Update: It occurred to me that people might think this post is intended merely to pick on WS. Not so. The purpose of the post is to demonstrate the principle of charity in philosophy, science and in other areas where ideas compete. WS is a stand-in for every materialist objector to ID who assumes before the argument begins that ID proponents are all liars and therefore refuse to address their arguments at face value.
Given that ID didn’t surface until Creationism was ruled a religion, and since it encompasses everything from 6000 year earth creationists, to evolutionary theists, and since most authors and most supportive commenters are theists (ie, Christian) I stand my my previous claim. [i.e., that ID is religiously based]
The essence of your belief is a cynical and uncharitable refusal to take people at their word. OK, you are entitled to be cynical and uncharitable. No law against that.
So, Barry, please explain to me again how my view that ID is a religious doctrine is “cynical and uncharitable”?
OK WS. I will. First let’s define the terms. Here is Wikipedia’s discussion of the “Principle of Charity”:
In philosophy and rhetoric, the principle of charity requires interpreting a speaker’s statements to be rational and, in the case of any argument, considering its best, strongest possible interpretation. In its narrowest sense, the goal of this methodological principle is to avoid attributing irrationality, logical fallacies or falsehoods to the others’ statements, when a coherent, rational interpretation of the statements is available.
In a nutshell, the principle of charity requires that when you are considering another person’s argument you try your best to accept and analyze his arguments on their own terms and at face value. It is uncharitable to assume he is lying or trying to mislead from his true objective or has ulterior motives.
My dictionary defines “cynical” as “distrusting or disparaging the motives of others.”
How do these terms apply to you? ID proponents argue there are indicia of design that can sometimes be objectively detected. These indicia include (1) high levels of specified complexity, (2) the existence of a semiotic code (a special case of (1)); and (3) the existence of irreducibly complex structures that could not possible have been assembled by blind natural forces in a step by step process with no ultimate goal in mind.
Here is where the rubber hits the road. Many ID proponents believe that God is the best candidate for the designer (Indeed, he may be the only candidate when we are talking about design a the cosmological level, but I am limiting this discussion to biological ID). Nevertheless, those ID proponents assert a distinction between what they believe on the basis of faith (God did it) and what they can demonstrate objectively (some intelligent designer, not necessarily God, did it). In other words, they say that the design inference warranted by the indicia of design points only to a designer, not to a particular designer.
Now the essence of your claim is that ID proponents are inveterate liars. You refuse to take at face value their claim that they are searching for objective indicia of design. You refuse to countenance their claim that the inference to design can be separated from personal beliefs about who the designer is. You claim ID proponents are dishonestly trying to push their God beliefs with the ulterior motive of advancing a religious agenda in the guise of pursuing objective science.
So let’s count up the indicia of uncharitable:
Refuse to accept and analyze his arguments on their own terms and at face value: Check.
Assume he is lying: Check
Assume he is trying to mislead from his true objective: Check
Assume he has ulterior motives: Check
What about cynical?
Distrusting or disparaging the motives of others: Check
There you have it WS. If the shoe fits . . .