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Contest: Who invented the phrase intelligent design?

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 [Contest now closed for judging.]

Astronomer Fred Hoyle and biologist J.B.S. Haldane have both been credited with it — both midcentury and both atheists.

It may be impossible to tell. As a friend offers, it may well have popped up in the early 19th century, but “buried in obscure, low circulation professional journals of the time or perhaps in private letters.”

The term was definitely in use in the 19th century. Charles Darwin uses it in an 1861 letter, in response to something John Herschel wrote. See this also from The Modern Review (1882). See also this article from Nature (1881).

Then there is Oxford’s F. Schiller who wrote in 1897, “it will not be possible to rule out the supposition that the process of Evolution may be guided by an intelligent design.” (Contemporary Review, June 1897)

The term seems to have meant something to authors and readers back then.

Modern design theory is an outgrowth of information theory applied to the explosion of biochemistry so, as expressed and explored today, it dates from the post-Word War II era. Jonathan Witt, in “The Origin of Intelligent Design: A brief history of the scientific theory of intelligent design” (Evolution News, undated), notes,

In By Design, a history of the current design controversy, journalist Larry Witham traces the roots of the contemporary intelligent design movement in biology to the 1950s and ’60s, and the movement itself to the 1970s.5
Biochemists were unraveling the secret of DNA and discovering that it was part of an elaborate information processing system that included nanotechnology of unparalleled sophistication. One of the first intellectuals to describe the significance of these discoveries was chemist and philosopher Michael Polanyi, who in 1967 argued that “machines are irreducible to physics and chemistry” and that “mechanistic structures of living beings appear to be likewise irreducible.”

Critics of the theory of intelligent design often assert that it is simply a re-packaged version of creationism, and that it began after the Supreme Court struck down the teaching of creationism in Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987. In reality, the idea of intelligent design reaches back to Socrates and Plato, and the term “intelligent design” as an alternative to blind evolution was used as early as 1897.

Okay, contest: We will send a free copy of Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science to the first reader who can located a use of the term prior to 1861. And any subsequent reader who can locate an even earlier use.

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68 Responses to Contest: Who invented the phrase intelligent design?

  1. Interesting contest. I didn’t see the phrase “intelligent design” in the Haldane link. So I think I still hold the prize for finding Hoyle’s use of the term in 1981, at least regarding the modern usage of the term.

  2. Here’s one from 1823:

    http://bit.ly/HatzpW

  3. The Oxford English Dictionary dates intelligent design to 1847, in an article in Scientific American:
    “The great store-house of nature—the innumerable and diversified objects there presented to our view give evidence of infinite skill and intelligent design in the adaptation to each other and to the nature of man.”

    http://www.wordorigins.org/ind.....nt_design/

  4. The source of the link I posted is a publication called “The Republican: Volume 8 – Page 54″ – published 1823.

  5. Does it have to be in English? How does one say “Intelligent Design” in (ancient) Greek?

  6. In 1802, William Paley never actually used the phrase “Intelligent Design” in his Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity but there is no doubt that his central argument relied upon what we now mean by the phrase “Intelligent Design”. He spoke of an “Intelligent Creator” and “benevolent design” because he applied theology to take (what we now refer to as) Intelligent Design one step further:

    “It is an immense conclusion, that there is a GOD; a perceiving, intelligent, designing, Being; at the head of creation, and from whose will it proceeded. ” (Natural Theology, Chapter 24)

    Now, providing VJ Torley doesn’t turn up with another hands-down, prize winning essay, that’s got to be worth a runners-up prize at least! :-)

  7. I think this quest is pretty silly, since “intelligent design” was not a “phrase” before the 1980s, any more than “intelligent invention” or “intelligent cause” or any number of similar pairs of words that can be occasionally found in discussions of engineering, the Design Argument, etc. These can now be found only because Google & co. have digitized half of everything every written; none or almost none of these uses of the word played any role at all in the actual history of the ID movement.

    (Although obviously Paley and the Design Argument did have a big influence in the formation of creationist/IDist rhetoric about “intelligent design”, even though this is sometimes denied by ID advocates trying to pretend that ID is not about God and not basically a branch of evangelical apologetics. Paley uses “intelligent Creator” instead of “intelligent design” as noted above. And BTW, Darwin’s usage, IIRC, was “intelligent Design”, not “intelligent design” — clearly speaking of the Design Argument, i.e. another instance of more-or-less accidental combination of the words.)

    The first time anyone thought “intelligent design” was a sufficiently distinct notion and “phrase” to put it in a glossary was the Of Pandas and People project, where of course it literally was adopted after the Edwards v. Aguillard case in response to the resulting unusability of creationist terminology. Jonathan Witt’s essay attempting to obfuscate this basic point was put together while the Kitzmiller v. Dover case was ongoing, in an attempt at damage control when when it had become clear that the case was going to reveal the Great Post-Edwards-v.-Aguillard-Creationist-to-ID-Language Switcheroo.

    But, since you asked, here’s a instance of the word-pair “intelligent design” predating the one the OED knows about:

    (Google link which I hope works; I transcribed as much of the page as possible, but Google won’t show the whole page.)

    The Connecticut evangelical magazine: and religious intelligencer…, Volume 6
    P.B. Gleason & co., Jan 1, 1805

    [column 1, page 6 starts]

    Saul of Tarsus was raised up and inspired by the power of divine grace, to go among the Gentiles, and to be the first instrument in the hands of God, to begin the conversion of the heathen, with the promise of divine protection. He went, he entered the very seat of Satan’s empire, forced his strongest holds, and was victorious through the strength and grace of Jesus Christ. The work was the Lord’s, and it still is ; and he is now carrying on, by the instruments of his own choice in different parts of the world : opening the eyes of the people, turning them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Christ Jesus.

    I. Let us attend to what the apostle did in the execution of his divine mission among the Gentiles.

    [...can't see the rest of this column]

    [column 2, page 6 starts...]

    heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, and built the world — he said let there be light, and there was light.

    That such a God did exist before the world was made, or the hills were brought forth, he taught them from the things before their eyes, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” And from this evidence, he draws the conclusion that they were inexcusable not to believe, and glorify him as God. The visible heaves and earth, the rain and sunshine, fruitful and propitious seasons, all proclaim intelligent design. And the evidence, that the first cause was intelligent, rises still higher when we contemplate the powers and faculties of the human mind.

    If there be a God, nature’s…

    [...can't see the rest of this column]

    So I guess if we’re going to avoid dealing with what was actually historically relevant (Paley, and the creation-evolution wars of the 1980s and the mutation of the Pandas project during that), then we have to say that “intelligent design” was invented by an evangelical preacher doing Bible-based apologetics in Connecticut in 1805.

    To contact me about the address for the prize, please email me at matzkeATberkeley.edu.

  8. Well done Gregory – seems absolutely relevant to me. And Nick ought to enjoy the book too.

  9. NicvkMatzke:

    I think this quest is pretty silly, since “intelligent design” was not a “phrase” before the 1980s,…

    Strange that Nick would say such a thing after Gregory provided a reference that proves otherwise.

    Nick- modern Intelligent Design can trace its roots back to at least the ancient Greeks- Mike Gene does a nice job of explaining that in “The Design Matrix”.

    What Nick refuses to understand is that Creationism is a specified subset of ID- meaning Creationism could be wrong and ID wouldn’t care. That is the distinction that was made in the 1980s.

    Something else to consider:

    Justice Lewis Powell wrote in his concurrence to Edwards v. Aguillard, “(A) decision respecting the subject matter to be taught in public schools does not violate the Establishment Clause simply because the material to be taught ‘happens to coincide or harmonize with the tenets of some or all religions’.”

    Meaning even a non-religious/ secular approach may have some, most or all tenets in common with some or all religions.

    IDists have been trying to make that understood and evos, such as Nick and the NCSE propaganda machine, have been trying to keep that out of the debate.

  10. News:

    Here is that Bible Thumping, Bomb-throwing Fundy redneck yahoo — NOT — Plato in The Laws, Bk X, 360 BC, making a cosmological design inference:

    Ath. Then I suppose that I must repeat the singular argument of those who manufacture the soul according to their own impious notions; they affirm that which is the first cause of the generation and destruction of all things, to be not first, but last, and that which is last to be first, and hence they have fallen into error about the true nature of the Gods.

    Cle. Still I do not understand you.

    Ath. Nearly all of them, my friends, seem to be ignorant of the nature and power of the soul [[ = psuche], especially in what relates to her origin: they do not know that she is among the first of things, and before all bodies, and is the chief author of their changes and transpositions. And if this is true, and if the soul is older than the body, must not the things which are of the soul’s kindred be of necessity prior to those which appertain to the body?

    Cle. Certainly.

    Ath. Then thought and attention and mind and art and law will be prior to that which is hard and soft and heavy and light; and the great and primitive works and actions will be works of art; they will be the first, and after them will come nature and works of nature, which however is a wrong term for men to apply to them; these will follow, and will be under the government of art and mind.

    Cle. But why is the word “nature” wrong?

    Ath. Because those who use the term mean to say that nature is the first creative power; but if the soul turn out to be the primeval element, and not fire or air, then in the truest sense and beyond other things the soul may be said to exist by nature; and this would be true if you proved that the soul is older than the body, but not otherwise.

    [[ . . . .]

    Ath. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path.

    Inferring to design from the signs of design is ancient, and it obviously is not a specifically religious thing to do, though of course Plato seems to have been a pagan [he makes some clever reservations at the beginning of the discussion that give pause].

    What is happening in our time is that people with agendas are polarising and imposing evolutionary materialist partyline touchstones on what should be a matter of reasonable discussion where different people will hold different reasonable viewpoints.

    And, BTW, the establishment of a religion is its specific institutionalisation as the cult of the state. How we have such a thing as the Church of England and a prohibition on the Monarch thereof being a Roman Catholic. I fail to see how in quite some decades the fact of establishment in the UK has meant a want of freedom of conscience, mind or worship. I have not heard of thumbscrews being trotted out for Mr Dawkins on his return to the UK from his overseas trips to promote Evolutionary materialist Atheism.

    So, by virtue of counter-example, the mere establishment of a religion is not enough to hamper freedom. Where the problem comes in is with the abuse of state power to enforce a partyline over minds, hearts and consciences. And, right now it looks uncommonly like that is a far more likely problem at the hands of the secularists than even at the hands of the — still existing [it has a different name now, I think the present Pope used to head it!] — Inquisition in Rome.

    I think we need to do some serious rethinking and re-orienting as well as cleaning out of outdated ideas.

    In particular, I think the way “establishment of religion” and “separation of church and state” (which last was actually meant to protect and reassure dissenters who inquired of Thomas Jefferson) are ever so commonly used by those wishing to promote or protect the de facto establishment of secularist thought needs to be seriously rethought.

    Scapegoat games are scapegoat games, period.

    GEM of TKI

  11. F/N: predictably, Dr Matzke fails to acknowledge the ACTUAL birth of modern design theory in the 1984 — not, post 1987 — publication of the technical discussion of origins of life, The Mystery of Life’s Origin, by Thaxton et al. I fail to find in that book any argument that pivots on citing and explaining Genesis or even Rom 1. I do find much discussion of geophysics, investigator intervention, thermodynamics, polymer chemistry and physics, chemical equilibria, and a review of OOL suggestions that is still surprisingly relevant. There is an epilogue that raises philosophical issues and discussions, as well. Since it is freely accessible online here, I hope that Dr Matzke will in future adjust his claims accordingly. KF

  12. 12

    Looks like the 1805 publication is actually the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine, which is confusingly mislabeled and linked as the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine and Religious Intelligencer. Which is sad since only the full text of the latter is online..

    From a 1989 article:

    This study is drawn from over two hundred detailed accounts of religious conversion published in six evangelical magazines between 1800 and 1830: the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine (1800-1807), Connecticut Evangelical Magazine and Religious Intelligencer (1807-1815), Religious Intelligencer (1816-1830), American Baptist Magazine and Missionary Intelligencer (1817-1827), Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Magazine (1803-1816), and the Massachusetts Missionary Magazine (1803-1808). The sample consists of 135 men’s accounts and 90 women’s, including those narratives which formed the basis of Epstein’s original study

  13. 13

    F/N: predictably, Dr Matzke fails to acknowledge the ACTUAL birth of modern design theory in the 1984 — not, post 1987 — publication of the technical discussion of origins of life, The Mystery of Life’s Origin, by Thaxton et al. I fail to find in that book any argument that pivots on citing and explaining Genesis or even Rom 1

    Hmm. You haven’t read it very carefully then. I too think the book it important, but it is a late version of “creation science” as much as it is a proto-version of “intelligent design”. (And where is the exact “phrase” “intelligent design” in this book, by the way? I’ll give my prize to anyone who can find an example. Pretty sure it’s not there, which is further proof that the “phrase” “intelligent design” wasn’t actually a phrase, as late as 1984.)

    What’s actually in Mystery? Well, creationism:

    In our view, as long as one acknowledges and
    abides by the above distinction between origin science and operation science, there is no necessary reason that Special Creation would have the disastrous effects predicted for it. One must be careful, however, to follow the tradition of early modern scientists and disallow any divine intervention in operation science. [p. 206]

    Special Creation and the Evidence

    Special Creation by a Creator beyond the cosmos envisions a
    prepared earth with oxidizing conditions, an earth ready to receive life. It is suggestive then that there has been accumulating evidence for an oxidizing early earth and atmosphere. If the early earth were really oxidizing it would not only support creation, it would also be difficult to even imagine chemical evolution. [p. 209]

    The above discussion is not meant as a scientific proof of a Creator, but is merely a line of reasoning to show that Special Creation by a Creator beyond the cosmos is a plausible view of origin science. [p. 212]

    As with the court trial by jury analogy discussed in Chapter 11, we believe both sides[80] of the origins issue (i.e., representatives of both metaphysical categories) must be considered, precisely because there is no way to test origins ideas in origin science against recurring phenomena (origins by definition do not recur). [p. 213]

    And, what do they mean by “both sides”? Let’s look at their reference 80:

    J. Bergman, 1979. Teaching about the Creation/Evolution Controversy, Fastback No. 134, Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, Bloomington, Indiana.

    Jerry Bergman, of course, is a famous “creation scientist” and young-earth creationist. Bergman, and Thaxton et al., are talking about the now-bankrupt, then-popular “Two Models” approach to teaching creation and evolution in public schools.

    What else were Thaxon and his coauthors doing in the early 1980s? Let’s see, founding the creation-science movement in South Korea was apparently one of the things:

    ICR’s Impact | Young-Gil Kim, Ph.D. | Feb 1, 1986


    Creation Science in Korea

    by Young-Gil Kim, Ph.D.

    The Korean creation science movement was inspired by a large international creation seminar held during August 12-15, 1980, at the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade Meeting in Seoul, Korea. The seminar, entitled “Creation? Evolution?” attracted great attention, and the total number of attendees was about 4,000.

    This first creation science seminar in Korea had a great impact on many people, especially evolutionists. The seminar was covered by Korea’s national TV and radio stations. The invited speakers from the USA were Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. Duane Gish from the Institute for Creation Research, Dr. Walter Bradley, of Texas A & M, and Dr. Charles Thaxton, of the Foundation for Thought and Ethics. Their lectures were interpreted into Korean by various creationist scientists working at the leading universities and national research institutes of Korea. Prior to the Worldwide Crusade Meeting, about 20 of these Bible-believing scientists and their wives had been gathering together for Bible study and prayer for about six months.

    And of course Thaxton & Bradley were working on what would become Pandas starting at least as early as 1981. Thaxton et al. were pushing the “two-model” approach of the creation scientists in the early 1980s. There is a lot more evidence on all of this that I have reviewed elsewhere.

    I feel sorry for you guys, I really do. The ID leadership has told you a story about how the origins of ID were purely scientific and pure as snow, and definitely had nothing at all to do with creationism/”creation science”, but it just ain’t so.

    PS: Oh yes, I almost forgot. There’s even a Bible reference in Thaxton et al. 1984. Not quite Genesis, but durn close:

    Also an intelligent Creator could conceivably accomplish the quite considerable configurational entropy work necessary to build informational macromolecules and construct true cells. As Fong has said:

    The question of the ultimate source of information is not trivial. In fact it is the basic and central philosophical and theoretical problem. The essence of the theory of Divine Creation is that the ultimate source of information has a separate, independent existence beyond and before the material system, this being the main point of the Johannine Prologue.75

    75. P. Fong, 1973. In Biogenesis, Evolution, Homeostasis. Ed., A. Locker. New York:

    [p. 210]

    [Oh, and hey look, another young-earth creationist/creation "scientist" cited in the last few pages:

    77. A.E. Wilder Smith, 1970. The Creation of Life. Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw
    Publishers, 161ff.
    ]

  14. Well Nick, we feel sorry for you- sorry that you don’t have a shred of evidence to support your position so you are forced to make stuff up.

    Strange that Gregory provided a reference that refutes Nick’s original claim and I provide an explanation that makes his second claim moot.

    Seeing that Creationism is a specific subset of ID that would mean “creation science”, which is basically just science, would be part of that subset, meaning it would be part of te ID superset.

    And as the authors and publisher has explained the, 1980 ID “pioneers” were searching for the proper phrase.

    But anyway I am more than confident that I can make my case in front of a judge.

  15. Dr Matzke:

    Why are you trying to dismiss by mislabelling and strawmannising?

    You have been careful to snip out of context from the Epilogue — not the technical discussion — where TBO are discussing Hoyle and Wickramasinghe.

    You have also managed to try to dismiss a PhD chemist, a PhD polymer scientist and a PhD mining geologist discussing the technical matters linked to those specialisations by ad hominems.

    All of that goes right to where I have come to the conclusion that your side has clearly lost on the merits and now wishes to make up on personalities.

    Creationism in any meaningful sense has to do with an attempt to fit science of origins into some particular reading of Genesis etc. Faith seeking understanding.

    (And as to a claim that a remark in the Epilogue to TMLO that mentions the Johannine philosophical prologue in a quote that addresses “the ultimate source of information” in a context of citation that is speaking to “the quite considerable configurational entropy work necessary to build informational macromolecules and construct true cells” is a Bible quote (or its close kissing cousin) in the creationist sense we can see at either Answers in Genesis or ICR, that is a patently unworthy strawman distortion and attempt at well poisoning in order to evade a serious technical issue brought up and thoroughly addressed at technical level.)

    Ever since Plato, design thought has had to do with inference to design on signs that in our experience and on reasonable analysis, point to design as cause.

    The contrast of “forward” with “backward” involved, is plain, save to those who refuse to see.

    And as to how the phrase “intelligent design” did not appear in TMLO, of course that is so. “Evolution,” I gather, does not appear in Origin, and “evolved appears in the summing up at the end. Does that mean that Origin is not a foundational work of evolutionary Biology but is instead merely and dismissibly a piece of natural [anti-]theology?

    In short the logic involved in such a claim self-destructs.

    Design inferences on signs go back in the serious literature as far as Plato. That is part of why I cited him above.

    GEM of TKI

  16. 16

    Turns out they have the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine on Proquest, here’s the full reference:

    Article 1 — No Title

    Connecticut Evangelical Magazine (1800-1807). Hartford: Jul 1805. Vol. 6, Iss. 1; pg. 5, 7 pgs
    Abstract (Summary)

    THE Almighty displays himsilf to rational and intelli gentminds, in all his works, both in the natural and moral worlds, and justly claims of them a tribute of love and praise. By the dispensations of his providence and brace he breaks down Satan’s…

    Indexing (document details)

    Document types: article

    Language: English, EN

    Publication title: Connecticut Evangelical Magazine (1800-1807). Hartford: Jul 1805. Vol. 6, Iss. 1; pg. 5, 7 pgs

    Source type: American Periodical Series

    ProQuest document ID: 549812032

    Text Word Count 3426

    Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlin.....;VName=HNP

    Looking at the PDF, the reference should be:

    Prudden, Nehemiah (1805). “A Missionary Sermon, delivered at Hartford, by the desire of the Trustees of the Missionary Society of Connecticut on the Evening of May 9th, 1805 — By Rev. Nehemiah Prudden, Pastor of the Church of Christ in Enfield.” Connecticut Evangelical Magazine 6(1): 5-11. July 1805. http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlin.....;VName=HNP

  17. 17

    You have been careful to snip out of context from the Epilogue — not the technical discussion — where TBO are discussing Hoyle and Wickramasinghe.

    No, first Thaxton et al. have a section discussing the (crazy, kooky) ideas of Hoyle and Wickramasinghe (their book was Cosmic Creationism I think, where they said stuff like insects were hyperintelligent, and that complete genes rained down from space, never mind the radiation and numerous other problems). Then, Thaxton et al. discuss their own preferred view, which is special creation by a supernatural Creator. That’s creationism, straight up.

    Just because there’s some science-y stuff in the book doesn’t mean it’s not creationism — essentially every “creation science” book ever was full of science-y stuff! That was the whole point of “creation science”! Didn’t fool the courts though. Neither did ID.

  18. Hey Nick- the crazy, kooky thing about science is it doesn’t care if a supernatural being did create us because science just cares about reality and there is only one reality behind our existence.

    Also Courts cannot adjudicate science- science cannot be decided in a Cortroom- nor can science be legislated- that is the legislature cannot tell us what is and isn’t science.

    And just because there is some science-y stuff in the “theory” of evolution, doesn’t mean it’s not straight up materialism.

  19. Careful, guys. The “creationism in a cheap tuxedo” dogma is very near and dear to Nick’s heart. This is an important part of his worldview and part of what he was paid to propagandize while at the NCSE. Besides, that incompetent judge who didn’t understand the issues and just copied stuff verbatim from the anti-ID folks’ brief has told us that ID isn’t science. So there.

  20. Unfortunately the judge had a point in that members of the school board had a religious motive and also those members were clueless about ID. The problem was that Jones took his wrath out on ID and not the school board.

    The sad part is that people are saying that the school board mandated the teaching of Intelligent Design when in fact there was just a brief disclaimer that was to be read.

  21. dr Matzke,

    All you have said is that in the philosophically oriented epilogue, there is a discussion of various topics, which addresses Hoyle-Wickramasinghe on the topic of intelligence.

    Here is how the epilogue begins, setting up a classic comparative difficulties — i.e. philosophical — analysis, p. 188:

    In the introductory chapter we stated our hope that criticism of current theories of the origin of life would prove to be a first step toward a more satisfactory theory of origins. No consideration, how-ever, was given to alternatives. So, in this epilogue we will consider five alternative views which have been mentioned in the literature on the origin of life. These are:

    1. New natural laws
    2. Panspermia
    3. Directed Panspermia
    4. Special Creation by a creator within the cosmos
    5. Special Creation by a Creator beyond the cosmos

    We foresee that the major theories of origins for the future are listed here . . .

    It proceeds to present a list of key points that a successful account will have to resolve:

    Before considering these, however, let us enumerate some not-able results from our analysis of origin of life research. Any satisfac-tory alternative should account for these factors:
    1. There is accumulating evidence for a n oxidizing early earth and atmosphere.
    2. Destructive processes would have predominated over syn-thesis in the atmosphere and ocean in the prebiotic world.
    3. There is continued shortening of the time interval (now LT 170 my) between earth’s cooling and the first appearance of life.
    4. Geochemical analysis shows the composition of Precam- brian deposits is short of nitrogen.

    5. There is a n observational limit or boundary between what has been accomplished in the laboratory by natural processes left to themselves and what is done through investigator interference.
    6. In our experience only biotic processes (enzymes, DNA, etc.) and investigator interference couple energy flow to the task of constructing biospecific macromolecules.
    7. True living cells are extraordinarily complex, well orches- trated dynamic structures containing enzymes, DNA, phos- pholipids, carbohydrates, etc., to which so-called protocells bear only a superficial resemblance.

    All of this is after the technical analysis has been thoroughly pursued.

    Thereafter, the epilogue considers the alternatives in order, citing significant advocates of each view in succession.

    Hoyle and Wickramasinghe first come up in the context of revival of Arrhennius’ panspermia thesis. They are suggesting that particle sizes to 60 microns are suitable.

    Directed panspermia comes up with the names Crick and Orgel, and is contrasted with plain vanilla panspermia, leading to the Drake eqn. Crick is cited on the highly speculative nature of such OOL studies.

    When TBO turn to special creation by a creator within the cosmos — who obviously CANNOT be God in the theistic sense — this is how the account begins, p. 196 – 197:

    Hoyle and Wickramasinghe28 have developed a novel and creative argument, which we shall present in some detail. As will be seen, the view of intelligence creating biological specificity comes in not one, but two types: (1) a creating intelligence within the cosmos, and (2) a
    creating intelligence beyond the cosmos. In arguing for the former, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe contend that Darwinism has failed to account for the origin of life and the development of terrestrial biology.

    No matter how large the environment one considers, life cannot have had a random beginning … there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (10^20)^2000 = 10^40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole uni-verse consisted of organic soup.

    If one is not prejudiced either by social beliefs or by a scientific training into the conviction that life originated on the Earth, this simple calculation wipes
    the idea entirely out of court … the enormous information content of even the simplest living systems … cannot in our view be generated by what are often
    called “natural” processes, as for instance through meteorological and chemi-cal processes occurring at the surface of a lifeless planet …. For life to have
    originated on the Earth it would be necessary that quite explicit instruction should have been provided for its assembly …. Thereis no way in which we can
    expect to avoid the need for information, no way in which we can simply get by with a bigger and better organic soup, as we ourselves hoped might be possible a year or two ago.29

    The logic so far is that the customary notion of life originating by chemical evolution in an organic chemical soup is too improbable. The information content of living cells is too great to expect it to have arrived by “natural” means.

    An adequate theory of origins requires an information source capable of generating chemical complexity. Hoyle and Wickrama- | singhe argue that the evidence is overwhelming that intelligence provided the information and produced life. The correct position we think is … an intelligence, which designed the biochemi-cals and gave rise to the origin of carbonaceous life …. Given an atlas showing the amino acid sequences of all the enzymes, human biochemists could con- struct them with complete accuracy, thereby demonstrating the enormous superiority of intelligence allied to knowledge over blind random processes …. Any theory with a probability of being correct that is larger than one part in 10^40,000 must be judged superior to random shuffling. The theory that life was assembled by an intelligence has, we believe, a probability vastly higher than one part in 10403000 of being the correct explanation of the many curious facts
    discussed in preceeding chapters …. Paley likened the precision of the living world to a beautifully made watch. He then argued that, just as a watch owes its origin to a watchmaker, the world of Nature must owe its origin to a Creator, God …. The speculations of The Origin of Species turned out to be wrong …. It is ironic that the scientific facts throw Darwin out, but leave William Paley, a figure of fun to the scientific world for more than a century, still in the tourna-ment with a chance of being the ultimate winner …. Indeed, such a theory is so
    obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific.30

    To be sure, such a creative view entails purpose, a point which Hoyle and Wickramasinghe address.

    The revulsion which biologists feel to the thought that purpose might have a place in the structure of biology is therefore revulsion to the concept that biology might have a connection to an intelligence higher than our own.31

    By this time surely every schoolboy has figured out that Hoyle and Wickramasinghe are offering to the world the traditional view of Special Creation. But every schoolboy would be wrong! Hoyle and Wickramasinghe deny the creator is the traditional supernatural God. They envision a creator within the total cosmos. They contend that a flaw in logic kept generations of scientists from seeing the
    truth that intelligence is the authentic source of the information in the biological world.

    The whole of the special creation theory was thought to be wrong and there was a general revulsion among scientists against it. In effect, because the details were seen to be incorrect, the fundamental idea that life was created by an
    intelligence.was also rejected …. If we define “creation” to mean arrival at the Earth from outside, the unit of creation in our picture is the gene, not the
    working assembly of genes that we call a species.32

    The novelty of this suggestion is that is seems to solve the major | problem of the origin of life that both Panspermias merely skirted. A real origin is suggested, primarily of genes but also of some bacterial cells. The implication is that the mechanism of Panspermia can be
    used to safely transport these genes to earth without having to resort to anything as elaborate as a spaceship. Since genes or gene frag-ments would be within the size range of 0.1-3 microns, light waves could easily move them across the solar system. Furthermore, they could be protected from intense radiation in space by a thin sheath of graphite. Finally, they would be well within the 60 microns limit for safe entry into our atmosphere without burning up.

    Not only would such a process as this operate at the beginning, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe suggest it is a continuous process through history even to this day.

    In our view the arrival at the Earth of living cells, and of fragments of [created]genetic material more generally, is a continuing ongoing process that directs the main feature of biological evolution. It is this process which does the job that is usually attributed to Darwinism.33

    In addition to the origin of life, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe account for the whole of biology by these falling genes. The gaps in the fossil record are real; there never were transitional forms, because the genetic information necessary for the jumps in species came contin-
    uously to earth by cosmic means. If the cosmic intelligence responsible for the creation of genes and bacteria is not God, then who or what is it?

    The advantage of looking to the whole universe is rather that it offers a staggering range of possibilities which are not available here on the Earth. For one thing it offers the possibility of high intelligence within the universe that is not God. It offers many levels of intelligence rising upwards from ourselves ….
    To be consistent logically, we have to say that the intelligence which assembled the enzymes did not itself contain them. This is tantamount to arguing that
    carbonaceous life was invented by a noncarbonaceous intelligence, which by no means need be God, however.34

    What other kind of high intelligence is also free of enzymes? The answer offered is a philosophical entity . . .

    Plainly, this is not the strawman you have offered up, it is a serious discussion of possibilities.

    By p. 199, TBO are noting and citing:

    Hoyle and Wickramasinghe speculate further that the intelligence may not have simply remained in the outer regions of the cosmos,but may have in fact become incarnate on earth in a sort of “inva-sion from space.”

    We come now to what for us is a strong argument for the existence of an overt plan of planetary invasion … we have so far been unable to exterminate a single insect species. Not even one species among millions!35
    And what do we learn from this curious fact? The situation points clearly to one of two possibilities. Either we are dealing with an overt plan invented by an intelligence considerably higher than our own,. ..or the insects have already experienced selection pressure against intel-
    ligences of at least our level in many other environments elsewhere in the universe.3~

    The moment of truth finally arrives when we learn the identity of the superintelligence. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe ask, “Could the insects themselves be the intelligence higher than our own?”37

    In short this is a speculative onward question, not the main argument.

    Yet another strawman stands exposed.

    When TBO turn to their last option, they begin, p.200:

    In agreement with views of abiogenesis, and the foregoing view of Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, Special Creation by a Creator beyond the cosmos holds there was once a timein the past when matter was in a simple arrangement, inert and lifeless. Then at a later time
    matter was in the state of biological specificity sufficient for bearing and sustaining life. Special Creation (whether from within the cos-mos or beyond it) differs from abiogenesis in holding that the source
    which produced life was intelligent.

    Throughout history, many writers have attempted to describe the work of the Creator. What they all seem to hold in common is the idea that an intelligent Creator informed inert* matter by shaping it as a potter fashions clay. Some representations are quite anthropomor-phic, others less so. But there is considerable agreement that some-
    how an active intellect produced life . . .

    That is, they are building on the previous considerations, and are looking at the distinctive elements of this last option, all in the context of the prior technical analysis.

    When they actually speak to the matter, p. 209 – 10, we see:

    Special Creation by a Creator beyond the cosmos envisions a prepared earth with oxidizing conditions, an earth ready to receive life. It is suggestive then that there has been accumulating evidence for an oxidizing early earth and atmosphere. If the early earth were really oxidizing it would not only support creation, it would also be difficult to even imagine chemical evolution. Similarly, the short time interval (LT 170 my) between earth’s cooling and the earliest evidence of life supports the notion of creation. And, of course, if life | were really created it would account for there being so little nitrogen in Precambrian sediments (there never was a prebiotic soup).

    In addition, Special Creation accords well with the observed boundary between what has been done in the laboratory by abiotic means and what has been done only through interference by the experimenter. If an intelligent Creator produced the first life, then it may well be true that this observed boundary in the laboratory is real, and will persist independent of experimental progress or new discoveries about natural processes. Also an intelligent Creator could conceiva- bly accomplish the quite considerable configurational entropy work necessary to build informational macromolecules and construct true cells. As Fong has said:

    The question of the ultimate source of information is not trivial. In fact it is the basic and central philosophical and theoretical problem. The essence of the theory of Divine Creation is that the ultimate source of information has a separate, independent existence beyond and before the material system, this being the main point of the Johannine Prologue.75

    It is doubtful that any would deny that an intelligent Creator could conceivably prepare earth with oxidizing conditions and create life. And, of course, the data discussed above are consistent (and compati- ble) with this view of Special Creation. What we would like to know, of course, is whether an intelligent Creator did create life. The ques-tion, unfortunately, is beyond the power of science to answer. Another question which can be answered, however, is whether such a view as Special Creation is plausible.

    This is a discussion of scientific evidence on its own terms, not an attempt to willy-nilly force-fit science into a religious narrative.

    The pivotal issue is the source of relevant information, and a distinct possibility is not being excluded a priori by materialist question-begging.

    They then go on to epistemological, phil of sci considerations:

    On several occasions we have indicated that hypotheses of origin science may be evaluated in terms of their plausibility, but falsifica- tion, the language of operation science, will not apply. How then does one determine whether an origin science scenario is plausible?
    The principles of causality and uniformity are used. Cause means that necessary and sufficient condition that alone can explain the occurrence of a given event. By the principle of uniformity is meant that the kinds of causes we observe producing certain effects today can be counted on to have produced similar effects in the past. We
    can go back into the past with some measure of plausibility only by assuming the kind of cause needed to produce that kind of effect in | the present was also needed to produce it in the past. In other words, “the present is a key to the past.”

    As we saw, this is how scientists have arrived at the reconstructed scenario of a prebiotic earth. What makes views of abiogenesis legit- imate as origin science then is the assumed legitimacy of cause- effect reasoning and the principle of uniformity.

    The dilemma for chemical evolution, however, has been failure to identify any contemporary example of specified complexity (as dis- tinct from order, see Chapter 8) arising by abiotic causes. What is needed is to identify in the present an abiotic cause of specified complexity. This would then provide a basis for extrapolating its use into the past as a conceivable abiotic cause for supplying the config- uration entropy work in the synthesis of primitive DNA, protein, and cells. The failure to identify such a contemporary abiotic cause of specified complexity is yet another way to support our conclusion that chemical evolution is an implausible hypothesis.

    But does creation employ cause-effect and the principle of uniform- ity? Yes. In fact, it appeals to them as the only way we can plausibly reconstruct the past. Consider, for example, the matter of accountingfor the informational molecule, DNA. We have observational evi- dence in the present that intelligent investigators can (and do) build
    contrivances to channel energy down nonrandom chemical path- ways to bring about some complex chemical synthesis, even gene building. May not the principle of uniformity then be used in a broader frame of consideration to suggest that DNA had an intelli- gent cause at the beginning? Usually the answer given is no. But theoretically, at least, it would seem the answer should be yes in
    order to avoid the charge that the deck is stacked in favor of naturalism.

    With these issues on the table, the sort of dodging aside to tag TBO and their work with “creationism” and dismiss come across, frankly, as shabby.

    It is time for serious discussion instead of continued polarising, well poisoning games such as we have far too often seen from advocates of evolutionary materialism.

    GEM of TKI

  22. Some clarifications might help here…

    Nick mentioned “the actual history of the ID movement.”

    It doesn’t seem controversial that the IDM did not exist prior to the 1980s. Can we agree on this? Likewise, this website, Uncommon Descent, is part of (or affiliated with) the IDM.

    The contest was not asking about the origins of the IDM (which is where Nick’s criticism is wrong-headed or hearted), but rather “a use of the term [intelligent design] prior to 1861.” The OED reference is to word (concept duo) origins, though in this case it seems to have missed Nehemiah Prudden’s (1805) usage (good find, Nick). Perhaps there will be even further sources in the 18th century…?

    “modern Intelligent Design can trace its roots back to at least the ancient Greeks- Mike Gene does a nice job of explaining that in “The Design Matrix”.”

    It might be helpful if someone could quote from Mike Gene’s book on this issue (or another source that makes a similar argument). I must admit I haven’t read it and would be glad to hear his views about the history of ‘intelligent design’ thinking.

    Just as the modern IDM is not an ‘ancient’ movement, ‘modern ID’ surely differs in some ways from ancient design inferences, or does it?

    Thanks Jon!

  23. 23

    It’s not my fault that creationism has such a shabby reputation. And it’s not my fault that Thaxton et al. decided to tie themselves to the creation-science movement. They could have said “Jerry Bergman is a young-earth creationist and a crank, and those Equal Time for Creation Science bills are a horrible idea”, but no, instead, they cited him favorably.

    Similarly for Hoyle & Wickramasinghe — the right answer, then and now, was “this stuff is crazy, Hoyle & Wickramasinghe are misinterpreting the spectra of simple molecules as evidence of complex macromolecular polymers in space, and radiation would destroy any genes over the timescales needed to float between solar systems, not to mention the problems with getting through atmospheric entry.” But no, Thaxton et al. try and trade up Hoyle & Wickramasinghe’s crank stuff into real science, so as to have a kinda-sorta-secular alternative to mainstream science, to make Thaxton et al.’s creationist idea seem more reasonable.

    And as for the science, I’ve discussed it more than most, and my near-universal experience is that creationists and IDists just aren’t able, or don’t want, to put it in the work required to have a serious scientific discussion. E.g. in Mystery of Life’s Origin — the evidence for an oxidizing early atmosphere was always weak and is still weak today. The fact that the Great Oxidation Event didn’t happen until 2.5 billion years ago (requiring perhaps a billion years of photosynthesis from bacteria to oxidize the crust) is evidence of that. And whatever the state of the atmosphere, there is all kinds of local variation in oxidizing conditions — we still have reducing environments even today with our ultra-high oxidizing atmosphere. Any vaguely objective analysis would have to mention these points.

    The other major part of the “science” in the book is an attempt to convert the embarassingly bad creation science Second Law of Thermodynamics argument into a no-new-information argument. And the no-new-information argument has been shot down umpteen times by me and others.

    You’re going to have to do better than this to convince the scientific community that ID is something more than a warmed over version of the same old creationist junk. One way to start improving credibility would be to admit obvious cases of error and silliness (e.g. not criticizing YECs, not criticizing Hoyle & Wickramasinghe, not criticizing and abandoning the 2LoT argument, not admitting the strong creation science connections of early ID, etc.) rather than trying to paper them over and pretend they don’t exist. Hoyle et al. claims Archeopteryx was a fake, for goodness sake. They claimed that diseases rained down from space! Why would anyone take them seriouesly?

  24. This argument is hilarious as the materialists/evolutionists are being hoisted by their own petard.

    The progress of empirical science now actually demands that the latter be prepared to accept the narrow interpretation of that term they would normally love to bits – even though the remonstrations of the IDers or crypto-Creationists(!) deny ID’s implications. We all know that if Creationism were wrong, ID would still have unambiguous implications of divine design and hence divine existence.

    Now, all of a sudden, the UDERS, the Walter Mitty’s of scientism, instead of viewing empirical science as the nonpareil paragon of all knowledge, for whom materialism is everything and ‘science, is its apotheosis, are evidently fearful of the reality of the old meaning of ‘science’, as simply ‘knowledge’, knowing full well, where Intelligent design leads enquiring minds. Great stuff.

    O the pity of it, that ‘science’ should so betray its idolators.

  25. You’re going to have to do better than this to convince the scientific community that ID is something more than a warmed over version of the same old creationist junk.

    Who cares what the scientific community thinks? Even ID proponents hardly worry about that, demonstrably. Rather like how the NCSE could care less about valid criticisms of Darwinism – they are concerned, first and foremost, about laymen.

    By the way, thank Eugenie Scott for helping out on that front, will you? The decision to push the NCSE into the global warming fight only served to show that the organization cares, first and foremost, about science that has political repercussions, not ‘science in general’. It’s no wonder people are regarding scientists, more and more, as partisans. ;)

  26. … squealing like stuck pigs!

  27. Gregory:

    Kindly look up-thread, to where there is a clip from The Laws, Bk X.

    That’s 2350 years ago.

    KF

  28. Nick,

    It’s not our fault that materialism has such a shabby reputation. And if this alleged “scientific community” could support their position- whatever it is- then ID would be a non-starter.

  29. Just as the modern IDM is not an ‘ancient’ movement, ‘modern ID’ surely differs in some ways from ancient design inferences, or does it?

    Yes, it (Intelligent Design) evolved, by design.

  30. Dr Matzke:

    You are in effect saying, we have successfully smeared group A, and now we hope to smear group B by tagging them with being like group A.

    That is shabby, especially where you have studiously avoided the issues on the merits.

    And as for whoever wants to make much of the 1980′s, should observe that DNA was elucidated in the 60′s to early 70′s. By 73, Orgel had identified the issue of specified complexity. If you bring in Polanyi, we are at 1968 was it. By 1979, Wicken was backing up Orgel.

    So, by the turn of the 80′s, there was a climate in and around OOL research, once the shine had come off Miller-Urey from 1953 on — notice how, very early in TMLO, the issues of earth atmosphere ang geophysics leading to pre biotic soups are addressed. The result is that prebiotic soup models are questionable.

    It is the same turn of the 80′s that saw H & R asking pointed questions and making serious argum=ents. Crick was dusting off panspermia.

    Give a few years to get a team together and a book written with publisher lined up and you are looking at 83 – 85.

    That is the precise window in which TMLO came out, and was FAVOURABLY reviewed.

    And, TMLO in effect is the first technical level ID book. It is not like Morris’ The Genesis Flood of 20 years before, which was a hydraulics engineer partnering with a theologian.

    We are looking at three PhD scientists, working on a technical problem — OOL — that lies at the intersection of their expertise, their technical expertise. Don’t forget, the big conclusion is to calculate chemical kinetics to chain relevant proteins and D/RNA strands. The results are that the reactions are hopelessly adverse.

    It is in that context that they review OOL models, and go on to their own conclusions, then discuss the related phil issues in an epilogue.

    In short, the exercises above are playing off the hermeneutics of suspicion and the rhetoric of smearing, with no good reason. In fact OOL is even more of a conundrum for materialists today than 25 years ago.

    It remains true that per uniformity anchored by known adequate cause, the best explanation for the functionally specific, complex organisation and info systems in the living cell is the only known source of FSCO/I: intelligence.

    It is ever more plain that this is being denied on a priori commitment to materialism, not good evidence.

    GEM of TKI

  31. Better yet, who first came up with the oxymoron of non-intelligent design.

  32. Mung-

    That has evolved into “It doesn’t look designed (to me)” or “Design? What design?”-

    That takes care of “the dsign is illusory” and “the design is apparent/ apparent design”- the design doesn’t even exist. Nothing to explain.

    Yeah sure we observe biological organisms but nothing about them look designed so there ain’t nuthin’ to explain.

    Move along…

  33. Hi everyone. I’ve been busy working on a series of posts which should be out later this week, but I couldn’t resist making a comment on the contest. Here’s what Ive dug up. In his two-volume work, The Institutes of Natural and Revealed Religion (London, 1794), the English chemist Joseph Priestley sets forth an argument for the existence of a supernatural Deity, based on reason alone (Volume I, Part I, section 1, p. 3 ff.):

    When we say there is a GOD, we mean that there is an intelligent designing cause of what we see in the world around us, and a being who was himself uncaused. Unless we have recourse to this supposition, we cannot account for present appearances; for there is an evident incapacity in every thing we see of being the cause of its own existence, or of the existence of other things… If the fitting of a suit of cloaths [= clothes - VJT] to the body of a man be an argument, and consequently prove the existence of an intelligent agent, much more is the fitness of a thousand things to a thousand other things in the system of nature a proof of an intelligent designing cause; and this intelligent cause we call GOD.

    That was in 1794. By the way, I’ve already got a copy of The Nature of Nature (thank you), so I’m not looking for a prize.

  34. I hear 1794. Do I hear 1784? 1783? Gentleman over here with 1794. Presently the bid is 1794; 1794 going once……… WTG, Dr. Torley!!!

  35. Mung: Great to see you, mon! Missed you. KF

  36. VJT: Priestly, 1794: “intelligent designing cause.” Excellent. KF

  37. Nice work, V.J. Torley! I know a Priestley fan who will be entertained if this turns out to be ‘first usage’ : ) Maybe you would donate your 2nd copy of The Nature of Nature to a worthy cause…?

    Again, can I ask for quotes from Mike Gene’s “The Design Matrix”? Gene is not a historian or philosopher of science, but rather a biologist or genomicist, so his claim of ‘ancient Greek ID’ might be a radical or provocative one. Would be glad to read his contentions on this, as they are supported by others at UD.

    Calling out ‘anachronism’ seems fair (unlike how Nick does it) to a certain degree, at least wrt the IDMovement not being a ‘Greek’ invention or achievement.

    It doesn’t seem controversial that the IDM did not exist prior to the 1980s. Can we agree on this?

  38. H’mm:

    Here’s Newton in his General Scholium to Principia (1713 & 1726, Motte trs 1729), and in his Opticks, Query 31 (1704), clipping to highlight Newton’s design inferences, which he goes on to set in a philosophical-theological context that closely parallels both Plato in The Laws and Paul in Rom 1:

    GS: . . . This most beautiful System of the Sun, Planets, and Comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being. And if the fixed Stars are the centers of other like systems, these, being form’d by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed Stars is of the same nature with the light of the Sun, and from every system light passes into all the other systems. And lest the systems of the fixed Stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those Systems at immense distances from one another . . . . We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final causes; we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion. For we adore him as his servants; and a God without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find, suited to different times and places, could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing . . .

    Q31: Now by the help of [the laws of motion], all material Things seem to have been composed of the hard and solid Particles above-mention’d, variously associated in the first Creation by the Counsel of an intelligent Agent. For it became him who created them to set them in order. And if he did so, it’s unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature; though being once form’d, it may continue by those Laws for many Ages . . . .

    And if natural Philosophy in all its Parts, by pursuing this Method, shall at length be perfected, the Bounds of Moral Philosophy will be also enlarged. For so far as we can know by natural Philosophy what is the first Cause, what Power he has over us, and what Benefits we receive from him, so far our Duty towards him, as well as that towards one another, will appear to us by the Light of Nature. ”

    Remember, the first of these is published in the 2nd and 3rd author’s lifetime edns of Principia, the greatest of all works of Modern Science. Opticks is another important work by the same greatest of the founding era modern scientists.

    In neither of these do we find the phrase itself, “intelligent design,” but we find very closely related terms and an explicit, cosmological level contrast between the powers of chance, necessity and an Intelligent creative Agent.

    It should at once be evident that design thought and even a Biblical frame of mind — despite toxic rhetorical assertions to the contrary — are not enemies of scientific thought or method. Indeed, in Q31, Newton laid out what we can with just cause term the generic method of science. What we learn in school as “the” scientific method is a simplification of this, doubtless as filtered through generations of school teachers:

    As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phaenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur. By this way of Analysis we may proceed from Compounds to Ingredients, and from Motions to the Forces producing them; and in general, from Effects to their Causes, and from particular Causes to more general ones, till the Argument end in the most general. This is the Method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discover’d, and establish’d as Principles, and by them explaining the Phaenomena proceeding from them, and proving the Explanations.

    Remember, this is in the immediate context of the design inference and discussion of an Intelligent Creator as already cited.

    Those who, with Lewontin et al, wish to pretend that a Judaeo-Christian, biblically based worldview is inevitably irrational, and inimical to science, are duped by — or if they are responsible spokesmen, are willful perpetrators of — a slanderous false accusation. (Cf Pearcey’s discussion here on how the Christian frame of thought was a key wellspring for founding science.)

    It is high time that the record was set straight, and it is high time that those who pretend that science is little more than applied materialism and those who differ are irrational enemies of science and progress were exposed.

    Every child in school needs to know the truth about the founding era of science, and every child taught evolutionary biology needs to know what the co-founder, Wallace, thought, and why.

    When the record it thus set straight, a much more reasonable and civil discussion of worldview issues connected to origins science can be had. And TBO’s Epilogue to TMLO deserves a seat at that table.

    KF

  39. Gregory:

    Re your:

    It doesn’t seem controversial that the IDM did not exist prior to the 1980s. Can we agree on this?

    Kindly cf my remarks to Dr Matzke in 28 above:

    as for whoever wants to make much of the 1980?s, should observe that DNA was elucidated in the 60?s to early 70?s. By 73, Orgel had identified the issue of specified complexity. If you bring in Polanyi, we are at 1968 was it. By 1979, Wicken was backing up Orgel.

    So, by the turn of the 80?s, there was a climate in and around OOL research, once the shine had come off Miller-Urey from 1953 on — notice how, very early in TMLO, the issues of earth atmosphere ang geophysics leading to pre biotic soups are addressed. The result is that prebiotic soup models are questionable.

    It is the same turn of the 80?s that saw H & R asking pointed questions and making serious argum=ents. Crick was dusting off panspermia.

    Give a few years to get a team together and a book written with publisher lined up and you are looking at 83 – 85.

    That is the precise window in which TMLO came out, and was FAVOURABLY reviewed.

    And, TMLO in effect is the first technical level ID book. It is not like Morris’ The Genesis Flood of 20 years before, which was a hydraulics engineer partnering with a theologian.

    We are looking at three PhD scientists, working on a technical problem — OOL — that lies at the intersection of their expertise, their technical expertise. Don’t forget, the big conclusion is to calculate chemical kinetics to chain relevant proteins and D/RNA strands. The results are that the reactions are hopelessly adverse.

    It is in that context that they review OOL models, and go on to their own conclusions, then discuss the related phil issues in an epilogue.

    In short, the exercises above are playing off the hermeneutics of suspicion and the rhetoric of smearing, with no good reason. In fact OOL is even more of a conundrum for materialists today than 25 years ago.

    It remains true that per uniformity anchored by known adequate cause, the best explanation for the functionally specific, complex organisation and info systems in the living cell is the only known source of FSCO/I: intelligence.

    When it comes to your doubts about design thought in Ancient Greece, kindly cf the cite from Plato’s The Laws, Bk X, 360 BC, in 8 above. It’s not a case of scanty and dubious evidence that requires any great expertise to ferret out and parse with great subtlety of learning, the facts are there at length. Plato in The Laws Bk X is enough to ground all subsequent discourse, indeed Monod’s Chance and Necessity at the turn of the 70′s is a direct echo of the trichotomy of causal factors Plato discusses there. To get to the modern movement’s analysis and the various forms of an explanatory filter model only requires familiarity with the concept of searching a space of configurations, accessible to anyone who gas studied phase space or state space or statistical thermodynamics. Search as a concept is abundantly accessible in an information age.

    Cutting to the chase scene, it is then easy enough to see that once we are beyond 500 bits of functionally specific complex info, the resources of he solar system will be hopelessly inadequate to get to isolated special zones required for coordinated complex function. So, the log reduced chi metric:

    Chi_500 = Ip*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold

    can then show what is needed.

    Once something is specific to a separately describable zone, and has an info content beyond 500 bits, by reasonable methods of evaluating info content, we have good reason to infer that the solar system resources cannot credibly discover it. The challenge at that level is comparable to having a cubical hay stack 3 1/2 light days across, and taking a one straw sized sample at random. Even if our whole solar system out to Pluto were in it, with all but certainty, the random pick would be straw, as that is overwhelmingly typical. We do not need any precise probability metric, sampling theory is enough o tell us why a small sample of a large population will with overwhelming probability represent the dominant bulk of the population. Go to 1,000 bits and you even more dramatically swamp the Planck Time Quantum state resources of the observable cosmos.

    It takes no great genius to see that the only routinely observed credible explanation of such FSCO/I is intelligence, starting from say posts in this thread.

    None of this relies on a priori metaphysical commitments, this is simple analysis of what it takes to be likely to find things by blind chance and necessity. Intelligent search is far more efficient, if we want to talk in those terms. More properly, we routinely design very complex things, starting weith posts in this thread.

    So, we have every good reason to see that FSCO/I is an empirically reliable sign of design, a signature of design if you will.

    That’s not hard to see, it is controversial only because it cuts across and exposes gaps that the entrenched evolutionary materialist establishment has long papered over.

    And if you suggest that there may be programming laws that more or less force the emergence of life in suitable zones, that would be the ultimate form of a fine tuning argument.

    We should recall that there are two related but distinct sides to modern design thought, and that the earlier one is the cosmological. The suggestion of life-forming laws points strongly to such cosmological design, even through multiverse speculations.

    TBO initiated technical work on the OOL side, which bridges the biological and cosmological sides of design theory. Denton’s Evo, a Theory in Crisis of about 1985 — all of this stuff is in the right window when we would naturally expect it, we do not need conspiracy theories — addressed several biological evo issues, and the context of thought is what led to the emergence of a research programme across the 1990′s. Indeed, that is the period of elaboration of the key concepts, complex specified information and irreducible complexity by Dembski and Behe.

    In short the design paradigm emerged from the 1950′s on in cosmology as fine tuning emerged in a further context of the success of the big bang model of origins. An observed cosmos with a distinct point of origin some 13.7 BYA is a contingent being, which logically raises the question of its cause. When it turns out that the fabric of that cosmos seems fine tuned to facilitate C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life, that seriously raises the question of intelligent cause. (Cf my discussion here on the way we end up with H, He O, C as four of the most abundant elements, and how this sets the stage for biology.)

    Next, on discoveries of molecular biology from the 1950′s to 70′s, OOL became a challenge to explain the origin of a miniature chemical plant that self-replicates using code-based techniques suggested by von Neumann in his discussion of kinematic self replicators. That sort of intricate, information and code based design that uses ever so many key-lock fitting integrated components strongly suggests like causes to what we know set up petrochemical plants and information systems, intelligence. And indeed, there simply is no empirically warranted account of how such could come about by blind chance and mechanical necessity.

    So, no conspiracy needs to be resorted to to explain the origin of a design theory movement from the 1980′s on.

    The time was ripe and there are abundant antecedents to not only the founding era of modern science but the founding era of philosophy.

    Why this is not commonplace is not want of evidence, but frankly, the evident “pruning” of discourse — especially in textbooks at introductory level — in ways that make it seem that evolutionary materialist scientism is the only viable way to do science.

    Hence outrageous cases like Coppedge.

    KF

  40. OOPS: Forgot to link on intro to cosmological design theory.

  41. I guess it’s too late now but I found a source and posted it yesterday morning but it never showed up. The publication is called “The Republican: Volume 8″ – published 1823. The formatting and style of writing is hard for me to follow but it appears to be a response to a previous writer referenced as “I.G.” and the context is a discussion of both cosmology and biological evolution.

  42. Hi Gregory-

    “The Design Matrix” – Chapter 2 “The Explanatory Continuum” pages 19- 22 explain the approxiamtely 2500 years of debating teleology vs non-teleology.

    Teleologists was represented by Socrates, Plato, Diogenes and Aristotle. Non-teleologists was represented by Democritus, Leucippus of Elea and Epicurus of Samos.

    If you don’t read the book “The Design Matrix” you can always just research those guys.

  43. Has anyone mentioned the reference in The Epic of Gilgamesh, tablet XVI? The tablet is damaged, so some scholars translate it as “Intellectual Delight”, but let’s give ID the benefit of the doubt. I can’t transcribe it for you as the cuneiform fonts don’t seem to get past your software.

    No, don’t send me the book, either – I already have a copy.

  44. Found this from 1750:
    The Natural Philosophy of Albrecht von Haller – Page 53

    Excerpt:
    “Beginning then with the assumption that God is the originator of all form and the giver of all life, he can view every created thing as evidence of God’s will, of his power, or of his intelligent design.”

  45. Thanks, Kairofocus, for the link to TBO’s discussion of Hoyle’s idea of Intelligent Design of the first cells. I found a book in which Hoyle’s Omni Lecture is printed (1982) and blogged on it (at Telicthoughts) here: Sir Fred Hoyle and the Origins of ID. Then Nick commented that he had a book from 1981, where Hoyle made the same argument. But I couldn’t make a solid connection between Hoyle and the ID movement, until now.

    BTW, Nick is just upset that Hoyle used the phrase “intelligent design” first. This would mean that the modern usage of “intelligent design” is not religious in nature, which would mean that the entire mission of his life has been a mistake. And who would want to admit that?

  46. The phrase “intelligent design” has been used in at least two different contexts: [a] the necessary first cause arrived at through philosophy that “most men know as God,” and [b] the specific and scientifically measurable patterns found in nature that merely indicate the presence of a designing cause.

    Argument [a] has been around for centuries, but argument [b] is only decades old. That poses a problem since ID philosophy, often understood in terms of Aristotelian/Thomistic natural theology can, given its broader scope, provide powerful arguments for the existence of God, while ID’s scientific paradigm, given its narrow scope, indicates only the presence of an intelligent agent.
    Put simply, the word meant something different in the year 1200 or the year 1800 than it means now. If we do not make this distinction, we open the door to the same kind of confusion that our critics seize on in their mindless attempt to discredit ID paradigms. (“So, Intelligent Design is “about God after all, isn’t it. Just look at the history of that phrase.”)

  47. I discovered a reference from 1766 and I would love a free copy of ‘The Nature of Nature’!

    “The marks of these perfections are so numerous, so clear, and so striking to every attentive observer, that it is just matter of wonder, that any who call themselves Philosophers, should exclude active, intelligent design from the universe, and ascribe the whole material world, with its various and astonishing phenomena, to blind chance and necessity.”
    - “Reimarus’s Defense of Natural Religion” in The Monthly Review or Literary Journal v. 34, 1766 p370.
    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

  48. Hi Bilbo I:

    Yup, Hoyle gets cited in the very first technical ID book.

    From a few years before, where he had been making a stir. I have somewhere a lecture at Caltech, so it is not just in London.

    And, as a card-carrying agnostic and associate of Wickramasinghe whose testimony in Arkansas — as I recall from the time — was used against Creation Science advocates, it would be a bit hard to call him a Bible-thumping Fundy redneck. Cockney, yes, Bible-thumper, no. And, this is a man who will be a Nobel-equivalent prize holder.

    The issue is that there are empirically tested, reliable signs of design. The problem is, they keep cropping up in cell based life forms, which the Evo Mat establishment is desperate that we do not see as designed.

    KF

  49. If ID is “Intellectual Delight” what is anti-ID?

    Thanks KF. Send me a ticket to the islands! ;)

  50. Afternoon delight….

  51. Mung, we need you at UD for one of those Christian bites lion stories every now and then. KF

  52. I don’t consider opponents of ID to be lions. No real lion spends all it’s time just making noise.

  53. “Cockney, yes, Bible-thumper, no.”

    Sorry, kf – Cockney NO.

    Hoyle was as Yorkshire as they come. You’re doing the equivalent of accusing a typical Bostonian of having a Bronx accent.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockney

  54. “If ID is “Intellectual Delight” what is anti-ID?”

    I can help you there, too. According to ANE scholars, it’s a mistransliteration of “ante Intel… De…”, probably meaning the time before Enkidu brought intellectual delight down from heaven, together with the kingship and the recipe for Turkish Delight… oh, sorry, it’s April 2nd now, isn’t it?

  55. Jon: Point. G

  56. As it happens, some time ago I did some digging about the history of certain terms that are common in the modern origins debate, including the term “intelligent design.” I haven’t yet published any of that information (either in print or on the web), but I will be using some of it (a very limited amount of it) in columns I have just started doing for BioLogos. I’ve done only a handful of things for them in the past; a regular column is really something new for me. The first one appeared last Tuesday: http://biologos.org/blog/introducing-ted-davis/

    My second column comes out tomorrow. The theme for the next few months will be “science and the Bible,” and ID will be one of the views I’ll be presenting. I’d love to have a lot of participation from folks here; please take this as an invitation to join in.

    As for the term “intelligent design” being used in something like the sense in which it’s used here at UD, a lot will depend on what you think ID actually is. For example, Nobel laureate Arthur Holly Compton used the term in 1940, as follows: “The chance of a world such as ours occurring without intelligent design becomes more and more remote as we learn of its wonders.” In context, he was talking about the fine tuning of the cosmos (as we would call it today), so it’s fair IMO to call this a reference to ID. At the same time, Compton did *not* see ID as an alternative to to evolution. He was fully convinced of human evolution. To the extent that ID is seen as an *alternative* to evolution, then, Compton was not talking about ID. In his view, design was an inference *from* science, not an explanation *within* science. When I took a similar view myself here some years ago, I was told in clear terms that ID requires “design” to be in the scientific toolbox. I won’t try to sort this out more than I already have.

    If you want to read more about Compton’s use of the term, and about his many other ideas and activities related to science and religion, read the 3-part article I published in the ASA Journal a few years ago. The section on “intelligent design” is in part 2: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2.....Davis2.pdf

  57. The theme for the next few months will be “science and the Bible,” and ID will be one of the views I’ll be presenting.

    Hi Ted,

    What does Intelligent Design have to do with the Bible?

    Yes the Bible was Intelligently Designed but if the Bible didn’t exist, Intelligent Design still would.

  58. If anyone wants a very early example of an author using the term “intelligent design” in the ID sense, they need look no further than “The Problem of Human Life,” by A. Wilford Hall (1877 and subsequent printings). Hall uses the term many times, even in the table of contents (ditto for the term “theistic evolution”). His final chapter pits “intelligent design” vs evolution by natural selection throughout. ID for him necessarily entails “special miraculous creations,” and this might not be exactly equivalent to ID in the modern sense, but it’s certainly what many ID proponents seem to believe.

  59. Joe asked me, “What does Intelligent Design have to do with the Bible?”

    A good question, but you’ll have to follow those columns if you want to know my answer. No previews here. :-)

  60. The farcical thing is that “intelligent design” is a tautology. Like the word, “plan”, every “design”, in our experience, predicates “intelligence” and “purpose”.

    The latter essentially define the term, “design”. If they did not, seemingly intelligible configurations, such as those we see all around us in nature, would be simply random patterns.

    Materialists, it would help enormously if you could learn the meaning of words, before pronouncing on matters, ipso facto, outside of your competence.

  61. jcweaver @ 47:

    1766 and counting.

    Of course the problem here is that the phrase may have a different emphasis and significance in a work of natural theology from what it has in the context of the modern design movement.

    The design inference proper is documented in Plato, The Laws Bk X to at least 360 BC, as a cosmological design inference.

    KF

  62. How strange. bartm’s post about an 1823 ID mention wasn’t there originally. Isn’t that significant in a competition offering a prize for the first to find a quote before 1861?

    Note my post #8 congratulating Gregory on winning the prize. I’d hate to think UD was party to rewriting history – that’s the job of Darwinists, isn’t it?

    Explanation?

  63. PS cf post #41

    Wossgoinon?

  64. Hi Jon: No mystery BartM is obviously probably a newbie on mod. KF

  65. BartM, 44:

    1750, and counting.

    Of course we are just seeing the phrase in this, not the context of meaning of the modern design theory movement, as SB has highlighted in what is now 46 above. In the 1700′s and 1600′s by far and away most who would have written on the subject would have been design thinkers. Newton in the General Scholium to Principia and in Opticks, Query 31 was not at all atypical.

    Such thought is documented all the way back to Plato, in The laws Bk X, 360 BC.

    KF

  66. Today’s Intelligent Design is a modified descendent of the ancient Greeks’ arguments.

  67. Axel,
    “Intelligent design” can be considered redundant but not really a tautology. Despite its redundancy, it is useful to use both words because the word “design” can have two meanings. One is a plan or purposeful organization. Another meaning is a pattern which can have unintelligent causes.

  68. In 1682 the term intelligent design was used by decorators at Versaille but it was referring to the combined use of draperies and tapestries in advance of King Louis’ wedding to Françoise d’Aubigné.

    I’m kidding. This joke was inspired by the fact that years ago when I would google “intelligent design” many of the hits were interior decorating sites.

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