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The Intelligent Design Audiopaper Project

I was thinking recently, about how many audiobooks are consumed by people these days. I would guess that the main reason behind this consumption is convenience. Many people just don’t have the time, or don’t create the time, to really sit down and get their head in a book. But I understand that for many, it can also be due to personal preference, financial considerations, lack of space, being visually impaired, or learning difficulties. If non of these issues are barriers, I would always encourage reading (and ideally taking notes), rather than simply listening. On balance, the evidence does suggest that good reading is a much more efficient way of retaining information than listening, on its own. In general, listening Read More ›

Design Disquisitions: Design & the Problem of Intelligibility

Many critics of intelligent design argue that not only is ID false (or at least unscientific), but that it is basically meaningless. Such lines of criticism come from philosophers such as Sahotra Sarkar and Elliott Sober. They argue that the general concepts that are assumed in ID discussions like ‘design’ and ‘intelligence’ are too primitive and vague to be of any use in a coherent scientific theory. Sarkar in particular claims that ID’s concepts can only be propped up by using analogies inherited by the natural theological tradition, and so cannot be formulated in a non-theological/scientific manner. In this article I have attempted to take a good stab at this objection. Though this article is quite in-depth, it is actually a Read More ›

Why is the universe NOT homogeneous?

The largest large quasar group LQG ever has been discovered, stretching an enormous 4 billion light years from end to end. That is 40,000 times larger than our Milky Way galaxy which is only 100,000 light years across. This LQG contains 73 quasars! See: Largest Structure in the universe discovered “The quasar group appears to violate a widely accepted assumption known as the cosmological principle, which holds that the universe is essentially homogeneous when viewed at a sufficiently large scale.” Original publication: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe Royal Astronomic Society, Monthly Notices, January 11, 2013. If stochastic homogeneity is disproved, is there an intelligent design based argument for the existence of such an enormous Large Quasar Group?

Can we distinguish human v. natural excavations?

Large geometric shapes are being discovered beneath the Amazon forest. Have the discoverers evaluated their origins correctly? If so, why? Is there any way to distinguish between artifacts caused by human and extraterrestrial agents?
Once Hidden by Forest, Carvings in Land Attest to Amazon’s Lost World By SIMON ROMERO January 14, 2012

RIO BRANCO, Brazil — Edmar Araújo still remembers the awe.
As he cleared trees on his family’s land decades ago near Rio Branco, an outpost in the far western reaches of the Brazilian Amazon, a series of deep earthen avenues carved into the soil came into focus.
These lines were too perfect not to have been made by man,” said Mr. Araújo, a 62-year-old cattleman. . . . Read More ›

Confessions of a Design Heretic

Those of you who’ve followed my posts and comments will have picked up that my view of Intelligent Design is pretty complicated. On the one hand, I defend design inferences, even strong design inferences. I’m entirely comfortable with questioning Darwinism (if that view still has enough content to identify it as a clear position, anyway), and have a downright dismissive view of both naturalism (if that view… etc) and atheism. I regularly see the ID position butchered, mangled and misrepresented by its detractors, most of whom should and probably do know better.

On the flipside, I don’t think ID (or for that matter, no-ID) is science, even if I reason that if no-ID is science then so is ID. My personal leaning has always been towards theistic evolution, and I see evolution as yet another instance of design rather than something which runs in opposition to it – a view which I know some ID proponents share, but certainly not all. I think non-scientific arguments for and inferences to design have considerable power, and see little reason to elevate particular arguments simply because some insist they’re “scientific”.

Here’s another part of that flipside, and the subject of today’s post. One of the more prominent ID arguments hinges on the trichotomy of Chance, Necessity, and Design. The problem for me is that I question the very existence of Chance, and I see Necessity as subsumable under Design.

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Children are born with a belief in God

Researchers from Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind have found evidence that children are predisposed to believe in God or a supreme being. This is because of a natural assumption that everything in the world exists for a purpose and was therefore created. Dr Justin Barrett was reported in the UKs Daily Telegraph as saying that young children appear to have an inherent faith even when it has not been taught to them by family or school. Even children raised on a desert island without any external infuence would start out with a belief in God. Commenting on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said “The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown Read More ›