Sober’s “Progenic Fallacy”
|April 17, 2006||Posted by William Dembski under Intelligent Design|
[From a colleague:] Sober is wrong in several ways. First, IDÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s denial of it being religious does not rest on the fact that it does not specify the identity of the designer, but rather, the identity of the designer is irrelevant to the detection of design. Second, suppose someone in fact makes the argument that because nature cannot account for its own design, then only that which is outside of nature can do so. It seems to me that SoberÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rejection or acceptance of the argument should depend on its soundness or strength and not on its Ã¢â‚¬Å“religiosity.Ã¢â‚¬Â Bringing in an argumentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s religiosity as a reason to dismiss it seems to be a reversal of the genetic fallacy. We can call this fallacy, the progenic fallacy, the rejection of an argument because one finds its consequences undesireable (its Ã¢â‚¬Å“progeny,Ã¢â‚¬Â so to speak), rather than based on its actual strength as an argument. Third, unless ID necessarily entails GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s existence, the ID advocate can still pull a Ã¢â‚¬Å“Judge JonesÃ¢â‚¬Â on Sober: ID is not necessarily inconsistent with GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s non-existence. Fourth, if the Darwinian theory of evolution is neutral on the question of whether supernatural designers exist, then supernatural designers have no explanatory power in accounting for the evolution of life. But thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s NOT a neutral position: it is making the epistemological claim that supernatural designers can never be objects of knowledge that may count against the deliverances of Ã¢â‚¬Å“science.Ã¢â‚¬Â On the other hand, if such beings could be the objects of knowledge, then Darwinian evolution is presently agnostic, not neutral, on the question. In other words, it is possible that some future account may rule in or rule out supernatural agency.