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Economist John Maynard Keynes understood ID?

Whatever his merits or failings as an economist (the world is pretty divided on that), John Maynard Keynes got ID basically right in his Treatise on Probability (1921):File:John Maynard Keynes.jpg

The discussion of final causes and of the argument from design has suffered confusion from its supposed connection with theology. But the logical problem is plain and can be determined upon formal and abstract considerations. The argument is in all cases simply this—an event has occurred and has been observed which would be very improbable à priori if we did not know that it had actually happened; on the other hand, the event is of such a character that it might have been not unreasonably predicted if we had assumed the existence of a conscious agent whose motives are of a certain kind and whose powers are sufficient.(p. 340)

So the obvious question he asks  is, what does the evidence suggest?

That would make Keynes way smarter than many Catholic philosophers who can exquisitely explain who the universe shows no evidence of design, through dozens of casuistries, though then it is unclear what the Catechism of the Catholic Church is even about.

If there was ever a document that showed more evidence of absolute certainty of the design of life, I invite you to suggst it. Warning: It is long and involved.

(Book is free, various formats, here. )

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32 Responses to Economist John Maynard Keynes understood ID?

  1. Great clip! JMK is way smarter than most of his detractors, too. He really changed the world. KF

  2. Between the long overdue ‘aggiornamento’ of Vatican II and the early seventies, a movement seems to have grown in the Catholic Church, whereby, judging from the Catholic newspapers and the popularity, even among good clergy, of ‘theologians’ (in the least rigorous sense of the world imaginable), such as Karl Rahner, the Catholic intelligentsia seem to have come to the conclusion that Christ, indeed, the supernatural, were, to put it kindly, a tad downmarket, so that rendering theology into philosophy was actually a very intellectually progressive way to proceed. Of course, they ‘fell between two stools’.

    They had been taken in, ‘hook, line and sinker’ by the secular fundamentalist establishment, who had long been more ‘respectable’ in the eyes of the world, anyway. But heck, they made big names for themselves in rag time; very much the flavour of the times.

    I remember a lovely old priest teaching us in Mill Hill seminary, scoffing at the notion that
    God would have deigned to ACTUALLY walk in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve – the implication being, obviously, that he was far too grand. Ahem. Isn’t Christianity based on the utter self-abasement of Christ to the level of a mortal man? And beyond that, to his desperately degrading and shameful crucifixion.

    The Christian convert, writer and apologist, Malcolm Muggeridge, is withering about that phobia relating to the supernatural, remarking that, if the priests stood at the church doors, whip in hand, to flog ‘would be’ entrants, they could scarcely have been more effective in driving hem away.

    Arnold Lunn, another agnostic convert to Catholicism, whose father had been a Methodist minister, and later founded the travel-agency, was, actually, very, very witty. The same level of wit as Evelyn Waugh. Parenthetically, right-wingers deriding their own are normally the savagest humorists there are, the more so for their understated delivery.

    I think one of the funniest of his jests was that when an Anglican clergyman, was asked whether cohabiting, before ‘tying the knot’, was all right with God, he stuttered something to the effect that he supposed it depended on the girl… Too much of ‘the curate’s egg’ mentality is not conducive to clarity, is it. Least of all in Christianity.

  3. A towering genius, KF, who seems to have seen this final showdown between the banks and the people from a long way off.

    The reason for the police state in the US, now, with patrolling drones and all, is that the Great and the Good know full well that they have been naughty boys and girls. Very naughty, indeed, and it looks like they’re not taking any chances, if they can help it, of being ‘on the back foot’ in a confrontation with an unforgiving populace, torches and pitchforks in their mitts.

    I have a similar admiration for the recently-deceased Canadian economist, J K Galbraith, senior; the psychopathic imbecile, Milton Friedman (I was going to write, Milton Keynes, a town in the UK), Galbraith’s most extreme opponent, having been very much the flavour of the epoch during Galbraith’s career.

    Those great thinkers, Galbraith and Keynes, seem to have expressed striking insights outside their own discipline, presumably, because at a deeper, more seminal, and hence less specific level.

  4. Drum rolls:
    The founding father of lowercase ‘intelligent design’ theory (i.e. design by human beings, not of Nature) is the immoralist, agnostic, eugenicist economist John Maynard Keynes, according to a Canadian journalist/IDist. That’s the conclusion to be drawn from that single paragraph in Keynes’ “Treatise on Probability,” Denyse?!

    Surely Keynes *must be* (tongue in cheek) “way smarter than many Catholic philosophers who can exquisitely explain who the universe shows no evidence of design,” because he is now being used to promote IDism.

    What Denyse seems to conveniently ignore is that before the IDM came along, the word ‘design’ and even the duo (lowercase) ‘intelligent design’ was not problematic. The water was still clear. Then, once the IDM entered the scene, muddying and dirtying of the term ‘design’ occurred. Now, “many Catholic philosophers” no longer wish to associate themselves with a term filthy by association.

    “absolute certainty of the design of life”

    All Catholics believe in lowercase ‘intelligent design;’ it is the standard Abrahamic belief (which Keynes rejected) that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That’s a theological position that does not pretend to (try to) be a natural scientific statement.

    It is Uppercase ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ that is the problem here and that “many Catholic philosphers” reject, both rightly and thoughtfully so; the view that (transcendent Designer) “Intelligent Design” can be natural scientifically proven/inferred. They realise that IDism is just as ‘scientistic’ as the scientism the IDM pretends to argue against. And as little has changed in the IDist argument since the early 1990′s, most serious Catholic thinkers pretty much ignore IDT as not worth the time to address it. Of course, YEC’s are still enamoured with IDism, but so what?!

  5. Gregory, you do realize that by your understanding of ID theory in that sense. Christianity would fall apart. with special reference to Romans 1:18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.”

    What does it mean that it has been made “plain” to them? In what way…mentally? Let’s continue

    “20 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.”

    Therefore, God’s created things are what demonstrate his power and Glory. From what you are telling me is that transcedent designers and their creations can not be scientifically proven/inferred. This chapter is Romans shows us that is exactly what it CAN do. And to deny it undermines the entire Christian faith. The ID movement brought back the fundamental question that has been darken by scientific naturalism.

    Or course this is all on the basis that ID answers the question of who the designer is. Since it does not, then a catholic philosopher to reject it is as idiotic as me saying you cheated in a card game because the concept of your transcending mind could not have played a part in the closed “universe” of the card deck and table on which it is played on.

    And If you still hold that it can not be scientifically proven/inferred, than all that means is that theological provide for better explanations than scientific ones.

  6. ‘“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That’s a theological position that does not pretend to (try to) be a natural scientific statement.’

    What are you talking about, Gregory?

    There is a subject and a predicate. The subject refers to God, the predicate to his creation.

    Or is it some kind of metaphor? If so, what kind? What was the Holy Spirit ‘trying’ to say? You must mean something at least incipiently intelligible, when you use the term, ‘theological position’, as you do, in contradistinction to its simple, prima facie meaning as a ‘natural scientific statement’.

    ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ is hardly a lengthy, complex, convoluted, recherche disquisition on the primordial creation, is it?

  7. The narrative element is absolutely minimal, so whence the recondite conjecture? Theology relates to our world of time and space, as well as heaven and hell.

  8. It’s a thread about JMK, Axel. Try to remember that as you spew verbiage to appear clever.

    “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” is not a ‘natural scientific statement.’ Do you disagree? No.

    JMK = founding father of ‘intelligent design’ in human-social sciences! :P And that’s not retrodiction again ;)

  9. Answers like this (#5) are softballs to a baseball player.

    “what you are telling me is that transcedent [D]esigners and their [C]reations can[-]not be scientifically proven/inferred. This chapter is Romans shows us that is exactly what it CAN do.”

    The supposed ‘science’ (knowledge) of scripture argument, right?

    No, friend, to deny IDist scientism (that peculiarly western USAmerican ideology) does not in any way “undermine the entire Christian faith.” In fact, it strengthens and clarifies it. It asks for a richer faith, in combination with science and philosophy and not unnecessarily apart from them.

    But IDism, in its insistence on being ‘strictly (natural) scientific’ (Luskin), sadly cannot fulfil that higher request. Do you not recognise this? I’ve talked with Casey, this is not rocket science or neuro-economics.

    “The ID movement brought back the fundamental question that has been darken by scientific naturalism.”

    Let me just say you haven’t the faintest idea what you are talking about. I’ve studied the IDM more than perhaps anyone on the planet. That’s called “following the evidence where it leads.” Pick a name if you’ve got a rival to offer.

    “theological provide for better explanations than scientific ones.”

    ForJah, why not invite an IDM leader to publically say what you have just said wrt IDTheory? Would you expect an answer? No. Why? Because their desire to appear ‘scientific’ with their ‘theory’ would collapse as soon as they said it. They’re trapped with their fingers in their ears. It’s become obvious.

    The lowercase ‘intelligent design’ position of all Abrahamic believers is safe (thanks to folks like S. Barr, O Gingerich, T. Davis, R. Isaac, et al.) from the ideology promoted by the IDM in the name of ‘scientism,’ the view that there can be scientific proof/inference of Uppercase ‘Intelligent Design’ in/of Nature. Why not realise that the majority of Abrahamic believers are fully reasonable and correct to reject IDT as an unnecessary ideology and that this does not make them ‘less faithful’?

    Or would you call any Abrahamic believer who rejects IDT a ‘heretic’ or ‘heterodox’ to the religion you believe in?

    JMK = founding father of IDT in social sciences, “way smarter than many Catholic philosophers,” implies UD News. Yeah, right! ;)

  10. Axel: Milton Friedman and Fritz von Hayek as well as von Mises were ALSO geniuses, to whom we all owe more than we realise. In his own quirky way, so was Karl Marx. KF

    PS: I don’t have to agree to see that you have the spark of genius!

  11. G: Please, check the sell-by date on that stuff you have on your store shelf. KF

  12. “In fact, it strengthens and clarifies it. It asks for a richer faith, in combination with [science] and philosophy and not unnecessarily apart from them.”

    What do you mean science?

  13. This thread is about JMK’s supposed ‘understanding’ of IDT, as claimed in the OP, in contrast with “many Catholic philosophers”.

    That said, since you perhaps honestly asked, ‘ForJah’, here is my answer:
    here and here.

    Obviously, to speak directly and openly like this, I don’t suffer from ‘Expelled Syndrome,’ unlike several persons on this blog. The ones who continue to hide are still imagined to be more valuable than those who have already been found out (like KF and BA77). That is exactly what Expelled Syndrome makes them think about themselves; important subversives for the IDM (even if outside of the IDM, as timaeus remains).

    Now, quid pro quo, ‘ForJah,’ will you answer my question:
    Why not realise that the majority of Abrahamic believers are fully reasonable and correct to reject IDT as an unnecessary ideology and that this does not make them ‘less faithful’? I assume you are an Abrahamic believer in asking this.

  14. In order to continue this conversation and answer your question I would need to know why u believe in God…if u do…

  15. ‘It’s a thread about JMK, Axel. Try to remember that as you spew verbiage to appear clever.’

    Don’t push your luck, Gregory, or, as in the past, you’ll regret it. Smileys won’t be looked upon as a mitigating factor. You sound so sad at times, then you get above yourself. It’s an affliction, but seemingly not one you are able to do much about.

    I don’t need to appear clever. Never have. Look at my thumb-nail cv. You don’t need a degree to work in a fish and chip shop or on a factory production line. But, as for your own intellectual pretensions, for some reason, you think a childish jibe will dispense you from the need to respond to questions concerning your own bizarre assertions, when they are roundly rebutted.

    How sad is it, though, that you ask me, ever so nicely, to call you by your full Christian name, ‘like all the others’? I mean that is needy, really needy. Standing on your dignity, and so publicly. I was disrespecting you, for goodness sake. (Well not necessarily, ‘goodness’ as such). Just like your jibe about my flights of exotic verbiage. Aren’t I allowed to do that? Will you mark down my exam papers?

    You obtained career-oriented knowledge; venal, but so what? Most people want a decent income for themselves and their family. But, your posturing as someone with a mighty intellect, driven by a disinterested desire to seek the truth… well… hardly.

    ‘“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” is not a ‘natural scientific statement.’ Do you disagree? No.’

    Indeed, yes! I do disagree. Science means knowledge, and this question is where metaphysics and natural science converge: creating something out of nothing.

    Only a supreme being with infinite knowledge and power could create something from nowt. It’s been proved recently that the universe had to have had a beginning, ergo the necessity for it to have had a creator. Nothing has never made anything, in our human experience. It would defy logic.

  16. Well, KF, we’ll have to agree to differ, won’t we, as it’s futile arguing, when our assumptions are so mutually antithetical? Besides I respect you too much to want to argue. And not because of your disgraceful (very agreeable) ‘flannel’ about a ‘spark of genius’! I know better than to inhale it!

  17. If you would delete my post #15, up to the third to last paragraph, beginning, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” Mr Arrington, I should greatly appreciate it. It was shamefully vindictive on my part.

    The last three paragraphs are just a reiteration of a question of Gregory’s, and my reply. Thank you.

  18. 18

    I don’t think economists matter to a nations economics save in correcting OTHER economists errors that were put into policy.
    JK got in the way of the free market and so was inferior as a economist and was homosexual so no hero.
    He makes a common observation thats welcome but still about a famous person saying what millions of ministers always said to small congregations.

  19. Oh Gregory, I’m sorry, I should have asked why you believe in the Judeo-christian God…if you do.

  20. Gregory wrote:

    “It’s a thread about JMK, Axel.”

    Agreed. So why has Gregory not given his analysis of the JMK passage quoted above?

    What is Keynes saying in that passage, Gregory? And is what he is saying correct or incorrect?

    Show us your exegetical and philosophical talents. Leave out all your usual culture-war flak, and just tell us what the passage means, and whether or not Keynes is correct, and why.

  21. Keynes is the founding father of lowercase ‘intelligent design’ theory (i.e. design by human beings, not of Nature). Just look at the quote above. He is “way smarter than many Catholic philosophers,” *simply because* they intelligently and thoughtfully reject the IDism that Denyse and timaeus (tangentially) embrace. Didn’t you know this? ;)

    You do the work, timaeus, and elevate to try publishing something on it to make yourself relevant and heard. Preferably do it not on a blog. Try an academic venue. Oh, wait, you don’t do that because of Expelled Syndrome, which you’ve embraced ‘by design’.

  22. UD friends:

    I call for witnesses here.

    In 20 above, I agreed with Gregory that the subject should be the thought of Keynes, and I issued him a challenge to give his own exposition of the words of Keynes above, minus culture-war flak.

    He responded with 21 above. It is filled with culture-war flak and his usual ad hominem remarks to me. Not a single clause of Keynes’s passage is interpreted.

    More generally, Gregory avoids interpreting texts like the plague. He won’t discuss Fuller’s statements about univocal predication, either. I wonder why.

  23. Not only IDists are ‘expelled’ for being ‘intelligently designed’? There are others who are ‘unfairly’ expelled too?!

    http://ca.shine.yahoo.com/blog.....29377.html

    Does timaeus not realise the massive can of worms opened up by News suggesting that JMK (!!) ‘understands’ IDT (and therefore simply must be “way smarter than many Catholic philosophers”)? No, as a ‘western’ religious studies scholar who doesn’t read anthropology, cultural studies, sociology and most other social sciences (other than perhaps a little political philosophy, which he claims to be involved in), he probably doesn’t. But that likely won’t stop him from pretending he knows and doesn’t care and then rallying the troops to posture on behalf of IDism. ;)

    “I call for witnesses here.” = “Comrades, rally to me in my Expelled Syndrome, timaeusean-IDist cave!”

    It would not suprise me in the least if either timaeus fed this JMK quote-mine to News or if she got it from Lydia McGrew. The case is nevertheless beyond all three of them, as can easily be shown if timaeus would agree to step out in public from behind his safety blanket of comrades at UD to discuss the matter professionally on neutral ‘digital ground.’ Of course, nobody should expect this to from timaeus and instead only excuses and insults to be hurled at the logical and thoughtful distinction of Uppercase IDT (what the IDM means) from lowercase id (ie. what Keynes meant).

  24. True to form, Gregory has continued with invective and outrage, when all that I did was ask for a discussion of the meaning of a passage from Keynes.

    I have not said *one word* about the framing of the passage of Keynes in the column above. I have not defended the column; I have not said anything about the DI, UD, News, the “Expelled” syndrome, or anything else that Gregory is raging on and on about. I simply asked Gregory to provide his exegesis of the Keynes passage. I asked him what he thought Keynes intended by the passage, and whether he thought Keynes was correct. That’s it.

    I want to have a scholarly discussion about the meaning of the quoted passage of Keynes. Nothing more.

    As for Gregory’s semi-accusation: No, I did not feed the Keynes quotation to News. I have never fed a quotation to anyone on this site. Did News get it from McGrew? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I’m interested only in following Keynes’s reasoning, and seeing whether or not it is sound. Finally, though Gregory mentions “insults” that have been hurled, anyone can see that I have hurled no insults regarding Gregory’s view of Keynes, but have simply asked for his analysis of the passage.

    I try, time and again, to put old quarrels behind, and make a fresh start. Analyzing the Keynes passage together, without reference to the old quarrels, and without reference to the framework in which it is set above, could give us a fresh start. But it is apparent that Gregory does not wish a fresh start. No amount of politeness on my part, no overtures of civil discussion, make any difference. He apparently will carry his rage against me for real or imagined past offenses to his grave.

    Gregory, if I can “let go” of the seemingly endless string of personal insults you have leveled against me, both public and private — the blatant accusations (witnessed by everyone here, multiple times) of cowardice, hypocrisy, intellectual dishonesty, rhetorical manipulation, ignorance, academic incompetence, etc. — you should be able to do the same regarding any words or actions of mine which you consider equally insulting. But are you big enough to do so? Or will you just prolong your vengeance, striking at me every chance you get, even when I humble myself here, accepting your insults without retaliating, and ask for a fresh start? The choice is yours. I cannot melt a hardened heart. Only you can see to that.

    My offer to discuss the Keynes passage, without rancor, remains open. I will take further invective, including invective based upon the words I have just written — which are heartfelt and not politically motivated, no matter what you think — as a sign of refusal. But if you wish to make a new start, all you have to do is say: “All right, I now see that you are being sincere here, and I apologize for seeing dark motives in your offer; let’s discuss the Keynes passage; here is how I read it …” and proceed from there. Then I will know that you are willing to engage with me, rather than with the caricature of me that you have constructed.

    Sincere best wishes, Gregory.

  25. Who has time for IDists these days?

    “I try, time and again, to put old quarrels behind, and make a fresh start.”

    The backhanded ‘man of peace’ is not to be trusted.

    “No amount of politeness on my part, no overtures of civil discussion, make any difference.”

    Not if it is simply a pretense to promoting IDism. You’d be defeated in a ‘oolite, civil discussion,’ timaeus, if you were ever to agree to speak with me openly on neutral territory in defense of IDT. I’ve made this challenge clear already, but it hasn’t yet ‘made any difference.’

    “I want to have a scholarly discussion.”

    Then you should join the legitimate academic community and have such discussions, ‘timaeus,’ using your own name in public, with your credibility on the line. A blog is not, in most cases, the home of ‘scholarly discussion.’ More than 95% of participants here don’t have a master’s degree, let alone a PhD, with the exceptions of you, VJTorley, Alan Fox, and a very few others. And most people at UD use pseudonyms, which is almost exclusively *not* how ‘scholarly discussion’ takes place. You have affirmed this elsewhere. Why deny it here?

    When I write at UD, it is not with the expectation of ‘scholarly discussion,’ but rather of a pop culture level, which can also be valid in its own way. The few times that ‘scholarly discussion’ takes place at UD are welcome. Of course I support if bachelors or high school level IDists could potentially elevate their knowledge of ‘scientific’ reality and ideology to reject IDism, just like YECs could outgrow their biblical literalism and find a more mature and harmonious balance of science, philosophy and theology/worldview.

    But unfortunately, there is so little ‘scholarly discussion’ of Intelligent Design Theory (IDT) in general on-line because most scholars don’t (any longer, if they ever did) take IDT seriously. This is a simple sociological fact about the IDM, which I’ve observed in studying it (i.e. what UD calls ‘the Intelligent Design’ community) for about a decade.

    If timaeus were *really* interested (and I doubt he is) in “following Keynes’ reasoning,” he would quickly see that it doesn’t actually lead to IDT qua theory; neither in the quote above nor in the rest of Keynes’ work. It’s as simple as that. Check it carefully and deny it if you dare, before a new ‘founding father of IDT in human-social sciences’ is proudly proclaimed.

    Denyse’s attempt to bring JMK on-board with IDism as if Keynes was ‘way smarter’ than Catholic anti-IDists is absurd. It is laughable. It is not a credible topic for ‘scholarly discussion’ because there is no support for it and no convincing logic to defend it. So why then does timaeus puff out his “rhetorician without a position” chest trying to argue like an angry man in defense of IDism, even so far as to invoke JMK’s secular views of ‘final causes?’

    The main point worth mentioning here is about fantasy Uppercase IDT vs. orthodox lowercase id. timaeus can pout about it and play victim if he wants. The reality remains the same, which many thoughtful and devout Abrahamic believers have understood.

    (cont’d)

  26. (cont’d)

    Did JMK ‘understand ID’? Well, there was no such thing as ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ in JMK’s time. IDT is a late 20th c. ‘theory’ invented by C. Thaxton based on an engineering analogy and applied to origins of life discourse, after the legal failure of ‘creationism’ in American education.

    In so far as Keynes interpreted the term small-d ‘design,’ he was not referring to natural theology or theology of any kind. He was not personally a theist. Iow, he was attempting to DIVORCE the Abrahamic ‘argument from design’ from theology, just as some people today in the IDM are unwisely, even unbelievably trying to do.

    As for Dembski, he wants no part of this. He even dedicates a chapter to this topic in “The Design Revolution” (2004), where he notes “the distinction between the design argument and intelligent design [IDT]” (2004: 65). Since timaeus has not read this book he conveniently claims ignorance of Dembski’s position, as if that justifies his distorted personal advocacy of IDT.

    As one writer says: “Proponents of DA [design arguments] are interested in the ‘metaphysical and theological mileage one can get out of design,’ whereas ID theorists are interested in ‘the fruitfulness of design-theoretic ideas for science’.” (Dembski 2004)

    Ladies and gentlemen, it is the “FOR SCIENCE,” i.e. the ‘strictly scientific’ claim that is problematic. That claim requires a rejection of the proper domain of small-id conversation, which is as a ‘science, philosophy, theology/worldview’ collaborative discourse. By insisting on the exclusive scientificity of IDT, IDists often get offended as if you are questioning their ‘motivations’ once religion and philosophy become openly involved (which is why they regularly deny anything but ‘natural science’ is what IDT signifies). But they are not fooling anyone.

    Anyone who has carefully studied the IDM and its claims over the years knows that IDT’s ‘strictly scientific’ rhetoric is simply a disguised PR attempt to ‘defeat Darwin’ (a 131 yrs dead Englishman!) in a way that ultimately makes little sense for Abrahamic believers. Abrahamic believers accept ‘Creation’ on faith, as revelation, not as a ‘natural scientific’ proof/inference. Darwin’s legitimate contributions to science, just like with every other natural scientist/naturalist, does nothing to change this.

    IDists would unwisely turn the orthodox Abrahamic position on its head and claim they are just (innocently and politely, as neutral ‘men of peace’) ‘following the evidence where it leads,’ when what they are doing is conflating theological ‘design arguments’ with an attempt to make a ‘strictly natural scientific’ theory of Design.

    (cont’d)

  27. (cont’d)

    Let’s look at this closely. Is it really possible to contend that “the [singular] argument from design” has only “*supposed* [i.e. not *real, historical*] connection with theology”? Sure, why not? But to do so is to promote a similar secularist argument to what the over-arching intention of the DI leaders aims to oppose. Do they not realise their cross-purposes?

    Dembski does, which is why he clarifies that “intelligent design’s [theory’s] focus [is] on biology.” He knows that ‘design arguments’ are theological/philosophical territory, unlike IDT.

    This recognition leads the IDM into contradiction, it takes them into a trap from which they have not yet escaped and likely cannot escape. ENV writes regarding the same JMK quote-mine above, how “the argument from the [sic] design” is “not to be confused with theology.” Does Klinghoffer really want to expel theology from the conversation of OoL to instead substitute ‘strictly natural science?’ There are so many self-contradictions in this position that the DI cannot hope to recover from it, even with its propaganda-producing PR machine and good intentions(neo-creationism).

    Dembski has already made his position clear and muddy at the same time, which is a peculiar charm of his. He writes: “Design arguments can focus on whether the universe as a whole is designed [Designed]. Alternatively, they can focus on whether instances of design [Design] have occurred within an already given universe.” This is exactly why Gingerich (who I have read) and others distinguish between Uppercase ‘Design’ and lowercase ‘design,’ as meaningfully important and therefore valid. At one point, Dembksi is saying IDT (strictly science) is distinct from ‘design arguments’ (theology/philosophy), while the next moment he is stating that IDT *is* a ‘design argument.’

    As for, “a conscious agent whose motives are of a certain kind and whose powers are sufficient,” who is Keynes referring to if not a human being? Please be specific if you would name anyone/anything. I don’t think anyone at UD can or will.

    Keynes’ statement above supports only lowercase id, not Uppercase IDT or IDism. This is a recognition that timaeus has made in private, and perhaps he saw the powerful opposition it poses to IDism, which is why he reversed his position to deny it credibility (even though this marginalises him even further from mainstream thought, which he displays no personal interest to embrace). Again, this is an example of Expelled Syndrome influencing a man’s ‘reason’; because it would compromise the coherence of IDT, it is something timaeus *must* posture himself against with all of his editorial-rhetorical resources.

    Regarding the tired and repeated accusation that I write ‘invective,’ ‘outrage,’ ‘rage,’ ‘rancor,’ ‘anger,’ ‘vengeance,’ etc. this is just rhetorical timaeus’ projection of some kind of inferiority complex or isolationist fancy. It is simply not true. If you could *hear* my voice, you would quickly realise this. Playing the victim as timaeus does in this case is just delinquent business that one shouldn’t let their kids or friends read.

    As one of the few people at UD with a PhD, timaeus has been invited by me to a voice recorded discussion/debate, but he has declined. This is probably a better offer to actually air his views of IDT than he has ever received by a non-IDist source. That some people at UD would trust such a person with demonstrated Expelled Syndrome explains much about the lack of faith IDists have to actually ‘come clean’ and admit they will not achieve the ‘scientific revolution’ Dembski prophesized, Meyer agitated and Behe bit into. That admission of failure may eventually come in a ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ scenario, but for now, IDism lingers on at UD, as News tries to drag JMK into it.

    If timaeus want to do a word-by-word analysis of JMK’s quotation, he’ll just further prove his own irrelevance from the core of the broader conversation. It’s about context, ladies and gentlemen. And trying to defend Keynes’ supposed ‘understanding of IDT’ against ‘Catholic philosophers’ is a losing proposition.

  28. Those who are interested in what JMK really thought about design should read keiths OP on TMZ or even better Keynes’ Treatise on Probability (admittedly hard work). In summary he was an atheist homosexual and Bayesian. Here is a sample of what he really thought:

    We cannot say, for example, that the human eye is due to design more probably than not, unless we have some reason, apart from the nature of its construction, for suspecting conscious workmanship.

    I agree he was a genius and I agree with his position on design.

  29. This should also have been bolded, though it has been said many times before and by many others too:

    “Abrahamic believers accept ‘Creation’ on faith, as revelation, not as a ‘natural scientific’ proof/inference.”

  30. keiths’ TSZ post is definitely worth reading, as, far from proposing that ID reasoning is valid, JMK goes on to demonstrates why it is not. Here’s the remainder of the JMK passage as quoted by keiths, for those who would rather not click on TSZ (although everyone here is very welcome to visit!)

    Thus we cannot measure the probability of the conscious agent’s existence after the event, unless we can measure its probability before the event. And it is our ignorance of this, as a rule, that we are endeavouring to remedy. The argument tells us that the existence of the hypothetical agent is more likely after the event than before it; but, as in the case of the general inductive problem dealt with in Part III., unless there is an appreciable probability first, there cannot be an appreciable probability afterwards. No conclusion, therefore, which is worth having, can be based on the argument from design alone; like induction, this type of argument can only strengthen the probability of conclusions, for which there is something to be said on other grounds. We cannot say, for example, that the human eye is due to design more probably than not, unless we have some reason, apart from the nature of its construction, for suspecting conscious workmanship.

    Note the reasoning:

    From Denyse’s extract:

    X is an event of low probability given non-design.
    X occurred.
    If we’d assumed a Designer X occurred we might have predicted X.

    From keiths’ extract:

    But unless we estimated the probability of the Designer before X occurred we cannot estimate the increased probability of a Designer after X occurred.

    Therefore X alone is insufficient to infer a Designer.

    So, yes, JMK understood ID, but it seems he understood it well enough to see the flaw in it :)

  31. Elizabeth,

    That is the whole point- no one can even say blind and undirected chemical processes deserves a seat at the probability table. Donald Johnson goes over that in “Probability’s Nature and Nature’s Probability”.

    Also all Denyse was saying is that it is wrong to connect ID with theology. Also if an event has occurred it is safe to say there was only one reality behind its occurence. And science cares about that as that is 1 of the 3 basic questions science asks- “how did it come to be this way/ the way it is?”.

    That is where probabilities come into play. Science can only allow for a certain amount of luck- even Dawkins recognizes that. That also means if the chance hypothesis can’t even be proposed, it is out on its own lack of merit.

    And the existence of a design is always enough to infer the existence of a designer.

    From “The Privileged Planet”:

    The one place that has observers is the one place that also has perfect solar eclipses.

    There is a final, even more bizarre twist. Because of Moon-induced tides, the Moon is gradually receding from Earth at 3.82 centimeters per year. In ten million years will seem noticeably smaller. At the same time, the Sun’s apparent girth has been swelling by six centimeters per year for ages, as is normal in stellar evolution. These two processes, working together, should end total solar eclipses in about 250 million years, a mere 5 percent of the age of the Earth. This relatively small window of opportunity also happens to coincide with the existence of intelligent life. Put another way, the most habitable place in the Solar System yields the best view of solar eclipses just when observers can best appreciate them.

    Just dumb luck that we need the moon for our exuistence AND
    it provides us with something to conduct natural experiments with, allowing us to understand the universe?

    Really?

  32. To all concerned:

    I didn’t initially plan on replying to Gregory’s long multi-post diatribe above, because only about a paragraph of it directly addressed the Keynes passage.

    In the end, however, I was going to respond to the one relevant comment on Keynes that Gregory wrote, but keiths has rightly reminded us that we need to have more context when interpreting a quotation. So I went online and found the original Keynes work, read the whole section, and noted that the argument of the section is linked up with positions established elsewhere in Keynes’s work.

    So the situation is this: Keynes gives a reasonable summary of the thinking behind design inferences in the snipped quotation provided by News, but then gives his sketch argument for rejecting (or rather, for placing a low value upon) such inferences in the section restored by keiths. And if we want to fully understand Keynes’s *reasons* for his judgment, we have to read much more of his book.

    I won’t make a judgment on an argument I haven’t read, and I don’t have time to read Keynes’s book right now. So I won’t claim to have refuted Keynes’s critique. At the moment, I will indicate only that I don’t agree with his final two sentences above as quoted by keiths, but will defer any attempt to articulate that disagreement until some later date.

    I of course never claimed that Keynes was a defender of ID. I simply thought it would be worth parsing his argument, as quoted by News, to see exactly what he meant. In context, it now looks as if Keynes found design inferences weak except in special circumstances, and that he would say that those circumstances don’t apply to the kind of things modern ID people want to discuss (origin of life, causes of evolution). So I think that Keynes can’t be counted as an early ID supporter. But what’s new with that? That’s true of a lot of modern philosophers.

    But let’s suppose Keynes did in fact support design inferences in biology. That would be encouraging, but in the end, arguments that amount to: “This famous guy agrees with me” are perilous. They are a two-edged sword. The other side can come back with, “Yeah, but this *other* famous guy agrees with *me*.” And then, famous guys often change their minds, either honestly or under pressure. (In the case of the retractions of Gould and Popper of some of their harsh statements about neo-Darwinism, there may have been pressure brought to bear.) And once they retract, their earlier statements can no longer be used. In the final analysis, it is not quotations or the enlisting of great names, but argument and evidence, that should count in these debates.

    This is why I object to so many of Gregory’s postings here. He gives long strings of names of people who either agree with him on some point, or criticize ID on some point, or support TE on some point, as if the sheer volume of famous names is supposed to make people cry “Uncle.” Such appeals to authority are not scholarly, scientific, or philosophical.

    If Bejan disagrees with Stephen Meyer over “design without a designer,” is Meyer supposed to say, “Oh, since you are the great Bejan, and I’m just Meyer, I must be wrong?” That’s rubbish. Everything depends upon *why* Bejan thinks there can be “design without a designer” and *why* Meyer thinks there cannot. And this means that the arguments have to be produced and examined with open minds. To say: “My guys are smarter than the ID guys, and they think ID is all wrong” is no argument at all.

    Sure, it would be emotionally comforting if we could add Keynes to the list of great names who is sympathetic with design reasoning. But we don’t need him, and shouldn’t agonize if we can’t have him. If we are looking for truth, as opposed to political advantage, we need arguments, not endorsements.

    And by the same token, we have nothing to fear when Gregory or anyone else flaunts opinions at us from Feser, Fuller, Gingerich, Bejan, etc. Opinions, without the arguments upon which they are based, have no currency in philosophy, science, or scholarship.

    In the meantime, Stephen Meyer’s new book is now out. I wonder if Gregory will *read* it, and assess its arguments based on their merits, or if he will wait until Bejan, Feser, Miller, BioLogos, the NCSE, etc. weigh in, and then cite their opinions as proof that Meyer’s book is no good?

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