Home » Intelligent Design » Ph.D.s in Obfuscation — Or, Simple Truths Denied

Ph.D.s in Obfuscation — Or, Simple Truths Denied

In another forum, Denyse wrote:

Bear with a simple lay hack here a moment: Why must we know a designer’s intentions in order to detect design?

If the fire marshall’s office suspects arson, do the investigators worry much about WHY?

Surely they investigate, confirm their finding, and turn the information over to other authorities and interested parties, without having the least idea why someone torched the joint.

ALL they need to be sure of is that the joint did not torch itself, via natural causes.

The observation Denyse makes is so obvious that one would need a Ph.D. in obfuscation not to see it. Common sense is not so common, at least among those with a foundational commitment to materialism.

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35 Responses to Ph.D.s in Obfuscation — Or, Simple Truths Denied


  1. ALL they need to be sure of is that the joint did not torch itself, via natural causes.

    Well no. They need to distinguish between say

    a dosser who started a fire that got out of control

    someone who deliberately set fire to the joint for fun

    the owner who was deliberately careless in the belief that one day it would burn down and he could collect on the insurance

  2. I agree that design detection does not logically require knowing underlying motivation.

    But for ID to be useful as explanatory science, it would be helpful if it explained why the designer designed things as they are. Otherwise, we have no way of explaining the world other than “That’s just the way it was designed.” The next logical question, to this response is, “Why ?”.

  3. I have blogged about this:

    How difficult is it to understand?

    Reality demonstrates the ONLY way to make ANY determination about the designer or the specific design processes involved, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design in question.

    And guess what?

    Intelligent Design is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence. — William A. Dembski

    And yes the design inference does force us to ask other questions. ID is not preventing anyone from looking into them. However that also demonstrates that ID is NOT a scientific dead-end plus gives us the impetus to drive the research.

  4. Design advocates are expected to identify the designer. But Darwinists give themselves a pass on the ultimate source of the universe with assurances that “scientists are working on it”.

    Couldn’t we do a little scientific judo by simply pointing to SETI, and telling the Darwinists that “Scientists are working on it [finding the designer]“?

  5. russ,

    excellent point!

  6. Personally, I have found that anyone who believes that inanimate
    molecules can assemble themselves into a living cell, and that one kind of organism can change into another…with NO evidence…is
    not really doing science.

  7. “Well no. They need to distinguish between say

    - a dosser who started a fire that got out of control

    - someone who deliberately set fire to the joint for fun

    - the owner who was deliberately careless in the belief that one day it would burn down and he could collect on the insurance”

    Mark, you’re “obfuscating” the actual point. It is either 1) natural, 2) intentional by design 3) accidental by designed mechanisms.

    Determining it is the 2nd or 3rd option kicks in a complete investigation team with new rules of authority and investigative power. They then call in the suspects whether accidental or intentional for face time to investigate possible motives and character.

    Finding a cigarette started the fire that was left in a garbage can that also happened to have combutionable fuel would be a possible clue of arson – or maybe not. It falls into the 2nd or 3rd option of intelligent causation. It would cause reasons for suspicion and more investigation merely because we know that rain clouds do not smoke.

    Whereas lightning striking the rooftop structure does not cause any reasonable suspicion past natural causes. The Fire Marshall would not ask authorities to interview multiple people for possible causes of lightning.

    There’s a clear line being drawn between natural cause and intelligent(or not so smart) agents resulting in a fire.

    Once a suspician is raised as to arson it is at that time you start asking the question “why” anyone would do it on “purpose” or if someone did it by accident and is covering up.

    And finally, the “why” can only be answered by intelligent data being found on the subjects in question, such as being recently fired, notes, cigarette brand, or fuel, and by interviewing the intelligent subjects for possible motives.

    But none of this happens if it is lightning.

    The analogy is not perfect, but it points out some legitimate truths. Without the Designer to talk to, you cannot know the “Why” of all design mechanisms. Certainly it is legitimate to ask why, to ask how, to ask what. But it does not weaken the theory of ID if you cannot or if you want to argue bad design all the time. There could be reasons we’re not aware of today, that can be answered tomorrow.

  8. “Common sense is not so common, at least among those with a foundational commitment to materialism.”

    Exactly. Darwinian thinking cripples the mind.

    True Reason goes out the window as soon as one embraces the persistent use of Darwinian circular reasoning and relativist pseudo-logic.

    Nothing in nature is more obvious and intuitively known than design.

    Otherwise why did Dawkins feel he had to invent designoids? If there were no such obvious and real design there would never have been any reason for invoking designoids.

    As CS Lewis put it, “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
    –Mere Christianity

    In the same way, if design in nature is not real, Dawkins would never have needed designoids to convince himself that design is an illusion.

    IOW, designoids can only be posited if the intuitive sense of design in the universe is overwhelming. Anyone not wishing to believe in a designer needs to squelch that sense into a pretense of illusion.

    “If nothing is self-evident, nothing can be proved.”
    –The Abolition of Man

    If anything is self-evident in this universe it is design.

  9. The italics seem to be caused by the code at line 228:
    Evolutionary…
    (I spaced the so the em tag would show up.)

    The closing tag is missing.

    Thanks. Fixed it. -ds

  10. Common sense is not so common, at least among those with a foundational commitment to materialism.

    Perversly, Fire Mashalls do seem to focus on finding purely material causes for fires; Of course, they should broaden thier searches to include the supernatural as well. ID doesn’t help too much with that at present, but I am sure there are people working on it.

  11. Design vs chance is not a consideration of arson investigators???

  12. steveh is no longer with us

  13. Actually fires are routinely determined to be Acts of God.

  14. In trying to scientifically determine whether life is designed I don’t think why did the designer do what they did or even who they are are the most pressing questions. The most important question is ‘what did the designer do’, as this will allow us to more easily test the claim.

  15. “Perversly, Fire Mashalls do seem to focus on finding purely material causes for fires.”

    Perversly, some people think that to suggest the existance of non-material causes requires us to explain everything by non-material causes.

  16. “But for ID to be useful as explanatory science, it would be helpful if it explained why the designer designed things as they are.”

    Of course it would be helpful. It would also be helpful if I looked like Brad Pitt. I think one of the many stumbling blocks that many Darwinists have as it relates to ID is they are used to DE attempting to explain (or explain away) the entire universe and everything contained therein. Then something else comes along and says, “Is “x” better explained by design or RMNS? Design it is. Thank you next.” It’s just too simplistic an approach to be “sexy” enough for them to accept.

    “Otherwise, we have no way of explaining the world other than “That’s just the way it was designed.” The next logical question, to this response is, “Why ?”.”

    Yes well said. But we have to take things one step at a time. If life is designed we need to acknowledge it, start doing science with this in mind, and hopefully more will be revealed to us of who/what the designer is, and why it did what it did.

  17. The bottom line is that Darwinism is a 19th-century, puerile, ill-supported, futile attempt to explain away design in nature — especially in living systems, although it is now applied to almost everything from cosmology to psychology — that stares every reasonable person in the face. Materialistic philosophy and its creation myth have been embraced by many (perhaps most) members of the academy simply because this philosophy supports a cultural consensus that design simply cannot exist by definition.

    The implications of purpose and design in nature would totally shatter the lives of those who have invested everything in denying the obvious. Thus, ludicrous conclusions must be defended by any means available.

  18. “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
    Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860)

    Right now then, ID is in phase 2.
    Phase 3 is “just around the corner”.

  19. Michaels7

    I am sorry if my examples appear as obfuscation. They were intended to show that these things are not so
    simple, so maybe that’s not surprising.

    Concentrate on the example of the owner who deliberately neglects to maintain the sprinkler system in the hope that one day there will be an accidental fire and he will be able to claim the insurance.

    Is that 2 or 3 in your categories?

    Imagine how the fire marshal might try to determine what happened.

    “Hey no wonder this fire got out of control, the sprinkler system is useless.”

    “Looks like X forgot to service it”

    “Or might he done it on purpose? Why would he do that?”

    I agree with Chris Hyland that knowing a designer’s intentions is not absolutely necessary for evaluating a design hypothesis. You might for example have a detailed record of how the designer did the job. But it certainly helps, because then you can ask these type of questions. You might go on to conjecture “if the owner did plan to collect on the insurance why did he let the policy lapse?”

    Incidentally that is what I would call a design research project – work out who did it and why.

  20. Comming to the discussion a bit late but here’s my $.02:

    ID (the version I embrace) does seek to infer that intent is present, and in order to do that it is necessary to infer some measure of purpose from the pattern in question. Only the system which contains the IC or CSI may be legitimately inferred to be designed; anything outside the system must be considered separately. So it may be possible to infer that a place was deliberately torched without knowing why or that a rotary propeller was put on the backs of bacteria for motility without knowing the place of this act in a larger context of purpose.

  21. But for ID to be useful as explanatory science, it would be helpful if it explained why the designer designed things as they are.

    What I think is that if you assume design you’re more likely to do fruitful research than if you assume everything just happened by accident and waste all your time trying to make up stories out of your own head about how the accident(s) occurred.

    Take, for instance, the vertebrate eye that so many people (who are, no doubt, quite convinced of their own intelligence) decry as an example of “poor design” or even “unintelligent design”.

    If you look here you will find, in reasonable detail, a list of reasons why God designed the vertebrate eye with the rods and cones facing away from the light source. They boil down to, “so that we don’t go blind soon after birth”.

    Consider this excerpt.

    Importantly, placing the retina neural components in front of the photoreceptors does not produce an optical handicap for several reasons. One reason is the neural elements are separated by less than a wavelength of light. Consequently, very little or no scattering or diffraction occurs, and the light travels through this area as if it was at near-perfect transparency.

    Neural elements separated by less than a wavelength of light! That’s almost as good as the physics behind the beautiful colours and patterns of butterfly wings.

    I love it.

    God is wonderful!

    Sorry. Got a bit carried away.

  22. I see you have ways of stopping people who play with html.

    Do you have an FAQ re permissible tags?

  23. The analogy of arson isn’t appropriate, though. Regardless of a persons intentions for lighting fires we still know people light fires. We know what a fire lit with a gallon of gasoline, as opposed to an electrical fault, tends to look like (and even then we make mistakes). We don’t know for certain there is a designer/s and therefore don’t know what designed things will look like.

    I think the analogy of SETI is the same. We can guess what a technologically-based signal from a physical conscious entity might look like, but we don’t know for sure what an intentional design from a non-physical omnipotent entity will look like. (Of course I have just assumed the designer will be a non-physical omnipotent entity).

  24. ID depends on our knowledge/ understanding of what intelligent agencies are capable of coupled with or knowledge/ understanding of what nature, operating freely, is capable of.

    And as is the case with ALL scientific inferences future research can either confirm or overturn that initial inference.

  25. Permit me to disagree with Denyse on the subject of arson – intent is integral in convicting someone of such a crime. Motive, Opportunity, and Means. Behe testified at Dover that ID demonstrates that the designer intended to create the IC structures that we see in living organisms – you are saying that Behe has a Ph.D. in obfusctation, Gil?

    Re: GilDodgen

    The bottom line is that Darwinism is a 19th-century, puerile, ill-supported, futile attempt to explain away design in nature — especially in living systems, although it is now applied to almost everything from cosmology to psychology — that stares every reasonable person in the face. Materialistic philosophy and its creation myth have been embraced by many (perhaps most) members of the academy simply because this philosophy supports a cultural consensus that design simply cannot exist by definition.

    I don’t consider materialistic philosophy to be at odds with design detection, nor the origin of life. After all this time, I haven’t seen anyone offer up evidence that points toward the supernatural. Do you consider the involvement of the supernatural to be testable?

  26. Interesting point, klone. So, if we have you right, are you saying that there sure is design, that emerged from choice that can be defined as intelligence, but is entirely natural? Interesting; does ID have to invoke the supernatural?

  27. Littlejon:
    Interesting; does ID have to invoke the supernatural?

    Only to the point that every scenario requires something outside of nature to get it started. That includes any anti-ID materialistic scenario.

    And the only way to determine if the designer is outside of nature in the absence of direct observation or designer input is by studying the design in question.

    SETI- does the signal cease to be from an intelligent source if we trace it to beyond our universe?

    EJ Klone:
    Permit me to disagree with Denyse on the subject of arson – intent is integral in convicting someone of such a crime. Motive, Opportunity, and Means.

    So are you saying that all of the unsolved arsons weren’t really arsons at all? Or can we determine arson and THEN set out to try to figure out who and why?

    And how many “who and why” questions can be answered by looking at the scene of the arson alone?

  28. On the subject of ID and the supernatural: Is it not possible that what is being thought of as supernatural is simply a heretofore undiscovered or poorly understood aspect of the natural world?

    Once upon a time it was thought that the energy of the sun came from heat generated by gravitational collapse. However, it soon became apparent that this mechanism could not possibly generate the huge amount of radiation observed. One might have presumed that some kind of supernatural process was involved. But once nuclear fusion was discovered, the mystery was solved by a newly discovered aspect of nature.

    Could it be that mind and design are an intrinsic aspect of the universe and nature, and that design is implemented through an as-yet-undiscovered mechanism?

  29. Mark,

    Maybe I misread you.

    “Concentrate on the example of the owner who deliberately neglects to maintain the sprinkler system in the hope that one day there will be an accidental fire and he will be able to claim the insurance.

    Is that 2 or 3 in your categories?”

    If falls into category 3 with clarification forthcoming below.

    “Hey no wonder this fire got out of control, the sprinkler system is useless.”

    Poor design, Degeneration, or failure to maintain. A Fire Marshall has not done a yearly inspection?

    “Looks like X forgot to service it”

    This goes to 1) lazizness, 2) actually forgot(is human). But, if such a facility is inspected as it should be anually, it is neglicence on the owners part. The insurance company will find the owner at fault for not obeying Fire Inspection pink slips and result in loss of compensation.

    “Or might he done it on purpose? Why would he do that?”

    Yes, could be for multiple reasons 1) Rebellion against authority of Fire Marshall, 2) Avoidance due to cost of repair, 3) Criminal act of insurance fraud.

    Any scenario depends upon intelligence and/or negligence upon which an Insurance Company can legally dismiss claims. This happens all the time.

    Looking at a broadening of definitions under categories 2-3.
    You still have a natural act – lightning strike vs an intelligently designed act; 1) by purpose, 2) unintentionable, but still negligent.

    “I agree with Chris Hyland that knowing a designer’s intentions is not absolutely necessary for evaluating a design hypothesis.”

    Then we agree. Obviously or archeologist, linguist, etc., anyone investigating historical past of intelligent creations would be in real trouble if they had to always know intentions.

    “You might for example have a detailed record of how the designer did the job. But it certainly helps, because then you can ask these type of questions.”

    Is there a word missing or inserted wrongly, because this is confusing. I agree a detailed record of “how” helps. But without an actual designer to talk to, it is speculation beyond certain boundaries. For a simple example, we can state the Designer made our eyes so we may see. But the argument of good/bad design is ongoing and disputable for purposes or intentions we many not yet know.

    “You might go on to conjecture “if the owner did plan to collect on the insurance why did he let the policy lapse?””

    Yes, correct. I do not disagree with these type of conjectures. But this only comes after natural causes are ruled out. Lightning for example.

    To try and clarify my original…

    “It is either 1) natural(not mandmade), 2) intentional by design(obvious arson or reasonable suspician) 3) accidental by designed mechanisms(the case you raise here, intentional negligence or unintentional falls under this category, et al.).

    I’d probably replace “accidental” by say, “Failure of designed mechanisms” and then subcategorize a) negligence with more definitions based upon current practices of inspections non-inpections.

    The cigarette in the garbage with fuel falls into this category too because we still have utilization of designed products or mechanisms.

    Insurance companies are certainly much more careful than my simple categories(always read the fine print). With their risk assessment teams and actuarials no doubt I oversimplify this argument.

    What I’m driving at is the cutoff point from 1) to itmes 2-3) and hopefully making good reason based upon observation.

    An electrical short is considered an “accident” but in reality it is due to negligence, bad design, or faulty due to lack of repair and maintenance schedules. And is legally compensated between parties for reimbursement schedules by insurance companies. Litigation may be pursued upon disagreement between parties or conractual issues.

    Knowing the intentions of designers are only important after you’ve formally decided there is apparant design. It may only be a split second between decision and inquiry, or it may be our entire lives, or never in case of our existence.

    But, in this analogy all parties involved are questioned. Unless you can talk to the Electric Company, the Fire Inspector, the Owner, the patrons, the Companies that make all the products, etc., plus any documents of evidence by written intelligence, it is speculation. You can only get to a certain level of why without the intelligence behind all these man-made products.

    For example, you may ascertain the wiring was faulty and therefore contributed to the fire. But what you cannot know without the original intelligent agents in question or written evidence is 1) levels of design(good, faulty) without comparison, 2) faulty maintenance, 3) intentional or unintentional negligence, 4) degenerational design like cars, computers, and every other consumer advice on the planet made today so you’ll pay for more replacements later.

    This latter 4th category is very interesting if you think about it.

    Lightning however is still interestingly enough considered an “act of God” in many Insurance documents or “act of nature.”

    And therefore a special disclaimer in most insurance polices, unless you’re paying for another rider on top of basic coverage which increases your premium.

    Now, to try and wrap my meanderings back up to the original point.

    No where in category 2 or 3 do we have to know intentions to detect design. We know a cigarette is designed, fuel, or electrical wiring is designed. We know a fire does not start itself.

    The Fire Marshall is detecting design all over the scene of the “crime” if you will. It is only after determining it was not “an act of God” that he turns evidence over to an investigative team if reasonable suspicion is raised. They then seek out the intentions, character and actions of all persons involved with the scene of investigation.

    I’m sure there are escalations of procedures better than how I represent them.

  30. Michaels7

    This is rather interesting – I hope I continue to be allowed to post without too much delay.

    So in the case of the deliberately negligent owner you say it is accidental with designed mechanisms. I can understand that if you mean’t something like – there was some designed activity which lead to an outcome the designer was not intending (the dosser). But clearly this is not what you mean. The outcome conforms to the owner’s intention and does so in the manner he planned. He made intelligent choices which lead to the results he expected. This sounds pretty much like Dembski’s definition of design.

    What is the vital ingredient that makes it different from category (1)? It can hardly be simply that he needed a bit of luck – most designed solutions require an element of chance as well. In fact you could arrange designed solutions on a sort of scale according to how much luck was needed for success. I design a football move and get a goal – but I need a fair bit of luck (a lot in my case). I design a spreadsheet and it gives me the figures – it needs a lot less luck (but the computer might have failed).

    My point is that unless you can explain what differentiates the deliberately negligent owner from the arsonist other than the amount of luck needed – then you have a pretty clear case where you have to establish intention to prove design.

  31. Mark says,

    “So in the case of the deliberately negligent owner you say it is accidental with designed mechanisms. ”

    Actually I stated “accidental” for “3″ was not good wording and offered rewording and sublistings for reasons of simple degenerative mechanisms of designed items like metals rusting. Or the breakdown of sheathing for example.

    “I can understand that if you mean’t something like – there was some designed activity which lead to an outcome the designer was not intending (the dosser). But clearly this is not what you mean. The outcome conforms to the owner’s intention and does so in the manner he planned.”

    No, I also included the unintentional event with designed elements.

    “He made intelligent choices which lead to the results he expected. This sounds pretty much like Dembski’s definition of design.”

    Well, depends upon what you’re referring to. But the point is there is still contingency. Choices are being made whether by good or bad intentions. You get expected results of non-maintenance activity. Decay. But you know this.

    “What is the vital ingredient that makes it different from category (1)?”

    That we recognize design in our own elements we make today by informational content, probability, measurements, etc., as patterns that do not occur naturally together in our environment. A cigarette, a garbage can, fuel, or an electric wire fall into these categories. This is seperate from any “chance” of the intentional choices of the analogy. Am I stating things to simply?

    “It can hardly be simply that he needed a bit of luck – most designed solutions require an element of chance as well. In fact you could arrange designed solutions on a sort of scale according to how much luck was needed for success.”

    But your talking about intentions after the fact of determining design. Plus I think you’re going off in a direction that is not relevent, or again, I misundertand you.

    “I design a football move and get a goal – but I need a fair bit of luck (a lot in my case). I design a spreadsheet and it gives me the figures – it needs a lot less luck (but the computer might have failed).

    The football, the goal, the harddrive and all components are designed. Maybe you’re leading me to a trapdoor. I have the uncanny feeling you’re trying to. The elements you mention are all designed. Luck is an estimation of probability statistics all grounded in well known fundamental fields of study. How far down the rabbit hole do we go?

    “My point is that unless you can explain what differentiates the deliberately negligent owner from the arsonist other than the amount of luck needed”

    Stop here. This is where we’re talking past each other or you refuse to accept the common sense approach of Denyse’s post. We do not need to know “why” the owner was negligent(as I stated, maybe it was to costly to repair), or “why” the arsonist “torched the place” as stated by Denyse. The detection of fault by negligence(old wiring) or by arsonist setting a blaze by cigarette/fuel is still cognizant acceptance of intelligently designed instruments or mechanisms in play.
    The arsonist may have set the place on fire for a certain amount of payment, or due to being fired. Again, this does not matter.

    You’re missing the key point of turnover from the Fire Marshall’s office(the Biologist) to the Investigators Office of Forensic Specialist and associated detectives(Mathematicians, Engineers, Chemist, Physicist, etc.)

    That is what is happening today in Biology(and has been happening). In order to understand how Design is utilized, you have to bring in reinforcements. But without talking to the Designer, you may never know all the purposes of each design. Still, the Fire Marshall has recognized it is and so do the Specialized Investigators.

    ” – then you have a pretty clear case where you have to establish intention to prove design.”

    Nope, not at all. As I stated. Eyes are designed to see. That is the Fire Marshall. He then says, I need specialist here to determine how it works.

    To understand fully how they function is taking PhD level scientist and engineers which understand the highest levels of many different fields with our best instrumention currently possible.

    If anyone on the ID side recognizes my arguments are incorrect, please let me know.

  32. Re: Littlejon

    Interesting point, klone. So, if we have you right, are you saying that there sure is design, that emerged from choice that can be defined as intelligence, but is entirely natural? Interesting; does ID have to invoke the supernatural?

    Let me articulate myself a little better. One of the reasons why I try to separate cosmic arguments of design from the biological ones, is that if each one is designed, how are we to tell whether they are different designers or the same? Going further, if only one of the two has been designed, the assumption that both must be designed would prevent us from accepting that fact. I also don’t think that intelligence itself must be supernatural, either, so one of the options I’m open to is that life could have been designed by non-supernatural entities.

    A better question migh also be, does our conception of intelligence require that we treat intelligence as having a supernatural component, or can intelligences be entirely natural?

    Re: Joseph

    Only to the point that every scenario requires something outside of nature to get it started. That includes any anti-ID materialistic scenario.

    And the only way to determine if the designer is outside of nature in the absence of direct observation or designer input is by studying the design in question.

    Every scenario? If, for example, the appearance of design in this universe is due to the existence of a multiverse, then design in the cosmological sense is not necessary. I would also say something about where the designer got its input… but I think I might accidentally lose my commenting priviledges, heh. Anyway, that’s one.

    So are you saying that all of the unsolved arsons weren’t really arsons at all? Or can we determine arson and THEN set out to try to figure out who and why?

    Sometimes being able to separate design from very design-like circumstances, like the sprinkler system example someone else gave above, requires being able to determine the intent of the agent involved.
    Let me answer your question by quoting Bill Dembski’s paper, The Explanatory Filter: (http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_explfilter.htm)
    “By selecting the Democrats to head the ballot 40 out of 41 times, Caputo appears to have participated in an event of probability less than 1 in 50 billion. Yet, exceedingly improbable things happen all the time. The crucial question therefore is whether this event is also specified-does this event follow a non-ad hoc pattern so that we can legitimately eliminate chance? But of course, the event is specified: that Caputo is a Democrat, that it is in Caputo’s interest to see the Democrats appear first on the ballot, that Caputo controls the ballot lines, and that Caputo would by chance be expected to assign Republicans top ballot line as often as Democrats all conspire to specify Caputo’s ballot line selections, and render his selections incompatible with chance. No one to whom I have shown this example draws any other conclusion than design, to wit, Caputo cheated.”
    Clearly, Bill agrees that intent is one component of a diagnostic test of design. Would it still be just as likely to be design if the republicans were put on top?

    I think that when we can begin to analyze the intent of the designer(s), we can explain sub-optimal designs such as backwards retina.
    Likely because of the religious predispositions of many of the commenters here, I haven’t heard one person suggest that there can possibly be a flaw in the designs. Aren’t we supposed to follow the evidence where it leads?
    I’m working on an essay about the subject, but I don’t know how long it will take me to finish it. I might submit it to one of the contributors here or start myown blog or something. I’m very interested in this issue, and I hope to contribute to ID in my own way.
    Dang, this comment is practically an essay already. I think I’ll cross-post it at overwhelmingevidence.com.

  33. I seem to be on a roll in getting published – many thanks to whoever is letting me through!

    Micheals7

    You attempt to draw a clear difference between deliberate negligence and design (at least I think so – your posts are rather long for middle-aged eyes).

    But what if the owner is negligent to the extent of leaving inflammable fluids around? This might well produce one of the hallmarks of arson – multiple sources. I am not being pedantic. I am just arguing that it is only a matter of degree, not of some fundamental difference. In fact I think I can put it in ID jargon. Some designs have a high degree of specified complexity and others have less. If there is less specified complexity then you really struggle to demonstrate design without knowing about intention, because in this case without intention design is indistinguishable from chance.

    I hastily want to add that I also believe the “specified” bit of CSI is also rooted in what we know about human behaviour and intentions – but that is far too long and difficult an argument to have here.

    And no I am not laying traps. I am using this to clarify my own ideas.

    Thanks

  34. Mark,

    Thanks, I’ll answer in the morning and try to narrow down my thoughts.

  35. OK Mark,

    I’ll ask some simple questions based on my original scenario first.

    Is a cigarette designed?

    If a cigarette causes the fire. Is the fire started naturally or artificially?

    If there is no cigarette and lightning caused the fire, is it then a natural act(act of God in still in some insurance documents) or artificial?

    Can you and I agree on at least these terms and answers?

    Doing so, in my opinion breaks it down between 1 Not=(2-3).

    My tact here is common sense, not referring to CSI for cellular organisms, or minimum criteria.

    Once the Fire Marshall determines artificial means whether by foul play or even by accident, as long as it is not an “act of God,” it is turned over for investigation.

    The disagreement is here between ID and Strict NDE’s. NDE’s just kick it back and say all things are accidents and over time anything can happen.

    IDist say, no, we believe it was not an accident and we need to investigate the different mechanisms which point to different levels of design.

    The investigation at that point is not questioning whether or not a cigarette is designed. But forensics would want to know how fast would a particular brand and paper burn, for example. But the determination of design is already made. Remember, this is a simpla analogy.

    This is our breaking point I believe. You want to tie together the intention with the cigarette. When the truth is, the intention of the design of the cigarette was designed for inhaling tobacco, not starting fires.

    This is kind of like saying the intention of designing a hand was to save lives as a doctor, not use it to murder.

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