – i.e. observe, predict, test, validate – then we must acknowledge that some elements of a non-material philosophy must be included in the explanation.

    You specifically brought up my concerns regarding claims of design. If the rationale for design always boils down to “It is designed because it looks designed”, we’re either dealing with a circular argument about materialism, or we have a philosophical argument about what the words “looks like design” would mean.

    Philosophically, I object to claims such as “This is the way it is” under the guise of science, when those claims are beyond the ability of the scientific method to validate. Those claims end up being philosophical – along the lines of “This is the way it logically seems to be.” Take your point above: It was an attempt to dramatize the point that scientific inferences can be made from data WITHOUT making philosophical assumptions. Inferences are the prediction step of the scientific process. If making that inference is not followed with experiment and validation, making that inference is not science and contrary to your claim, it is not a scientific inference. It is a logical conclusion of a philosophical argument.

  48. 48
    Q says:

    StephenB, I reread my post above, and my line above Philosophically, I object to claims such as “This is the way it is” under the guise of science, when those claims are beyond the ability of the scientific method to validate. was not meant to suggest that all claims are beyond the ability of the scientific method to validate. I had bad comma usage. I meant to include only those arguments that are beyond the scientific method.

  49. 49
    StephenB says:

    —–Q: “I also insist that advocates of ID not ignore that ID has fundamental claims about a designer that are beyond the ability of observation to validate.”

    ID makes no claims about the designer. It only studies the effects of intelligent innovation.–

    —-“Inferences are the prediction step of the scientific process.”

    Inferences are inferences. What one does or does not do with them is an entirely separate matter. You continue to impose your own subjective definitions on matters whose meaning has already been established. As long as you insist on manipulate the language to harmonize with your materialistic bias, you will remain confused.

    —–“If making that inference is not followed with experiment and validation, making that inference is not science and contrary to your claim, it is not a scientific inference. It is a logical conclusion of a philosophical argument.”

    It is no such thing. Statistical inference has nothing to do with philosophy.

    —–“Actually, I’m not rejecting design. I am insisting that if claims are made about tdesign, that the rationale be included.”

    Well, we can settle this matter right now. Do you agree that my last post was designed? Please understand that this is either a yes, no, or I don’t know question. Please answer with one of those three responses.

  50. 50
    bFast says:

    Q:

    I do doggedly insist that when we are making claims about the observable universe, that we are practicing some aspects of the scientific method. I also insist that advocates of ID not ignore that ID has fundamental claims about a designer that are beyond the ability of observation to validate. At the same time, these claims, are integral to the premises of ID.

    Gone a little full of yourself haven’t yea.

    A#1, who on earth are you to insist.

    2B, if a UFO came down, and little green men popped off. If they went on to claim that they are the designer of life on earth. If they then sat down with the scientists and showed them how they did it. This would be a solid victory for ID. (The ID community would say, “I told you so.” Many, maybe even most, IDers would be dissappointed that the designer proved to be material, but ID would be vindicated.)

    Thirdly, please repeat this mantra: “There is nothing about biological ID that requires anything immaterial or supernatural.” When you’ve got that, then you will quit living with a face full of foot.

  51. 51
    Mapou says:

    Many, maybe even most, IDers would be dissappointed that the designer proved to be material

    Well, I am a Christian and there is no doubt in my mind that the designer (God in this case) is material and physical. Certainly, it is not be the same type of matter (protons, neutrons, electrons, etc…) but it’s matter nonetheless. There is corruptible living matter and incorruptible living matter. That does not mean that there is no duality, however. The designer’s body is physical but his consciousness is immaterial, i.e., spiritual, just like ours. In fact, I don’t think there is such a thing as an immaterial intelligence. Consider that the physical matter that we are familiar with is not the only possible form of matter.

    I don’t understand this insistence that the designer that designed life on this planet must be immaterial. We humans are intelligent designers and yet our brains are made of matter. Why must we insist that God’s intelligence be immaterial? If this belief is based on Biblical evidence, I haven’t seen it. I’m always willing to be educated though.

  52. 52
    Q says:

    StephenB (49), ID makes no claims about the designer. It only studies the effects of intelligent innovation.–
    Not quite true that “no” claims are made.

    ID claims that the designer exists, that it has intelligence, that it can cause observable things to occur, and that its functionality is the best explanation for the origin of life in the universe. Each of those claims are either observable or not. (The claim of “not observable” doesn’t mean “not real” when backed by a dualist philosophy.)

    StephenB Inferences are inferences. What one does or does not do with them is an entirely separate matter
    True. And claims are claims. Scientific claims suggest one set of understanding, philosophical claims suggest another. Is ID a science or a philosophy, or some combination of both?

    StephenB Do you agree that my last post was designed?
    I’ll say yes. But that is a gut feel. Can you explain how to validate whether it was designed? That is, the question of “How to validate if that post was designed” is not the same “Does design exist?” If we are arguing that ID is scientific – the point I’m persuing – that design should be demonstrable with the scientific method, shouldn’t it?

    bfast (50) who on earth are you to insist.
    Q

    bFast (50) if a UFO came down, and little green men popped off. If they went on to claim that they are the designer of life on earth….
    I don’t dispute, and haven’t disputed, the “on earth” part of that argument. I’ve been addressing the question of the original intelligent life in the universe. ID says that it was too complex to have arisen without an intelligent agent. So, to explore that question about the original life with the scientific process, we would need some material process that has intelligence but not life. Or, we would need a non-material intelligence with properties beyond our ability to observe.

    Sorry, bFast, but a mantra is a mantra. It is not an axiom, a process, or a conclusion. The claim “There is nothing about biological ID that requires anything immaterial or supernatural”, does seem to require non-material, if ID also claims that intelligence can’t arise from chance and regularity. I.e. ID seems to say (and this could be the hole in my thinking) material intelligence requires pre-existing material intelligence before it can come into existance, unless the pre-existing intelligence can be non-material.

  53. 53
    DaveScot says:

    Q

    ID claims that the designer exists, that it has intelligence, that it can cause observable things to occur, and that its functionality is the best explanation for the origin of life in the universe.

    Not quite. No claim is made that the intelligent designers still exist today. Of course it follows if the designers are no longer with us then they are hardly capable of making observable things happen anymore. If ID made the claim a solitary living God tinkers with the universe I’d be forced to bow out and come up with an independent version of ID that didn’t make the claim.

  54. 54
    Q says:

    DaveScot, 53, Not quite. No claim is made that the intelligent designers still exist today.
    Very good point. The tense of the points I made regarding the ID claims of the origin of life in the universe needs to be accordingly corrected.

    Thanks DaveScot

  55. 55
    StephenB says:

    —–Q writes, “ID claims that the designer exists, that it has intelligence, that it can cause observable things to occur, and that its functionality is the best explanation for the origin of life in the universe. Each of those claims are either observable or not. (The claim of “not observable” doesn’t mean “not real” when backed by a dualist philosophy.)”

    That the designer exists and has intelligence is a logical deduction drawn from a design inference. It is not a claim.

    StephenB– “Inferences are inferences. What one does or does not do with them is an entirely separate matter”

    —–Q: True. And claims are claims. Scientific claims suggest one set of understanding, philosophical claims suggest another. Is ID a science or a philosophy, or some combination of both?

    An inference is not a claim. ID is a science because it draws inferences from observation and data.

    StephenB “Do you agree that my last post was designed?”

    —–Q: “I’ll say yes. But that is a gut feel. Can you explain how to validate whether it was designed? That is, the question of “How to validate if that post was designed” is not the same “Does design exist?” If we are arguing that ID is scientific – the point I’m persuing – that design should be demonstrable with the scientific method, shouldn’t it?”

    It is demonstrable, but you do not accept the demonstration because it conflicts with your materialistic bias. The evidence is the low probability that these specifically complex arrangements and patterns are coincidences.

  56. 56
    Q says:

    StephenB, (55) It is demonstrable, but you do not accept the demonstration because it conflicts with your materialistic bias.
    No, I don’t know more than how to make an assumption for the specific question of “design”. If there is a bias, it is because ID is a science, science deals with the prediction-observation-validation-confirmation chain, and I don’t really know how to validate that your post was designed. So, for me, it is a gut feel, and my gut feel is not science. I also have a gut feel that you are not Eliza or one of her descendents. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELIZA

    StephenB An inference is not a claim. ID is a science because it draws inferences from observation and data.
    An inference is not a claim. True. But when inferences are made, subsequent claims about the observable world will also be made. Those claims about the observable world are either scientific or not. If scientific, they deal with observations and validations. Same for ID scientific claims – they are observable and can be validated, or they are not scientific claims. That is not simply being argumentative – it is a fundamental distinction between a “science” and a “philosophy”.

  57. 57
    Mapou says:

    StephenB wrote: That the designer exists and has intelligence is a logical deduction drawn from a design inference. It is not a claim.

    This may be unimportant but a logical deduction from an established observation is as solid as the observation itself. Inferring intelligent design amounts to inferring the existence of an intelligent designer at one time or another in the past. So, in that sense, the past existence of a designer is a corollary to any design inference. We can’t go much beyond that, though.

  58. 58
    magnan says:

    bFast (#37), see the following links for information on psi and quantum mechanics.

    An excellent review article on the leading theories of psi contains a lot on quantum theories of psi, most importantly Henry Stapp’s, at http://members.aol.com/jebco1s.....earch3.htm.

    The Roots of Consciousness: Science, Psychokinesis, at http://www.williamjames.com/Science/PK.htm.

    Observation of a PK effect under highly controlled conditions, by leading researcher Helmut Schmidt, at http://www.fourmilab.ch/rpkp/observ.html.

    Another excellent paper also by Helmut Schmidt, at http://www.esalenctr.org/displ.....8;pgtype=1

    Time-reversed human experience: Experimental evidence and implications, by Dean Radin, at http://www.nidsci.org/pdf/timereversed.pdf.

  59. 59
    bFast says:

    Thanks Magnan, I’ll check these out.

  60. 60
    StephenB says:

    StephenB, (55) It is demonstrable, but you do not accept the demonstration because it conflicts with your materialistic bias.

    —–Q “No, I don’t know more than how to make an assumption for the specific question of “design. If there is a bias, it is because ID is a science, science deals with the prediction-observation-validation-confirmation chain, and I don’t really know how to validate that your post was designed. So, for me, it is a gut feel, and my gut feel is not science. I also have a gut feel that you are not Eliza or one of her descendents. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELIZA

    My diagnosis is as follows: It all goes back to your unwillingness to accept the fact that all events are a result of law, chance or agency. Since you don’t accept that one point, nothing else works for you. Most of your objections, it seems to me, are derivatives of that one objection. In effect, you are questioning a self-evident principle and holding ID accountable for the intellectual chaos that follows.

  61. 61
    bFast says:

    Magnan, only the fourth of your five links work.

  62. 62
    StephenB says:

    —–mapou “This may be unimportant but a logical deduction from an established observation is as solid as the observation itself. Inferring intelligent design amounts to inferring the existence of an intelligent designer at one time or another in the past. So, in that sense, the past existence of a designer is a corollary to any design inference. We can’t go much beyond that, though.”

    Yes, I agree. I use that language in response to Q’s claim that we are beginning with ontological assumptions. I was simply pointing out that ID concludes the existence of a designer AFTER the design inference has been made. The designer’s existence (or intelligence) is not an assumption made before the fact.

  63. 63
    magnan says:

    bFast, sorry. The corrected link addresses are below.

    An excellent review article on the leading theories of psi contains a lot on quantum theories of psi, most importantly Henry Stapp’s, at http://members.aol.com/jebco1s.....earch3.htm

    The Roots of Consciousness: Science, Psychokinesis, at http://www.williamjames.com/Science/PK.htm

    Observation of a PK effect under highly controlled conditions, by leading researcher Helmut Schmidt, at http://www.fourmilab.ch/rpkp/observ.html

    Another excellent paper also by Helmut Schmidt, at http://www.esalenctr.org/displ…..p;pgtype=1

    Time-reversed human experience: Experimental evidence and implications, by Dean Radin, at http://www.nidsci.org/pdf/timereversed.pdf

  64. 64
    Q says:

    StepenB, 62, I was simply pointing out that ID concludes the existence of a designer AFTER the design inference has been made. The designer’s existence (or intelligence) is not an assumption made before the fact.
    OK, so whether axiomatic, or conclusionary, ID does make at least the following claims about the designer of the original life of the universe:

    It existed.
    It had intelligence.
    It could produce life.
    It was not alive.

  65. 65
    Phinehas says:

    Q: “Those type of comments suggest that ID’s claims about the origin of life can be investigated without including the non-material. That is contractictory to the tenets of ID, once the origin of all life is added to the discussion, because ID explicitely claims that life was too complex to have originated without an intelligent agent to design it, and ID posits that it must have happened before any material intelligence existed.”

    Q: “OK, so whether axiomatic, or conclusionary, ID does make at least the following claims about the designer of the original life of the universe.”

    It seems to me that the hang-up here involves your claim that ID addresses the “origin of all life” or “of the original life” in the universe. I don’t believe ID attempts to address this. ID only has the observed life on this planet to work with, and as others have pointed out, does not assume that the life on this planet is “the original life.” We know that life on this planet has functional specified complexity and demonstrates irreducible complexity. We have observed what natural processes are capable of in this environment and working with the components of life as we know it. This is all a scientific endeavor.

    In order to move from this to your “original life in the universe,” I would agree with you that one must leave science for philosophy, theology, or pure speculation. But I think you are the only one trying to do this and it seems to me that you are forcing ID into a mold of your own making to support your other claims. If other “natural” agents created life on this planet, ID as a science would need to examine them to see whether they also showed signs of functional specified complexity or irreducible complexity before making any sort of determination about their origin. ID can only address the origin of the life in front of us, not the origin of all life or the original life in the universe.

  66. 66
    DLH says:

    Q
    See: ID Assumptions

    To say of the intelligent Designer of the Universe “It was not alive” seems to be an oxymoron.

  67. 67
    kairosfocus says:

    Hi Vance:

    Re no 1: The problem lies in that too many Christians seem to be viewing science as “the search for truth” wherever it may lie

    Perhaps you should look here at an introductory level examination of the many subtleties and vfexed questions that lie under the debate you are alluding to.

    GEM of TKI

  68. 68
    Q says:

    Phinehas, 65, It seems to me that the hang-up here involves your claim that ID addresses the “origin of all life” or “of the original life” in the universe.
    Not a hangup, but a valid question. ID does address the origin of life, including of intelligent life. Dr. Dembski’s explanatory filter is one tool to address such origins.

    Phinehas: But I think you are the only one trying to do this and it seems to me that you are forcing ID into a mold of your own making to support your other claims.
    I don’t think so. Identifying the origin of life is one of the pursuits of science, and ID includes claims about what it can contribute to this investigation. Specifically, ID has the specific notion that an intelligent agency was responsible for the design of that intelligent life.

    Phinehas ID can only address the origin of the life in front of us, not the origin of all life or the original life in the universe.
    I am unaware that ID contains such limitations. It quite clearly contains the tenet that at least intelligent life is too complex to have arisen through random or regular events. (Otherwise, the argument would eventually become “if intelligent life elsewhere can begin through chance and regularity, it could have created us or it could be us, so we quite possibly could have been the indirect or direct result of chance and regularity.” That is mutually exclusive to ID, as far as I can tell.)

    DLH, 66, To say of the intelligent Designer of the Universe “It was not alive” seems to be an oxymoron.
    Double-check the ID assumptions you referenced. There is no explcit requirement that intelligence be a property of only life. As the page mentions, it can be of machines, it could also be a property of deities, and possibly of other things I am too limited to imagine 🙂 . As far as I can see, (if my wording is correct) according to ID intelligence is one of the three agents of cause – random, regularity, and intelligence.

    ID posits is that some form of intelligent agents must precede the design of observable and living intelligent entities. If intelligence were limited to only living agents, as you are suggesting, then the logic would dictate the intelligent agents must have been alive since the origin of the universe. It may be true, and it may not, but that isn’t a requisite element of ID, is it? Just above, my reply to Phinehas shows a logical contradiction if the intelligent agent that designed the first intelligent life were likewise alive.

  69. 69
    StephenB says:

    Q You have yet to address what I consider to be the main issur. At the risk of being redundant, I will revisit it:

    You attribute to ID all kinds of assumptions that it does not make and ignore the one assumption that it does make. It all goes back to your unwillingness to accept the fact that all events are a result of law, chance or agency. Since you don’t accept that one point, nothing else works for you. Most of your objections, it seems to me, are derivatives of that one objection. In effect, you are questioning a self-evident principle and holding ID accountable for the intellectual chaos that follows.

  70. 70
    DaveScot says:

    Q

    ID makes no claims about a designer’s means, motive, or opportunity beyond the fact that means and opportunity must have been available in some way.

    If you make one more strawman regarding the claims of ID it’ll be your last comment here. I’m putting you on moderation in the meantime.

  71. 71
    Phinehas says:

    Q: “ID posits is that some form of intelligent agents must precede the design of observable and living intelligent entities.”

    Yes! You clearly understand here that ID only addresses the design of *observable* and living intelligent entities, so I can only assume that your waffling in other posts is self-serving. The origin of speculative life (or even speculative non-life that is speculatively intelligent) clearly falls outside of the “observable” qualification. ID does not try to address the design of these speculative entities because ID is science. Philosophy and theology have purview once you get to the design of un-observable, speculative entities. But where we can observe living things, and where we can see functionally specified complex information, ID tells us that these things are designed.

  72. 72
    Phinehas says:

    Q: “Otherwise, the argument would eventually become “if intelligent life elsewhere can begin through chance and regularity, it could have created us…”

    Yes. As far as I can tell, ID would not contradict this. Given the speculative nature of the statement, how could it? Philosophically, I would argue that speculating about some intelligent agent somewhere in the universe arising through some unimagined process involving only chance and neccessity isn’t very different to believing in God. Clearly, such speculation cannot be said to be scientific.

    Q: “…or it could be us…”

    No. It couldn’t be “us” because we have functionally specified complex information written all over us, and chance and neccessity do not have the probabilistic resources to randomly happen upon us. FSCI requires design.

    “…so we quite possibly could have been the indirect or direct result of chance and regularity.”

    Indirect? Quite speculatively, yes. Direct? No.

    Q: “That is mutually exclusive to ID, as far as I can tell.”

    If you would stop telling so far and try listening, you would see that it is not mutually exclusive. But I’ve no doubt that telling serves your purposes better.

  73. 73
    Q says:

    DaveScot, 71, ID makes no claims about a designer’s means, motive, or opportunity beyond the fact that means and opportunity must have been available in some way.
    Means, Motive, or Opportunity of the designer are beyond anything I’ve been discussing. Those are not the bases of the points I’m discussing.

    What is inherent in ID is a sequence of operations – intelligent agency exists before complex life exists. Intelligent life is one such form of complex life. Thus, as per the tenets of ID, the intelligent agency that designed the original complex intelligent life preceded the original complex intelligent life. That is is not a strawman, and it is not about the techniques, tools, or opportunity of the agent. It is strictly about the tenets of ID.

    DaveScot, I mean no disrespect. As I’ve mentioned, this is an important subject to me because of my background as a high-school science instructor.
    —–
    StephenB,69 It all goes back to your unwillingness to accept the fact that all events are a result of law, chance or agency.
    I’m sorry that is how my comments are interpreted. I’ve even made the same basic statement you did – see 68 for instance.
    ——
    Phinehas, 72, As far as I can tell, ID would not contradict this.
    I’m reading that you are arguing that ID is terrestrial-based. That seems to be an inconsistent narrowing of the tenets of ID. As a quick reference see the quoted section of the Discovery Institute’s description:
    “The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.(emphasis added) That is, not “of earth” and not of “living things on earth.”
    http://www.discovery.org/csc/t.....gentDesign

  74. 74
    DaveScot says:

    Q

    You added “not of earth” and “not of living things on earth”. You just couldn’t resist adding your own paraphrase to make it into the supernatural strawman you can then discredit as being outside the scope of science.

    There are two distinct areas of ID called Cosmological ID and Biological ID. While you may reasonably infer that a designer capable of creating an entire universe and the finely tuned physical laws that govern it (Cosmological ID) is supernatural (outside of the material universe) you may not reasonably infer that the same thing holds true for Biological ID where any hypothetical designer needs no more than material expertise in biochemistry (means and opportunity).
    The designer in the biological ID context may in fact be some evolved, material intelligence that isn’t based on carbon chemistry. We simply don’t have any facts to work with in determining the nature of any hypothetical designer.

    Material explanations via evolved intelligent agency remain on the table for the design of organic life on our planet. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be of another world. Perhaps intelligent agency is manifest in quantum computing networks that can self-organize under the right circumstances. All we claim is that is demonstrable in Biological ID is that self-organization of life via carbon chemistry is unreasonably improbable given the scope of its resources (means and opportunity) on this planet and we know of nothing else that can manipulate matter into complex machinery except for intelligent agents.

    This is your final warning. Heed it.

  75. 75
    larrynormanfan says:

    DaveScot, I have a hard time distinguishing between biological and cosmological ID, especially when those who make the main biological ID arguments (such as Dr. Dembski) also make cosmological ID arguments (regarding, for example, the ultimate origin of CSI as such). If the people within ID keep blurring the distinctions, how are those of us peering in from outside supposed to understand when supernaturalism is allowed and when it is not (or if not, when it is not inferred)? Q didn’t muddy the waters; they were muddy already.

  76. 76
    DLH says:

    Q 68
    “There is no explcit requirement that intelligence be a property of only life. As the page mentions, it can be of machines, it could also be a property of deities”
    It appears that by “life” you are referring to biological life.
    in DLH 66
    I was thinking of “life” as all intelligent beings in contrast to the inanimate four forces of nature.

    Good point on needing to clarify our statements to communicate.

    The issue regarding examining biochemical systems on earth for intelligent causation is because that is the only data we have.

    Astronomy can provide data on the universe, but we have no evidence of DNA elsewhere, nor of alien signals, (though there has been alot of speculation on both of those.)

    larrynormanfan 75
    The difference between cosmological and biological is in the data available and the consequent assumptions needed, and inferences to the capabilities of an intelligent designer.

  77. 77
    DaveScot says:

    larrynormanfan

    I’ve said over and over again that the complex machinery found in living cells requires no more than intelligent agency with material expertise in biochemistry. If Professor Dembski has argued otherwise I’m not aware of it and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t agree even if he did but I’d have to see the argument first.

    ID hypotheses, like chance & necessity hypotheses of origins and evolution, are not monolithic. What unites the so-called Darwinists is a belief that chance & necessity are an adequate mechanism for the origin and diversification of organic life. What unites ID proponents is a belief that chance & necessity is an inadequate explanation for all facets of organic evolution and that intelligent agency in some form is also required. Admittedly most ID propenents have a personal belief that the designer is the God of Abraham. Some of us do not. I’m an agnostic when it comes to religion. It needs to be stressed that belief in any particular designers, while they may be buttressed by ID, are not part of ID.

  78. 78
    StephenB says:

    StephenB,69 It all goes back to your unwillingness to accept the fact that all events are a result of law, chance or agency.
    —–Q writes, “I’m sorry that is how my comments are interpreted. I’ve even made the same basic statement you did – see 68 for instance.”

    Since you write well enough to express yourself with reasonable precision, I have to assume thar, in this case, you are purposefully being evasive. So, once again, I am reduced to asking for an answer that may be expressed only as “yes,” “no,” or “I don’t know.” I do not intend to pounce on the answer; I am simply asking for a clarification.

    Are all events caused either by law, chance, or intelligent agency?

  79. 79
    Phinehas says:

    Phinehas: “As far as I can tell, ID would not contradict this.”

    Q: “I’m reading that you are arguing that ID is terrestrial-based.”

    Then you are reading what you want to read. I am arguing that ID is observation-based. You know this is what I am arguing the same as you know that ID is based on observation. You obviously know this because you have stated so yourself.

    Q: “ID posits is that some form of intelligent agents must precede the design of observable and living intelligent entities.”

    But you find it easier to attack a strawman. To create your strawman, you manufacture the dichotomy between “of the universe” and “of the earth.” This is a distinction of your own making. My distinction is simply this: whether Cosmological or Biological, whether of the universe or of earth, ID is dependent upon observation. As such, it is a scientific endeavor.

    You clearly do not want to hear this message, however, since your argument requires ID to speculate about an unobserved designer so that you can then call ID unscientific. But ID does not so speculate, so the more you persist in forcing it into that mold, the more you show yourself to be disingenuous.

  80. 80
    Q says:

    DaveScot, 74, You added “not of earth” and “not of living things on earth”. You just couldn’t resist adding your own paraphrase to make it into the supernatural strawman you can then discredit as being outside the scope of science.
    I specifically wasn’t adding anything to the claim at the Discovery Institute. On the contrary, I was illustrating what isn’t in the claim by the DI. Their claim is not limited to being terrestrial, so I misunderstand why you, or Phinehas, would insist that the concept of that claim is limited to earth.

    I do agree that observationally, we have only observed life on earth. But, the claim I quoted, and was using as the basis for my posts earlier, is a universal claim that is being applied to explain life on earth.

    However, I am absolutely not trying to discredit anything – unless one is abusing the differences between science and philosophy. Some aspects of a philosophy truly are beyond science – that is not a discredit, but is a recognition of the limitations of science.

    Also, I am familiar with the differences in scope between the cosmological and biological aspects of ID. I appreciate that you point it out as an aid to keep the discussion focussed. My discussion has been wholly about the biological claims made by ID – or at least by various advocates of ID, such as by the Discovery Institute.

  81. 81
    DaveScot says:

    Q

    You’ve clearly tried to force the definition of ID into a box where the only exit is an inference to an unobserved supernatural intelligent agency. Stop. We’ve seen the attempt many times before. It won’t work.

    Perhaps you’d care to take up my standard challenge to religionist ID proponents.

    Please describe what physical laws of nature a designer would have to violate in order to create the machinery found in living cells such as ribosomes and flagella.

    No one has made a convincing argument to me that any spooky supernatural acts or entities are necessary. I’m sure the Venter Institute would be interested in a convincing argument so that they can halt their attempt at creating a truly artificial cell before the point where such an endeavour becomes futile.

  82. 82
    Phinehas says:

    Q quoted the DI:

    “The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” (my emphasis this time)

    Does the DI really have to spell out that these “certain features” are within the set of that which has been observed? Are you so ill informed about ID that you still do not realize that these certain features include FSCI and IC? So how can you claim that ID speaks to the origin of speculative entities about which we have no information regarding FSCI or IC?

    Spelling it out as simply as I can:

    ID infers design where it observes FSCI or IC.

    Once again, I realize that your strawman doesn’t fit nicely into this picture, but there you have it.

  83. 83
    DaveScot says:

    Q

    It occurs to me that you probably didn’t read the definition of ID on the sidebar under “Friends of ID” titled

    Definition of Intelligent Design Must Read

    It is an expanded version of what you quoted from the Discovery Institute. I can understand how you might have missed it. If this doesn’t make clear the claims of ID to you then nothing will.

  84. 84
    Q says:

    DaveScot You’ve clearly tried to force the definition of ID into a box where the only exit is an inference to an unobserved supernatural intelligent agency.
    No, I’m not forcing a box. The scientific method is a limited tool, and that very tool exists within its own “box”. And, I’ve not used “supernatural.” That is a mischaracterization of my message. Everyone in this discussion, it seems, agrees that science can address that which can be observed. At some point in investigating the designer of intelligent life in the universe, and applying the claim that intelligent agency must precede intelligent living agency, an infinite regress question arises that is fundamentally outside of science to answer. That is OK, because we simply hit a boundary of the application of the science of ID. But, those boundaries do exist, the claim that intelligence can’t arise from chance or regularity leads to one of those boundaries. Such as, it leads to the conclusion that intelligent living agents can only arise from intelligent agents. Or, could you show me that ID does posit that living intelligence can arise without intelligent design?

    I’ll contemplate your question about the physical laws. I’m not yet sure whether any physical laws would need to be violated.

    Phinehas, 82,Does the DI really have to spell out that these “certain features” are within the set of that which has been observed? Are you so ill informed about ID that you still do not realize that these certain features include FSCI and IC?
    Disregarding the query about how broad my investigations into ID have been, I’ll point out that the Discovery Institute’s claim deals with explanations, and not solely about observations. Some explanations can be provided pending future observations, for instance. Until invalidated through observation (and quite possibly never), that claim is still integral to ID.

    For instance, doesn’t ID explain that that intelligency can’t arise from chance and regularity – at all? Isn’t it considered a separate form of agency? That is the key part to the inference I’m providing in which the intelligent agent which designed intelligent life was before the life, so that intelligent agent was not alive.

  85. 85
    DaveScot says:

    Q

    applying the claim that intelligent agency must precede intelligent living agency

    Nowhere in the definition does it say this. No more warnings. Adios.

  86. 86
    larrynormanfan says:

    DaveScot,

    I think the response was to this passage in the definition:

    certain features of . . . living things are best explained by an intelligent cause

    It doesn’t say “certain features of some living things,” it says “living things,” i.e., life — presumably all life, including intelligent life. So if intelligence precedes “living things,” then intelligence precedes “intelligent living agency.” I can’t see how intelligence is not reuired for life or how this interpretation (while perhaps uestionable) reuires a banning.

    (Sorry about the spelling. I’m trying to write without the banned letter.)

  87. 87
    Bob O'H says:

    larrynormanfan – it may only be the capital ” that’s banned.

  88. 88
    Bob O'H says:

    Oh dear, obviously all ‘s are banned.

  89. 89
    magnan says:

    DaveScot, to posit genetic manipulation by “nonphysical” agents does not necessarily require the “supernatural”. There is every reason to think that the current laws of physics are profoundly incomplete and will eventually be superceded as they have been several times before. Most of the skeptical arguments against the existence of psi are based on the assumption that current scientific theories are complete, and that they conflict with the existence of the “paranormal”. But this is based on 19th century Newtonian physics. Quantum mechanics has replaced this as the most exact and “battle tested” basic theory, and nothing in it forbids psi phenomena.

    The phenomena of parapsychology are strong evidence that at least human minds are able to regularly transcend the physical brain and at least apparently act as mobile centers of consciousness. Quantum theories of conscioiusness are some of the most advanced today and posit an immaterial conscious mind biasing the collapse of state vectors of quantum phenomena in the brain in order to manipulate brain activity (firing of synaptic junctions).

    Such mind-matter interaction doesn’t violate the current laws of physics and therefore isn’t “supernatural”, i.e. it isn’t miraculous. The action of some other conscious immaterial mind on matter (DNA) would therefore also not be supernatural or miraculous.

  90. 90
    DaveScot says:

    Magnan

    I quite agree about the incomplete state of physics and said as much many times before. We have no theory of quantum gravity and we have a universe where it appears (by observation of gravity induced motion in very large objects across very large distances) only 5% of it is matter and energy that is described by modern physics. It is thought that some 70% of the “stuff” that makes up the universe is something mysterious called dark energy which is further thought to homogenously permeate the entire universe. Over very very large distances this dark energy is thought to counter and eventually overcome the force of gravity over the same distance. Thus the rate at which the universe is expanding is itself growing faster.

    The question this raises in my mind is what if dark energy isn’t quite homogenous. If it can effect normal mass and energy through gravitation (or anti-gravitation) then, vanishingly diffuse as it is, is it great enough to influence quantum events to produce certain outcomes instead of uncertain? How much energy does it take to cause an indeterminate quantum state to preferentially actualize into one outcome instead of an equally probable different outcome? Without a theory of quantum gravity we can’t begin to answer that question. Is there an unseen actor working at the quantum level to influence events in the currently observable universe? Could be. There’s more to heaven and earth, Darwinists, than is dreamed of in your philosophy. -Shakespeare

    That said, dark energy is, until it can be characterized as a natural part of the universe, supernatural. I quite agree with you that science has a distinguished history of turning what’s commonly regarded as supernatural into the natural mostly through extending our powers of observation with increasingly sophisticated instrumentation.

  91. 91
    StephenB says:

    —–larrymoranfan writes, “I think the response [from Q] was to this passage in the definition:

    certain features of . . . living things are best explained by an intelligent cause

    —–“It doesn’t say “certain features of some living things,” it says “living things,” i.e., life — presumably all life, including intelligent life. So if intelligence precedes “living things,” then intelligence precedes “intelligent living agency.” I can’t see how intelligence is not reuired for life or how this interpretation (while perhaps uestionable) reuires a banning.”

    Oh, sure. That was only about the 100th time Q manipulated the language to put words in someone else’s mouth and then hold THEM accountable for HIS reformulation. I had some of my own arguments played back to me in almost totally unrecognizable form. It can’t be an accident when that happens time after time.

    It’s the same game Judge Jones played at the Dover trial. Michael Behe points out that intelligent design is “consistent with” religious faith (obviously true). Judge Jones plays it back as intelligent design “depends on” religious faith (obviously false). Like Judge Jones, Q purposely misuses the language to discredit and misrepresent ID.

    My experience has been that ID critics are given a lot of room to criticize on this blog. The only standard they are held to is that they must criticize ID for what is is, not for what it isn’t. Q refused to conform to that reasonable standard so he was rightly banned.

  92. 92
    larrynormanfan says:

    StephenB, thanks. That explains things pretty well. But you keep getting my name wrong. Not “larrymoral,” not “larrymoran,” but “larrynorman.” The original Jesus rocker.

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    StephenB says:

    larrynormanfan: Yes, I did keep getting your name wrong. I won’t happen again. Occassionally, Larry Moran, a militant Darwinist visits this blog. I was connecting dots that weren’t there.

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    Distance Education And Cultural Issues…

    Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit. ~ Peter Ustinov…

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