William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the world’s greatest playwright, towering head and shoulders over all who came before and all who came after. Maybe Shakespeare was so good because he wasn’t a human at all but a member of a hyper-intelligent alien race who happened to be visiting earth in the late 1500’s. If you subscribe to Cromwell’s rule, you cannot dismiss this hypothesis out of hand. It is not logically impossible. Therefore, Cromwell’s rule suggests that we should assign some probability to the possibility even if it is one in a hundred billion. Otherwise, like the “green cheese” example in the Wikipedia article, we would not be convinced even if we were to find the schematics to Shakespeare’s spaceship in a dusty old attic in Statford-upon-Avon.
Now assume that you are trying to determine whether a design inference is appropriate with respect to Hamlet. You conclude that Hamlet is rich in complex specified information and infer that the best explanation for the provenance of the play is “intelligent design.” Many times here at UD our materialist friends have argued that we can infer design only if we know the designer was human. For example, we are often told that if we were to argue that an arrowhead is designed, we could do so only on the basis of our knowledge that Indians were humans who designed things like ourselves.
Now, since it is not logically impossible, assume for the sake of argument that Shakespeare was an alien. If that were the case, Hamlet was not written by a human.
Here’s the question: Is our design inference invalid if Shakespeare turns out to have been an alien?