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The “D” of ID is science — lessons from our dealings with Nick Matzke

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I have debated Darwinists for many years, and I don’t debate them in order to persuade them, but rather to humiliate their claims as best I can, and this is done by arguing from the most unassailable positions possible.

A few months ago, in a discussion on The Fundamental Law of Intelligent Design, I pleaded with Barry to pose a question to Nick Matzke, and this was the result: A Statistics Question for Nick Matzke.

We didn’t ask Nick, “are 500 coins heads designed” or “are 500 coins heads intelligently designed” or “are 500 coins heads intelligently designed, and therefore isn’t ID science” we asked:

If you came across a table on which was set 500 coins (no tossing involved) and all 500 coins displayed the “heads” side of the coin, would you reject “chance” as a hypothesis to explain this particular configuration of coins on a table?

I had a feeling the question would make Nick uncomfortable because it would demonstrate we can in principle build independent specifications which can reject the chance hypothesis. He knew what was at stake, and predictably he went into full Chewbacca defense mode, and just dug the hole deeper. It got so bad that it resulted in this:

Nick, Sal said that a 2-headed coin would preclude chance as a mechanism even in principle with respect to a 500 all-heads coin pattern. You disagreed and said, “not really”.

Can you elaborate further how there is a chance tails could emerge as an outcome with a 2-headed coin since you insist chance can still have a role in the final outcome.

If some of my ID colleagues wonder why I’m sometimes quite austere in my criticism of ID it is because I’m trying to put forward arguments that are not easily assailable. I don’t get into arguments with Nick about whether ID is science or not, those aren’t the sort of arguments you can make to humiliate Nick’s claims. If you give Darwinists like Nick an opening by saying “ID is science”, you’ll be cornered into defending red herrings to no end.

I probably will not make many friends at UD and in the creationist community if I provided my list of “Arguments IDists and Creationists should not use”. You’d think my criticisms would be so harsh that you’d almost call me a Darwinist, but that is not my aim. I don’t want future generations of IDist and Creationists debating Darwinists and losing, I want them crushing and humiliating their opponents claims. A model debate was not Ham-Nye, but Steven Meyer and Peter Ward. It was such a lopsided exchange even IDists felt sorry for Peter Ward.

Do I think ID is science? I’ve avoided a direct answer because I don’t feel comfortable saying it is, and I don’t feel comfortable saying it isn’t! Eric Anderson suggested, I should just say, “if Darwinism is science, then ID is science.” That’s about as good an answer as I can give…

ID is composed of two separable theories as attested by this insightful statement:

it is useful to separate design from theories of intelligence and intelligent agency

Bill Dembski
Design Inference

The theory of design is that there exists artifacts that are not the product of chance and law, and by chance I mean a process that maximizes uncertainty in a configuration. If you put fair coins in a box and shake the box, you maximize the uncertainty of the heads-tails configuration. That is formally separate from theories of intelligence. Thus ID is composed of “D” theories and “I” theories.

Someone asked me what I think defines science. I’m not a philosopher of science, I don’t claim to speak for all scientists, I’m not even a scientist! In my view, not all true or reasonable inferences are science. Science is the development of ideas that lead to predictable and testable outcomes, at least testable in principle if not in practice.

In my opinion “D” theories of ID count as science, we can make predictions and testable outcomes regarding artifacts. A good example was the expectation of 500 fair coins, and making a testable prediction that chance and law will not make 500 fair coins heads. The same can be done for homochirality and uniform linkages in biomolecules.

Even hypothesized, but unproven and unobserved mechanisms can be included in science, if it leads to predictable outcomes. A good example is Dirac’s prediction of the existence of anti-matter which wasn’t observed until years later. It was science even though the hypothesized entity was not yet observed because the entity had predictable properties.

To some extent, we can even predict the structure of what a random process will generate, for example 500 fair coins has an expectation of 50% heads.

To me, scientific claims have the form of: “random process is expected to generate outcome X and not outcome Y”, “anti-matter electrons are expected to do Z”, “Dark Energy is predicted to create observation W”, etc.

However, once we start invoking mechanisms that lack predictability, that have free will we run into difficulties. “Intelligent agent gamma is expected generate outcome… Uh, well, we can’t make predictions of what capricious intelligent mechanism will do or not do, but we know it’s still science even though we can’t predict what it will do, right?”

One might assert, “only intelligent agency is capable of doing X”, that is falsifiable and is a prediction, but it leads to complications. For example, 500 fair coins heads can be constructed by a machine, thus do machines count as intelligence since they make artifacts that pass the EF? If machines can count as being intelligent, why not nature? In fact, Bill Dembski pointed out that in principle Nature could have been fully front-loaded to create designs that pass the EF. The complications of “I” theories as science theories seem to have no end. I accept ID, my “I” theory is “God did it”, I believe God is the Designer of life, but I don’t classify that claim as science.

Demonstrating “D” theories as science is easy and tidy (as Nick Matzke discovered first hand), whereas demonstrating “I” theories as science is not so tidy, I don’t even try…

ID is composed of two separable theories, theories of Design and theories of Intelligence. I claim theories of Design are science. As far as theories of Intelligence or Intelligent Design being science, I defer to Eric Anderson’s answer, “if Darwinism counts as science, then ID counts as science” or maybe Richard Dawkins answer:

You then realize that the presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science.

Richard Dawkins

but you know, deep down, I feel some discomfort saying it.

PS
If you guys really want to compare your list of arguments IDists and Creationists should use or not use or arguments they should emphasize or de-emphasize, we can start a thread on it, but I foresee it will likely be contentious and everyone will be stepping on each other’s toes. I’ve taught ID and creationist extra curricular courses to interested university students. I try to equip them knowing what they might face in their class rooms….

Here are my lists:

List of claims I do make:

1. you can identify things that look designed, you have an explanatory filter embedded in you brain
2. 500 fair coins heads violates expectation, so do the homochiral molecules of life and the uniform linkages in biopolymers
3. biology resembles man-made designs, exceeds them, and cannot be products of processes with no foresight
4. Origin of life is not product of chance or law or any conceivable law
5. Irreducible Complexity
6. Specified Improbability (CSI Version 1)
7. Behe’s Rule
8. Genetic Entropy, law of biogenesis
9. Darwinian evolution is false and incoherent
10. Life resembles computer hardware and software
11. There is no salvation in Charles Darwin.
etc.

List of claims I don’t make or have little intention of defending:

1. ID is science
2. Kelvin-Plank and Clausius versions of the 2nd law of thermodynamics proves creation
3. Believe in creation because the Bible says so, here, it says it right here in the book of Genesis
4. There is a positive case for ID
5. CSI version 2
6. LCI and claims of non-information increase in biology
7. FSCO/I, dFCSI or whatever….(no disrespect intended to the pioneers of these theories, it just nothing I teach)
etc.

29 Replies to “The “D” of ID is science — lessons from our dealings with Nick Matzke

  1. 1
    Collin says:

    Scordova,

    I just don’t get it. I do not know how you separate the two. If there is a design without intelligence, then it is law or chance, right? If nature is a machine designed to create life, then there’s still an intelligent creator. I know that we don’t have to identify the creator or His laboratory, but I still see it as one theory. Or perhaps, two parts of a continuum.

  2. 2
    scordova says:

    Collin,

    I just don’t get it. I do not know how you separate the two.

    You separate them by saying one thing is the design, and the other thing is the designer.

    I believe if there is a design it requires a designer. I don’t think there is any evidence nature was the Designer of Life, in fact, nature looks like a destroyer of designs not a creator.

    Like you, I don’t see how it is reasonable to have a design without a designer somewhere at the root. But the fact that I separate the two ideas doesn’t mean I disbelieve the Designer. It is a natural demarcation to say the Creator is different from the creature. That is reflected in the way I split the two concepts.

  3. 3

    Sal, you’re on a roll!

    Please, mercifully, let us finish one thread before you make it old by posting a new one on a similar topic.

    One of the greatest weaknesses of UD (in my opinion) is that there are so many posts (most of them News stories that only fetch an occasional comment), that the interesting, substantive threads quickly get buried and it is too much trouble to go back and find them and keep the conversation going. Particularly, with the very strange front page configuration of one post, then a few posts in boxes (which don’t seem to be in order), then more posts. Anyway, just venting, particularly as we’ve been swamped by News posts the last few days.

  4. 4
    scordova says:

    Eric,

    Please, mercifully, let us finish one thread before you make it old by posting a new one on a similar topic.

    Actually I intended this thread to be an extension of the other one, but more focused (the other thread had topics like John Mack that no one even mentioned), so I’m just trying to extend the good discussion and criticisms you and others offered.

    For the sake of the readers, the parent discussion was:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....d-science/

    I felt I need to make a statement as to why I’m sometimes extremely critical of certain claims floating around in the ID community.

    I know I’m not airing ideas that aren’t lurking in the closets of some ID friendly readers.

    Thank you always for you comments and criticisms.

  5. 5
    scordova says:

    It is a natural demarcation to say the Creator is different from the creature.

    Creator relates to the “I” of ID
    creature relates to the “D” of ID

    Design theory tries to find methods to differentiate designs from ordinary configurations of matter.

    500 fair coins heads stands out as empirically different than typical fair coin configurations emerging from chance. There should be NO scientific dispute that such a configuration has an empirically different quality than other configurations. “D” theories are scientific.

  6. 6
    fossil says:

    Collin, I think what he is essentially saying (he can correct me if I am wrong) is that the concept of intelligence is resisting definition and therefore can’t be properly tested while design, on the other hand, can be quantified and tested at least to a reasonable degree. Therefore, it makes sense to separate the two and for the purposes of combating materialism to argue for what we can actually prove.

    I realize as everyone else does that it takes intelligence to develop a design but to incorporate intelligence just complicates issues and weakens the argument. Because of that I agree with him. Let’s use the best arguments rather than ones that can be questioned.

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    Wait, Intelligent Design refers to the design. And yes it includes the descriptor. As Wm Dembski said in Intelligent Design is Not Optimal Design

    I was recently on an NPR program with skeptic Michael Shermer and paleontologist Donald Prothero to discuss intelligent design. As the discussion unfolded, it became clear that they were using the phrase “intelligent design” in a way quite different from how the emerging intelligent design community is using it.

    The confusion centered on what the adjective “intelligent” is doing in the phrase “intelligent design.” “Intelligent,” after all, can mean nothing more than being the result of an intelligent agent, even one who acts stupidly. On the other hand, it can mean that an intelligent agent acted with skill, mastery, and eclat. Shermer and Prothero understood the “intelligent” in “intelligent design” to mean the latter, and thus presumed that intelligent design must entail optimal design. The intelligent design community, on the other hand, means the former and thus separates intelligent design from questions of optimality.

    But why then place the adjective “intelligent” in front of the noun “design”? Doesn’t design already include the idea of intelligent agency, so that juxtaposing the two becomes an exercise in redundancy? Not at all. Intelligent design needs to be distinguished from apparent design on the one hand and optimal design on the other. Apparent design looks designed but really isn’t. Optimal design is perfect design and hence cannot exist except in an idealized realm (sometimes called a “Platonic heaven”). Apparent and optimal design empty design of all practical significance.

    A common strategy of opponents to design in biology (like Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, and Francisco Ayala) is to assimilate intelligent design to one of these categories–apparent or optimal design. The problem with this move is that it constitutes an evasion. Indeed, it utterly sidesteps the question of intelligent, or actual, design. The automobiles that roll off the assembly plants in Detroit are intelligently designed in the sense that human intelligences are responsible for them. Nevertheless, even if we think Detroit manufactures the best cars in the world, it would still be wrong to say they are optimally designed. Nor is it correct to say that they are only apparently designed.

    Sal:

    I believe if there is a design it requires a designer.

    That is what Del Ratzsch also says. And I agree with you, Del and Dembski. It all depends on who you are talking to. Evos think that “evolution” is a designer (all the while equivocating).

    So what Sal wants is to just have “D” with the “I” assumed/ given. But that only works when everyone agrees- and by tat I mean the critics and opponents.

    And if the word “Intelligence” is an issue then use “Intentional”

  8. 8
    Joe says:

    OK, to prevent any future _____gasms over the word “Intelligent” in “Intelligent Design”, we vote to change it to “Intentional Design”. Dembski’s point is covered and all is well.

    All those in favor say “aye”

    aye (it’s worth a try and it may help)

  9. 9
    Optimus says:

    @ Joe
    Kudos for your Dembski quote in #7. I had it in mind when reading the other thread Sal posted.

  10. 10
    StephenB says:

    Sal

    Do I think ID is science? I’ve avoided a direct answer because I don’t feel comfortable saying it is, and I don’t feel comfortable saying it isn’t!

    I can readily understand why you would feel uncomfortable claiming that ID does or does not meet a standard that you have not yet defined.

    I felt I need to make a statement as to why I’m sometimes extremely critical of certain claims floating around in the ID community.

    I don’t think you are making the distinction between ID principles, which are legitimate, and the inferior exposition of those principles by those who have not yet mastered them. The one thing we should not do, in my judgment, is remake ID’a argument so that it will be impervious to misrepresentation, (an impossible task), especially if it means neglecting to identify the cause by name (intelligence).

    Design theory tries to find methods to differentiate designs from ordinary configurations of matter.

    When an archeologist observes that matter has been shaped into a serviceable weapon or food gathering device, he concludes that an ancient hunter likely designed it and that it was not a product of wind, air, and erosion.

    Yes, the scientist could stop short and simply say that nature alone cannot produce a perfectly formed rock with a long handle, but it demands a further claim, namely that an intelligent agent designed a functional spear.

    If you want to fuss over anything, then fuss over the difference between am intelligent cause (which can, in principle, be an impersonal telic process [Dembski]) and a conscious intelligent agent (Meyer), which cannot.

    I submit that this apparent conflict is not real and can easily be resolved by pointing out that one claim is simply a little stronger than the other. Either way, this is, in my judgment, the subject matter we should be discussing.

  11. 11
    Joe says:

    Thanks Optimus. I tried to get the point across in the other thread, see here

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    Sal won’t say:

    1. ID is science
    2. Kelvin-Plank and Clausius versions of the 2nd law of thermodynamics proves creation
    3. Believe in creation because the Bible says so, here, it says it right here in the book of Genesis
    4. There is a positive case for ID
    5. CSI version 2
    6. LCI and claims of non-information increase in biology
    7. FSCO/I, dFCSI or whatever….(no disrespect intended to the pioneers of these theories, it just nothing I teach)
    etc.

    I will claim and defend 1 and 4. I know there are others that can do a better job than I on 5, 6 & 7.

  13. 13
    phoodoo says:

    Eric hit the nail on the head with regards to the main problem with this website. The design and implementation of the site makes it virtually impossible to have any continuum in any particular thread. Topics quickly get buried and will never be revisited. Its a fundamental flaw that really should be changed.

    Compare that with other sites that have a prominent list of topic archives right on the front page, so that one can see recent activity, and easily reference back to them. I really think the admin should look at this. The way the site is right now, it can never really sustain a long discussion point. You can comment on a topic, but you know that that comment is soon going to disappear and become unreadable to others, so it discourages the motivation to respond much.

  14. 14
    PaV says:

    Sal Cordova:

    I have debated Darwinists for many years, and I don’t debate them in order to persuade them, but rather to humiliate their claims as best I can, and this is done by arguing from the most unassailable positions possible.

    Je suis d’accord!

  15. 15
    PaV says:

    phoodoo:

    Eric hit the nail on the head with regards to the main problem with this website. The design and implementation of the site makes it virtually impossible to have any continuum in any particular thread. Topics quickly get buried and will never be revisited. Its a fundamental flaw that really should be changed.

    I agree as well. Sometimes I leave a comment, come back a day or two later, and can’t even remember the name of the thread, and then can’t find it. It can be frustrating. There’s a lot of scatter.

    What might be a solution—if this is at all feasible and practical—is to divide the blog into more pure science threads, with a separate place for more philosophical and abstract notions of ID. I wonder if this is possible. Or, should a whole new blog be set aside for each: UD Experimental, and UD Pedagogical? Bad choices for names, but I hope you get my drift.

  16. 16
    scordova says:

    OK,

    Regarding this thread, if you want it to be persistent, I can keep it in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th place for a while, but remember that might mean I bump other discussions off.

    how long do you want this discussion close to the top of the queue? I can keep it up about a week.

    Blogs aren’t the best format for long discussion, Forums are. Blogs are a bit more tabloid like.

    That said, I can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated the chance to interact with you all through a blog format.

    Eric Anderson and I and JGuy and I go back to the ISCID and ARN forum days when some discussion lasted literally YEARS! 🙂 That’s because in a forum a topic stayed at the top as long as comments kept coming in.

    I hosted an invitation only forum. It was a lot of work, I don’t think I’d ever like to be an admin and moderator again.

    Sal

  17. 17
    scordova says:

    I don’t feel comfortable saying it is, and I don’t feel comfortable saying it isn’t!

    I don’t feel comfortable either saying ID isn’t science. If the sum total of all our empirical knowledge to date suggests there is a creative deity in the origin of life, even though we don’t see the deity, do we just punt and say, “well — the best answer is intelligence, but since we can’t observe it, even though our best science seems to point to it, it still isn’t science.” But that doesn’t seem exactly right either. So I can’t say that ID isn’t science either.

    I mean, if it seems the end goal of all the universe and life as some sort of message to mankind that a Designer exists, and further if the sum total of all scientific knowledge supports that inference, kinda hard not to call it science. But then, we’re getting close to saying the search for God is science…

    So, I’m conflicted, and when I’m conflicted on such matters, I choose other avenues to discuss ID.

    Again, the question isn’t whether ID is true. The premise I work from is that ID is indeed true, the question is whether ID as a whole can be called science.

    The complication is the “I” part of ID, the “D” part is science by any standard of science, imho.

    As Denton suggested in Nature’s Destiny, it seems all of our scientific enterprise points us to a certain conclusion, and part of me thinks it a bit hard to say, we can’t label the sum total of what science points to as science! So I’m of two minds on the issue and I’ve basically argued both sides because I’m convinced both sides have merit, which for me is a stalemate.

  18. 18
    niwrad says:

    Scordova

    If you remove the “I” from ID you remove the Designer. What is more important, the Designer or the design? It seems to me the Designer is more important.

    So to remove the “I” from ID is like to throw the baby out and keep the bathwater.

    And for what? To comply with scientism. That scientism that declares “science” Darwinism, the biggest lie of the history. If “science” is that, I am proud to be called anti-science IDer.

  19. 19
    scordova says:

    niwrad,

    I’m all for keeping the “I” in ID even if that means some won’t call it science.

    I care more that it is true than being labeled science.

    Sal

  20. 20

    Sal, since you are guilty of creating another thread right after the first one :), please respond to my points in #21 of the other thread. In particular, with respect to the statement you made about ID having “merged theories of design with theories of intelligence.”

    My comment on that issue (though the other comments I hope were also useful) was as follows:

    —–

    “I’m not sure I know what that means. What do you have in mind by “theories of intelligence” (or what do you think Bill has in mind)?

    Are you referring to questions like: (i) how and when the intelligence came about, (ii) whether the intelligence is “supernatural”, (iii) what the intelligence is like or its specific characteristics, etc.? Or did you have something else in mind?

    If you are referring to those kinds of things, then it is incorrect to say that ID has “merged” theories of design with theories of intelligence. It would be more correct (as Bill seems to be saying) that they are separate questions. We don’t have to know how or when the intelligence came about, we don’t have to talk about whether the intelligence is supernatural, we don’t even need to get into hyper-technical definitions of what “intelligence” means in order to have a fruitful scientific inquiry regarding intelligent design.

    That seems to be what Bill’s quote is saying (though I have not looked at the whole context of his discussion). That would be in direct contradiction to your statement that we are “merging” theories of design and intelligence.

    No. Quite the opposite. We are keeping them carefully separate.”

    —–

    Thanks,

  21. 21
    scordova says:

    “I’m not sure I know what that means. What do you have in mind by “theories of intelligence” (or what do you think Bill has in mind)?

    Are you referring to questions like: (i) how and when the intelligence came about, (ii) whether the intelligence is “supernatural”, (iii) what the intelligence is like or its specific characteristics, etc.? Or did you have something else in mind?

    Design theories define sufficient, but not necessary criteria for what constitutes design independent of the designer. It would be sort of circular to say, “the definition of design is something made by a designer” rather according to the EF, “something is designed if (but not necessarily) it evidences negation of chance and law”.

    We have thus separated the notion of design from questions of the designer and now define it in empirical and measurable terms amenable to science.

    Theories of the Intelligence means theories defining sufficient indicators of intelligence. I don’t think there is or ever will be agreement on this planet or in the ID community what intelligence is. Bill suggested to leave intelligence an undefined primitive (like force in physics, point points in Euclidean geometry). My “I” theory is “God did it” or “like-minded intelligence”.

    Unlike D-theories, I-theories are somewhat nebulous. I have no problem with that. I believe humans are intelligent even though I can’t define intelligent, for that matter I can’t define human, but I believe the concept of “human” refers to something real even if not easily defined.

    I say ID has merged the two theories by essentially asserting “design needs a designer”.

    Sal
    PS
    Thanks for your forbearance with the threading issues. I tried to send you a private email using the e-mail you provided for UD regarding the threading issues.

  22. 22

    Sal:

    Sorry I missed your email. I get plenty of spam, so may have missed it.

    It would be sort of circular to say, “the definition of design is something made by a designer”

    Perhaps. If someone didn’t know what either a designer or a design were beforehand. But we don’t have to define design that way. Open any dictionary, and we find a number of other terms, concepts, synonyms that help us understand what a design is. Futhermore, we can provide many examples of what we mean by a “design”, so – even in the extremely unlikely case where someone doesn’t know what a design is – we can define design without using the word “designer.” But that is really beside the point (see penultimate paragraph below).

    Theories of the Intelligence means theories defining sufficient indicators of intelligence. I don’t think there is or ever will be agreement on this planet or in the ID community what intelligence is. Bill suggested to leave intelligence an undefined primitive (like force in physics, point points in Euclidean geometry). . . .

    Unlike D-theories, I-theories are somewhat nebulous. I have no problem with that. I believe humans are intelligent even though I can’t define intelligent, for that matter I can’t define human, but I believe the concept of “human” refers to something real even if not easily defined.

    I agree. We don’t need a be-all-and-end-all definition of “intelligence” that will satisfy everyone. A simple dictionary definition is adequate for purposes of ID. Furthermore, we can point to examples of intelligence. Any ID critic who spends lots of time battling over definitions of “intelligence” or demanding that everyone agree to what intelligence is before ID can even be considered is more interested in preventing meaningful discourse than engaging in it.

    I say ID has merged the two theories by essentially asserting “design needs a designer”.

    Again, if you mean simply that we don’t have to know the characteristics, attributes, intent, identity, etc. of the designer, then I agree with you. In other words, we can examine the design, on its own merits, without knowing much about the designer. But in that case ID has not “merged” the two concepts; it has kept them strictly separate.

    But you seem to be arguing more than that – you seem to be saying that there can be design without a designer?

    With apologies, that would be meaningless nonsense. Can you have a play without a playwright? A book without an author? A composition without a composer?

    We can have a discussion about whether natural things like a cell or human designed things like certain computer programs should be considered “intelligent” in their own right or only derivatively from another intelligence. But to say that there could be a design without any designer at all is nonsense.

    Again, let’s not get hung up on the circularity concern. It isn’t circular to say that a designer is one who designs, as long as we can understand independently what a design is (which we can). Writers write; ice skaters skate; builders build; singers sing; designers design. It is not a question of circularity; it is just how our language works. We have a root word, and from that we have a related subject and an object.

    Ultimately, I can’t tell if I am missing some deep mystery here or if you have just gone down the rabbit hole. I just don’t see that it makes any sense, either rationally or according to our use of the English language, to suggest that there can be a design without a designer. And I’m not sure – even if we were to accept that self-refuting idea – where it would possibly get us.

  23. 23
    scordova says:

    – you seem to be saying that there can be design without a designer?

    You can identify designs without seeing the designer.

  24. 24
    scordova says:

    Sorry I missed your email. I get plenty of spam, so may have missed it.

    I e-mailed this morning to the address on file at UD. I had a question I wanted to ask you privately that you can help me work on, and wanted to consult you but not out in the open.

    Sal

  25. 25
    Eric Anderson says:

    “You can identify designs without seeing the designer.”

    Of course. That is the whole point of ID.

    But it doesn’t mean there isn’t a designer. We can investigate the two separately; indeed, we logically must treat the investigation of the design and the investigation of the designer as separate inquiries — not merged ones. 🙂

    But that the existence of a design implies the existence of a designer, yes.

    —-

    I apologize it looks like I had an old email address on file. I’ve updated my profile just now. I’d love to hear from you directly if you wouldn’t mind resending the message to the updated address.

  26. 26
    jstanley01 says:

    The division between the “I” and the “D” appears to me to be intrinsic. I don’t think it is possible — that is, I believe it is impossible — within the compass of the scientific method, to learn very much about the intelligence that is behind the design in nature.

    To illustrate by extending the analogy of Paley’s watch, I would argue that the most interesting things about whoever designed it cannot be discovered by analyzing the artifact.

    For instance, is the designer a man? A woman? Does he or she like classical music? Rock? Jazz? Bluegrass? Is she a careful mother? Is he a doting father? Is he a Democrat? Is she a Republican? Or maybe a trans-gender Libertarian? A Catholic, an Orthodox, a Protestant, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew?

    Checkers or chess? Ford or Chevy? Paper or plastic? Apple or Android? Impossible to tell.

    This, I believe, the guardians of the secular orthodoxy have smelled-out during their crusade against ID. Making them much more afraid of the “D” arguments than they are the “I” arguments. Because the “D” arguments reopen a door that they thought they had nailed shut forever-and-ever, amen. Specifically, the return to intellectual legitimacy of a philosophical necessity for revealed religion.

    I wanna tell ya’, it’s no wonder they’re clutching at the towel racks, screaming their heads off. That-there has to be one ice-cold shower, to find out that you have only kidded yourself into believing that you were “intellectually fulfilled.” Brrr….

  27. 27
    PaV says:

    Sal:

    I don’t feel comfortable either saying ID isn’t science. If the sum total of all our empirical knowledge to date suggests there is a creative deity in the origin of life, even though we don’t see the deity, do we just punt and say, “well — the best answer is intelligence, but since we can’t observe it, even though our best science seems to point to it, it still isn’t science.” But that doesn’t seem exactly right either. So I can’t say that ID isn’t science either.

    Look how much experimental work is being done in biology that amounts to ‘reverse-engineering.’ If scientists are focusing on, and doing, experiments that are meant to understand the physics of certain cell and animal functions, then, it seems to me, they’re already doing ID work: they’re detecting the presence of something that is designed, and they’re trying to understand the design. So many technological advances over the last ten to fifteen years trace themselves back to this kind of ‘reverse-engineering.’

    OTOH, there are those who pursue things via a Darwinian, RV + NS, point of view. These experiments seem to me to either end up with results that basically refute Darwinism and neo-Darwinism, or simply prove the very limited extent to which a Darwinian understanding of biology applies.

    Darwinism is NOT about evolution. It is about ADAPTATION. But when you’re Darwinists, and you control the journals and the institutions, all you have to do is simply define ‘evolution’ to be no more than ‘adaptation.’ The present state of things is really almost as simple as that.

    I just saw the abstract of some recent paper that said they had discovered 30 new species. What I read made me think of “varieties.” Then the thought occurred to me: “When was the last time anyone spoke of a VARIETY in a published paper!” (Maybe in the Horticultrual Daily!)

    They most likely didn’t mean 30 new “species,” but 30 new “varieties.” Darwin’s whole argument is that “varieties” are no more than “incipient species.” When the literature no longer speaks of “varieties,” then de facto, EVOLUTION is now a FACT—because the view of biology Darwinism displaced can no longer be permitted to talked about or even thought of. It’s “Newspeak” literature.

    And we call THIS “science”?

  28. 28
    scordova says:

    It became impractical for me to try to keep this thread at the top of the queue. I hoped I could for a week, but I failed.

    Perhaps as an amends, I am working on building a forum for more protracted discussions.

    See:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ist-blogs/

  29. 29
    Querius says:

    How about a categorized list of links to the most popular/interesting topics?

    To me, ID provides a neutral ground between people who want to use Science to “prove” God exists (maybe God doesn’t want to be proven) and people who want to use Science to “prove” that God doesn’t exist, or at least is not needed.

    The “I” part of ID doesn’t identify the origin of the intelligence, which could be God, gods, or some advanced aliens from the “billions and billions” out there. In any case, the paradigm that ID provides presupposes that biological structures have a purpose. Historically, this paradigm can be shown to be superior to one that presupposes randomness and vestigiality in terms of promoting versus hindering scientific progress.

    At one time, I was perfectly happy accepting the Darwinist explanation for OOL and macroevolution. I rejected Darwinism not because it might conflict with my Christian beliefs and experience, but rather because Darwinism is lousy science, a 19th century theory that’s outlived its usefulness.

    -Q

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