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Gregory and the Subject of Human Extension

The following is a one-shot guest post by regular UD commenter, Gregory. I offer this because I know that Gregory’s been talking about Intelligent Design for years, and because it was my intention to give him the chance to make his case for the social sciences’ relevance to the ID discussion. As before, my posting this shouldn’t be taken as endorsement – in fact I’m very skeptical of the direction of Gregory’s project for a number of reasons, which I may or may not mention later in comments. But he was civil and sincere enough, and I thought the regulars at UD would find his thoughts interesting, whether to consider or point out the flaws.

Anyway, here I cede the floor to the social sciences. Have at it, folks.

Human Extension: an Alternative Way to Look at Intelligent Design
By Gregory Sandstrom, PhD
“The endless cycles of idea and action
Endless invention, endless experiment
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness.”
– T.S. Eliot

Thanks to nullasalus for agreeing to post this guest thread on Uncommon Descent.

This post contains an article that includes 3 internet links to works on evolution, creation, intelligent design and human extension that I have produced or been involved with in recent months. It also means that I am ‘coming out of the closet’ by revealing my true name. At this point in time (summer 2012), I consider that to be a risk worth taking.

When I accepted an invitation to attend the Discovery Institute’s summer program for humanities and social sciences in 2008, I did so not as an IDer, but rather as someone researching in the subfield now called sociology of science (SoS). I wanted to see who these people are that accept and promote intelligent design (ID) and learn more about the home base for the intelligent design movement (IDM), the Discovery Institute (DI) in Seattle, Washington. It was a professional curiosity regarding IDers and the IDM as much as it was a personal interest in science, philosophy and religion discourse that brought me to knock on the DI’s door.

The first day at the summer program we were given a presentation (including both the natural-physical sciences as well as the humanities and social sciences participants) by Bruce Gordon, CSC Senior Fellow. According to Gordon, there are 3 types (or definitions) of evolution: 1. change-over-time, 2. universal common descent, and 3. neo-Darwinism (by which he meant natural selection plus random mutation). Gordon said that ID has no problem with 1 or (generally, if not specifically) 2, but that 3 is believed by IDers to be either wrong or insufficient.

This may sound unusual to some people (as it would to Bruce), but I disagree mostly with 1, take no issue with 2 (though I’m open to some kind of ‘uncommon’ descent scenario, specifically with respect to human beings, e.g. ‘divine election,’ while accepting an ‘old’ Earth), and don’t much care about 3, given that my interests are mainly outside of biology, botany, zoology and genetics. I treat neo-Darwinism as an ideology rather than as a science and consider (neo-)Darwinian evolution as a legitimate natural scientific theory that seems to have many ‘errors’ in it at the same time that it also possesses many truths (cf. Allchin 2009). To clarify, I reject calling ‘(neo-)Darwinism’ a ‘scientific theory’ because of the common ideological signifier ‘-ism’ which is attached to Darwin’s name.

Regarding point 1, ‘evolution’ should not be defined or expressed to mean ‘change-over-time’ because there are ‘other’ kinds of ‘change-over-time’ that are not ‘evolutionary’ (more on this below). In other words, change is the master category, rather than evolution. Evolution is a particular type of change (i.e. non-teleological or goal-oriented and without foresight) and people should not attempt to invert the linguistic priority by giving evolution a monopoly over change. Doing so improperly privileges evolution and leads to the possibility of turning evolution from a natural scientific theory into an ideology or even a materialistic or atheistic worldview.

Taking this approach over the years has allowed me to reframe the general discourse of evolution, creation and ID which I invite people visiting or participating at UD to consider as a view that both is contra-evolutionism and humanitarian. Here I define ‘evolutionism’ as the ideological exaggeration of evolutionary theory into fields or topics where it does not properly belong. One example of this is giving ‘evolution’ a monopoly over ‘change.’ Another is the faulty transference of evolution from biology into anthropology, psychology, sociology, politics, economics and cultural studies; socio-biology and evolutionary psychology being the simplest examples.

So, UD reader, if you are against the ideology of evolutionism, then you might be interested to openly consider the position I am putting forward here and elsewhere. Truth be told, however, this position differs in significant ways from ID as it is presented and advocated for today by the IDM. If you are an IDM-ID proponent, and if you likewise consider the position I’m putting forward as valid and potentially fruitful, then you will eventually be faced with a choice between IDM-ID and the more holistic approach to science, philosophy and religion presented here. This approach claims more relevance regarding human meaning, values, beliefs, morality and ethics, as well as the term ‘intelligence’ than anything yet produced by the IDM. This is said after having viewed the DI and IDM from within more than independent internet bloggers.

You might be wondering where I’m going with this since I’ve been working in the human-social sciences on the topic for over a decade (2010 defended a dissertation on comparative sociology). Is it my task to ridicule ID and mock you in the same way as materialists and Darwinists do? No. It turns out that I made a far-reaching discovery in 2001 that may seem counter-intuitive to some people at first, but which has held up under scrutiny, criticism and mentorship. It is either a non-ID or a neo-ID approach to knowledge and existence, thus this thread is titled “an alternative way to look at intelligent design.” Let me now explain the reasoning behind Human Extension.

This discovery effectively answers the question of ‘what doesn’t evolve’ and/or ‘what are the limits of evolution,’ while also providing a new contribution in the human-social sciences. Michael Behe writes of ‘the edge of evolution’ related to biology, but it doesn’t sound like the biological community has (yet) embraced his notion of ‘unevolvability.’ What I discovered and have tested over a decade for weaknesses and errors is an alternative approach to ‘unevolvability’ in a different core field than biology, where nevertheless evolutionary ideas are still active and current.

In short form, what I am suggesting is that it makes sense to say that technology and other human-made things (cf. ‘artificial selection’) do not ‘evolve.’ Instead, they ‘extend’ from human choices.
This human-social paradigm for science and technology studies (STS) can be expressed in two basic axioms:
Axiom 1 – Nothing human-made evolves into being (or having become);
Axiom 2 – Everything human-made extends from human choice(s), to do, to act or to make something.

If you wish to challenge Human Extension, it is with these two axioms that you should start.

The idea of ‘human extension,’ found in the work of internationally recognised culture, technology and media theorist Marshall McLuhan, the so-called ‘sage of the wired age,’ came to me before I had actually heard of ‘intelligent design’ (ID) and the intelligent design movement (IDM). When I later learned about the IDM (2002), I then became active in exploring the possibilities of their new idea, participating in discussion forums about ID and asking questions via e-mail to IDM leaders. I also visited the DI in Seattle, which was just a couple of hours drive from my home near Vancouver, Canada.

During the period of the following years, I continued to develop the answer I’d discovered, engaging with people around the world (in no less than 7 countries) on its history, possible relevance and application. After several presentations at academic conferences and then publications in scientific journals on this topic (from 2005-2010), finally in 2011 the time came to face an ‘alternative world of ID’ (Fuller 2012).

This alternative way to look at ID can be seen for the first time by visitors to UD in this TEDx talk, which raises the spectre of ID, but also goes beyond it by speaking of Human Extension and the courage of extending humanity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t85d6Bh9Nys.

One example of an ‘alternative world of ID’ that I had heard about during my journey is visible in the prolific work of American-British philosopher and sociologist of science, Steve Fuller. His approach to ID is imo on the cutting-edge, even if it is not well-known or widely accepted in the IDM. (Note for religious apologists: his Wikipedia profile is wrong – he is not an atheist or a ‘secular humanist,’ but rather an Abrahamist, educated by Jesuits.) Fuller was called as witness and participated at the 2005 Dover Trial, but that is far from being his most important contribution on this topic (see parallel thread: http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/steve-fuller-in-id-philosophy-news/). His work as a social epistemologist facilitates people to consider the presuppositions and implications of ID theory, in ways that both distinguishes it from ‘creationism’ while also revealing its dependency on the worldview of its founders who all believe human beings are/were created in imago Dei. According to Fuller, without recognising this and the “deep theological roots” of ‘intelligent design,’ any theory that takes its name makes little sense from a historical or intellectual perspective.

As a result of following the trail Fuller has blazed, over the past few years I’ve come to realise that humanities and social sciences enable fresh access to ‘the bridge’ between natural sciences, philosophy and theology that IDers have written and spoken about but have yet to practically cross. Crossing such a bridge is possible because meaning, purpose and values are involved in humanities and social sciences in a way they are not in natural sciences. In other words, by ‘humanising ID’ into the humanities and social sciences, i.e. by recognising the inescapable ‘reflexivity’ (both individual and group-oriented) involved in defining and interpreting ‘intelligent design’ both now and in the first place (1980’s & 90’s), a new type of qualitative evaluation or meaning infusion can be revealed that is not now available in IDM-ID.

Towards this prospect, a series of short papers has been recently published on the topic (http://social-epistemology.com/2012/06/05/sandstrom-basboll-craddock-scott-intelligent-design-as-social-epistemology-collective-judgment-forum/), called “Intelligent Design as Social Epistemology” (ID as SE). The involvement of social epistemologists on the topic of ID actually realises the predictions that DI scholars made in the 1990s regarding the unique role of non-natural sciences in shaping the future and current meaning of ‘intelligent design.’ In other words, we are ahead of the IDM in looking at the social influences on and actual beliefs of IDers, thus providing a valuable service to scientists and laypeople from a sociological perspective.

This means that we don’t just look at ID as an ‘ontological’ view (i.e. the position that contends there *is* ‘detectable’ design in the natural world), but instead as an ‘epistemological’ view people hold that displays various pre-commitments and background assumptions. By looking closer at the personal-ideological features of ID, a contribution by humanities and social sciences can be welcomed. This is what is being suggested here now at UD, though much more work is presented elsewhere, and it is granted that even more remains on the road towards you being convinced.

If you’ve made it this far you may be wondering why this matters to the IDM? Why should people who are promoting ID predominantly in natural-physical and applied sciences pay any attention at all to social sciences and humanities? First, because admitting that ‘social epistemology’ is in *any* way involved with ID theory challenges the neutrality-myth that ID is merely a detached, impersonal, objectivistic, scientific theory of order, teleology and information. Also, because ‘Darwinism,’ the greatest singular ideological enemy of the IDM, has in some ways also affected the social sciences and humanities in the form of ‘social Darwinism.’

It may have seemed like a good idea to insist that ID-is-science-only using (copying, imitating, etc.) the preferred language of natural scientific methods. But in fact doing just that actually compromises the core meaning of ID, which imo has the higher potential to re-humanise, rather than to dehumanise via its connection with philosophy and theology. The neutrality-myth indeed can be seen as a burden on the soul of the scientist, just as much as some people consider it as a kind of liberation (or escape) from religion to study ‘just the facts.’ The meaning of ‘intelligent design’ as Fuller and I approach it is about ideas, pre-commitments and the personal worldview(s) of its proponents as much as it is about biological data and physical or material details. Admitting that the psychological dimension is inevitably part of ‘doing science’ will be a humbling experience for the neutrality-myth proponents of ID.

To suggest that ‘atheists could be IDers’ is also deemed as an ingenuous and highly unlikely if not impossible proposition. If one believes that the world is ordered, guided, and/or governed by a transcendent intelligence, like the Abrahamic God, as do Fuller and myself and presumably all other ‘real’ (authentic) IDers, then the suggestion that ‘atheistic ID’ is even a possibility is removed from the logical table of discussion. David Berlinski is thus a mere anti-Darwinist rather than a pro-IDer, sharing positive theological meanings of ‘design.’

Atheists can therefore become IDers, but they cannot disbelieve in God and also accept the core meaning of ID, that people are divinely-created (and are thus able to recognize ‘intelligence’ in the created world). IDers are persons of faith in a ‘designer/Designer,’ even if they do not often include (i.e. even sometimes purposely exclude) discussion about it in their persistent quest for ID’s scientificity. It is not controversial to grasp this or to express it.

What it speaks to is one of the most significant features of ID theory that often goes unnoticed. Without showing what ID has to do with actual persons, i.e. how ID makes a difference of meaning in people’s lives, the notion of ID ‘in biology’ or ‘in nature’ cannot properly resonate with or influence humanity. IDM-ID as a ‘neutral-natural-science’ thus obscures as much as it enlightens. That is why humanities and social sciences scholars need to be pro-actively invited for constructive dialogue with ID natural scientists, engineers, programmers and theologians. The former fields contain insights into meaning, purpose, value and ethics that natural and applied scientists simply do not possess. Objectivistic approaches to ‘intelligence’ and ‘design’ thus only give a partial view of the story, which can also be informed by subjectivity and personality.

By turning to ‘an alternative world of ID’ that places the central focus on human choices, purpose, meaning and teleology in opposition to universal evolutionism, a direct, realistic path opens up to overcoming naturalistic and materialistic ideologies that have tended to extinguish belief in the human spirit. It is expected that 99% of IDers support belief in the ‘human spirit’ and rejection of materialism as an obligation. Materialism is an ideology that is simply not satisfactory when employed on topics of choice and action. But the IDM has not (yet) satisfactorily explored these topics. This is where looking to Human Extension offers new hope for an end to the (Anglo-American) ‘culture wars’ over evolutionism, not to mention ‘Darwinism.’

The arrival of a social scientific approach to ‘intelligent design’ such as Human Extension is surprisingly what the DI already predicted in the 1990s and what is now finally coming to happen. Though it may appear to look like IDM-ID, in fact Human Extension differs considerably in speaking with emphasis anthropically and reflexively. Nevertheless, what some of you at UD mean by ‘design’ may be thought to be what I mean by ‘extension.’ Looking deeper at these two notions will thus help to clarify the differences and similarities; for now it is enough to say that the two positions share a common opposition to evolutionism.
The greatest indictment of evolutionary philosophy: it brings “knowledge of motion, but not of stillness.” This is how extension is able to challenge evolutionary philosophy by insisting that pauses and lack of change, voids and moments of stillness are part of human life and existence. Unceasing eternal/temporal change is as impossible to the human mind, body and soul as eternal/temporal sameness.

What people are seeking today is thus a balance between statics and dynamics, between more and enough, between science, philosophy and religion. This is what Human Extension helps people to more directly explore and encounter than is possible through the lens of evolutionary philosophy or naturalistic ID.

Change is involved in human living, whether we call it ‘evolution’ or not. But there are also pauses or gaps or voids or stillness, which are a part of human existence. The way we label this recognition will inform the post-evolutionistic epoch. Even those who subscribe to theistic evolution (TE) or evolutionary creation (EC) will find it helpful that ‘evolutionism’ can be safely exposed as ideology and removed from carrying a label of ‘scientific.’ This is what my work over the past decade has shown, which is now revealed at UD under the label of Human Extension, as it has been called elsewhere. For those interested to pursue the idea further, much more than this short introduction is written and available elsewhere (just follow the link on my name).

Human Extension is an example of ‘change-over-time’ that is not evolutionary; it involves purpose, plan, goal(s), meaning and direction (teleology) that is not present in biological evolutionary theories. It is a human-social scientific (reflexive) contribution to knowledge and discourse involving evolution, creation and intelligent design. By allowing choice a foot in the door via Human Extension, the ideology of evolutionism can be overcome, allowing a significant step to be taken in human-social thought toward more balanced, collaborative dialogue between the major realms of science, philosophy and religion.

There is now therefore a new position available in the conversation to contemplate, a post-neo-evolutionary position, which draws on rich and deep traditions in a variety of scholarly fields, from philosophy and theology to communications, psychology, geography, anthropology, mathematics and economics. This position, not one from biology, engineering, informatics or origins of life studies, offers a sincere, deliberate and long-prepared challenge to evolutionism and IDM-ID. This includes hope for clarification and collaboration, as well as a reality check to the IDM’s narrow naturalistic notion of ‘intelligent design,’ which so far (purposely) excludes human meaning.

So, now that I’ve come out of the closet and revealed myself and this dynamic-static, more-enough, counter-evolutionistic approach that has been in the works for years, is it possible that you will you respond favourably and with constructively critical comments, challenges or questions? Will you instead drop the plastic hammer of condemnation by stating how irrelevant the social sciences are in the contemporary world, how humanity doesn’t actually matter very much for intelligent design, evolution and creation topics, that they involve nothing but objective or empirical scientific questions? Or will you keep the option open that a new paradigm or heuristic could arise to shed new light on old problems, including issues of whether or not mind, consciousness or spirit are involved (reflexively) in the world of human nature?

I met many good and decent people at the DI’s summer program and carry no personal grudges with the IDers and friends I met there. I may disagree with their ‘blind’ acceptance of ID, but I don’t reject them as persons. The choice is now up to you: in what way you will extend your hand to me and to this new possibility of Human Extension as an integrative insight into science, philosophy and theology?

“Theories of evolution which, because of the philosophies which inspire them, regard the spirit either as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a simple epiphenomenon of that matter, are incompatible with the truth about man.” – Pope John Paul II

Extension is a “fundamental notion concerning the nature of reality.” – A.N. Whitehead

Sources:
Allchin, Douglas (2009). “Celebrating Darwin’s Errors.” The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 71, No. 2. Earlier form adapted and posted here: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~allch001/papers/D-errors-NYU.pdf
Dembski, William (2004). The Design Revolution. Inter-Varsity Press.
Fuller, Steve (2006). The New Sociological Imagination. Sage Publications.

McLuhan, Marshall (1964). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: McGraw-Hill

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124 Responses to Gregory and the Subject of Human Extension

  1. GS:

    Pardon a quick note. The prospect of human-designed and built kinematic self replicators that may evolve through variation and selection through success, puts your axioms 1 and 2 at immediate question.

    More centrally, re:

    we don’t just look at ID as an ‘ontological’ view (i.e. the position that contends there *is* ‘detectable’ design in the natural world), but instead as an ‘epistemological’ view people hold that displays various pre-commitments and background assumptions. By looking closer at the personal-ideological features of ID, a contribution by humanities and social sciences can be welcomed.

    The postulate that per empirically observable, tested and reliable sign, we may infer inductively (NB: abduction being a species of induction) that there are phenomena in nature that were credibly the product of design, is well within the parameters of scientific approaches to learning credible knowledge about our world. It is not a metaphysical a priori, an unquestioned, question-begging ontological position.

    The indicated approach of inductive inference on empirically reliable observable sign or trace or signature is well within the sort of frame used in scientific studies of origins, and in many other cases where we must infer to things we cannot directly observe on signs that we have from them. This has been a principle acknowledged in science since Newton wrote Principia and in it his rules of reasoning.

    Thus, my response to you is that you are seeing as ideology that which is a scientific methodological approach. This distorts the whole context of addressing the design inference and is not helpful, especially in a polarised atmosphere, one where there IS a major a priori at work that definitely is characterised by a dominant movement of orthodoxy: a priori, evolutionary materialist scientism and secular humanism.

    Just because those in thralldom to scientism are in effect an ideologically driven movement built on question begging and self referen6tially incoherent positions does not mean that the design inference supporters must be a mirror image inviting a “moderate” input to balance off.

    For all the sins of the US and the UK, there was no moral or ideological equivalency between Hitler and co on the one hand, and Churchill, Roosevelt and co on the other.

    Further to all this, accepting the legitimacy of the design inference as a scientific endeavour does not commit one to a priori theism. Indeed, it may even be that, one may see that the inference on FSCO/I makes good sense (in my case, starting from a stat thermo-d point), and then see that this extends to not only the world of life [which from the outset Thaxton et al acknowledged does not give grounds for inferring whether a designer of life is in or beyond the cosmos] but also to the fine tuning of the cosmos. Then, even through a multiverse type speculation, one can see that this traces to design of the cosmos by a designer beyond it, and one may accept the logic of contingent cosmi demanding ultimately a necessary being to ground it.

    That is in fact the road I took.

    My reasons for accepting and standing up on the legitimacy of the design inference, in short are not ideological. They are driven by my judgement that he science is good though limited, and the underlying conclusions do point to designers as the agents of design. And, one may conclude that without having a good warrant to decide who is the best candidate. In terms of life, a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter would be enough.

    Now, it so happens that I am a theist, and indeed a Christian. That is on separate grounds, having to deal with having met God in miracle-working power and the outworkings of that across a lifespan. As in were it not for a miracle of guidance that saved my life, I would not be here.

    I am in the end not surprised to see that the risky claims in Jn 1 and Rom 1 are empirically supported by the evidence, but that does not remove such from being risky claims. There is a sign of intelligence in nature, and of design in life and the world. That was challenged sharply over the past 200 years, but the challenge is collapsing.

    And just as in my youth I stood up to the Marxists, who looked like the likely winners; I now stand up to the evolutionary materialists, regardless of their power. Not because I think I can overthrow them by my power, but because, on good warrant I can see them wrong.

    In short, sir, not everyone is ruled by ideological manipulation and unconscious control of a prioris and influences.

    And, I do not find the design inference to be driven and controlled by such a prioris. Utterly different from what I see as the plain traces of so-called methodological naturalism now imposed on the very definition of science in the teeth of the logic and the history of ideas.

    For more, I suggest you see my remarks here on.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Like it or lump it, the concept of technological evolution by design is deeply embedded, just as the term “values” is.

  2. 2

    So, ID proponents undermine human value by observing the natural world in a systematic manner. And for an ID proponent to observe regularities in the natural world, and indeed to speak of the natural world in the language of systematic observation, is to “forget” that he/she is a person.

    Got it. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. 3

    Good luck becoming important! You’re gonna need it.

  4. F/N: for clarity. As an inductive conclusion on evidence, the claim that say FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design as cause is subject to test. If it can be shown that with reasonable likelihood chance and necessity without intelligence can and do produce it, the “sign reliably pointing to design as cause” status would obviously be lost. That is the view that there are signs in nature — the world of life and the fine tuned cosmos especially — pointing to design as credible cause is NOT a metaphysical a priori. KF

  5. One point in favour of Gregory’s idea (which I’ve been mulling over for over a year now and seeing its strengths).

    Human extension as a way of looking at human designs and institutions is a way of displacing the default to “evolution with everything”. This year’s Reith lectures were on “evolutionary economics”, which is tosh – economics has to do with deliberately designed systems and their foreseen or unforeseen consequences. But nobody pointed that out, since evolution is a universal assumption.

    But if “extension” took off in the human sciences, people would have an alternative model for progress in design and teleology. To an increasing chunk of the population, nature might well be seen to look more like “superhuman extension” than merely “evolution”. The design inference would gain traction. The human sciences would be harnessed into studying the nature of design rather than diverted, as now, into creating evolutionary just-so stories in psychology, language, history etc etc. Design would be on the broad scientific agenda in a new way.

    After all, ID has always been a matter of “hearts and minds”. Design can never be proven, but merely demonstrated to be the only alternative to ridiculously low probabilities. It is partly because evolution seems (sociologically) so plausible everywhere that non-biologists have been generally cool to ID. If human technology evolves, why shouldn’t life? But if technology (and the rest of human enterprise) is recovered for intentionality, teleology becomes a truly global rival to evolution.

  6. Jon:

    You’ve done a good job of translating Gregory’s ideas into leaner and simpler, less academic prose. And to the extent that you have captured what Gregory is driving at (which I’ll leave for Gregory to decide), I have no problem with the argument you are presenting.

    If it’s true, as you say, that non-biologists are generally cool to ID because they think of human affairs in terms of evolution (of economic systems, social systems, morality, religion, technology, etc.) rather than intentionality, then as you say, the recovery of intentionality will help clear some rubble out of people’s minds and allow them to think of teleology and design in a clear way again. If that’s part of what Gregory is saying, I agree with him.

    However, I don’t always feel Gregory puts the emphasis where you are putting it. Yes, he does say that people have gone hog-wild over “evolution” and that they therefore introduce the idea in all kinds of places where it doesn’t belong; but I get the impression that he thinks the ID people are just as badly confused as everyone else. Yet I don’t know of any ID people who make the illegitimate extension of “evolution” from biology into human affairs; in fact, almost weekly a column appears here to ridicule the idea of evolutionary ethics, evolutionary explanations of religion, or other misuses of the idea of things “evolving.” ID people are extremely conscious that human beings are intentional beings, that they plan and devise and design and choose and act, and are not merely driven by the wind of some impersonal force of “social evolution” or “technological evolution” etc. Who has stressed the fact of “human exceptionality” more than ID people?

    By contrast, over on BioLogos, we see a series currently running where an “expert” on the “image of God” is trying to convince everyone that humans aren’t in crucial respects all that different from beavers, dogs, bees, dolphins, chimpanzees, etc.; this analysis greatly diminishes the range of human exceptionality. (He leaves the only serious aspect of human exceptionality to be our ability to relate to God. Out goes homo faber, homo sapiens, homo ludens, etc.)

    So ID people rank second to none in arguing that human beings are intentional beings and that human products — whether technologies or social arrangements or political systems or economic systems — are “extensions” (though they don’t use that term) of the human mind and the human will.

    This being the case, I don’t understand why Gregory so often seems to be so hard on the ID people. Their starting point is the same as his — human exceptionality, human intentionality, and the ability of human beings to “extend” themselves in various ways. Their idea of “design” comes out of that matrix of characterizations.

    ID people of course have a different interest from that of Gregory; indeed, he frankly admits above that questions of biology are not central to his thinking. But for ID people the parallel between biological systems and human-designed systems is so striking that it has to be a central concern of thoughtful people who are meditating upon human origins.
    It is not that biological systems and human-designed systems have to be treated as identical in every way; rather, it is that they are alike in *enough* ways to make the possibility of a design inference worthy of serious investigation. Hence, Behe, Dembski, Meyer, Axe, Gauger, Minnich, Sternberg, etc. Yet I have never detected in Gregory’s writing any sympathy for this line of investigation.

    If Gregory’s general line of commentary were something like this: “ID people are to be congratulated for realizing the centrality of intentionality, design, and non-evolutionary modes of creation in human life, and I wish them well in their effort to extend these notions to account for biological origins, refuting chance-based theories; however, I think they could deepen their account, and strengthen their argument against the neo-Darwinian chance-worshipers, by developing a fuller account of how design is an extension of personal freedom and intelligence of man” — I would have no problem with Gregory’s contributions. But nothing like this comes across. One gets the strong impression at times that Gregory thinks that ID people are simply wasting their time by opposing Darwinian biology, and would be better off studying the social sciences instead. If he doesn’t mean that, it’s certainly what he frequently conveys, and this accounts for the rather cold reception he gets from certain ID supporters here.

    This is why it would help if, when Gregory is asked direct questions about chance and design in nature, he would answer them, instead of shifting the question to something else. For example, does Gregory think that Behe is right against Dawkins in saying that random mutation plus natural selection cannot account for the integrated complexity we see in living things? It sounds as if he has no strong view on that, and almost as if he doesn’t even care. But not caring about such a monumental question — whether living things, including human beings, are cosmic accidents — strikes the philosophers and theologians among the ID people (and there are many such), not to mention the plain old rank and file religious people, as incomprehensible.

    Similarly, cavils that “Darwinism” and “neo-Darwinism” are ideologies rather than scientific theories are not helpful, as the evolutionary biologists themselves (as is easily documentable from the classic treatments of evolutionary biology) have long used these terms to denote a scientific theory rather than an ideology, and ID people are simply following their usage. To chide the ID people for confusing science with ideology, when in fact the ID people know the difference, but are merely following the usage of the people they are debating with, for the sake of speaking a common language, makes it look as if Gregory regards ID people as so philosophically simpleminded as to be bewitched by misleading terms, and this, too, rubs ID people the wrong way.

    In other words, if Gregory is really serious about the apparent alliance that he is offering ID people, he is going to have to change a couple of things in his approach: first, he is going to have to sound more enthusiastic for what ID people have to say about biological origins; second, he is going to have to sound less schoolmasterish and pedantic in the way he talks to ID people.

    Whether Gregory can manage these changes I do not know. But if he could, he would find a much more receptive audience here and elsewhere in the ID world.

  7. 7

    He is not offering an alliance. He is drawing a line in the sand.

    If you are an IDM-ID proponent, and if you likewise consider the position I’m putting forward as valid and potentially fruitful, then you will eventually be faced with a choice between IDM-ID and the more holistic approach to science, philosophy and religion presented here. This approach claims more relevance regarding human meaning, values, beliefs, morality and ethics, as well as the term ‘intelligence’ than anything yet produced by the IDM.

  8. TM:

    Ironically, a study of science in society would take up what seems useful in GS’ work. But, that leaves the scientific issue unaddressed.

    Namely, is there good, empirically based epistemic warrant for inferring design in certain aspects of nature on empirically investigated signs.

    KF

  9. Jon, my questiosn for you (and Gregory) persist. How does one make an inference to design from data if the affirmation of design is already present in the form of an religious assumption? Why should ID become Creation Science so that sociologists can become intellectually fulfilled social constructivists? If the second question offends, then ignore it and address the first one.

  10. First, a couple of technical remarks:

    nullasalus says he knows (because I told him) that I’ve “been talking about Intelligent Design for years.” Yes, that’s true (listening, reading, learning, etc. about ID are also suitable terms) – for almost 10 years. But I notice that nullasalus capitalised the concept-duo ‘Intelligent Design,’ iow, he spoke of Big-ID, rather than small-id. Why?

    Anyone who’s followed the conversations between Timaeus and I here at UD will know that there is a significant semantic difference between ‘Intelligent Design’ and ‘intelligent design’ and the choice of why people express it. In fact, most ‘theistic evolutionists’ and people who support ‘evolutionary creation’ accept ‘intelligent design,’ but reject ‘Intelligent Design.’ So, I’m not sure why nullasalus used Big-ID, instead of small-id and what he meant by it. Perhaps he will explain himself, just as he might comment on how or why he is “very skeptical of the direction of Gregory’s project for a number of reasons,” none of which he mentioned to me in preparing for this “one-shot guest post.”

    If I’ve only got one shot, then I guess I should give it my best to try to persuade you folks to consider an ‘alternative way to look at ID,’ indeed, to evaluate for yourselves the idea of Human Extension. My professional scholar work on this front continues aside from any connection it may or may not have with IDM-ID. So it will not discourage me if there are no ‘converts to a new paradigm’ here at UD, even if the content of my writings is openly confronted and honestly contested.

    Also, the links did not come out properly in nullasalus’ upload of my article (which, yes, Timaeus, was meant to be in the style of pop-academic writing), so now I reformat them:

    May 2012 TEDxLCC talk – “The Courage of Extending Humanity”: here

    Parallel thread on Steve Fuller’s words about ID here

    And Collective Judgment Forum about Intelligent Design as Social Epistemology at the Social Epistemology on-line site here

  11. GS:

    Pardon, but could you address the pivotal question for us scientist types, whether there is such a thing as an empirically tested, found reliable sign that design was a causal factor.

    In particular, aspects of organisation/information that reflect functional specificity and — simultaneously — complexity beyond a threshold that renders chance contingency maximally unlikely to hit on such a configuration.

    I believe, whether you are inclined to say yes or no, the question is one that is capable of empirical investigation using substantially the same scientific investigatory techniques as are use3d on more or less comparable questions.

    (My own answer is here on.)

    The worldview and science in society debates are interesting, but besides the point if this is a serious question on the table. Those who accept that such an inference can be warranted scientifically, are speaking of warrant, not the ways people operate in and around a movement and whether or no they capitalise a term that has become the name for a nascent research programme.

    And, so far as I understand typical current theistic evolutionists who come here or hang out at places like BioLogos, they deny that empirically anchored discernability of design.

    On the other side, those who are interested in the inference to design issue, are not in that context interested in whether or no this conforms to any one view on the correct interpretation of Gen 1 – 11 or the equivalent.

    KF

  12. But I notice that nullasalus capitalised the concept-duo ‘Intelligent Design,’ iow, he spoke of Big-ID, rather than small-id. Why?

    Anyone who’s followed the conversations between Timaeus and I here at UD will know that there is a significant semantic difference between ‘Intelligent Design’ and ‘intelligent design’ and the choice of why people express it. In fact, most ‘theistic evolutionists’ and people who support ‘evolutionary creation’ accept ‘intelligent design,’ but reject ‘Intelligent Design.’ So, I’m not sure why nullasalus used Big-ID, instead of small-id and what he meant by it. Perhaps he will explain himself,

    My explanation is as follows: “I don’t care about or pay attention to distinctions like this.” The only time I care about capitalization is when discussing God versus gods and proper names. Relatively esoteric and obscure differences don’t even register for me, and the whole Biologos v BioLogos conversation was one of the silliest I can recall.

    none of which he mentioned to me in preparing for this “one-shot guest post.”

    Yes, I did.

    You neglected to mention that we went through revisions, with me giving you advice on writing up your paper, expressly because – whether I agreed with it or not – I wanted you to get the best possible hearing for yourself on this subject, at least on UD. You then gave me what you said was the final version, to be posted on UD ASAP. That seemed to me a clear indication you didn’t want yet more editing advice from me, so I simply went through with the post.

    I’m tired and working right now. But, here’s some fast comments.

    * You keep talking about the relevance of the social sciences to ID. This was, I believe, supposed to be the entire point of your post. However, the actual result seems to be an argument in favor of philosophy and metaphysics rather than science. You have to explain what ‘social science’ does that ‘philosophy’ does not.

    * Behe, for the millionth time, does not argue ‘unevolvability’ with regards to IC phenomena.

    * As near as I can tell – and I could be wrong here – your main target is the so-called neutrality myth. The problem isn’t ID is pretending to be neutral when in fact it isn’t, it’s that everyone (in science, anyway) is pretending to be neutral when in fact they aren’t. If that’s the case, you would have been better served to say that directly, instead of singling out ID. The point is lost as a result, if that was a point.

    More later, perhaps. Back to work for now.

  13. In some ways, I think we may be making progress because Gregory has been gracious enough to disclose some of his operating assumptions on another thread.

    For example, I wrote this:

    “Intellectually, Science is on solid metaphysical grounds because reason’s rules are unshakeable and, through them, we can also demonstrate God’s existence. It is the self-evident nature of reason’s rules that underlie modern science.”

    Gregory responded,

    “It seems to me that StephenB agrees with Fuller, but calls ‘reason’s rules’ what Fuller calls ‘thinking God’s thoughts after Him.’ One would be going over a chasm to stating that “we can demonstrate God’s existence with reason’s rules.” It sounds hyper-rationalist, rather than seeking an appropriate balance between reason and faith”

    We really do need to analyze this point because everything turns on it. Reason’s rules consist of a number of things, none of which are religious in texture. The laws of non-contradiction, excluded middle, identity, and causality are presupposed in science, as is the assumption of an orderly universe Science is a search for causes. Without orderliness, there could be no rational causes to investigate. Without the rules of logic, we could not apprehend those rational causes. This is related to, but is not the same thing as the religious desire to “think God’s thoughts after him.” The former is a metaphysical assumption; the latter is a psychological motivation.

    It is important not to confuse these two dynamics. Otherwise, the entire ID enterprise will be misrepresented as a faith-based project. Gregory claims that ID isn’t really science because, the process with a religious assumption, which means of course, that it cannot also begin with an observation of data. This is similar to the charges launched by Barbara Forrest and Judge John Jones, who said, in effect, that ID is not science because it cannot extricate itself from its religious roots. It is also a charge grounded in ignorance.

    In fact, all science, ID included, begins with a tightly defined methodology, a means of studying phenomena and trying to make sense out of it. A theory is simply a way of explaining data–a way of answering the question, “what is going on?” To scientifically analyze patterns in nature, one must abandon all “religious” presuppositions and let the evidence speak for itself. Like Barbara Forrest before him, Gregory is trying to say that ID scientists are simply too wedded to religion to follow the evidence where it leads because their religions presuppositions have prompted them to lead the evidence.

    The fact remains, however, that the metaphysical presuppositions necessary to do science do not interfere with scientific methodology. On the contrary, they provide the rules by which evidence can be reasonably interpreted. Religion may motivate, religion may provide an inspiration history, and religion may edify the scientist in question, but it does not intrude itself into the methodology.

    To assume logic and an orderly universe is not to assume design in a DNA molecule and it certainly does not constitute assuming the existence of God. Would anyone dare to suggest that scientists who propose Big Bang Cosmology or a finely-tuned universe from data arrived at their conclusions not because he data has so spoken but rather because, as it also turns out, the Catholic Church launched the modern scientific enterprise? In fact, they wouldn’t dare. That unconscionable insult is reserved exclusively for ID science.

    Again, Gregory writes, “ Who says ‘modern science began with methodology,’ rather than with theory? Subsuming theory under methodology is too confusing.”

    This statement conflates the history of science with the methodology of science, confusing the order of sociological events with the ordered steps involved in a design inference. The answer to the question, though, should be evident: Anyone who has ever handled a beaker, worked with a spatula, looked through a telescope, conducted an experiment, isolated a variable, written a scientific report, or even drawn a graph says so—in other words, anyone who knows anything about science.

    Yet Again, Gregory writes:
    “You’re assuming “the subject of ID science,” but I am not speaking about that and mainly neither is Fuller. So, we continue to speak past each other. I do not accept as an assumption what you are trying to prove, i.e. the scientificity of ID.

    Yet if I ask you to define science, you will undoubtedly evade the issue. Perhaps you will join that happy throng of anti-ID partisans who say, “ID isn’t science, but I’ll be darned if I can articulate what it is that ID isn’t.”

    —and again, “The issue is not that “imago Dei is a requirement for science,” but that belief in it, in the persons of those who invented it in its ‘modern/contemporary’ meaning, is inescapably part of the history of the coining of the phrase ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design.’This is simply an obvious fact, of course. So, you can suggest that it was just a search for evidence and data in nature that led to some kind of eureka-moment – the coining of the term ID by Charles Thaxton – but that doesn’t fit with how the IDM’s story has thus far been told”

    Your perception of “how the ID story has been told has nothing at all to do with the question of whether ID is a legitimate scientific enterprise. When your only tool is a hammer (sociology) then every problem looks like a nail (ID science becomes a “story”). You would benefit greatly by studying science and philosophy. Indeed, you would, no doubt, be surprised to learn which and how many bad philosophers are informing your assumptions without your knowledge or consent.

  14. 14

    Let me make a couple of comments in passing. First, I applaud Gregory’s and Jon’s patience in dealing with the people on this blog. I know everyone is well-intentioned but it really seems that people expect that all their questions will be answered without reading more about the people whose views they’re questioning. My views about ID are available in many different forms, both in print and on video.

    ID is clearly a very complex thing and there is a wide variety of views on how it should develop. Yes, I strongly believe that theology is integral to the distinctiveness of ID as a SCIENTIFIC research programme. Anyone who finds this idea preposterous (as opposed to simply wrong) really should be a theistic evolutionist or perhaps just an evolutionist. ID is the place where the science-theology nexus is taken seriously as an intellectual project, and is in fact what makes ID an exciting research orientation.

    Like Gregory, I draw a strong distinction between religion and theology. Religion is about faith and ritual, which is fine but not especially relevant to science. Theology, however, is a different matter because when it is not ashamed of itself (i.e. not following Karl Barth) it aims to provide an account of God as an explanatory principle of the highest order. Yes, this means that theological claims are testable by reason and evidence and not simply faith. I’m sure many believers find this unpalatable — and that’s why purely faith-based religious positions like older forms of creationism and, in its own way, theistic evolution may appear more attractive.

    Finally, whatever you think of my views on ID, you need to get away from the idea that ID can be a science of ‘design detection’ simpliciter. That’s about as much of a science as butterfly collecting. A science worth taking seriously needs a research programme that aims to extend its leading explanatory principles by testing them against new bodies of evidence. This is where specifying the ‘intelligence’ behind the design becomes important. As virtually everyone here admits, the relevant sense of ‘intelligence’ is based initially on human intelligence. But why should our intelligence be taken as a guide to intelligence in things we had nothing to do with creating? Well, this is where the imago dei doctrine comes in. In fact, I can’t see how you could justify using intelligence as a principle for explaining natural order otherwise.

    If there is some other account of ‘intelligence’ that makes sense in this context, and would be scientifically fruitful, please do tell. Sometimes I think ID supporters are ashamed of having to rely on God to understand the rational character of the universe. Of course, this still leaves the task of specifying exactly how God intelligently designs (especially despite the apparent local imperfections of the world). But here it’s worth recalling that the very idea that there are ‘laws of nature’ is a consequence of people like Newton thinking that God functioned as the maker and enforcer of universally binding laws. So we are still drawing on that theistic capital even in our supposedly post-theistic times.

    NOTE TO JON GARVEY: Can you e-mail me? I can’t find an e-mail address for you.

  15. Dr. Fuller:

    First, let me say that I am one of the people who *has* read some of your material — your book *Dissent over Descent*, which I found very stimulating, and many of your blog columns and responses here. I also enjoyed your podcast conversation with Berlinski and Lennox.

    I’m certainly not an ID proponent who’s ashamed of talking about God or theology, and I’m interested in your “Franciscan” approach (which in the past you have commented on in contrast with the Thomist approach) to the relationship between divine and human intelligence.

    I’ve also greatly appreciated the way you have thumped the NCSE for its politicized use of the notion of “methodological naturalism.”

    I certainly agree with you that the very possibility of the scientific understanding of nature makes a lot more sense if we assume that the mind of man is like the mind of the creator of nature. You use the notion of “image of God” to convey this likeness. I’m well aware of the historical influence of the notion of “image of God” upon Western developments, and in fact have published some scholarly work on it. If you are interested in more details I will write to you privately and tell you where you can find it.

    At the same time, the specific phrase “image of God” is clearly not required; the Greeks believed that the mind of man was essentially divine, or partook of divinity, and for that reason could understand the cosmos. This might be the equivalent of what you mean when you speak of “image of God,” but the Greeks did not use that phrase, and they hadn’t read Genesis. (Unless you are still holding out for the authenticity of the Hermetic corpus!) So the notion that we have minds like the mind of the maker of the world does not require Genesis, though the phrasing of Genesis certainly gave that notion a powerful purchase upon the subsequent history of the West, as the truths of Athens and Jerusalem flowed together.

    (By the way, just to indicate where I’m coming from, I’m a textual scholar and historian of ideas who has spent a great deal of time reading Genesis in Hebrew and Plato’s Timaeus and other texts in Greek, as well as tracing the relative influence of Greek and Hebraic understandings of creation and nature from ancient times through to the present.)

    I find that sometimes you make remarks that are too terse and elliptical to evaluate. Here is one:

    “Yes, I strongly believe that theology is integral to the distinctiveness of ID as a SCIENTIFIC research programme. Anyone who finds this idea preposterous (as opposed to simply wrong) really should be a theistic evolutionist …”

    This is a strange thing to say. The theistic evolutionists — notably at BioLogos, but also elsewhere, are precisely those who say we cannot talk about “design” in nature outside of the assumptions of Christian faith. So if one found the idea of linking theology to design inferences “preposterous,” one would not be a theistic evolutionist. It is the ID people, e.g., Behe, who say that personal faith is not necessary in order to infer design. I am sure you know this, so I cannot understand what you mean by your statement. Perhaps you could clarify.

    My question above is connected with the question of “natural theology”; as you know, Barth and his disciples savaged the project of natural theology. On BioLogos and elsewhere in American TE-dom, there is a similar strong distaste for it, the argument being that we can see the designing hand of God in nature only through the eyes of faith, not through merely human reason. I do not think that this is your position, based on what you have said above and elsewhere. I would think that you would argue that natural theology is a possibility precisely because of the kinship between the human and divine minds; we can see evidence of the designer because the designer of nature thinks as we do. And that is a “natural” power that human beings have (because they are made in the image of God) — they don’t have to superadd “faith in Jesus” to those natural powers in order to be able to recognize the divine hand in nature. Thus, I presume that you would endorse at least some forms of natural theology. But surely the ID people, even the ID people as they exist now, i.e., not yet transformed by your own ideas — would agree with you about the possibility of natural theology.

    You also wrote:

    “A science worth taking seriously needs a research programme that aims to extend its leading explanatory principles by testing them against new bodies of evidence.”

    Are you unaware of the research of the BioLogic Institute? There, ID scientists such as Axe, Gauger, and Sternberg are “extending their leading explanatory principles by testing them against new bodies of evidence” on a daily basis; their results are published in the journal BioComplexity.

    I’m puzzled, though, why you think this means that one must “specify the intelligence behind the design.” If you mean by “specify” that ID people should say “God” rather than “aliens or time travellers,” I follow you. But beyond saying “God”? Surely you are not suggesting that Axe, Gauger, etc., won’t be able to do a stitch of work on the design of proteins until they narrow down “God” to the Catholic God, the Reformed God, the Lutheran God, etc.? Or until they affirm the Nicene Creed? Or until they endorse the results of the Seven Ecumenical Councils? Or the Westminster Confession? How “specific” a notion of God do you think is required in order for ID proponents to do good scientific research? I have not found any answer to this question in anything of yours that I have read.

    I get the point about man being made in the image of God; but that is still a very broad affirmation, one that covers all Christians and Jews, and doesn’t nail down very much. If you are saying that ID proponents need to accept that they are made in the image of God, and after that, their science will be just fine — that isn’t much of a specification of the designer’s powers, thoughts, motives, habits, etc. So you are being too terse.

    Are there any writings of yours where you have spelled out the minimum number of beliefs about God (beyond the belief that we are made in God’s image) that ID people need to hold onto in order to do good ID science? And would those minimum beliefs be such that non-Christians, e.g., Jews, Muslims, would be allowed to get in on ID science?

    I’m quite willing to read more of your writing, but I need to be directed. I have read what Gregory and others have said about your thought, but I would rather get it from the horse’s mouth.

    Best wishes, Dr. Fuller.

  16. At the risk of being increasingly irksome, I have more questions. It is one thing to say that theology and science should be mutual partners in the acquisition of knowledge. I would agree with that proposition. It is quite another thing, though, to say that scientific paradigms should include theological elements in order that each discipline can be illuminated by the other? Why is a mutual partnership not sufficient to serve that purpose?

    Should ID really seek to transcend its own phenomenological paradigms, which are limited to the methodology of drawing inferences from data, and transform itself into a multidisciplinary study? How does one extend or expand on “irreducible complexity” in order to make it fit in with this new amalgamation of theology and science? What is the extrapolated version of “specified complexity” supposed to look like? We know what questions the current paradigms are supposed to answer, but what problems are the “updated” versions expected to deal with?

    Or, perhaps ID’s most talented thinkers are being asked to abandon altogether what, for them, are scientific paradigms and to come up with something new from scratch. If trailblazers like Dembski and Behe, who, in the minds of their sociologist critics, cannot be trusted to discern science from non-science, why should they be expected to do nobler things that would require still more discernment? Who exactly is supposed to think this thing through? The scientists, whose vision it is not?– or the sociologists, whose vision it is?

  17. StephenB

    Don’t take anything I say as cheerleading for Gregory’s or Steve Fuller’s programmes, but just as my reaction to them as, essentialy, a lover of truth.

    My reaction to yours to me @ #9 and the general point @ #16 is to do with the sociology concept of “plausibility”. Making the case for design from, say, irreducible complexity or information theory is largely a scientific pursuit. Getting the world of science, and to a lesser extent the public world, to accept it is another matter.

    That’s because it’s outside the worldview of those communities, assuming as they do a naturalistic way of thinking that includes all the betes noirs like methodological naturalism, the undirectedness evolution, the determinism of natural law and so on. We are blind, usually, to whatever lies outside our worldview. It just seems implausible – which is why you might find good evidence for demon possession (for example), and even get it published, but make no ripples on the landscape of scientific thought – simply because demons are invisible nowadays.

    Design, except to rather kooky Eastern Europeans to whose work Gregory has linked me, implies a designer. Since to a large body of natural scientists there are no designers (worldview axiom) the ID work is wrong. Now let’s publish to that effect, or maybe in a few cases even read it (with those blinkers on) – but the result will be the same: it’s wrong, like we said. You’ll be telling us there are demons next, or that prayer works.

    So someone, somewhere, has to challenge the worldview whilst the ID scientists are doing the science, in order for that science to begin to appear “plausible”. Part of that is challenging the landscape of ideas around and beyond ID itself.

    Who says there is no designer? Science itself started from the assumption that there is, and (as a number have pointed out) becomes increasingly incoherent when the designer is jettisoned. Push that truth.

    And in any case, don’t even the US statistics show that a majority of educated people believe religiously in a particular designer who matches (surprise surprise) many of the characteristics necessary to what ID science is demonstrating? How consistent is that with denying the plausibility of design in nature, necessitating the TE trick of making God responsible for faking the appearance of design. Push the inconsistency of that to the prevalent theistic worldview.

    Look at any issue on which public attitudes have changed over time: racism, animal rights, ecology etc etc. You’ll find that scientific evidence was a marginal, or even counter-relevant, factor. The key thing was making the unthinkable thinkable, then acceptable (and then, usually, compulsory if people are off their guard). In ID’s case, there is the distinct advantage that it’s not an attempt to sell unsubstantiated lies – change the worldview, and the case can be argued on scientific merit.

    That may have little to do with how Gregory or Steve are thinking, but it arises, in my view, from what they see.

  18. Jon:

    In short, too much of science has been taken captive by a priori materialism joined to scientism.

    Immediately, such scientism refutes itself so soon as one realises s/he is accepting the PHILOSOPHICAL claim that only scientific claims can be deemed knowledge, i.e. credibly true on warrant. Oops.

    Such an absurd view then runs in the question-begging circle from assuming materialism to force fitting on science methodological censorship and attempted redefinitions that enforce materialism, then back again to imagining that the censored science grounds such materialism.

    The best answer to that is to expose its logical, epistemological, methodological and historical fallacies, as well as the evident ideological agenda and consequences. That is why there is such a fury of smearing when that is done.

    But, that is a matter for science in society informed by accurate history of science and clear-thinking philosophy of science. The flash-point will probably be education policy, and the institutions have been taken ideological captive. So, the systemic fraud — at top level the folks pushing this must know or at minimum full well should know better — has to be exposed and enough people with common sense have to walk away and create independent education efforts. Hence, my IOSE. That is a public education effort, but it depends on actually having a reasonable alternative scientific approach that corrects the blunders and removes the blinders, also exposing unethical behaviour.

    So far, we have not got to science.

    If science is being methodologically corrupted and censored, there needs to be a movement of correction. One that is patently validly scientific per what science objectively is and does.

    Such a movement needs to go back to sound methods, and to address the point where the science is going off the rails. Here, on inferring causal explanation based on known dynamics and empirically tested reliable signs of such.

    Which is what the design inference project is doing.

    Now, this needs to be a part of a wider movement indeed. And, increasingly it is, for science shades over imperceptibly into a sister discipline with at least as much credibility: engineering. Which CENTRES on design.

    So, the logical alliance for progress is with things like: the theory of inventive problem solving and technological evolution [TRIZ], with computing [especially assessment of evolutionary search algorithms], and with studies of creating self-replicating systems tied to technology clusters for development and, onward, solar system colonisation. As we more and more see what is involved in self replicating systems, it will become quite evident that the notion that such could have spontaneously originated in some warm little pond will become patently ridiculous.

    So far Rep Rap is a beginning.

    And, surprise — not — that is just what is happening, as the Dembski-Marks partnership has shown.

    The answer to a culture and institutions gone wrong is reformation.

    KF

  19. It is quite another thing, though, to say that scientific paradigms should include theological elements in order that each discipline can be illuminated by the other? Why is a mutual partnership not sufficient to serve that purpose?

    As I understand it, Prof. Fuller is sugesting that ID really accepts the concept of an interventionist God, and tries to investigate these interventions scientifically. This can only be done by specifying the nature of this god, i.e. through theology.

    Should ID really seek to transcend its own phenomenological paradigms, which are limited to the methodology of drawing inferences from data, and transform itself into a multidisciplinary study? How does one extend or expand on “irreducible complexity” in order to make it fit in with this new amalgamation of theology and science? What is the extrapolated version of “specified complexity” supposed to look like? We know what questions the current paradigms are supposed to answer, but what problems are the “updated” versions expected to deal with?

    These are problems for ID theorists to grapple. But, to give one example, the design filter can be updated to be fully Bayesian (an approach Dr. Dembski has used in some of his other work), i.e. to weight the possibilities that a structure came about through evolution, or through the intervention of a designer. Theology would be able to inform us about the nature of the designer, and thus provide a route to allocating a value to the likelihood of a structure given it was designed.

  20. Let me begin to address some of the thoughtful points that have been raised in this thread. Thanks to Jon and Steve for keeping patient with me, for helping keep me patient. It is difficult when some people think it is your motive to ‘become important’ rather than simply to do good work/scholarship and to follow your calling. In any case, I’m glad for your support, challenges and provocations. This message responds to Jon, Timaeus, UB, KF and StephenB, while again invoking the work of Steve Fuller.

    As Jon says in #5, it is “evolution [a]s a universal assumption” that I’m challenging with the notion of Human Extension, which has the additional feature of opening-up a potentially fruitful discussion of what it means for humanity to ‘extend’ itself, ourselves; us.

    This seems to be a major steeple-hurdle: “nature might well be seen to look more like ‘superhuman extension’ than merely ‘evolution’.” – Jon

    Does the ‘super-’ prefix added to ‘human’ mean to speak of gods, God, or animated action heroes, or…? I hadn’t thought of ‘superhuman extension’ before and could not clearly imagine what you mean by it.

    “The human sciences would be harnessed into studying the nature of design” – Jon

    No, let’s be more specific with ‘nature’ here. The human sciences, what I call the human-social sciences (since human beings are ‘social’ creatures/animals) study personality and character, not only ‘the nature of things.’ Iow, we study more than ‘nature-only,’ we study culture, politics, communities, relationships, associations, institutions, etc. So, ‘the character of design’ instead of ‘the nature of design’ would be the more suitable and preferred language in those fields.

    What feature of personality, culture, society, humanitas is invested in a ‘design’ or ‘product’ of human-making, e.g. technology? This is where I turn to Marshall McLuhan as a giant in the field who was way ahead of his time. This is where the notion of ‘human extension’ originally comes from: Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964).

    “ID has always been a matter of ‘hearts and minds.’ Design can never be proven, but merely demonstrated to be the only alternative to ridiculously low probabilities.” – Jon

    Yes, I very much agree with this. One finds it difficult to raise the topic of ID without observing heightened tension, emotion, even the hair on peoples’ necks stands on end. This need not be a ‘culture war’ version of ‘hearts and minds,’ but instead as Fuller speaks about positively ‘offending’ by academics, “if it’s backed by reason and evidence.” We appeal to peoples’ sense of reason and also provide evidence that we gather using ‘scientific methods,’ as scholars or laypersons do.

    The point Jon raises about ‘low probability’ and that “Design can never be proven” (meaning, if I properly understand him, the IDM-ID insistence on ‘design in [biological] nature’) is important also because the ideology of probabilism has influenced both IDers and anti-IDers alike, e.g. where they turn to coin-flipping or computer simulation to try to ‘prove’ their positions. If ‘specified complexity’ is only meant to address biological structures and systems, but not social structures and systems, then ‘design’ has a more meagre significance in most peoples’ lives (what % of the world are biologists or care that much about biological science?). By shifting the fulcrum of the discussion into human-social sciences and focussing on the choices made by living, breathing human beings (aka. ‘designers’), the burden of ‘scientific’ proof also shifts, so that discussions of ethics, values, goals and dreams of the global human community can be included.

    “Since to a large body of natural scientists there are no designers (worldview axiom) the ID work is wrong.” – Jon

    Yes, this is a crucial bridging topic for various parties involved. It facilitates promoting a more balanced discourse where natural-physical scientists actively look to human-social scientists on topics of meaning, purpose and plan that go beyond the ‘pay-scale’ of merely being a specialist natural scientist, who knows narrowly, but not generally enough to engage humanity.

    “ID people are extremely conscious that human beings are intentional beings, that they plan and devise and design and choose and act, and are not merely driven by the wind of some impersonal force of ‘social evolution’ or ‘technological evolution’ etc. Who has stressed the fact of ‘human exceptionality’ more than ID people?” – Timaeus

    Yes, IDM-ID has given some focus to ‘human exceptionality.’ Indeed, this is one of the sectors at the DI, which is led by Wesley J. Smith, with whom I have been in contact. I didn’t receive an answer from Ann Gauger on a recent UD thread (she wouldn’t even acknowledge if/that we met in person at the DI’s Summer Program in 2008!) about whether her recent book on human origins, co-written with D. Axe and C. Luskin, has any connection with ID theory or not. Perhaps she is being coy about it and/or perhaps she is a young earth, anti-common descent proponent?

    At the same time, however, Dembski has supported the notion of ‘technological evolution,’ which he borrows from Genrich Altshuller and the idea of TRIZ (theory of inventive problem solving). So IDM-ID appears to be self-conflicted on this topic, which is one of the reasons I wrote a very short entry for the ISCID Encyclopedia about TRIZ almost 10 years ago – this was my first ‘publication’ on an ID site.
    Technological Evolution
    TRIZ

    Thus, Timaeus (anonymous pro-IDM-ID blogger) claims on behalf of ‘ID people’ that they are in fact against ‘technological evolution,’ while William Dembski, as a leader of the IDM, claims that ID is for ‘technological evolution.’ Personally, I think Dembski has taken the wrong track, headed for oblivion, by swallowing the (Soviet) language of ‘evolution’ regarding technology. But there was a contest a few years back here at UD validating ‘technological evolution,’ so it will likely take some convincing still to change Dembski’s mind. This thread is part of that process. (Dembski can contact me if he wants to learn more about TRIZ and the Soviet context in which it was coined.)

    Personally, I prefer an alternative (non-IDM-ID) language: Technology doesn’t ‘evolve,’ it ‘extends’ from human choices to create, innovate, design, build, etc. This is a significant contribution that Human Extension can make in the human-social sciences and which can also ‘extend’ beyond them to influence the (sometimes exaggerative) language of natural-physical scientists. That it draws on the visionary work of McLuhan (and of Steve Fuller) adds to its potential validity.

    So, you can see that you’ve opened up a whirlwind, Timaeus, with your ‘evolution’ talk. My wonder is if you’ll have the courage to see it through by supporting Human Extension.

    “human exceptionality, human intentionality, and the ability of human beings to ‘extend’ themselves in various ways” – Timaeus

    If that is a ‘starting point’ for ‘ID people,’ that’s great! It should not be difficult at all, then, for ID people to accept the notion of ‘human extension’ as an alternative to ‘human evolution.’ My TEDxLCC talk should then be strongly promoted by IDM-IDers, as one of the few TED videos to address ID (and to go beyond it). Indeed, even Timaeus should be interested to read my book on “Human Extension: Before and After Socio-Cultural Evolution,” because it promotes human exceptionality, human intentionality and human extension. This is good news, Timaeus – thanks!

    “they could deepen their account, and strengthen their argument against the neo-Darwinian chance-worshipers, by developing a fuller account of how design is an extension of personal freedom and intelligence of man” – Timaeus

    Yes, I agree with that. But that is a challenge in itself to IDM-ID, which does not focus on that, instead investing its energies in ‘scientific proof’ of ‘design’ “mainly in biology.” This is without a doubt the biggest problem with IDM-ID: it is focussed on a single narrow meaning of ‘design in nature’ that it wants to verify, confirm, ‘detect’ using the tools of natural sciences. Thus, for me, the main topic is not ‘origins of life,’ but rather, “thinking God’s thoughts after Him” in the sense of being creative (or ‘creatively destructive’) as people living among and contributing to humanity and society in our respective lifetimes.

    What Timaeus miscomprehends to be ‘incomprehensible’ is because he does not think existentially about ID involving human beliefs, needs, desires, fears, experiences, dreams, values, goals, etc. He wants *every* person to give a rational answer to a mystical question about “chance and design in nature.” Yet not everyone is as detached from reality and uncommitted as Timaeus is, hiding behind his internet persona as he does. And from this obscure position he has the gall to demand of me that I take a stand defending either M. Behe or R. Dawkins on biological questions. But not everyone is called to be a biologist, nor even necessarily cares all that much about biology as an academic field, unless or until a major discovery or breakthrough is made. Biologists can keep silent most of the time, for all I care, because clearly the more important work, the more meaningful work is being done in fields that matter to human beings today, now, in the world that we live in.

    As Fuller wrote in 2006: “Sociologists should stop deferring to the authority of biologists.” And so I have taken this helpful advice, Timaeus. Have you in your views of ID? So far, it appears not.

    “I’m puzzled, though, why you [Fuller] think this means that one must ‘specify the intelligence behind the design.’ If you mean by ‘specify’ that ID people should say ‘God’ rather than ‘aliens or time travellers,’ I follow you.” – Timaeus

    Do you just follow that claim, Timaeus, or do you actually accept it also? No waffling here please. Do you agree that “ID people should say ‘God’” when they attempt to ‘specify the intelligence behind the design?’ Yeah or neigh, have your say, Timaeus!

    Btw, just from a simple text search: Timaeus used the term ‘ID people’ 24 times in 2 messages! This is a significant statement by him: Timaeus really seems to believe that he speaks for a whole ‘movement’ of ‘ID people’ and not just for his own (situated knowledge) personal meaning of ID. This surprises me, as I hadn’t thought that the person behind the UD blogger name ‘Timaeus’ was an actual leader of the IDM. Maybe he’ll self-reveal to us otherwise?

    “theology is integral to the distinctiveness of ID as a SCIENTIFIC research programme.” – Fuller

    In response to which, Timaeus focussed instead on ‘theistic evolutionists’ (i.e. one of his favourite targets) a category of people that Fuller himself strongly criticises.

    The “new bodies of evidence” topic that Timaeus raises but does not seem to understand is exactly what Human Extension is ‘designed’ for. We can search for human extensions in “all human-made things” as the above axiom indicates. We can likewise look at human enhancements and amplifications of choices based on historical, empirical, comparative and other (social scientific) methods. Here we can make use of ‘leading explanatory principles’ in a way that goes beyond the currently ‘testable’ capabilities of IDM-ID. In other words, we can break new ground that is meaningful to people, not just those involved in a political-religious-scientific movement, mainly of evangelical Christians in the USA, Canada and the U.K.

    “I’m quite willing to read more of your writing, but I need to be directed.” – Timaeus

    “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Direct yourself, extend yourself, Timaeus. Right now you’re an internet blogger, a sock-puppet with 4+ names. Elevate yourself, become visible, build something; get off your ‘eternal critic’ couch and make a difference! Steve Fuller is doing this and has the courage to face the challenges of critics and the consequences of being possibly seen as a ‘kooky ID supporter.’ Why don’t you show some courage like he does?

    (cont’d)

  21. (cont’d)

    “So, ID proponents undermine human value by observing the natural world in a systematic manner. And for an ID proponent to observe regularities in the natural world, and indeed to speak of the natural world in the language of systematic observation, is to ‘forget’ that he/she is a person[?]” – UB

    It is not simply “observing the natural world in a systematic manner” that is (or at least, can be) dehumanising or ‘undermining human value’. But rather it is the pseudo-objectivistic approach of positivistic natural scientists that play the neutrality card, suggesting that ‘just the facts’ are the only features of the discourse worthy of mention and that the actual people who are searching for the facts are unimportant or marginal. Mike Gene and Timaeus both play into this disenchanting game with their ‘personality doesn’t matter’ approach to science.

    “Make the scientist invisible” – this is a mantra of dehumanising logic. No, UB, we shouldn’t ‘forget’ that we are people. Instead, what some people do is to insist that we should outsource the meaning of ‘humanity’ to the extremist belief in ‘science for science’s sake,’ instead of in the common belief in ‘science for the sake of humanity’ and human development, cooperation, etc.

    “Should ID really seek to transcend its own phenomenological paradigms, which are limited to the methodology of drawing inferences from data, and transform itself into a multidisciplinary study?” – StephenB

    ID already is a multidisciplinary study; check the record. And I would add that ‘design studies’ might be a more favourable term than your preferred term of ‘ID science.’ For example, the field called ‘Science and Technology Studies’ (STS, which also goes by Science, Technology and Society) is legitimate whether it is called ‘scientific’ or not because it impacts people and provides knowledge and information, even sometimes wisdom about the topics it studies. There is no shame in speaking of a field that ‘studies’ instead of insisting that a field is ‘scientific,’ iow, requiring its scientificity to validate it.

    “We know what questions the current paradigms are supposed to answer, but what problems are the ‘updated’ versions expected to deal with?” – StephenB

    This is the 25th anniversary of Steve Fuller’s Journal “Social Epistemology” and there are multiple publications and media productions going along with it (see SE On-line). This is ‘updated,’ cutting-edge talk. I encourage that there are many things IDers can learn from this and from Fuller’s approach to ‘intelligent design’. Likewise, his studies of ‘paradigms,’ e.g. via his work on Kuhn and Popper, is worth reading, especially for those who have bought into the ‘revolutionary’ rhetoric presented by some leaders of IDM-ID. That he is not a professional biologist, so what?

    Timaeus asked: “if Gregory is really serious about the apparent alliance that he is offering ID people.” This was responded to by TM, who said: “He [Gregory] is not offering an alliance. He is drawing a line in the sand.”

    TM is right. And Steve Fuller clarifies the reason: “why should our [human] intelligence be taken as a guide to intelligence in things we had nothing to do with creating? Well, this is where the imago dei doctrine comes in.”

    Here’s the rub: Not unless or until the DI-IDM addresses these things [their obvious dependency on analogies with human intelligence for “things we had nothing to do with creating” and their flight from theology, from imago Dei, which Meyer may have recently, according to Jon, taken a step in correcting] will I accept what they mean by ‘intelligent design’ (IDM-ID) as an objectivistic, pseudo-naturalistic, presupposition/conclusion in biological sciences.

    Human Extension instead offers a ‘reasonable’ approach to ‘design’ in daily human existence, in our choices, actions and their consequences. This topic is real and meaningful for human beings globally in a way that speaking speculatively about ‘origins of life’ or ‘origins of biological information’ in pseudo-scientific, proto-scientific or even (sometimes) scientific language is not.

    This is where StephenB’s question becomes relevant: “How does one make an inference to design from data if the affirmation of design is already present in the form of an religious assumption?”

    One openly and forthrightly admits that the discourse of ‘intelligent design’ involves science, philosophy *and* religion or theology, without exclusion. ID is not and cannot be about ‘science-only.’ Human Extension as a reflexive social science approach involves this as a built-in meaning; IDM-ID does not.

    Why not then listen more carefully to what Steve Fuller says: “ID is the place where the science-theology nexus is taken seriously as an intellectual project, and is in fact what makes ID an exciting research orientation.” … “Sometimes I think ID supporters are ashamed of having to rely on God to understand the rational character of the universe.”

    Do you wish to offer an alternative hypothesis of “what makes ID an exciting research orientation” than what Fuller says, StephenB, or to display why or that you are not ashamed?

    “The prospect of human-designed and built kinematic self replicators that may evolve through variation and selection through success, puts your axioms 1 and 2 at immediate question.” – KF

    No, the point is that they were, as you say, “human-designed and built” in the first place, that there was a choice to design and build them, that they did not ‘evolve into being (or becoming)’ without human ‘interference’ or ‘potency.’ Iow, the so-called ‘self-replicators’ could not replicate themselves if they had not already been invented, innovated or created by human ‘intelligence’ in the first place. Thus, the replicators ‘extend’ from human decisions, designs, actions, etc. and the axioms above regarding Human Extension are maintained.

    “you are seeing as ideology that which is a scientific methodological approach.” – KF

    No. Instead, I’m seeking to help distinguish between ideology, methodology, ontology and epistemology, both so that natural scientists don’t (continue to) make claims to truth which are in fact just extensions of their worldview, or what some social scientists would call making a ‘self-fulfilling prophesy,’ and so that we can collectively come to respect that ‘creativity’ and innovation, invention, scientific discovery, artistic genius, etc. cannot be reduced to mechanistic or even naturalistic features of life. There is more to life out there; let’s go find it!

    “Yes, I did.” – nullasalus

    No, you didn’t.

    Not once in our private correspondence (and in your editing and suggestions, which are still nevertheless appreciated) did you actually confront the meaning of the term ‘human extension,’ nor did you make any comments about it at all. You failed to address Human Extension entirely. Instead, you insisted that my aim (i.e. what you wanted to believe my aim to be) was to talk about “the relevance of social sciences to ID,” as if that were “the entire point of my post.”

    The reality, however, is that my post/article was and is aimed to reveal ‘an alternative world of ID,’ i.e. a perspective that differs from IDM-ID and that is/can be more meaningful to people and which can help them to ‘put IDM-ID in its place,’ to ‘situate it’ (as Donna Haraway and David Livingstone would say). Since you’ve said multiple times that you are not an ID proponent, nullasalus, I don’t see why this should be such a problem for you, unless you really do have criticisms of Human Extension as I have presented it, which you have yet to share.

    You speak of philosophy and metaphysics, but have still not directly addressed my position. As was shown in the thread discussing “ID in Steve Fuller’s words,” the main topic of conversation and ‘controversy’ is a dialogue between science, philosophy and religion or theology. Denuding the ‘neutrality myth’ is but one feature of my approach, yes, as well as it is of Fuller’s and many others in contemporary social sciences, especially those who have studied sociology of science and science (and technology) studies, as both Fuller and I have.

    “Push that truth.” – Jon

    Yes, that’s the task at hand. Let us extend this understanding, or expand it, as StephenB rightly noted as a neighbour-concept to extension, so that people (even natural-physical scientists) can openly acknowledge that there are ‘designers,’ i.e. human beings, and ‘designs’ that we can study all around us. Again, UD readers, please note that the focus is placed particularly on ‘humanitas,’ and on ‘(re-)humanising’ the science, philosophy, theology discourse. The focus is *not* on the scientificity of ID.

    Fuller talks about dehumanising and the casualisation of human life in part because of the ‘species egalitarian’ view of Darwinian evolution. To move beyond that, one needn’t follow in Darwin’s footsteps, seeking natural scientific credibility in the same ways that he did or that biologists and botanists do today. Instead, the goal here is to infuse the conversation with ‘humanitarian’ views that seek to elevate the dignity of humankind, as individuals that we are, as communities and as a whole.

    Thanks,
    Gregory

    p.s. I wrote this before seeing KF’s recent post, in which he tips hat to TRIZ. The issues of ‘materialism’ and ‘scientism’ are best studied in which scientific/academic field, KF? Who studies ‘ideology’ and its impact and influence on peoples’ views of reality? Is this not a suitable topic for ‘social epistemology,’ the field that Steve Fuller basically opened and has developed over the last 25+ years? I’m sorry, KF, but you continually go on tangents to your work and lose the main points of the thread. Please try to keep on topic and address the main issues. Saying “scientism refutes itself” is redundant; we all know that and in this thread, we’re trying to go deeper than that. The Dembski-Marks-Ewert partnership is almost entirely empty of humanity (and I’ve met W. Ewert and W. Dembski, so I ‘sense/remember’ their humanity differently than those who haven’t); it does not touch on meaning, purpose, goals, plans, teleology that resonates with actual people around the world on a daily, existential way.

    If you’re looking for a “reasonable alternative scientific approach” in this thread, KF, one possibility of that is discussed in the meaning of ‘Human Extension,’ if you would care to focus on it and thus to keep on-topic.

  22. Gregory,

    Not once in our private correspondence (and in your editing and suggestions, which are still nevertheless appreciated) did you actually confront the meaning of the term ‘human extension,’ nor did you make any comments about it at all. You failed to address Human Extension entirely. Instead, you insisted that my aim (i.e. what you wanted to believe my aim to be) was to talk about “the relevance of social sciences to ID,” as if that were “the entire point of my post.”

    You went through more than one revision with me, gave me your final version to be posted ASAP – and that’s when the comments stopped. Further, I made my understanding of what you were trying to offer clear. You did not correct me on that front.

    You speak of philosophy and metaphysics, but have still not directly addressed my position. As was shown in the thread discussing “ID in Steve Fuller’s words,” the main topic of conversation and ‘controversy’ is a dialogue between science, philosophy and religion or theology.

    You say speak of, but what I’m doing is asking: what do the social sciences offer that is not offered by science, philosophy, religion and/or theology, in terms of your proposal? Go ahead, spell it out for me, because I honestly do not get it.

  23. Sorry, nullasalus, but I’ve checked the correspondence. Not once did you address ‘human extension’ or attempt to confront or question its meaning. Nor have you yet here in this thread. Nor has anyone else, except Jon, who made a good summary, involving the notion of ‘intention’.

    In the Introduction to this thread you wrote: “I’m very skeptical of the direction of Gregory’s project for a number of reasons.” Do these reasons have anything to do with ‘Human Extension’ as an alternative way to look at ID and as as alternative to ‘human evolution’, or not? How can you be skeptical of a direction that you have shown no sign even to acknowledge *as* a direction?

    nullasalus, I’m not here to teach an introductory course on social sciences and feel no need to defend ‘what social sciences have to offer’ given your displayed reluctance to credit scholarly work and academia. Simply said, I do not suffer from ‘physics envy’ or have any kind of inferiority complex when standing alongside of biologists (and I’ve worked in the same office space with evolutionary biologists, by the way). Fuller’s exhortation to ‘stop defering,’ as I mentioned above, has payed humanitarian dividends.

    The dialogue I speak of between science, philosophy and religion is and can be significantly enhanced by involving the human-social sciences. If you do not understand why, then reading short blog posts about this is unlikely to change your mind. It is only our humanity that is at stake. Please go and seek and (even in IDM-ID probabilistic, theology-neutral terms) you shall find!

  24. Gregory,

    Sorry, nullasalus, but I’ve checked the correspondence. Not once did you address ‘human extension’ or attempt to confront or question its meaning. Nor have you yet here in this thread. Nor has anyone else, except Jon, who made a good summary, involving the notion of ‘intention’.

    I made it clear what I thought the direction of your piece was going to be, I clearly made what criticisms I did stating what goal I was intending you to reach. At no point did you say “But wait, what about human extension? That’s what’s really important here.” And if that’s the point, I’m apparently not the only one who missed it.

    Sorry, Gregory. But when almost no one is talking about what you thought was the central topic of your post, there’s at least a chance it’s because you didn’t communicate it well. You had your opportunity to make things clear, and I’d have worked with you on that, happily. I made no secret of what I thought the thrust of your article was.

    The dialogue I speak of between science, philosophy and religion is and can be significantly enhanced by involving the human-social sciences.

    Wonderful. How? And how does it do this in a way that is not already covered by science, philosophy, religion and/or theology?

    See, this response…

    If you do not understand why, then reading short blog posts about this is unlikely to change your mind. It is only our humanity that is at stake.

    …is cowardly twaddle.

    I can – and have, in the past – explain what philosophy brings to that table that science doesn’t. I can explain what theology brings in that philosophy is incapable of. I can argue what I think science’s proper sphere is, what it can do and what it can’t. And I can do all these things pretty concisely when appropriate.

    But look, you’re apparently afraid of doing so for whatever reason. So, I’ll take a stab for you.

    Social sciences differ from philosophy, science, religion and theology because they touch on spheres that are at once supremely important for everything from day to day live to broad cultural vision, yet which aren’t addressed by either of the four topics comprehensively.

    Philosophy can give all kinds of insights, from ethical claims to the existence and nature of God, but it’s largely limited to a purely intellectual realm. Religion and theology concern themselves with understanding revelation and God. Science can investigate the world and develop theories and models we can use for technological purposes, or to understand said world.

    But the social sciences deal with far and away the majority of day to day human activities – how we think about things when we’re actually living, building and maintaining families, societies, businesses, universities, and everything else. This is, like it or not, where the majority of what people would call the ‘culture war’ is fought. You can have a rock-solid ID inference, it can be as scientific as you like, but if you don’t have the cultural and social supports necessary in place, it’s not going to do you any good. And one of the original concerns of the ID movement was, specifically, cultural in nature.

    Here’s a simple way to put it: do you think culture is important? Is it an overriding concern? Then whether you like it or not, you’re going to find yourself needing at least some knowledge of the social sciences to have the effect you desire. And that’s why ID proponents should really pay more attention to the social sciences as a whole – because believe me, ID critics are paying attention.

    There, Gregory. Nice, clear, direct. The fact that you were unwilling or unable to say something along those lines when asked is depressing.

    By the way, I said zero about ‘physics envy’ or biologists. I included philosophy, religion and theology in my list when asking what social sciences do that these things do not. But I’ve got to say, one way to make me think you’ve got Issues with the hard (or, in the case of biologists, harder) sciences is to snap at me that you absolutely do NOT have Issues, out of the blue.

  25. GS:

    I see in your estimation I merit a largely dismissive footnote.

    In response, first, I think you will be familiar with the exchanges over the Wedge Document, a document that was intended as a promotion of the DI’s CSC, as saying in summary that there was a wider cultural struggle that had to find anchorage in sound science and analysis. This was twisted into a widely promoted allegation that the design theory project was a political agenda without scientific merit.

    That underscores why I keep saying that there has to be grounding in sound science and related analysis, especially the epistemology and logic that underpins scientific warrant. Without that, we are just looking at yet another struggle of battling ideologues, with the balance of cultural power decidedly unfavourable to the design thinkers.

    But, in the back of my mind is the story of the struggle led by William Wilberforce, the very first case in modern government where a mass people movement on human rights and related morality decisively shaped policy through an uphill struggle. The heart of that struggle was that there was a sound case on the merits with moral implications that had to be made and had to keep on being made in the teeth of all sorts of opposition and diversionary tricks. I gather, at one point someone challenged Wilberforce to a duel and made him — the proverbial 98 lb weakling — out to be a coward for pointing out his moral objections to such a barbarous practice. And, the core group that led that struggle was tiny, maybe five key supporters and one parliamentarian who stood and kept standing, defeat after defeat, then delay after delay. Let us just say that the inscription on his tomb in Westminster Abbey speaks volumes on the ultimate judgement of history.

    An uphill, determined struggle for the truth and the right can prevail, and will prevail.

    Now, you ask under what head several topics should be consulted.

    The answer is that hey are inherently interdisciplinary in character and need to be addressed from several perspectives, as we here deal with a problematique and need to build capacity. Sociological issues and related movement dynamics are relevant but not decisive. Rhetoric tells us why and how arguments frame and shape discourse, but in the end tell us what we already know: if men were less ruled by passions and more by sense, truth and right we would have less trouble. Phil and Theol provide grounding contexts, including how knowledge claims are warranted, which is where things will have to stand in the end. The rise of the Internet shows how media of influence can shift as the capital costs to inform are now getting lower and lower; so, a new media, snowballing Samizdat strategy can go far. Indeed, if each successive person reaches one person per month with a message, in three years the message will reach the whole world, despite what Big Brother and his henchmen want, so the issue is to gain attention and concern, in a context that shows the balance of the truth and the right in the teeth of Big Brother’s power systems that enable a minority to exert disproportionate power over the mass of people.

    And surely, science — from its very name — is in large part about knowledge. Where, science, Math and Engineering shade off into one another imperceptibly, where Computing also fits in.

    The History of ideas, that of science and wider history are relevant too. And more.

    So, there is plenty room at the table.

    And yes, the story of ID and the study of the social contexts and forces that influence its fortunes from day to day, year to year is relevant. But, it is not decisive.

    The pivotal battle to be won is the one that grounds the design inference as legitimate scientific knowledge and practice; regardless of what hose committed to evolutionary materialistic scientism and who dominate key institutions may say.

    Which thus includes exposing the inescapable self-referential incoherence of evolutionary materialist scientism, and the question-begging, censoring imposition of materialism by the back-door of methodological rules and attempted redefinitions.

    As you may know from what I have said, that it is also time to declare independence on science education, and provide independent and balancing education, that I also believe a key second front is education which is the power transmission that moves us from debates to building up a critical mass of people who understand the issues and can address them effectively.

    That, in key part, is how mainstreaming works.

    As it works, slowly, almost imperceptibly, people will recognise where the balance on the merits lies. And then the issue is decided.

    Yes, there may come the tipping point incidents that will pitch us to the conclusion, but the groundwork of a credible alternative has to be laid long before the momentum shifts in light of critical incidents.

    That is why I insist that we need to focus the core, we need to build alliances to those willing to work with us, and we need to stand on our own two feet.

    I know how power elites dependent on a premise that is irretrievably fallacious and/or morally indefensible tend to act when they feel threatened, and I know how they seek to discredit those they deem threats, generally by attacking the source rather than dealing with the issue. And I know that the unhinged fringe will take the elites’ propaganda much further, sometimes to not only slander and vicious smears, but outright threats and actual violence. (Indeed, my family has been threatened. They picked the wrong man to do that to.)

    Hence, the madness of crowds, and of lone wolves and wolf packs.

    But then, I have already lived through a similar case: the collapse of Marxism. In the 70′s it looked like the Marxists would win, especially in the 3rd world. Then came along a cluster of leaders at the turn of the 1980′s and there was a decade of culminating ideological struggle. And I recall the vicious personal attacks and persuasive but utterly deceptive propaganda [a lot of it taught as sound social sciences], internationally and regionally. My homeland had a small scale civil war.

    Then between 1989 and 1991, the collapse came.

    It may have looked like it came out of the blue, but the groundwork had to have been laid and the case that prevailed had to ground itself. Never mind the dismissive sneers of the majority of the educated elites and the chattering classes with their ever so clever, superficially persuasive talking points. (I especially respect Havel’s essay, The Power of the Powerless. One essay like that that cuts to the heart of the truth is worth any number of dissertations and monographs that academics may produce. Notice, it took a decade to bear full fruit.)

    All of that is deeply embedded in my bones.

    It may help you to recognise that I also take the case in Ac 27 as a managerial case study in miniature of how such things often tend to play out in communities and institutions influenced by factions and agendas in the face of decision-making challenges and balances of power. Sometimes, one needs to knowingly fight a long fighting retreat on principle, in order to buy time and build strength for the moment of crisis when the balance will tip. (And I have a lot of respect for history.)

    If you want a current significantly parallel case, observe what has happened with the AGW movement since 2009 and the climategate revelations, despite denials and pretences that it is business as usual. Cf here on how the IPCC project is unravelling.

    KF

  26. What does ‘intelligent design’ extend from and to?

    Please don’t take it personally, KF, that I largely dismiss your diversions. I just find your language and jargon hard to make sense of and your wide-ranging interests distractive to the main topic at hand. We can’t solve all of the problems and challenges at one go and ‘intelligent design’ is not going to do it any more than ‘human extension’ is. Nevertheless, I could discern from your #25 some new connections and overlaps in our respectively different approaches and appreciate your link to V. Havel’s essay and talk of Marxism, rhetoric and ‘evolutionary materialistic scientism.’ I imagine there could be more points of collaboration or agreement that have not yet been discovered and am glad that you keep “plenty [of] room at the table.”

    One example of jargon, you speak of ‘design theory project.’ I prefer the more common phrase ‘intelligent design movement,’ which of course includes a very small percentage of people who are actually design theorists. Most of the people who support IDM-ID are not theorists and instead (as is usual in movements) gobble-up the ideas by a select few leaders, scientists and scholars. No offence, KF, but I do not currently consider you to be an ID leader, nor a theorist, nor somebody in the IDM-ID who others are following, which however says nothing against people believing and supporting your blog messages and internet works.

    I’m all for grounding in ‘sound science,’ but my view of science aims to be a global, holistic one, rather than a narrow Anglo-American atomistic one that tends to dismiss a large chunk of the academy as ‘unscientific.’ Knowledge and wisdom are bigger than the simple strategy created to make studies of human beings somehow ‘lesser’ or irrelevant to practicing naturalists/natural scientists. Was the Anglo-American de-humanistic bias erected in order to invalidate studies of Marx and Freud; did it unknowingly serve to elevate Darwin’s naturalistic scientific contribution beyond its proper proportion as a limited study of the natural world?

    What interests me is working towards enabling people to balance the knowledge spheres, such that humanities and social sciences are properly understood and consulted alongside of and in collaboration with natural-physical sciences that are not strictly materialistic, reductionistic and, as such, dehumanizing. Oh, yes, please include philosophy and religion too.

    Yes, I’m familiar with some of the exchanges over the Wedge Document. And I don’t agree that the climate (even in the USA) is “unfavourable to design thinkers.” Goodness, there are ‘design thinkers’ in many fields nowadays, including computer programmers, engineers, decorators, artists, managers, operations consultants, politicians, etc.! I find the call for pity toward those supposedly poor ‘design theorists’ in the IDM who have not gained enough credibility or status as academics to be a simple case of sour (revolutionistic) milk.

    The ‘design’ I’m speaking about now is just not the ‘kind of design’ that IDM-ID wants to promote with its ‘OoL’ and (religiously) implicationistic agenda. The IDM could easily drop its openly spoken ‘religious implications’ feature of ID (e.g. Scott Minnich in “Unlocking the Mystery of Life,” history of the IDM, DVD) and move forward scientifically by recognising a wide range of ‘design thinkers’ that it currently ignores because of its extra-scientific, cultural renewal mission. I’ve been studying ‘design theorists’ outside of IDM-ID, e.g. Buckminster Fuller, John Chris Jones, Horst Rittel, et. al., and those thinkers are or would be predominantly on-board with ‘Human Extension,’ but not with IDM-ID. It seems to me you folks who support IDM-ID should ask youselves: Why not?

    “Theology would be able to inform us about the nature of the designer, and thus provide a route to allocating a value to the likelihood of a structure given it was designed.” – A Gene

    Yes, theology could speak to ‘the character of’ the designer. Dependency on likelihood, however, is one of the great flaws of the IDM-ID approach. A probabilistic science is not nearly as powerful as a history-detecting or uncovering study when it comes to ‘design.’ Human identity and self-understanding is vastly more important in most peoples’ lives than whether or not a bacterial flagellum can self-organise from disparate parts or if it requires transcendental intervention from a mysterious (un-nameable) intelligent designer, which cannot be ‘proven’ by natural scientific methods.

    Learning to get our priorities right is a real feature of this science, philosophy and religion conversation. There is no need to look to natural sciences when answers are more appropriately sought in an alternative knowledge domain. It finally seems that Stephen C. Meyer, DI Director and IDM-ID leader is on the right track by acknowledging, through the work of Steve Fuller, theology’s necessary involvement in or relationship with ID theory.

    “So someone, somewhere, has to challenge the worldview whilst the ID scientists are doing the science, in order for that science to begin to appear ‘plausible’. Part of that is challenging the landscape of ideas around and beyond ID itself.” – Jon

    Let’s take the human predicament seriously to go deeper into what is ‘plausible’: Was Apartheid in South Africa ‘intelligently designed?’ Were the London riots of 2011 ‘intelligently designed?’ Is the social security system in the United States, one of the most unequal countries in the world, ‘intelligently designed?’ Was the US law declaring a right to bear arms ‘intelligently designed?’ Was the ‘first among equals’ policy of the Roman Catholic Church ‘intelligently designed?’ Was the United Nations (Universal) Declaration of Human Rights ‘intelligently designed?’ Was it an ‘intelligent design’ by Muslim leaders to create an Islamic Declaration of Human Rights (CDHRI), rejecting the so-called ‘universal’ UNDHR? How can we even speak of ‘intelligent design’ unless we can broadly agree on the ‘intelligence’ behind the design?

    As Steve Fuller noted, “specifying the ‘intelligence’ behind the design becomes important.” If IDM-ID doesn’t get this, if they refuse to highlight the supposed ‘source of intelligence’ based on whatever status-seeking or homeland security reasons, then the power of their paradigm must suffer because of it. There is no way around this.

    Since Human Extension identifies the ‘source of intelligence,’ at least in a proximate sense, it is much more powerful in terms of explanation, i.e. ‘scientifically’ than is IDM-ID. If you want to discuss, debate or doubt what ‘scientifically’ means in human-social sciences, that’s fine as a diversion. The power of identifying the ‘intelligence’ behind the ‘designs’ that we can study is nevertheless still there, glaring at you in the depths of your rational, emotional and intuitive soul. This is why Human Extension is an improvement upon IDM-ID in its sovereign realm.

  27. GS:

    There is a descriptive name for the tactic you are indulging of insistently and willfully loaded mislabelling to dismiss with prejudice rather than to face a critical and responsive matter on the merits.

    Rather than get into a cat-fight, I will simply directly conclude that you have nothing of consequence to say to the central importance of focussing a spotlight on the warrant for the pivotal design inference.

    I notice some evidently grudging concessions after an atmosphere-poisoning lead and that is enough to tell me you at least begin to realise some of us have an inkling about what we are doing, why.

    I have therefore made adequate record, though the exchange above leaves a distinctly sour taste in my mouth.

    Good day.

    GEM of TKI

  28. ‘intelligent design’ extends from the source of the Intelligence/intelligence that designs/ed, whatever that may be, and it extends to whoever can recognise it.

    KF speaks loose and fast about “THE warrant for THE pivotal design inference.” Which ‘design’? Whose ‘design’? Be specific.

    “why should our [human] intelligence be taken as a guide to intelligence in things we had nothing to do with creating?” – Steve Fuller

  29. Re (26):

    For Gregory to complain to kairosfocus about “jargon,” when his own posts are filled with social science and philosophy of science jargon, plus strange “slash” compound forms, plus awkward, non-standard word usage of various kinds, takes a lot of nerve. But here is a more important point:

    “Human identity and self-understanding is vastly more important in most peoples’ lives than whether or not a bacterial flagellum can self-organise from disparate parts or if it requires transcendental intervention from a mysterious (un-nameable) intelligent designer”

    No doubt, “human identity and self-understanding” are important. At the same time, what most people consider to be important in their lives is no index of what is really important. Most people are not deeply concerned about “human identity and self-understanding.” Most people consider “who will get voted off the island” or who “who will be the next American idol” to be more important questions than the origin of the bacterial flagellum, or for that matter, the origin of themselves. So should scientists and philosophers and theologians stop studying questions of origins, and devote their attention to social analyses of popular television shows? Or should they ignore popular television shows, and focus on the questions which they consider to be more important?

    The question about the bacterial flagellum, insofar as it is connected with the more general question of origins, is in fact *very* important — whether the masses realize it or not — to the search for “human identity and self-understanding” that Gregory claims to be so concerned about. If Dawkins’s biology is right, intelligent design is a superfluous explanation for the origin of life, species, and man, including the highest functions and aspirations of man. If Dawkins’s biology is right, all that is noblest in our nature is mere epiphenomenal froth dancing on a platform of mindless atoms, and human life is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. That’s why it’s very important to show the world that “good biology” in no way entails Dawkins’s conclusions about human origins. And that’s exactly what Behe, etc. are trying to do. ID is no mere scientific frivolity, no mere attempt to, say, determine how many legs a millipede has, just for the sake of satisfying some butterfly-collecting form of curiosity. It goes to the heart of the question whether there is rational order in the universe, and in particular, the question whether man is a cosmic accident, or the intended result of a mind and hence possessed of a meaningful destiny.

    If Gregory cannot see the connection between the biological questions and the human, existential questions, then, despite all his alleged years of studying evolution and intelligent design, he is not very perceptive. And if he *can* see this, then he must realize that no matter what he says, ID people will continue to talk about irreducible complexity, information theory, modes of novel protein generation, origins of new body plans, possible functions of non-coding DNA, and all the things that he as a non-natural-scientist has no interest in.

    The idea that ID people should stop doing what they are doing, in order to take up what Gregory thinks they should be doing, is a complete non-starter. It is the equivalent of telling the players of the NFL that they should give up football and take up knitting, while calling knitting “football.”

    Ain’t gonna happen, Gregory. No matter how many e-books you publish.

    Of course, these remarks are addressed only to Gregory, not to Steve Fuller, who offers a much more nuanced position. He doesn’t suggest that biological questions are unimportant questions and that ID people should stop talking about them. He suggests, rather, that the biological research program of ID could be intensified and better supported if ID proponents were more explicitly theological. That’s quite different from saying that questions of biological origins aren’t important because most people would rather think about “human” than biological questions. Fuller ties the biological questions to the ultimate human concerns, whereas Gregory is simply uninterested in the biological questions altogether. I therefore think that Fuller has something constructive to offer ID, whereas I think Gregory is basically trying to scuttle the whole ID project.

    That’s why Gregory doesn’t get much of a sympathetic ear here. Not because people here have anything against social science — they don’t — but because people here clearly perceive that Gregory has contempt for the very heart of what they are doing.

  30. T:

    Thanks.

    KF

    PS: For those who do want to figure out what the relevant — and commonly encountered — ID-relevant terms mean, and why they are important to anyone serious about the design theory issue:

    1 –> cf. here on. Notice the RH sidebar that speaks to main focal topics one after the other.

    2 –> The inference to design is specifically taken up here and connected to the significance of the von Neumann self-replicator.

    3 –> The IOSE also has units on OOL and OO body plans [bauplane in the original German), on cosmological origins and design as well as timelines, and a section on the origin of mind and man as well as on origins science in society.

    4 --> There is also a glossary in the resources tab on top of this and every UD page (which has an entry on intelligent design, one on intelligence and one on information), as well as a definition of ID and a set of answers to commonly encountered weak objections.

    5 --> FYI: "Design" is used in an ID context to describe both specification of a plan for an entity (which needs not be drawn or written out) and implementation of same; which leads to artifacts that have empirical features characteristic of purposeful and skilled intelligence in action, not blind chance and equally blind forces of mechanical necessity.

    6 --> FYFI, complex specified info (especially FUNCTIONALLY specific complex organisation and associated info), and irreducibly complex objects or processes are held per inductive warrant to be strong signs of design.

    7 --> A general purpose design theory FAQ is here.

    8 --> I note that there is indeed a design thought movement, a socio-cultural phenomenon. This is quite different from scientific projects and a nascent research programme that addresses technical scientific and related analytical questions -- which in one direction are Mathematical, in another have to do with computing, and in a third are philosophical (including especially logic and epistemology of scientific issues) -- regarding design theory.

    9 --> Without the latter being very well grounded, the former is just another pressure group with an agenda. which is what objectors try to assert, assume or imply.

    10 --> And given the pretty deceptive and poisonously uncivil tactics too often habitually resorted to by objectors [cf here on some thoughts as to what is going seriously wrong with our civilisation], that warrant has to take first emphasis.

  31. It is frustrating to interact with Gregory because he tends to analyze everything through the lens of his own sociological paradigms. Too often, he responds to substantial points about ID science by redefining its essence into something more congenial with his agenda. Hence, ID science, which is well defined in its own right, is reframed as a kind of social epistemology or a“story.” But there is a critical difference between “having” a story and being a “story.” At other times, he redefines ID in terms of what he thinks it should be, presumably some kind of “human extension. All the while, he makes it clear that he has yet to grasp what ID is even on its own terms.

    The indisputable facts in question are clear: The ID scientist uses the same method to detect design in nature that the anthropologist uses to detect design in an ancient hunter’s spear. Accordingly, the former cannot identify the designer for the same reason that the latter cannot identify the hunter. This is basic empirical reasoning. It has nothing to do with a limited view of human nature and everything to do with the limitations of the scientific process. If ID were to change its approach and incorporate theological principles as part of its methodology, it will no longer be an evidence-based, scientific exercise. It would be a theological exercise where faith does the leading and the evidence does the following. Gregory is proposing a logically impossible process where religious faith and empirical observation are both calling the shots.

    I have already addressed this point several times, pointing out that theology and science can, indeed, join hands, but only if each uses methods appropriate to its domain–not as one part of a two-part process. But I can’t explain this to Gregory because he doesn’t even know what I mean by the word “process”—even after I explain it. Indeed, he appears to be impervious to feedback. If, on the other hand, he can describe, in specific and concrete terms, a way to integrate two methodologies into one (or three if you count philosophy), I would certainly consider the matter with respect. Alas, that appears unlikely since he does not even acknowledge the problem. On the contrary, he throws it back in our lap and says, in effect, “just do it.” That may work for a NIKI marketing campaign, but it doesn’t work for me.

  32. [NIKI] = [NIKE]

  33. F/N: I should observe that the resources pointed to at 30 are longstanding and have in the main been linked and/or discussed during the course of the discussion. I trust that that should make the difference plain between loose reference (which I was falsely accused of) and summary reference in the context of a responsible — but obviously ignored — discussion. GS would get more of an audience if he did not come across as dismissive of ID as it is. And, I am pretty sure that diversion from the priority on developing and demonstrating sound scientific conclusions — never mind the cavils against such by objectors largely driven by evolutionary materialist scientism — would simply feed soft pitches to the “creationism in a cheap tuxedo” smear advocated by Forrest, NCSE and co.Let’s just say the intensity of verbal flak reactions to responsible citation and discussion of key and longstanding statements such as these five — Lewontin, Mahner, Coyne, US NAS, US NSTA — tells me that the priority on sound method and warranted conclusions is close to the target. KF

  34. Let’s look at a couple of examples of Human Extension relatable to the IDM and IDM-ID. This message is not about biological theory or biological information. Instead, it is connected directly with (our) human life and thus draws on ideas from a variety of social scientific realms. Yet, to show how it is related to the IDM-ID and questions more popular within that paradigm, what follows is an attempt at highlighting common themes.

    Most people (in the Abrahamic religions) believe there lived pre-Adamites in their view of natural (homo sapiens sapiens; human) history. What do the Adamites then ‘extend’ from; a purely naturalistic process or one that involves intelligence or ‘divinity’? Human Extension asks a question that IDM-ID does not ask and that ‘evolutionary theory’ has avoided; it is a question that attracts people to the science, philosophy, religion conversation. Are human beings ‘natural-only,’ ‘material-only,’ ‘physical-only,’ based on our origins, or are there other features of our process of daily existence that are meaningful to people today? Citing ‘mind’ and ‘intelligence’ is commonplace in human-social thought, while it is a novelty (mainly unwelcome) in natural-physical sciences.

    Likewise, did Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution drawn upon purely scientific (botanical, biological, zoological and geological) evidences or did it also ‘extend’ from ideas that he had committed himself to about human meaning, purpose, values, ethics and dreams? Iow, could we say that Darwin’s theory of evolution was influenced by ideology, e.g. agnosticism (coined by Darwin’s friend, T.H. Huxley), as it was also by a desire to produce ‘good science’ for the betterment of humanity or to see truth? If so, how much did Darwin’s presuppositions about chance and design play a role in the theory that he created/designed/constructed/extended? IDM-ID, in so far as it is interested in ‘science-only,’ does not study these questions.

    Therefore, if you don’t think these questions are important, then I must admit you’re engaged in a very different conversation than the one that I’m focussed on. I’m interested in meaning, purpose, planning and teleology. Let us then try to find common ground rather than ignoring topics of shared interest, which nevertheless, Human Extension provides a different approach to than IDM-ID. Tell me what you think I share in common with you and hear me, please and acknowledge it when I say things you also share in agreement.

    IDM-ID presupposes intelligence, a mind, a designer behind (transcendent to) the universe. But it hasn’t (yet) found a way to convince its targeted natural scientific community how this presupposition can be agreed upon by non-theistic scientists or by scientists who are theists yet who reject the claim that IDM-ID offers ‘scientific proofs’ of ‘design in nature.’ It is theistic scientists, mainly of the Abrahamic faiths and especially evangelical Protestants, who are curiously sympathetic about IDM-ID, but not mainly non-theists or agnostics. Thus, IDM-ID has run into competition from ‘theistic evolutionists’ and ‘evolutionary creationists’ who are not prepared to accept the language of IDM-ID, which says it can naturalistically-scientifically prove or detect ‘design in nature’ without any necessary and explicit consideration of theology.

    We have heard recently, however, that Stephen C. Meyer, Director of the Centre for Science and Culture at DI, now embraces ID’s inevitable link with theology, at least, he has said reportedly so much to Steve Fuller in a public forum. This may be the beginning of the end for promoting IDM-ID as ‘science-only,’ i.e. as we have known its priorities thus far. This is an obvious point of challenge that Human Extension makes towards IDM-ID because the former admits of ‘design’ and ‘planning’ in non-natural sciences, as well as focussing on ‘intelligent agents’ in a clear and direct way that IDM-ID does not. Human Extension centralises ‘choice’ in contrast to the choice-less paradigm of (pre-2012) IDM-ID.

    What I mean by IDM-ID is an approach to ‘design’ and ‘intelligence’ that has aspirations to being ‘science-only,’ and to ‘detect design’ in ‘nature-only.’ This means that technology, human institutions and all non-natural systems are not part of the ‘in nature’ IDM-ID approach. If anyone participating at UD would reject this definition, I would ask them to please offer a concise alternative definition of IDM-ID that contrasts with it. I’ve read the FAQs here and many statements by IDM-ID leaders and offer the above definition as a summary of how I view the meaning of IDM-ID up to today.

    In my notes from the 2008 DI Summer Program on ID, Stephen C. Meyer defines ‘intelligent design’ (uncapitalised) as: “The choice of an intelligent agent to actualise a possibility.” This comes much closer to comfortable territory for me as a human-social scientist/scholar. Nevertheless, it is absurd to imagine social-humanitarian thought ‘leaving out’ the IDENTITY of the so-called ‘intelligent agent,’ i.e. the ‘designer(s)/builder(s)/maker(s)/constructor(s)’ in its methodology. This is why IDM-ID as it is currently formulated, mainly by natural and applied scientists, is merely a shadow of what it could become if human-social thought were to be included, not merely as a handmaiden, but as a legitimate contributing realm of its own.

    Human perception ‘extends’ beyond its natural limitations, for example, by media systems. To say that those systems are ‘intelligently designed’ (as IDM-ID would, if it could) is not the main point; that is already obvious. The main point that Human Extension raises is that media systems don’t ‘evolve’ and that we (meaning people, individuals and communities) are actively involved in planning their direction, their purpose and giving them power, which extends from our nervous system, our thoughts, dreams and ideas, our human spirit. This approach offers a major overhaul to and improvement upon the ‘technological evolution’ position, that even William Dembski accepts (cf. TRIZ).

    Human Extension is much more interested in the so-called ‘ghost in the machine’ than is IDM-ID, which makes it more relevant to some of the challenges and even frightening possibilities we are facing today, as humanity moves forward in the electronic-information age, already in the era of nuclear energy. Is IDM-ID wrong or is it simply asking questions that are not necessary wrong, but rather naturalistically misguided and/or irrelevant to much more important issues facing humankind? I consider IDM-ID only a patchwork solution to a problem that it has not and likely cannot solve as long as it continues with its current weak position in philosophy of (natural) science (PoS). More is written about this Here.

    If you folks actually want this conversation to be about Dawkins, Ruse, Dennett, S. Harris, E. Scott, G. Coyne, P.Z. Myers, L. Moran, et al., if you want THEM to drive this dialogue, then you’ll keep going in the same direction you’re going in with IDM-ID already. If, otoh, you wish to move forward and to go beyond them and their tricky-Dicky-dancing, you will need to be open to and ready for new possibilities, such as what I am proposing.

    A new possibility has been put on the table in front of you with the notion of Human Extension. Who is interested to examine it and to ask questions, to challenge it or at least to reason about it? These opportunities don’t come about often, at least, not if they are backed up by published papers, by experience at academic conferences on this topic, by a TEDx talk and by the support of one of the only sociologists of ID and the IDM, someone who “understands the key issues.” Why would you let this slip by? There is little to fear required in going outside of one’s comfort zone to express curiosity and pose questions, to probe and explore, unless one is already convinced they hold a truth that cannot be contradicted, that takes the name of ‘science.’ But really, that kind of ‘science’ would actually be the (capital S) ‘Science’ of the western Euro Enlightenment, wouldn’t it, reframed in America?

  35. –Gregory: “In my notes from the 2008 DI Summer Program on ID, Stephen C. Meyer defines ‘intelligent design’ (uncapitalised) as: “The choice of an intelligent agent to actualise a possibility.” This comes much closer to comfortable territory for me as a human-social scientist/scholar.”

    Is this another example of your proclivity to hear only what you want to hear? In this case, Meyer was talking about the process by which the cause (intelligence) produces the effect (the actualized possibility). ID science is the process by which researcher observes the effect (the actualized possibility), and infers the cause (intelligence).

    The event: Moving forward from cause to effect.

    The detection of the event: Moving backward from effect to cause.

    The difference is kind of important

    –“A new possibility has been put on the table in front of you with the notion of Human Extension. Who is interested to examine it and to ask questions, to challenge it or at least to reason about it?”

    I have a question. How, specifically, is the process of human extension applied to the problem of origins? What I am after here is not yet another assertion that it ought to applied but rather a detailed description of how it is possible and what it would look like. Include the words faith and empirical observation and indicate how they can be integrated into a single coherent paradigm. Describe it from beginning to end. If you cannot do this, then you really don’t have an idea but are simply entertaining amalgamation of unrelated concepts looking for some kind of unity.

  36. “GS would get more of an audience if he did not come across as dismissive of ID as it is.” – KF

    Yes, that’s recognised and understood. You should likewise understand, KF that I cannot be fully supportive of IDM-ID because of the disagreements already expressed. If IDM-ID could completely cleanse itself of its politics and desire for ‘cultural renewal,’ then it would no longer be IDM-ID, would it? There is no ideal ‘theory of intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ that exists in a vacuum, safe from any contamination by personality, or in this case community, influence. We should learn to live with that, shouldn’t we?

    I’m not outright dismissing IDM-ID (like most monotheists, I accept small-id, but not Big-ID) and reserve the right to believe it is misguided and pseudo-naturalistic. Is that right acceptable to you and would you like to engage with an alternative way to look at ID, which may open up doors IDM-ID cannot? Stonewalling me and not addressing Human Extension just serves as a safe escape route for the time being, while the real and significant challenges to IDM-ID remain, even if they are understood generally but not specifically by IDM-ID proponents.

    “developing and demonstrating sound scientific conclusions,” as you say, KF, is indeed crucial and ever-present for the work I’m involved in. What would make you think otherwise? It is a focus and dedication to ‘sound scientific conclusions’ that drives me. However, unfortunately, this type of ‘science’ related to human beings and our future doesn’t currently fall within the paradigmatic scope of IDM-ID, and thus you are likely promoted and even pressured (by natural-scientistic IDMers) to dismiss it.

    Regarding my sociological approach to IDM-ID, it is enough to say that we all ‘tend to analyze’ things through our own lenses, StephenB. I don’t see why you should be any different or why you don’t allow me the humanity of doing this, since you likewise do it yourself. ‘Double-standard’ would seem an appropriate term for your position on this topic; double-standard in the defence of IDM-ID. My interests in sociology, economics, philosophy and theology are the lens through which I look at ID, with side-interests in anthropology, psychology and ‘origins of life’ – the latter being one of the most speculative fields in all of science. Movements often involve all of these things, StephenB, which is demonstrated by the wide range of topics posted here at UD.

    Was the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailing out banks in the United States ‘intelligently designed?’ Was the ‘reset’ button extended from Hillary Clinton (the USA) to Sergei Lavrov (Russian Federation) ‘intelligently designed’ (in this case, the actual translation from English into Russian was ‘overheat’ instead of ‘restart,’ so much for a competent translator!)? Once one recognizes the IDM-ID dependency on ‘intelligence’ analogy with human-made things, as even Timaeus admitted above, all of these topics become live for the study of ‘designs’ that involve ‘intelligence.’ Wouldn’t you rather have someone interested in science, philosophy and religion discourse unveiling and amplifying this instead of someone interested in a ‘warfare model,’ a NOMA perspective or a scientistic approach to knowledge and relationships?

    “As virtually everyone here admits, the relevant sense of ‘intelligence’ is based initially on human intelligence. But why should our intelligence be taken as a guide to intelligence in things we had nothing to do with creating? Well, this is where the imago dei doctrine comes in.” – Steve Fuller

    “I can’t explain this to Gregory because he doesn’t even know what I mean by the word ‘process’—even after I explain it.” – StephenB

    O.k. then, try to explain to me, please: where are ‘designing processes’ involved in current IDM-ID theory; how do they come into play? Where are they described? Name them; references to texts and figures are welcome. From what I can see, ‘design process’ is a forbidden phrase in IDM-ID. Why? Because that would mean involving the ‘designer/Designer,’ which is disallowed.

    I study processes of ‘design’ (& other related terms) on a daily basis, StephenB, as do most human-social scientists. This is part of our legitimate scholarly domain; people are purposeful, goal-oriented, make plans, etc. If you’re only concerned with (natural or supernatural) origins of biological information, then you’re likely to be fumbling un-scholarly on the meaning of ‘process’ as most people understand it. Bring in mathematician-philosopher A.N. Whitehead’s “Process and Reality,” if you like; bring in whichever scholar you choose who actually studies ‘designing processes.’ Otherwise, I’m left to believe you’ve got nothing to back up your remarks with and are rather dismissive of a new perspective that you don’t want to bother to try to understand.

    You speak again and again and again about ‘ID Science.’ But I’ve told you, StephenB, I do not accept that name as a reality and that your goal of proving or displaying the ‘scientificity’ of ID has not succeeded (neither with me nor with several others at UD, nor with a vast majority of natural scientists). Knocking a plastic hammer against a diamond here by repeating the term ‘ID Science’ as if it is real is thus without consequence. You have not, and neither has the IDM’s case for ID, yet succeeded in proving this. Do you not understand that this is your burden to prove, according to IDM-ID rules, rather than to assume everyone will accept it? Repetition does not equate with persuasion re: IDM-ID’s supposed scientificity.

    The main issue I’ve introduced in this thread is not about reframing ‘intelligent design’ according to social epistemology. Rather, it is to recognize that social epistemology (SE) is already-inevitably involved in IDM-ID; this is an important contribution already. It makes no sense to resist this interpretation since ‘truth cannot contradict truth.’ You would be better fit, StephenB, to welcome SE looking at ID for truths about human nature that it reveals and provides. If an anti-theistic SE comes along trying to squash ID, you’ll see a big difference in the approach; in fact you see it already when people lump IDM-IDers together as idiots and charlatans (which, of course, they generally are not). Can you see the difference here?

    Human Extension, as it is framed above and elsewhere, offers a much better option because it insists upon science, philosophy, religion dialogue. It highlights meaning, purpose, ethics, values and choices, that is, it includes human-social sciences as partners alongside of and in addition to natural-physical sciences and demands space at the dialogue table where IDM-ID also seeks audience. Why would IDM-ID advocates be opposed to recognizing that ID belongs in a triadic discourse, rather than in a singular ‘science-only one?

    If you’re not against it, then declare yourself openly for this triadic position. Such is the time for Timaeus to shuffle his feet and perhaps to come up with something reconciliatory.

    Human beings choose to ‘design’ things; they/we actively participate in ‘designing’ and are influenced and affected by the results of our ‘designing.’ The theory coined by IDM-ID (Thaxton, Johnson, Meyer, Dembski, Nelson, Wells, etc.) instead focuses on ‘origins of life’ and ‘origins of biological information;’ it is attempting to manipulate the meaning of ‘natural science’ by conflating ‘teleological’ fields with fields that are outside the reach of human reflexivity. The mainstay of ‘design theory’ (not ‘intelligent design theory’) is (read: should be) thus in human-made things, which is what Human Extension demonstrates, enhances and explores. Stating that the origin of life and the world is ‘intelligently designed’ as a ‘design argument’ belongs more in theology and apologetics than it does in natural sciences. But why should that be a topic impossible to acknowledge?

    “The ID scientist uses the same method to detect design in nature that the anthropologist uses to detect design in an ancient hunter’s spear.” – StephenB

    Then why are there *no anthropologists* hired and listed as Fellows by the DI? Stop and answer, please, and don’t avoid it! One would think that if IDM-ID wished to copy or to imitate ‘anthropological methods,’ as StephenB suggests, then the DI would at least want to involve actual anthropologists in their program in order to educate themselves about ‘anthropological methods.’ But they haven’t and they continue to inadequately take into consideration ‘human design’ as a legitimate field of study on a theoretical level. They instead depend on analogy with human-made things, such as Hume addressed in the 18th century and underplay the significance of the dependency.

    Sure, engineers ‘design’ things and can be consulted as ‘designers.’ I am surely not denying this. But engineers predominantly are not properly trained to ‘theorise’ about design and do not usually study the ‘designing process’ scientifically *as a process*. This is where KF is right to tip hat to TRIZ (and other such examples of history, philosophy and sociology of science); an actual example of scholars studying (or who studied) ‘design’ scientifically via indexing engineering solutions to technical problems. Non-engineers are better suited for the topic of ‘design theorising’ based on/related to human artifacts than engineers; while likewise, I wouldn’t want a theoretician to build an engineering project – each to their vocational task. Yet the IDM-ID doesn’t appear to recognise or value this distinction; it acts ‘scientistic’ instead, while at the same time claiming to oppose scientism of a similar variety. It is in a wedge-inspired mess, which the admission by Stephen C. Meyer to Steve Fuller at Cambridge can finally help to correct.

    What’s needed most, then, is a humanistic correction to IDM-ID’s focus on ‘design in nature’ as a kind of naturalistic-ID. There is talk of ‘transcendence,’ sure, but that’s just hearsay, nothing to do with the so-called ‘science of ID.’ That’s where Human Extension enters the arena and provides a legitimate alternative that differs from and is not part of IDM-ID. It can appeal to ‘extended phenotype’ Dawkinsists, just as much as YEC, micro-macro Paul Nelsonists. Those who would choose to oppose Human Extension as an example of small-id in the human-social sciences may provide the best demonstration yet of anti-humanists among the camp of theists.

    The main point here is not to ask ID to “incorporate theological principles as part of its methodology,” but rather to acknowledge that ID is a science, philosophy, religion/theology (SPR) discourse, first and foremost, inescapably, without shame or remorse. SPR is a sovereign and growing field of study worth pursuing with interdisciplinary vigour. A move in this direction will help ID to ‘take humanity seriously’ because right now, we (people, us) are not on its research agenda. And I find that to be a shame worth forgetting, don’t you, StephenB?

    ID is not ‘pure science.’ It is not ‘mathematically proven’ or ‘statistically fool-proof’ (though Dembski has suggested this is coming). It is not an ontological truth that trumps any and all epistemology from being necessarily involved, because human beings are reflexive, interpretive creatures. If you want to admit that we think, feel, emote, act, interpret, love, dream, criticise, etc. because we are nature-plus, that’s fine too. This will help to over-come the naturalistic tendency in IDM-ID, which is displayed in its “mainly in biology” priority.

    One of the goals of Human Extension is to elevate us above simple naturalistic language into a higher level of discussion. I had thought this was something that IDM-IDers were trying to do also, and would openly embrace as a non-IDM-ID approach. But instead, it seems that ‘protecting the paradigm’ has become the highest aim and output for some people at UD. Thus, the failure to deal forthrightly with Human Extension may be a preferred strategy.

    I’ve asked for criticism of Human Extension at UD. kairosfocus did it very briefly in post #1. I answered him in post #21, showing him a new way to see things, and he didn’t respond again with clear and concise feedback. No one else has addressed Human Extension and the basic 2 Axioms shown in this thread.

    p.s. just now noticing that StephenB has asked a pertinent question about Human Extension…so that will be the topic of another post.

  37. Gregory:

    You are speaking with a forked tongue yet again.

    Earlier, on another thread, I asked you to explain your previous denials that notions of “design” were appropriate to biology. You then “rescued” yourself with a qualification, indicating that what you really meant was:

    A. “‘design thinking’ does not belong (read: is not appropriate) in biology…for those who do not believe in ‘design’ already beyond biology.”

    In other words, you qualified your earlier, unqualified rejection of the ID project (of looking for design in living nature) in such a way as to indicate that you could, under certain conditions, support such a project.

    Now, in speaking to StephenB above, what have you written? Let’s look:

    B. “The theory coined by IDM-ID (Thaxton, Johnson, Meyer, Dembski, Nelson, Wells, etc.) instead focuses on ‘origins of life’ and ‘origins of biological information;’ it is attempting to manipulate the meaning of ‘natural science’ by conflating ‘teleological’ fields with fields that are outside the reach of human reflexivity.”

    Notice that the qualification — concerning whether or not someone believes in design beyond biology — has been dropped. The new statement lacks this or any other qualification. Presumably such a direct, unqualified statement represents your own precise view of the matter. So what ID is doing is “conflating” (with the connotation “illegitimately” plainly intended) “fields that are outside the reach of human reflexivity” (in context here: biological origins). So now you are back to saying — since you have dropped the qualification — that teleological thinking, i.e., design thinking, does *not* apply to questions of biological origins. Such an application, you are saying, would be a “conflation” of different fields, and a “manipulation” (the word being used here, in context, with negative connotations) of the (sc. proper) meaning of “natural science.” You are back to disagreeing with Fuller.

    Either you are writing very sloppily, Gregory (which is not surprising, since your posts are far too long and too vast in scope for literary control), or your actual thought is confused. Which is it?

    Now, while we are here, I’d like to go back to your original qualification, given in A. above. I was far too easy on it before. I didn’t read it carefully enough. Let’s examine it again.

    Since *all* ID people believe that there is design beyond biology — in fact, every rational human being acknowledges that there is design beyond biology — your qualification gives away the farm. If we take your qualified statement as your true position, then you must believe, out of logical necessity, that ID people legitimately talk about design in biology. But this concession would make nonsense of your constant, biting attacks on the alleged foolishness or groundlessness of the ID project.

    Yes, it is legitimate to look for design rather than chance as the origin of living systems; or no, it isn’t legitimate — which is your actual position, Gregory? Can you give us a single, terse, well-organized, logically coherent, five-sentence paragraph, which clears all the muddy waters your previous posts have left behind, and leaves us in no doubt about your position? And can you put a cherry on top at the end by giving us a concrete example, e.g., Behe is/is not reasonable in his attempt to infer design from the data provided by nature, and therefore his rebuttal of the likes of Dawkins is/is not a legitimate activity for a biochemist interested in the question of origins?

    I don’t want a 10,000-word diatribe on reflexivity, social science, philosophy of science, etc. I want a clear paragraph with a succinct statement of what you think on the question I’ve asked. If you give me that, without the jargon, and without all the edge and jabs that frequently litter your posts — I’ll respond. If you can’t or won’t do this, I’ll leave you to the others.

  38. P.S. to note 37:

    Since the expression “forked tongue” often implies dishonest motives, and therefore may offend you, Gregory, I’ll withdraw it. I got carried away by a catchy expression, and didn’t consider the possible reception of the expression.

    Let me say instead:

    “You appear to be contradicting yourself again.”

  39. –Gregory: “p.s. just now noticing that StephenB has asked a pertinent question about Human Extension…so that will be the topic of another post.”

    Gregory, my question to you is very simple: It is about your process of human extension and how it works.

    The following is a template that you can follow if you have difficulty conceiving the meaning of a process or its rationale: The purpose of the ID process is clear: Address the question about life’s origins and discern the answer to the question, design or no-design. The logic and the steps involved in the process are well known:

    **It begins with the observation of data—next, it proceeds with the application of a paradigm–next, it applies a differential diagnosis by considering naturalistic explanations–then, if follows where the evidence leads, and finally, it concludes with an inference to design as the best explanation.**

    Please do likewise. This will not require 2000 words. Notice that I described the ID process in 45 words.

    I am well aware of your disdain for ID’s process (though you made it clear @35 that you do not yet understand it) but I want to know if you can provide a reasoned alternative. Please provide the STEPS INVOLVED in the “human extension” process that you are recommending for ID –the process that you think ID should use to arrive at the right conclusions about origins (and, if you like, the proper role of humans)—from start to finish.

  40. Given the respect for Timaeus’ IDM-ID defence by several visitors here at UD, it would be interesting to hear if people think Timaeus should try to publish an academic paper about ID in (a) legitimate journals, or instead remain an anonymous blog-contributor. Could he succeed in publishing a ‘positive paper’ at an academic level about IDM-ID (or Timaeus-ID) if he tried, rather than just offering negative defences of IDM-ID in safe places? That would do something to show he is or could be a meaningful player in this conversation.

    Timaeus believes I have “contempt for the very heart of what they [IDM-IDers] are doing.” This could be seen as a significant charge, but I take it as just empty rhetoric as usual from Timaeus because finally he is confronted with a view that challenges IDM-ID (and thus also Timaeus-ID). I hold no contempt for IDM-ID, but rather serve to offer friendly and timely correction to it, which seems to have been verified by the historical record.

    From the OP: “I met many good and decent people at the DI’s summer program and carry no personal grudges with the IDers and friends I met there.” That doesn’t sound like someone who has ‘contempt’ the way Timaeus hypothesizes it. He is a master (textual scholar) of putting words in peoples’ mouths and regularly demonstrates the pretence to speak on behalf of ‘ID people,’ as demonstrated above in this thread.

    The purpose of this thread is to introduce an alternative way to look at ID. Timaeus is doing his best to de-rail that purpose, to distract from it, to discuss anything but Human Extension. But the main point remains: Human Extension offers an alternative way to look at ID, that is reflexive, goal-oriented, purpose-ful, that involves ethics, values, choices, decisions, dreams and plans of ‘intelligent agents’ (i.e. the latter which IDM-ID claims to address, but fails to do so specifically). It goes much further than IDM-ID in the actual study of ‘intelligent agents,’ and does not require hiding the influence on people of philosophy and theology in ‘doing science.’ It supports a collaborative discourse of science, philosophy and theology, instead of a ‘science-only’ discourse as promoted by IDM-ID, which Timaeus pretends to support, but not in his heart of hearts regarding ‘the science’.

    Personally, I just don’t think IDM-ID is enough of a good thing to be worth martyrdom (as Timaeus has publically claimed he would be faced with if real, not just virtual, people knew that he supported IDM-ID). I don’t think IDM-ID has gained enough credibility with distinguished, faithful scholars (even those who considered it with an open mind, unbiased as possible) and doubt it ever will, because of its ‘science-only’ and ‘in nature’ insistence. And I still don’t think it has distanced itself enough from its funding channels in ‘evangelical American culture’ as it had planned (Dembski 2003, 2004), nor made a necessary effort to distance itself from what Timaeus called ‘bad science,’ i.e. from young earth creationism (aka creation science). My work is thus presented as a new way forward, a non-naturalistic approach that does not privilege natural science, which IDM-sympathetic readers can consider for themselves, given its focus on topics relevant to everyone in the human family.

    Regarding jargon and ‘Timaeus,’ I’ve come to appreciate the words of Umberto Eco, who said: “the cultivated person’s first duty is to be always prepared to rewrite the encyclopaedia.” ‘Timaeus’ would seemingly rather regurgitate the words of others, than cultivate his own forward-looking understanding of humanity in relation to science, philosophy and religion, and that is of course his prerogative. I am not trying to nor am I in any position to take that ‘historian of ideas’ backwardness away from him.

    Instead, my interest is and has been for over a decade to promote a neology (new word) that can overcome some of the barriers that have been erected in the controversy over evolution, creation and intelligent design. My first publication on this topic was in 2005. It is a conceptualisation that many IDM-ID supporters could easily learn to embrace and doesn’t threaten the work in biology or information studies conducted by Douglas Axe, the Biologic Institute, and whatever other natural scientists are doing research in the name of IDM-ID. In this sense, it is ‘safe’ for the IDM to consider an option that they already foretold via the Wedge Document (1998), which claimed ‘intelligent design’ would become relevant and widespread in human-social sciences. News Flash: it hasn’t and it won’t, as a result of the ‘in nature’ and ‘natural-science’ priority of the currently limited IDM-ID conceptualisation.

    Human Extension offers a forward-looking (trans-humanist) alternative between naturalistic, materialistic and humanistic sciences and the claims of IDM-ID leaders that ID is (and can possibly be) about ‘nature-only’ and ‘science-only.’ Human Extension challenges those who say ID is simply not capable of witnessing processes of ‘intelligent agency’ all around us on a daily basis, of ‘designing’ that is real and visible and ‘empirical.’ This is the ‘intelligent design’ that most people ‘intuitively’ (cf. Jon Garvey’s link above) recognise; it is something greater than mere ‘naturalism’ and is more personally meaningful than what IDM-ID has yet confronted.

    “As virtually everyone here admits, the relevant sense of ‘intelligence’ [in IDM-ID] is based initially on human intelligence.” – Steve Fuller

    Why not then go further in studying this “relevant sense of intelligence” at a level of meaning that can resonate with more people than just those who might like to spend their days doing ‘textual scholarship’ and trading in ‘history of ideas,’ or in ‘origins of life’ research or in a biology laboratory or measuring plants or studying the feces of animals? What makes Timaeus so arrogantly deluded to think that his copycat approach to IDM-ID is so incredibly important that most people should pay homage to it, to change their outlook on life and meaning and values, to consider it a ‘scientific revolution,’ as the IDM typically does? I submit it is hubris; the hubris of a man who refuses to produce respectable science or to break new ground or to think independent thoughts for himself.

    “ID is no mere scientific frivolity, no mere attempt to, say, determine how many legs a millipede has, just for the sake of satisfying some butterfly-collecting form of curiosity. It goes to the heart of the question whether there is rational order in the universe, and in particular, the question whether man is a cosmic accident, or the intended result of a mind and hence possessed of a meaningful destiny.” – Timaeus

    IDM-ID is openly displayed as a ‘science-only’ perspective. It is interested predominantly, if not exclusively in ‘design in nature.’ Yet the way you frame it, Timaeus, ID is actually more about philosophy and worldview than it is about ‘science;’ it looks at questions of meaning and purpose. Natural science, however, doesn’t do that, which shows plainly that Timaeus-ID differs from IDM-ID.

    Regarding “the connection between the biological questions and the human, existential questions,” is Timaeus too viciously in self-denial and out to get me at all costs not to understand that this is exactly what I’ve been speaking about all along? Hello, wake up, textual scholar! I’ve been saying that ‘intelligent design,’ properly understood, is a combination of scientific, philosophical and theological domains. Biology can only assist us to better confront the existential questions of human life that face us all, whether on a daily basis or in those still, quiet moments when we question our meaning, purpose and humanity, when we ask ‘Why?’. The topic of ID is historically and inevitably ‘about US,’ since it is people who ‘do science,’ who ‘do philosophy’ and who ‘do theology’ and who (in the global majority) live religious lives. Timaeus’ ID position is far too atomistic, divisive and un-reflexive to satisfy my existential needs as a living person, not just as a rationalistic blog persona with a tongue-ache.

    “So should scientists and philosophers and theologians stop studying questions of origins, and devote their attention to social analyses of popular television shows?” – Timaeus

    No, of course not. They should study both questions of origins *and* questions of processes. They should recognise the main topics, limitations and proper fields of their studies; e.g. ‘embodied intelligence’ properly involves human beings, reflexively, and biologists are doing either science-fiction or zoology to suggest otherwise.

    The belief that we can “Think God’s thoughts after Him” can inform biology, why not? Should natural scientists stop studying questions of processes because they are entirely fixated on origins? No. Yet why does IDM-ID not explore ‘designing processes’ since that would involve a ‘designer/Designer,’ Timaeus?

    It is not that “biological questions are unimportant questions and that ID people [again that possessive term, since Timaeus doesn’t seem to learn – I would get tired having him pretend to speak for me, under a ‘big tent’ at UD] should stop talking about them.” What is more important is to invest the conversation with meaning, purpose, goals, ethics, plans, dreams, values, etc. which are *not* to be found in biology, but rather in the human-social sciences, along with philosophy and religion or theology. In other words, instead of being narrowly specialistic and atomistic, indeed, as pseudo-naturalistic as IDM-ID is currently framed, concentrated on ‘design in nature,’ Fuller’s view and my own are more generalistic and holistic, involving both empirical data as well as comparative historical and theoretical approaches. We care about people and intelligence and relationships and choices and the institutions, communities and structures that result from them, not some implicationist proto-scientific view that was initiated as much for US-oriented evangelical apologetics as for natural science.

    StephenB asked a fair, precise and challenging question: “How, specifically, is the process of human extension applied to the problem of origins?”

    Human Extension is specifically applied to the problem of the origin of human-made things, which result from choices and actions. Human-made things do not simply ‘evolve’ according to some random process or arise or emerge as a result of environmental pressures. Instead, they extend from the power of human choices. Human Extension thus circumscribes the ideology of ‘universal evolutionism’ without touching on the topic of ‘origins of life’ or ‘origins of biological information.’ It charts a new course forward, outside of the mission of IDM-ID and beyond it.

  41. Gregory @40, perhaps you missed my clarification @39. I am asking for the STEPS INVOLVED in the “human extension” process that you are recommending for ID

    Note that further claims to the effect that it should be used do not speak to the question of HOW it can be used. I have already provided, in 45 words, the steps involved in the ID process. I could have just as easily have explained Creation Science, Theistic Evolution, and Darwinistic processes, all of which differ from ID in the sense that each begins with a faith commitment that ends with a foregone conclusion.

    What I am asking you to provid, though, is the specific process, i.e, the steps, (from start to finish) that you think ID should use to arrive at the right conclusions about origins (and, if you like, the proper role of humans).

  42. Correction: What I am asking you to provid(e), though, is the specific process, i.e, the steps (from start to finish) that you think ID should use to arrive at the right conclusions about origins (and, if you like, the proper role of humans).

  43. Re: Gregory at 40:

    *My answers are after the asterisks.

    “Timaeus believes I have “contempt for the very heart of what they [IDM-IDers] are doing.”

    “From the OP: “I met many good and decent people at the DI’s summer program and carry no personal grudges with the IDers and friends I met there.” That doesn’t sound like someone who has ‘contempt’ the way Timaeus hypothesizes it.”

    *I said that you had contempt for the ID project, not grudges against the people involved.

    “The purpose of this thread is to introduce an alternative way to look at ID.”

    *I have no objection to alternative ways of looking at anything. I have a big objection to “alternatives” that actually replace ID with something that isn’t ID at all, but some grand theory of “Design, Reflexivity, Purpose, Values, Social/Human Sciences, and Everything.” Something that vast and bloated in its ambition will accomplish precisely nothing. Theories or ideas with limited aims — like showing the inadequacy of neo-Darwinism, or showing the presence of mathematical information in certain biological structures — can actually add something to human knowledge.

    “It goes much further than IDM-ID in the actual study of ‘intelligent agents,’”

    *So do most social science and humanities investigations. And ID goes further than sociology in investigating biological origins. So what? Did ID ever claim to provide a “general theory of intelligent agency” that could explain the uses of intelligence in all human actions whatsoever? Why does it need to do so?

    “and does not require hiding the influence on people of philosophy and theology in ‘doing science.’”

    *Nor does ID require “hiding” any such influence, where it exists. I’ve never met a leading ID proponent who hides his personal religious faith; the religious prejudices are out in the open for all to examine. If anyone thinks that he or she can detect any place in ID theorizing where religious or philosophical prejudices affect the scientific conclusions reached by ID proponents, he or she is welcome to point out those places. Gregory has been challenged to point out such places before, and has declined the challenge.

    “It supports a collaborative discourse of science, philosophy and theology, instead of a ‘science-only’ discourse as promoted by IDM-ID,”

    *ID does not promote a “science-only” discourse, if by that it is meant that only chemistry, biology, etc. are talked about. ID proponents have written books on the metaphysical assumptions of Darwin, books about the religion-science views of A. R. Wallace, books about the political applications of Darwinian theory in Nazi Germany and in the eugenics movement in the USA, books about theodicy, books about the legal aspects of the Dover Trial, books about the rhetoric of the anti-ID movement, books linking literature and the arts to design in nature, etc. An astronomer has collaborated with a philosopher/theologian on design in the cosmos; a collection has brought together Jewish, Catholic and Protestant ID people to relate God to evolution; a collection on “dissent from Darwin” has brought together people as diverse as Christian journal editors, avant-garde theatre producers, professors of Catholic moral theology, former aeronautical engineers turned biophysicists, educational theorists, etc. The idea that the ID community consists wholly of lab junkies in white coats, or that the scientists in the movement never converse with colleagues from other fields of human endeavor, is just empirically unsustainable. Gregory has apparently only read a fraction of the ID literature and has apparently had only a glancing acquaintance (what was it, Gregory, 9 days long, that summer course?) with a small fraction of the ID people.

    “which Timaeus pretends to support, but not in his heart of hearts regarding ‘the science’.”

    *Nonsense. All that I have ever argued is that it doesn’t matter to me whether ID conclusions are called “scientific” conclusions or “reasonable philosophical conclusions based on demonstrable science.” Either way, ID can’t be done without reliable science, and either way, ID doesn’t require initial theological assumptions, which is what you appear to be claiming.

    “My work is thus presented as a new way forward, a non-naturalistic approach that does not privilege natural science”

    *There’s that silly misuse of “privilege” again, to imply some sort of unwarranted favoritism. There is no “privileging” of natural science when a doctor sends a sample to the lab for analysis, rather than consulting the Bible about the patient’s disease. It is simply a common-sense use of natural science when natural science is the right thing to use. And it is not “privileging” natural science to use physics and biochemistry and mathematics, rather than the advice of a sociologist, to determine whether or not random mutations could turn a deer into a whale, etc. To speak of “privileging” in such cases is simply to misuse the English language. But then, that’s what sociologists specialize in — misusing the English language, or massacring it with ugly jargon (like “culturology” — one I heard just the other day).

    “Regarding jargon and ‘Timaeus,’ I’ve come to appreciate the words of Umberto Eco, who said: “the cultivated person’s first duty is to be always prepared to rewrite the encyclopaedia.””

    *Gregory’s argument here amounts to: “A very talented individual, Eco, says that he can use words any way he bloody well wants to, and the world should just have to adjust to his idiosyncratic usage. So I, who am not nearly as talented, have the right to do the same thing, even though *his* breaking of conventional meanings is constructive and educative, and *my* departure from standard meanings is so clumsy that it causes no end of confusion to all my readers and makes communication almost impossible.” That’s just a silly argument. And in fact, I don’t even grant the imperious right of redefinition to someone as bright as Eco. We are social animals, and it’s socially irresponsible (and selfish) to expect others to struggle to grasp your meaning when you could put it across much more easily in conventional language. 99% of the time, those who use words strangely are either simply unclear about the meanings of words (i.e., haven’t done their homework, have picked up wrong meanings “by ear”, etc.), or are trying to impress others with obscurity pretending to be profundity. I may have many faults — I’m sure I do — but one thing I’ve never been accused of is being an unclear writer. And the reason I’m not unclear is that I don’t depart from conventional meanings, or even employ technical jargon, without an extremely good reason. If someone is departing from conventional meanings all the times, there is something wrong. And with very few exceptions, people who are not clear writers are not clear thinkers.

    “Instead, my interest is and has been for over a decade to promote a neology (new word) that can overcome some of the barriers that have been erected in the controversy over evolution, creation and intelligent design.”

    *No such new word is necessary. The traditional language of teleology and chance, worked out ages ago by brighter minds than any of those debating today, is sufficient to make the public see the issues. One simply has to take a side: “I think chance could do it” or “I don’t think chance could do it.” Gregory has shown repeatedly that he is unwilling to take a side. He has no opinion, or withholds his opinion. And he covers up that lack of intellectual courage with impenetrable jargon and grand calls for a bold new way of understanding. The TEs of BioLogos — or most of them — have that same lack of intellectual courage; they affirm contradictories and cover the contradiction up with blurry misuses of terms like “providence”; they won’t say clearly whether or not chance could do it, either. People like Dawkins and Behe, on the other hand, are luminously clear in their thinking — reflected in the luminous clarity of their writing. Their intellectual courage goes hand in hand with a refusal to be obscure or overly complex in their vocabulary and argumentation. They want the reader to know where they stand, not how advanced their training in abstruse philosophy of science is.

    ““As virtually everyone here admits, the relevant sense of ‘intelligence’ [in IDM-ID] is based initially on human intelligence.” – Steve Fuller

    “Why not then go further in studying this “relevant sense of intelligence” at a level of meaning that can resonate with more people”

    *Why not, indeed? I say to Gregory: go for it! But don’t claim that what you are doing is “real” ID and what the ID people have done up to now is somehow inadequate or substandard ID, that needs to be corrected by your brilliant social science insights. Just do your work on the nature of human intelligence, publish it in whatever academic journals will accept it, and let *the ID people themselves* decide whether, and how much, your work is relevant to what they are doing. Stop imperializing and telling them that they ought to use your work, that they need your work, etc. They know what they need when they see it. Make yourself useful, and offer your work freely to ID people; but don’t try to give orders to those who are far senior to you, both in biological age and in the study of design. It’s impertinent, both socially and academically.

    “What makes Timaeus so arrogantly deluded to think that his copycat approach to IDM-ID is so incredibly important that most people should pay homage to it,”

    *This is just silly. I don’t think people should pay any attention to me at all unless I offer good arguments. I don’t think people should pay homage to me or anyone — not even to Steve Fuller, or Marshall McLuhan, or Berdyaev, or any of Gregory’s heroes. Nor do I think people should pay homage to Gregory and his sociology Ph.D. and his self-published e-book. They should pay homage to good thinking and try to learn to do more of it themselves.

    “to change their outlook on life and meaning and values”

    *Rubbish. I’ve never asked anyone to do that. If I’ve given arguments that cause people to rethink such matters, that’s one thing; but I’ve never asked anyone to change on my authority.

    “IDM-ID is openly displayed as a ‘science-only’ perspective. It is interested predominantly, if not exclusively in ‘design in nature.’ Yet the way you frame it, Timaeus, ID is actually more about philosophy and worldview than it is about ‘science;’ it looks at questions of meaning and purpose. Natural science, however, doesn’t do that, which shows plainly that Timaeus-ID differs from IDM-ID.”

    *Natural science doesn’t directly address meaning and purpose, but it doesn’t follow that its discoveries has no implications for meaning and purpose. The Discovery fellows have said this a thousand times.

    “Regarding “the connection between the biological questions and the human, existential questions,” is Timaeus too viciously in self-denial and out to get me at all costs not to understand that this is exactly what I’ve been speaking about all along?”

    *If that’s what you’ve been speaking about all along, you’re an extremely unclear writer. May I suggest taking the time to edit down the bloated prose, strike out ambiguous expressions and replace them with clearer ones, etc.? And maybe answer my direct questions about biology, instead of evading them?

    *(And I’m not “out to get you” — that’s your paranoia speaking. I simply disagree with what I take to be false statements, whoever utters them. The fact that you post so often means you are more likely to be contradicted by me than someone who posts less often. The other factor, of course, is that I know the ID literature much better than you do, and therefore often catch you saying false things. But the cure for that is not to fantasize that I am out to get you; the cure for that is to do your homework. Instead of writing several posts trumpeting your hyperbolic interpretation of Meyer’s latest remark to Fuller, a remark which you know of only secondhand, sit down, as I did, and read Meyer’s 500-page book and learn what he thinks about the origin of life. You’d be surprised how much less we would disagree if you showed precise knowledge of what ID people have said.)

    “Timaeus’ ID position is far too atomistic, divisive and un-reflexive to satisfy my existential needs as a living person, not just as a rationalistic blog persona with a tongue-ache.”

    *It’s not my job to satisfy “your existential needs as a living person”. It’s the job of your therapist, your priest, your parents, your wife, your kids, your childhood friends, your college buddies and your dog to do that. And anyone who tries to satisfy such needs in an impersonal medium such as this is courting emotional disaster.

    “Yet why does IDM-ID not explore ‘designing processes’ since that would involve a ‘designer/Designer,’ Timaeus?”

    *Because ID is not about the study of “designing processes” — if there is even such a thing. It is about detecting the existence or non-existence of design. I have no idea what you mean by “designing processes,” unless it is what all the great philosophers and writers have simply called “thinking.” Design is a mental activity, not a physical one. It’s an activity of thinking. We design things in thought. We manufacture them by physical means. Physical processes we can talk about. Design processes, I don’t see how. I can’t observe your thinking. But I can infer that you have thought something, by looking at what you have done. That’s the heart of the design inference.

    “It is not that “biological questions are unimportant questions … What is more important is to invest the conversation with meaning, purpose, goals, ethics, plans, dreams, values, etc. which are *not* to be found in biology,”

    *Invest away. I have no objection. All those things are eminently worth talking about. But they still don’t answer the question whether the bacterial flagellum, or the human brain, could have arisen by accident, or required design. Why should I speak to the dozens of things you want me to speak about, when you won’t speak to the one thing that everyone here keeps asking you about?

    “In other words, instead of being narrowly specialistic and atomistic, indeed, as pseudo-naturalistic as IDM-ID is currently framed, concentrated on ‘design in nature,’ Fuller’s view and my own are more generalistic and holistic,”

    *Be as generalistic and holistic as you like. Just don’t condescend to the people who are doing the real natural scientific work that neither you nor Fuller have the training to do.

    “We care about people and intelligence and relationships and choices and the institutions, communities and structures that result from them,”

    *As if I don’t, or as if other ID people don’t. You and Fuller aren’t saints, paragons of justice and compassion and civic responsibility, and ID people aren’t cold scientific robots. I would wager that scores of ID people I know personally have done more acts of charity and civic utility than you have in the past 12 months; I can’t speak for Fuller.

  44. +1 Timaeus!
    As a long time lurker, I gotta say that I’m totally blown away that the admins were gracious enough to grant Gregory a guest post. After an original post and over 40 comments of dialogue I’m still not sure what “human extension” is supposed to mean or why it has any relevance to the important work going on in the ID community. Gregory, if you want people to take you seriously, stop ranting about grandiose rubbish, read Meyer, Dembski, or Behe, and express your opinion in coherent prose. Sheesh:-P

  45. “The purpose of the ID process is clear: Address the question about life’s origins and discern the answer to the question, design or no-design. The logic and the steps involved in the process are well known: **It begins with the observation of data—next, it proceeds with the application of a paradigm–next, it applies a differential diagnosis by considering naturalistic explanations–then, if follows where the evidence leads, and finally, it concludes with an inference to design as the best explanation.**” – StephenB

    The purpose of Human Extension is to address the question of ‘extensions of man(kind)’ and to discern an answer to the question: was it human-made or not and, if so, how was it made, when, where and why? The logic and the steps involved in this approach are as follows: **It begins with human beings acknowledging they/we are ‘reflexive’ creatures – it studies evidences of things known or believed to be human-made things – it traces the origins and processes involved in the making of these things – it explores the possibility that what appears to be a human-made thing was actually produced by a non-human (e.g. machine or animal), or a natural law (e.g. an evolutionary or ecological process) – it then ‘concludes’ with an ‘inference’ to human extension as the ‘best explanation.’**

    Human Extension goes further than that, by also studying the notion of ‘tension,’ as it relates to ‘extension,’ since where and how far we extend ourselves, both individually and as groups or communities, is a ‘dynamic’ (in contrast to ‘static’) process, which nevertheless depends on personal choice or choices: to extend and to act in a particular way ‘over-time.’

    Does this help to clarify the “steps involved in the Human Extension process,” as you requested, StephenB? It is not what I am suggesting “ID is supposed to use” on the topic of origins of life or origins of biological information, because human choice and human intelligence were not involved in those events, those makings/creations/actualizations of (transcendental, divine or alien) design/etc. Nevertheless, I hope you’ll see that I shaped my answer (especially the last sentence, which I wouldn’t normally have chosen to say ‘concludes with an inference’) based on your “ID process” definition so as to improve the possibility of fruitful communication.

    Cheers,
    Gregory

  46. Gregory,
    Can you provide an example of a ‘thing’ that Human Extension can be used to help determine “was it human-made or not and, if so, how was it made, when, where and why?”. And could you describe how your ‘logic and steps’ would answer that question?

  47. “ID is not about the study of ‘designing processes’ — if there is even such a thing. … Design is a mental activity, not a physical one. It’s an activity of thinking. We design things in thought. We manufacture them by physical means. Physical processes we can talk about. Design processes, I don’t see how. I can’t observe your thinking. But I can infer that you have thought something, by looking at what you have done. That’s the heart of the design inference.” – Timaeus

    Now we’re getting somewhere. Here’s a significant difference between Timaeus’ views and mine. Timaeus appears to conceive of ‘design’ in an abstract, detached, un-embodied way – just the mental, not the physical too – whereas, I’m interested in the nexus of mental and physical. His is a more philosophical or ‘ideological’ meaning of design, while mine is a more humanistic meaning. This is what allows me to study ‘design processes,’ as Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Horst Rittel, Buckminster Fuller, Genrich Altshuller, Bela Banathy and many others have done.

    I’d encourage Timaeus to do an internet search for ‘design process’ to begin to learn how it is and has been studied. It is not a ‘thing’ detached from people; it is something people do. Then he can come back here and tell us it doesn’t exist and can’t be studied because he doesn’t personally believe it!

    Likewise, one could (and imo should) ask: which ‘mind/Mind’ is (supposedly) engaging in the ‘mental activity’ of ‘designing’? The analogy with human beings’/our mental activity is obvious. Depending on this analogy to do ‘reverse engineering’ as ‘natural science’ is a creative stretch.

    “Why should I speak to the dozens of things you want me to speak about, when you won’t speak to the one thing that everyone here keeps asking you about?” – Timaeus

    First, I asked in this thread for people at UD to speak about one specific thing: Human Extension. (Links were provided for support.) That was and is the purpose of the thread; if I was unclear about that, let me now issue an apology. I am thankful to StephenB for taking up this challenge, which I attempted to address in the previous post, and for kairosfocus’ initial rebuttal, which was already answered.

    Second, if ‘everyone’ (according to Timaeus) is asking me for answers in biology, then they’ll be waiting a long time for answers, since I’m not a biologist and am not planning a career change into biology anytime soon. Likewise, I’m not willing to speculate about ‘origins of life’ other than to say that as a monotheist, I believe the Creator was directly involved in creating life. If that satisfies you that I think OoL was not an accident or that it was ‘non-random’ or ‘guided,’ then so be it. If it doesn’t, so be it too.

    “I have a big objection to ‘alternatives’ that actually replace ID with something that isn’t ID at all, but some grand theory of ‘Design, Reflexivity, Purpose, Values, Social/Human Sciences, and Everything.’ … Theories or ideas with limited aims — like showing the inadequacy of neo-Darwinism, or showing the presence of mathematical information in certain biological structures — can actually add something to human knowledge.” – Timaeus

    Human Extension is not out to ‘replace ID.’ (Take a deep breath, Timaeus, and let that sink in!) It simply reveals where and how ID is a (properly) limited claim and where Human Extension can succeed where IDM-ID has not (and perhaps does not aim to). But that’s not enough for those people in the IDM who would desire ‘intelligent design’ to be virtually unlimited, who have tightly inter-twined ID with their theologies, biologies and worldviews.

    Human Extension investigates ‘intelligent agents’ who are involved in building, designing, constructing, acting, composing, doing, making, etc. As a scholarly approach it is predominantly unconcerned with biological information, unless and until it influences human choices. Since studies of choice, planning and human action happen at a very different level of appropriate discourse than studies of biology, physiology, ecology and ‘origins of life,’ there is little reason to fear that Human Extension is set or even interested to compete with IDM-ID theory that is predominantly focussed on biological systems.

    Human Extension has a clear and limited scope; that which is made by human beings. Sure, that’s still a significantly large realm! The other specific aim it involves is the ending of exaggeration by the ideology called ‘evolutionism.’ No, the focus of Human Extension is not ‘neo-Darwinism,’ but rather ‘evolutionism,’ which is/can be over-come by a suitable alternative. That should now be seen as clear, precise and not ‘too-bloated’ for Timaeus+1 to comprehend.

    Why? How? Again, it is written in the most concise form of 2 axioms, listed above, which Timaeus has not addressed, seemingly because he mistakenly thinks I’m out to ‘replace ID.’

    I have no “contempt for the ID project,” as Timaeus continues to accuse. The IDM-ID project has imo served an important purpose to help make conversations about science, philosophy and religion possible to be put on the table, even if it does so in its own (subtle, nuanced) ‘implicationistic’ way. In fact, I’m quite grateful to the DI for having invited me to their Summer Program and to all of those I met there who helped me to understand both ID theory and the IDM, its mission, goals, plans, ideas, presuppositions, resources, networks, etc. And I’m grateful for many of the discussions I’ve had with IDM-IDers, whether in person, by e-mail or on forums such as this, over the past decade.

    Recently, I’ve been reading “A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature” (IVP 2006) by Jonathan Witt and Benjamin Wiker. One fascinating feature of their (IDM-ID friendly) book is its reference both to ‘anthropism’ and to ‘disanthropism,’ the latter which is linked to materialism, reductionism, naturalism and the usual ideological opponents of IDM-ID. I met Witt in 2008 and found him a gentle and kind man.

    The last time I quoted from an ID book that I’d read, called “Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science and Theology” (1999), my current accuser of illiteracy, Timaeus, told me he himself hadn’t actually read it and therefore couldn’t engage my specific critique. Has he read it yet? Frankly, I’m not planning on reading Meyer’s big book on biological information anytime soon. I’ve read excerpts from it and reviews. I read his controversial paper published by Richard Sternberg, his “A Scientific History – and Philosophical Defense – of the Theory of Intelligent Design,” which gives an overview of his view of ID, and several other shorter pieces. So, probably I’m not totally ignorant as Timaeus pretends. Additionally, I’ve read and watched or heard interviews or speeches by Dembski, Johnson, Behe, Wells, Nelson, West, Richards, et al. in various places. The point is: what did I get from all of these texts and voices? Not nothing (Walk the Line), that’s for sure!

    I also read A.N. Whitehead, who imo committed a mistaken inversion when he posited that ‘Process’ comes first, then ‘Extension.’ How can one proceed before they extend?! That turned me, via the visionary work of Marshall McLuhan, onto a way that may make it possible to overcome the ideology of ‘universal evolutionism.’ Hurrah (echo IDM-ID onlookers?)! Still, if all or no-one in the IDM is interested in it, if it is too early for ears to hear, the work will go forward anyway.

    “If anyone thinks that he or she can detect any place in ID theorizing where religious or philosophical prejudices affect the scientific conclusions reached by ID proponents*, he or she is welcome to point out those places. Gregory has been challenged to point out such places before, and has declined the challenge.” – Timaeus

    *Yes, once ‘intelligent design’ was theorized in the first place; that’s the warm and bubbly rub, and it’s not a (pejorative) ‘prejudice’*

    The coining of ID, the ‘in the beginning,’ a eureka moment (which actually wasn’t so, unless one counts respected Dr. Charles Thaxton’s initial coinage of the phrase, in its IDM-inspiring variant), undeniably has “theological roots” (cf. S. Fuller). Without those ‘theological roots,’ indeed, had the founding members of the IDM *not* believed that the world was/is ‘intelligible’ *because* they believe we are created in imago Dei, we would not be having this discussion at this site today. There would be no IDM-ID.

    This doesn’t, however, have to compromise IDM-ID’s legitimate aspirations toward ‘scientificity’. The ‘theological roots’ should simply be acknowledged up-front and openly, repeatedly, and carefully so that it can be taken off the table of complaints by anti-IDM-IDers that ID has *nothing* to do with religion or theology, when its very foundation is undeniably built on it (yet Timaeus will spin it to suggest that I’ve claimed IDM-ID is ‘religious in nature,’ which I have not said). This is what I take to be a logical conclusion of Meyer’s response to Fuller at Cambridge, from what little I know of it. Bring on ID-theodicy and theology into ID’s research agenda for the people of IDM-ID (or set yourself against Stephen C. Meyer…and Jonathan Wells)!

    Timaeus’ position is a bit like saying “Dawkins’ theory is without God,” instead of saying “Dawkins is without God.” If he recognised that the ‘without God’ in Dawkins’ theory is an extension of Dawkins being ‘without God,’ then the connection becomes obvious. Is that for some reason invisible or simply a blind spot for Timaeus?

    Timaeus has finally and possibly-bravely stepped to the plate by saying: “ID does not promote a ‘science-only’ discourse.” Yet he could still go further to speak even more clearly and precisely by denying that IDM-ID THEORY is focussed on ‘science-only.’ He comes close to this, however, by speaking about IDM-ID’s ‘philosophical conclusions.’

    “it doesn’t matter to me whether ID conclusions are called ‘scientific’ conclusions or “reasonable philosophical conclusions based on demonstrable science.” Either way, ID can’t be done without reliable science, and either way, ID doesn’t require initial theological assumptions, which is what you appear to be claiming.” – Timaeus

    Sorry, folks, I’m a ‘can be done,’ rather than a ‘can’t be done’ kinda guy! :)

    On the semantic questions, ‘privilege’ is familiar term used in human-social sciences and surely it makes sense to at least some people here on this list. Since topics such as naturalism and scientism are raised here, it is obvious that privileging ‘natural sciences’ is of concern to people here. ‘Culturology’ likewise is a common term in German-tradition inspired European countries for what would be called ‘Cultural Studies’ in Anglo-American jargon (Stuart Hall, Paul Willis, et al.). Saying he was unfamiliar with it until I used it doesn’t mean it’s unfamiliar to a whole lot of people in a global audience. To me, ‘culturology’ is the preferred term, but I’ll switch back to Anglo-American style if that is easier on Timaeus’ linguistic insecurity. Just say the word…

    “It is simply a common-sense use of natural science when natural science is the right thing to use.” – Timaues

    Yes, of course. That’s exactly the point of my challenge to the limits of IDM-ID. When natural science is *not* “the right thing to use,” that is, when the proper meaning of ‘ID’ clearly overlaps with theology, philosophy and/or social science, this needs to be made explicit, obvious and not under-emphasised. Thus, when a paper or book speaks about a ‘transcendental designer,’ such a paper belongs in a ‘science and religion’ journal, such as “Perspectives of Science and Christian Faith” or “First Things” or CTNS’ “Theology and Science.” It does not belong and should not seek to belong in a ‘biology-only’ or ‘informatics-only’ Journal.

    Here I wish to ask: Is the ‘intelligence’ implied by a ‘transcendental designer’ according to IDM-ID (Dembski 2004) best considered as a ‘natural intelligence’ or as some ‘other’ kind of intelligence?

    My work on Human Extension is limited and specific because it deals with ‘human intelligence,’ which could be called ‘natural intelligence.’ But I believe it also involves ‘other’ kinds of intelligence. I am not hesitant or uncertain to say this. ‘Emotional intelligence’ is just one example, a term I obviously didn’t coin, but which makes or can make a big difference in where, how, when and why one ‘extends’ themselves, as a person, in society, etc.

    A big question, then, is one that Jon Garvey asked (I hope he doesn’t mind me acknowledging his poignant question): is what you mean by ‘design’ the same as what I mean by ‘extension’? I think (at least I hope) that the above message has shown this not to be the case. However, if I were interested to be a ‘design theorist,’ i.e. to study ‘design’ as my prioritised ‘master category,’ it would look something like this: DesignScienceLab.

    And by the way, I really like the quotation found on that page that says: “The best way to understand a system is to understand the system it fits into.” – Howard Odum

    In this case, ‘intelligent design’ of the IDM variety, from what I can make sense of it (besides the occasional claims by people that it is a ‘natural-science-only’ theory), properly and happily could fit into a system of discourse called ‘science, philosophy and religion.’ And so does Human Extension, so I guess we should learn to share space. ;)

  48. Gregory-

    In the absence of direct observation or designer input, the ONLY possible way to make any scientific determination about the designer(s) or specific process(es) used, is by studying the design in question.

    And guess what? Intelligent Design is about the study of design in nature (so that we can hopefully get those answers).

  49. Gregory: *My comments follow the asterisks.

    ““ID is not about the study of ‘designing processes’ — if there is even such a thing. … Design is a mental activity, not a physical one. It’s an activity of thinking. We design things in thought. We manufacture them by physical means. Physical processes we can talk about. Design processes, I don’t see how. I can’t observe your thinking. But I can infer that you have thought something, by looking at what you have done. That’s the heart of the design inference.” – Timaeus

    “Now we’re getting somewhere. Here’s a significant difference between Timaeus’ views and mine. Timaeus appears to conceive of ‘design’ in an abstract, detached, un-embodied way – just the mental, not the physical too – whereas, I’m interested in the nexus of mental and physical. His is a more philosophical or ‘ideological’ meaning of design, while mine is a more humanistic meaning.”

    * Timaeus conceives of design in a philosophically clear way. In loose, everyday language, when we see a draftsman at a drafting board (more likely, these days, at a computer), and observe his motions of measuring, drawing, typing, and so on, we say he is “designing” something; and when we see a company having all kinds of “team meetings” to develop a new automobile or a new shaving cream, we might speak of these meetings as part of the “design process” for that product. But drawing of lines, the pressing of computer keys, the participation in organizational meetings, etc. is not where the “design” takes place. The “design” takes place inside the mind(s) of the designer(s). And the belief in the creative, designing power of the human mind is as “humanistic” as anything that you are proposing.

    * When you speak of a “design process” I infer that you are including the whole set of human activities (drawing, measuring, cutting, pasting, talking to colleagues, assigning tasks to subordinates, etc.) which accompanies and supports the interior mental activity, and I can understand that usage, as acceptable shorthand, but it obscures the fact that all designs originate in and proceed from minds, not from pencils, drafting boards, organizational meetings, etc.

    “Second, if ‘everyone’ (according to Timaeus) is asking me for answers in biology, then they’ll be waiting a long time for answers, since I’m not a biologist and am not planning a career change into biology anytime soon. Likewise, I’m not willing to speculate about ‘origins of life’ other than to say that as a monotheist, I believe the Creator was directly involved in creating life. If that satisfies you that I think OoL was not an accident or that it was ‘non-random’ or ‘guided,’ then so be it. If it doesn’t, so be it too.”

    * Interesting. So now, after a delay of a few years, you finally give a partial answer to where you stand on biological origins. I note that (a) you deal only with the origin of life, and not with its subsequent development; (b) you use the term “guided” — a term that the BioLogos people absolutely refused to use, even in scare quotes as you have used it.

    * So if God was “directly involved” in the origin of life, if he “guided” it, then presumably he had an end in mind. Therefore, he had a “design” for the first life — a model of what the first life-form would look like. So you agree with the ID people that at least the first life was designed. And you go further than that, if you mean “directly involved” and “guided” literally. You are talking about some sort of intervention into natural processes (since, if they would have produced life without his special action, he wouldn’t have to be directly involved or to guide anything). So you believe not only in “design” but in “intervention.” I’d keep mum about this if I were you; otherwise, you’ll soon be losing your BioLogos posting privileges!

    * On the other hand, by not discussing subsequent evolution, you don’t take a side between Behe and Dawkins. You leave open the possibility that all species, including man, could have arisen through an undesigned process. The TE/EC people would like you for that, whereas the ID people would wonder why you don’t have a clearer opinion, even if only a tentative, non-expert opinion. Do you find it likely that a blind search (which is what neo-Darwinism amounts to) would find the right combinations to produce hearts, lungs, brains, etc.? I’m not asking you for a scientific proof of anything, just what you think happened. Do you think God just created the first life, then sat back and let nature in its “freedom” produce whatever it might? Or do you think God did something to ensure particular outcomes?

    “Human Extension is not out to ‘replace ID.’ (Take a deep breath, Timaeus, and let that sink in!)”

    Gee, I must be slow on the uptake. I thought that a call for ID to switch its focus from what happens in nature to what happens with the design of artifacts and social systems would be a massive changeover from one kind of investigation to a completely different kind of investigation, and therefore that ID, even it continued to be called by the same name, would be superseded by the new investigation. So I inferred that biologists were no longer going to be relevant, and that anthropologists and sociologists were going to be in charge of this new activity, which studies design only where it belongs — in the human realm, not in questions of non-human nature. [As you have made clear (by retrenching to your former position; see post 37 of mine above.] So maybe you can explain to me what role the Biologic Institute is going to play in this new grand study of “human/social” matters that you envision, especially since Axe, Gauger, etc. have no training in any social sciences and no plans to acquire any such training. When they think they have demonstrated that a particular protein could not have originated by chance, but was designed, are they going to have to submit their proof to a panel of social scientists, who will then tell them that the category of “design” cannot be legitimately applied to non-human molecules?

    “It simply reveals where and how ID is a (properly) limited claim”

    * ID people have always carefully limited their claims. They have never claimed to be able to do more than detect design, without being able to say anything about the designer, the truth of any particular religion, etc. If you are now criticizing them for making overextended claims, you are contradicting yourself, because the whole thrust of your recent critique of ID (based on Fuller) is that their claims are *not big enough* — that they should be making much grander claims about God as the designer of the universe and human beings as made in his image. So what is your critique, that ID people claim too much, or too little?

    “and where Human Extension can succeed where IDM-ID has not (and perhaps does not aim to).”

    * Your parentheses have it right — ID does not aim to “succeed” in the venture aimed at by “Human Extension”; therefore, to say it has “failed” in that venture is nonsensical. You might as well complain that an Olympic runner has “failed” to capture the gold medal for the parallel bars, or that physics has “failed” to show why some people are schizophrenic. ID as a biological project is not about the study of human affairs at all (though it could of course be about the structure and functions of the human body).

    “But that’s not enough for those people in the IDM who would desire ‘intelligent design’ to be virtually unlimited, who have tightly inter-twined ID with their theologies, biologies and worldviews.”

    * Again, you are contradicting yourself. You’ve been urging that, as Fuller suggests, ID people should be “up front” with their theology and even integrate it into their biological research program; now you are upset because they have “tightly interwined” the two. And by the way, which ID proponent says that ID explanations are “unlimited”?

    “Human Extension investigates ‘intelligent agents’ who are involved in building, designing, constructing, acting, composing, doing, making, etc. As a scholarly approach it is predominantly unconcerned with biological information, unless and until it influences human choices.”

    * “Unconcerned with biological information” — exactly! So why are you bringing it up here? What’s it got to do with what we are interested in? Why aren’t you bringing this up at a Social Science conference?

    “Human Extension has a clear and limited scope; that which is made by human beings.”

    * Fine. And ID also has a clear and limited scope; it is trying to determine whether or not there is design in things *not* made by human beings. So why do you keep trying to cajole, badger, and harass ID people into changing their focus over to what *you* are interested in? Why can’t you just accept that some people are interested in different questions than you are, and let them pursue their questions in peace? Do biologists write guest posts on sociology web sites, cajoling sociologists into paying much more attention to mitochondrial DNA?

    “The other specific aim it involves is the ending of exaggeration by the ideology called ‘evolutionism.’ No, the focus of Human Extension is not ‘neo-Darwinism,’ but rather ‘evolutionism,’ which is/can be over-come by a suitable alternative.”

    * ID does not endorse “the ideology called evolutionism.” “Evolutionism” is not a term that ID people very often use. ID is interested in the alleged mechanisms of a biological process called “evolution.” So any “exaggerations” you are worried about don’t come from ID quarters. Your criticism needs to be directed to the guilty parties, not to ID people. How posting your ideas on a site that champions “evolutionary psychology” or “the evolutionary origin of religion”?

    “Recently, I’ve been reading “A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature” (IVP 2006) by Jonathan Witt and Benjamin Wiker. One fascinating feature of their (IDM-ID friendly) book is its reference both to ‘anthropism’ and to ‘disanthropism,’ the latter which is linked to materialism, reductionism, naturalism and the usual ideological opponents of IDM-ID. I met Witt in 2008 and found him a gentle and kind man.”

    * Good; then you know that ID people are not the narrow, intellectually Philistine “science-only” types you painted them as in your last message. That’s progress.

    “The last time I quoted from an ID book that I’d read, called “Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science and Theology” (1999), my current accuser of illiteracy, Timaeus, told me he himself hadn’t actually read it and therefore couldn’t engage my specific critique. Has he read it yet?”

    * No. Life is finite. I can’t read everything. I’ve already read a considerable amount by Dembski, and know his general position fairly well. Someday I may read it. I’m trying to read the harder, more technical books, while my brain is still agile enough to understand them. Later, in my old age, I will “coast” and read the more popular presentations. Or more likely, Russian novels, which will be more entertaining.

    “If anyone thinks that he or she can detect any place in ID theorizing where religious or philosophical prejudices affect the scientific conclusions reached by ID proponents*, he or she is welcome to point out those places. Gregory has been challenged to point out such places before, and has declined the challenge.” – Timaeus

    “Yes, once ‘intelligent design’ was theorized in the first place; that’s the warm and bubbly rub, and it’s not a (pejorative) ‘prejudice’” — Gregory

    * So that’s it? Merely because someone considers the possibility that features of the universe might be designed, and looks for empirical evidence to verify or falsify that possibility, that person’s science is theologically biased, and his results scientifically suspect?

    “The coining of ID, the ‘in the beginning,’ a eureka moment (which actually wasn’t so, unless one counts respected Dr. Charles Thaxton’s initial coinage of the phrase, in its IDM-inspiring variant), undeniably has “theological roots” (cf. S. Fuller). Without those ‘theological roots,’ indeed, had the founding members of the IDM *not* believed that the world was/is ‘intelligible’ *because* they believe we are created in imago Dei, we would not be having this discussion at this site today. There would be no IDM-ID.”

    * Lots of people believe that the world is intelligible who aren’t ID supporters. The intelligibility of the world is a view broadly held by virtually every educated modern person. So this claim amounts to saying that the entire modern mentality has theological roots. Well, in a sense, that is true, since the modern mind sprang from Christian civilization. But that says absolutely nothing about whether Dawkins or Behe is right about the flagellum, etc. So it’s a true but useless observation; it has no “refereeing” capacity between ID and atheism, ID and TE, etc.

    “This doesn’t, however, have to compromise IDM-ID’s legitimate aspirations toward ‘scientificity’. The ‘theological roots’ should simply be acknowledged up-front and openly, repeatedly, and carefully so that it can be taken off the table of complaints by anti-IDM-IDers that ID has *nothing* to do with religion or theology, when its very foundation is undeniably built on it (yet Timaeus will spin it to suggest that I’ve claimed IDM-ID is ‘religious in nature,’ which I have not said).”

    * You are not making the proper distinctions. First, you have to distinguish between the individual, and varying, religious beliefs of ID proponents and their collective and unified affirmations about intelligent design. As individuals they been entirely up front about their personal religious beliefs, and have indicated that they think that ID-science can be understood as compatible with or supporting those beliefs. But they ask for no special treatment for their scientific arguments based on any sympathy for their religious beliefs. They argue from the facts of nature, not from the Bible or some Creed or Confession.

    * Second, your use of the word “theology” is equivocal. It means something different in the context of ID’s response to American legal challenges from what it means in Fuller’s discussion. In the former context, it is true that ID has nothing to do with Christian theology, as judges and lawyers were understand “Christian theology”; ID’s specific scientific conclusions are *not* derived from or bound to specific Biblical passages, confessional statements, etc. That is why ID is *not* creationism, as that term is understood in the American social context. And the ID people are perfectly correct to insist on that. What Fuller is talking about, on the other hand, is the theological origin of broader notions, such as order in nature and the ability of the human mind to comprehend nature. ID may be “theological” in that sense; but then, *all of modern science* would be theological in that sense, so ID would not be unique in that regard. And that broader sense is not the relevant sense when we are dealing with the irrationalities of American constitutional jurisprudence. So Fuller’s point, while historically valid, is not legally and culturally relevant. You mustn’t mix up “general metaphysical presuppositions without which there cannot be a modern science of nature” and “specific beliefs about the history of the earth, salvation, etc. particular to YEC or some other version of Christian faith.” ID, as a program of design detection, has literally nothing to do with the latter, and ID people are being entirely honest when they say that.

    “This is what I take to be a logical conclusion of Meyer’s response to Fuller at Cambridge, from what little I know of it. Bring on ID-theodicy and theology into ID’s research agenda for the people of IDM-ID (or set yourself against Stephen C. Meyer…and Jonathan Wells)!”

    * If, as you admit, you know “little” of Meyer’s response, you should not be drawing any conclusions at all about it, but should wait until Meyer speaks more fulsomely on the topic. And I will “set myself against” Meyer and Wells when they publically argue for a version of ID which makes ID into a mere branch of Christian or Moon-ist apologetics. So far, they haven’t done that.

    “Timaeus’ position is a bit like saying “Dawkins’ theory is without God,” instead of saying “Dawkins is without God.””

    * Both are true. Dawkins is personally without God, and he thinks as a biologist that evolution operates entirely without God, because random mutations filtered by natural selection are — he supposes — entirely adequate to explain the march of life. In such a scheme, God — if he exists at all — has nothing to do but create the natural laws and watch what chance and time throw out. The only difference between Dawkins and Darwin here is that Dawkins is sure God doesn’t exist, whereas Darwin vacillated on that question. But both believe(d) that God had nothing to do with the specific outcomes of evolution.

    “Timaeus has finally and possibly-bravely stepped to the plate by saying: “ID does not promote a ‘science-only’ discourse.” Yet he could still go further to speak even more clearly and precisely by denying that IDM-ID THEORY is focussed on ‘science-only.’ He comes close to this, however, by speaking about IDM-ID’s ‘philosophical conclusions.’”

    * ID theory is focused on the question of design in nature. Therefore it will necessarily be focused on questions of natural science. But ID people are thoughtful and sensitive individuals who understand that what we believe about nature (including the origins of natural beings) may have implications for the human world. So they are often found talking about human matters, from a philosophical or theological point of view. But none of their arguments about the flagellum, etc. depend on premises derived from theology or sociology etc.

    “On the semantic questions, ‘privilege’ is familiar term used in human-social sciences and surely it makes sense to at least some people here on this list.”

    * The “human-social sciences,” as you call them, are overwhelmingly dominated by the political and social Left. It is therefore in line with their prejudices that they would employ a loaded word like “privilege” — which suggests something unearned, unfair, etc. The academic Left is always complaining (“bitching” would be a more honest word if we are trying to capture the tone) that some class or race or sex or institution has unjust “privileges” of one kind or another. But even if it is true that some class or race or sex has “privileges” that is does not merit, it’s ludicrous to extend that meaning in the way that you do, to say silly things such as that ID “privileges” natural science. It’s a gross misuse of English. You seem to forget that we are in a public forum here, where not everyone is an academic social scientist. For public communication, we should use general educated English, not social-science-speak. Save the in-house academic dialect for your technical papers before sociology audiences. ID does not “privilege” natural science when it investigates biological origins using chemistry and mathematics rather than sociology. It employs the most sensible tools, which are scientific ones. That is not “privileging” anything.

    “‘Culturology’ likewise is a common term in German-tradition inspired European countries for what would be called ‘Cultural Studies’ in Anglo-American jargon (Stuart Hall, Paul Willis, et al.). Saying he was unfamiliar with it until I used it doesn’t mean it’s unfamiliar to a whole lot of people in a global audience. To me, ‘culturology’ is the preferred term, but I’ll switch back to Anglo-American style if that is easier on Timaeus’ linguistic insecurity. Just say the word…”

    * The term is barbaric. It’s not a matter of linguistic insecurity, it’s a matter of an ear for graceful, polished English. Years of reading and teaching the great classics tends to make me more discriminating in the use of language than social scientists are. You might also read Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language,” and then meditate on what Orwell might have thought of “culturology.”

    “Here I wish to ask: Is the ‘intelligence’ implied by a ‘transcendental designer’ according to IDM-ID (Dembski 2004) best considered as a ‘natural intelligence’ or as some ‘other’ kind of intelligence?”

    * It’s irrelevant for the purposes of design detection. If God wanted to design an alarm clock to wake people up, it would look approximately the same as it does when designed by human engineers. Obviously God is not “natural,” but that is irrelevant. ID is not a theory of “supernatural detection”; it’s a theory of design detection. You determine, using ID techniques, whether the clock was designed or a freak compound produced by nature; and once you have determined that it was designed, you hand over the question who designed it to the theologians and anthropologists and historians of inventions and others with relevant understanding.

    “In this case, ‘intelligent design’ of the IDM variety, from what I can make sense of it (besides the occasional claims by people that it is a ‘natural-science-only’ theory), properly and happily could fit into a system of discourse called ‘science, philosophy and religion.’ And so does Human Extension, so I guess we should learn to share space.”

    * I’ve already said that ID people can and do enter into discussions with philosophers and theologians. Also, some ID people (e.g., Wells) have Ph.D.s in both natural science and theology. Nothing about ID forbids three-way discussion of the type you are talking about. And nothing about ID forbids anyone from being interested in social sciences or in “Human Extension.” If anyone publishes anything on “Human Extension” that concerns “design” in a way that is useful to ID thinking, I am sure that ID people will read it and gratefully acknowledge it. But ID per se has no need to endorse or get involved in “Human Extension” as a project. It has its hands full with a huge job as it is.

    In short, Gregory, no one has anything against your project to study “intelligent design” in the human/social context. It’s a perfectly reasonable area of academic investigation, and one of social significance. What we are all trying to figure out is what on earth it’s got to do with assessing the arguments of Meyer, Behe, and Dembski against those of Dawkins, Coyne, Miller, Venema, etc. And if it’s got no relevance to that, it has no more business being discussed on this site than the subject of new advances in fly fishing.

  50. Gregory, I appreciate your willingness to articulate your vision in somewhat more practical terms. You have provided what seems to be an accurate representation of the human-extension process. Given your input, we can consider the points as you present them. More importantly, we can assess the relative capacities of each model (ID and Humana Extension) to help the analyst attain the hoped-for knowledge. We can do that by simply juxtaposing our respective offerings.

    ID Purpose:

    The purpose of the ID model is to address the question of life’s origins and discern the answer, design or no design.

    Human Extension Purpose:
    The purpose of Human Extension is to address the question of ‘extensions of man(kind) and to discern an answer to this question: was it human made or not and, if so, how was it made, when where and why. Also, the purpose is to study the notion of tension, how far we extend ourselves, and the impact of personal choices.

    ID Process

    [My description] **It begins with the observation of data—next, it proceeds with the application of a paradigm–next, it applies a differential diagnosis by considering naturalistic explanations–then, if follows where the evidence leads, and finally, it concludes with an inference to design as the best explanation.**

    ANALYSIS:

    If we follow the ID process (methodology), we will receive a clear answer to our question: Was the artifact designed? Yes or no? That is because the process is streamlined, systematic, and knows specifically the one thing it is looking for. Every step is necessary and must be applied in order presented. Disturb the order or the steps or leave one step out, and the methodology will not work, meaning that there is no hope of attaining the desired knowledge.

    Human Extension Process

    [Your description]**It begins with human beings acknowledging they/we are ‘reflexive’ creatures – it studies evidences of things known or believed to be human-made things – it traces the origins and processes involved in the making of these things – it explores the possibility that what appears to be a human-made thing was actually produced by a non-human (e.g. machine or animal), or a natural law (e.g. an evolutionary or ecological process) – it then ‘concludes’ with an ‘inference’ to human extension as the ‘best explanation.’**

    ANALYSIS:

    If we follow the Human Extension process, we will receive, among other things, a clear answer to this question: was the object of study made by humans. In some loose and informal ways, it is a parallel analysis to ID methodology in the sense that it seeks to rule out accidental causes. On the other hand, it appears not to be a similarly rigorous process since it probes for answers other than yes or no. (How much did the humans extend themselves? How, when, why was it made? How much tension was involved? Was it an individual or group product? ..etc.) A rigorous, narrowly focused empirical process cannot introduce both quantitative and qualitative elements intrinsic to the same methodology. Qualitative studies do not readily lend themselves to mathematical analysis. More than likely, what you are describing is a meta-analysis, incorporating multiple methodologies, many of which have likely not been formalized.

    EVALUATION:

    As is evident, the Human Extension process cannot speak to the problem of nature’s design patterns and is, therefore useless as a tool for evaluating ID’s design-detection methodologies. You will recall that my original challenge to you, and the one to which you now respond, was to go beyond criticizing ID’s empirical process for detecting design in nature and provide a better one. In that context, you were invited to formulate the model to include the Imago Dei component that you (and Steve Fuller) say should be there. I appreciate your honest answer to the effect that you simply can’t think of a way to do it. Accordingly, The Human Extension process, as you have indicated elsewhere, cannot “touch” the problem of biological origins. Inasmuch as you cannot, even in your wildest imagination, think of a way to validly include the concept if Imago Dei in ID’s design-detection methodologies, don’t you think you should stop asking us to do it for real?

    It is important to understand that each discipline has its proper method. The historical-critical method used in Theology, which can shed light on Scriptural truth (if it is applied carefully and prudently), can tell us nothing about biological origins. ID’s explanatory filter, which speaks to the subject of origins, is powerless as a scientific method to illuminate the subject of First causes, which properly belong to philosophy or metaphysics. Again, philosophy claims exclusive methods of its own.
    Having said that, I think that there is a way to incorporate the triadic dialogue between science, philosophy, and religion .The task for each discipline is to form a partnership with the other disciplines for the purpose of seeking truth. Each can illuminate the other. Theology, for example can provide science with the teaching that humans are created in the image of God and, in concert with philosophy and the natural law, instruct science on its ethical limits. What theology (or sociology) should never presume to do, howeer, is intrude on science’s methods .The way that science, philosophy, and religion should interact is clear: Dialogue, yes; synthesis, no.

  51. Just a quick question for now, StephenB. I’ll address more from your #50 later.

    You wrote: “ANALYSIS: If we follow the ID process (methodology), we will receive a clear answer to our question: Was the artifact designed? Yes or no?

    It was my understanding that ‘artifacts’ are by definition ‘designed,’ i.e. by human designers. I thought ID was instead focussed on ‘organisms’ and other biological objects (e.g. bacterial flagellum) – non-human-made things, not on ‘artifacts’ – human-made things.

    Am I wrong in making this distinction regarding the meaning of ‘artifact’? When you say ‘artifacts’ do you actually mean ‘organisms and other biological objects’?

  52. StephenB:

    Brace yourself. :-)

    I agree with Gregory in 51.

    ****************************

    Gregory:

    Are you trying to give me cardiac arrest? Sticking up for the classical, Aristotelian meaning of a word? Be still, my pounding heart! What will it be next? A “Behe for President” bumper sticker? I need to pour myself a stiff drink.

  53. Gregory @51. Exactly right. I wrote the word “artifact” too hurriedly and did, indeed, mean organism. Thank you for reading me so carefully.

  54. StephenB,
    In principle the design detection process can be used on any object, whether it’s biological or not, right?

    From the definition of ID on this blog:
    The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection…Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose.

  55. Gregory,
    When you have the chance, do you think you can answer my question posed to you at #46…

    Gregory,
    Can you provide an example of a ‘thing’ that Human Extension can be used to help determine “was it human-made or not and, if so, how was it made, when, where and why?”. And could you describe how your ‘logic and steps’ would answer that question?

  56. LYO: You are right, the design inference process is properly applied to aspects of objects, processes etc, which can include living entities, the product of such (e.g. beaver dams), to found items, and even to cosmological features of the observed universe. KF

  57. LYO, yes, I will come back to answer your question. I’m writing a short article on it and will post it on my blog. But it will have to wait for now, other than this simple example (inspired by the opening ceremony of London 2012 Olympic Games last night): Is Harry Potter translated into Chinese language*? Yes. That’s a clear and present example of Human Extension.

    ~
    StephenB,

    Thanks for your answer re: that you meant ‘organism’ instead of ‘artifact’ which I will get to below. Thus, we are in agreement that ID is “focussed on ‘organisms’ and other biological objects (e.g. bacterial flagellum) – non-human-made things, not on ‘artifacts’ – human-made things.”

    Let there be no mistake, Human Extension is focussed on ‘artefacts,’ i.e. on human-made things and not on ‘organisms’ and other biological objects.

    You are correct, StephenB, that Human Extension “probes for answers other than yes or no.” Human Extension is not a “narrowly focused empirical process,” although it does invite and welcome empirical knowledge. Human Extension is not a statistical or probabilistic approach to choice and action.

    “what you are describing is a meta-analysis, incorporating multiple methodologies” – StephenB

    Human Extension involves a simple, single methodology, which will be released in my second book (really first one, the first is more like a long e-pamphlet – about 60 pages), hopefully in 2013. Indeed, there I call it Human Extension Methodology (HEM). If you’d like to adopt that acronym for it, you are welcome, but there’s no need to get ahead of ourselves.

    “the Human Extension process cannot speak to the problem of nature’s design patterns” – StephenB

    That is not what HEM is meant for.

    “go beyond criticizing ID’s empirical process for detecting design in nature and provide a better one” – StephenB

    Again, I’m not interested in trying to “provide a better one.” I’m not convinced that ‘design’ is something that can be ‘empirically proven/detected in nature’ … *unless* ‘human nature’ is involved ‘reflexively’ in the process. Because I (believe I) am designed, I see design. As it stands today, however, IDM-ID does not involve reflexivity and subjectivity (‘I,’ not ‘it’) in its approach; it seeks to be objectivistic, quantitative and statistical (or probabilistic), following natural scientific methods.

    “you were invited to formulate the model to include the Imago Dei component” – StephenB

    Do not put the Lord your God to the test, right?

    “Inasmuch as you cannot, even in your wildest imagination, think of a way to validly include the concept if Imago Dei in ID’s design-detection methodologies, don’t you think you should stop asking us to do it for real?” – StephenB

    My imagination is quite wild and broadly nourished, but you’re missing the point. I’m not asking for a formal logic, analytic proof or empirical inclusion of imago Dei into whatever process of ‘detecting design’ one is employing or trying to employ. This is the meta-context in which claims of ‘design’ by an Intelligence that created/evolved our human ‘intelligence’ can possibly be made in the first place. Again, it’s the presupposition, to say nothing of the motivation for “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” for doing good science in a modern or perhaps even post-modern way.

    Sure, one needn’t be religious to do good science. But then again, like Steve Fuller asks as a title to one of his book chapters, “What has atheism – old or new – ever done for science?” His answer: “Atheism as a positive doctrine has done precious little for science.” (2010)

    “each discipline has its proper method” – StephenB

    Couldn’t agree more; there are multiple methods involved in ‘doing science.’ That is a post-modern meaning of ‘science,’ informed and reached by the fruits of work done in history, philosophy and sociology of science (and technology) studies. It need not collapse into ‘relativism,’ while at the same time it recognizes diversity that did not similarly represent the ‘modernist’ view of ‘science’ as a single methodology. There are many more sciences today than there were in Darwin’s and Newton’s times, so even just formally speaking, this makes sense.

    “I think that there is a way to incorporate the triadic dialogue between science, philosophy, and religion.” – StephenB

    Glad to hear this! Imo, this sets the table on which discussion of ‘design’ can and should be held. Without it, a lot of empty chatter will and does occur.

    “Dialogue, yes; synthesis, no.” – StephenB

    Dialogue, yes; synthesis (or synergy) and harmony, that’s the attempt.

    (cont’d)

  58. (cont’d)

    You mention causality, StephenB, and above you mentioned effects. Let’s now look more closely at that.

    I wrote above that Stephen C. Meyer defined ‘intelligent design’ (uncapitalised, 2008) as: “The choice of an intelligent agent to actualise a possibility.”

    StephenB responded, saying: “Meyer was talking about the process by which the cause (intelligence) produces the effect (the actualized possibility). ID science is the process by which [a] researcher observes the effect, and infers the cause (intelligence)” and of “The detection of the event: Moving backward from effect to cause.”

    Dembski wrote in 1999: “We know we are dealing with an intelligent cause only through the effects that such causes leave behind.”

    One of the greatest theorists in the study of ‘effects’ was the Canadian media, culture and technology scholar Marshall McLuhan. He even coined Four Effects to mirror the Four Causes of Aristotle, which are often cited here at UD. But McLuhan has not been championed or claimed by anyone in the IDM, at least, not that I am aware of. Why not on the topic of Effects?

    In an interview in 1975, McLuhan said: “I don’t study causes. I study effects … No one else is doing this.” In 1964, he wrote about “the operation and effects of human artifacts on man and society.”

    The difference when it comes to IDM-ID is that McLuhan was interested in ‘artifacts’ (human-made things), while the IDM is focussed on ‘organisms’ (non-human-made things), as StephenB said (but there’s more to this coming below). I’m not convinced that IDM-ID’s supposed ‘methodology’ is capable of detecting the ‘effects of intelligence’ (sometimes called ‘signs of intelligence’) in organic things. Most biologists are certainly not convinced of this, even if they find it difficult, if not impossible, to exorcise the language of ‘design’ from their disciplinary speech.

    McLuhan also spoke about the ‘evolution of technology,’ with which I disagree and aim to change with the notion of Human Extension. However, there is some truth to be found in his claim that, “The entire evolutionary process shifted, at the moment of Sputnik, from biology to technology.” (1969) He also said that, “These media, being extensions of ourselves, also depend upon us for their interplay and their evolution. The fact that they do interact and spawn new progency…need baffle us no longer if we trouble to scrutinize their action. We can, if we choose, think things out before we put them out.” (1964)

    The final phrase in bold has become the theme song for Human Extension.

    Here we see McLuhan applying an organic metaphor to an artefactual domain. This is explainable mainly by the heavy influences of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and A.N. Whitehead on his thought. Whitehead’s philosophy of organism, his organic realism (in contrast to materialism), had a profound influence on McLuhan, as did Teilhard de Chardin’s notion that not only the cosmos ‘evolves,’ but “all things under heaven,” including humanity and our ‘extensions’ (creative choices, actions of making artifacts). If organisms ‘evolve,’ as Darwin’s theory all but proved (to say nothing about origins of life or biological information or the worldview influence of Darwin’s agnosticism on the meaning of his natural science contribution), then artefacts of human-making, e.g. technology, should be thought to ‘evolve’ as well.

    This can be seem most concisely in McLuhan’s question: “Is not the mechanical at its best a remarkable approximation to the organic?”(1964)

    But here’s the rub for IDM and theories of ID. I’ve heard people on both (or many) sides of this conversation many times claim that culture, society, politics, economics, religion, language, technology, etc. should *all* be compressed or categorized under the title ‘Natural.’ However, if technology is ‘natural’ (or organic-like) and IDM-ID is sleuthing for ‘design in nature,’ i.e. for ‘effects (or signs) of intelligence,’ then IDM-ID theory should be directing its focus to technology, instead of to biology. This is a reverse perspective to how IDM-IDers currently perceive; from origins of life and biological information, to reflexive humanity and cooperative dialogue between science, philosophy and religion.

    In a nutshell, StephenB, that’s the argument for Human Extension as an alternative way to look at ID.

    *Actually, there are 2 translations of Harry Potter into Chinese, traditional and simplified; both are ‘extensions’ of the original English book, which is an extension of J.K. Rowling’s imagination and creativity and her choice, action, production of writing a book about Harry Potter, and eventually a book series.

  59. Onlookers:

    Notice, how GS alludes to a proposal regarding impacts of media as though it were all the same as the pattern of causal factors tracing to chance, mechanical necessity and choice contingency:

    What does the medium enhance?
    What does the medium make obsolete?
    What does the medium retrieve that had been obsolesced earlier?
    What does the medium flip into when pushed to extremes?

    This bespeaks a serious confusion.

    KF

  60. Gregory’s reply to StephenB at 57-58 is illuminating. It reinforces all the points I’ve been making to Gregory.

    Examples:

    *********************
    Gregory: “Let there be no mistake, Human Extension is focussed on ‘artefacts,’ i.e. on human-made things and not on ‘organisms’ and other biological objects.”

    * Exactly. Which is why it has nothing to do with ID theory (as Behe, Dembski, Meyer, Wells, Sternberg, Denton, etc. conceive of it.)

    ******************
    StephenB: “the Human Extension process cannot speak to the problem of nature’s design patterns”
    Gregory: “That is not what HEM is meant for.”

    * Exactly. Which is why it is useless to ID theory (as specified above).

    *******************

    So the point is that, however useful “Human Extension” may be — and I’ve never denied that it could be useful — that is, if it could be focused on precise goals, and abandon any attempt to be a grand theory of Everything — it is of no use to the activities of the ID people.

    The only way it *could* be useful is by coming up with some new understanding of the nature of “design” which could give the ID people hints where to look in nature for evidence of design, or suggestions how to refine their tests for design. But Gregory appears to be completely uninterested in such an application of his project.

    As a lead-up to my conclusion, I’ll examine Gregory’s final statement:

    “In a nutshell, StephenB, that’s the argument for Human Extension as an alternative way to look at ID.”

    But Gregory’s discussion has proved that it *isn’t* an alternative way to look at “ID” at all. It has *nothing to do* with ID. It is a project of studying design in the human context alone. It self-consciously limits itself to that context. Therefore, isn’t an alternative way to look at ID; it’s a completely different enterprise. The two are as different as biology and sociology.

    Again, there is nothing wrong with Gregory’s project. A “phenomenology of human design” could be quite illuminating for social science and even for the humanities. But he has not shown its relevance to ID. How would it improve Mike Behe’s arguments? As far as I can tell, it would “improve” them by generating a prefatory statement like this:

    “For those who are curious about my motives, I always thought that my motive was to provide a better scientific explanation than that offered by neo-Darwinism. I still maintain this to be my conscious motive. However, I am told by sociologists of science that I look for design in nature because I am unconsciously influenced by the Christian doctrine of imago dei. That also is probably true. So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I have two motives, one conscious, and one unconscious. But my scientific peers don’t give a rat’s rear end about my motives, conscious or unconscious; they want to see my arguments. So now, if the sociologists will get off my back, I’d like to get on with demonstrating that the immune system could not have evolved by Darwinian means.”

    Is that what Gregory wants? For ID people to preface all their scientific works with statements like that? And if they do so, will he leave them alone after that? And stop asking them to read McLuhan and a million other things? Sheesh, if that’s all he wants, if that’s all it will take to get him to stop posting irrelevant sociological material on ID-related web sites, I personally will write to Behe, Dembski, etc., and beg them to include a paragraph like the above in their next books. I’ll even write the paragraphs for them.

    Deal, Gregory?

  61. One question, humble and merciful Timaeus, hiding bravely behind a sock-puppet:

    Is ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design theory’ in your opinion a ‘human-made thing’? Yes or no?

  62. It’s probably KF’s first introduction to the Four Effects, and that is why he’s not prepared to give a respectable answer. Thus, defence is needed, in the form of dismissal. In that sense, KF is kind of like F.M. Dostoevsky’s observation: “Give to a Russian pupil, ignorant in astronomy, a map of the heavenly bodies; and the next day he will bring it back corrected.”

    There simply couldn’t be a ‘serious confusion’ with KF’s understanding because IDM-ID *is* right, end of story.

    But this is the United States and its competence in philosophy of science today we are speaking about. It would win very few medals on the international scale on this topic. Is it ready to be coached by others or to humbly admit a need for help?

    KF cites “the pattern of causal factors tracing to chance, mechanical necessity and choice contingency.” These are very different things when speaking about human intelligence and non-human (mainly speculative) intelligence. Can that be acknowledged openly?

    The ‘serious confusion’ KF speaks of is his own, not knowing about the studies of ‘effects’ that have been going on outside of Dembski’s ‘explanatory filter’ or Meyer’s ‘processes from origins’ reverse engineering for many years.

    Several issues of contrast between IDM-ID, which is interested in ‘organisms’ and other biological objects, and Human Extension, which is interested in ‘artifacts’ remain on the table in this thread.

    Let us not forget that ‘theories’ are also ‘artefacts’ of human-making.

    If Human Extension, as a way of studying human designs and institutions and their actualization, can help to displace ‘evolution of everything’ ideology, is it not something that can and should be supported by IDM-IDers?

  63. Gregory, re 61:

    I have a much better question:

    “Did random mutations, filtered by natural selection, and perhaps accompanied by other stochastic mechanisms, all without either intervention or front-loading by any intelligence, turn a primitive one-celled creature into all the other life forms, including man?” Yes or no.

    The reason my question is better is that it addresses an existential concern — about the purpose of human life — felt by hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, whereas your question is of interest only to academics studying epistemology and social science — about 1% of 1% the world’s population.

  64. GS:

    As a supplement to Timaeus’ question, please explain the relevance of McLuhan’s four effects etc to the claimed origin by undirected forces of chance and mechanical necessity in a warm little electrified pond or a volcano vent or a gas giant moon or a comet etc some 3.8 BYA, of gated, metabolic, C-chemistry Aqueous medium automata involving von Neumann self replication — i.e. living cells — thus using coded digital data.

    KF

  65. PS: In short, I am asking for a focus of attention on one of the real-world foci of design theory since TMLO in 1984, OOL.

  66. Of course, you always have a better question, even if you have no answers. It couldn’t be otherwise. That is part of your individual ‘textual scholar’ without personality reason for choosing the pseudonymous name ‘Timaeus.’

    ‘Stochastic mechanisms’ resonating with ‘millions of people’, yeah right!! ;)

    Still my simple, proletarian (dedicated worker), everyday person question remains for you. Why? Because human-made things are a daily, existential concern and interest for everybody.

    Is ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design theory’ in your opinion a ‘human-made thing’? Yes or no?

    ‘Timaeus’ may be a ‘real person,’ an IDM-ID pseudo-celebrity at UD. But then again, he may be just a ‘bot’ with an attitude and no personal choice or character until he answers. (And it’s actually really not a difficult or complex question!)

  67. F/N: For those interested in TMLO, cf the text here, now free for download. Notice the actual issues and concerns, as well as the analytical techniques brought to bear in especially Chs 7 – 9. Since then, it has been found more widely useful to shift focus to a closely related concept, information. Particularly, information that is relevant to items that per functional requisites are complex and specified. It is in that context in which for example Dembski’s Chi metric was developed, and from which we have derived and discussed the log reduced modified metric Chi_500 = I*S – 500.

  68. Gregory (66):

    I’ll answer your question this way:

    All scientific theories — not just ID, but all of them — are conceived by human minds.

    Whether we should say they are “made” by human minds is another question. That sounds kind of Viconian to me, and, as you might guess, I’m a Platonist. *Theoria* means something different to me than it does to most modern people.

    But if your point is that theories are a human thing (and hence unlike rocks and snails) — yes, of course. But I need no social science or sophisticated modern jargon from philosophy of science to see that. I just need the sort of recognition that was obvious in ancient times to people like Cicero and Aristotle.

    Now, I’ve answered your question. How about answering mine?
    (And by the way, while the masses may not recognize the term “stochastic” they understand perfectly well the issue the term points to, i.e., the difference between “with large enough numbers you get lucky now and then” and “for some things, large numbers aren’t enough; you need planning.”)

    So, the question:

    Do you think that, given the first cell, which you’ve already admitted to have been specially created (thus burning your bridges with 3/4 of the TE/EC crowd), all the other species were derived without any intervention or front-loading? Or do you think God was tinkering, or loaded up the early genome with some long-running programs which eventually had to generate a set of creatures very much like what we see? Or are you going to duck the question, on the grounds that “biological questions” (unimportant things like whether or not we are all the products of cosmic caprice) don’t interest you because you are a sociologist?

  69. Gregory, let’s probe a little more deeply into the subject matter.

    “ Thus, we are in agreement that ID is “focussed on ‘organisms’ and other biological objects (e.g. bacterial flagellum) – non-human-made things, not on ‘artifacts’ – human-made things.”

    *Yes, ID is primarily concerned with organisms, though I hasten to add that the method can be applied to any artifact. That is why I sometimes allude to archeology’s capacity to discern design in an ancient hunter’s spear.

    “Human Extension involves a simple, single methodology, which will be released in my second book (really first one, the first is more like a long e-pamphlet – about 60 pages), hopefully in 2013. Indeed, there I call it Human Extension Methodology (HEM). If you’d like to adopt that acronym for it, you are welcome, but there’s no need to get ahead of ourselves.”

    *We can certainly look forward to that day. What you have presented so far, though, does not rise to the level of a rigorous process. My reason for raising the issue was not to find fault with your general approach, which may have possibilities, but to point out that there is not, as of yet, any sociological process by which the ID methodology (as opposed to the ID cultural movement) can be rationally criticized or evaluated. As long as you continue to use the phrase IDM-ID, implying that the ID movement is synonymous with ID methodology, your analysis will be faulty

    “Again, I’m not interested in trying to “provide a better one.” (Improvement on ID’s methodology). I’m not convinced that ‘design’ is something that can be ‘empirically proven/detected in nature’ … *unless* ‘human nature’ is involved ‘reflexively’ in the process.”

    *I understand that you question the claim that ID models are effective at detecting design. However, you seem to have presented two incompatible themes: At times, you insist that the ID process ALREADY presupposes the notion of “imago Dei”, which is why I presented the ID model to make it clear that no such presupposition exists in the methodology. There is no assumption of imago Dei, for example, in the explanatory filter. It just isn’t there. This is not a matter of interpretation; it is a matter of fact.

    At other times, though, you seem to argue, in contrary fashion, that ID OUGHT TO INCLUDE the notion of imago Dei and get into the spirit of an interdisciplinary synthesis. In that sense, you appear to be saying that ID could improve its methodology by making that inclusion. Accordingly, I have made it clear, I think, that the ID model simply cannot incorporate such a theme and, at the same time, remain an empirical process. By contrast, you seem to think that it is possible to have it both ways (to begin with an observation of nature and also to presuppose design) which would seem to indicate that you know of a way to do it. I am simply asking you to show me that way. It seems evident that if you cannot provide a specific example of what that new and improved methodology would look like, from beginning to end, then you have no warrant for saying that any such improvement is possible, much less advisable.

    Yes. Christians do believe that humans are designed with a design detector (they are made in God’s image with the gift of a rational soul) and are situated in a designed universe ripe for design detection. Clearly, this conception launched the modern scientific enterprise. Also, this same belief system does, no doubt, inspire most ID scientists and ID philosophers of the past to do their work. Still, a psychological motivation is one thing; a metaphysical presupposition is something else.

    What we are discussing pertains to the matter of what happens after the ID thinker, duly motivated, begins his work. Aquinas, for example, certainly believed in a designer God, but no such presupposition exists in his famous arguments for God’s existence. His faith did not in any way drive his methodology. Otherwise, his so-called proofs would have been trivial tautologies—the conclusion would have already been built into the presupposition. That is why he always made it a point to begin with observation and reason his way back to the Creator.

    It is for the same reason that the ID process begins with an observation. The objective is not to presuppose the cause but to search for the cause. Otherwise, there would be no need to conduct the investigation since the conclusion would be embedded in the presupposition. ID’s approach is to allow the evidence to speak for itself so that the scientist can follow where it leads. By contrast, ID’s competitors and critics, typically begin with a faith commitment and a strong resolve to lead the evidence in the direction of the hoped-for conclusion.

    Granted, some legitimate presuppositions for science do exist and William Lane Craig has provided a comprehensive list as follows:

    (1)The existence of a theory-independent, external world; (2) the orderly nature of the external world; (3) the knowability of the external world; (4) the existence of truth; (5) the laws of logic; (6) the reliability of our cognitive and sensory faculties to serve as truth gatherers and as a source of justified true beliefs in our intellectual environment; (7) the adequacy of language to describe the world; (8) the existence of values used in science (e.g., “test theories fairly and report test results honestly”); (9) the uniformity of nature and induction; (10) the existence of numbers.

    Notice, though, that there is nothing on that list concerning the subject of imago Dei. There is a good reason for the exclusion: Reason’s rules are metaphysical, not theological. Again, notice that the concept of “design” also didn’t make the cut. As principles of Christian faith,” imago Dei” and” design” may serve to inspire the scientist, but they have nothing to do with the intellectual standards for gaining new knowledge or interpreting evidence reasonably. That is the exclusive business of philosophy.

    “Sure, one needn’t be religious to do good science. But then again, like Steve Fuller asks as a title to one of his book chapters, “What has atheism – old or new – ever done for science?” His answer: “Atheism as a positive doctrine has done precious little for science.”

    *This is a great point and I agree with it without qualification.

    “Dialogue, yes; synthesis (or synergy) and harmony, that’s the attempt.”

    *Everything turns on what you mean by synthesis. I hold that truth is unified. In other words, there are many aspects to truth, but only one truth. One truth does not exist for science, another for philosophy, and another for theology. Why does this matter? If science, philosophy, and theology all present diverse aspects of the same truth (as opposed to each arriving at its own truth) then, on condition that each uses its proper methods, any truths arrived at from one domain will always be compatible with truths arrived at in another domain. Conversely, any apparent truth arrived at in one field must be false if it contradicts a known truth in another field. Lawrence Kraus, a popular scientist, says that the universe could have created itself out of nothing. This ridiculous claim contradicts both the law of identity and the law of causality. There is no reason to take it seriously because evidence, interpreted rationally, cannot possibly support his contention. He can only come to such a perverse conclusion by interpreting the evidence irrationally.

    I define “synthesis,” therefore, as interdisciplinary cooperation between the various branches of knowledge in the pursuit of the one truth. Clearly, theology (and philosophy) can illuminate science in many ways—and vice versa. I am not suggesting that each branch has nothing to do with the other. Quite the contrary, every specialty overlaps horizontally with its neighbor specialty (social psychology, sociology, anthropology) and finds its level vertically with higher and lower sciences (physics>>chemistry>>biology) (Theology>>philosophy>>mathematics>>science).

    A specialist who has no general knowledge of his relationship with the big picture is a danger to himself and others. May the saints preserve us from scientists who know nothing about philosophy and philosophers who know nothing about science.

    What it all add up to is this: no thinker from any one area of knowledge should ever presume to tell someone in another field what methods to use or what problems to address. As far as I know, this novel attempt by anti-ID partisans to intrude on ID’s methodological practices is unprecedented in the annals of intellectual pursuits. Darwinists want to impose “methodological naturalism, neo Thomists push their philosophy of nature, TEs intrude with their theodicy, and now sociologists are weighing in with “reflexivity” and “imago Dei. As Jimmy Durante used to say, “Everybody wants to get in on the act.” There is a reason for that as well. The ID community remains as the only real threat to Darwinists and the only one they take seriously. Because ID is a significant social force, many hope to make their career by attacking it. They survive as parasites only because ID lives. I have higher hopes for you.

  70. StephenB:

    Number 69 was a well-argued post. I like the way you defend the Classical and Christian rationality which has sustained the West, and oppose various positions which tend to damage or obscure sound intellectual distinctions.

    As far as I can tell, Steve Fuller is arguing that Christianity provides a powerful motivation for looking at the world as designed, but is not advocating that ID proponents actually intermingle theological propositions with scientific arguments.

    With Gregory, it is harder to tell, because he shifts his emphasis from post to post. Sometimes he seems to be saying that all ID people need to do is publically acknowledge their Christian motivation, and then go on with their scientific work; other times he seems to be demanding something more of ID people, but what that something more is, is not clear. It appears to have something to do with acknowledging the human origin of the concept of design, and it appears to imply that there is something very suspect about applying “design” to natural beings such as organisms. If the latter is the case, then Gregory is contradicting himself, saying on the one hand that Axe, Gauger, etc. can get on with their work, and that is fine with him, but on the other that the ID movement’s conception of design is somehow incompetent, naive, or misapplied when employed to determine the origins of natural things. I don’t know whether this confusion is strategic on Gregory’s part — e.g., whether he is deliberately altering what he says just to “yank our chains” or for some other manipulative purpose — or whether it reflects confusion in Gregory’s mind over what exactly his problem with ID science is.

    In any case, I’ll now restate my position:

    1. There is nothing wrong with a humanities/social science analysis of the phenomenon of “design” (or related concepts, such as purpose); I’m quite happy for Gregory to spend his time doing such work.

    2. Gregory has not made the case — hasn’t even provided one concrete instance — where some result of such a humanities/social science analysis would help the ID people make their arguments stronger.

    3. I suspect that this is not simply because it’s hard to imagine how Gregory’s analysis *could* help ID arguments; I suspect Gregory doesn’t really *want* to help ID arguments, because he is not really sympathetic with the project. He’s already admitted to a belief in the designed origin of life that springs from faith, not the analysis of living organisms, and he won’t comment on whether any further design was needed after the origin of life; plus, he says he has no interest in biological questions or natural science questions generally. I have the distinct impression that if Behe, Dembski, Meyer, etc. were all kidnapped by aliens and taken to the Andromeda Galaxy, never to return, and all ID research stopped, that Gregory would not feel that anything bad had happened to the study of biological and cosmic origins, or that anything bad had happened to the Christian counterattack against the new atheism. In short, Gregory is not on our side.

    4. However, he does want to hijack the label “ID”, giving it an “alternative” interpretation, and attach such prestige as the term has acquired to his own social-science project. I see no reason why ID people should let him do that unopposed. They’ve worked long and hard and against fierce opposition, and often at great personal cost (e.g., permanent denial of academic employment, something Gregory has not so far had to suffer), and they’ve done that to advance our understanding of nature and to remove bad arguments against religious faith. They don’t deserve to have their brand name stolen by a social scientist who basically doesn’t care whether their project lives or dies.

  71. Timaeus, thank you for your coments @70. I appreciate it. In keeping with some of your points, two things occur to me:
    [A] I think ID could benefit from a PR standpoint by adopting one element of Steve Fuller’s approach as I understand it. While the ID scientist, by virtue of his phenomenological approach, cannot pass judgment on the nature of the designer, he can certainly put on his philosopher’s hat long enough to provide a common-sense interpretation of what can appear to be, but is not, in my judgment, a concession to materialist ideology.

    The ID proponent could, for example, say something like this:

    “The archeologist , who detects design in an ancient hunter’s spear, cannot , by virtue of his methodological limitations, identify the hunter. Similarly, the ID scientist, who detects design in nature, cannot, by virtue of those same limitations, identify the designer or even comment on the designer’s nature. In that same context, he cannot, in principle, rule out a material designer—not because he believes that it is or even could be so–but because his experience-based methodology, which cannot probe beyond the nature of effects, requires an agnostic response, in the same way that the experience-based methodology that informs theories of Big Bang Cosmology and Astrophysical Fine Tuning requires an agnostic response.”

    “HOWEVER: I am not only a scientist, I am also a human being (Gregory will like this) capable a reason and equipped with the capacity to examine issues from the higher perspective of philosophical analysis. I know that the designer I detected through scientific methods must be personal and cannot be material. If the first cause of the universe was material, then the universe, as matter, would also have to be eternal, but know that it is not. Further, we know that matter once began to exist, that it could not have been its own cause, and must, therefore, have been caused by an immaterial being. Further still, a material, eternal law c could not cause the universe to come into being because a law can do only what it has always done, and is not, therefore, flexible enough to change its behavior and perform a creative act.”

    In other words, ID scientists ought to calm the concerns of neo-Thomists (and other Christian observers) who know that the creator of the universe cannot be possibly be material and dramatize the point that they are NOT indulging in materialist assumptions, ever for the sake of argument. In other words, they must press the difference between scientific methodology and philosophical reasoning and celebrate the latter with the same enthusiasm as the former.

    [B] I am not yet clear on Steve Fuller’s broader argument. To be more precise, I am still trying to figure out if he is stumping for a better dialogue among science, philosophy, and religion (sounds good to me) or a new methodology (how exactly would this be possible and what does the finished product look like). I cannot find the answer in his writings, Even so, I think a piece of the puzzle may be found in a you tube video entitled, “Professor Steve Fuller talks about Intelligent Design.” If you have time to listen to it (it’s only about 6 minutes), I would be interested in your interpretation. I would especially be interested in evaluating the concept of biology as “Divine technology.” I am not entirely closing my mind the idea. I just want to be clear about what he is proposing

  72. Thanks for your patience with a slightly slower pace than usual at UD. StephenB, unfortunately we’ve hit a snag and need some clarification to be able to move forward. You have accused me of contradiction and now I must return the favour.

    “Yes, ID is primarily concerned with organisms, though I hasten to add that the method can be applied to any artifact.” – StephenB

    It looks like you’re now hesitating on your agreement in #53, with a defence behind something called ‘the method.’ I’ll turn to that a bit later, but let me address your concern here.

    “You seem to think that it is possible to have it both ways (to begin with an observation of nature and also to presuppose design) which would seem to indicate that you know of a way to do it. I am simply asking you to show me that way.” – StephenB

    The way to do it is with Human Extension. We make observations of ‘human nature’ and identify the ‘presupposed design’ in that ‘artefacts’ are human-made. There is no need to prove ‘artefacts’ *are* (speaking ‘ontologically’) human-made, i.e. ‘designed.’ It is redundant to say, ‘Look, a designed artefact.’ Timaeus agreed with this meaning of ‘artifact.’

    I wrote: “It was my understanding that ‘artifacts’ are by definition ‘designed,’ i.e. by human designers. I thought ID was instead focussed on ‘organisms’ and other biological objects (e.g. bacterial flagellum) – non-human-made things, not on ‘artifacts’ – human-made things.”

    You seemed to agree (in #53), but now want ID to (be able to) focus on artifacts too. Unfortunately, you can’t have it both ways, StephenB, when speaking of ‘THE ID method’. So, which is it? (Survey to come on this important question.)

    Archaeology is a study of objects known to be human-made; it does not address “the question of life’s origins” and it is not, strictly speaking, a ‘natural science.’ Archaeology is therefore not a field that is relevant to IDM-ID, except by analogy with human-made things. It is this ‘human intelligence’ vs. ‘non-human intelligence’ analogy which forks Stephen C. Meyer in his philosophy of (natural) science, and which Steve Fuller importantly raised in his response in this thread.

    From ‘the ID model’ [cf. method?] according to StephenB: “The purpose of the ID model is to address the question of life’s origins and discern the answer, design or no design.”

    You are looking for a simple Yes or No answer as a conclusion of ‘the ID model/method’: was it designed or not? I am interested in that too (wrt human-made things), but also in much more than that. I want to be able to study the designing process and also the designer(s) (small-d = human designers). Human Extension methodology (HEM) allows me and anyone else to do that; ID methodology does not.

    “The purpose of Human Extension is to address the question of ‘extensions of man(kind) and to discern an answer to this question: was it human made or not and, if so, how was it made, when where and why.”

    IDM-ID doesn’t care about (or at least, gives no attention to) how, when, where and why; that’s just not a part of its current mandate. This is a major difference between these two approaches.

    Please remember, StephenB, what Timaeus openly admitted: “Physical processes we can talk about. Design processes, I don’t see how.” Additionally, “The ‘design’ takes place,” he claims, “inside the mind(s) of the designer(s).” But we’re not allowed according to IDM-ID to look “inside the mind(s) of the designer(s),” like we are with Human Extension, which is more psychologically than cosmologically-oriented. So, in terms of learning about ‘intelligent agency’ and ‘design process,’ Human Extension clearly has more explanatory power than IDM-ID. This should not be a debatable or shameful proposition, since you folks have already stated that ‘ID methodology’ just isn’t about ‘design process’ or identifying the ‘designer(s)’ of ‘things that *are* designed.’

    “all designs originate in and proceed from minds, not from pencils, drafting boards, organizational meetings, etc.”- Timaeus

    If Timaeus had read McLuhan and grasped his work with understanding, he would realise that this is exactly the point of ‘understanding media’ as ‘the extensions of man.’ Neither McLuhan nor I are discounting minds; that is not the neo-Thomist way. We’re talking about the decisions and actions of minds(, hearts) and bodies in society, as they/we are involved in physical/embodied processes and activities, rather than just in the Platonic, abstract, unembodied, detached way that Timaeus is presenting of ‘design/Design.’

    Here ‘extension’ is closer to what Timaeus means by ‘creation,’ i.e. the ‘design’ takes place before the ‘creation,’ the latter which actualises the former’s potency. That is why I speak of ‘human-making,’ fully acknowledging that this does not lay any claim at all to interpreting or navigating ‘origins of life’ studies or ‘origins of biological information.’ Human Extension has an alternative purpose, which is what this thread was designed and created-extended to show.

    Now I will briefly answer what appears to StephenB as a contradiction in my approach. There are other issues in his #69 worth addressing later and I appreciate his courtesy in confronting Human Extension directly and wrestling with my word choice (including neologisms), even as it differs from his.

    In my view, IDM-ID *both* presupposes *and* ought to include imago Dei forthrightly in the ‘scientific’ and ‘cultural renewal’ aspects of its mission. There is no contradiction in these two things. Of course, this would not appeal the same way to Muslims as it would to Christians and Jews, but that seems to be a part of the trade-off and there are other features of ID that could appeal to Muslims in the cooperative dialogue between science, philosophy and religion (or theology). In so far as the goal of IDM-ID is to appeal to agnostics or to those who are anti-spirituality or anti-soul, i.e. to operate as an apologetic tool inspiring cultural renewal (against materialism, naturalism, scientism, reductionism, biologism, nihilism, etc.), then Yes, it simply needs to put more emphasis on the religious roots of the scientific enterprise, including ‘ID (proto-)science,’ which Fuller among many others supports.

    Otoh, if we are speaking about ‘just the science,’ as Timaeus often attempts to do (though he is not a scientist), e.g. stating “ID theory…will necessarily be focused on questions of natural science,” then what needs to be stated up front is that IDM-ID, in its original formulation, by Charles Thaxton, Stephen C. Meyer, Philipp Johnson, William Dembski, Michael Behe, Paul Nelson (YEC), Jonathan Wells, et al. *all* interpret the world not just with scientific eyes, but also through the eyes of faith. The two (science and faith) cannot be separated artificially by objectivistic claims to ‘just (natural) science,’ although many people try to do this, even today.

    This is why I view ID as (properly) a ‘science, philosophy, religion (or theology)’ discourse, ‘by nature’ or ‘by character’ of ID as a knowledge-seeking enterprise. And it is also what differentiates my view of ID from IDM-ID as currently formulated. (But Meyer’s reported admission to Fuller in Cambridge gives hope for a new path forward for IDM-ID in this respect!)

    From the “legitimate presuppositions to science” StephenB highlights from William Lane Craig, #s 3-9 can all be said to imply imago Dei, which is consistent with Craig’s openly and apologetically Christian worldview. Because Craig’s list is ‘extra-scientific’ by definition, there is absolutely no problem whatsoever in recognising reflexive features of his list. That is, as a Christian, Craig’s list makes sense as coming from a person who (believes he) is created imago Dei; the same is true of the founding/coining of ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ theory.

    It makes sense also that I now answer StephenB’s concern: “As long as you continue to use the phrase IDM-ID, implying that the ID movement is synonymous with ID methodology, your analysis will be faulty.”

    The two are necessarily intertwined unless or until they unravel. ‘IDM-ID,’ the way I use it refers to ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ (both are sometimes meant, with the common acronym = ID) as expressed by people who are advocates or proponents of ID according to the meanings of the Discovery Institute’s CSC and its leading Fellows, several of whom are mentioned above.

    There are non-IDM-ID advocates and proponents of ID, like Mike Gene, John Lennox and Steve Fuller, who mean something differently when they speak of ID than IDM-ID, with its openly political and ‘cultural renewal’ aspects. Since the term ‘intelligent design’ pre-exists the IDM, the term ‘IDM-ID’ is meant as a helpful way to make clear distinctions based on the various views people hold. Yes, the IDM and whatever methodology(ies) it uses are two different things; but they are not mutually exclusive because ‘methodology’ is used by persons and does not exist in a vacuum.

    It is worth noting that StephenB speaks of ID methodology, while Timaeus speaks of ID theory, which is of course not the same thing.

    If one acknowledges there actually *is* an IDM (which Timaeus does not seem to wish to do, stuck as he is on debating ‘just the science,’ refusing any human connection involved with a ‘movement’), that is enough already to justify the term IDM-ID. The IDM invented ‘ID methodology’ or ‘ID methodologies’ or ‘ID hypotheses’ or ‘ID theories’ or ‘ID science,’ or ‘ID philosophy’ or ‘ID worldview,’ etc. – this means basically that the leaders of the IDM designed and created-extended those things (e.g. in books, articles, institutions, clubs, etc.). So, unless StephenB is saying something like, “Forget the founders and leaders of IDM-ID, we at UD and I in particular are/am taking control of ‘the methodology’ by ourselves/myself,” then IDM-ID logically remains as the most-talked-about and ‘most common’ meaning of ID. But it is not the only meaning of ID, which is why I clarify this by denoting IDM-ID.

    Hopefully that helps in the communicative realm, StephenB.

    I await your clarification on ‘organisms’ vs. ‘artifacts’ with interest.

  73. One quick add-on:

    “I define ‘synthesis,’ therefore, as interdisciplinary cooperation between the various branches of knowledge in the pursuit of the one truth. Clearly, theology (and philosophy) can illuminate science in many ways—and vice versa.” – StephenB

    Yet, above, you wrote: “The way that science, philosophy, and religion should interact is clear: Dialogue, yes; synthesis, no.”

    Now you seem to have changed (or re-defined) your position and are suggesting ‘Yes’ to ‘synthesis’ between science, philosophy and religion (or theology) as ‘interdisciplinary cooperation.’ Again, if you do believe this, I’m glad to hear it! This is what Steve Fuller and I are promoting (e.g. his ‘divine technology’ and my ‘human extension’) and which ‘ID-as-natural-science-only’ fails to enable or embrace.

  74. Gregory wrote (72):

    “The two (science and faith) cannot be separated artificially by objectivistic claims to ‘just (natural) science,’ although many people try to do this, even today.”

    Interesting. This is exactly what BioLogos, and most American TE/EC people do — compartmentalize “truths known via science” and “truths known by faith” — so that the two can never contradict each other. Yet I never heard Gregory once complain about the strict separation of science and faith advocated by the theistic evolutionists. It’s only when ID people make such distinctions that he objects. I wonder why there’s a double standard.

    Be that as it may, I think there *are* places where truths of science *can* be separated from truths of faith or even the influence of faith. “A pressure of X thousand pounds per square foot will burst Boulder Dam” is a scientific statement which does not require any religious assumptions, not even about the image of God. It requires only the assumption that nature is regular.

    Similarly, Mike Behe’s books — which Gregory refuses to read, though he doesn’t refrain from talking about Behe — offer a discussion about the probability of certain evolutionary events. There are no religious assumptions in any of Behe’s discussions. The only assumption is that nature is regular.

    If Gregory responds that the regularity of nature is a religious assumption, it would be more accurately described as a metaphysical assumption. But either way, it was held by the ancient Greeks, who had not read Genesis on the image of God, so it’s not a Christian assumption, and it’s Christian assumptions that Gregory is talking about.

    But it’s useless arguing with Gregory. Being a grand visionary who traffics in big general concepts, he doesn’t like getting his hands dirty with details, and that’s why he refuses to read ID books, but those of us who have read ID technical books know that there are *no* religious arguments in them. Gregory cannot prove otherwise unless he reads the books, and since he refuses to read the books, he must yield the point by default. But he won’t do so. At that point, what can one say, but: “You don’t know what you are talking about, because you haven’t done the necessary homework,” and walk away from the discussion?

    Gregory also writes:

    “This is why I view ID as (properly) a ‘science, philosophy, religion (or theology)’ discourse, ‘by nature’ or ‘by character’ of ID as a knowledge-seeking enterprise. And it is also what differentiates my view of ID from IDM-ID as currently formulated.”

    How Gregory views ID doesn’t matter. He doesn’t get to define the term. The people who get to define the term are the people who gave the term its current meaning. It means what they say it means, whether Gregory likes it or not. And they are not going to change the definition one iota, no matter how long Gregory fulminates on the subject. Nor should they. Gregory is an outsider who has contributed precisely zero help to ID; and he has no natural-science training which would cause him to be respected by ID people, and further, he won’t even read ID people’s technical writings, and show the ID people that he understands them, which gives them even less cause to respect his opinions. Even here at UD, the only people listening to him are ID supporters, not ID scientists. Gauger, Axe, Sternberg, Behe, Dembski, Meyer, etc. are completely ignoring everything he writes here — as they have always completely ignored everything he has written under three or four different names on various web sites. They have no reason to care what a sociologist at an Eastern European university thinks about biochemistry, probability theory, cosmic fine-tuning, non-coding DNA, information theory, etc. So he is simply wasting his breath.

    The meaning of the term ID will not change. Gregory will sell maybe a few hundred “copies” of his e-book online; Mike Behe’s first book alone sold a quarter of a million copies, and tens of thousands of copies of other ID books are in people’s homes and in libraries. He has about as much chance of changing the meaning of “ID” in the public mind as he would have of changing the meaning of “gay” back to its original sense by writing an e-book about that. He would do better to stop banging his head against the wall, accede to the ID people’s own use of the term, and sell “Human Extension” on its own merits, and not try to connect it in any way with ID. But I don’t expect that he will listen to pragmatic advice. Gregory reminds me very much of Don Quixote.

  75. Do you allow participant surveys at UD? If so, then I’d like to make one now, while waiting for StephenB to respond also on this question.

    One might say I don’t bruise easily, but I confuse easily when quite a few people are saying different things and one person is telling (nay, berating) me that obviously they’re all saying the same thing.

    ID theory: to be or not to be…about (non-human-made) organisms or (human-made) artifacts or both?

    First, to the terminology regarding ‘intelligent design’, here is what has been written so far in this thread: “the ID model,” “the ID methodology,” “the ID theory,” “the ID process,” “ID science,” “the design inference process,” “the design detection process,” “ID’s design-detection methodologies,” etc. (& ‘ID people’ 64 times by the same person!)

    LYO suggests ID theory actually can be applied to artifacts (though he is not an IDer), highlighting the definition of ID on this blog – “features of the universe and of living things”. StephenB seems to allow for an ID approach to both organisms and artifacts, but his meaning imo is still not clear. If ID theory can study ‘artifacts,’ then it can study designers and their/our designing process too! kairosfocus speaks of beaver dams (but not on the level of human-made things). Nevertheless, surely everyone here, scholar or layperson, agrees that ‘artifacts’ are ‘features of the universe,’ so that poses the challenge of my question.

    Human-made things: Was the Berlin Wall ‘intelligently designed,’ was the Protestant Reformation (and the Counter-Reformation) ‘intelligently designed,’ was the atomic bomb ‘intelligently designed,’ is vast human inequality and poverty on a global scale ‘intelligently designed,’ etc.?

    Here then is my Uncommon Descent survey question:
    In your opinion, reader, contributor, lurker, does ID theory (or ID methodology, ID science, etc.) properly apply to artifacts, i.e. to human-made things or not? I’m looking for a Yes or No answer and welcome your concise explanatory support for your Yes or No either way.

  76. Gregory:

    ID theory: to be or not to be…about (non-human-made) organisms or (human-made) artifacts or both?

    We use our knowledge of cause and effect relationships- vis-a-vis our study of artifacts and nature, operating freely.

    So yes ID properly applies to artifacts as they give us the knowledge required to be able to differentiate between nature, operating freely and when some agency was involved.

    And that gets to the root of Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation- no adding unnecessary entities.

  77. Gregory’s question (75) is easily answered; no “survey” is needed.

    *Of course* the methods of design detection employed by ID proponents to talk about biological and cosmic origins can also be applied to human artifacts and other results of human activity. For example, we can look at an odd-shaped stone and deduce that it is an arrowhead, and therefore was shaped by some human hand.

    However, confirming the human origin of artifacts is not what ID — capital ID — is about. From the start it has been about questions of biological and cosmic origins.

    A veterinarian has knowledge that would enable him or her to deal with certain human injuries and illnesses, but that does not make a veterinarian into an M.D. The veterinarian’s interest is not in dealing with human injuries and illnesses, but in dealing with animal injuries and illnesses. It would therefore be foolish to redefine veterinary science as “the science that deals with human injuries and illnesses.” And that is what Gregory is trying to do with ID — redefine it as the science that deals with human design, even though ID people, though knowing something about human design, are focused on designs in nature that appear to come from non-human minds.

    ID — capital ID — is happy to leave any general “phenomenology of human design” to people like Gregory.

    On the other hand, “Human Extension,” as defined by its leading (only?) proponent, Gregory, consciously eschews making the design inferences that ID is particularly interested in — design inferences concerning natural things. It therefore *cannot* embrace ID in its project.

    Another way of putting it would be:

    “intelligent design” — lower-case “id” — embraces both “Human Extension” and “ID” — upper case “Intelligent Design.” The ID proponents are interested in upper case ID; Gregory is interested in Human Extension; both activities could be thought of as divisions of “id.”

    Gregory should find this distinction helpful, since he has, scores of times, distinguished between “id” and “ID.” Indeed, what seems inconsistent — if not downright hypocritical — in Gregory’s interminable argument on this thread is that, in the past, he has been positively scornful of “ID” and encouraging only of “id”; yet now he wants to hijack the term “ID” to support his project of Human Extension. What happened to your utter condemnation of upper-case ID, Gregory? Why was it formerly a misguided term, that should have been replaced by “id,” whereas now it is a good term, if interpreted in terms of your own theory of Human Extension?

    It’s as if you recognize that ID now has some cultural currency, and that your tune has changed to “If you can’t beat ‘em, co-opt ‘em.”

    Well, you aren’t going to co-opt our term. Not even with the help of Steve Fuller (whose understanding of ID is not the same as yours in any case). Cultural usage has been established, and it can no more be changed by two people than the sea could be pushed back by King Canute.

    Give it up, Gregory. You’re spitting against the wind.

  78. Thanks for your answer to the survey question, Joe. That’s exactly the kind of answer, of one position or another, I was inviting.

  79. A social survey is a democratic process. Timaeus is attempting to subvert democracy by telling people what they must think and say about ID. This should be seen as unacceptable to anyone with a democratic spirit.

    The survey question is direct, clear and basic. It regards what people view as the proper domain for ID theories. Timaeus has given his one voice; he should now rest his pregnant tongue and be patient awaiting the results of the survey. Democracy affords everyone a voice to contribute; attempting to speak on behalf of ‘ID people’ when no mandate has been given does not.

    Since the people who visit this site are quite capable of expressing their own voice without Timaeus’ persuasion, it is hoped that even as they may be influenced by Timaeus’ words, that they would still openly share their own thoughts, as democracy allows.

    Joe says: “yes ID properly applies to artifacts.”

    kairosfocus thinks animal-made things are part of ID theory’s proper domain.

    Timaeus says “From the start it [ID theory] has been about questions of biological and cosmic origins.” It ‘can be’ applied to human artifacts, he claims, but isn’t supposed to be.

    StephenB expresses the same ‘ability’ for ID theory/methodology to be applied to artifacts, but there is still a lack of clarity re: his views.

    So, there are differences of opinions about the proper domain of ID theory/methodology, which I view as a healthy thing.

    I am not trying to “redefine it [ID] as the science that deals with human design.” I am simply trying to clarify the proper domain of IDM-ID by asking people here. UD is a site where ‘ID people’ participate. This survey can thus help us to understand the beliefs of ID supporters and proponents about ID theory. Let freedom reign, beyond the divertive tactics of ‘Timaeus,’ who is trying to force his opinion on everyone re: what they should think about ID.

    Survey Question: Does ID theory (or ID methodology, ID science, etc.) properly apply to artifacts, i.e. to human-made things or not? I’m looking for a Yes or No answer and welcome your concise explanatory support for your Yes or No either way.

  80. Gregory, we continue the discussion:

    “The way to do it is with Human Extension. We make observations of ‘human nature’ and identify the ‘presupposed design’ in that ‘artefacts’ are human-made. There is no need to prove ‘artefacts’ *are* (speaking ‘ontologically’) human-made, i.e. ‘designed.’ It is redundant to say, ‘Look, a designed artefact.’ Timaeus agreed with this meaning of ‘artifact.’”

    *You have yet to present the step-by-step, Human Extension process and show how it indicates that a human artifact was made. You have promised to develop such a methodology in your next book, and I certainly believe that you will make that attempt. As it stands, though, you appear to have nothing to put on the table. Notice, though, that we are not, at the moment, discussing the process of human extension. We are discussing your critique of, and recommendations for, ID’s process. In that context, you are insisting that ID begins its methodology with the presupposition of imago Dei and that it does not begin with the observation of data. Further, you insist that ID should acknowledge that practice to the world. So I am asking you to show me exactly where that happens.

    –“Archaeology is a study of objects known to be human-made; it does not address “the question of life’s origins” and it is not, strictly speaking, a ‘natural science.’ Archaeology is therefore not a field that is relevant to IDM-ID, except by analogy with human-made things. It is this ‘human intelligence’ vs. ‘non-human intelligence’ analogy which forks Stephen C. Meyer in his philosophy of (natural) science, and which Steve Fuller importantly raised in his response in this thread”

    *If imago Dei is theologically true, and we both agree that it is, then we should, from a philosophical/theological perspective, expect that our art would, in some modest way, would resemble God’s art. So, if human design leaves Functionally Specified Complex Information, and if Functionally Specified Complex Information exists, in nature, then nature’s design seems like a perfectly reasonable inference.

    Notice again, though, that the process by which I infer design is empirical, that is, I didn’t presuppose imago Dei in making that inference, thought I certainly hold that view theologically. Notice, also, that our theology is illuminating our science, as it is supposed to, but it is not intruding on its methods. The inference component comes from the bottom up, but the faith component comes from the top down. The whole point is that the former confirms the latter. Faith and reason are compatible, but they are not the same thing.

    “You are looking for a simple Yes or No answer as a conclusion of ‘the ID model/method’: was it designed or not? I am interested in that too (wrt human-made things), but also in much more than that. I want to be able to study the designing process and also the designer(s) (small-d = human designers). Human Extension methodology (HEM) allows me and anyone else to do that; ID methodology does not.”
    ID has a process with recognizable limitations. Any legitimate, rigorous process, must, by definition, affirm its objective and negate all other objectives. In that same sense, it can be critiqued for what it cannot do. In ID’s case, the paradigms used cannot describe the design process.

    *Any researcher would be interested in the “how” of design, but at this juncture, no one has been able to conceive of a scientific paradigm that could achieve that goal. ID’s claims and goals are modest precisely because its paradigms are conscious of their limitations. By contrast, the claims of Human Extension seem extravagant to me since there appears to be no process that could take us through the steps necessary for arriving at the hoped for knowledge. In that sense, I cannot critique a process has not yet been developed or even articulated. The ID proponent can justifiably turn to you and say, “physician, heal thyself.” Spend your intellectual capital developing your own paradigm and you will more clearly understand how to critique ID’s paradigm.

    “The purpose of Human Extension is to address the question of ‘extensions of man(kind) and to discern an answer to this question: was it human made or not and, if so, how was it made, when where and why.”

    *Perhaps, but you have not presented the methodology that could serve that purpose. I am not criticizing the effort or the goal (which seems noble enough to me). The point is that the “how to” (the methodology) just isn’t there.

    “IDM-ID doesn’t care about (or at least, gives no attention to) how, when, where and why; that’s just not a part of its current mandate. This is a major difference between these two approaches.”

    *Clearly, ID knows what it doesn’t know—an eminently valuable virtue. The great danger comes from those who think they know what they don’t know (or those who think they have a method when they don’t).

    “Please remember, StephenB, what Timaeus openly admitted: “Physical processes we can talk about. Design processes, I don’t see how.” Additionally, “The ‘design’ takes place,” he claims, “inside the mind(s) of the designer(s).” But we’re not allowed according to IDM-ID to look “inside the mind(s) of the designer(s),” like we are with Human Extension, which is more psychologically than cosmologically-oriented. So, in terms of learning about ‘intelligent agency’ and ‘design process,’ Human Extension clearly has more explanatory power than IDM-ID. This should not be a debatable or shameful proposition, since you folks have already stated that ‘ID methodology’ just isn’t about ‘design process’ or identifying the ‘designer(s)’ of ‘things that *are* designed.’

    *I question the proposition that we can look inside n anyone’s mind from a scientific perspective—Divine or human. Can anyone know how Bach conceived and designed the “Goldberg Variations?” Could Bach have known? How could ID explain the unexplainable?

    Conversely, I cannot comment on HE’s explanatory power since I know of no rigorous HE process that could do the explaining, though I am open-minded enough to seriously consider any such offering that doesn’t appear in the form of a promissory note.

    “In my view, IDM-ID *both* presupposes *and* ought to include imago Dei forthrightly in the ‘scientific’ and ‘cultural renewal’ aspects of its mission. There is no contradiction in these two things”

    *This brings us back to my original and ongoing challenge. If you think ID presupposes imago Dei in its paradigms (or methods), then show me when and where it happens. Provide a specific example.

    “Otoh, if we are speaking about ‘just the science,’ as Timaeus often attempts to do (though he is not a scientist), e.g. stating “ID theory…will necessarily be focused on questions of natural science,” then what needs to be stated up front is that IDM-ID, in its original formulation, by Charles Thaxton, Stephen C. Meyer, Philipp Johnson, William Dembski, Michael Behe, Paul Nelson (YEC), Jonathan Wells, et al. *all* interpret the world not just with scientific eyes, but also through the eyes of faith. The two (science and faith) cannot be separated artificially by objectivistic claims to ‘just (natural) science,’ although many people try to do this, even today.”

    *When the Astrophysicist “discovers” the finely-tuned constants of the universe, he is doing science and using scientific methods; When the Cosmologist “draws an inference to the “Big Bang, he is doing science and using scientific methods. Faith does not provide those insights. Religion may well anticipate them or inspire the project, but the finding is solely scientific because it is based solely on observation. Science involves a replicable process. I have applied it many times in the laboratory.

    “This is why I view ID as (properly) a ‘science, philosophy, religion (or theology)’ discourse, ‘by nature’ or ‘by character’ of ID as a knowledge-seeking enterprise. And it is also what differentiates my view of ID from IDM-ID as currently formulated.”

    *You are conflating the INTRA-disciplinary, scientific process with the INTER-disciplinary dialogue between science, philosophy, and religion. This is a problem.

    “From the “legitimate presuppositions to science” StephenB highlights from William Lane Craig, #s 3-9 can all be said to imply imago Dei, which is consistent with Craig’s openly and apologetically Christian worldview.”

    *You are confusing a presupposition with an implication. Big Bang Cosmology “implies” a creator. That does mean that it “presupposes” a creator.

    “Because Craig’s list is ‘extra-scientific’ by definition, there is absolutely no problem whatsoever in recognising reflexive features of his list. That is, as a Christian, Craig’s list makes sense as coming from a person who (believes he) is created imago Dei; the same is true of the founding/coining of ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ theory.”

    *You are confusing Craig’s capacity to reason (imago Dei) with the substantive fruits of his reason (his arguments and the facts presented). His list makes sense as coming from anyone, including those who do not believe they were created imago Dei. The presuppositions for science are the presuppositions for science–period

    “The two are necessarily intertwined unless or until they unravel. ‘IDM-ID,’ the way I use it refers to ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ (both are sometimes meant, with the common acronym = ID) as expressed by people who are advocates or proponents of ID according to the meanings of the Discovery Institute’s CSC and its leading Fellows, several of whom are mentioned above.”

    *You labor under the misconception that every idea that resides in your mind must automatically correspond to reality simply because it resides in your mind. This is a very dangerous assumption and a highly undisciplined practice. It is the least effective of all methodologies.

    “There are non-IDM-ID advocates and proponents of ID, like Mike Gene, John Lennox and Steve Fuller, who mean something differently when they speak of ID than IDM-ID, with its openly political and ‘cultural renewal’ aspects.”

    *Here’s a novel idea. Why not just listen carefully to what each man says, regardless of which camp you think he belongs to, and then take his words as evidence for what he means—as opposed to putting your own words in his mouth.

    “Yes, the IDM and whatever methodology(ies) it uses are two different things; but they are not mutually exclusive because ‘methodology’ is used by persons and does not exist in a vacuum.”

    *If they are different, then you should not treat them as if they were the same.

    “It is worth noting that StephenB speaks of ID methodology, while Timaeus speaks of ID theory, which is of course not the same thing.”

    *Are you suggesting that our arguments are not consistent? Or, is this another argument by insinuation?

    “So, unless StephenB is saying something like, “Forget the founders and leaders of IDM-ID, we at UD and I in particular are/am taking control of ‘the methodology’ by ourselves/myself,” then IDM-ID logically remains as the most-talked-about and ‘most common’ meaning of ID. But it is not the only meaning of ID, which is why I clarify this by denoting IDM-ID.”

    *No, StephenB is saying that those who criticize ID methodology should learn something about it so that their objections will be pertinent.

    *I define ‘synthesis,’ therefore, as interdisciplinary cooperation between the various branches of knowledge in the pursuit of the one truth. Clearly, theology (and philosophy) can illuminate science in many ways—and vice versa.

    “Yet, above, you wrote: “The way that science, philosophy, and religion should interact is clear: Dialogue, yes; synthesis, no.”

    *Yes, because I was responding to your definition of “synthesis,” which allows for theology to tamper with science’s methods. My definition, however, corrects that difficulty. I am trying to define the proper interdisciplinary relationship between the science, philosophy, and religion. If you are entitled to reframe ID’s well-defined concepts in your own words even to the point of distorting their meaning, then I am surely entitled to define more precisely the words you have left undefined.

  81. Yes termite mounds, beaver dams and spider webs also apply- termites, beavers and spiders are all agencies capable of manipulating nature for their purpose.

    That said Intelligent Design is not about human and animal artifacts. Those just give us the observations and experiences required for a uniformitarian PoV- biological organisms appear designed because they were designed according to our knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

  82. –Gregory: “Survey Question: Does ID theory (or ID methodology, ID science, etc.) properly apply to artifacts, i.e. to human-made things or not? I’m looking for a Yes or No answer and welcome your concise explanatory support for your Yes or No either way.”

    Yes. We know for a fact that intelligent agents produce patterns that contain high levels of Functionally Specified Complex Information, and we also know that these patterns come from no other source. So, when we see those same patterns in nature, we conclude that they, too, were designed. Obviously, then, the process by which we draw that inference applies to artifacts as well as organisms.

    –”A social survey is a democratic process. Timaeus is attempting to subvert democracy by telling people what they must think and say about ID. This should be seen as unacceptable to anyone with a democratic spirit.”

    Timaeus was simply trying to provide you with the correct answer about which there is no dispute. Joe, kairosfocus, Timaeus, myself, or anyone else acquainted with the literature, or even our FAQ, will answer the same way. There is no mystery here. Again, I hasten to remind you of the critical importance of understanding the methods that you presume to critique.

  83. GS: Beavers work in teams to build highly successful dams (and other structures) that are site-specific, gravity or arch. These exhibit high FSCO, and we see a built-in albeit limited — non verbal — intelligence. Any identifiable entity capable of the like exhibits a certain degree of intelligence. And I would love to see R Daneel Olivaw. KF

  84. PS: If you want a method of inventive design look up TRIZ. If you want to get inside the head of designers, try Tesla’s famed ability to build a novel electrical machine in his head, run it for weeks then take it apart and inspect for wear. Or visit with Einstein in a park squinting at the sun then thinking about taking a ride on a beam of light and rewriting physics as a result. Then there is the musical prodigy Bluejay, who HEARD his new symphonies playing and transcribed into music. I mean full symphonies.

  85. @ Gregory
    Yes. ID methodology can be applied successfully to things of either human or nonhuman origin. ID simply states that designed objects tend to exhibit reliable indicators that intelligent agency was involved in their creation (e.g. complex / functionally-specified info and/or mechanical complexity). ID is agnostic to the identity and nature of the designer, so it is irrelevant whether the designer is human or not. Without prior or empirical knowledge of the designer it is impossible to say with absolute certainty what or who the designer was. For instance, I have a beautiful violin sitting on a shelf – clearly a designed object given its carefully shaped parts, fitted together in such a way as to accomplish a function, namely producing music. Who made the violin – no idea. No label on it, and I didn’t witness its construction. But it was designed.

  86. In a world full of butchers, bakers and candle-stick makers, who would make the violin?

    There must have been someone else in that tub…

  87. 87

    “Yes termite mounds, beaver dams and spider webs also apply- termites, beavers and spiders are all agencies capable of manipulating nature for their purpose.”

    since all living things construct, therefore all living things are intelligent and are designed specifically?

    sergio

  88. Are there any negative answers to the survey question? Does anyone here at UD think that ID theory *does not* or *should not* apply to artifacts, i.e. to human-made things, but rather *only* to organisms, i.e. to non-human-made things?

    Before I respond to the helpful answers given already, I thought it would be fair to ask the question one last time, given the perspective I’ve read previously here at UD to the contrary. Do we have an “ID can but ID shouldn’t study human-made things or human designers or design processes” consensus here at UD?

  89. –”I thought it would be fair to ask the question one last time, given the perspective I’ve read previously here at UD to the contrary.”

    *From what source did you receive the “contrary” perspective?

    –”Do we have an “ID can but ID shouldn’t study human-made things or human designers or design processes” consensus here at UD?”

    *Is that the way you interpret the comments that you just read?

  90. O.k. now that there have been several answers to the survey question, here is my response.

    Joe says, “Intelligent Design [capitalised] is not about human and animal artifacts” (#81). But he also claims “ID properly applies to artifacts” (#76). So, there seems to a double-sided coin involved in his approach to ID. How can IDM-ID ‘not be about,’ but at the same time ‘properly apply to’ artifacts? In my view, it can’t.

    StephenB says (#69): “the [ID] method can be applied to any artifact,” i.e. to human-made things. And he answers clearly ‘Yes’ in #82, that ID theory properly applies to artifacts.

    So, my pregnant question to StephenB: If we can apply ID methods to artifacts, then can we not logically and properly speak about the ‘designers’ (i.e. human beings) and the ‘designing processes’ (well-documented) involved in making artifacts, i.e. by studying the human beings involved in ‘human-made things’? If not, then why not, since you’ve already suggested that artifacts *can* be studied using ‘ID methodology’? If yes, then why is there currently little to no work being done on human designers and design processes by DI Fellows if you’re saying ID method(s) can be applied to artifacts?

    Timaeus answers deceptively with a No/Yes hedged bet: “’intelligent design’ — lower-case ‘id’ — embraces both ‘Human Extension’ and ‘ID’ — upper case ‘Intelligent Design.’ The ID proponents are interested in upper case ID; Gregory is interested in Human Extension; both activities could be thought of as divisions of ‘id’.” He continues: “confirming the human origin of artifacts is not what ID — capital ID — is about. From the start it has been about questions of biological and cosmic origins.”

    So, we’ve got two different answers from Timaeus, no surprise. I already said above that I accept small-id, and previously that in my view so do all Abrahamic theists; we believe the world is designed and/or created-extended. By small-id I mean both that “In the beginning God created…” and also on a smaller scale that ‘designers’ are human beings who can be studied and questioned for their/our reflexive ‘acts of designing.’ Human Extension thus focuses on small-id, but not on Big-ID.

    To say small-id embraces Big-ID (and Human Extension) as Timaeus does is problematic. There are many (one might argue all) TE’s and EC’s who accept small-id and yet do not embrace Big-ID. So Timaeus is obviously falsifying reality, off on another of his “inventing things out of thin air on behalf of ‘ID people’” maneuvers. This is most likely because he doesn’t understand or care to know about (or even to acknowledge!) social movements (such as the IDM).

    We’ve got three different names coming from Timaeus: ‘capital ID (and non-capital) ID,’ ‘upper case/lower case ID’ and ‘small-id/Big-ID’ (as he used it here first, of his own accord). I’m going to assume these denote the same difference to him. They denote the same difference to me also, but I give an additional definition that Timaeus does not.

    Timaeus claims Big-ID (that’s the shortest form, which I will use henceforth) is about just the Movement (social, cultural, educational, religious, political, etc.) and its institutional reality at Discovery Institute. I’m suggesting that Big-ID also denotes the claim that ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ can (and has!) be(en) proven ‘scientifically.’ Will Timaeus recognise that definition of Big-ID or not?

    I don’t accept the Big-ID natural scientific proof notion of ‘design in nature’; I think that over-reaches its proper domain. Small-id, however, also can be expressed as a study of human-made things, for which we can study both the designers and the designing processes they use. That is what Human Extension speaks to directly and clearly, leaving aside IDM-IDs desire to ‘uncover the mystery of life’s origins’ instead searching for a better understanding of human beings and our everyday lives, including our technologies, goals, plans, dreams, etc. This is what can be studied with Human Extension, but which has no part of IDM-ID.

    Timaeus, to his credit, however, seems more aware of the significant difference between IDM-ID studying ‘organisms’ OR Human Extension studying ‘artifacts’ than most others here. He wrote (#49): “Gee, I must be slow on the uptake. I thought that a call for ID to switch its focus from what happens in nature to what happens with the design of artifacts and social systems would be a massive changeover from one kind of investigation to a completely different kind of investigation…”

    Timaeus also agreed with me in #51 that “‘artifacts’ are by definition ‘designed,’ i.e. by human designers.” Iow, he understands that one doesn’t have to try to prove something that is already assumed. Thus, Timaeus’ tentative words of support for Human Extension come with the realisation that there is a vast fruitful landscape open for study in the realm of ‘human-made things’, regardless of whether that involves classic YEC-TE/EC-IDM-ID controversies. My attempt to chart a new way forward is obviously disconcerting to him, thus the repeated personal attacks and insults he has publically written about me in recent days at UD.

    “we also know that these patterns [from intelligent agents, aka human agents] come from no other source. So, when we see those same patterns in nature, we conclude that they, too, were designed.” – StephenB

    This is the argument from analogy between human intelligence and non-human intelligence. It does not hold up to scrutiny once one realises that natural sciences and social sciences have different methodological rules. From above re: Human extension – “It begins with human beings acknowledging they/we are ‘reflexive’ creatures.”

    To KF, who says: “If you want a method of inventive design look up TRIZ.”

    Go back and read again more carefully. I wrote the entry for ‘TRIZ’ at ISCID in 2003 and included the link above. Going further, I’ve studied it in two languages (including the original) and recently prepared a short course on TRIZ. Yes, obviously I agree it’s important! If you didn’t catch that then you’ve been ignoring or selectively reading what I say.

    The topic of TRIZ directly over-laps with non-IDM-ID ‘design theories’ that IDM-IDers don’t usually acknowledge. There is much more to ‘design theory’ than is represented solely in the IDM. But many IDM-IDers don’t care or don’t want to know because they are more interested in implications and apologetics than in reality.

    From what I can see, W. Dembski would like to do more with TRIZ, since he speaks about it in his 2004 book “The Design Revolution” Chapter 43, “Research Themes.” There he includes “6. Technological Evolution” and talks about “conceptual leaps (i.e. design).” But of course in TRIZ, we know and assume that the designers are human beings and that we are studying human design processes; not ultimate origins. This shows how TRIZ differs from IDM-ID.

    Dembski writes: “Mapping TRIZ only biological evolution provides a potentially fruitful avenue of design-theoretic research that is entirely consonant with the principle of methodological engineering…the process of technological evolution is itself designed” (2004: 313)

    Again, here we see a purposeful leaping analogy between human-made things and non-human made things; between human-intelligence and non-human-intelligence. Iow, IDM-ID’s “design without (needing to speak about) a designer” may pretend to work in biology and (crudely in) archaeology, SETI, forensics (i.e. having to do with law). But this quite obviously does not work the same in engineering, computer science and human-social sciences, the latter in which we predominantly know who the ‘designers’ are and what they are doing.

    This is a very good reason for making a clear and rigorous distinction between human-made and non-human-made, between human-intelligence and non-human intelligence, which this survey was aimed to consider.

  91. Gregory-

    The issue is you are quote-mining me. You cannot accept my answers without the explanations. After all you asked for explanations also.

    We use our knowledge of cause and effect relationships- vis-a-vis our study of artifacts and nature, operating freely.

    So yes ID properly applies to artifacts as they give us the knowledge required to be able to differentiate between nature, operating freely and when some agency was involved.

    And that gets to the root of Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation- no adding unnecessary entities.

    and

    Yes termite mounds, beaver dams and spider webs also apply- termites, beavers and spiders are all agencies capable of manipulating nature for their purpose.

    That said Intelligent Design is not about human and animal artifacts. Those just give us the observations and experiences required for a uniformitarian PoV- biological organisms appear designed because they were designed according to our knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

  92. (cont’d)

    I accept Timaeus’ nuanced teeth-pulling answer to my simple and direct (no tricky language) question: “All scientific theories — not just ID, but all of them — are conceived by human minds…if your point is that theories are a human thing (and hence unlike rocks and snails) — yes, of course.”

    Yes, exactly. And this is what enables Human Extension to study theories, languages, artefacts, movements and other ‘human-made’ things, including IDM-ID and the IDM itself. Otoh, IDM-ID is necessarily focused (in one or a few limited fields) on biological information, organisms and origins of life; it is “necessarily [be] focused on questions of natural science”.

    Optimus has nailed down the key issue: “ID is agnostic to the identity and nature of the designer, so it is irrelevant whether the designer is human or not. Without prior or empirical knowledge of the designer it is impossible to say with absolute certainty what or who the designer was.”

    Thus, if ID *CAN* possibly speak about ‘artifacts’ (as most people at UD have affirmed), then it can also speak ‘with absolute certainty’ about “the identity and nature of the designer,” i.e. about human beings. This is true as long as ID is not a ‘historical science’ looking into the deep past, beyond the ‘records of mankind.’ Most analyses of ‘artifacts’ take place today, here and now, or in recent memory, with documents, signatures, photos, even videos or audio recordings to provide evidential support. And even in the case of ‘historical sciences’ dealing with long-ago-designed/created-extended artifacts, the designers are nevertheless still known (or assumed) to be human beings, even if the specific human beings are not known (or knowable). Iow, IDM-ID is unnecessarily agnostic about “the identity and nature of the designer” when the realm is artifacts that are by-definition human-made.

    This is a gap in IDM-ID that Human Extension exploits. In fact, it is *not* “irrelevant whether the designer is human or not.” Instead it is crucial to define whether ID theory as theory is interested in human-intelligence or only in non-human-intelligence.

    In the case of human designers, we already have “prior or empirical knowledge of the designer.” In the case of non-human designers, we have no such “prior or empirical knowledge.” This divides the two examples into different categories of knowledge discovery.

    Yet at the same time, Optimus also hedges his bets, saying “ID methodology can be applied successfully to things of either human or nonhuman origin.” So what is this mysterious ‘ID methodology’ that can supposedly be applied to “things of human origin,” but which at the same time can’t (i.e. refuses to) speak about “the identity or nature of the designer”? It sounds either deviously contradictory or else purposefully obscurantist. Why not clearly and precisely apply ID to human-made things if people are saying this is possible?

    Human Extension otoh is absolutely clear that it can and wants to study “the identity and nature of the designer.” That is why it is a thorn in IDM-ID’s side; it agrees to do what IDM-ID refuses to do, to study designers and designing processes.

    Steve Fuller suggests that specifying the intelligence behind the design is important:
    “why should our intelligence be taken as a guide to intelligence in things we had nothing to do with creating? Well, this is where the imago dei doctrine comes in. In fact, I can’t see how you could justify using intelligence as a principle for explaining natural order otherwise…If there is some other account of ‘intelligence’ that makes sense in this context, and would be scientifically fruitful, please do tell.”

    Nobody here has stood up to Fuller’s challenge, not even Timaeus, to give “some other account of ‘intelligence’.” And some people here have even been hesitant to acknowledge the imago Dei doctrine as being involved in the coining of ‘IDM-ID’ in the 1980s-’90′s. It would seem then that a significant upgrade or overhaul of IDM-ID is necessary, given these significant deficiencies that have been shown.

    “ID is the place where the science-theology nexus is taken seriously as an intellectual project, and is in fact what makes ID an exciting research orientation.” – Steve Fuller

    That’s something that has not yet been embraced here at UD, but which, if it was, would go a long way to improving the IDM-ID paradigm as it is currently articulated and communicated. Thankfully, at least StephenB has agreed to a ‘synthesis’ in terms of ‘interdisciplinary cooperation’ between science, philosophy and theology. We hope he means this to include ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design.’

  93. Optimus

    beautiful violin sitting on a shelf – clearly a designed object given its carefully shaped parts, fitted together in such a way as to accomplish a function, namely producing music

    You determined that the violin was designed because you know what its function is, and you can tell that its parts are made to perform that function.

    Presumably you’ve also determined that life was designed. So my question to you is: What is the function of life?

  94. “Who made the violin – no idea. No label on it, and I didn’t witness its construction. But it was designed.” – Optimus

    Could you not do some investigative/detective work and find out who ‘designed/made/constructed’ your violin, where, when and how? Surely you’re not saying it just fell out of the sky or that human designers and crafters were not involved in producing/making it?

  95. –Gregory: “StephenB says (#69): “the [ID] method can be applied to any artifact,” i.e. to human-made things.

    Correct.

    –“ And he answers clearly ‘Yes’ in #82, that ID theory properly applies to artifacts.”
    Clearly, ID can be properly applied to artifacts.

    –“So, my pregnant question to StephenB: If we can apply ID methods to artifacts, then can we not logically and properly speak about the ‘designers’ (i.e. human beings) and the ‘designing processes’ (well-documented) involved in making artifacts, i.e. by studying the human beings involved in ‘human-made things’?”

    No. Not in that context. You can speak about those things all you like, and you can certainly study them as much as you please, but the ID process is powerless to analyze the design process. I have explained this to you many times and even provided examples.

  96. Why the lack of power in IDM-ID to analyse design processes?

    Artifacts are ‘designed’ by ‘designers’ who can be studied.

    You claim IDM-ID “can be applied to any artifact.” I say it can’t, based on its current priorities.

    All I hear to the contrary is “we refuse to discuss a context in which designers and design processes can be studied”. But people already study design processes and designers. So, why can’t IDM-ID?

  97. Gregory wrote:

    “Joe says, “Intelligent Design [capitalised] is not about human and animal artifacts” (#81). But he also claims “ID properly applies to artifacts” (#76). So, there seems to a double-sided coin involved in his approach to ID. How can IDM-ID ‘not be about,’ but at the same time ‘properly apply to’ artifacts? In my view, it can’t.”

    ** I provided a clear example above which could have dispelled Gregory’s confusion here, but he didn’t pay any attention to it. A veterinarian has a fair bit of knowledge which “properly applies” to human health — he knows about circulatory systems and skeletal structures and stomachs and poisons and parasites and rabies and stool analysis and surgery and how to give injections and so on. But veterinary science is not “about” human health; it’s about animal health. Similarly, ID people have a solid basic of knowledge of what is meant by “intelligent design” in the human context — many of them have advanced training in engineering, computer programming, etc. But their goal is not to study human design as such; their goal is to determine if telltale signs of intelligent design are found in nature. This ought to be luminously clear; why Gregory doesn’t get it, I can’t imagine.

    Gregory then seizes upon my discussion of “id” and “ID” and tries to turn it to his advantage, protesting that he all along has supported “id” but not “ID.” Exactly what I had pointed out to him! I not only acknowledged the distinction Gregory has made in the past — I emphasized it! But what Gregory does not discuss at all in his defensive response is the main point which I was raising, i.e., that in *this* discussion, now, Gregory has *not* been talking about “id” at all. His entire commentary has been about “ID.” He has been trying to redefine, not “id” but “ID.” He has been trying to say that Human Extension is useful, not to “id” but to “ID.” He cannot deny this, as we can all read his column above, and the comments, and note the absence of “id” and the consistent usage of “ID.”

    Similarly, when he cites Fuller, he cites Fuller’s opinion on “ID” not “id.” So the question is: if “ID” is wrong-headed, then why does Gregory want to be associated with it, even by way of offering a corrected version? Why doesn’t he just say that “ID” is waste of time, but “id” isn’t, and that Human Extension is meant to be a constructive addition to “id” not “ID”?

    So Gregory, answer the question: why did “id” lower-case drop entirely off the radar in your presentation? Why are you more concerned here to link your ideas up with “ID” than with “id”?

    Gregory also wrote:

    “Timaeus claims Big-ID (that’s the shortest form, which I will use henceforth) is about just the Movement (social, cultural, educational, religious, political, etc.) and its institutional reality at Discovery Institute.”

    ** I never said any such thing. I’ve said repeatedly that ID is about trying to determine whether or not there is design in non-human nature. All this sociological blather about movements and institutions and so on has nothing to do with my position. It just allows people like Gregory to drag in alleged motivations when they should be talking about arguments and evidence for and against design in nature.

    “My attempt to chart a new way forward is obviously disconcerting to him, thus the repeated personal attacks and insults he has publically written about me in recent days at UD.”

    ** Gregory’s attempt to “chart a new way forward” is not “disconcerting” to me. In fact, though Gregory appears to read too hurriedly or carelessly to have noticed, I’ve said about five times now that I think his project would make an excellent addition to human/social studies.

    ** As for personal attacks and insults, I try to avoid them, and Gregory will note that I wrote a separate post to withdraw one remark which could have been taken as an insult, before he even commented on it. In any case, rare is the day when Gregory’s replies to me do not contain a fair bit of personal “edge” — he refuses to keep off-stage grievances separate from our conversations here — and he has in several places said a number of false and insulting things about my academic training and (lack of) knowledge in various fields — things which I have chosen not to reply to. I decided to spare the readers of UD some blistering (but totally justifiable) long responses to some of Gregory’s mean-spirited comments about me, because such responses would be off-topic.

    “This is the argument from analogy between human intelligence and non-human intelligence. It does not hold up to scrutiny once one realises that natural sciences and social sciences have different methodological rules.”

    ** Once again Gregory starkly contradicts Steve Fuller, and even his own argument about “the image of God” — since Steve Fuller’s point — against the Thomists — is that the analogy between human and divine intelligence *does* hold up to scrutiny.

    ** In any case, the methodological rules of the social sciences, whatever they are, have nothing to do with ID. We can understand what intelligent design is without knowing anything at all about “social science.” Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Vico, etc. understood what intelligent design was before modern “social science” was even born. The question whether intelligent design is found in nature can be addressed without consulting the social scientists at all.

    “Thus, if ID *CAN* possibly speak about ‘artifacts’ (as most people at UD have affirmed), then it can also speak ‘with absolute certainty’ about “the identity and nature of the designer,” i.e. about human beings…. Iow, IDM-ID is unnecessarily agnostic about “the identity and nature of the designer” when the realm is artifacts that are by-definition human-made.”

    ** Gregory is speaking nonsense. No ID proponent has ever argued that we need to be agnostic about the identity of the designer when we are talking about artifacts on earth.

    “In fact, it is *not* “irrelevant whether the designer is human or not.””

    ** Wrong again. It is completely irrelevant — if our only goal is to make a correct inference of design. If a biological system is designed, it’s designed, and it doesn’t matter who the designer is. We don’t need to know who the designer is to disprove the Darwinians. No matter who the designer is, if there *is* a designer, the Darwinians are wrong. That is why they must fight — by any means fair or foul — to block off design inferences.

    “Nobody here has stood up to Fuller’s challenge, not even Timaeus,”

    ** I beg your pardon! I asked Fuller several questions of clarification on this very thread, after he posted. He has chosen not to reply. If anyone has turned tail here, it isn’t I.

    “And some people here have even been hesitant to acknowledge the imago Dei doctrine as being involved in the coining of ‘IDM-ID’ in the 1980s-’90?s.”

    ** Gregory, you haven’t presented a shred of textual evidence to show that the founders of ID were thinking of the imago Dei when they started out. You’ve conjectured they were thinking of it. Conjecture isn’t fact. Assertions of fact require documentation. Didn’t they teach you that in Sociology?

    ** You’re also misusing the word “coining,” since the term “IDM-ID” wasn’t “coined” in the 1980s by anyone. In fact, it was “coined” by you — no one talks of “IDM-ID” except for you. And you are the guy who goes on and on about how people shouldn’t “offend” the folks at BioLogos by writing “Biologos” with a small l — yet you repeatedly speak of “IDM-ID” — a label which no ID person in the world employs or acknowledges. If you want people to “respect” other people, start by “respecting” your dialogue partners by dumping “IDM-ID” from your vocabulary. Stop imposing your labels on others.

    ““ID is the place where the science-theology nexus is taken seriously as an intellectual project, and is in fact what makes ID an exciting research orientation.” – Steve Fuller”

    ** This is a completely arbitrary statement on Fuller’s part. The verb “is” in the second position is completely unwarranted, because it is not a description of what ID *is*, but represents Fuller’s own wishful thinking — about what ID *should* be.
    I’ve made this point before, but you are deaf to it. So maybe I should shout it:

    ** Fuller is not the official voice of ID. He is not even considered by the major ID proponents to be a mainstream ID proponent. He is not a Discovery Fellow. His views have not been endorsed by Discovery. His opinion of what ID should be carries no weight at Discovery, at UD, or with any other ID organization. He is rarely or never in attendance at large-scale ID conferences, and he is not by any means in the inner circle of ID people. He is an outside observer with advice for ID people on how they should conduct themselves. Some of his advice is good; much of it is interesting. I respect him as an original thinker. But the statement above is presumptuous, impertinent, and insubordinate. He hasn’t even received his private’s uniform yet, or dug his first ditch, and he wants to be one of the five-star generals in the ID army. Ain’t gonna happen, Gregory.

  98. “Why the lack of power in IDM-ID to analyse design processes?

    Perhaps I can provide a thought stimulator for you. If an archeologist can detect design in an ancient hunter’s spear, why can he not analyze the spear’s construction?

    “Artifacts are ‘designed’ by ‘designers’ who can be studied.”

    *Let’s try another thought stimulator. How does one study the designer of a sand castle after the fact of design?

    “You claim IDM-ID “can be applied to any artifact.” I say it can’t, based on its current priorities.”

    Why do you say that? Or, am I supposed to guess about your reasons.

    “All I hear to the contrary is “we refuse to discuss a context in which designers and design processes can be studied”.

    Where did you hear that? Or, am I supposed to guess again.

    “But people already study design processes and designers. So, why can’t IDM-ID?”

    Insofar as people study design processes and designers, they do it before the fact and during the fact. ID studies the effects of design after the fact. Can you grasp the difference? Oh my heavens! I just helped him with the first two questions. That’s OK, though. I am an easy grader.

  99. “If an archeologist can detect design in an ancient hunter’s spear, why can he not analyze the spear’s construction?” – StephenB

    Well, he OR SHE can, actually. That is part of archaeology; learning the ‘design processes’ involved in making the artifacts that archaeologists study. I remember seeing a film exactly about how ancient peoples made hunters’ spears, the art duplicated by an archaeologist.

    “How does one study the designer of a sand castle after the fact of design?” – StephenB

    Go and speak to him or her. If they’re not around, ask their relatives. Ask the lifeguard who saw them building it. Ask passersby on the beach while the sand-castling was going on. Ask journalists’ questions to people working in the shop nearby. There’s lots of ways to do this.

    “Why do you say that?” – StephenB

    Because human-made things are not studied by IDM-ID; they are just used as analogies (mousetrap, Easter Island, Mt. Rushmore, etc.). Think of 10 human-made things, of different varieties. How many are actually studied in depth by Behe, Dembski, Meyer, et al.? I am offering an alternative way to study ‘design’ + ‘intelligence.’

    “All I hear to the contrary is ‘we refuse to discuss a context in which designers and design processes can be studied’”. – Gregory

    “Where did you hear that?” – StephenB

    It is audible and obvious almost everywhere in the IDM. I’m giving you reasons to discuss the context in which designers and design processes actually *can* be (and are) studied. This re-education is an on-going process. It differs from IDM-ID’s approach to ‘design’ and ‘intelligence’. Exploring designers and design processes is what Human Extension enables and what IDM-ID disallows.

    “ID studies the effects of design after the fact.” – StephenB

    So, then are you saying that ID actually *cannot* study artifacts because the design process of making artifacts *can* be studied, just not by ID theory? Only ‘after the fact’ makes no sense when ‘before, during and after the fact’ it is possible to study design and designing, i.e. when it comes to human designers.

    Why reduce the explanatory power of your theory/methodology by focussing only on ‘after the fact’ designs? Is this the ‘historical science’ defence? Or is it only because the main focus of IDM-ID is ‘non-human designers’ instead of actual, observable designers?

  100. Dear Gregory-

    In the absence of direct observation or designer input, the ONLY possible way to make ANY scientific determination about the designer(s) or specific process(es) used, is by studying the design and all relevant evidence.

    Intelligent Design is not about that but that does not mean no one can have a go at it.

    As I have said- figuring out how the ancients did some of the things they did is difficult enough, and we should have their capabilities. OTOH designing living organisms seems to be beyond our capabilty, as is designing a solar system, etc.

    It would be like giving a laptop to an Amazonian tribe who has never seen any technology and asking them to figure it out- who did it, what it is, how they did it, etc.

    Intelligent Design is step 1- detection and study of design in nature. First things first.

    And as our knowledge and technological capabilities expand, we will figure out more of the hows and who. But as I said we are still stuck on how the ancients did what they did.

    But you and yours can go on ahead and tell us what you find. I say a targeted search/ genetic algorithm/ genetic programming is the how, as in how are genetic changes and molecular functions managed. But that is once we have organisms. However that could also be how they were originated- a targeted search. You have an desired output X, and you provide a starting point, resources and programming.

  101. Gregory

    –”I remember seeing a film exactly about how ancient peoples made hunters’ spears, the art duplicated by an archaeologist.”

    **Excellent! Give me the step-by-step process by which ancient hunters constructed their spears and tell me precisely what methodology the archeologist used to attain that information.

    –”Go and speak to him or her.” (to the designer to ask how the sand castle was designed)

    **Speak to whom? How do you know who designed the sand castle? How do you know a lifeguard was there to observe the event?

    –”Because human-made things are not studied by IDM-ID; they are just used as analogies (mousetrap, Easter Island, Mt. Rushmore, etc.).”

    **How can one “use” human made things as “analogies” without studying them?

    –“All I hear to the contrary is ‘we refuse to discuss a context in which designers and design processes can be studied’”. – Gregory

    **Can you think of anyone who said anything even close to that? Give me a name and a quote. I, for one, would love to know how we could study the design processes of the past.

    I suspect that what you heard was something like this: “We are not in a position to discuss the identity of the designer or the processes used since, in spite of our intense curiosity about the matter, our methodology is simply not developed to the point that we can speak to those questions. We welcome the arrival of another ID genius who will take us down that road by conceiving a paradigm that will bring that kind of a information within our reach. Meanwhile, we are limited to the process of design detection.”

    What likely happened is that, after he told you that about 25 times and, after you ignored him 25 times, he finally resolved never to discuss the matter with you again.

    “I’m giving you reasons to discuss the context in which designers and design processes actually *can* be (and are) studied.This re-education is an on-going process. It differs from IDM-ID’s approach to ‘design’ and ‘intelligence’. Exploring designers and design processes is what Human Extension enables and what IDM-ID disallows.

    **But I have already asked you for the Human Extension process and you could not provide one.

    “Why reduce the explanatory power of your theory/methodology by focussing only on ‘after the fact’ designs? Is this the ‘historical science’ defence? Or is it only because the main focus of IDM-ID is ‘non-human designers’ instead of actual, observable designers?”

    **How does one observe the designer of a DNA molecule or the process the designer used to produce it?

  102. @ Gregory
    Concerning #92, I am in no way being contradictory or devious. I suggest that your reading comprehension is woefully underdeveloped. I shall explain again, though you will likely persist in seemingly intentionally misunderstanding me. The focus of Intelligent Design is to address the question, “Can at least some features of the observable universe (incl. biological systems) best be explained by reference to intelligent agency (as opposed to chaos and necessity)?” Human design is NOT the main focus of ID. Humans clearly cannot be responsible for the origin of the universe and the life that occupies it (unless you fancy all those time travel speculations). When I say that ID methodology can be applied to objects of either human or nonhuman origin, this means that we can look at ANY object and ask whether or not it contains complex, functionally specified information; mechanical complexity (incl. IC); or arrangements of matter not known in our experience to be produced by unintelligent processes. Those questions and observations can be made regardless of who made an object. It can apply to human-made objects, but that is not its focus. The reason ID is relevant and compelling is that legions of otherwise rational, educated human beings are stubbornly devoted to promoting the pseudoscientific idea that everything is the product of mindless forces. When Richard Dawkins and co. begin insisting that cars, coffee makers, and smartphones are the product of evolution, then maybe ID’s focus will shift to human design. Until then its focus remains on one the most profound questions anyone can ask, namely, “where do we (and the universe) come from?”
    @ Lastyearon
    Function is helpful in determing design, but not absolutely necessary. I believe someone (maybe kairosfocus) made mention of the antikythera mechanism. For a long time no one knew the function of said object, but I would be quite surprised if anyone argued against its status as a designed object solely on that basis. When you open the hood of your car, do you know the function of every part that you see? Unless you’re a mechanic, then almost certainly not. Still the inference of design is still entirely valid. That having been said, we do know about the functions of many of the PARTS of life – e.g. the proteins involved in the blood clotting cascade, proteins involved in immune response, larger organs like the brain, heart, lungs, digestive tract, muscles, skeletal system, etc. Do we know the function of life as a whole? Probably not, but it’s hard to see how that invalidates the design inference.

    Also I feel compelled to point out that ID doesn’t prohibit questions about the designer (as if it’s some sort of crime), but it simply concerns itself with the first-order question of whether or not something was designed in the first place.

  103. Optimus (102):

    “Also I feel compelled to point out that ID doesn’t prohibit questions about the designer (as if it’s some sort of crime), but it simply concerns itself with the first-order question of whether or not something was designed in the first place.”

    Exactly right. No one in ID is forbidding anyone, anywhere, from talking about designers or “designing activity” — if they can get hold of information about that. But of course, as StephenB has pointed out with his examples, information of that sort from the pre-Cambrian period, and from all geological periods prior to our own, is unavailable. So we have to talk about the design without any data about the designer. That bothers Gregory, for some inexplicable reason. But it shouldn’t bother him any more than it bothers some archaeologist who digs up a city which seems to connect with no known historical people, language, religion, culture, etc. Such an archaeologist, though knowing literally nothing about the people who built the city, can yet recognize the design features of the city, and consequently can show that it did not arise out of random motions of the earth, shuffling stones together, but from the action of intelligent agents. Is that enough to identify the designer? No. Is it enough to show that there was a designer? Yes. And Gregory seems constitutionally incapable of grasping that this is the *only* scientific question on the table between Dawkins etc. and the ID people. He supposes, or perhaps wants, ID to be about more than that. But it isn’t.

    Of course, there is nothing to stop the archaeologist from carrying on to try to discover more about the human side of the people who built the city. Nobody in the ID movement forbids or even disapproves of that. But if his only goal was to show that the city was designed, rather than the product of chance, he doesn’t need to carry on to that second step.

    It is the limited goal of ID that frustrates Gregory no end. He cannot imagine setting himself such a limited goal, and therefore cannot imagine that anyone else would, either. But he is wrong. Not everyone strives to come up with a Theory of Everything. Some are happy just to establish one thing — if that thing is important enough. And if there was ever an important truth, “Living systems are not the product of chance, but were designed; man was not the product of chance, but was designed,” certainly qualifies as such a truth. The person who could establish that truth would be as great a benefactor of the human race as the inventor of the refrigerator, the automobile, penicillin, etc.

  104. Return to an alternative way to look at ID – Human Extension.

    “Gregory, I appreciate your willingness to articulate your vision in somewhat more practical terms. You have provided what seems to be an accurate representation of the human-extension process.” (#50) / “You have yet to present the step-by-step, Human Extension process and show how it indicates that a human artifact was made.” – StephenB (#80)

    The main point of Human Extension, StephenB, is to study how, when, where, and why questions of extension (read: the extension of designs), instead of the single ‘that’ question of IDM-ID. That is an alternative way to look at ‘intelligent design’ (ID); not just origins, but also processes. Such a way includes a ‘general theory of causation,’ focussing on more than only the ontology (existence) of ‘design,’ but also on the epistemology, ethics and politics of ‘design,’ i.e. when it comes to human beings, to us.

    I am pleased that you are leaving open the possibility that I have already done what you are imagining (cf. links above) and will elaborate on it further in my next book. The fact is, for many people it is entirely new to imagine any possible alternative to ‘evolution, creation and intelligent design’ in their currents forms. For many people, either evolution, creation OR ID already dominates their vision, such that alternatives are deemed unwelcome at the start.

    That is why I linked to my presentation here: The Courage of Extending Humanity – TEDxLCC although no one has yet commented on it.

    So a large part of my work now is simply to introduce people to Human Extension (it is not a ‘theory’ but rather a ‘methodology’). That was the main goal of this thread “Human Extension: an alternative way to look at ID,” rather than simply to provide an apologetics for social sciences. I’m sorry to nullasalus if that’s what he thought this thread is about, when my intention all along, worth ‘coming out of the closet’ for, was to show this HEM approach that I’ve been working on ‘secretly’ for over a decade.

    Those interested can learn more about my work and views here: http://www.humanextension.wordpress.com

    It should be clear by now that what is contended is that ‘artifacts’ are *by definition* human-made. Thus, the sandcastle example StephenB provided in #98 is a good one.

    StephenB asked: “How does one study the designer of a [hypothetical] sand castle after the fact of design?”

    I replied: “Go and speak to him or her [i.e. who built it]. If they’re not around, ask their relatives. Ask the lifeguard who saw them building it. Ask passersby on the beach while the sand-castling was going on. Ask journalists’ questions to people working in the shop nearby. There’s lots of ways to do this.”

    StephenB responded: “Speak to whom? How do you know who designed the sand castle? How do you know a lifeguard was there to observe the event?”

    It is only fair to allow me to explain how Human Extension methodology would apply to your hypothetical situation. First, the answer is that someone, a person, a human being (child, teenager or adult) designed and built the sandcastle. We are agreed on that, right? We know of no other creatures that do this. If it was actually built by an alien (E.T.), a very clever gopher or an aardvark, then the sandcastle has got me fooled.

    Simply put: If you want to study the designer, the first necessity is that you acknowledge that he or she (or it!?) actually exists. Don’t be coy about whether there may or may not have been a designer. Have some courage to face the reality that there was a designer who can be discussed.

    Next, look for clues of all the possible ‘extensions’ of the sandcastle from a (spatially & temporally) ‘reverse perspective.’ When did it happen? How long ago would it have been started? What would have been required to build it? How long would it have taken to build (to saying nothing of the designing process)? To discover this we could speak to other people who have built sandcastles of a similar type to this one or we could speak with sandcastle contest judges or people who have watched others build sandcastles. We could even attempt to duplicate the sandcastle building process ourselves and see how it was done. There is no lack of possible evidence here in contrast to how the ‘origin of biological information’ (however it happened) lacks much evidence.

    On the very specific question of ‘who dunnit,’ again we have many possible options, some of which I wrote about already above. Are there any video cameras on the street where people park their cars that match the time frame we’ve identified? Are there any people remaining on the beach that might have been there when the sandcastle was built who might have been eye-witnesses? What about a beach regular, who visits on a daily basis? Etc. etc. – use your own imagination. Again, please note this carefully; when it comes to human-made things, i.e. to artifacts in human history, the creation of many of them is documented, recorded and/or repeated, duplicated or copied in various circumstances and in multiple ways. This topic and the fields that study it are not nearly as mysterious as the highly speculative field of OoL.

    Speaking about ‘detective’ work, we can do much more of it if we already have an idea of what similar ‘designers’ of the artifact in question look like as well as ‘designs’ of similar artifacts. Do you not agree with this simple and harmless observation, StephenB?

    What is important here is that we *can* study the origin and design and/or building processes of human-made things. This is what gives Human Extension greater explanatory power than IDM-ID. As of yet, nobody here has denied that an approach which *can* study designers and design processes has more explanatory power than an approach which doesn’t. And I really don’t think that it is deniable.

    People here have instead repeatedly said (and trust me, folks, I have heard you) that is not IDM-ID’s main focus (but, wink; it could be also if it wanted to be!). This is precisely how Human Extension offers an *alternative* way to look at things that are designed and at the intelligence(s) behind the designs.

    Trying to elevate and widen the IDM’s discourse by saying ID is about the ‘most important things,’ i.e. life, meaning and purpose itself seems merely to be a covering-attempt to give more explanatory power to ID theories than it actually possesses without currently studying designers/Designers and design processes. Then again, some people have said ID is a narrow and very limited theory, so there still seems to be controversy about this within the ‘shared ID tent.’

  105. Here’s the crux: Intelligent design theory is a theory that posits ‘design’ where the ‘designer’ of the ‘design’ *cannot* be studied. In cases where the designer of a design *can* be studied, intelligent design theory does not apply. Would anyone disagree with this short definition of IDM-ID (i.e. ‘intelligent design’ as the Discovery Institute currently envisions it)?

    “How can one ‘use’ human made things as ‘analogies’ without studying them?” – StephenB

    Yes, exactly!!! That’s the key to unlocking the mystery of ID’s hands-off, Platonic, detached, disembodied, analogistic approach to ‘designer(s)/Designer(s)’ and ‘design process’ (at least as it is being defended here by the likes of ‘Timaeus’). Studying human-made things and how they actually are/were ‘designed’ and made/created/built/constructed/etc. is an alternative to IDM-ID.

    This is not an ‘absence of evidence’ topic, but a ‘presence of evidence’ situation where Human Extension can “go where no IDer has gone before.” It can and does study ‘designs’ and ‘creations,’ things that human beings do and make.

    To suggest that human beings are not ‘designers’ (which most are not prepared to do, even if it differs from IDM-ID proper) would be to break the obvious argument to analogy with human-designs currently present and significant in IDM-ID. So, indeed, IDM-ID should embrace Human Extension as both an opponent of universal evolutionism and as an approach that can help to learn more about the kinds of (human-made) ‘designs’ upon which IDM-IDs analogies are founded. Why would it not want to call its enemies’ enemy its friend?

    If human beings are ‘designers,’ if they/we are the ‘intelligent causers,’ the ‘intelligent agents’ that IDM-ID bases its analogies on, then does it not make complete sense that we can and should study their/our ‘designing processes’ and the actualisation of these ‘designs’? This is best expressed in the phrase by electronic-age visionary Marshall McLuhan: “the extensions of man.” No ID leader comes close in significance, now or in the future, to McLuhan. If the ‘extensions of man’ are thought not to have anything to do with ID (as Timaeus stresses in his repetitive negativity), then that’s a great loss for IDM-ID and for all supporters of ID.

    This is where Timaeus’ nauseously repeated question has no importance: “Could chance do it or couldn’t it?” When it comes to human-made things, simply said, ‘chance doesn’t do it!’ Thus, the entire reason d’être of the ‘chance vs. design’ dichotomy breaks down at this point, in this non-naturalistic realm. Chance is largely off the table for the vast majority of human artefacts.

    Note please though that I have never said Human Extension is ‘real ID’ according to the IDM’s (and certainly not to Timaeus’ self-admittedly narrow) meaning of ID. I’ve said openly that it is an ‘alternative way to look at ID’ that doesn’t fit within the IDM. Nevertheless, it is important in the study of ‘intelligent agents’ and ‘purposeful design,’ which is likely closer to the hearts of most IDers in the long run than simply being able to call oneself a greater ‘naturalist’ than Darwin.

  106. Here’s the crux: Intelligent design theory is a theory that posits ‘design’ where the ‘designer’ of the ‘design’ *cannot* be studied. In cases where the designer of a design *can* be studied, intelligent design theory does not apply.

    I disagree. And I will add it’s as if you are in your own little world and have strawmen at your disposal.

    Good luck with that…

  107. Gregory:

    I’m going to take one last shot at getting you to see something. But before I take it, I want to make clear my motives, since in the past you have often accused me of being out to get you, or of desiring to put you down, or of having motives of self-aggrandizement. So please listen to this preamble.

    1. I am not trying to embarrass you.
    2. I am not trying to prove that I am smarter than you.
    3. I am not questioning your competence in your own field.
    4. I am not out to attack Human Extension as an area of academic investigation.

    What I am trying to do is to show you that what you have argued here is *internally incoherent*. And I am trying to show this using your own statements, examined in the light of basic logic. I assume that you accept the authority of basic logic — nothing tricky, no weird modern academic forms of logic that only specialists have heard of, just garden-variety logic such as was explicated by Aristotle and has been employed by just about everyone since (Aquinas, Hobbes, Hume, Mill, lawyers, doctors, scientists, engineers, historians, sensible parents, intelligent citizens, successful businessmen, and so on).

    I intend to set forth this argument in good faith, with proper reasoning, and without ad hominem remarks. I therefore think it reasonable that, if you reply, you reply in good faith, with proper reasoning, and without ad hominem remarks.

    By asking to you respond “in good faith,” I mean that if you truly, in your heart of hearts, after listening to my argument, see the apparent internal inconsistency I am pointing to, you should not angrily deny it, or accuse me of bad motives, but should address it, by responding either:

    a. “The inconsistency is only apparent, and here is why …”

    or

    b. “The inconsistency is real; I clearly need to do more work on my argument; thank you for pointing this out, and I’ll get back to you when I’ve fixed things up.”

    Can you do this, Gregory? Can you converse in this way with me? Without rancor, without anger, without automatic defensiveness in the face of politely expressed criticism? If so, then let us proceed.

    Let’s start with a quotation from one of your newest posts. I could have picked other quotations with similar contents, but this one will do just fine:

    “The fact is, for many people it is entirely new to imagine any possible alternative to ‘evolution, creation and intelligent design’ in their current forms. For many people, either evolution, creation OR ID already dominates their vision, such that alternatives are deemed unwelcome at the start.”

    Gregory, when people debate about “evolution, creation, and intelligent design” — whether the debate is in a courtroom in Dover, on blog sites, at a conference at Wheaton, on radio talk shows, or somewhere else — what are they debating about? I think you will agree that they are debating about *origins* — sometimes both biological and cosmic, and certainly biological. We can agree on this, can we not? This is what the public debate has been about, since Darwin. It’s what BioLogos is about. It’s what Discovery is about. It’s what the books of Dawkins and Coyne and Miller and Collins and Ayala are about. I’m going to assume that you agree with me that this is what most people have in mind when they talk about this cluster of terms.

    Now, take the origin of man, or the origin of species, or the origin of the first life. You have already indicated that you personally are not interested in speculating or debating about these things. You have also already indicated that “Human Extension” is not about “origins” in the sense of “How did the first life come to be?” or “How did various species emerge?” or “Where did man come from?” You have indicated that “Human Extension” is about the origin of human things, things designed, created, built, arranged, etc. by human beings for human purposes. I trust that you are not going to make me dig through your recent posts and quote you to prove that you have said this.

    Now, let’s take a look at the quoted paragraph above. You said:

    “for many people it is entirely new to imagine any possible alternative to ‘evolution, creation and intelligent design’ in their current forms”

    And the context of the remark, both within the post, and within the current discussion over your column, makes clear that you regard “Human Extension” as “a possible alternative to evolution, creation and intelligent design in their current forms.”

    Now, I ask you, Gregory: If Human Extension has *nothing to do with biological and cosmic origins*, whereas the debate over “evolution, creation and intelligent design” is *entirely about biological and cosmic origins*, how can Human Extension be an “alternative” to those other accounts? When we speak of “alternatives,” we normally mean something that could replace something else in the service of the same end, e.g., we could use a bicycle rather than a car to get to work. We don’t normally speak of “alternatives” to two entirely different ends. For example, if I asked you what “alternative” to a plane flight you have if you want to get home from Europe to Canada (I believe you have said you teach in Europe but are originally from Canada, but correct me if I’m wrong), you might say: “I could take a boat” or “I could take a dirigible” or even “I’m a very strong swimmer, so I could put on my bathing suit and start stroking.” You would not offer, as an alternative means of getting home to Canada, “I’ll stay in Europe and tour ancient castles and museums instead.” That would not be an alternative to get home to Canada; it would be an entirely different activity, guided by an entirely different goal.

    So when we consider, say, the origin of man, we have ID people saying, “Man could not have come into being by random mutations and natural selection alone; some design must have been involved”; and we have creationists saying, “Man did not come into being by any evolutionary process, but was created directly by God”; and we have classic neo-Darwinists saying, “Man emerged from a process of random mutations and natural selection; there is no need to postulate any planning or guidance beyond this”; and we have theistic evolutionist biologists at BioLogos saying, “Man emerged from a process of random mutations plus natural selection; there is no need to postulate any planning or guidance beyond this; and oh, yeah, God’s providence was involved somehow, too.”

    Now, Gregory, what is the answer of “Human Extension” to the question of the origin of man? According to your own words (not mine, nor anyone else’s here), it does not have an answer to that question, because it does not even ask that question. It is not its *purpose* to answer that question.

    So, since Human Extension *is not trying to answer the question of the origin of man*, how is it an “alternative” to ID, creationism, neo-Darwinism, and theistic evolutionism, all of which *are* trying to answer that question?

    If you think about it clearly, you will see that Human Extension is not an “alternative” to these positions; it is a completely different kind of investigation, concerned with a different set of questions.

    Yet you keep trying to suggest that ID people should adopt Human Extension as a better, wiser, and more theoretically sophisticated alternative to ID.

    Can you not see that what you are saying at least *seems* to be completely self-contradictory? Can you not see why so many of us here are utterly confused about exactly what you want us to do with Human Extension, and are wondering why you keep juxtaposing it with ID? Can you not see why we are scratching our heads trying to figure out how the writings of Marshall McLuhan and others you have mentioned could provide an “alternative” method of answering the questions that Ann Gauger and Doug Axe and Michael Behe are asking?

    If I have been able to reach you, Gregory, and if you now understand what I and others here have been trying to get you to see, you will perhaps wish to reformulate your position so that it does not contain this (real or apparent) internal incoherence.

    Remember, Gregory, I am not saying that Human Extension is false. I am not saying it is worthless. I am not saying that it should not be studied or written about. I am saying that I cannot imagine how it provides an alternative to ID, which is a position on origins, when it does not even *try* to answer questions of origins.

  108. GS: Pardon, but usage is always pivotal in determining meaning of a word. Artifact is being used in the sense of result of a technique — observe the Gk roots — as applied through knowledgeable and skilled purposeful choice contingency. If you wish, go back to Plato’s Technike [sp?] in The Laws, Bk X. That is, for 2350 years, the context of usage of the terms and ideas in view has been broader than human. And, when we see beavers building gravity and arch dams responsive to stream-flow regime, that should give us a clue that art in the relevant sense is not merely human. KF

  109. “a. The inconsistency is only apparent, and here is why…”

    “the debate over ‘evolution, creation and intelligent design’ is *entirely about biological and cosmic origins*” – Timaeus

    I disagree with the term ‘entirely.’ What you call ‘the debate’ is partly about biological and cosmic origins, but not entirely. And for some people, it is far from being ‘entirely’ about that. Even to say ‘mainly,’ instead of ‘entirely,’ would be a stretch. ‘Sometimes’ would be more accurate.

    For some people, evolution, creation and intelligent design are about ‘processes’ of change (or their absence, in the case of IDM-ID). For example, when people speak of ‘creative evolution’ (Bergson), ‘co-creation’ and ‘co-creators,’ or more recently the term ‘evolving creation’ (literature about which Ted Davis confirmed you said you had read only a little, when you came to participate at ASA), the focus is more on processes than origins. Even when people speak about a ‘creative process,’ this can be seen as involved with discussions of ‘evolution and creation,’ especially when linked with fields such as evolutionary psychology, neo-evolutionary anthropology and evolutionary economics. Again, ID is not relevant b/c it focuses on origins rather than processes. Creation, as in the Judeo-Christian meaning, certainly cannot be limited just to cosmogony and palaeobiology or to ‘origins-alone,’ but covers all aspects of the created world, including human beings.

    To suggest that conversations involving evolution, creation and intelligent design are ‘entirely’ about *origins* is rather Timaeus’ personal attempt to frame the discourse according to his own preferred terms, which other people, like myself, do not accept and need not agree to. We can accept it as one opinion, but not as an authority worth following, if we disagree with his chosen terms. That is why what Timaeus views as ‘inconsistency’ in this case is actually just someone disagreeing with Timaeus’ perception of intelligent design theory in relation to creation and evolution.

    Human Extension is indeed about ‘origins,’ but it is also about (non-evolutionary) ‘processes’ of change, based on choices made and enacted by intelligent agents, i.e. human beings. It is this ‘non-evolutionary’ feature of Human Extension that should most attract and intrigue ID proponents. Indeed, if one of the goals of the IDM is to ‘shrink’ evolutionary theory in how it is perceived by the public, then speaking of Human Extension instead of ‘technological or social evolution’ could be one of the most significant developments in quite some time. Instead of asking about ‘unevolvability,’ or ‘the edge of evolution,’ as M. Behe has done, my approach is to ask about “things that don’t ‘evolve’,”… and that are rather best said to ‘extend’. Two axioms given above outline this approach.

    “‘Human Extension’ is about the origin of human things, things designed, created, built, arranged, etc. by human beings for human purposes.” – Timaeus

    Yes, though sometimes we create and build things for non-human purposes, e.g. to protect the ecosphere or to heal an animal or plant.

    Human Extension offers “an alternative way to look at ID” because it studies *actual* intelligent agents, while IDM-ID either just suggests (cf. ‘implications’) that such ‘intelligent agents’ exist (‘transcendental designers,’ God or aliens) or draws analogies to them (‘mundane designers,’ i.e. human beings). But IDM-ID does not study ‘designing processes’ or who or what the ‘designer(s)’ is/are ‘as designer(s).’ It is, as repeated regularly here, focused on the ontology (i.e. mere existence) of ‘design in nature,’ not in the how, where, when, or who involved.

    Again, I think the following is a clear and concise way to say it, expressed in a respectful tone with the goal of being fair and accurate about IDM-ID theory:
    “Intelligent design theory is a theory that posits ‘design’ where the ‘designer’ of the ‘design’ *cannot* be studied. In cases where the designer of a design *can* be studied, intelligent design theory does not apply.”

    Other than Joe, does anyone else have a view about this? In a nutshell, this is a major feature to what distinguishes Human Extension and IDM-ID.

    “what is the answer of ‘Human Extension’ to the question of the origin of man?” … “since Human Extension *is not trying to answer the question of the origin of man*, how is it an ‘alternative’ to ID, creationism, neo-Darwinism, and theistic evolutionism, all of which *are* trying to answer that question?” – Timaeus

    Human Extension does not provide an answer to questions about the origin(s) of man(kind). However, I’m not against scholars and scientists in other fields, such as palaeontologists, palaeobiologists, et al. employing the term ‘extension’ with a fresh view in regard to non-human-made things, such as the origin of man. The term ‘extension’ is already employed in mathematics, physics, psychology, anthropology, economics and communications, among other fields, so it has acquired ‘capital’ in terms of intellectual currency. If a palaeoneuro-scientist wanted to claim that ‘consciousness’ can be thought to have ‘extended’ from the actions of a (obviously non-human) ‘intelligent agent,’ e.g. that the imago Dei extends from God’s will in a way that can be scientifically, philosophically and theologically explored, I would not be in a position to stop them. Indeed, philosophers David Chalmers and Andy Clark have already developed the idea of the ‘Extended Mind.’

    People of faith, whether Muslim, Christian, Jew, Baha’i or Native American, et al. will hold their spiritual views of ‘the origin of man’ not based mainly on natural scientific theories of biology or genomics, but in light of their religion and theology. [As an aside, I also really don’t see how it is possible to jump from origins of life, to origins of biological information, to origin(s) of man, as Timaeus does, *without* getting ID’s hands dirty in making an official claim about the Age of Earth. It seems to be a problem for the DI, mainly tied with funding and networking (i.e. socio-economics), more than any scientific reasons.]

    I am willing to rest on the clarification that IDM-ID is focussed mainly on cosmological and biological [and human] origins and that ID, according to the IDM, including Timaeus, *does not* and even *should not* study human-made things. As someone who’s seen the operation from the inside, I conclude that the DI (specifically John G. West) has given up on making a theory of intelligent design “in the Humanities and Social Sciences” from the closing of that section in the DI’s summer program. Now they are interested in focussing more on ‘science in society’ (for which I applaud them) than in trying to validate M. Behe’s claim that “ID has implications for all humane studies” (1999). That is, “ID social theory” is a misnomer; here I believe Timaeus and I would agree.

    This is where Human Extension is an option that ID proponents might wish to consider.

    “ID people should adopt Human Extension as a better, wiser, and more theoretically sophisticated alternative to ID.” – Timaeus

    Thanks for the backhanded endorsement, Timaeus! Yes, when it comes to studying (the identity of) intelligent agents and designing and creative processes, I believe Human Extension is better ‘by design’ than IDM-ID.

    As Timaeus wrote above #6: “Their [‘ID peoples’] starting point is the same as his [Gregory’s] — human exceptionality, human intentionality, and the ability of human beings to ‘extend’ themselves in various ways. Their idea of ‘design’ comes out of that matrix of characterizations.”

    As Jon Garvey wrote in #5: “if ‘extension’ took off in the human sciences, people would have an alternative model for progress in design and teleology.”

    We shall see what the future holds…

  110. Correction: “Again, IDM-ID is not relevant *when speaking about processes* b/c it chooses to focus on origins rather than on processes.”

  111. Timaeus, Your latest attempt @107 to engage Gregory in a rational discussion did not go unnoticed. It was an impressive display of intellectual clarity and an admirable exercise in self control. I anticipated the result, but the effort was noble.

  112. Gregory (109):

    Your reply is improved in tone, but I can see we aren’t going to get anywhere on the contents.

    You referred to the joint subject of “evolution, creation, and intelligent design.” I pointed out that public discussion of this joint subject is always about origins. You are denying that this is the case. You also continue to repeat your assertion that I am imposing some private or personal understanding of ID of my own and am not taking into account the views of others who have discussed these questions.

    This should not be a question of competing wills — your definition vs. mine. What ID means should be an empirical question. And I have no difficulty in showing that my understanding is not idiosyncratic, is not some private definition of ID that I have latched onto. I can point out endless examples of public confirmation of my usage. For starters:

    1. The Dover Trial was about ID as a theory of biological origins.

    2. BioLogos — *Bio*-Logos, not *Socio*-Logos — is about biological (and to some extent cosmic) origins.

    3. Uncommon Descent — this site — is about biological (and to some extent cosmic) origins.

    4. The articles and podcasts on the Discovery site are about biological and cosmic origins.

    5. The attacks on ID at TalkOrigins and Panda’s Thumb are about biological (and sometimes cosmic) origins.

    6. The attacks on ID on various personal blogs — Moran, Rosenhouse, Myers, Shallit, etc. — are on biological (sometimes also cosmic) origins.

    7. The classic 8-person debate between Phil Johnson, William Buckley, Michael Behe, and David Berlinski against Eugenie Scott, Ken Miller, Michael Ruse, and Barry Lynn — which you can watch on Telic Thoughts (another site about biological and cosmic origins) — was all about biological origins.

    8. The debate at Biola University between Arthur Hunt and Steve Matheson, on one side, and Steve Meyer, on the other, was about biological origins.

    9. The debate that was supposed to happen between Randy Isaac and Darrel Falk, on the one hand, and Doug Axe and Steve Meyer, on the other hand, but was cancelled, was about biological origins.

    10. The recent conference at Wheaton, in which several ID people were matched up against several TE/EC people, was about biological origins.

    11. An endless number of stage, radio, and television debates, featuring Behe, Meyer, Dembski, Wells and others against Barr, Lamoureux, Shermer, Prothero, etc., many of which are available on YouTube etc., have been about biological (and sometimes also cosmic) origins.

    12. The major dust-up between David Berlinski and the leading lights of modern evolutionary biology, in the pages of Commentary (now reprinted in *The Deniable Darwin*) was about biological and cosmic origins, as was Berlinski’s *The Devil’s Delusion*, a reply to the New Atheists.

    13. The works of the theistic evolutionists — individual books by Robert Russell, Ken Miller, Francis Collins, Denis Alexander, Denis Lamoureux, etc., plus the collection *Perspectives on an Evolving Creation* — are about biological or cosmic origins.

    14. The articles on “creation, evolution and ID” or “creation, evolution and design” published in the ASA journal — the main organ of discussion for Protestant evangelical scientists in the USA — are about biological or cosmic origins.

    15. The endless parade of vindictive reviews on Amazon.com against the books of Meyer, Dembski, Wells, Behe, etc. is directed against the views of ID proponents on biological and/or cosmic origins. Similarly, the people responsible for the lies and character assassinations in Wikipedia understand ID in this way.

    16. The standard Ruse/Dembski collection, *Debating Design*, is about biological and cosmic origins.

    17. The Dembski collection, *Uncommon Dissent*, is about biological and cosmic origins.

    18. Gonzalez’s firing was due to his daring to publish his views on cosmic origins.

    19. The NCSE has gone steadily after ID as a theory of biological origins. The NABT, the AAS and other scientific and educational bodies who have made public statements on ID have understood it to be a theory of biological origins. “Project Steve” understands ID to be a theory of biological origins.

    20. When another Gregory (who may have been you, though I don’t know that) floated “Human Extension” sorts of notions to the old ASA list — which consisted mostly of Christian scientists, primarily TE/EC people but a few ID-sympathetic people — those notions went over like a lead balloon. No one was interested in talking about “human/social” studies, no matter how fiercely this Gregory pressed his interest in that area. They all wanted to talk about TE/EC vs. ID on biology/cosmology or TE/EC vs. YEC on biology/cosmology.

    I could go on and on, Gregory, but there is no point in beating a dead horse. The fact is that if we are talking about what ID *currently* means, it’s an account of biological and cosmic origins. This has been true since the days of Thaxton and Johnson, and continues to be so today. And the debating partners of ID — the New Atheists, the neo-Darwinian biologists, BioLogos, the ASA-TEs, the YECs, the OECs, etc. — are equally preoccupied by biological and/or cosmic origins. Nobody in the debate is talking about “the process of designing” or “human extension” etc.

    You are trying to *change* the meaning of ID, to make it mean something other than what it has in fact meant to everyone who talks about it. You want it to be about something different than what it is in fact about. But it is not going to change what it is about, because the concern that animates ID is the age-old question: “Where do we come from?” That question goes back to the Bible, the ancient Greeks, and other ancient traditions. It is a continual preoccupation of thoughtful human beings. It was being asked long before there were “social/human sciences” such as sociology or anthropology.

    This being the case, no theory in the “social/human sciences” — whether Human Extension or anything else — can stand as an alternative to ID. The only theories that can stand as alternatives to ID are theories that explain cosmic or biological origins in non-design terms. Human Extension is not such a theory (or account, or perspective, or explanation, or whatever you wish to call it).

    In conclusion, Human Extension, however great its value may be as a way of understanding a number of social matters, is not now, and never will be, an alternative to ID. It simply is not about the same subject-matter as ID. This will be acknowledged as true by anyone who thinks that well-established terms should be employed to mean what they have been consistently used to mean, rather than redefined to harmonize with the academic projects of people who would like them to mean something else.

    Since I sense that you are inflexible on this subject, i.e., that you will never alter your usage to conform to that of everyone in the world who is informed on the subject of ID, I am going to drop out of the discussion at this point. A quarrel over terminology is a waste of time. You can go on using “ID” with your own private meaning, and continue to be misunderstood by everyone, necessitating constant lengthy defenses of your idiosyncratic way of speaking; I will continue to use ID in its publically recognizable sense, because using the publically recognizable sense of the word saves endless hours of quarrelling over definitions, and allows people to get on with debating the question of substance, i.e., could chance and necessity alone have produced life, species, and man?

  113. We’re getting closer, Timaeus, but there are obvious, important concessions you don’t seem to want to give. So I have to repeat myself, which I’ll do because you are such a polite opponent.

    I said that I’d be willing to rest on the concession: “ID, according to the IDM, including Timaeus, *does not* and even *should not* study human-made things.”

    Timaeus hasn’t addressed this direct and simple statement. And since he continues to speak for ‘ID people,’ hearing an answer from him might be helpful for other ID proponents. But given his track record, we shouldn’t hold our breath.

    “if we are talking about what ID *currently* means, it’s an account of biological and cosmic origins.” – Timaeus

    So, I guess I have to fill in the blanks, while Timaeus gives another monologue pro-origins and anti-processes: ““ID social theory” is a misnomer; here I believe Timaeus and I would agree.”

    But since he doesn’t directly answer, perhaps we’ll never know.

    “the concern that animates ID is the age-old question: ‘Where do we come from?’” – Timaeus

    Understood (Phil Johnson says this in ‘Unlocking the Mystery’ video). Be animated by this and go to it, Timaeus! Use your PhD-acquired knowledge in Religious Studies, history of ideas and textual scholarship as your guide on this age-old question. Don’t do science, even social science, because you are not trained for it or competent in it. Just make a new philosophy about ‘design and chance,’ utilising Dembski’s EP, and apply it to ‘where we come from.’ That may not lead to a revolution in itself, but surely it’s worth your protracted and disguised efforts, which I support, even though I think they are misguided and dysanthropic.

    “You are trying to *change* the meaning of ID, to make it mean something other than what it has in fact meant to everyone who talks about it.” – Timaeus

    Nobody owns a single definitive meaning of ‘intelligent design.’ There is no ‘Einstein of ID’ or ‘Churchill of ID.’ ID is a collective effort, which makes it sometimes frustrating for critics to challenge because one doesn’t know exactly ‘which ID’ or ‘whose ID’ one is conversing with.

    One doesn’t need to subscribe to ‘ID’ to accept the existence of ‘intelligent agents.’ One doesn’t need to subscribe to ‘ID’ to engage in pattern recognition or to ‘specify’ something called ‘complexity’ or even ‘simplicity.’ One doesn’t need to subscribe to ‘ID’ to believe that mind has power over matter or that the genetic code contains a ‘language’ (as F. Collins calls it, the ‘language of God’). One is quite free to believe in small-id, but not in Big-ID, as Timaeus hypes, postures and promotes it.

    I am quite frankly not the ‘neo-Newton of neo-ID.’ And neither does an unpublished internet persona named ‘Timaeus’ in reality speak for or in any way control the meaning of ID, especially to people who do not agree with the political, social or religious ‘renewal’ features of the IDM. Anyone who would believe otherwise (and frankly I imagine and hole that to be no one) would be simply gullible.

    What we’re dealing with in ID theory is a phenomenon in-action, a movement of people challenging a particular biology and/or cosmogony. Yet, as ID leader Paul Nelson states: “Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’ – but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.” This is precisely what Steve Fuller has said, wrt no “general theory of intelligent causation.”

    I’m very sure that Timaeus has no clear theory of intelligent causation in his pocket as he is obviously too busy regurgitating what others in the IDM say. Originality is not the strong point of the historian/textual scholar.

    “The only theories that can stand as alternatives to ID are theories that explain cosmic or biological origins in non-design terms.” – Timaeus

    As I’ve said before, and as indicated in the title of this OP, Human Extension is not an ‘alternative to ID.’ It offers an ‘alternative way to look at ID.’ Here Timaeus is putting words into my mouth, to which I have become accustomed.

    Human Extension studies ‘intelligent agency,’ as ID claims to involve; Human Extension studies teleology, as ID claims to study; Human Extension takes a ‘non-evolutionary’ approach, as ID (sometimes, depending on who you ask) claims to do; and Human Extension involves purpose, meaning and intention, which ID claims t do, but cannot validate on the level of cosmology or biology alone, i.e. without the help of philosophy and theology. Thus, at least on the surface, there would appear to be several over-laps between ID and Human Extension. It is up to UD visitors to acknowledge or reject this.

    “When another Gregory (who may have been you, though I don’t know that) floated “Human Extension” sorts of notions to the old ASA list” – Timaeus

    Actually, Timaeus, I didn’t mention Human Extension on the old ASA list. Yes, it was me who posted there, I’ve already admitted that. We’ve spoken privately about this, so there is no need for you to be so deceptive with UD readers. You’ve admitted one of the names you used at ASA (i.e. ‘Timaeus’); I used only one name the entire time.

    It was purposeful that I didn’t mention Human Extension there as I was still working on publishing papers and on my first short Introduction to it, which can be found by following the links on my blog. Indeed, it was like wrestling TEs at ASA with the strong arm behind my back, which for some time I have done here also with IDers, up until now: It doesn’t ‘evolve’; it ‘extends.’ BOOM!

    “No one was interested in talking about ‘human/social’ studies” – Timaeus

    Of all the ridiculous things I’ve heard from Timaeus, this one takes the cake. People at ASA were discussing human-social topics all the time! And they surely still are on their members-only forum. The conversations people have about evolution, creation and intelligent design provoke emotion and debate because they are meaningful, because they impact education, language, religion, culture, society, even politics, not just natural science, because human beings are impacted by their views of ‘origins of life’ and also ‘processes’ of change and human development today. If Timaeus is not interested in discussing human-social topics, I suggest he not try to poison the well for others by telling people what they should and shouldn’t be interested in under the umbrella of ‘ID’.

    “get on with debating the question of substance, i.e., could chance and necessity alone have produced life, species, and man?” – Timaeus

    So get on with debating it then, Mr. Canadian culture warrior. I’ll offer my personal answer and then get out of the way: Chance and necessity directed by God the Creator produced life, species and man. It happened by (the ‘process’ known as) evolution, even if not entirely of the ‘Darwinian’ variety, and it is continually being studied and explored by many scientists, including biologists and cosmologists, not all of whom are ‘enemies’ in the culture war that the IDM, according to Timaeus, is engaging.

    As with Rev. Dr. Michael Heller (cosmologist, philosopher, priest), “I don’t see any conflict between chance events and God’s planning of the universe.”

    “Nobody in the debate is talking about ‘the process of designing’.” – Timaeus

    Yes, exactly. Instead, they’re talking about evolutionary processes and creation processes. IDM-ID is the only position that methodologically *bans* discussion of ‘(designing) processes.’

    Exploring designers and design processes is what Human Extension enables and what IDM-ID disallows. Speaking the truth will set us free.

  114. Gregory’s SC-LD-HE perspective is defined, in large part, by his Social Contructivist (SC) and Literary Deconstructionist (LD) roots, both of which provided the anti-intellectual spark for the Human Extension (HE) project. Gregory may think he is promoting Human Extension, but he is really advocating the reflexivity of Social Constructivism and the subjectivity of Literary Deconstructionism. Unfortunately, he cannot extricate himself from the historical reality of the SC-LD-HE movement. It is the sum total of the aforementioned cultural factors that define the HE project, and we should not grant to Gregory the privilege of defining it for himself.

    From my Literary Deconstructionist background, I learned, just as Gregory learned, that a text means whatever I want it to mean, and that the author’s intentions mean nothing. Whatever I want to read into a text should be taken as a fair interpretation of that text. Since I interpret Gregory’s comments to be a product of his SC-LD-HE perspective, that will be the starting point of my reality. Now he may question my account of HE history, or my contention that he is really an advocate of SC-LD-HE, but let him question away. According to the SC-LD-HE perspective, from which I am now operating, if an idea resides in my mind, it need not correspond to reality in order to be true. Since I have this perception of Gregory’s Human Extension project, it automatically qualifies as a correct definition. It is on that basis, that I would like to share a few ideas with Gregory about we can improve his HE model.

  115. Sandcastles #104, StephenB. Do you care to try? Apparently not.

    #114 is so far off it stinks of false sincerity. Will we yet witness an ID proponent stoop to the lowest?

    From my Literary Deconstructionist background, I learned, just as Gregory learned, that a text means whatever I want it to mean, and that the author’s intentions mean nothing.” – StephenB

    I do not believe those things. I am not a literary deconstructionist or social constructivist. We obviously have very different training.

    But you don’t seem to care about other things dealing with reality, StephenB, because it still means I am challenging IDM-ID which you hold most dear.

    Impolite.

  116. –”I do not believe those things. I am not a literary deconstructionist or social constructivist. We obviously have very different training.”

    But Gregory, this is the way I choose to define you. What you say about yourself or how you define your operational terms doesn’t matter. You claim to be about HE, but I say that you are about SC-LD-HE. Therefore, you are about SC-LD-HE.

  117. Thank you for proving the point Judas, end of conversation.

  118. StephenB:

    Thanks for your encouragement in 111. And I appreciate your irony in 116. Gregory appears to have missed it entirely, which is why, in 117, he is indignant rather than smiling at your wit. I guess that stodgy old “textual scholars” pick up things that young, cutting-edge sociologists don’t.

    Gregory:

    1. I didn’t say that you mentioned Human Extension on the old ASA list. Read what I wrote more carefully.

    2. Yes, you sometimes say that Human Extension is an alternative way of looking *at* ID. But you also sometimes write of it as an alternative *to* ID, or to the discussion between ID, TE, Darwinism, etc. — which is a discussion about biological origins. I’m not going to waste time digging up examples, though I could find several, but you certainly used the phrase “alternative to” in:

    “for many people it is entirely new to imagine any possible *alternative to* ‘evolution, creation and intelligent design’ in their current forms” [and the context makes clear that Human Extension is the "alternative to"]

    3. I wasn’t trying to be “deceptive” to UD readers about your ASA appearances. I was trying to be very careful not to reveal, even accidentally, anything about your past internet names or activity. That is why I phrased things as if I knew less about you than I did, just in case you had not yet identified yourself with that older Gregory. I thought you had, but my memory might have been faulty, and I did not want to “out” that older Gregory due to a slip in my memory. You see, Gregory, I have a sense of honor and I respect trusts privately exchanged. Back when you were still trying to keep your identity from the public, I knew who you were, and I could have “outed” you directly, or dropped all kinds of clues to your identity. But I didn’t. This has to do partly with my Christian convictions, and partly with the fact that I was brought up with that “old school” education and set of cultural values which you have consistently mocked in your often sarcastic public replies to me.

    4. As for the rest, you continue to write as if I am imposing some private definition upon ID. You clearly ignored my massive list of public confirmations of my understanding, a list which I could extend at will. You clearly ignore the fact that everyone here shares my understanding, and that you are the odd man out. As for your “counterargument” that the definition of ID is collective rather than individual — yes, that was exactly my point. It is collective, and the collective that defines it does not include Gregory, but includes Behe, Dembski, Nelson, Meyer, Wells, the other Discovery fellows, the leaders here at UD, and a large set of recognized opponents (Miller, Ayala, Giberson, Dawkins, Coyne, Scott, etc.) who all understand ID to be a theory of origins, not a social/human study of the designing process.

    5. The simplest way out of this impasse, Gregory, is for you to drop the polemically intended expression “IDM-ID” and refer to “ID” when you are talking about biological and human origins, and “id” (lower-case) when you are talking about “intelligent design” in a broader way compatible with your project of “Human Extension.” That would show respect for ID people (something you claim is so very, very important that you would waste hours bickering about the capital L in BioLogos), and would allow you a free hand to praise Human Extension to the skies, without raising a single objection from ID people. The question is whether you are so fixated on your own language that you cannot accede to established usage and retreat to a more reasonable position.

    And now, let’s move on. I’ve already granted you that Human Extension, done properly, could be a very valuable project in social science. I’ve already said that ID people have no objection whatsoever if you pursue that project. Nothing prevents you from pursuing the insights of Marshall McLuhan or of Buckminster Fuller or of Berdyaev or of anyone else, while ID people pursue the insights provided by modern biochemistry, probability theory, information theory, etc. There can be peace between Human Extension and ID.

    If there is war instead, the war will be caused, not by ID people, but by Human Extension supporters behaving imperialistically, trying to alter the language of ID and trying to change the behavior of ID proponents.

    Sincere best wishes for your project of Human Extension.

  119. Optimus wrote: “When Richard Dawkins and co. begin insisting that cars, coffee makers, and smartphones are the product of evolution, then maybe ID’s focus will shift to human design.”

    You don’t need to look to Dawkins. William Dembski, founder of this blog, believes that ‘technology evolves.’ What more do you need? See the discussion with KF in the “ID as Science of God” thread. Or do a search for TRIZ, which Dembski and ISCID promote(d).

    Human Extension can help here, Optimus, while ID concentrates all its efforts on cosmological and biological and (occasionally) anthropological origins. Just please don’t tell me there is (or even *can be*) an ID theory of ‘human design’ when there isn’t. Do we agree on that?

    “ID is agnostic to the identity and nature of the designer, so it is irrelevant whether the designer is human or not. Without prior or empirical knowledge of the designer it is impossible to say with absolute certainty what or who the designer was.” – Optimus

    We do have ‘prior’ and ‘empirical knowledge’ of human beings, by virtue of being human, wouldn’t you agree? There are some ‘designers’ that it is not possible to be agnostic about because we are them.

    “The reason ID is relevant and compelling is that legions of otherwise rational, educated human beings are stubbornly devoted to promoting the pseudoscientific idea that everything is the product of mindless forces.” – Optimus

    The alternative that “everything is the product of mindful forces” is typically called Classical Theism, rather than ID. I believe the world is ‘mindfully made,’ but that doesn’t automatically make me an IDer.

    “Until then its focus remains on one the most profound questions anyone can ask, namely, “where do we (and the universe) come from”?” – Optimus

    If you don’t mind, I reserve the right, along with Mother Church, to keep that question in the realm of religion and theology, and not to trade it into the realm of natural sciences.

  120. If ‘ID science’ can’t survive, then what possibly can? This message gives a one month belated summary of the thread as a way to turn the page for me and Human Extension at UD. What was discussed here may not have revealed much for some of you, but it did show quite a bit to me about ID proponents and the IDM and both why and how Human Extension can (and God willing, will) become important in effectively providing what both ID and evolutionism do not and cannot, whether they want to, believe they can or not.

    Here’s how this thread started:

    First, as proposed to nullasalus, I wrote about Human Extension in a ‘made-for-UD’ essay and attempted to explain how its introduction to and inclusion in the discourse offers a potentially significant shift in how people can speak about evolution, creation and intelligent design (also called capitalised ‘Intelligent Design,’ more below).

    Next, I linked to a TEDx talk I delivered earlier this year called “The Courage of Extending Humanity: Facing the Challenge of Evolution, Creation and Intelligent Design”: The Courage of Extending Humanity

    But no one at UD commented on this, even though it does precisely what most of you folks appear to desire and that you usually applaud – taking Intelligent Design (even if tangentially) into the public sphere*.

    Then I linked to a more recent piece called “Intelligent Design as Social Epistemology”: ID as SE

    Again, no one at UD commented on this, though the treatment of ID was fairly balanced. I had thought that scholars discussing ID in respect of established Journals (e.g. Social Epistemology – 25 yrs) would be of sincere interest to UD folk, but apparently it is not. Perhaps I chose the wrong format or since I reject ID, people here would therefore not engage with me at UD. It’s still a mystery since no one has explained this and since many atheists who attack ID are entertained here. Could it be that friendly criticism is too much to tolerate in conversation?

    That’s when the going got rougher. The ‘proof’ (i.e. research showing) that ID is in fact a ‘social epistemology’ directly contradicts the view commonly held here that ‘ID science’ is ‘value neutral.’ So it seems to have become desirable and perhaps even necessary for ‘ID neutral’ proponents (the majority here at UD) to oppose the view I and others promote, which says that ID is actually *not* value neutral and neither is any scientific knowledge. These are the findings of the field called sociology of science (SoS) and/or sociology of scientific knowledge (SoSK), which apparently ID proponents at UD are not yet ready or willing to face.

    In the meantime, I posted a thread closely related to this one at my blog: “Human Extension vs. the Discovery Institute’s Theory of Intelligent Design” Human Extension vs. ID

    This thread explains what Human Extension adds to the conversation involving science, philosophy and theology, evolution and creation, origins and processes, which is not present in the current formulation of ID theory. This one has some sting to it for IDers and was written after this thread started.

    More recently, I articulated my thoughts drawing on UD contributions here: “Big-ID and small-id – Why does it matter?” Big-ID and small-id

    And even more recently, I added this thread, which shows (despite one person’s repetitive disbelief) that I’ve actually read quite a lot of ID literature and simply disagree with it, but in a creative and practical way: 4 Causes and Effects of IDM and Darwinian Evolution

    Your thoughts and critiques or corrections are especially welcome in this Blog post as the Methodology of Marshall McLuhan’s ‘new science’ is not closed; it is open for additions and contributions. Here is your opportunity, respected UD folks, to teach me all of the things that I misunderstand or don’t know about ID and to correct my misunderstandings of ID because this Tetrad contains the main points of my view of ID (although it is dated several years ago and several views and quotations have been updated). This paper was written alongside the research I did on the IDM during my graduate studies, which culminated in a master’s thesis on Evolution, Intelligent Design and Extension (and which actually helped introduce ID into a foreign country).

    And then most recently, over 2 week ago, I dropped a bombshell that johnnyb and others who attended his Engineering and Metaphysics event can surely relate to (and which perhaps Mike Holcumbrink understands best). I raised the notion of whose ‘design in nature’ should be accepted – the IDM’s or internationally acclaimed engineering Professor Adrian Bejan’s Whose ‘Design in Nature’ do you accept?

    What does this have to do with Human Extension? It is HE’s way of clearing space for dialogue in a territory riddled with uncertainty, ‘culture warring’ and both true and false claims to scientificity. Human Extension is already backed up historically by multiple fields and it is capable of challenging the ideology of evolutionism in a way that ID leaders have not imagined.

    [*Btw, the only other TEDx talk addressing ‘intelligent design’ I found was from Michael Behe: Behe on TEDx Again, it’s probably not worth discussing at UD (though he even mentioned ‘sociology’ and listen closely folks, he claims that “by chance” he “fell in with some bad company,” meaning IDers. Behe thus believes in chance too! And also, he says, the cell is a “piece of machinery…and I mean that literally” … “little trucks and buses.” Btw, in case you are not a mechanistic thinker, e.g. like Michael Denton – if you didn’t catch it, Behe says: “a mousetrap is a machine.” And don’t forget, as Behe reminds us ‘Design’ is the ‘D’ in TED even if TED almost completely rejects Big-ID, and not just for scientific, but also political and educational reasons).]

    (cont’d 1 of 4)

  121. By calling ID ‘scientific’ an end limit to ID theory is inevitable. The best solution is therefore to consider a ‘neo-intelligent design’ (neo-id) approach that both claims scientificity and at the same time refuses scientificity at the level of human reflexivity (cf. subjectivity). The arrival of neo-id means that avoiding to look at designers or at design processes is simply too weak to contain much explanatory value at all. This is why ID is called ‘minimalist,’ which makes it a wonder some people refer to the coming of a ‘design revolution’ and ID as a ‘new kind of science.’

    This post addresses ID’s explanatory power and what difference Human Extension makes as a neo-id approach: What Happens When Neo- Comes

    When ‘Neo’ comes, no longer must people artificially refuse to speak of ‘designers’ or ‘design processes.’ neo-id becomes part of a larger discourse that involves the ‘extension’ of choice, design, will, creativity, etc. This should be a boon for ID advocates who wish to explore ‘designs’ that can actually be proven in the historical record, rather than those that cannot or only highly speculatively, as in the case with origins of life and human origins.

    Timaeus comment in #74 was frankly, if rather crudely, the best comment put forward:
    “He [Gregory] would do better to stop banging his head against the wall, accede to the ID people’s own use of the term, and sell ‘Human Extension’ on its own merits, and not try to connect it in any way with ID.”

    I make no argument that ‘ID people’ (whatever that means in a ‘tent’ sense) can define ‘ID’ however they want (while I and others like Owen Gingerich call it Big-ID). My view of Human Extension is consistent with Steve Fuller’s notion that small-id best expresses the idea that we are created in imago Dei. If ID people don’t wish to admit that is part of their theory, they are free to do so.

    In either case, Human Extension offers a topic of interest to people attracted to discussions of Creation, Evolution and small-id/Big-ID, but who wish to consider new avenues, opportunities and stages for discussion. Human Extension is *not connected in any way with ID*, but it is relevant for Creation, Evolution and small-id/Big-ID discourse. For example, in the UD post above I listed two axioms of Human Extension, which both relate to ‘evolution’ (and by implication, evolutionism), but no one here commented on them. Indeed, Human Extension places the focus on ‘creativity,’ ‘creation’ and ‘choices’ in a way that is not currently discussed in most Creation, Evolution and ID conversations. Are you interested in trying something new?

    Human Extension is not for sale, as Timaeus tries to portray it. Instead, it patiently opens a way to look at human designs, constructions, models, formulae, systems, structures, institutions, etc., with new eyes. Human Extension does what ID has not done and cannot do and it does it with academic rigour and collaboration with those that ID has so far proven unable to collaborate with. Human Extension can be embraced by IDers, TEs, ECs, OECs, YECs, agnostics and atheists, all at the same time, while the original formulation speaks positively of a science, philosophy, theology cooperative dialogue. In trying to make a contribution mainly or exclusively in natural science, ID has found itself unable to make a lasting impact in science, philosophy and theology discourse, even though (to its credit) it has enabled new conversations in this realm that were not possible before it came on the scene in the late-1980s, early 1990s.

    In case you thought I was completely opposed to ID, here are some ways that I find ID (by which I mean Big-ID) to be agreeable:

    1) It places focus on human exceptionalism (except when it claims to focus only on Origins of Life [OoL] and Origins of BioLogical Information [OoBI]), even if, as vjtorley recently wrote, its proof of its actual contribution to this topic may come only ‘decades in the future.’
    2) It highlights ‘intelligence’ instead of ‘chance and necessity,’ which implies that ‘human intelligence’ might also be a ‘scientific’ topic;
    3) It opposes naturalism (except when it is being naturalistic), evolutionism (except when it is being evolutionistic), scientism (except when it is being scientistic), reductionism (except when it is being reductionistic) and materialism (which is the only ideology I haven’t witnessed Big-ID promoting), iow, it takes ideology into account in its popular version of the ‘wedge’ strategy – both opposing (neo-)Darwinism and promoting Intelligent Designism (the ideology that says ‘everything *is* designed’);
    4) It implies that science, philosophy and religion need not be seen as in ‘conflict’ with one another, by inviting philosophers and theologians in dialogue with natural scientists;
    5) It believes in ‘scientific revolutions’ as Thomas Kuhn (physicist, historian, philosopher and sociologist of science) and adopts the language of ‘revolutionaries,’ stating such things as that the language of science can and should be changed. In this case, I consider it gutsy, but ultimately without a suitable paradigm to do what ID leaders have effectively promised is possible.

    Human Extension can go much further than what ID aims to do scientifically.

    (cont’d 2 of 4)

  122. Beyond ID biological science, Human Extension is meaningful to people.

    On a broad scale, a major challenge seems to be that ID is not interested in a general study of design for its own sake, but rather as a specific study of ‘design in nature,’ which ID leaders believe is related to cosmo-genesis and bio-genesis. This explains why there are many ‘design theorists’ that UD folks don’t know much if anything about for the basic reason that they are not showcased by the IDM.

    I could easily cite a dozen ‘design theorists’ that the IDM has either never mentioned or just skirted in order to erect their ‘alternative design/Design’ approach and apologetics. If the IDM was genuinely interested in a general study of design for its own sake, it would include these ‘design theorists’ more prominently. Human Extension, on the other hand, is interested in ‘design,’ not just for some kind of analogy with the cosmos and biological information, but for its relevance and impact on daily lives of people around the world.

    So, there appears to be a ‘selective design’ component of the IDM, where some ‘designs’ (and ‘designers’) are excluded from ID theory. The main point here, however, is not about using Human Extension to learn more about human designs, so that it would aid us in learning more about ‘design in nature.’ Instead, studying Human Extensions should be seen as a good in its own sake, for the purpose of anthropic understanding that potentially leads to human betterment, which does not require claims about the origins of life and biological information (OoL&BI). This means putting more emphasis on the ‘intelligence or unintelligence’ behind human-made and managed institutional structures, which everyone living on the planet can express themselves on or about as members of a society or nation.

    It has never been my intention to build Human Extension in order to help ID theory. This should be clear when noting that I discovered ‘extension’ before hearing about ID. If ID theory (or what some here call ID methodology) is capable of achieving success, if it is destined to achieve success, then it will and must do so on its own, regardless of outside help.

    That said, it still makes sense that ID proponents would consider the advice I have given to them in this OP. My recommendation for IDists is to accept that ID is a science, philosophy and theology conversation at its core and stop trying to claim it is ‘science-only,’ even if it uses scientific methods and scientific language like probability and information theories, bio-chemistry and genetics. Pattern recognition and specification cuts across almost all scholarly fields; but Dembski is surely either joking or full of revolutionary over-optimism if he thinks he can build a CSI metric for ‘designs by intelligent agents’ such as human beings within his lifetime. Intelligent agency is a much more complex topic than anything confronted in the biological or other natural-physical sciences.

    Human Extension does what ID does not do by involving the ‘tension’ in human choices and the consequences of choices and actions, including the choice and action: to design or not to design.

    (cont’d – 3 of 4)

  123. Turning the page at UD, NEO-ID is now on the table. ID as a natural-science-only ‘discipline’ is challenged. This is the first time a neo-id/NEO-ID approach has been proposed. Human Extension is an improvement to the discourse that involves choices, decisions, actions and the daily lives of people.

    Here is what nobody has debated or questioned in this thread: “an approach which *can* study designers and design processes directly has (much) more explanatory power than an approach which doesn’t.” The only conclusion to be made from the silence of ID proponents is that this must be true. Likewise, an approach which actually studies ‘intelligent agents’ has more explanatory power than an approach that merely appeals to them/us through analogy, but doesn’t study them/us directly. This should be easy to accept but hard to swallow by ID supporters and advocates.

    Many people are asking for the study of actual, real intelligent agents to be shown. So why not give it to them? As a sociologist, I’m willing to study and already active in studying intelligent agents (aka ‘designers’) and in planning, designing, manufacturing ‘design’ processes. Yet I am doing this under a different name than Intelligent Design theory. This speaks of the limitations of ID theory, disallowing it to be proposed as a ‘theory of everything.’

    What this means is that Human Extension can (and already does) exceed ID in a way meaningful to *all* human beings as agents of extension. Scientific and philosophical theories should likewise be understood and treated as human-made things, which means they can be studied as ‘Human Extensions.’ This shows how Human Extension opens a new horizon involving intelligent agency and the dialogue of science, philosophy and theology that the IDM has yet to discover.

    “The simplest way out of this impasse, Gregory, is for you to drop the polemically intended expression ‘IDM-ID’ and refer to ‘ID’ when you are talking about biological and human origins, and ‘id’ (lower-case) when you are talking about ‘intelligent design’ in a broader way compatible with your project of ‘Human Extension’.” – Timaeus

    Agreed – Done. So now I’ve called it Big-ID (or upper case ID, following the highly respected Christian scholar Owen Gingerich, and more specifically, physicist-priest George Murphy, with slight adjustment), instead of ‘IDM-ID’ (as you can see in the linguistic change made above). ‘Big ID vs. small id’ is a distinction that Timaeus also made himself here, likely following his participation at ASA in 2009, so he should be pleased with this (though he will likely complain just to complain).

    Let us be realistic and fair: small-id vs. Big-ID is a significant and valid distinction. It provides meaningful descriptive value for those who believe God designed/created the heavens and the earth and also makes room for those who reject scientific proof claims of the IDM.

    “Human Extension, done properly, could be a very valuable project in social science.” – Timaeus

    Thank you for your support! Now maybe you could back up what you claim is possible by telling more about how Human Extension overcomes evolutionistic ideology by circumscribing the legitimate realms in which ‘evolutionary theory’ is considered legitimate and thus limiting and shrinking evolutionism to a manageable size. Jump on board, Timaeus, that is a significant achievement in the waiting-to-be-popularised. And it might do you good not to spend all your time trying to defend ID theories, but also to explore other fruitful avenues in the scholarly world.

    Optimus offers (along with a few others) a different story than Timaeus in regard to whether or not he believes “ID social theory is a misnomer.” Optimus says: “Yes. ID methodology can be applied successfully to things of either human or nonhuman origin.” Iow, Big-ID is not *only* aimed at OoL and OoBI, but also at Human-Made Things.

    If Optimus is right, then the question is, why haven’t complex/functionally-specified info, pattern recognition and/or mechanical complexity METRICS yet been applied by the IDM to ‘things of human origin’? It should be relatively easy to make a metric of human design, shouldn’t it? That would offer a level of validity to ID theories that they have not yet achieved in the speculative scientific sphere.

    KF spoke of TRIZ, which Dembski, the founder of Uncommon Descent blog cites as a valid approach. But Dembski does not provide a recognized METRIC, i.e. measurement for ‘innovation’ by ‘design.’ So where are the numbers for a quantitative ID theory of human designs, if Dembski has not provided them?

    Tragic Mishap (#7) was absolutely right that I am drawing a line in the sand: “This approach [Human Extension/ neo-id/NEO-ID] claims more relevance regarding human meaning, values, beliefs, morality and ethics, as well as the term ‘intelligence’ than anything yet produced by the IDM.” As one of few people who has gained access inside the ID institutional enterprise, I believe there is a vast gap to be crossed between claims about the Origins of Life, the Origins of BioLogical information and Human Origins and what is actually meaningful and monumental to people in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hearts.

    On a positive note, I continue to believe as Steve Fuller expressed in this thread: “ID is the place where the science-theology nexus is taken seriously as an intellectual project, and is in fact what makes ID an exciting research orientation.” That is, I imagine there is much hope if more work can be done in this collaborative science-theology cause. Unfortunately, since most UD visitors do not seem to wish to positively consider this possibility, nothing more can be built in dialogue here on this theme at the current time.

    That’s all I have time for now and will likely drop away from UD, given other educational and academic responsibilities. I’ll be attending 5 conferences in the next two months including one directly on the topic of ‘design,’ but which has nothing to do with Intelligent Design. There over 500 scholars and scientists will be attending to discuss non-Big-ID meanings of ‘design’. It really seems to be almost another universe of dialogue about ‘design’ than the one people are engaged in here. johnnyb, I imagine, would be excited and very interested to participate there (but it’s quite far away from his home state).

    I’ve been invited to speak about ‘design’ there, but more importantly about Human Extension as an idea that goes beyond Big-ID. The causes of human flourishing and the betterment of our world seem much more important to me than objectivistic, scientistic (read: aiming primarily at scientificity in biology and OoL) notions of ‘design’ that are currently the main focus of the IDM. Big-ID may seem very important to you folks (worth fighting tooth and claw with ‘new atheists’) in the project of American ‘cultural renewal,’ but let me assure you that for fruitful society-politics-religion discourse on the global (multi-polar) scale, speaking of neo-id/NEO-ID in the name of Human Extension has much more potential than what you’ve currently imagined or allowed to be thought here at UD.

    If anyone reading this should be interested to learn more about Human Extension or to challenge and contemplate it elsewhere, here is a link to follow.

    Thanks to nullasalus for the opportunity to present my ideas, to KF for beginning to engage them and to all others who sincerely confronted Human Extension at Uncommon Descent.

    Gregory

    p.s. in case any of you didn’t know it, with tongue firmly in cheek since StephenB’s bluff got called, ‘sandcastles’ (and violins) aren’t actually ‘built’ by people; they are just abstractly ‘designed’ by __??__ and then happen (without the help of bodies or tools) to spontaneously emerge (or ‘evolve’) into reality by God-knows-who-how-when-where-or-why; this instantiation or manifestation of ‘design/Design’ is what Big-ID theory currently requires people *not* to explore or even to imagine, which is why with scholarly confidence I firmly and unequivocally reject it.

  124. PeterJ,

    I don’t understand why you consider ‘the theory of evolution’ to be necessarily exempt from certain fields?

    It means he doesn’t want you to conflate “the theory of evolution” your way, he wants you to conflate it his way.

    The word “evolution” had been around for a long while prior to 1859, and it doesn’t need a theory. It can be used in virtually any context where makes sense. The “theory” of evolution, on the other hand, is a specific biological process where specific things happen. He doesn’t want you to conflate that biological process with other contexts, he wants to do it for you so that he may startle your senses with his immaculate vision – human-made things don’t evolve because they are human choices among the pitiless indifference.

    yawn

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