Home » 'Junk DNA', Design inference, ID Foundations, Intelligent Design » Design Inference vs. Design Hypothesis

Design Inference vs. Design Hypothesis

Evolutionnews.org just published an article by me titled “Design Inference vs. Design Hypothesis.” Here is an excerpt:

The logic of the design inference moves from a marker of intelligence (specified complexity) to an intelligence as causal agent responsible for that marker. The direction of this logic can, however, be reversed. Thus, instead, one can postulate an intelligence operating in nature and therewith formulate predictions and expectations about what one should find in nature if that postulate is true. The logic in this case takes the form of hypothetical reasoning, where a hypothesis is put forward and then its consequences are drawn out and the explanatory fruitfulness of the hypothesis is seen as a way of advancing science and giving credibility to the hypothesis. Stephen Meyer has taken this approach to design reasoning, treating it as an inference to the best explanation in which the hypothesis of design gains credibility because of its power in explanation.

SOURCE: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/10/design_inferenc064871.html

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

37 Responses to Design Inference vs. Design Hypothesis

  1. In conclusion, design inferences and design hypotheses are mutually reinforcing. Within the theory of intelligent design, they have a symbiotic relationship. The logic in the two types of reasoning flows in opposite directions. In design inferential reasoning, one looks for markers of intelligence, notably specified complexity, and from there infers that an intelligence was responsible, which in turn prompts further questions about the nature of the design in question (what’s the function, what’s the history, how does it take advantage of existing designs, etc.). On the other hand, in design hypothetical reasoning, one presupposes a design hypothesis and uses it to generate predictions, expectations, and insights that advance our scientific understanding. On these twin pillars, the design inference and the design hypothesis, rests the scientific theory of intelligent design.

  2. Bill, thanks for posting this. Looks like a detailed account with a bit of interesting historical context at the beginning. I’ve just started reading and look forward to finishing the rest.

  3. Thus, instead, one can postulate an intelligence operating in nature and therewith formulate predictions and expectations about what one should find in nature if that postulate is true.

    What about the alleged intelligence operating before nature to design nature? Would we then postulate an intelligence operating before nature and therewith formulate predictions and expectations about what one should find in nature if that postulate is true?

    And would that then mean that the evidence for this intelligence is the design itself?

  4. as to:

    Thus, instead, one can postulate an intelligence operating in nature and therewith formulate predictions and expectations about what one should find in nature if that postulate is true.

    I believe even Richard Dawkins agreed with this ‘an intelligence operating in nature’ line of reasoning in the infamous UFO interview with Ben Stein to try to ‘explain away’ the origin of life ‘problem’:

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

  5. bornagain77-

    Absolutely, but Dawkins said that he wins the regressikon game because in the end in all turtles down to physics and chemistry.

  6. Absolutely, but Dawkins said that he wins the regressikon game because in the end in all turtles down to physics and chemistry.

    But then again, Dawkins doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  7. Dr Dembski,

    Thanks for taking the time to write that post. I think the ID community should pursue some of the follow-on questions you postulate. I frequently hear that such research takes significant monetary resources. Any suggestions regarding where and how such research could be done?

  8. Hi Jerad,

    Please describe something that you think is the product of intelligent design and why you think it’s the product of intelligent design and we’ll get right on it!

  9. But then again, Dawkins doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    Do any of them?

  10. Mung (8):

    Please describe something that you think is the product of intelligent design and why you think it’s the product of intelligent design and we’ll get right on it!

    Silbury Hill

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

  11. I find Bill’s questions relating and following the design detection being quite interesting.

    I think also that some other questions, like those below may present also interest once design is detected, more so when it is detected in so many places, on multiple scales and layers:

    1. The abilities of the designer(s)
    2. The abilities of the designer(s) compared with human design abilities and scopes.
    3. The power of the designer(s)
    4. The scope of the designs of the designer(s). Here we can summarily list:

    Biology, anatomy, botanic, planetary systems, geophysics, Earth, cosmology, the Universe origin, particle physics, Earth echo-systems, dimensions of the Universe, depth of microscopic and particle world;
    5. Are all these designers the same designer?
    6. Make sense to think of a personal designer (Kalam cosmological argument)?
    7. Make sense to think of an extremely powerful designer?
    8. Make sense to think of an omni-present, ubiquitos designer?
    9. By virtue of the above inquiries and findings, make sense to think of a divine designer?
    10. Make sense to validate that the words below make perfect sense?

    “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 people are without excuse.”

    Romans 1, 20.

    and:

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

    9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    Isaiah 55, 8-9

  12. So Dawkins is an animist then, isn’t he. He does display a religious zeal.

    I’d be interested to hear his response at the deity concerned, when he accidentally bangs his head on some low-hanging object. Are his oaths that bit more personally venous than mine, I wonder?

  13. Sorry: ‘venomous’.

  14. Jerad @10:

    Looks like plenty of other folks are already on that one.

    Do you have anything else?

  15. Mung (14):

    Looks like plenty of other folks are already on that one.

    Do you have anything else?

    I was hoping for some extra insight from the design paradigm. What have you got?

    You want me to find something that looks designed that no one else is working on? Really?

    How about the lines at Nazca:

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

    Clearly designed, what are they for? How were they made?

    How about the Bimini Road?

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

  16. Jerad,

    I have been diving around Bimini- off of South Bimini is stranded ship that was used for target practice WWI & II- great dive site. And off of North Bimini is the road and other formations. Cool place, need to get back to it.

  17. Joe,

    Yes, I’ve heard it’s lovely. I need to get scuba certified one of these years . ..

    What do you think of the ‘Bimini Road’?

  18. Dr. Dembski,

    From the linked article:

    Each of these questions falls squarely within the natural and engineering sciences. Such questions are far from exhaustive, but they point up that once we know an intelligence has acted, inquiry proceeds by asking a new set of questions quite different from the questions we would ask if we thought the phenomenon in question were simply the product of blind material forces.

    The engineering sciences do not contain a hypothesis that intelligence has acted in biology or in the cosmos. Engineers do not address the questions you have raised, (that is, not with the presumption of intelligent design.) Do you think that engineers are being pragmatic or are being ideological in this regard?

  19. Mung,

    Any opinion about the Bimini Road mentioned in 15 above? Chance or choice?

  20. What do you think of the ‘Bimini Road’?

    It’s more like a breakwater. BTW I have been to Nasca also.

  21. Freelurker-

    To understand how the body works requires engineering. Kinesiology requires an understanding of engineering principles.

  22. Joe (20),

    What do you think of the ‘Bimini Road’?

    It’s more like a breakwater. BTW I have been to Nasca also.

    So, what do you think: if the Bimini structure chance or choice?

    I’d love to go to Nazca. What were those people thinking way back then?? Crazy.

  23. I would say choice.

  24. Joe (23),

    I would say choice.

    Brave man! For offering an opinion that is. I’m particularly interested in your opinion since YOU’VE ACTUALLY BEEN THERE and I’ve only seen pictures?

    Do you think it’s a clear case or one that requires more ‘proof’ or argumentation to establish the case? Seriously, since I’ve not seen it, what about it makes you say it was designed?

  25. Mung,

    What do you think of the Bimini ‘Road’ structure? You’re the one that asked me to give you some things to consider after all.

  26. Jerad,

    Unfortunately no one is allowed to clean the rocks to get a better look underneath all the growth- to look for tool marks, etc.

    That said, it looks like a breakwater, is built like a breakwater and no known non-telic processes can produce anything like it- and people have tried and tried to refute the claim it is a designed structure yet have come up short.

  27. Joe,

    Thanks, that’s what the discussion needs: discussion based on good knowledge/experience.

    If it’s designed do we have an idea of when and how? Or, I hesitate to ask, why?

    Mung: anything to add??

  28. Jerad,

    We know why breakwaters are constructed. And we also know how walls are constructed- by placing block upon block.

  29. Joe,

    We know why breakwaters are constructed. And we also know how walls are constructed- by placing block upon block.

    Any idea of when?

  30. When they needed it.

  31. Joe,

    When they needed it.

    Never mind then.

    I guess Mung not interested in replying. I’ll just drop it.

  32. Dr. Dembski wrote (emphasis added):

    The point is that intelligent design does not posit God as a theoretical entity. Rather, it infers that intelligence acts in nature, and in the biological world in particular, yet without prejudice for the metaphysics or theology that might say who or what that intelligence is. This is not duplicitous. It is simply being honest about how far the evidence of nature can take us. Intelligent design can infer that a designing intelligence has been active in nature. Such an intelligence, simply in virtue of the tools that ID uses to study intelligence, will have to be characterized in highly generic terms. Identifying that intelligence with God will always require additional philosophical or theological moves extrinsic to ID.

    It seems to me that ID’s unforgivable sin has been to describe an observable boundary in the natural world beyond which, not just ID, but science on the whole cannot go. A sin which is one, as a Churchillian might describe it, up with which the high priesthood of Darwinism will not put.

    Horatio: “O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!”

    Hamlet: “And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

  33. Joe (21),

    You appear to be attempting a design inference.

    I am asking Dr. Dembski about design hypotheses. Specifically I am asking him about their absence in the engineering sciences.

    In reference to the mainstreams of the natural sciences, Dr. Dembski has attributed the absence of design hypotheses to ideological resistance on the part of scientists.
    I’m simply asking him if he similarly attributes the absence of design hypotheses in the engineering sciences to ideological resistance on the part of engineers.

  34. Freelurker-

    Wouldn’t designing something new require R&D which is basically a series of working hypotheses? For R&D you require a concept/ concepts. Then you set out to test those concepts.

    Structural engineering is a good example. Starting with a concept, taking equations about materials and forces and formulating a solution.

  35. Joe,

    Per my original comment (#18), the design hypothesis I am talking about is the one that Dr. Dembski would like to see employed in the natural sciences and in the engineering sciences. It’s the hypothesis that an intelligence has acted in biology and in the cosmos.

    I am confident that Dr. Dembski understands my question.

  36. Freelurker_ Your original comment:

    The engineering sciences do not contain a hypothesis that intelligence has acted in biology or in the cosmos.

    That doesn’t have anything to do with what Dembski said nor what you quoted. Engineering sciences ask the questions he posed- the questions that appear just before the part you quoted.

    IOW it is clear that you don’t even understand what you are talking about so how is Dembski supposed to figure it out?

  37. Joe,

    As I said, engineers don’t ask those questions with a presumption of intelligent design in nature (i.e., not in the way Dr. Dembski wants us to pose the questions.)

    It’s clear that Dr. Dembski understands that the engineering sciences do not employ hypotheses that objects in biology and in the cosmos are the result of intelligent design; he’s calling for such hypotheses to be employed in the engineering sciences.

    Again, I’m asking him to what he attributes this situation. Does he attribute it to an ideological bias in the field of engineering, as he does with the natural sciences?

Leave a Reply