Design inference Religion

Biological argument for God from design more compelling than cosmological one?

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Ratio Christi, a Christian campus ministry, features Jonathan McLatchie, one of our News writers, in their blog, The Poached Egg , explaining why he thinks so:

The more I come to terms with the sheer engineering prowess of the cell, the more I am becoming convinced that the argument from biological design is perhaps the single most powerful argument for God’s existence — I now consider it to be stronger than even the cosmological and teleological arguments. It seems to be a rather under-used apologetic, however, particularly in Christian-atheist debates. ID as a scientific proposition, of course, doesn’t necessitate God as designer. But it is certainly a very compelling part of a cumulative body of evidence for theism. Catching just a glimpse of the beauty and sophistication of the cell should be enough to render absolutely anyone without excuse.

“Without excuse” indeed. That was a part of the apostle Paul’s point 2000 years ago, when he was explaining to the Romans why he was a Christian:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse .

The thing about arguments from design, whether biologial or cosmological, is that, because the design is evident, most counterarguments are irrational.

Consider:

“So what if this universe works? There is surely an infinite number of universes out there that have failed.” In other words, we are invited to exchange what we know for what someone imagines might be so. And it gets better:

“Life only looks designed. Random Darwinan processes can accomplish this feat.” To say that the evidence for such processes doing so is slight is to shower them with praise. Everywhere, randomness signals disorder at a level that precludes life.

“Life only looks designed. Your brain evolved in such a way as to see a design that isn’t there.” Well, maybe it’s more like this: The Darwinian’s brain somehow evolved so as to see no design where it obviously exists. Offhand, the latter is far more likely.

Most of the time, when we see a design, or a pattern, it is there.

Hat tip Phillip Cunningham

61 Replies to “Biological argument for God from design more compelling than cosmological one?

  1. 1
    Gregory says:

    “arguments from design, whether biologial or cosmological” – UD News

    William Dembski tries to distinguish between ‘(the) design argument(s)’ and Intelligent Design theory (IDT). The former are/is theological, the latter claims to be a kind of neo-biological ‘science.’ Do folks at UD know about and openly acknowledge this intentional distinction Dembski makes? It’s written in “The Design Revolution” (2004).

    Today I had a wonderful conversation with a world class cosmologist, who simply said, like many others already have, that IDT is bad theology, in addition to bad science.

    It doesn’t really matter if IDists deny this until they’re blue in the face; the fact is, they’re still blue in the face. And the world keeps moving on without them taking a reality breath.

    Even in theology, lowercase ‘intelligent design’ was used (as highlighted on a history of ‘id’ contest thread here at UD) without a problem, that is, *until* the IDM came along and tried to scientise it, nay, to outright demand the scientificity of IDT. As a result, now many theologians are ashamed to use the term ‘Design’ because they want no association with the American political IDM. They continue to believe in a Creator, of course, they just use other terms.

    IDism has thus laid a trap for Abrahamic believers: either believe ‘Intelligent Design’ is a ‘strictly [natural] scientific’ concept-duo or stop using it for religious apologetics. That, friends, is a sad state of affairs that P. Johnson and M. Behe probably didn’t anticipate and would likely not have endorsed if they had foreknown what would happen.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Ben Stein – EXPELLED – The Staggering Complexity Of The Cell – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4227700

    DNA – Replication, Wrapping & Mitosis – video
    http://vimeo.com/33882804

    The inner life of a cell – Harvard University – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJyUtbn0O5Y

    Journey Inside The Cell – Stephen Meyer
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fiJupfbSpg

    Through the Virtual Cell – video
    http://www.youtube.com/user/nd.....M2X1c4K1x0

    Programming of Life – Eukaryotic Cell – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVCwDOMCpXY

    The Central Dogma (English version) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ygpqVr7_xs

    Molecular Biology Animations – Demo Reel
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5915291/

    Mitochondria – Molecular Machine – Powerhouse Of The Cell – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5510941/

    etc.. etc..

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    Gregory @ 1: You make several assertions in your comment. You back none of them with evidence or argument. Until you do, it is safe for the rest of us to ignore you, which I will now do.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    I believe the creation of life pales in comparison to creation of the fine tuned universe. I can imagine a path to the creation of life and all its intricacies. I cannot imagine anything but an incredibly immense intelligence behind the universe. Thus, I believe the cosmological argument is a far better argument for a creator.

    Also the multiple universe hypothesis is a self contradictory one in terms of the existence of a god of immense intelligence.

    But the appearance of life and its changes points to some form of intelligence in its history and is another refutation of the naturalistic hypothesis. That is the best one can do with that.

  5. 5
    Upright BiPed says:

    My $.02

    The origin of the universe demonstrates the laws that exist within that universe. Life operates within those laws. Perhaps that is why some/many see the origin of life as so compelling – because we establish by experiment the laws of gravity and thermodynamics, and in doing so, we demonstrate what they can and cannot accomplish.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    To put some meat on the bones as to Jonathan M.’s claim that biology demonstrates an even more powerful argument for God than the argument for a beginning of the universe, or the argument of the fine-tuning of the universe, does, let’s consider that this following fact,,

    How the Recent Discoveries Support a Designed Universe – Dr. Walter L. Bradley – paper
    Excerpt: Only in the 20th century have we come to fully understand that the incredibly diverse phenomena that we observe in nature are the outworking of a very small number of physical laws, each of which may be described by a simple mathematical relationship. Indeed, so simple in mathematical form and small in number are these physical laws that they can all be written on one side of one sheet of paper, as seen in Table 1.
    http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9403/evidence.html

    The Underlying Mathematical Foundation Of The Universe – Walter Bradley – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4491491

    Quote from preceding video:

    “Occasionally I’ll have a bright engineering student who says, “Well you should see the equations we work with in my engineering class. They’re a big mess.”, The problem is not the fundamental laws of nature, the problem is the boundary conditions. If you choose complicated boundary conditions then the solutions to these equations will in fact, in some cases, be quite complicated in form,,, But again the point is still the same, the universe assumes a remarkably simple and elegant mathematical form.” – Dr. Walter Bradley

    Yet life certainly does not assume a remarkably simple and elegant mathematical form that can be written on one side of one sheet of paper. In fact there is little hope of us ever fully describing the complex multi-layered integrated complexity found in life. Here is an excellent article, from ENV, that shows it is impossible, due to the extreme polyfuctionality being dealt with, for us to ever completely understand the complexity within living organisms:

    “Complexity Brake” Defies Evolution – August 2012
    Excerpt: “This is bad news. Consider a neuronal synapse — the presynaptic terminal has an estimated 1000 distinct proteins. Fully analyzing their possible interactions would take about 2000 years. Or consider the task of fully characterizing the visual cortex of the mouse — about 2 million neurons. Under the extreme assumption that the neurons in these systems can all interact with each other, analyzing the various combinations will take about 10 million years…, even though it is assumed that the underlying technology speeds up by an order of magnitude each year.”,,,
    Even with shortcuts like averaging, “any possible technological advance is overwhelmed by the relentless growth of interactions among all components of the system,” Koch said. “It is not feasible to understand evolved organisms by exhaustively cataloging all interactions in a comprehensive, bottom-up manner.” He described the concept of the Complexity Brake:,,,
    “Allen and Greaves recently introduced the metaphor of a “complexity brake” for the observation that fields as diverse as neuroscience and cancer biology have proven resistant to facile predictions about imminent practical applications. Improved technologies for observing and probing biological systems has only led to discoveries of further levels of complexity that need to be dealt with. This process has not yet run its course. We are far away from understanding cell biology, genomes, or brains, and turning this understanding into practical knowledge.”,,,
    Why can’t we use the same principles that describe technological systems? Koch explained that in an airplane or computer, the parts are “purposefully built in such a manner to limit the interactions among the parts to a small number.” The limited interactome of human-designed systems avoids the complexity brake. “None of this is true for nervous systems.”,,,
    to read more go here:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62961.html

    Perhaps some may appeal to some hyper-intelligent Aliens, as Richard Dawkins did in his infamous interview with Ben Stein, (also known as the ABG (Anything But God) hypothesis) ,,,

    Ben Stein vs. Richard Dawkins Interview
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlZtEjtlirc

    ,, So to make the case even more firm that God created life in this universe, Quantum Entanglement (spooky action at a distance) requires a beyond space and time cause to explain its existence in this universe,,

    Looking Beyond Space and Time to Cope With Quantum Theory – (Oct. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: The remaining option is to accept that (quantum) influences must be infinitely fast,,,
    “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” says Nicolas Gisin, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142217.htm

    And this ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, effect for quantum entanglement is now confirmed to an almost unbelievable 70 standard deviations:

    Closing the last Bell-test loophole for photons – Jun 11, 2013
    Excerpt: That combination, the researchers write, was “crucial for achieving a sufficiently high collection efficiency,” resulting in a high-accuracy data set – requiring no assumptions or correction of count rates – that confirmed quantum entanglement to nearly 70 standard deviations.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-06-b.....otons.html

    The following articles give us a small glimpse as to what it truly means for entanglement to be confirmed to an order of ’70 standard deviations’:

    Standard deviation
    Excerpt: Particle physics uses a standard of “5 sigma” for the declaration of a discovery.[3] At five-sigma there is only one chance in nearly two million that a random fluctuation would yield the result.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....le_physics

    SSDD: a 22 sigma event is consistent with the physics of fair coins? – June 23, 2013
    Excerpt: So 500 coins heads is (500-250)/11 = 22 standard deviations (22 sigma) from expectation! These numbers are so extreme, it’s probably inappropriate to even use the normal distribution’s approximation of the binomial distribution, and hence “22 sigma” just becomes a figure of speech in this extreme case…
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....air-coins/

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    And this beyond space and time quantum entanglement, which is confirmed to 70 standard deviations, is now found in life on a massive scale, in every DNA and protein molecule,,

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – Elisabeth Rieper – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    Coherent Intrachain energy migration at room temperature – Elisabetta Collini and Gregory Scholes – University of Toronto – Science, 323, (2009), pp. 369-73
    Excerpt: The authors conducted an experiment to observe quantum coherence dynamics in relation to energy transfer. The experiment, conducted at room temperature, examined chain conformations, such as those found in the proteins of living cells. Neighbouring molecules along the backbone of a protein chain were seen to have coherent energy transfer. Where this happens quantum decoherence (the underlying tendency to loss of coherence due to interaction with the environment) is able to be resisted, and the evolution of the system remains entangled as a single quantum state.
    http://www.scimednet.org/quant.....d-protein/

    Thus not only do we have evidence for staggering levels of integrated complexity in life, but we also have a beyond space and time ‘fingerprint’ of God within life with quantum entanglement.

    As well, it can be argued that it was harder for God to create human life than the universe because of the necessity that propitiation placed on creating a being that could dwell in perfection with God though not being perfect, not being God, himself. i.e. The suffering of The Cross!

    G.O.S.P.E.L. – (the grace of propitiation) poetry slam – video
    https://vimeo.com/20960385

    Falling Plates (the grace of propitiation) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGlx11BxF24

    Verse and Music:

    Ephesians 1:4
    Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

    TobyMac – Speak Life (Lyrics)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rK6O0YtBRY

  8. 8
    Bruce David says:

    Gregory, re. 1:

    According to Meyer, Dembski, and others, the scientific argument for ID is that there are phenomena in the natural world for which the only reasonable explanation is that they are the product of a designing intelligence. The nature of that intelligence is unanswerable by scientific inquiry.

    From there, metaphysical and theological considerations can argue for various possibilities regarding who and what the designer or designers are.

    There is a clear demarcation between the science and the theology. What don’t you understand about this?

  9. 9
    tjguy says:

    The argument from design is a Scriptural argument. God ‘s creative power, wisdom, and design are evident in creation for a reason – He intended it to be so and appealed to that design as evidence for His existence.

    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse .

    Evidence for design has certainly increased as we have learned more about microbiology and even the abilities of living organisms all over the world. The explosion of Biomimetics supports this, but we don’t need to be able to understand the microbiology of the cell to see God’s design in the world. It is obvious and undeniable. Microbiology, Biomimicry, etc. are simply icing on the cake.

    IDM, because it is trying to be a scientific approach to the problem, is not able to make any statement about who the Intelligence is that was involved in the creation of the universe. I understand that approach, but it does handicap what they can do and say.

    Creationists though need not concern themselves with that. We can be clear and stand firmly on what the Bible says. The evidence we see all around us strongly supports this verse in Romans 1.

    Evidence for “bad design” is chalked up to devolution over time as things go from organized to disorganized, working to broken, etc. Things break so much easier than improve themselves.

    Plus, the effect of the fall of man due to sin was a curse on all creation, including nature itself. This too explains some of the problems we see in the world today. It won’t qualify as a scientific theory because God has been effectively excluded from science, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be true. If evolutionists eliminates the right answer from the debate for philosophical reasons, that is their choice.

    As so many IDers have pointed out, “bad design” ( which is a bit subjective anyway) is still evidence for a designer.

    This recent quote is quite telling of where we stand today in evolutionary biology:

    Darwin referred to the origin of species as “that mystery of mysteries,” and even today, more than 150 years later, evolutionary biologists cannot fully explain how new animals and plants arise.

    Maybe they can take refuge in that phrase, “cannot fully explain” the answer. Maybe they can partly or mostly explain it. The article does not allow that reprieve. It’s even worse than not knowing: things they thought they knew are not true:

    For decades, nearly all research in the field has been based on the assumption that the main cause of the emergence of new species, a process called speciation, is the formation of barriers to reproduction between populations….

    – See more at: http://crev.info/2013/09/darwi.....ZY5WI.dpuf

    The fact that “evolutionary biologists still cannot fully explain how new animals and plants arise” begs the question of whether what they think they already know is really true or not.

  10. 10
    gpuccio says:

    Gregory:

    I don’t understand your problems. IMO, it’s very simple.

    a) Cosmology is a science, whatever its status it is at present.

    b) The cosmological argument for God is a philosophical argument, a very old one. One can like it or not. Personally, I find it very convincing, certainly much more convincing than the ontological argument.

    c) Modern cosmology can certainly provide new aspects which are useful for a debate about the cosmological argument, in particular for the argument about fine tuning of the universe. One can like that or not, but there is nothing strange in the fact that science can provide stuff which can be used for a philosophical discussion. It happens all the time.

    d) ID theory is a scientific theory about the origin of biological information. One can like it or not, but that is a very simple fact.

    e) The argument for God based on the existence of living beings, and of information in them, is an old philosophical argument. It can be considered a particular aspect of the cosmological argument, but it differs from it for important issues:

    e1: the origin of life happens inside the known universe, at specific times and places.

    e2: therefore, the argument is in some way more connected to scientific knowledge about natural history. The general cosmological argument, instead, is mainly connected to cosmology and theories about the origin of the whole universe, and is more dependent on basic philosophical assumptions.

    f) ID theory can certainly provide new aspects which are useful for a debate about the biological argument for God, in particular for the origin of biological information. One can like that or not, but there is nothing strange in the fact that science can provide stuff which can be used for a philosophical discussion. It happens all the time.

    Just as simple as that. No need at all to get “blue in the face”.

  11. 11
    Gregory says:

    “You back none of them with evidence or argument.”- Barry

    I cited Dembski. I believe the Chapter in which *HE* makes the distinction between ‘(the) design argument(s)’ in theology and ‘strictly [natural] scientific’ IDT starts on pg. 64. Does that count as ‘evidence’ in your view?

    Notice that nobody here responded to this by directly dealing with Dembski’s distinction? I guess I’m the only one interested in this evidence.

    And indeed, this is a grave problem dealing with IDists; they all have their own ‘IDT’. So one is stuck discussing and arguing with individuals’ personal versions of IDT and not a clear, singular theory.

    Likewise, I provided a link to the international society for science and religion’s views on IDism. Does that not count as evidence to you, Barry?

  12. 12
    Gregory says:

    “The nature of that intelligence is unanswerable by scientific inquiry.”

    P. Johnson’s meaning of ‘Intelligent Design,’ in line with his anti-naturalism, is that the supposed Intelligence must be non-natural, extra-natural or supernatural. Take your choice, but speaking merely about “‘the nature of’ that intelligence/Intelligence” is disingenuous.

    “who and what the designer or designers are.”

    Why assume the lowercase signifier? Why not Designer or Designers? I prefer to be very careful with language, rather than sloppy or obscure. You are biasing the conversation, (uppercase) David, with a sleight-of-hand, as if natural science *SHOULD* have theological implications designer -> Designer/Creator.

    “There is a clear demarcation between the science and the theology.”

    On the topic of ‘evolution’ and ‘creation,’ is there?

    “there is nothing strange in the fact that science [philosophy] can provide stuff which can be used for a philosophical [scientific] discussion.”

    Yes, of course, and vice versa as inserted above.

    “IMO, it’s very simple.” – gpuccio

    If it were as simple as you say it is, then theologians who believe the IDM has laid a trap for Abrahamic believers with their ‘scientistic’ Design are probably foolish. The cosmologist/theologian that I spoke with yesterday is clearly no fool.

    IDT = “the biological argument for God”

    Yeah, that’s fairly accurate. It’s theological, of course, not ‘only philosophical’ or ‘scientific.’ Shifting the burden onto (natural) philososphy away from (natural) theology has been a typical IDist move.

    It’s the insistence that IDT is ‘strictly [natural] science,’ however, that is most problematic and why IDT has been severely stunted in its claims, if not also what makes it destined for a relatively quick collapse.

    But don’t worry, fellow Abrahamic believers, ‘(the) design argument(s)’ in theological cosmology will still live on in the apologetics world. One needn’t accept IDT simply because one accepts (the) design argument(s). That should already be clear for those who have read Dembski’s book, as highlighted above.

    I don’t have time to reply to those who aren’t familiar with this appropriate distinction.

  13. 13
    Alan Fox says:

    I hope some of the readers her will follow Gregory’s link and maybe respond on whether they think it is a fair summary.

    It’s sometimes refreshing though challenging to try and appreciate how we are viewed from another’s perspective.

  14. 14
    Alan Fox says:

    Oops: Here not Her.

    (Her is not a Freudian slip hinting at the misogynistic tendencies of some commenters here, although it could be!)

  15. 15
    Timaeus says:

    Alan Fox:

    Taking your suggestion (13), I followed up Gregory’s link, and can answer your question.

    No, it’s not a fair summary.

    The statement makes elementary errors in describing ID — e.g., claiming that ID requires supernatural intervention, and grouping authors into ID and evolutionist, as if they are separate categories, when Michael Behe belongs to both.

    Also, the date on the site says 2011, yet the ID sources cited are all from 2007 or earlier (usually much earlier). No mention is made of a number of important ID works, including Behe’s second book, Meyer’s first book, Meyer’s two key articles, Denton’s second book, etc. On the other hand, the reference list is top-heavy with TE works (and their theological slant influences the conclusion of the article) and in general with anti-ID works. One gets the impression that these Brits started out with their conclusion and did a partial and superficial reading of ID works in order to feign an objective article.

    In any case, this is a “group position” statement, and therefore, like all such statements, of no strictly intellectual value. The intellect is individual; group statements are always at least *in part* political. This is an organizational manifesto, not a serious intellectual critique of ID. But of course Gregory will cite anything critical of ID, so it’s not surprising he links to it.

  16. 16
    Timaeus says:

    Re Gregory’s comments in #1 above:

    1. I’d like to know the name of the “world class cosmologist.”

    2. I’d like to know why even a “world class cosmologist” should be expected to know anything about biological systems or about theology, and therefore why this cosmologist’s opinion on intelligent design should matter to anyone.

    3. Of course, the citing of the opinion of a “world class cosmologist” is an attempt to argue from authority. (The implied argument is: if he’s “world class” he must know what he’s talking about, so we should defer to him.) Logic 101 would have taught Gregory the invalidity of this type of argument.

    4. There is no necessary logical contradiction between saying: “the arguments for ID are purely scientific, not religious” and “the conclusion of ID can be used in religious apologetics.” A conclusion might involve no religious premises, but still have religious implications.

    5. “like many others already have” should be “*as* many others already have”. “Like” is properly an adjective, not a conjunction.

  17. 17
    Axel says:

    ‘I don’t have time to reply to those who aren’t familiar with this appropriate distinction.’

    Like Gregory, Alan, you won’t be ‘forced’ to answer questions, whether you can or not, irrespective of your available time and criteria for responding. You just change the subject, or skip bithely on, anyway.

    That’s the thing. You guys cannot be nailed down. You’re not moral relativists, but logic relativists.

  18. 18
    Axel says:

    Your point 5, Timaeus:

    “like many others already have” should be “*as* many others already have”. “Like” is properly an adjective, not a conjunction.

    It seems you have a bone to pick with Merriam Webster. It hinges on ‘properly’, doesn’t it. You may be behind the times on this one.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Axel, good morning:

    A Reflection – A Ministry Of Beauty – video
    https://vimeo.com/47265755

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Reminds me of this ‘experiment’ Axel:

    Stop and Hear the Music – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnOPu0_YWhw

    An apt verse?

    Psalm 46:10
    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

  21. 21
    Gregory says:

    Alan, don’t hold your breath. IDists are not very happy that most of the world’s scientific organisations are against them. They are even less happy that the top science & religion organisations are against them too.

    And what is saddest is that either IDists don’t understand why this is or worse, don’t care why this is. Here’s an example of Expelled Sydrome at its most damaging and hurtful to individuals who wrap their worldviews up tightly with IDist scientism. I’ve provided a reason above, conveyed through a fascinating, humble and decorated scientist, who is also a devoted Abrahamic believer, why this is the case.

    “many theologians are ashamed to use the term ‘Design’ because they want no association with the American political IDM. They continue to believe in a Creator, of course, they just use other terms.”

    The term ‘design’ is now (at least for the forseeable future) stained in history by the IDM’s scientism! 🙁

    “these Brits started out with their conclusion”

    Actually, its quite an international organisation with some of the topic religious scientists in the world. timaeus could only ever dream of belonging to such a group. One must be invited by a panel of peers to join based on accomplishments in scientific and reigious fields.

    As I said, timeaus’ disenchantment would be better directed to a positive profession. I do think he should put his talens to good purpose by openly joining a science and religion program at a university. These programs are popular and are becoming more widespread. He is a religious studies scholar, after all.

    “1. I’d like to know the name of the ‘world class cosmologist’.” – timaeus

    And I’d like to know your real name, timaeus, publically stated here at UD. Of course, neither am I under any obligation to tell you. Believe what you want about whether or not I am telling the truth.

    2. “about biological systems”

    Is that what OoL is about, ‘biological systems’? And isn’t IDism interested in OoL? You are being irrationally antagonistic, timaeus. It is not a healthy thing.

    3. Well, I did take a Logic 101 course, which is about the highest level timaeus reaches sometimes. Caved in and isolated by Expelled Syndrome, I doubt timaeus has met anyone credible as a scholar in recent years.

    4. A convenient diversion. IDT is claimed as a ‘scientific revolution’ by IDM leaders. Just follow the evidence. Nothing timaeus says will change this. That’s the reality.

    timaeus seems just as willing to intentionally conflate ‘(the) design argument(s)’ in theology with scientistic IDT as most other IDists. Well, I guess that makes sense since he is just repeating their views, having himself – by his own admission – offered not a single original thought in this conversation.

    “The intellect is individual; group statements are always at least *in part* political.”

    So, the Wedge Document by the ID was “at least *in part* political.” Good that we finally get to hear timaeus publcially admitting that there *is* something political about IDists involved with their IDT. He’ll of course deny it, but the implication of his statement is clear.

    Don’t forget, ladies and gentlemen, that timaeus is not *himself* part of any such Movement – he will deny it to anyone here who openly asks him. Instead, he just claims to be a neutral, disinterested observer, who happens to be trade in abstract ideas, with no connection to reality, which is why he expressed total confusion and rejection that ‘designing processes’ actually *can* be studied. That they aren’t allowed to be studied according to the scientistic ideology of IDism doesn’t change this reality.

    “important ID works” is just a timaean fantasy, investing his heroes’ evanglically-based, DI-marketed ‘books’ with undeserved ‘scientific’ acclaim!

    Let’s get back to Dembski’s distinction (in an IDist book timaeus purposely won’t read) because it best responds to the claims made in the OP.

  22. 22
    Timaeus says:

    Gregory wrote:

    “And indeed, this is a grave problem dealing with IDists; they all have their own ‘IDT’. So one is stuck discussing and arguing with individuals’ personal versions of IDT and not a clear, singular theory.”

    If Gregory objects to ID on those grounds, he must also object to TE and to “the theory of evolution” (in biology) on those grounds.

    After all, if you look at TE, Russell doesn’t agree with Polkinghorne, and Russell doesn’t agree with Lamoureux, and Collins doesn’t agree with Conway Morris, and Murphy doesn’t agree with Falk, etc.

    And if you look at “the theory of evolution,” you see that Shapiro doesn’t agree with Lewontin, who doesn’t agree with Newman, who doesn’t agree with Venema; and Dawkins doesn’t agree with Gould, and Denton doesn’t agree with Dawkins, and Conway Morris doesn’t agree with Collins. It goes on and on.

    If Gregory is frustrated that there are so many different ID views, and if he is arguing that ID people should all agree on on one position, then he should make the some complaint and demand in the other cases I’ve mentioned.

    For that matter, he should demand that crunchy con and libertarian and religious right Republicans, who have major differences between them, should all agree on one “Republican” set of beliefs; and he should demand that all “liberals,” some of whom support affirmative action programs (in the name of social justice for groups) and others of whom oppose such programs (in the name of equal treatment for individuals rather than groups), get together and agree on one “liberal” position. And he should argue that Miles Davis, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, and a New Orleans street band should get together and agree to play all their jazz in the same style from now on, so there won’t be any confusion as to what “jazz” is. And he should urge that Catholics and Orthodox and Protestants should all agree on a common “Christian” position so that it won’t be as difficult for non-Christians to argue with Christians.

    I don’t see it as a weakness of ID that it has differing emphases and includes a spectrum of views. It means that people criticizing ID have to criticize individual writers rather some “ism” that they have constructed in their minds, but so what? That’s a good thing. The world needs more intellectual individualism and less intellectual collectivism. It would be far more intellectually useful for critics of ID to argue “Behe is more correct here than Dembski” or “Meyer is more correct here than Nelson” than to argue against a monstrous amalgam of Meyer, Nelson, Behe, Johnson, Wells, etc. which they call “ID” but which represents no ID proponent in particular, and then to render a blanket verdict on this non-existent position.

    To be sure, there are a few common points that link up various ID proponents. I’ve explained these common points to Gregory and others a hundred times. And I would defend most of the major ID proponents on those points — the critique of neo-Darwinian theory, and the general validity of arguing for design. But I have no responsibility to defend particular exaggerated statements by any particular design proponent. I have every right to be an ID proponent of my own peculiar variety, just as Gregory has the right to come off McLuhan in his own peculiar way, and feels no need to defend “McLuhanism” in general or to agree with all other McLuhanites on everything. Gregory’s desire for some kind of firm group position, some kind of “ism,” is a desire that cannot be satisfied.

    I actually prefer the open anarchy of ID to the fake unity of “TE” and of “evolutionary biology.” There’s more truth in advertising when you openly admit you are a “big tent” than when you really are a big tent, but try to conceal that fact, for culture-war reasons.

  23. 23
    Joe says:

    Gregory doesn’t know jack about science and he has mental issues wrt Intelligent Design-

    Alan Fox:

    I hope some of the readers her will follow Gregory’s link and maybe respond on whether they think it is a fair summary.

    I read it and obviously they don’t know jack about Intelligent Design nor science.

    So both Gregory and that org can kiss my ass because they don’t know anything else but ass kissing.

  24. 24
    Joe says:

    We exist and there is only ONE reality behind taht existence. Unguided processes have been ruled out as not being science- thanks Lizzie, that’s your only contribution to this debate. And seeing that the design inference can be tested and possibly falsified it is clear that it is science- well unless you redefine science…

  25. 25
    Joe says:

    Gregory:

    Likewise, I provided a link to the international society for science and religion’s views on IDism. Does that not count as evidence to you, Barry?

    LoL! Their ignorant spewage is not evidence Gregory. Are you really that delusional?

  26. 26
    Timaeus says:

    Axel (18):

    On a website where people many people still doubt an ancient earth, reject evolution, and call for a return to the Protestant Christianity and American morality of 100 years ago, you are telling me I shouldn’t be “behind the times”?

    🙂

    So if Merriam-Webster capitulates to bad usage because it has become so common, you are willing to go along with that? You are willing to be a follower of the pack, rather than a leader?

    I’ve paid close attention to the little language lessons featured on the M-W website. M-W. willfully aids and abets the erosion of good English. It is one thing to *record* current misuses, as a matter of reference, so people will know how to untangle all the bad writing that is around these days. That’s useful. It is another thing to *encourage* and *justify* such misuses — which is what Merriam-Webster does in its little video sermonettes on the virtue of surrendering to the usage of the ignorant.

    I remember when the Webster dictionary used to, after giving the proper usage of a word, add a separate section flagging common misuses, exhorting people not to commit them! No dictionary on the market today would dream of doing that now. Then dictionaries tried to *improve* one’s language. Now they make one’s language worse, by “democratically” treating good usage and bad usage as equally valid, simply by virtue of the fact that they both exist.

    This is part of a wider modern problem. Most modern English is horrible. And I’m not talking just about the English of people who have never had much education or didn’t grow up in literate homes. I’m talking about the English of college graduates. Many journalists write slovenly, vulgar English. Many professors now write clumsy, inelegant, and even ungrammatical English. Many schoolteachers speak and write dreadful English in front of their classes. Even some TV announcers on major networks, who used to be relied upon as models of good English, are now among the main sources of bad English in the general culture.

    I remarked on Gregory’s misuse (jarring to my trained ear) for this reason: He has made numerous comments on this site about the allegedly bad English of others. He has accused people constantly of misusing words, even as his own usage of words (I pointed out one just the other day) is often confusing or downright incorrect; and he has sometimes accused people specifically of bad grammar. But above he makes a grammatical error for which, in my day, his seventh-grade teacher would have made him stay after school and rewrite the sentence correctly ten times!

    Heidegger said the language was “the house of being.” If that’s the case, modern English-speakers live in a hovel. And this is not merely an aesthetic concern (though ugliness to the trained ear is itself reason enough to condemn bad language, as it is reason enough to condemn bad singing or bad playing of a musical instrument). There are subtle but real connections between the decay of language and the decay of politics, ethics, religion, etc. I marvel that American “conservatives” go on endlessly about getting back to the old religion and the old morality, but don’t seem the slighest bit concerned about a return to correct grammar and usage, and to good literary style. It seems that these days, all Americans are linguistic liberals. Yet style and culture and morality are intimately connected, as the British Christian writer and English professor Ian Robinson has powerfully argued in his many writings. And of course C. S. Lewis was aware of this connection as well.

    Coffee break over. Back to ID. 🙂

  27. 27
    Alan Fox says:

    This is part of a wider modern problem. Most modern English is horrible. And I’m not talking just about the English of people who have never had much education or didn’t grow up in literate homes. I’m talking about the English of college graduates. Many journalists write slovenly, vulgar English. Many professors now write clumsy, inelegant, and even ungrammatical English. Many schoolteachers speak and write dreadful English in front of their classes. Even some TV announcers on major networks, who used to be relied upon as models of good English, are now among the main sources of bad English in the general culture.

    Hmm. What should matter most is that communication is clear and unambiguous. Is it good or bad that rules follow usage rather than fossilise it. English has become the second language of choice because of its flexibility and simplicity. If only we could get phonetic spelling. Perhaps you don’t realise the envy that resides in the French psyche over the success of English as a universal medium of communication. They brought it on themselves to a degree by their (I mean governments of the day and their delegates and advisors) autocratic attempts at control, such as the purge of synonyms after the Revolution and the dead hand of the Académie Française.

    I am sure elderly Greeks sat together bemoaning the decline of the language of Homer 🙂

  28. 28
    Joe says:

    Alan Fox:

    What should matter most is that communication is clear and unambiguous.

    That leaves you out, Alan. It pretty much leaves out all evos.

    Nice job

  29. 29
    Gregory says:

    Little grammatical errors, like forgetting that ‘Intelligent Design’ is a ‘theory’? That’s typical for timaeus.

    He writes ‘ID’ but means IDT. It is an effort at tricking people called reification.

    “claiming that ID[T] requires supernatural intervention”

    Dembski speaks openly of a ‘transcendent Designer’ in his work. If a regurgitator like timaeus wants to quibble about how ‘transcendent designer’ relates to ‘supernatural intervention,’ so be it. Either way, it is quite obvious that IDT is not and cannot be a’strictly [natural] scientific’ theory.

    timaeus has still not the nerve to admit that IDM leaders consider IDT a ‘scientific revolution.’ He’s apparently still in denial about that and a lot of other things too. This, folks, is what Expelled Syndrome does to people.

  30. 30
    Joe says:

    Well Gregory, seeing that natural processes cannot give rise to nature, then by your “logic” there cannot be any “natural” sciences.

  31. 31
    Axel says:

    ‘There are subtle but real connections between the decay of language and the decay of politics, ethics, religion, etc. ‘

    Timaeus, I was going to say, ‘Got it in one!’, but I feared that you, as a pack leader, Shir Khan, as it were (well, his was a pride, wasn’t it?) would think it vulgar… Pulling your leg again. ‘Got it in one’, somehow doesn’t really convey the sense of how seminally the ethos of a country’s culture expresses itself in a host of not immediately obvious ways, does it?

    Nevertheless, my admiration for the genius of Americans for metaphor qua slang and in demotic speech, generally, in appropriate context, is boundless. Although I do believe it is a particular gift of the peoples of English-speaking countries. Chesterton rightly, I believe, identified slang as largely metaphor.

    It does seem likely, it seems to me, or I may have read it somewhere, that eventually demotic turns of phrase and language eventually enrich a language. Certainly, as I say, such metaphors can be sublime. I suspect within this continuum, the efforts of the Academie Francaise to deny the French the use of foreign words, while always unsuccessful, are partly deservedly so, and partly undeservedly so.

    Could Shakespeare have improved upon, ‘Why, she beat him like a red-headed stepchild!’ Or, the somewhat bawdy ‘She had legs that just wouldn’t quit!’ So many dimensions evocatively addressed in those few words.

    Basically, though, I’m saying, I see re modern dictionaries. Heck, modern encyclopaedias have entries about the Beatles. Although, I suppose there is no reason why there should not be encyclopaedias for popular interests, as opposed to what, at least used to be, tomes on academic subjects.

    Nevertheless, basically, if only for the reason you state, viz that is symptomatic of a general cultural atrophy, I’m with you regarding the maintenance of the formal standards of yesteryear.

  32. 32
    Timaeus says:

    Gregory:

    Dembski does indeed speak in some places of transcendent designers etc. And I think he personally believes that ultimately ID pushes one back to a transcendent designer. It does not follow that ID, understood as a theory of design detection, requires a *transcendent* designer. ID, as a theory, is about inferring *a designer*. Full stop.

    The determination that the designer is *transcendent* proceeds from further reasoning, *after the design inference has been made*. And the conclusion that the designer must be a transcendent one is not in itself a *design* inference. It is an inference of another kind.

    Dembski, I believe, would agree with this. So would all the other leading ID proponents, as far as I know.

    But why do you constantly “privilege” (and here I use the word correctly) Dembski’s statements as if they are the final word on ID? Dembski has been at best *primus inter pares* of the ID leaders, and arguably is no longer even that. I would say that currently he is less visible than the other ID leaders, certainly less visible than Meyer. In any case, he has never had any authority vested in him by the others to lay down the law on what ID is. Yet you keep throwing quotations from him in everyone’s face, as if he has such authority. I assume that your motive for doing, this, like your motive in everything you write here, is political, i.e., that you seek to win a culture-war victory over ID fans by using Dembski in this way. But since I grant Dembski no special authority to define ID, your victory is hollow. I’m as free to reject particular statements of Dembski as I am to reject particular statements of Fuller or anyone else who claims to understand “what ID is.” I defer to the minimalist definition of ID (chance alone is inadequate, intelligent cause needed) set forth in many Discovery documents. Beyond that, I defer to no ID proponent. I simply agree with the ones I agree with, and disagree with the ones I disagree with.

    There is no trickery in my use of ID rather than IDT. I’ve rarely said anything but “ID” from day one. You are the one who keeps inventing unnecessary, unwanted, and confusing variants — IDT, big-ID, small-id, etc. Most ID people just say ID, meaning “intelligent design”, and leave the determination of the narrower meaning (a theory of design detection, the actual design(s) detected by the method, the general intellectual movement, etc.) to the context.

    ID certainly could be a “strictly scientific theory.” I don’t say it is, but it could be. Your statement is dogmatic and, as usual, without evidence. But of course I am utterly uninterested in whether it is labelled science or philosophy, theory or hypothesis. Those are questions for tenured and tenure-seeking academics to argue about. I am only interested in the question whether there is design in nature, and whether said design is sufficiently in evidence as, if not to “prove” design, at least to invalidate the overclaims of the atheists that all apparent design is known (because of Darwin) to be illusory design. I am satisfied that the answer is yes to both questions. You disagree. You have every right to disagree. As Frank Sinatra sang, “everybody has a right to be wrong.” 🙂

    As for your failure to answer my earlier question, yes, you are right; you are under no obligation to reveal the identity of the cosmologist who in your judgment (but, I suspect, in the judgment of no one else here) is “world class”. And I would not try to pry it out of you if the person spoke to you in confidence. But it would be interesting to know the name of yet another arrogant physics/cosmology prof, who, along with Hawking, Sean Carroll, Krauss, etc. makes a complete ass of himself by speaking outside of his field.

  33. 33
    Alan Fox says:

    I do believe it is a particular gift of the peoples of English-speaking countries.

    Axel, you’re scaring me 😯 You’re saying thing that make sense to me!

  34. 34
    Alan Fox says:

    My pleasure at seeing the smiley appear as wished is somewhat diminished by the typo; 🙁

    makes

  35. 35
    Alan Fox says:

    @ Timaeus

    Hawking unworthy?

    For shame!

  36. 36
    Gregory says:

    Alan, I agree that Hawking makes an ass of himself with exaggerations of what he ‘scientifically’ knows. His “The Grand Design” seems to flirt with Dawkins for how many ridiculous things he can say on topics he is ignorant about. And his positivistic, scientific anti-realism is highly problematic from a PoS perspective, in contrast to say Penrose’s realism. Nevertheless, as with you, I’d welcome responses from IDists here about ISSR’s statement, in addition to timaeus’ rose-coloured glasses assessment.

    “ID, as a theory, is about inferring *a designer*. Full stop.”

    IDT is a ‘strictly [natural] scientific’ theory about inferring an uppercase Designer, full stop.

    You should recognise the difference, timaeus, but are consistently too stubborn to admit it in public.

    It’s a “biological argument for God,” timaeus, according to some people here and the title of this thread. Wake up, take the cotton out of your ears!

    “There is no trickery in my use of ID rather than IDT.”

    Do you deny then that ‘Intelligent Design’ is proposed and promoted as a ‘strictly [natural] scientific’ theory by Johnson, Behe, Dembski, Wells & Nelson? If you answer ‘No,’ then that’s trickery.

    “I am only interested in the question whether there is design in nature” – timaeus

    In a fantasy world, perhaps that might be true. But you have concluded that ‘there is’ already. I have proof of this in your own words, timaeus, which upon seeing again you would take back as a chronic waffle does, and just as you’ve done here before. Claiming there need be some kind of ‘honest question’ about “whether there is” is once again disingenuous. But as a religious scholar, I’m sure that doesn’t cross your mind, timaeus, does it? The ‘design argument’ is accepted by all Abrahamic believers; it is IDT that is properly reject as scientistic.

    Have you no real life contact with honourable and credible scholars in your life, timaeus, e.g. cosmologists, biologists, physicists, etc.? You seem to waste so much time and effort on IDists, atheists and anti-theists that it makes you angry and self-isolating from the Expelled Syndrome you’ve contracted. I’ve watched over 4 years as you try desperately to defend IDism, while missing out on good and important scholarship by people you could possibly admire and have fellowship with, but which are outside of your hyper-IDist radar. It is saddening why you have chosen this ignoble path, when better options are available.

    “I would not try to pry it out of you if the person spoke to you in confidence.” – timaeus

    Man, get on with your life. Scholars are active around the world on serious and significant topics. You belittle yourself by considering UD your main ‘academic’ publishing venue. For how much better you loudly proclaim education was ‘back in your day’, you seem oblivious to the current academic landscape to even imagine that UD is an ‘academic’ venue or that the same standards hold here. Try talking to a non-IDist academic religious and take a risk to return to reality. It would do you at least some good, if not curing you entirely from Expelled Syndrome IDism.

    “Like any Christian (and indeed any theist), I believe that the world has been created by God, and hence “intelligently designed.” The hallmark of intelligent design [read: Uppercase Intelligent Design theory], however, is the claim that this can be shown scientifically; I’m dubious about that.” – A. Plantinga

    “When using the word “intelligence,” I keep it in lower case if I am referring to an attribute of intelligent beings, but I use capital letters (e.g. “an Intelligence”) when I am referring to the Designer of Nature – a Being Whom I believe to be God.” – V.J. Torley

    If only timaeus were as forthcoming at UD as Torley or Plantinga!!

    The thread starts with “Ratio Christi, a Christian campus ministry…” Maybe that could give timaeus a hint that ‘strictly [natural] scientific’ is a mis-attribution for IDT. But since his IDists comrades believe it, he won’t openly say it.

  37. 37
    Alan Fox says:

    Alan, I agree that Hawking makes an ass of himself with exaggerations of what he ‘scientifically’ knows.

    *steps back in amazement*

    Agree with whom, Mr S?

    Hawking may enter the realm of the speculative, but he does not make an ass of himself.

  38. 38
    Alan Fox says:

    Apologies: Dr S.

  39. 39
    Gregory says:

    Thanks for the respect of your correction, Alan.

    Yes, startling it may seem. I don’t disagree with timaeus about everything. If he didn’t suffer so tragically from Expelled Syndrome and hadn’t fallen brain-first ideologically into IDism’s trap, I even believe he could have been a decent scholar in science and religion discourse. But that’s an aside to the reality we find ourselves in now.

    I’ve been reading cosmologists and physicists recently and even discussing with them. Hawking goes overboard similarly to how Dawkins does in his anti-theism, wrapped in scientific garb. It is scientism of a similar variety to IDist leaders such as Meyer, Dembski and Behe. That’ why they make such precious dancing partners, entertaining to watch but not envious in any way to join.

    Perhaps “make an ass of himself” is just crude timaean language. Nevertheless, Hawking is teetering on quackery rather than responsible ‘science’ so it seems to this amateur.

  40. 40
    Alan Fox says:

    <blockquote<Perhaps “make an ass of himself” is just crude timaean language. Nevertheless, Hawking is teetering on quackery rather than responsible ‘science’ so it seems to this amateur.

    Gregory, don’t blame Timaeus for your own choice of language. Tea culpa!

  41. 41
    Alan Fox says:

    Oops HTML error that should be obvious, obvioulsy to the cognoscenti! 😉

  42. 42
    Gregory says:

    Guilty of repeating:
    “Hawking…makes a complete ass of himself by speaking outside of his field.”

    Fine, can we move on then?

    Y’know, IDism = biological argument for God (but claims to be ‘strictly [natural] scientific’?

    The term ‘design’ is now (at least for the forseeable future) stained in history by the IDM’s scientism! 🙁

  43. 43
    Alan Fox says:

    …stained in history…

    Not necessarily. We don’t have to agree to the subversion of commonly agreed words like “design”. We can insist that new concepts (maybe ID will come up with one one day) have to find their own words. Let’s take back words and their real meaning. I’ll join with you in that struggle, Gregory.

  44. 44
    Alan Fox says:

    …stained in history…

    Not necessarily. We don’t have to agree to the subversion of commonly agreed words like “design”. We can insist that new concepts (maybe ID will come up with one one day) have to find their own words. Let’s take back words and their real meaning. I’ll join with you in that struggle, Gregory.

    For us who have sausage fingers and a short attention span an edit button would be a small kindness.

  45. 45
    Gregory says:

    “Let’s take back words and their real meaning. I’ll join with you in that struggle, Gregory.”

    With the term ‘design/Design’ as used by the IDM, I’m sad to say that it seems like a lost cause. And worse, IDists don’t seem to care less how they’ve left the place. Sloppy and disgusting, worse for wear.

    But still triumphantly trumpeting ‘Scientific Revolution!’ in the name of ‘Design,’ right folks?

    I can’t recall how many times I’ve pointed out at UD that ‘design theory’ is alive and well in higher education today; it has *nothing* to do with IDT and wants nothing to do with it either. IDists just don’t seem to get this, nor are they willing to look into it.

    Not long ago I was giving a presentation in a large room full of ‘design theorists’ who laughed (with me) when the concept duo ‘Intelligent Design’ was raised. They all quite easily saw through IDism’s ‘biological Design’ facade.

    How many UDists have been in such a situation and nevertheless still emerged as self-styled ‘martyrs’ for the IDM’s historically speculative scientistic theory, claiming positive religiosity for their American evangelical tribalism? Anyone?

  46. 46
    Bruce David says:

    Gregory, re. #12:

    Why assume the lowercase signifier? Why not Designer or Designers?

    If you had read my comment carefully, you would know. It’s because the scientific inference does not extend so far as to include the nature of the designer or designers, only that design is the best explanation for the existence of the phenomena.

    For your information, personally, I believe that the designers were souls very much like ourselves, but not incarnate at that time. So an upper case “D” is not appropriate in any case.

  47. 47
    Alan Fox says:

    English-speakers live in a hovel.

    I missed this earlier.

    Joe, are you going to put up with this affront to English speakers. I mean some of us might live on a parking lot but we can still manage eloquent prose, as Joe’s posts demonstrate
    .

  48. 48
    Gregory says:

    “the scientific inference does not extend so far as to include the nature of the designer or designers”

    I’m sorry, Bruce David, but this is not enough.

    You offer little explanation to the theologians I mentioned above who feel the term ‘Design’ is tainted by the Movement you embrace. You are part of a small group of people trying to effect a ‘Revolution’ with your ‘Design inference’ talk. But we are wise to your linguistic tricks.

    How do you *know* the ‘designer’ or ‘designers’ are ‘natural’ to justify your (intentional?) use of ‘the nature of’ to describe them?

    If the Designer of Nature is not ‘natural’ (which most philosophers and theologians accept) then your language is misleading from the start. Do you recognise and acknowledge this?

    I realise that you want to sound ‘strictly [natural] scientific’ in your defence of IDT. But please wake up to the fact that theologians reject scientistic IDism for very good reasons.

    #12: “speaking merely about “‘the nature of’ that intelligence/Intelligence” is disingenuous.”

    You have made no improvement upon your response nor explanation of this in #46 Bruce.

  49. 49
    Bruce David says:

    Gregroy, re. #48:

    “the scientific inference does not extend so far as to include the nature of the designer or designers”

    I’m sorry, Bruce David, but this is not enough.

    You offer little explanation to the theologians I mentioned above who feel the term ‘Design’ is tainted by the Movement you embrace. You are part of a small group of people trying to effect a ‘Revolution’ with your ‘Design inference’ talk. But we are wise to your linguistic tricks.

    The theologians will have to deal with their feelings however they may. The distinction that proponents of ID make between what can legitimately be inferred by scientific inquiry and what is properly the province of philosophy and/or theology is quite clear. It is you who are muddying the waters here.

    And by the way, whether or not there will be a revolution will be determined by where the truth actually lies, not by the efforts of any group, be it the ID proponents or the Darwin defenders. There will be a revolution, not because I and the rest of a small group are “trying to effect” it but because living things actually were designed and engineered, and more and more people both within and outside of the scientific professions are coming to see the truth of this.

  50. 50
    Timaeus says:

    Gregory:

    Of course ID people have spoken of a “theory of intelligent design.” I’ve never denied that. So what’s the point?

    I’ve said repeatedly that whether intelligent design counts as “science” depends on one’s definition of “science”; therefore, whether intelligent design is a “scientific theory” depends on what one means by “scientific theory.” According to some understandings, ID would be a “scientific theory”; according to other understandings, it wouldn’t be.

    If you lay down a rule that design inferences are outside of the province of natural science, then obviously ID is not a “natural scientific theory.” I see no reason, however, to accept such a rule. It’s arbitrary and has not been accepted at all times in the history of natural science. Nonetheless, it makes no difference to my position. Suppose I agreed to the rule; then I’d simply say that Meyer is wrong when he speaks of ID as a “scientific theory.” I’d say that ID is “a philosophical extrapolation from scientific data.” But it still might be a valid extrapolation. It still might state a truth about nature.

    What do I care whether the rebuttal of the position of Dawkins, Myers, Coyne, Atkins, etc. is labelled a “scientific” or a “philosophical” rebuttal? If it’s a valid rebuttal, that’s all that matters.

    You are quite different from myself, Gregory. You are true academic in the modern vein. You like hair-splitting quarrels over definitions; you like assigning an “ism” to every position; you like classifying people, determining who belongs to this camp and who belongs to that camp. You also like dwelling at inordinate length on people’s alleged personal motives (another thing very common in modern academia, though it was regarded as an unbecoming preoccupation by the older generation of scholars). None of those things are important to me. I want to read texts and study their arguments, and debate about the validity of those arguments. I couldn’t care less, for example, whether Bertrand Russell is classed as a “positivist” or a “Platonist” (both terms have been applied to him) or something else. I just want to read Russell’s arguments and try to figure out whether or not Russell’s conclusions are right.

    So if you have an *argument* against particular passages of ID theory written by Meyer, Dembski, Behe, etc., trot out your argument and I’ll respectfully examine it. But if you want to keep complaining about the motives of ID people, or keep trying to redefine ID so that it is something entirely other than what its proponents say it is, or keep making arguments from authority (“X is world famous and he says that ID is bad science and bad theology”), I have no interest in the conversation.

    Arguments of the form: “On Page 297 of his book, Meyer writes, regarding information theory and the arrangement of the nucleotides, that …., and this is wrong because …” are very much welcome to me. But those are not the kind of arguments you have ever offered here. What you offer here is motive-mongering, academic social-science shop-talk, academic name-dropping, and cultural analysis. None of which have anything to do with whether or not Meyer’s application of information theory to the cell is valid or invalid. You simply don’t address the question of whether or not there is detectable design in nature. You want to talk about *the people and movements* who argue that there is detectable design and nature. That’s why you are on the wrong web site. “The sociology of intelligent design theorists” is a completely different topic from “the arguments for design in nature.” And you will bang your head endlessly in frustration if you think you can get the folks here to abandon the second topic and take up the first. They just aren’t interested.

    I’m not saying that “the sociology of intelligent design theorists” is not a valid subject of discussion. It’s a perfectly valid subject for discussion. But it has zero bearing on whether the conclusions advanced by ID advocates are true or false. And that’s what we want to talk about here.

  51. 51
    Breckmin says:

    Fine tuning arguments should be used for agnostic theism.

    Code/Information in biological systems as well as the nano factories of protein synthesis should be used as evidence of Intelligent Causation only.

    Those creationists who stay away from the nomenclature of “Intelligent Design” often do so to avoid ridiculous atheists’ generalization of “design arguments” that fail to address the exact nature of code/programming/information or mechanical working systems that don’t self-create. It is not that anyone is embarrassed by the Discovery Institute…it is rather than materialists/naturalists think that they have somehow debunked “design” so they fail to address the exact argument and result to generalizations of teleology.

    I only stay away from using to term “intelligent design” because of the ignorance of those who reject it…NOT because there is anything embarrassing about the history of the ID movement.

    ID is distinct of theism…. IOW, identifying something that is the result of intelligence is distinct from agnostic theism (which is a stepping stone in a cumulative
    case argument for monotheism). These distinctions of ID, theism and the religious implications of theism are too often ignored by those waving the flags of skepticism.

  52. 52
    Breckmin says:

    should have been “nano factories of living cells performing protein synthesis”… living cells performing got deleted

  53. 53
    Gregory says:

    “There will be a revolution … because living things actually were designed and engineered” – Bruce David

    I’ll rest my case on the ‘scientific revoutionary’ fantasies of IDists with that. timaeus still won’t believe it even if it’s right in front of his nose. But it really doesn’t matter what an Expelled Syndrme victim believes in the long run unless/until he finally seeks a cure for his malady.

    “those are not the kind of arguments you have ever offered here.”

    I’ve done that many times. Most recently with Dembski’s 2004 argument in this thread! Why the bluff and bluster, timaeus?

    David, again: How do you *know* the ‘designer’ or ‘designers’ are ‘natural’ to justify your (intentional?) use of ‘the nature of’ to describe them?

    Your refusal to accept the argument that a Creator, when spoken of as also a Designer, theologically suggests capitalisation. That is, unless you don’t care about the Abrahamic traditions of capitalisation with regard to the divine. This is precisely one of the dangers of IDism; it runs away from classical theology into its own post-modern quasi-deist scientistic strategy.

    If IDism were to openly embrace its obviously proper place as a concept for science, philosophy and theology/worldview discourse, then the capitalisation problem for IDT would fade away. It could then be done properly and without guile or shame, as VJ Torley, StephenB and a few others here do. The fakers, the rhetoricians like timaeus and many of the DI’s leaders are the problem here. That’s why timaeus refuses the meaningful distinction between Uppercase Intelligent Design and lowercase intelligent design; it destroys the maybe-yes, maybe-no facade that the IDM has constructed for its ‘revolutionary’ purposes. We’ve seen through this already, folks.

    “So what’s the point?” – timaeus

    Go back and read again. Hint: reification.

    “I’ve said repeatedly that whether intelligent design counts as “science” depends on one’s definition of “science”; therefore, whether intelligent design is a “scientific theory” depends on what one means by “scientific theory.” According to some understandings, ID would be a “scientific theory”; according to other understandings, it wouldn’t be.” – timaeus

    What’s with this po-mo relativism, timaues?

    “You simply don’t address the question of whether or not there is detectable design in nature.” – timaeus

    How many times do it take?

    First, it is ‘technically’ correct to speak of Uppercase ‘Design in nature’ that IDT proposes to discover because the ‘Design’ transcends nature. Bejan’s lowercase ‘design in nature’ technically differs from that because for him there is nothing other than nature. For IDism, if there is nothing other than nature, the theory collapses. That’s why the capitalisation matters.

    Second, I’ve already indicated that using ‘Design’ the way the IDM does is a category mistake. timaeus may not agree, but most people do. And it blew up in John G. West’s face in the 2008 summer program at the DI. The category mistake by IDists is easily evident with how many times people have pointed to the distinction between ‘artifactual’ human-made things (mousetraps, Mt. Rushmore, Easter Island, etc.) and non-human-made things, specifically ‘natural’ things. But IDists, fervent in their ‘revolutionary’ mindset, ignore the valid criticisms that countless people have made. And ignoring valid criticims has relegated IDT to a very low academic standard.

    This is why the term -ism makes sense for what IDT has become; it tries to universalise the concept of ‘Design’ by conflating (wrapping together) those two distinct notions of ‘artificial’ and ‘natural.’ That, folks, is ‘Designism.’ Be careful you don’t catch it, for want of being an ID ‘revolutionary’ like timaeus!

    So, basically, you’re running out of the frying pan and into the fire, committing the same sort of ideological excess that Dawkins commits with his ‘universal Darwinism’. O.k. so go back and dance with him again, while the rest of the world moves forward and leaves you both behind.

  54. 54
    Timaeus says:

    Above (50), I wrote to Gregory:

    “Arguments of the form: “On Page 297 of his book, Meyer writes, regarding information theory and the arrangement of the nucleotides, that …., and this is wrong because …” are very much welcome to me. But those are not the kind of arguments you have ever offered here.”

    It is clear from the hypothetical example I give, involving “information theory” and “nucleotide arrangement,” that the sort of argument in ID books that I was asking Gregory to respond to were technical, scientific arguments. It is clear that I was asking Gregory to show where the *science* in ID arguments is wrong.

    Gregory now replies (53):

    “I’ve done that many times. Most recently with Dembski’s 2004 argument in this thread!”

    Wherever the “many times” are, I must have missed them all. As for the “2004 argument” of Dembski on this thread, let’s look at what that argument was about (1 above):

    “William Dembski tries to distinguish between ‘(the) design argument(s)’ and Intelligent Design theory (IDT). The former are/is theological, the latter claims to be a kind of neo-biological ‘science.’ Do folks at UD know about and openly acknowledge this intentional distinction Dembski makes? It’s written in “The Design Revolution” (2004).”

    The assertion of Dembski that Gregory is here referring to here, as can be seen by reading Gregory’s summary of it, is not a scientific argument for design. It is Dembski’s *attempt to distinguish the meanings of the terms* “design arguments” and “intelligent design theory.” Gregory then tells us that by “design arguments” (as opposed to arguments in “intelligent design theory”) Dembski means something “theological.” So even if Dembski were making “design arguments” here (which he isn’t — he’s merely explaining what the term means), they would not be the sort of argument I gave in my hypothetical Meyer example. They would be theological, not scientific, arguments.

    So, I repeat:

    Gregory has never, either here, or in any place on Uncommon Descent that I can recall, responded, in his *own* voice, expressing his *own* arguments, to *any* scientific argument for design (or, if one wishes to dispute the term “scientific argument for design,” one can substitute “argument for design based on the empirical data provided by modern science”) ever offered by any ID proponent.

    Behe, Meyer, Dembski, Wells, Denton and many others have written literally thousands of pages containing technical, science-based arguments for design in nature. To those thousands of pages, Gregory’s response has been silence.

    We must conclude that Gregory has no response to the technical arguments of the ID writers. If he had such a response, he would offer it. Instead, he either entirely ignores the technical arguments, or else passes off the refutation of the arguments to others, by making sweeping general claims that scientists reject ID, without giving any impression that he has examined those scientists’ refutations or understands the biology, chemistry, physics, math, etc. behind them.

    I’ll try one more time: Gregory, in *No Free Lunch*, Dembski offers “one long argument” in favor of ID. Where, in your opinion (a report of others’ opinions is of no value to me), does Dembski argue wrongly in that book about mathematics, chemistry, biology, etc.? Where, in *Signature in the Cell*, does Meyer argue wrongly about these subjects? Where, in *Nature’s Destiny*, does Denton argue wrongly about these subjects? Point out for us the chapters, the pages. Show us that these writers’ scientific arguments (or science-based arguments, if you will) for design in nature are invalid.

    If Gregory replies with more discussion of the alleged theological motivation of ID people, more discussion of ID vs. id, IDT vs. ID, etc., I will simply ignore his answer. But if he replies with concrete scientific and mathematical contents, based on his own understanding of nature and the natural sciences, I will review his arguments with care and give him a courteous and considered reply.

  55. 55
    Bruce David says:

    Timaeus, re. #54:

    Well said! Very clear and cogent. That puts the ball squarely in Gregory’s court. Let’s see what he does with it. I suspect he will ignore it.

    Gregory, re. #53:

    David, again: How do you *know* the ‘designer’ or ‘designers’ are ‘natural’ to justify your (intentional?) use of ‘the nature of’ to describe them?

    Please read more carefully before you respond. I did not say that I thought that the designers were “natural”. I said that I believe that they were souls similar to us only not incarnate at that time. That hardly qualifies as “natural”. Use of the phrase “the nature of” does not imply that the referent is “natural”. One can speak of the nature of God, for example, or the nature of the soul.

    Your refusal to accept the argument that a Creator, when spoken of as also a Designer, theologically suggests capitalisation. That is, unless you don’t care about the Abrahamic traditions of capitalisation with regard to the divine. This is precisely one of the dangers of IDism; it runs away from classical theology into its own post-modern quasi-deist scientistic strategy.

    I’ll repeat this point one more time, but I doubt that you will get it, since it has been pointed out to you several times already and you seem unable to understand the distinctions involved: The scientific inference is that certain natural phenomena were designed. This inference makes no claim to know who or what the designer or designers are or were, hence lower case. A theological (ie, not scientific) conclusion is that the Designer is the God of the Christian tradition. This conclusion, however, does not follow from the scientific determination of the presence of design. Other (theological, not scientific) assumptions or beliefs are required. From what I said above in this comment it should be clear that I do not share those beliefs and assumptions.

  56. 56
    Gregory says:

    “the sort of argument in ID books that I was asking Gregory to respond to were technical, scientific arguments… where the *science* in ID arguments is wrong.” – timaeus

    This guy timaeus is rather dull, but persistent. At least he deserves credit for something. Doesn’t he know that IDT is not a ‘strictly [natural] scientific’ theory? An argument cannot be shown to be ‘strictly [natural] scientifically’ wrong if it is not ‘strictly [natural] scientific’ in the first place.

    “not a scientific argument for design.” – timaeus

    Yes, exactly.

    What does anyone OWE to an Expelled Syndrome victim like timaeus who continues to betray reality in the fanatical cause of his IDism? timaeus’ participation here, from which he has claimed he is about to ‘pull away,’ is marked by its demanding sense of entitlement.

    “Gregory has never, either here, or in any place on Uncommon Descent that I can recall, responded, in his *own* voice, expressing his *own* arguments, to *any* scientific argument for design (or, if one wishes to dispute the term “scientific argument for design,” one can substitute “argument for design based on the empirical data provided by modern science”) ever offered by any ID proponent.” – timaeus

    Are you upset, timaeus, because I called you unoriginal and a regurgitator? You’ve already admitted you’ve offered nothing original to IDT yourself. NOTHING. Sure, there’s lots of angry stars in your text, timaeus, but no happy shine coming from your regurgitated and outdated ‘argument.’

    There are choirs of ‘design’ theorists laughing at IDism and its misappropriation of ‘design’ into ‘Design,’ from human-social science into natural theology.

    “technical arguments” – timaeus

    Do you mean Dembski’s probabilism, his specificationism? You think that’s ‘scientific’ and ‘technical’? 😛

    timaeus demands that I make “concrete scientific and mathematical” points. But IDism is not a “concrete scientific and mathematical” theory. So how is that even possible?

    “technical, science-based arguments for design in nature.” – timaeus

    They haven’t. It’s for Uppercase ‘Design’ sought for ‘in nature.’ Why on earth do you think ISCID, the journal Dembski trumpeted in 2004 as a great success for “technical, science-based arguments” for IDism, collapsed soon thereafter? These are the kinds of ‘very clear and cogent’ facts that timaeus can’t see while suffering from Expelled Syndrome.

    Where are those actually ‘technical, science-based arguments for Uppercase Design in nature’? Adrian Bejan betters the whole IDM by himself with his lowercase ‘design in nature’ openly acknowledged presupposition!

    IDism is a “biological argument for God,” as repeatedly admitted in this thread. This doesn’t even need a ‘gotcha’. Just read it in the title of the thread!

    Go see a priest, timaeus. You are embarrassing your so-called religious studies degree and the institution that gave it to you by requiring scientism to validate yourself.

  57. 57
    Bruce David says:

    Gregory, re. #56:

    Well, Greg, Timaeus sent the ball squarely into your court and you ducked, just like Darwinists always do. Your non-response that “IDism is not a ‘concrete scientific and mathematical’ theory” only serves to strengthen the arguments of Meyer, Dembski, Denton, Behe, Axe, Gauger, Berlinski, Sanford, Sewell, Wells, et al by making it apparent that there is no effective response to the points that they make.

    This is why there is a revolution in the making here. Darwinism simply has no counter to the arguments for ID.

  58. 58
    Gregory says:

    “you ducked, just like Darwinists always do.”

    I am not a ‘DARWINIST,’ you idiotic conclusion-jumping-with-no-evidence IDist!

    Do people reading this now see why IDism is a soon to be dead-end ‘theory’ based on typical behaviour like this?

    Bruce David – martyr for a ‘quasi-science’ when instead he could live healthy away from Expelled Syndrome working for responsible and meaningful science, philosophy and theology/worldview dialogue.

    Yet he willingly gives that opportunity up (with free will!) to chant ‘Scientific Revolution’ in an IDist tribe. So sad and unnecessary.

  59. 59
    Timaeus says:

    As both Bruce David and I expected he would, Gregory (56) evaded the challenge to refute the arguments put forth by ID proponents.

    It is of course understandable that someone trained in sociology might not be able to answer technical arguments put forward by people with degrees in biochemistry, mathematics, computer programming, etc. I wouldn’t fault Gregory or anyone for opting out of answering, by saying: “These arguments are not in my field, and I’m not competent to judge their validity.” Unfortunately, that is not Gregory’s approach. Gregory’s approach is to launch an aggressive assault upon these arguments as a group, declaring them invalid in a blanket judgment. But everyone here can see that Gregory has no refutation to justify his rejection. He simply doesn’t like the conclusions that ID authors come to, so he says that their arguments are bad.

    It is interesting that Gregory chooses Adrian Bejan as an example of someone who has argued for “design in nature.” Of course Bejan has done no such thing. Bejan’s “design” rests on equivocation. What Bejan calls “design” is what Dawkins more correctly calls “apparent design.” There is no real “design” in nature in Bejan’s account. There are patterns generated by mathematical formalisms. But “pattern” is not “design.” The shape of freezing raindrops on a window pane may form a striking “pattern”; a wristwatch is “designed.” Bejan gives no examples of truly “designed” things produced by natural laws. He gives examples only of patterns. This is understandable; since Bejan does not believe that any designer exists, he cannot believe in any design. All that he can do is misuse the word “design” by applying it in a popular, casual sense to patterns that give the superficial appearance of design. But this has nothing to do with what “design” means in intelligent design thinking.

    Oddly, though Gregory never tires of invoking the name of Bejan against ID people, Bejan is not someone whose ideas Gregory will discuss. Once on this site he provided links to four articles about Bejan and demanded that someone here respond. I read the articles, and responded. Gregory continued to post replies on that thread, but to my comments about Bejan, he replied not a word, as can be confirmed at:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nt-design/

    See comment #338.

    It is interesting that the only “design in nature” thinker that Gregory admires and respects is an atheist.

  60. 60
    Upright BiPed says:

    I am not a ‘DARWINIST,’ you idiotic conclusion-jumping-with-no-evidence IDist!

    Do people reading this now see why IDism is a soon to be dead-end ‘theory’ based on typical behaviour like this?

    So suddenly irreducible complexity is resolved, and semiotic systems pop into existence – all because you’ve been misunderstood? Gregory, do you have any conception of how unbalanced you come off to others?

    A ranting armchair sociologist without a drop of self awareness. It’s quite a sight really. If you were commissioned to research working biologists to establish their responses to specific ID claims, I am convinced you couldn’t even get the sample out of the field. Of course, that may simply be a reflection of my low opinion of your respect for data. 🙂

    In any case, if you should ever come to be assured enough of your claims, particularly to the extent that you’d have them tested in debate as opposed to just mouthing them off, then let me know. Your claim that ID requires an analogy to man-made things has been demonstrated to be completely false – and with it, a large portion of the political tirade you insist on regurgitating.

  61. 61
    Mung says:

    Gregory, being off in space, has no need for balance.

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